Friday, March 24, 2017

Restaurant review: New dishes at Noodles & Company, Novi, MI {and a giveaway!}

Restaurant review: New dishes at Noodles & Company, Novi, MI
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal from Noodles & Company in exchange for this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

If you're a longtime reader of my blog, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of Noodles & Company - I go there fairly often with my family, and I have reviewed them twice (here and here) on my blog, as well.

This week, I was able to sample some of the restaurant's new dishes, at the Novi, MI location, and I definitely did not leave hungry!

Restaurant review: New dishes at Noodles & Company, Novi, MI

We started off with the new Thai chicken soup, which I have actually ordered before, fairly recently. My previous favorite at Noodles & Co. was the chicken noodle soup, which is now a seasonal menu item, I believe, but this is a close runner-up.  The Thai chicken soup is a coconut curry soup (although not spicy, in my opinion) with onion, cabbage, red bell peppers, lemongrass, lime galangal, turmeric, and shallots, and is quite tasty; it manages to taste creamy without actually having any dairy in it, which is great for me.

Restaurant review: New dishes at Noodles & Company, Novi, MI

We also started off with the garlic bread and Korean meatballs, which are always very good. The Korean meatballs are a little spicy, and the garlic bread comes with a tomato dipping sauce.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GIVEAWAY - Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season, on Blu-ray {ends 3/31}

GIVEAWAY - Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season, on Blu-ray {ends 3/31}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season to review, in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I started watching Silicon Valley on HBO rather recently, but it's a hilarious show, especially if you are in (or know people in) the tech industry.

Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season comes to Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack on April 11th, but you can win yourself a copy here before then!

About the show:
GIVEAWAY - Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season, on Blu-ray {ends 3/31}
From Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-Head) and Alec Berg (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) comes a new season of the Emmy®-nominated comedy that takes viewers inside Silicon Valley's high-tech gold rush: a land of big ideas and bigger egos. After last season's shocking ending, which found Pied Piper celebrating legal victory just as Richard (Thomas Middleditch) was ousted as CEO, Season 3 picks up where we left off, with Richard offered the diminished role of CTO and the rest of his team – Erlich (T.J. Miller), Jared (Zach Woods), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) – facing the question of just how far their loyalty extends. With a new no-nonsense CEO hell-bent on transforming everything from Pied Piper's offices to its business agenda, the guys must find a way to triumph in the war of Art vs. Commerce, maneuvering the many competing interests along the way.

Meanwhile, as Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) works to rehabilitate Hooli's image following his blunders, Big Head (Josh Brener) finds himself in a new partnership, while at Raviga, Laurie (Suzanne Cryer) holds her cards close to the vest, as Monica (Amanda Crew) tries to look out for Pied Piper's best interests. With its patented brand of silly and satirical humor, this season of Silicon Valley continues to probe the ripe-for-comedy world of tech, as our heroes grow bolder, if not always wiser.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Movie review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast has big shoes to fill - the 1991 Disney animated version is beloved by audiences worldwide. Luckily, Disney brings the magic once again with this live-action adaptation, aided by a superb cast.

The movie starts by introducing us to the prince (Dan Stevens) and his lavish castle lifestyle. He's in the midst of throwing a masquerade ball when an old woman appears at his doorstep, begging for charity. He laughs at the woman and denies her food or shelter; it's then revealed that she's an enchantress. She turns the prince into the Beast, and his household staff into objects, and then leaves him the rose she originally brought, as a reminder. Once the rose loses all of its petals, too, the staff will become inanimate; if the Beast falls in love with a woman before then, though, and his feelings are reciprocated, with a kiss, then the curse will be broken.

Meanwhile, in a provincial life nearby, Belle (Emma Watson) is going about her daily routine, including picking up another book to read. Her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), is leaving to go on a short trip, but he promises her a rose upon his return. He stumbles upon the Beast's castle, and is about to leave; however, he remembers his promise and grabs a white rose from the Beast's garden, which infuriates the Beast. Belle senses something is wrong, and visits the castle to retrieve her father; where she ends up trading his capture for her own.

What happens next is a tale as old as time, of course, and moviegoers familiar with the 1991 version won't need a full recap. Emma Watson is captivating as Belle, and the supporting cast is great too - you'll recognize many A-lister names as the voice cast, for the Beast's household (Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, to name just a smattering), and both Luke Evans and Josh Gad are great as Gaston and LeFou; Gaston is definitely a Joey Donner type here, and he's definitely in love with himself.

Movie Review: The Last Word


Shirley MacLaine comes back to the big screen for The Last Word, and she is perfect in the part: curmudgeon older lady who decides to change aspects of her life before she (eventually) passes away. The cast is what makes this movie so good, and it's a fun film to watch.

Harriet (MacLaine) is very Type-A, and likes to be in control of everything in her life. It only makes sense, then, that she goes to her local newspaper and asks to speak with the obituary writer, Anne (Amanda Seyfried), with an unusual request: she wants Anne to write her obituary before she dies, so that she can read it. Anne's boss tells her that Harriet was a very big advertiser in the paper back in the day, so they're essentially obligated to do this (and hey, if she leaves the newspaper some money in her will, that's an extra bonus). Anne starts talking to Harriet's friends and family, though those terms can be used loosely - most people hate her, and family-wise, she only has an ex-husband and a daughter to whom she doesn't talk.

Over the course of their journey, however, Harriet and Anne realize that they're more similar than they originally thought, and perhaps you really can change your life in the last home stretch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Comedy 20 movie collection on DVD {ends 3/21}

Yesterday I posted about Mill Creek Entertainment's Action 20 collection (a collection of twenty action movies), as well as giving one of my lucky readers a chance to win a copy. Today I present the Comedy 20 collection (also by Mill Creek) as well as a giveaway!

About the collection:
A premium, 20-Movie Collection of licensed films from Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures.

Movies in the collection include:
GIVEAWAY: Comedy 20 movie collection on DVD
Punchline
(1988) / R

Sally Field, Tom Hanks

“A wonderful, bittersweet comedy…” – Rex Reed & Dixie Whatley, AT THE MOVIES

Field stars as Lilah Krytsick, a New Jersey housewife and mother who desperately wants to make it big as a comedienne. Hanks plays Steven Gold, a self-centered Lenny Bruce-type who's been stealing the spotlight with his irrepressible, natural comedic talent. Drawn to one another, Steven helps the stumbling Lilah turn her routine from flat to funny, while Lilah helps Steven keep his anguished life together.

Postcards from the Edge
(1990) / R

Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid

“Streep gives the most fully articulated comic performance of her career…” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post

In a brilliant comic performance, Streep stars as Suzanne Vale, a wisecracking, vulnerable actress determined to jump start her failing career. As her aging movie star mother, MacLaine offers the definitive portrait of Hollywood's gutsy glamour queens. Quaid and an all-star cast offer a bird's-eye view of Hollywood has-beens and wanna-bes.

Hollywood Homicide
(2003) / R

Harrison Ford, Josh Harnett, Lena Olin, Lolita Davidovich

A pair of detectives investigate the murder of a rap group while pursuing their other full-time professions. Welcome to Hollywood Homicide - the only profession where a guy can come to work hungry, horny, thirsty, and broke, and resolve all four by the end of the watch. - "Ford just gets better, more distilled, more laconic and more gruffly likeable.." - Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun-Times

Hudson Hawk
(1991) / R

Bruce Willis, Andie MacDowell, Danny Aiello

An ex-cat burglar (Bruce Willis) sets out to steal a series of priceless artifacts in this globe-spanning caper. - "Bruce Willis is part James Bond, part Cary Grant and part Buster Keaton.." - Washington Post/Hal Hinson

The Freshman
(1990) / PG

Matthew Broderick. Marlon Brando, Bruno Kirby

After starting his first year of film school in New York City, Clark Kellogg meets Carmine “Jimmy the Toucan” Sabatini. When Sabatini makes Clark an offer he can't refuse, he finds himself caught up in a dilemma involving endangered species and fine dining. - "...it's a brilliant comic masterstroke." - Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun-Times

Cops and Robbersons
(1994) / PG

Chevy Chase, Jack Palance, Dianne Wiest

Chevy Chase (Community, TV Series), Jack Palance (City Slickers) and Dianne Wiest (The Odd Life of Timothy Green) star in the comedy caper about a mild-mannered accountant whose dreams of being a super-cop come hilariously to life. In the pursuit of a dangerous counterfeiter, grizzled cop Jack Stone (Palance) convinces a suburban family to let him use their home for an extended stakeout. But this “typical” family is anything but, with a prat-falling father (Chase) whose cop show obsession endangers the whole operation. Reuniting the director and star of Fletch, Cops & Robbersons combines fast-moving farce, sight gags and physical comedy for arresting entertainment. - “This is a funny movie! It’s hysterical…a lot of laughs.” – Larry King, CNN

Monday, March 13, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Action 20 movie collection on DVD {ends 3/20}

Mill Creek Entertainment recently released its Action 20 movie collection - twenty action movies in one package! One of my lucky readers will win a copy - read below for details.

About the collection:
A premium, 20-Movie Collection of licensed films from Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures.

GIVEAWAY: Action 20 movie collectionMovies in the collection include:
S.W.A.T. (2003) / PG-13
Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Jeremy Renner

Two wisecracking, battle-hardened veterans (Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell) team up with a pair of street-smart rookies (Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J) to form the most freewheeling - but effective - S.W.A.T. team ever. Their first assignment: transport an international drug kingpin into federal custody - after he's offered $100 million to anyone who will free him!

Basic (2003) / R
Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Connie Nielsen, Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Daly

A DEA officer (John Travolta) is recruited to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a famed U.S. Army drill instructor (Samuel L. Jackson) and a group of cadets on a routine military exercise in the jungles of Panama. But the journey to uncover the truth leads to some dangerous and unexpected places when two rescued survivors tell dramatically different versions of what transpired.

Maximum Risk (1996) / R
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natsha Henstridge, Jean-Hughes Anglade

Retired French soldier Alain Moreau (Jean-Claude Van Damme) never knew he had a brother, much less a twin, until he found him lying dead on the streets of his European hometown. To find out who his brother was, he must follow his footsteps back to New York's tough Little Odessa and into the same shadowy underworld that swallowed his brother.

Stealth (2005) / PG-13
Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Jessica Biel

The world's three best pilots are partnered with a state-of-the-art, fully-automated, pilotless, super stealth warplane - inhuman and invincible. But once in the air, it goes haywire, leaving them with one final mission - bring it down.

Last Action Hero (1993) / PG-13
Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham

A magic movie ticket gains a young fan unprecedented access to his favorite action hero after being sucked out of his seat and onto the big screen.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

GIVEAWAY: 4-pack of tickets for Motown the Musical, 4/18 at the Fisher Theatre, Detroit {ends 3/19}

Giveaway: 4-pack of tickets for Motown the Musical, 4/18 at the Fisher Theatre, Detroit

Earlier this month I wrote about MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, which will be in Detroit from April 18-30 at the Fisher Theatre.

One of my lucky readers now has the chance to win a 4-pack of tickets for opening night! (Tuesday, April 18th)

Click here to read about the show, and here to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Blu-ray Review and GIVEAWAY: Fences {ends 3/17}

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Paramount Pictures. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I was excited to review Fences, as Viola Davis won the Oscar for her performance in it, and her co-star, Denzel Washington, also directed it. That being said, I had heard that it was a very slow-paced movie (and I'm not a fan of slow movies), and this ended up being true.

Official synopsis:
Blu-ray Review and GIVEAWAY: Fences
Adapted by legendary writer August Wilson from his own renowned play, FENCES follows former Negro-league baseball player Troy Maxson (Washington) in 1950s Pittsburgh as he fights to provide for those he loves in a world that threatens to push him down. An unforgettable and timeless masterpiece, FENCES “connects with people on a deep, emotional level” (Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times) and pulses with the universal truths of love and forgiveness, despite what lies beyond your own fence.

About the Blu-ray:
The FENCES Blu-ray Combo Pack includes over 30 minutes of fascinating bonus content. With interviews from the cast and crew, including actor/director Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, discover how August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play was adapted from stage to screen. Plus, visit the movie’s Pittsburgh set, learn how Davis prepared for her award-winning performance, and much more.

The combo pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film as well as the following bonus content:
  • Expanding the Audience: From Stage to Screen
  • The Company of Fences
  • Building Fences: Denzel Washington
  • Playing the Part: Rose Maxson
  • August Wilson’s Hill District

Movie Review - Kong: Skull Island

Movie Review - Kong: Skull Island

The screening of Kong: Skull Island that I saw was held at the Epic theater at MJR Troy, and I highly recommend watching it in a large-screen format like that: it made it very easy for me to become immersed in the film.

Scientists Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) get permission from the government to explore a previously undiscovered island in the Pacific that has only recently been noticed on satellite imagery. They hire an Indiana Jones of sorts, James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), just in case things go south ... which, of course, they immediately do, once the gang discovers that not only does Kong, a gigantic gorilla, guard this island, but the island is also inhabited by some lizard creatures who aren't too friendly either. Needless to say, Kong doesn't take too kindly to the scientists performing nuclear tests on the island - ie, trying to blow up his home - and chaos soon ensues.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Gifted movie prize pack, including lunchbox + keychain {ends 3/14}

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Fox Searchlight. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

GIVEAWAY: Gifted movie swag, including lunchbox + keychain {ends 3/14}
Gifted will be in theaters on April 7th, and one of my lucky readers has the chance to win some movie-related swag!

Swag includes lunchbox, cat keychain, pencil box, and calculator.

About the movie:
Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy - his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) - in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well.

GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, March 14th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be chosen the next day and notified via email. Winner has 24 hours to respond otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen.

Prize includes: GIFTED Softside Thermal Lunchbox, Cat Keychain, GIFTED Pencil Case, and GIFTED Calculator. Retail Value is $25.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Gifted prize pack

Friday, March 3, 2017

Movie Review: Before I Fall

Movie Review: Before I Fall

Comparisons of Before I Fall to Groundhog Day (1993) will be inevitable; however, Before I Fall is much more of a serious movie. The film focuses on the last day in the life of a teenage girl, though she doesn't know it's the last day until certain events occur.

Samantha (Zoey Deutch, Why Him?) wakes up on a typical day—February 12th, dubbed "Cupid's Day" at her high school—and goes about her normal life. Her three best friends pick her up at home, and they ride to school. She receives roses from her boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley), as well as one from a secret admirer, though she knows it's from Kent (Logan Miller), a childhood friend of hers, who has had a crush on her for a while. Kent invites her to a party he's throwing that night, and later she and her friends—or "baes," as they call themselves—head to the party.

At the party, they run in to Juliet (Elena Kampouris, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2), the school outcast, whom the four of them have made fun of for years. Juliet calls them some not-so-nice names, and the friends and other people throw their drinks at her. When the friends leave the party, it's late—12:38am, to be exact, when Samantha looks at her phone to see the time—and then everything goes black.

The "next day," Samantha wakes up with a gasp, thinking it was all a dream ... only to realize, she's reliving the same day as before, Cupid's Day.

Movie Review: Table 19

Movie Review: Table 19

Table 19 is promoting itself as a comedy and a "chick flick," but if so, it's the saddest comedy I've ever seen. There are definitely comedic moments throughout the film, but there's a good heap of life issues thrown in there as well.

Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick) is determined to attend her oldest friend's wedding - even though her brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), just recently broke up with her, after two years of dating, and is now dating someone else. Even though Eloise helped the bride with seating arrangements, she's now been relegated to Table 19 - the very last table in the ballroom, where all the "misfits" get seated. At her table, she meets a couple that currently hate each other (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson); the bride's former nanny, Nanny Jo (June Squibb); an ex-con who wants to keep that a secret (Stephen Merchant); and a high schooler who is looking for a girl (Tony Revolori). This band of misfits, however, soon comes to Eloise's rescue in her time of need, and she learns that maybe being seated at the "rejects" table isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Upcoming: Motown the Musical, at the Fisher Theatre {Detroit}, April 18-30, 2017

Upcoming: Motown the Musical, at the Fisher Theatre {Detroit}, April 18-30, 2017
*Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Broadway In Detroit. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL will be playing at the Fisher Theatre (Detroit) this year, from April 18-30, and I'm excited to see it! I've heard a lot of good things about the musical, but have never seen it in-person before.

***To enter to win tickets for the 4/18 show: click HERE. Giveaway ends 3/19/17.

About the show:
Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Motown Founder Berry Gordy, and Broadway in Detroit are proud to announce that MOTOWN THE MUSICAL will return to Detroit’s Fisher Theatre, April 18-30. Ticket prices start at $39 and are now on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, and online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and at The Fisher Theatre Box Office.

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.


Upcoming: Motown the Musical, at the Fisher Theatre {Detroit}, April 18-30, 2017