Showing posts from November, 2015

Casino Royale (2006)

As the new Bond movie just got released, and the suspicion is that it may be Daniel Craig's last, I went back to watch the first where he was cast as the leading man. I had really liked the Pierce Brosnan incarnation of Bond, but it got really, really gadget-heavy by the end, and that took it to a place well beyond its more realistic (although still fantastical) roots. The Brosnan Bond had become its own parody, and that was what made it lose its luster. It's important to recognize that this is where Bond had left off.

This new Bond would be very thin on gadgets. For the entire movie, we don't even see "Q" (the usual Bond quartermaster and developer of various technical wizardry). Instead, we get a couple little trackers that are smaller than a pill and a car with an emergency kit in the glove box. As a result, we are treated to physical stunts that have had a resurgence since Statham and Tony Jaa came onto the screen.

The movie shares a title and some plot point…

Blue Pants American Amber

I've always been fond of the relatively weak and inoffensive taste of amber beers. They are very good for sitting back and drinking while watching a sportsball match or chilling with friends. The problem with them comes from dissecting the experience of the beer, as it tends to be too watery for any kind of proper analytical appraisal. Still, it's a good style, so why not have one?

The color of this clear beer is shockingly deep amber. The head is relatively light, but it's a bit sticky. Lacing only seems to stay 3/4 of an inch or so, but it's staying, so that's nice. The aroma is sweet, grainy malt. It reminds me of so many other amber beers, and I hope it brings the best that they had to offer.

First sip is more caramel malt than most ambers would have. It is richer, deeper than pretty much any other amber I've had. It's not the high and watery beer to be drunk with abandon while sucking down beer nuts or pretzels at a bar watching a game. It has more bod…

Saints and Soldiers: The Void (2014)

This movie is let down by some pretty lousy dialog, a racist story line that really doesn't seem to need to be shoehorned in, and acting that indicates that none of these men will ever act on screen again. The acting is so bad, in fact, that it (more than the production quality) reeks of being a made for TV movie for one of those channels that is ambitious, but they have no idea what they're doing.

What this movies does to tank warfare is the opposite of what Fury did. In fact, this movie gets everything wrong that Fury got right. For example, the clothes that the men are wearing haven't been meticulously soiled by artists who want to convey the realism of a character with a past and the fights that he's been through. Instead, some of the guys are given random patches of grease because it just seemed right at the time by the prop master, others have dirt on their faces because it is supposed to make them look gritty, but it looks like they were eating something and got…

New Belgium Skinny Dip

I was surprised how much I liked the most recent New Belgium beer that I had. They have had some spectacular failures, but most of their other beers are about average. I was told when I got the Slow Ride that New Belgium had started producing very good beers, and that one was just the start. So, I hope this is the next in a line of success.

There's a very slight haze to the amber colored beer with the stark white head. The aroma is more bread and yeast than fruit, but I think I can smell a bit of fruit in there. Smells more like citrus than peach. Specifically, it smells a bit like orange peel. If it tastes like it smells, it will still be pretty good (depending on how sweet the malt is).

First sip reveals a beer that is kind of bland. It's watery and kind of tasteless, and that doesn't seem right. I'm going in for an unusual second sip...

And, I'm afraid I have found more of the same. I guess I can taste some of the bread malt just fine, but it's more of an im…

Southern Prohibition Suzy Smash Blonde Ale

Very few breweries have been as consistent as SPB. These guys have not gotten anything less than a 3.75/5 from me, and that is saying a LOT. While I'm generally not a fan of blondes, SPB's Suzy B was very good, and it showed that they have the capability to do wonders with the style. Usually, trying a new beer is taking a risk, but I think that I'm pretty sure to hit a good beverage this time.

The straw-orange beer with the very thick and sticky head has the smell of grains and light floral hops. The smell is a shadow of a ghost, but it's there. While the aroma is excessively faint, it is playful and very inviting. I suspect the weak smell means that this will be a very good drinking beer. The head is leaving lacing like nobody's business.

First sip is biscuits and it's all more sweet than I would have expected. I can taste citrus and it's not making anything tart or sour or even bitter, as I would expect hops to do. Honestly, this sip is absolutely delicio…

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout

I have said before that I'm generally not a fan of imperial stouts, but I've said the same thing about brown ales, and look where that has gotten me. Fact is, I have found that the closer a beer gets to the standard of the breed, the more I tend to like it, regardless of the style. With certain styles, there is a bigger target to hit in the X ring, but that doesn't mean that styles that I generally don't like can't find the perfect balance.

Usually, I will say that a beer is black, and then I will clarify to say that it is really so brown or so red that it appears black. That's because a strong enough light source will allow me to see (usually around the bottom of a full glass) that blip of a different shade. Not this one. I've had very dark beers before (Pothole Filler and Nighttime come to mind) but this is almost certainly the blackest brew I've ever poured. Sorry to go on about it, but it's an inky black that is almost unsettling. The tan head i…

Martyrs (2008)

This is a movie that was entirely in French, but it was then dubbed into English. Generally, there isn't a whole lot of talking in the movie, so there aren't a plethora of opportunities for them to screw up the dialog or anything. That's not to say that they didn't, it just didn't intrude that frequently. There were a few times where the translation seemed to fail, so they just went for a best effort translation that made it sound a bit off.

This movie tries to cram quite a few things together with the storyline, and it doesn't all fit together well, but it does it well enough. It's like there are three or four different stories going on, and they manage to get them bundled together with, as I said, minimal exposition. Instead, we just get tossed into the situation and we have to figure it out as we go along. From that perspective, I very much liked the movie. It wasn't always too hard to guess, but a few surprises were nice to get.

As for horror - this…

Results (2015)

This movie lists itself as a comedy, but I would say it wasn't all that funny. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was not funny at all. There are comedies, there are dark comedies, there are black comedies, and then there are comedies that only call themselves comedies so they can get a bigger audience than when they call themselves a drama. I'm not sure this precisely fits into any of these categories.

The way the story goes, we follow a young, very fit woman (Cobie Smulders) as she makes her way in life working in a gym as a personal trainer. She is a very determined and fiercely independent woman who enjoys her life well enough, but she doesn't really seem to plan for the future. Instead, she concentrates on the road immediately ahead of her. I wouldn't have thought (after only seeing her as Samuel L. Jackson's right hand woman in The Avengers) that Cobie could carry a movie as the lead character, but she knocks it out of the park.
The strange thing is…

The Good Lie (2014)

There are three main characters in this movie, and none of them are Reese Witherspoon. The three brothers (not actually brothers, but they were in the same tribe, so they refer to each other in this way) are actors you probably never heard of and will likely never hear from again. It's not that they didn't act well in this movie - they really did a fine job, even though not a lot of acting was called on from them. They all played confused, earnest men through most of the movie, so they didn't need a lot of emotion.

The first third of the movie is their journey as children through Africa. They are refugees fleeing Sudan after being terrorized by the militia and government forces who appear to shoot pretty much anyone they come across. The journey is about a thousand miles on foot, and not all of the family survives. It's all pretty horrifying, but it's hard to really understand the scope of the violence (even with the dead bodies floating down the river).

The three…

The Goob (2014)

This is another movie that puts mood and craft over substance and story. It's a coming of age story, and honestly I don't think these kinds of stories are for me. I understood that Boyhood was a masterpiece of film making, and I agree that the project that lasted over a decade to follow the progress of the boy into early adulthood was very well done, but I still think the actual story was a bit of a snoozer. This movie is slower. And it's less interesting. And it didn't take as long to film, so it must have less art in it.

Liam Walpole is the titular Goob, and like Boyhood the story is more about other people than it really is about him. Nevertheless, he's the one we follow, and we see things from his perspective. Goob doesn't talk much, and his random encounters with young ladies are jerky and don't really make a whole heap of sense based on his introverted personality.

Sienna Guillory plays Goob's mother, and just like in Boyhood, she has terrible tas…

Victory DirtWolf Double IPA

Victory is a great brewery. They produced the alcohol-heavy Golden Monkey, the fantastic Headwater, and the good Summer Love, among others. I had many others before I started this blog, and I regret not having a record of all of their delicious brews. I'd never even heard of this one before, so it'll be a delight to just get a chance to try something new from them.

Its a slightly (very slightly) hazy orange-tinted yellow (some might call that amber) with a nice, sticky head that leaves lots of nice lacing on the sides of the glass. This appears to be highly carbonated, as the cascade of bubbles coming up from the depths doesn't stop, and this is a clean glass. The aroma is very hoppy, like the best of the Victory beers I've had before. It has spices and some citrus circling the heavy, floral hops that are extra bitter smelling.

First sip is really, really, really good. It is smooth and sweet while still having the depth and meat of the hops. It's inevitably got to …

Knock Knock (2015)

It's not that having Keanu Reeves in your movie is a guaranteed success, but I've come to like a few of his movies, so I figured I would give this one a try. You can probably guess that a glowing review of the movie would not start off with an explanation of why I was justified in picking this movie in the first place, and you'd be right. I did not enjoy this movie. It's possible this move was so bad because Eli Roth decided to write, direct, and produce this movie, and very few people can do all three successfully. Eli pulled it off in Cabin Fever (where he also had a bit part) well enough, and then he did it in the increasingly unappealing Hostel series.

We start off with the happy home life of Keanu and his lovely wife Karen (Ignacia Allamand). They have two kids who are pretty much filler for what will pass as Keanu's family, and they will be absent for most of the film. As it is Father's Day, the wife and kids leave dad to go somewhere, and it doesn't …

Shadow Dancer (2012)

I don't properly categorize movies that I review based on the country of origin or the production company. It's a shame, as I would like to see if all of the Irish Film Board movies rated well, and I suspect they would. Mind you, we probably only get the very best that they put out, and they likely put out quite a bit more that are sub-par, but it would be interesting to see the average ratings.

The movie, as you may have guessed, takes place in Ireland. It chronicles Andrea Riseborough's character's life in the IRA from the death of her younger brother when they were children to her active participation in their war against the English. She's a bitter and confused woman who wants to do her part, but she is very conflicted internally, and she plays that part very well.

Clive Owen is the British officer who is responsible for turning Andrea against her brother and the IRA people she deals with. Clive finds himself attracted to her (because this is a movie, and there…

Founders Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA

While I generally have an unfavorable impression of imperial stouts or imperial IPAs, that doesn't mean I count them all out automatically. I find that there are some really interesting beers around the fringe of these kinds of beers like the black IPA or black lager or something like them. So, I'm really hoping that Founders (who have a good enough track record) do this up well.

And yes, it's pretty black just like the label says. It has a ruby shine to it around the edges, but the base of the beer is flat black. The head is thick and sticky - it leaves copious amounts of lacing. The aroma is chocolate and caramel malt with pine hops. It's very alluring.

First sip is smokey and not nearly as bitter as I expected. Instead, it's well balanced and very smooth. The coffee and chocolate I smelled are muted, and there is more of a citrus and somewhat floral taste. It's very good. A full draught might make it great.

Tip-in is very gentle carbonation and smokey raisin…

Pixels (2015)

It's easy to hate on Adam Sandler. The big issue is the name of his production company - Happy Madison. The very name transports me back to a time when he produced the new and innovative in-your-face comedic characters of Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. Yes, they relied on jokes from his stand-up and SNL days, but they were well woven into the tapestry of a funny story, and I can't help but think of Bob Barker beating Happy up and smiling.

Fast forward 19 years, and you have Adam still using the same old jokes, but implementing them worse, telling them worse, and relying on more comedians who have more talent and less money to support the weak and now unrelatable main character who is usually pretty much Adam Sandler with a different name and an actual job.

This movie is a grab at the 40-something's love of nostalgia and those classic old video games that had no idea what AI was and instead relied on very bad pseudo-random number generators to try to eliminate predictable …