What separates the NBA’s top clubs from the rest of the pack?

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The NBA season so far has been a completely different affair compared to last season. Throughout the progression of the 2015-16 season, Golden State and Cleveland looked to be the clear finalists in the lead up to the championships, and despite a few hiccups in the playoffs, the Cavs and Warrior ended up in the NBA Finals for the second time in a row. This season looks similar again, as the mid-season review shows that the Cavs and the Warriors are yet again top of their divisions, but neither team looks as invisible as they were last season. The Cavs have already clocked six loses, while the Warriors have been defeated four times. This is thanks to the teams trailing behind them such as the Raptors and Spurs. Other teams in the NBA have played really well this season, with certain players producing a flamboyance that has made this season exciting to watch. So what separates the top clubs from the rest of the pack?

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Fade into 2017 with a classic cut

If your hair is receding, thinning or you have a really wicked bald spot coming in, there really isn’t much hair style advice out there for you. Instead, you’re forced to watch celebrities like Justin Timberlake rock every conceivable hair style known to man, get all the babes and earn the label “fresh to death.”

The good people at Wahl trimmers know your struggle and have come up with a solution. In fact, 2017 has been hailed as the year of the fade by Dan Michel, noted expert on all things man.

“I think the fade is really cool because it’s not necessarily a haircut by itself – it’s part of a haircut. What you do on the top is totally up to you. That’s what makes it really dynamic.”

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Blu Tuesday: Blair Witch, Girls 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.

“Blair Witch”

WHAT: After uncovering new evidence that suggests his missing sister Heather may still be alive, James (James Allen McCune) and his friends venture into the Black Hills Forest – the site of her mysterious disappearance – and come face to face with the legendary Blair Witch.

WHY: When it was revealed that Adam Wingard’s latest movie, originally titled “The Woods,” was actually a direct sequel to the 1999 hit indie film, “The Blair Witch Project,” horror fans were excited to see if Wingard and frequent collaborator Simon Barrett (“The Guest,” “You’re Next”) could revive the would-be franchise. Unfortunately, it turns out that the best thing about “Blair Witch” was the secrecy of its production. The movie itself is pretty unspectacular, filled with many of the same beats as the original, albeit with a much larger budget. Though there are a handful of good moments scattered throughout (including a gruesome death scene involving the iconic stick figures), and it addresses a couple longstanding problems with the found footage genre, “Blair Witch” is unable to recapture the magic of its predecessor. Wingard and Barrett are clearly big fans of the first movie, but despite their attempts at expanding the mythology, the final product is almost as disappointing as the ill-conceived 2000 meta-sequel “Book of Shadows.”

EXTRAS: In addition to an audio commentary by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, there’s a six-part making-of featurette and a tour of the set.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

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Ring in the new year with some rum cocktails

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As you host or head to a party tonight, here are some cocktail and bottle suggestions for anyone looking for rum drinks.

We start with Facundo Eximo, one of the premium sipping rums from Bacardi. Eximo is a blended, 10-year-old rum that is delicious when tried neat or on the rocks. It’s a great addition to any home bar or party lineup. It’s medium-bodied and spicy with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. It comes in a very attractive bottle as well as you can see in the photo below, so you’ll look good as well when bringing this to a party. This rum is so tasty it’s almost a shame to add it to simple cocktails like rum and cola, but we have a nice cocktail recipe for you to try as well.

Try this recipe for the Eximo Nior pictured above:

Ingredients:
· 1 ½ parts FACUNDO EXIMO
· ¼ part cold brew coffee syrup
· ¼ part Amaro Montenegro
· ¼ part Combier orange liqueur
· Orange peel for garnish

Method: To make the cold brew coffee syrup, combine equal parts cold brew coffee and Demerara sugar. In a mixing glass, stir all the ingredients with plenty of ice. Strain contents into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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2016 Year-End Movie Review: Jason Zingale

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2016 will likely go down as one of the most depressing years in recent history, but that has more to do with a certain reality TV host being elected President of the United States, not to mention some particularly hard-hitting celebrity deaths, than the movies we watched along the way. In fact, despite the usual collection of flops, disappointments and general mediocrity, there were a number of great films throughout the year spanning a wide range of genres, which is evident in my own Top 10. Though I stand behind every choice on this list, it should in no way be considered definitive due to some elements out of my control (for instance, Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” not being screened in time) and an extraordinarily busy holiday season.

Best Films of 2016

1. “HELL OR HIGH WATER

For as old-fashioned as “Hell or High Water” feels at times, it’s a movie that deals with some incredibly timely themes, especially in a post-election America still reeling from the last economic depression. Following his little-seen 2013 gem “Starred Up,” director David Mackenzie delivers yet another engaging family-centric story (based on a script by “Sicario” writer Taylor Sheridan) that excels in its simplicity. It’s gorgeously shot, displaying both the beauty and sadness of its picturesque landscape, and features a trio of excellent performances from Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. Nobody does unhinged quite like Foster, and this is easily Pine’s best work in years, but the movie ultimately belongs to Bridges as the devilishly funny, veteran Texas Ranger who would rather go down in a hail of bullets than be forced into retirement. Though the film follows a pretty standard cops-and-robbers formula, it does so with such razor-sharp proficiency and well-drawn characters that it succeeds not only as a terrific genre flick but a modern American classic in the same vein as “No Country for Old Men.”

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2. “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

An incredibly moving, intimate and authentic story about a broken man who’s forced to confront his demons, “Manchester by the Sea” is the most devastating, heart-wrenching drama of the year. 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 relative newcomer Lucas Hedges all deliver outstanding work in supporting roles. Though the movie is sprinkled with quite a bit of humor (much more than you’d expect for the subject matter), “Manchester by the Sea” is 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, gloomy backdrop of his New England setting. “Manchester by the Sea” is heavy stuff, but for a film that deals mainly in misery, it never feels exploitative, and that goes a long way in earning your attention and respect.

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