One thing that goes great with any activity at any time of year, whether it’s cruising in a boat on the lake in summer, playing football in the fall, or serious television watching in the winter, is an ice-cold beer. You have to have your beer at just the perfect temperature to get the most enjoyment. If it’s exposed to heat at any point along its journey, it probably won’t taste as good as it should.
Online degrees are on the rise, and aside from subjects where you need access to labs and practical resources, you can find an online option for just about any degree you want to do. Whether it’s a math degree or a masters in social work, you can find courses that would theoretically give you access to all kinds of career opportunities, and all without the hassle and expense of attending a college for the duration of your studies.
However, how do employers view online degrees compared with those gained on campus at a college? Will your online degree be as valuable an asset in your career?
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.
“Captain America: Civil War”
WHAT: After a mission to retrieve a biological weapon in Nigeria results in collateral damage, the United Nations proposes a law to regulate the Avengers, which creates a rift among the team’s members. So when his old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is framed for a terrorist attack, Captain America (Chris Evans) goes rogue in order to protect him, leaving Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) no other choice but to hunt them both down.
WHY: “Civil War” has been jokingly referred to as “Avengers 2.5,” and for good reason, because while the movie may be a Captain America sequel in name, it’s a continuation of several different story threads from “Winter Soldier,” “Age of Ultron” and more. Though the film feels a bit crowded at times with all of the various characters and cameos (including the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man), they never overshadow the central conflict. Unlike “Batman v Superman,” “Civil War” actually gives its characters a reason for fighting, and that goes a long way in legitimizing the ideological and physical clash between its opposing heroes. The movie isn’t perfect – Daniel Brühl’s villainous Zemo is underserved, and the filmmakers ignore a key argument in favor of the anti-registration side – but it does such a good job of balancing the emotionally-charged narrative with some excellent action sequences and fan service that those flaws seem trivial in comparison. “Civil War” is perhaps Marvel’s darkest and most mature film to date, but it still knows how to have fun, and that’s paramount to its success.
EXTRAS: In addition to an audio commentary by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, there’s a two-part making-of featurette, a look at Captain America and Iron Man’s respective journeys across the MCU, deleted scenes, a gag reel and an exclusive sneak peek at “Doctor Strange.”
The term “found footage” can easily evoke eye rolling from genre fans. After a glut of terrible movies using the gimmick as a way to cheaply make films with minimal scares, it’s easy to understand why so many people are hesitant to embrace the tool as a way to tell the story. And it makes sense: it is less expensive to use every day cameras; there’s less attention needed to detail for shot framing and audio control; and lazy scriptwriting can be easily passed off as verisimilitude of how people would talk in a situation. But while there have been many, many terrible films made using the found footage gimmick, there have been enough good films that understand how to use it and showcase why this cinematic tool has survived for over 40 years. With a new “Blair Witch” film on the horizon, using the same technique as the first, it’s time to reflect on how found footage works so well and why people should embrace it (when it’s done right).
As previously stated, there have been multiple good films that use found footage correctly: “Cannibal Holocaust,” “The Last Broadcast,” “The Blair Witch Project,” “Cloverfield,” parts of “V/H/S 2,” “REC” and the “WNUF Halloween Special.” True, for each of these films, there are probably 10 terrible ghost story movies that rely on cheap startling moments without any character development or interesting narrative moments. What sets these films apart from the slogfests of the “Paranormal Activity” imitators are that they are made by people with clear intent, an understanding of tone and atmosphere, and a real investment in telling a story. While others cash in on the “craze” of found footage, these films were made to tell a story using the medium to highlight characterizations and provide a fresh perspective on well-worn territory. So to dismiss this technique outright because of all the weak entries is akin to not watching “Jaws” because of all the hackneyed “man vs. nature” films that came after it.
Before there was gin, there was genever — sometimes also called jenever — a concoction that is similar and yet different from the ubiquitous clear booze we now enjoy in our martinis and G&Ts. One obvious geographical difference is that most gins are now made in England or thereabouts, and by law, a liquor can only be marketed as genever if it’s from the Netherlands or Belgium. Only a few brands can be found at all in the United States and, so far, I’ve only seen one on store shelves: Bols Genever. The flavor is definitely different; the manufacturing process is more similar to whiskey, and many detect a more malty flavor.
There’s quite a bit more history on how Dutch genever became English gin, and you can learn some of it in a post I wrote a few years back. However, I never actually owned a bottle of the stuff until this week, when curiosity finally got the better of me and I purchased a bottle of Bols. In Europe, I understand that genever is often served more or less in the same way that whiskey or vodka is traditionally consumed there — more or less straight, possibly with a beer chaser or with a small amount of sugar. It’s use in cocktails is something I’m still learning about, though I know it has been mentioned in some of the oldest cocktail books.
I am, however, under the impression that Old Fashioneds are one popular way to serve genever, and the ur-cocktail seems like a pretty good place to start with one of the ur-liquors. At the same time, genever isn’t whiskey, so you might want to vary the recipe ever so slightly from the basic whiskey Old Fashioned. Or, maybe you don’t.