Let the Madness begin

If you’re a basketball fan, a sports betting fan or both, you’re no doubt aware that one of the biggest sporting events in the country will be starting in just a few short weeks. The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament – otherwise known as March Madness – takes place for the 78th time this year, beginning with Sunday Selection on March 12th.

Once the 68 teams who have made the field for this year’s championships are revealed, basketball fans across the nation will begin to fill in their brackets. However, predicting the outcome of games at this year’s tournament could prove trickier than usual.

That’s because there isn’t a standout team going into March Madness 2017. The defense of favorites UCLA Bruins is far from the finished product, leaking like a sieve in recent losses to the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks. The Duke Blue Devils have stumbled through the season, marred by injuries and lack of form, and the Kentucky Wildcats are limited when it comes to three-point shooting and too reliant on their two freshman guards.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Part Deux It Again: The 10 best Part Twos in cinema

Sequels are all the rage right now in Hollywood. Studios are constantly looking for properties to expand into franchises, and after securing a popular first entry, the next step is the shaky second part. This is the make or break moment for the franchise – a chance to correct any shortcomings in the first one and deliver more of what people loved, while still expanding the world enough to give them a feeling of something new.

John Wick: Chapter Two” is currently blasting through cineplexes with headshots and pencil deaths galore, proving that it’s still possible to make second entries that rival the first installment. And while there is certainly a slew of Part Twos in cinema history – some bad (“2 Fast 2 Furious,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”) and some passable (“Halloween II,” both versions) – the good ones also define themselves as being excellent movies in their own right that explore familiar characters in unexpected and novel ways.

Below are the 10 best second installments in cinema history. (And for those looking for the best threequels in cinema history, simply visit this entry as well).

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Blu Tuesday: Manchester by the Sea and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on social media with your friends.

“Manchester by the Sea”

An incredibly intimate and authentic story about a broken man forced to confront his demons, “Manchester by the Sea” is the most devastating, heart-wrenching drama of 2016. Casey Affleck is phenomenal in the lead role, delivering a subtle but powerful performance that showcases an actor at the top of his game, while Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges round out the excellent cast. Though the movie is surprisingly funny at times, it’s primarily a portrait of grief and how it affects everyone differently. There’s no guidebook or one-size-fits-all remedy to mending a broken heart, and writer/director Kenneth Lonergan conveys that point beautifully amid the wintry backdrop of his New England setting. “Manchester by the Sea” is heavy stuff, but for a film that deals in misery, it never feels exploitative, and that goes a long way in earning your attention and respect.

Extras include Extras include an audio commentary by writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, a making-of featurette and deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: BUY

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets on the Market

For many, their kitchen is a temple, their favorite place. These people often have a strong affection towards cooking or baking. So in order to be the best you can be in the kitchen, you need the best gadgets, right? But if you are not sure what to get, this list of cool kitchen gadgets may give you some inspiration.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Drink of the Week: The Killer in Red

The Killer in Red.If the name of this week’s drink sounds like the title of a mid-20th century pulpy crime thriller to you, you’re half right. It’s taken from a very classy, though entirely promotional, 13 minute neo-noir homage from Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, best known in the states for his all-star drama “Youth” and his Fellini-esque “The Great Beauty.” As booze commercials go, “The Killer in Red” is, typically for Sorrentino, rich in deep-dish eye candy, from it’s outlandish L.A.-centric decor to French-Swiss co-star Caroline Tilvlette, who motivates Clive Owen’s bartender to get involved in some ill-advised behavior.

The drink that the short promotes also has its sensual pleasures, particularly for lovers of Campari, like me. The fact that I’ve been getting free bottles lately from a shadowy representative of the aperitif really doesn’t enter it. (Really!) I love the stuff. And, since Campari’s flavor largely dominates today’s drink, I also pretty much love today’s drink. Let’s check it out.

The Killer in Red

3/4 oz. Campari
3/4 oz. chamomile gin or standard dry gin
3/4 oz. Cinzano 1757 Bianco (or another bianco)
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
1 drop of rose water or rose essential oil (if you can find it)

Read the rest of this entry »