Showing posts from November, 2014

Labor Day (2013)

There's no real reason that this movie needs to take place on Labor Day. There is likely some metaphorical reason for it, but that's not a real reason, is it? In fact, I can think of at least three things it could be a metaphor for, but I may be thinking this through a little too much. Either way, it doesn't enter into the main thrust of the story at all.

Kate Winslet is a single mother who is afraid to go outside, deal with people, or pretty much do anything. She effectively seems busy quite a bit with not a whole heap actually getting done. She plays the character as very demure, introverted and kind of rabbity. When Josh Brolin comes along as the friendly and trustworthy escaped convict, it's self-evident that love will be in the air. But, will he get along with her son played by Gattlin Griffith? Oh look, he's a natural father.

I'm not big on romantic dramas, but this one wasn't as horrible as some. I could totally see this airing on Lifetime in the mid…

Rock Bridge "Rye You Lil' Punk" Rye IPA

Beer in a can? Well, the only other one I've had while writing this blog was Heady-Topper, and it was a pretty good beer. I generally avoid beer in cans, as my experience with cans is that the metallic taste tends to leach into the beer. Particularly hoppy beers, or very complex beers, can avoid this like heavy metal music can avoid tape hiss - just drown it out.

The frothy head eventually settles to a pillowy mass atop a dark and murky gold-tinted brown. It is one of the prettiest beers I've seen in a while. The aroma wafts a good distance, and it reeks of a delicate mixture of sweet malt and floral hops. It is a very enticing smell, and I'm very much looking forward to drinking it, but I'll start with a single sip.

That first sip brings a little pine, a little floral, a little sweet, a bit caramel, and possibly a tiny bit of citrus. The effect is nice and balanced, which is not entirely expected. I expect a beer that has a lot of hops to be off-balance when it comes …

The Two Faces of January (2014)

I saw an interview with Viggo Mortensen where he was promoting this movie, and they showed a clip. After Viggo described the character he was playing, and watching the clip, I had an idea of what the character was. It turns out, I actually had no idea what the character was like. I expected him to be more like all of the other characters he has played who are physically intimidating and have something menacing going on behind the eyes. That was not him.

The movie is very... pretty. For some reason, Viggo's shirt always looks pretty clean, and the landscape shots are very nice. Kirsten Dunst was done up like a 1950s wife going on safari with her husband, and it put me in mind of an Alfred Hitchcock movie like North By Northwest. I didn't even recognize her at first.

Oscar Isaac is the only other major character. He is a local con man who helps the couple out by translating and guiding them around Athens. He's also an American, so it seems to work out pretty well for everyon…

Founders All Day IPA Session Ale

Another Founders beer. The first was the excellent Dirty Bastard, and I am always afraid that a great beer is going to be followed up with a beer that demonstrates that they are human after all. Even Lagunitas had a bad beer (which is the exception that proves the rule of Lagunitas being the best brewery on the planet).

The color is a somewhat misty orangeish gold. The foam is not really all that thick, but it's pretty damn sticky. It leaves a lacing that covers the sides of the glass pretty well. The aroma is of floral and herbal hops with a bit of sweet malt lingering in the background. There is a slight musty smell coming from the hops, but it's not entirely off-putting.

First sip is very, very smooth. It has a dried flowers kind of taint around the outsides, but the overall impression of the beer is that it is possibly a bit too mild. A second sip to confirm this taste actually reveals pine as one of the overall tastes. I don't remember that from the first sip, but tha…

Samuel Adams Third Voyage Double IPA

Here's the thing about Sam Adams - when a waitress tells you that they have Sam Adams on tap, they are referring only to the Boston Lager. I don't know if they guys at Sam Adams are happy that the Boston Lager is so well known or sad that all of the other, excellent beverages that they make are completely ignored by the populace at large.

The color is dark copper, and the head is thick and luscious. It grips the sides firmly, and the lacing left on them shows the few bubbles who refuse to give up. The fluffy bed of foam sits atop the beer like a pillow. The aroma is of floral hops and some sweet malt. I am thirsty, and I really want to drink some of this, so let's stop fooling around.

First sip is floral and sweet. Jeebus, that tastes really, really good. I just want to drink this whole bottle right freaking now. Instead, I'll opt for a big swig to let me taste all the layers of goodness.

Tip-in is that same sweet floral taste that made me want to drink this whole thin…

Schlafly Tripel Ale

I've had this kind of beer, and they should share similar characteristics. As the others have gotten better than average ratings, I expect to like this tripel pretty well. I don't think I have had a Schlafly beer before, so this is a treat the whole way around. I'm loving my new beer distributor.

The color is a murky gold with a head that reaches to the stars. When I cracked the bottle, the bubbles just cascaded right down the side of the bottle. This is indicative of a bottle conditioned beer, and that would also go hand-in-hand with the murkiness of the beer. The aroma is fairly faint, but I smell hops and malt. Who'd have thought? I can also smell some citrus hanging around with the malt, and the malt is very bready - like a dinner roll.

First sip is a strong ass beverage. It's tart and bitter with orange, apple, and spices mixed in. It actually reminds me of a Magic Hat #9 with orange and apple instead of apricot. There's also a noticeable burn of carbonati…

Southern Tier Crème Brûlée

I'm looking forward to this one. I enjoy the rare crème brûlée when I happen to be in a snooty enough place to buy it, which is not often at all - I may have had it five times in my life. I don't know what exactly to make of a beer that claims to be anything like that delicious desert and also has a picture of a cow on the front. Milk stout?

The color is black with almost no head to speak of. I was really surprised how little carbonation there was overall, and I started to fear that this was another skunked beer, but I got this from City Sliquors and I have been assured that they rotate their stock regularly (unlike the last place). Also, it doesn't have the skunky smell about it - instead, it's aroma puts me in mind of a coffee house with its dark roasted malts and sweet vanilla highlights. Honestly, I think I could use this as an air freshener, it smells so good.

First sip is a very interesting one. It is much more sweet than I had expected; this is very clearly a ty…

Shine On Georgia Moon Apple Pie

The problem with moonshines I've had to date is their unrelenting burning alcohol taste, but they try to cover it up with flavoring. The thing is, I've had a few straight White Lightening versions from different makers, and it is not a solid base for anything. The fact that they can add something and make it as good as the FireFly Apple Pie is astounding. I'm thinking that Georgia might know the same secret.

The color is murky, pale yellow. It looks like a watery Limoncello. It does not, however, smell like one. Instead, it smells rather predictably like cinnamon and apple with a hint of lighter fluid. The smell alone reminds me of the excellent FireFly Apple Pie that I had a while back, and that certainly sets it up for a win. You may notice a slight discoloration on one side of the label - that's because these damn jars are so hard to pour from.

A sip tells the story of a very potent, but a flavorful beverage. I fear that this one is going to require ice in it, thoug…

Casino Jack (2010)

Kevin Spacey performs the crap out of this role. He almost carries the movie on his back - almost. He plays Jack Abramoff during the peak of his dealings with paying people off, stealing from people, and generally doing terrible things for which he inevitably gets thrown in jail.

Barry Pepper plays Michael Scanlon, Kevin's friend who takes Kevin's orders and is just as deep into taking as much money being a dirty, evil lobbyist as he can. The problem is that he tries to be a full supporting character, but Kevin is just larger than the rest of the film at all times. As a result, his performance goes almost entirely unnoticed.

Rachelle Lefevre, Kelly Preston, and Maury Chaykin are stuck in the same boat, as they can't really do much more than set the stage for Kevin to come in and do his thing. They do a good enough job, but the script is written to feature Kevin, and Kevin is just too much person for this role and everyone around him. I wish I could pinpoint what the proble…

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Blue Moon is an underrated brewery, but that doesn't mean every beer they make will be a hit. After all, even the platinum standard for breweries - Lagunitas - has the occasional bad beer. Blue Moon hasn't demonstrated that they are up to the standard of Lagunitas or even the slightly lower (but still very respectable Gold Standard of Sam Adams. Let's give their latest a shot at the crown, though.

I'd start with the color or something, but I'm actually going to go with the aroma first. Why? Freaking clove, man. It is pouring out of my stationary beer like I have set fire to a bundle of cloves in there. I feel like I should be eating ham with this beer. Nestled within the clove cloud is a sweet malt that peeks out a bit. The color is a brown-tinged copper with a little bit of haziness going on. The head is small to begin with, and it leaves a very thin blanket across the top when it sits.

First sip is more than clove, that's for sure. There's pumpkin, spices…

Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale

I was genuinely surprised when I liked Blue Moon's Belgian White as much as I did. I've had a fewmore, and even the worst is not that bad. This is a Horchata ale, and that can mean a lot of things. In this case, it means that long grain rice was used in the brewing process. How will sharing an extra ingredient with Budweiser work out? Let's find out.

The color is a dishwater hazy yellow color of a regular wheat beer. It's somewhere around the color of light straw, and the head is exceptionally short. The aroma is nearly non-existent, but I detect grainy malt and a pinch of cinnamon. There is also the telltale wheat beer citrus (specifically lemon) hovering around the outskirts of the smell.

First sip brings a very simple, mild, almost milky beverage that tastes unsurprisingly of cinnamon. The sweet malt makes the whole thing seem really smooth and silky. It doesn't have enough flavor to really stand up to anything as a sipping beer, but it might be a good one to kn…

Maleficent (2014)

Disney has piles of money and can produce any movie they want to. They have their pick of a million different properties that might delight parents and children alike. Why they feel the need to retell the same stories over and over again, repackaged as all new, I'll never know, but this is the retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story from the perspective of the Wicked Witch.

This movie takes CG to where it has been many times before - butting in where it doesn't belong. Rather than using forced perspective on wider shots, someone decided that it would be a good idea to CG the three fairy godmothers when they were small (they get bigger - don't ask). As a result, they don't look magical as little fairies, they look like tiny little CG imaginings with unusually stiff faces and oddly proportioned bodies.

Maleficent herself suffers from CGness every time she takes to the skies. The CG wings aren't enough - it used to be that you would fake the wings with the computer and…

Joy Ride (2001, 2008, 2014)

The basics for this franchise are rooted in utter simplicity and improbability. Truckers are a misunderstood, generally feared, and easy group to pick on (who hasn't complained about a truck on the road every now and then?) So, these movies cast a shadowy evil trucker as the bad guy who, like most of these kinds of movies, has supernatural powers that are never explained and an appetite for death and dismemberment that cannot be sated.

Joy Ride (2001)

This is an odd film from its very inception. It was written by two guys, one of whom was J.J.Abrams. Released as both Joy Ride and Roadkill, it stars the late Paul Walker and was actually released after his rise to stardom in The Fast and The Furious (the first one). It also stars Steve Zahn, who is a very good actor in his own right and has been in such good movies as That Thing You Do, Dallas Buyers Club, and the Knights of Badassdom.

Paul is the poor kid who is making good by having gotten a scholarship to a good college and he hop…