Showing posts from August, 2013

6 Souls (2010)

So, this is ostensibly about a person with multiple personality syndrome. Julianne Moore plays a psychologist who is the daughter of another psychologist played by Jeffrey DeMunn. The father brings Julianne in to talk to this guy and to disprove her theory that multiple personality disorder doesn't exist. her theory, thus far in this reality, has taken such a strong foothold that she was able to get it declassified as a psychiatric condition.

We learn of the issues between her and her father, and we then figure out that this multiple personality guy seems to be genuine. Or is he?

Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays the man with mental issues, and he does a very good job. Usually, the multiple person acting goes too far one way or the other - they either try too hard to differentiate between the people they are supposed to be or they simply don't have the range to make it work. Usually, it's over the top. The problem with over the top is that the personalities are way too differenti…

Ruedrich's Red Seal Ale

The label proudly states, "Water, malted barley, hops, yeast & that's all."

It's a reddish coppery color with a good head. the head slowly dissipates to a sticky film of bubbles that grips the top and also remains pretty well on the sides of the glass. The aroma is magnificent - all hoppy and yeasty. It's powerful, too. I can smell it from a few feet away, and I want to do more than smell it already.

First sip has a bit of a bitter bite and then a smoky sweetness that eases onto the tongue. It's a nice beer as far as I can tell, but it seems a bit unrefined. While I respect the limiting of the ingredients, they might have been smart to include a few different types of hops or malt to even the taste out a bit. I know I often complain about some beers being too boring, but trying to force taste where it doesn't work isn't a good solution. Maybe I'm not getting the full effect.

A bigger draught improves matters a bit, but it's still too prima…

42 (2013)

This is a story about an old white man who overcomes prejudices of baseball fans by locating a black man who could play the game, recruiting him from the Negro Leagues, and elevating him to starter on the team in spite of the the protestations and threats leveled against him. We find out what his motivations are and how he's atoning for the perceived lack of action in his own past when he could have single-handedly ended racism in the past.

This old man is played by the impressively old Harrison Ford. I suspect he had to import some type of prosthesis to keep those eyebrows up there on his forehead, but the craggy voice that always sounds as if it emanates from a throat that needs clearing and the random pointing at things when he's upset is all Harrison. His character manages to bring all of baseball together behind the idea of integrating black and white players on the field in an almost historically accurate celebration of what old white men can do when they set their minds…

Lockout (2012)

This is a French film entirely in English, and the storyline is very US-centric. Honestly, I could have been fooled into believing that this was a small studio in Hollywood's movie. There were several heavy Irish accents, but there wasn't a single French accent. That's odd, as French movie makers usually don't know how to leave the miscellaneous French characters out of the movie.

The movie is entertaining right from the start. You have to get past the amazingly bad CG during the initial chase scene, but the space CG is decent enough once you figure out that known space physics don't always apply in movie space. So, once you accept that the space prison spends a lot of energy on flawless gravity generators so everyone can walk around - even those who are locked up in suspended animation and have no need for gravity.

So, there is a high-value dignitary who gets trapped on the space prison when the prisoners manage to get out. There are SO many problems with what hap…

Mud (2012)

They were going for a vibe like Stand By Me, with the kids in front and center as part of a coming of age movie. At the same time, they decided to throw Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon into the mix for some adult interaction (even though the two rarely interact with each other on screen).

It was surprising that they would decide to Make Matthew's character have two valued possessions on the tiny island he was hiding on: his gun and his shirt. The famously shirtless McConaughey still managed to find opportunities to take off his shirt to show off his pecks. As he plays the title character, he is very dirty most of the time, and he spends most of the movie sitting on a very small island in the middle of a river.
In the graphic above, it would seem like the adults take center stage, but it is ALL about the children. Admittedly, one of them has an epic nickname: Neckbone. I mean, come on! That is redneck gold right there. So, the two boys find our title character on his isla…

Brooklyn Pennant Ale '55

Upon grabbing this beer, I immediately thought, "If this dang beer isn't from Brooklyn, I'm going to give them the worst review ever." Well, it was not brewed in Brooklyn. It was brewed four hours away in Utica. Is that close enough? I mean, it's the same state, and those guys were probably Dodgers fans when they were still in Brooklyn, right? Does that give them enough justification for the name? 55, incidentally, is also the year that the Yankees won. So, I guess it was a big year for NY sports.

It's got a light, nutty smell (with some malty undertones) to go with that kind of caramel color and simple head that dissipates into a ring that grips the sides of the glass. It's a very nice presentation, so I'm inclined to be nice in this review. If it had some damn elderberries or something, I'd go to town, but this really gives me an optimistic feeling. So, I'm going to let them slip on this one white lie - they are not from Brooklyn, but they f…

The Jacket (2005)

Adrien Body has a massive nose. I mean, that thing needs its own zip code. I only comment on it because it was distracting. I find it distracting during every Adrien Body movie, and I don't really know what he can do about it this side of just getting the sucker reduced, and that would make him THAT guy. Of course, his razor commercial bills him as one of the sultans of style alongside Andre 3000 and someone else. They pretty much all need a punch in the face.

So, he's in this movie. He's in it with the lovely Keira Knightley as the love interest. Keira somehow manages to do an American accent pretty well in this film, but it's kind of hard to imagine someone as pretty as her taking a liking to Adrien. In fact, it's hard to imagine someone THAT pretty being in this little town for very long at all.

The surprise in this film was actually James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. I had seen this movie before, and I didn't even remember that he was in it. That shows how b…

Collection, the (2012)

This is supposed to have come from the minds that brought us some of the Saw movies, and they appeared to be having a very off day when they came up with this. This is the sequel to the movie "The Collector" that I had never heard of. According to what I've read, Josh Stewart was in that original movie. Based on the amount of awesome in this movie, that one must have been all kinds of crap.

Josh Stewart always looks like he's about to fall asleep. He's not an inspiring action hero. It's just as well though - this isn't an inspiring horror story. What I expected was more of a movie about a collector collecting things. Now, it might be a collection of limbs, bodies, faces, eyeballs, spleens, or fingernails, but I expected a guy (or girl, although these killers are usually guys) collecting stuff. As a result, there would be some nuance to the story about a compulsion. Normally, these guys will have many aspects of their lives that reflect their mental disord…

Shadow People (2013)

This kind of sucked. First issue is the way they chose to film it. Have you ever seen The Fourth Kind? Well, they followed that method of film making, and it really wasn't good enough to emulate.

The idea is that The Blair Witch Project and its ilk have devalued the idea of a first person filmed event. So, we need to make it seem even more real by having actors play out certain scenes and then also have footage of other people that are labeled with "actual home footage" or somesuch. It's a horrific attempt to make the movie more impactful, and it is a cheap and senseless trick that results in tedious split screens or confusing segues. 
The acting here is pretty shabby. They brought out Amber from House, MD, but she didn't have that big of a role, and I'm not sure it would have mattered in the first place. The whole story revolves around our intrepid radio personality who gets nutty calls from people and treats them as if they are sane. As a result, he starts …

Ratings on this Site

I've been asked a few times to explain my rating system. Sometimes, I'll say a movie or beer wasn't that bad, but it only gets a 2.25 or 2.5 out of 5. What gives?

My method is to create a bell curve where the average movies and beers or whatever wind up in the middle. As a result, it may seem like it skews a bit toward the bottom, but that's only if you don't consider what is resting on the bottom - HiCu and A Common Man. While the top consists of truly outstanding examples like Guinness and Cabin in the Woods.

Anything that gets a 3.5 or higher is a definite recommend. Anything in the middle depends on circumstances and personal preferences. Looper, for example, got a perfect 2.5. It was a well written and acted movie that had significant technical inconsistencies that kind of ruined a lot of the fun for me. Newcastle Brown Ale also got a 2.5; and I admitted that it actually does really well when paired with food, but it is weak on its own.

Since I try to find ver…

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

This is not White House Down. I haven't seen that one yet, and I hope that it's better.

The idea of taking the White House for one of these movies is a pretty good one. I mean, you can have some exciting stuff happen, and similar things happened for Air Force One and Salt. Those were both pretty decent movies, and I wouldn't even mind watching either of them again. This movie, however, departs pretty radically.

Think of this as a Salt meets Die Hard, but all of the buildup to realism of Salt and humor of Die Hard is lost. So, we find ourselves with an impressively unrealistically executed attack on the White House. I mean, everything about it was just never going to happen. From the embedding of bad guys in the South Korean diplomatic core to a group of 20 guys with sub-machine guns somehow taking out all of the Secret Service forces around the White House, this goes beyond staining credulity into just completely not believable.

I have met and talked to some Secret Service…

Point Nude Beach Summer Wheat

Technically, the brewer's name is Stevens Point Brewery, but Point is very big on the bottle, so I went with it. I'm not usually a fan of wheat beers, but some have surprised me, and a summer ale on a summer day is right where I can give it the best chance of pleasing the palate.

She's a hazy beer - fairly gold. The head dissolves into nearly nothing, with a few, scant bubbles grasping at the sides as best they can. The aroma is grain and malt. Narry a hop to be sniffed, as far as I can tell, but that doesn't mean this will be a bland taste. My past dislike of most wheats was the fact that they rely on citrus to bolster their flavor - and this one has only a hint of orange peel about its smell. Hopefully, this will bring out the best of wheats instead of wallowing in the expected. Cammo made a damn fine watermelon wheat.

First sip, and things are looking up. I know I said I didn't want a bunch of citrus in there, but it is combining with the malt to really cut thro…

Woodchuck Fall Hard Cider

I'm not really a hard cider guy, but I like to branch out every now and then. It wasn't until I got this home that I noticed the big "FALL" written on the top label, and it makes me think that this is yet another beverage that my local distributor has sold me well after the date that would have been best enjoyed on. I think I'm going to find a new distributor.

This presents itself like all ciders, really. It has the color and aroma of apple juice with slightly more head. I'm trying to think of ways of making that more interesting, and I can't. I suppose I could comment that there is a hint of cinnamon in there, and that actually makes me think that this might be enjoyable. I think a hint of cinnamon should really be added to most apple juice (at least the ones made from concentrate).

First sip, and that cinnamon is really sticking out. The apple tastes kind of sour, and the cinnamon is adding spice without adding sweetness. Maybe they should have used cin…

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

This is a retelling of the legend of Jack and the Beanstalk, and with most retellings, there are some unexpected turns. In this one, they add more magic to the realm in the form of a device that can control the giant. Wait, did I say giant? I meant giants. 100% CG giants, no less.

Jack goes to market and trades his horse for the promise of gold, but he gets magic beans in the interim. Those beans - shock - grow into a beanstalk. That's not a normal beanstalk, though; it's a magic, CGI beanstalk. The top of the beanstalk is where the giants are, and Evan McGregor (in a strangely small role) helps our hero climb the stalk to save the princess who was conveniently taken up with the stalk started to grow.

Along with them is the evil dude who wants to take over the world, played by Stanley Tucci. Stanley does about the job you would expect - he plays pretty much the same bad guy most of the time. For some reason, even though giants were a story that passed into legend, and no one be…

Romper Stomper (1992)

This film was the Australian equivalent of American History X. I'm more of a fan of Ed Norton than I am of Russell Crowe, but I saw some serious parallels in not just the storylines but the manner of acting. The way they move and the grimace of hatred when they see what they consider inferior races is almost identical.

This movie features Russell and a bunch of actors I've never seen or heard of before or since. But let's be realistic, no one is seeing this movie to see Jacqueline McKenzie or Daniel Pollock. So Russell did this movie well before he made it big. This was considered by many to be his breakout, as he made the jump from TV to the big screen with this film. He's got fake tattoos out the wazoo, and a shaved head; I wonder if this was after his brief stint as a rock and roll singer.

So, this movie is about an Aussie gang of neo-Nazi/skinheads (is there a difference between them?) who are very VERY anti-Asian. It is my understanding that this is not too uncomm…

Summoned (2013)

Let's be clear as to why I watched this movie in the first place. Aside from the usual Netflix nonsense recommendations, it was primarily for three clearly definable reasons.

CubaGooding Jr.
Look at that movie poster and tell me you aren't SURE that Cuba is the main character and the others just support him. It's clear that the screen will be filled with Cuba goodness for most of the time (with obvious sexy time with the blonde, but she's window dressing). How could you pay the money for Cuba Gooding Jr. and not subsequently use him in the movie as the main character? Well, you'll have to ask Peter Sullivan - the director and writer of this movie that very important question.

I can't say that I had high expectations after One in the Chamber, but Cuba still has a place in my heart that he got when he was in Jerry McGuire and As Good as It Gets. I keep thinking that he's going to be in there to make a good movie, and he can make a questionable movie into a goo…

Victory Headwater Pale Ale

I have had many beers from Victory Brewing. They produce quite a few variations, and most of them are very good. They hail from my home state of Pennsylvania, and they're probably the second best brewer that I can think of in that state. Stoudt's brewing is their major competition since the little brewpub off the main drag in downtown Gettysburg shut down.

It's a clear beverage with a slightly reddish copper color. It's an average consistency one inch head that leaves a nice cap on the beer with a thickening around the edges. The aroma is hoppy. It really reminds me of Victory's Hop Devil beer, but I hope this brings something else to the table. That said, Hop Devil is a good beer, so it could be worse.

First sip, and it's a world of Hop Devil. There may be a touch less hops relative to the malt, but it's only minor. This is very hoppy, and has that signature bitterness at the end. It tastes as if it is slightly sweeter in the brief finish as a result of th…

Atwater Dirty Blonde Ale

The last Atwater beer I had was decidedly over-carbonated. This one is mildly under-carbonated. Keep working at it, guys, and you'll eventually get it right. This one is a blonde, and I hope I didn't make a bad choice. I've had a few bad blondes in my day, and it kind of put me off of them. Nevertheless, it's time to hop back on that horse (or Chrysler 200 - this beer is imported from Detroit).

It's a dirty beer; it's very cloudy. It's a dark-ish straw color. I mean, it's dark for straw. The aroma is slightly hoppy and a bit malty. It doesn't overwhelm with the amount of aroma coming from it. I think I detect hints of citrus in there, too. I could be fooled into thinking this was a wheat beer based entirely on the smell.

First sip allays my fears about it being a wheat beer. Its a bit fruity with sweetness of malt. I'm not actually detecting much in way of hops, but I'm not too put off. The whole thing is smooth as it goes down. I think I co…

Bully (2011)

This documentary focuses on a few kids who are/were being bullied and the effects the bullying has on them. Documentaries are slow, so deal with that when you watch the movie. When it was originally premiered, it was titled, "The Bully Project."

The different kids profiled are pretty intriguing. The first is a kid who has an unusually structured face that results in him being made fun of and ultimately ostracized when he goes to school. The school officials are painted in the absolute worst light possible, as they struggle and fail to deal with the situation. They are painted as incompetent and uncaring, and it's hard not to agree with that picture, but I get the feeling that there may be another side to the story which is not being told.

The chastisement from the other kids gets so bad at one point that the film crew shows the tapes to the parents so they can take steps to stop the physical bullying that is clearly going on. Why these kids are stupid enough to do stuff …

Lagunitas New Dogtown Pale Ale

To say that I'm looking forward to this is an understatement. The previous Lagunitas beer was fantastic, and I can only hope that there is a trend happening.

The head is a thick, creamy mass of beautiful wonder. Just looking at that frosty goodness is making me want to drink it to the bottom. It dissipates to clumps that wallow around on the top like icebergs of foam looking for a ship of tastebuds to wander into its path for a good sinking. The color is a pale gold, and the aroma is all about the hops. It's not overwhelming, though, as it can't be smelled from the other side of the room, as I am accustomed to.

First sip is hoppy. It's very hoppy. There may be malt or something in here somewhere, but I'm not tasting it much. I guess the finish isn't as harsh as it would be if there were actually nothing but hops, but the malt isn't doing a whole heck of a lot to cut anything. Still, it's not as bitter as you might expect. So, I guess the other ingredien…

Red Hook Audible Ale

"A crushable ale brewed in collaboration with Dan Patrick."

Is that good? Who is Dan Patrick? Why do I want him messing with my ale? Is he from Seattle? Is that why you had him help you make it? Were you not good enough at making beer that you had to bring in someone else? Does his show cover beer and how to make it? Are you just an apprentice, and he actually made the beer? Are you just following his old family recipe? Did he accidentally fall into the vat, and you are brewing fermented Dan?

The pour is a not particularly cloudy kind of reddish straw color. The minimal head dissipates into a razor thin coating that rests on top and clings at the sides. The aroma seems a bit off, but the "bottled on" date is March 1st, so it should be well within the drinkable period. I can definitely smell the malt, and I get hints of grains there.

First sip - it's not off, so that's good. It's still got a bit of something that isn't quite right going on. I'm n…

Warm Bodies (2013)

Ever see the movie Fido? I have to do a review of that movie when I get a chance. I was reminded of that movie quite a bit throughout this one, but this one was definitely better. I was afraid I would hate this movie, as it would be some kind of teen romance with supernatural elements - along the lines of Twilight. Man, I hated Twilight.

I was surprised, consequently, when this turned out to be entertaining. Rob Corddry, for example, does a great job with what is a clearly limiting role. The basic idea is that there is a zombie plague, and one of the guys who is a zombie is slowly reverting back to humanity. To assist in his reverting is a hot blonde who he falls in love with while eating her boyfriend's brain. For some reason, he is able to remember things that the guy has experienced by eating the guy's brain. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities in the post-apocalypse world, but the movie doesn't go into any of them.

Instead, we follow our hero's progres…