Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to July

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With summer blockbuster season in full swing, July is surprisingly full of original releases. Sure, there are three sequels, a remake and a reboot, but the rest are original (or adapted) films that seemingly have something to offer everyone. From horror to comedy, intense drama to family-friendly fare, and even some of those patented, action-packed blockbuster franchises, July looks to be an eclectic month for moviegoers.

“The BFG”

Who: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement and Rebecca Hall
What: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul that refuses to eat children.
When: July 1st
Why: Steven Spielberg returns both to family fare and summer spectacle with this adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl book. On hand are some seriously funny people (Hader, Clement) and the always-welcomed presence of Oscar-winner Rylance to help deliver the story of childhood outcasts and strange friendships that helped cement Spielberg’s reputation back in the Amblin days of the ’80s. Will this be a return to form or too sentimental for most crowds? Will the darker elements of the story translate to the movie? And does that mean Spielberg’s old relishing of darker tones in children’s films will also return? Lots of unknowns, but this film may surprise a lot of people.

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Drink of the Week: The Country Gentleman

The Country Gentleman.Although today’s drink comes to us from David Embury’s 1940s cocktail classic, “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” it doesn’t really have any particular story to go with its classy provenance or courtly name. Embury just presents it as one of a series of drinks “based on an Applejack Sour.” It’s potentially a very sweet drink, at least on paper, since it includes both simple syrup (or sugar) and a very sweet orange liqueur. Still, the notoriously booze-severe Emory cautiously approves.

“With a base liquor as pungent as applejack,” Embury notes, “and with a liqueur as sharp as curacao… such addition may be possible within certain limits without rendering the cocktail too sickish sweet. With a bland liquor, such as gin or white label rum, and with a heavy fruit liqueur such as peach or apricot, this would be wholly impossible.”

On the whole, I don’t disagree. It’s a reasonably well balanced drink. Still, especially as I tend to be a bit of a baby about very tart flavors, I had a hard time finding a mix that was entirely satisfactory to me personally. Nevertheless, if you don’t mind strong citrus notes playing alongside the still under-utilized family of apple brandy boozes, this one might well be for you.

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For Great Drama, Comedy is Key: Why the best television dramas rely on humor to tell their stories

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Mel Brooks once said something to the effect that comedy is harder than tragedy, because while it’s easy to make one person cry at something, it’s a lot harder to make them laugh. Whether or not that’s true, some of the greatest television dramas of the past couple decades have risen to this challenge by blurring the lines between genres. By incorporating comedic elements into their episodes, they’ve provided audiences with hilarious scenes that stay with viewers for years. But why? What advantage is there in inserting these moments of levity into otherwise bleak proceedings? The one thing that some of the most successful and beloved shows of recent years – like Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” – have in common is a surprisingly deft comic touch.

First, it’s a necessary tension breaker. After scenes and entire episodes dealing with the various intricacies of betrayals and murders, an audience needs something to relieve that pressure, breaking up the funeral dirge of favorite characters and grim moments. The deftest writers, those of the shows previously mentioned, are usually very good at incorporating these moments of laughter into plot-driven parts, making it natural rather than a transparent attempt at easing the tension and angst inherent in life, death and tragedy. For example, in “Game of Thrones,” while the wedding between Tyrion and Sansa is a veritable downer moment that finds two beloved characters in a situation neither enjoys but are forced to undergo, the writers find time for a drunken Tyrion to make merry and therefore mock the seriousness of the occasion.

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Top 10 Kevin Spacey Movies

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The Netflix mega hit “House of Cards” might be among the first titles that come to mind when one hears Kevin Spacey’s name, but the actor’s decision to star in a TV show was initially shocking to movie buffs who recognize the star for his contribution to Hollywood cinema. Before becoming the power-hungry Frank Underwood, Spacey was best known for his portrayal of several iconic characters in critically acclaimed dramas and thrillers. Below are ten favorites among Spacey fans who love the actor’s movie characters just as much as others love the political monster he currently portrays in the Netflix series.

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Upgrade to a more reliable vehicle

2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

There’s so much to think about when it comes to buying a new car. While factors such as budget, technology and features, as well as monthly outgoings and brand, will perhaps feature highly on your list of priorities, how highly do you rate reliability? Have you taken the time to consider how you’ll be getting from A to B, or the costs likely to be involved with maintaining your new car? Whether you favor a particular brand, or you’re simply looking for a car with power steering and little else, it is essential that you also take the time to investigate any potential vehicle’s reliability; it may one day save you a great deal of inconvenience.

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