12.28.2014

The Unwatchables of 2014

Well, friends. We only have a few more days left of 2014. As has become customary for me this time of year, I have spent the last few weeks pondering the good, the bad and the ugly the year had to offer in terms of film. I found that while I was able to compile a list of ten horrible films below that I'm glad I didn't see in 2014, truth be told there are at least a couple on this list that I'm not COMPLETELY opposed to seeing. Unlike years before where I could in good faith say I was vehemently opposed to the creation of these films, there are some on this list that on a night where I had nothing to do, I most likely would succumb to watching. So with that in mind... these might not be as completely unwatchable as usual, but these ten are films that have appeared on many people's worst lists...I just haven't had the displeasure to tell you how awful I think they are.. yet.

TOP TEN UNWATCHABLE FILMS OF 2014:

10. LET'S BE COPS



So this is one I actually did want to see. After all, I love New Girl (shut up haters)...so how bad could a movie starring Coach and Nick be really?? Well that was before it scored an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes and my pal Kent described his experience like this "I couldn’t bring myself to leave the theater, but I can’t tell you how much I wanted to lay down and sleep on the Dr. Pepper soaked floor."  Now one RT reviewer sums up my new feelings on it: "Would be a fine Redbox pick if your top three choices are out." Maybe my top 5-6 choices are out.

9. THAT AWKWARD MOMENT



This might end up being another backup Redbox choice as well... but I know if I ever do watch it, the likelihood is that it will not be a good experience. Indication #1 is that it was released last January which the casual moviegoer might not realize is usually the dumping grounds for Hollywood to release the stuff they have NO confidence in. Indication #2? It scored a desirable 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. My favorite blurb from RT? "The real awkward moment is when you realize you aren't laughing."

8. MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN



Realllllly sad to be putting this one on here because honestly and truthfully I REALLY wanted to see this and love it. It had a fantastic trailer after all (darn those trailer makers!) And then the reviews came where reviewer after reviewer made mention to how melodramatic, depressing this film is. That it paints the worst possible picture possible of humanity. Look, the world we're living in isn't perfect.. but sometimes we need to see that there's SOME glimmer of hope instead of making us all feel like horrible people. A real shame since I really liked what Jason Reitman did with Thank You For Smoking, Juno, and Up in the Air. But Labor Day, (and Young Adult to an extent) and now this? You, sir, are in a rut. Too bad. It would have been nice for Adam Sandler to have some success in a more serious role.

7. PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE



Last year my unwatchables list included Planes a ripoff of the worst Pixar movie intended to be set in the same universe...this time focused on Planes instead of Cars. Disney loved me and everyone else so much (or their money at least) they churned out a sequel /spin-off only a year later. Thanks, Disney. We can all count on your desire to make money and run a franchise into the ground. Sigh. 

6. SEX TAPE



Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel had so much fun making the meh Bad Teacher they decided to reunite again and up the raunch factor. Hmm, what could they do? Make a movie about making a sex tape of course. It's at 18% on RT and one reviewer said "As with most leaked sex videos, Sex Tape is more embarrassing to those involved than memorable to those who watch it. And the quicker it'‍s forgotten, the better for everyone."

5. THE EXPENDABLES 3



Maybe when I'm in my 50's or 60's or have lost my taste in movies, I'll have a desire to watch a collection of aging action stars. Just zero desire to watch this or any of the films in the series.

4. TAMMY



So far, Melissa McCarthy seems to have a pretty hit and miss big screen record. She was great in Bridesmaids and The Heat and HORRIBLE in the incredibly unfunny Identity Thief. Unfortunately, Tammy looks like it follows in the steps of the latter. Tammy is the first film on the list to have a pretty dismal IMDb score in addition to a rotten score on RT. On IMDb it's so awful it's in the 4's with a 4.8. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 24%. So yeah I have no doubt this is in the same league as Identity Thief.

3. THE SINGLE MOM'S CLUB



There is one name that can keep me from seeing almost ANY movie. And that name is Tyler Perry. (That exception will be made when I finally get around to seeing Gone Girl.) But the IMDb crowd confirms this movie is a waste of time with a 4.7 rating. Critic Christy Lemire described it as "basically served as a cautionary tale to conservative mothers who dared to leave the house and have a little fun" Yikes.

2. DUMB & DUMBER TO



Look. I'm a huge fan of the original. But when I saw the trailer for the new one I was absolutely appalled. While I still have a soft spot for the first film, my tastes have matured in the twenty years since it came out... but the Farrelly Brother's humor is still the same. The problem with that is it's outdated and not what audiences are looking for anymore. Not a good sign when Jennifer Lawrence asks for her cameo to be cut from your movie.

1. TRANSFORMERS 4: AGE OF EXTINCTION



When. Will. This. Franchise. Die???? Ugh. People. Please. Stop. Seeing. These. Movies. Does anyone even like them anymore? I've heard nothing but awful things about this movie and I can't say I'm surprised. I don't need to see this movie to know how loud it is. I still have a headache from Transformers 2. Rotten Tomatoes only validates my opinion with an 18%. When critics claim it's the worst of the Transformers series and it makes them long for Shia LaBeouf you KNOW that's a problem. But but but...it had transformer dinosaurs in it.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: RIDE ALONG, LEGENDS OF OZ, RAGE, THE NUT JOB, A HAUNTED HOUSE 2, NEED FOR SPEED, INTO THE STORM

So do you agree, disagree? Any of these films you watched that you can personally vouch for?  Or validate that I was right for including them? Oh and just to prove that I'm not a totally blind follower of Rotten Tomato ratings look for a list later this week of the underrated films of 2014 that were undeserving of their poor reviews.

12.26.2014

Into the Big Eyed Woods

Christmas day was jam packed with new releases at cinemas with options as diverse as can be. I have not yet seen The Interview (and will most likely wait awhile on that..) and I've already shared my thoughts on Unbroken HERE ... but somehow still there's more to discuss! One major release was the star-studded adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical hit Into the Woods. Another was Tim Burton's latest directorial effort called Big Eyes, a fascinating true story about artist Margaret Keane and her cad of a husband Walter who took credit for all of her work. So did either one of these films do their source material justice? Mini reviews for both below.

I'll start with the bigger release of the two: Into the Woods. Look. Even though this is a movie based on various fairy tales, this movie isn't for everyone. No one could tell you that better than the stranger  (or psycho) sitting next to me. First and foremost this movie is a MUSICAL. If you have a problem with people singing for roughly 85-90% of the movie, this movie is not for you. Secondly this is not only a musical...but a Stephen Sondheim musical. AKA that guy who wrote Sweeney Todd. Even though this movie is being put out by Disney, it is hardly a Disneyfied tale in the end. Though not as dark as the original musical, the film still doesn't end with the neat bow you'd expect. In fact, it keeps going for another 30-40 minutes after you think it will end...much to my seatmate's dismay. Managing one's expectations is important to your enjoyment of this film, but not necessarily crucial. In my book, the film is a lot of fun, if not a little long. But when it's based on a 3-hour musical there's really only so much you can do. I'm not a musical critic, I'm a film critic...so I'm not gonna get into the voice performances of each actor. It's clear they're not all Broadway stars. But performance wise I liked what everyone brought to the table. But hey what do I know? Maybe you'll agree with the guy I sat next to and feel the need to boo in the end. True story. EMILY RATING: 8




Now for Big Eyes. In my opinion Tim Burton hasn't done anything truly worthwhile since 2007's Sweeney Todd (coincidentally the other Stephen Sondheim musical,) and before that Big Fish. When you hear that Tim Burton had a movie out for Christmas and also know that Into the Woods was coming out, you'd almost naturally assume that he was tied to that fantastical movie...not the unusually understated Big Eyes. The Amy Adams vehicle is unlike anything the gothically quirky director has ever done...because it's actually pretty normal! Collaborating with some different actors than his usual duo of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter brought a lot of fresh energy to this outing. Amy Adams as always gives a mesmerizing performance. Someone get this girl an Oscar already. Unfortunately though this is a more subtle role, so I doubt she'd be recognized this go-round. Christoph Waltz's performance, on the other hand, is anything but subtle....but for me it totally works and is even necessary. For what he's capable of, he has to come off as the smarmiest of businessmen and he pulls it off completely. I've seen other critics accuse him of scenery chewing, but sometimes that kind of performance just works for me. Especially when contrasted with Ms. Adams less showy performance. But it doesn't hurt that the story is incredibly interesting either. As a type of artist, I felt a definite connection to the film and left pondering the many questions posed by ol' Tim. Should kitsch be considered art? With this movie, I say yes. EMILY RATING: 8.5

Well as far as the Christmas releases go...that's a wrap. Until I put myself through The Interview.

Dinner & A Movie: Green Pig Pub

It's time again for another round of Dinner & a Movie. Or in this case it's more likely to be Lunch & a Flick. So far, I've tried a French restaurant, a fancy steakhouse, a classy bistro, a Japanese Sushi joint, and an Italian style pizzeria. What comes next? American pub food from The Green Pig Pub.

PRICE: 
$ = 5-10 avg. per entree 
$$ = 10-15 avg. per entree 
$$$ = 15-20 avg. per entree 
$$$$ = 20-30 avg. per entree 
$$$$$ = $30+ and above per entree.

The Green Pig Pub is $$

RATINGS: 1 star = Poor, 2 stars = fair, 3 stars = good, 4 stars = very good, and 5 stars = AMAZING. 





AMBIANCE

Hmm. What to say about the ambiance? Well, it's a bar really. That pretty much sums it up. You're not really coming here for how the place looks. That said, I enjoyed seeing the name of the restaurant represented right as you walk in. Plus the ceiling is cool Otherwise it's nothing special...but it's not really trying to be. RATING: 2.



SERVICE

The service was pretty up and down. We were greeted by a hostess who was very friendly and directed us to some table options but said we could pick which we prefer (bonus!) Our waiter too was pretty friendly...but we were sitting for at least ten minutes before we were even given a menu. And it took FOREVER to get our check. For what we thought would be a quick hour lunch ended up pushing two hours. RATING: 2 Amelia would have given it a 3, but I was a little more bugged with how long things took.



FOOD

And now to the saving grace. THE FOOD. Oh gosh, my burger was absolutely divine. One of the best burgers I've had in some time. Comparable to my favorite Salt City Burger (I'll have to review that one.) I ordered the Denver Burger, which, unfortunately, isn't on the online menu for me to copy and paste the exact description. But it had avocado, bbq sauce, and jalapeno cream cheese. It was seriously delectable. It also came with a beyond generous helping of fries that were also incredibly tasty.If you want to check out other items on The Green Pig Pub's menu read all about it HERERATING: 5



AMELIA SAYS 

The green pig did not disappoint when it came to quality pub food. I got the fish and chips and it's clear they know how to use a fryer. The fries were especially delicious ( and the fry portion was very generous). Our server and hostess were friendly, but things did seem to go a little bit of a slow pace ( we happened to go in as a company party sat down so that might've had something to do with it). Overall I though a very tasty lunch.

THE VERDICT? Since the food got a perfect score but the other two criteria got less than perfect marks what's the answer? My personal answer is that for a dinner destination The Green Pig Pub is a place to skip (unless you like eating dinner at bars I guess.) But it's a perfect lunch option as long as you know it might take awhile. Therefore, the BEST solution is to go the Green Pig Pub purely for take out orders. The food is delicious, so you might as well take it to go.


I won't be forgetting about this burger anytime soon.


Amelia's meal. 

& A MOVIE. I should recommend a movie with a lovable pig right? Well, if you think I'm going to ever recommend Babe on my blog you're crazy. So instead I'll say the animated Charlotte's Web is a good pair for the Green Pig Pub. In theaters, you've got endless choices! You could see the Christmas releases Unbroken, Big Eyes, or Into the Woods. Or The Interview. Or you can just go see The Hobbit again.

12.24.2014

If it ain't broke!

If you've seen any of the advertising for the film Unbroken, you most likely know one of two things. #1-- you know that it is based on the true story of Olympian Louis Zamperini's survival in a World War II prisoner of war camp and #2-- it's directed by Angelina Jolie. The latter fact especially has been made abundantly clear with every trailer, tv spot, article or review. Because of that I feel perfectly justified in discussing both of those factors equally in this review. To get to the point, I'll say upfront that this is a decently good movie that under the care of a more talented director, could have been of the best films of the year.

The second half of the film, is pretty darn good....however it is poorly set up by the first half. For some reason, the actions of all the characters (especially during his Olympic backstory) feel incredibly restrained. I suppose there's a quiet beauty to that....but it also removes much character or memorableness. I never felt any swell of emotions in his journey to being an Olympic runner...and I should have. This was supposed to be one of the things that set the story apart right? If we're to see him draw from that strength of being a champion later in the film, the audience needs to feel it in the beginning. The biggest problem of the film for me was that by the time it got really good and interesting, I didn't really feel invested. There's so much going on in this story, I couldn't help but feel that it's being held back.



The feeling that the movie is missing something is even more abundantly clear once it ends and we get the footnote title cards. So much character development that would light up the screen is simply written out in sentences as an afterthought for the audience to ponder. Look. When a man writes his own story and credits God for getting him through, it feels a little cheap not to even attempt to show a reliance on Him. I get it. That's not the movie Hollywood really wants to make anymore. But when that's his story, I feel you should respect it. This review goes into more depth about this problem of the film's footnotes HERE

Now that I've expressed my disappointment in the aspects that kept the movie from being great, I'll address some of the things it did get right. This may be a small thing, but the casting of the young Zamperini is uncanny and I always find it really effective to be able to tie the young and older versions of a person together so well. The supporting cast is great, but this movie belongs to Jack O'Connell, who gives a capable performance in the lead role. It almost seems like the norm nowadays to transform your body for a role, but I still found it to be chillingly effective. Once Zamperini gets to the POW camp it becomes really compelling stuff. His relationship with his Japanese prison camp commander keeps the film going when it easily could gotten repetitive. There are definitely moments that make you want to cheer and others that make you feel sick to your stomach. I just wish there was more emotion all over the film to balance everything out. Ultimately it's just sad to me that so much of who the man was and became was left off the screen and relegated to a footnote. EMILY RATING: 7.5

EDIT: I can't believe I failed to mention how amateur the editing was in this film! Beautiful cinematography, but 25 too many dissolves! My pal Kent talks more about that in his review HERE

12.22.2014

Let my audience go!


Well, if you're wondering why I didn't do a review for Exodus: Gods & Kings, wonder no more. I gave my review as a guest reviewer on the War Machine vs. War Horse podcast instead. So click HERE to listen! We review 3 movies for the price of one! Exodus: Gods & Kings, The Ten Commandments and The Prince of Egypt. Which Moses will rule them all???


..... And for the record I'd probably give Exodus: Gods & Kings a 5.5/10.

12.17.2014

The Bagg End

Well, it's over. Our last (first) adventure in Middle Earth now draws to a close as the story that began in 2001's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring comes full circle. Does The Battle of the Five Armies send the series out on a high note? Or will fans be leaving the theater underwhelmed? I'm afraid the answer depends on how you manage your expectations. Yep, I went there again and said the E word because unfortunately they got in the way this time.

Very rarely do I see an adaptation of the film and truly regret that I hadn't read the book before. But in this case...I feel that if I had been aware of certain plot points from the get-go I wouldn't have felt like a victim of a bait and switch. To read my tiny spoiler-filled rant highlight the following in white. Look. I freaking loved Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug. LOVED HIM. The best part of the series. Excuse me for being so stupid to expect he'd play a larger role in this one when it ended with the amazing "I am fire! I am death!" lines. To have him disposed of so quickly felt like a disservice to the character and the last entry he appeared in. Look okay, I just really liked that dragon. [/end of rant] Sorry book fans, I'm just not as smart as you. So some things I expect to happen that oh so obviously wouldn't have...make me feel a little cheated.

Now that I have that off my chest I'll discuss the greater majority of the film. We finally get the Lord of the Rings-esque battles we've been craving and they're incredibly fun to watch...if not filled with some outrageously over-the-top moments. For me the over-the-top moments were, unfortunately, a lot more than I wanted and kind of color the film as more of a popcorn film than a serious adaptation of a classic epic (not that The Hobbit is supposed to be on the same grandiose level as Lord of the Rings...I get that.) That said, the wonderful allegories and heartwarming speeches that have always been prevalent in the series (and one of my favorite aspects of it,) are still here. So it's not ALL jokey.

Now for more of the good. Can I tell you how much I love Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins? Here he's given several moments where his incredible courage can't help but endear you to him. For me, he's the star of the show and one of my favorite parts about these movies. It's an incredible help when you have a protagonist you can root for. Also giving it their all this time around would be Richard Armitage as Thorin. He plays the character shifts brilliantly and you truly never know what he's going to do next. And his storyline in this film is one of my favorite plot points. It's what I WISH Voyage of the Dawn Treader could have been. Hey, PJ if you've got nothing to do now there's a Narnia franchise you could reboot...

The movie also gets points with Lee Pace riding a battle moose/reindeer.

Ultimately The Battle of the Five Armies moves the chess pieces into place to where they need to be when we start Fellowship of the Ring...I just didn't leave the theater with the exhilarating feeling Return of the King left me with 11 years ago at the conclusion of its trilogy. Still...what can I say? I'm a sucker for middle earth under any occasion. EMILY RATING: 7.5

12.05.2014

The Parodies Awaken

Sorry guys. I couldn't leave it alone. I had to post again about the Star Wars trailer...but this time it's different I promise! Look. I warned you. I warned you I'd become a mindless Star Wars monster. So with that in mind, I just had to make another post and share all the great trailer parodies I've come across by these talented Star Wars video editing fans. The parodies seem endless, so I've narrowed it down to the 5 best (okay 6....I copped out and had an extra one as a tie.) Vote for your favorite below and tell me in the comments if you agree with my choices. Or if I missed any be sure to share some links!

#5 THE DISNEY EDITION


In case you forgot who is financing this movie, this parody trailer will help you remember. My favorite is the Aladdin & Jasmine cameo.

#4 THE LEGO EDITION



This one isn't funny so much as adorable. Though their version of the droid did make me chuckle. A pretty dang good recreation I'll say!

#3 TIE WES ANDERSON EDITION

Totally fun edit and very much in the vein of Wes Anderson. Somehow I feel that parody Wes Anderson films always look better to me than real Wes Anderson films. I'd totally see this movie.

#3 TIE GEORGE LUCAS COMMENTARY EDITION



This guy's George Lucas impersonation is SPOT ON. As someone who lived off of interviews from this man for a good six years of my life the nuances of this impression were uncanny. Funny stuff.

 #2 THE LENS FLARE EDITION


JJ Abrams is infamously known for and notoriously teased about his abundant use of lens flares in his films. I like the look personally...but one time when watching the most recent Star Trek movie I did notice it was a litttttle out of control. Still love ya JJ.

#1. GEORGE LUCAS' SPECIAL EDITION

So if you know me, you know I'm pretty loyal to George Lucas....for the most part. But this version of the trailer if it was tweaked by the creator is pretty hilarious and incredibly true. I almost like watching this one more than the real one because it just makes me chuckle. Plus complete props to the guy (or gal) who edited this. From editor to editor I say "very well done." 


Which parody trailer was your favorite?
 
pollcode.com free polls

12.04.2014

Dinner & A Movie: Settebello

It's that time again! Time to take another vicarious visit through me to yet another downtown SLC restaurant. If you like Italian style pizzas (you know with the homemade dough and crushed tomato sauce...) then you might wanna perk up your ears for my review of Settebello. Luckily for readers who don't live in Salt Lake.. but do live on the west side of the country, this restaurant has two locations in Nevada and three in California. Full list of locations to find a Settebello near you click HERE. But before you go trying the restaurant on your own, read how I rank the all-important categories of SERVICE, AMBIANCE & FOOD. And as a special treat, my dining companion Jen went above and beyond with her blurb to the extent that she probably wrote more than me! As such, I'll be combining her thoughts with mine on every category. 

PRICE: 
$ = 5-10 avg. per entree 
$$ = 10-15 avg. per entree 
$$$ = 15-20 avg. per entree 
$$$$ = 20-30 avg. per entree 
$$$$$ = $30+ and above per entree.

Settebello is $$

RATINGS: 1 star = Poor, 2 stars = fair, 3 stars = good, 4 stars = very good, and 5 stars = AMAZING. 




THE SERVICE


The service here at Settebello's was pretty decent. We received our items incredibly fast and we were constantly getting our water refilled. My only complaint would be the hostess sat us (two people...) around a giant round table right near the front when there were several two people tables around. Not sure I understood the choice on that one. Also, our hipster waitress was kind of a low talker. But I can't complain too much. RATING: 4.

JEN SAYS: The service was very quick. We ordered our food and it appeared probably within 10 minutes. I received a refill of my lemonade which I was not expecting. Nice plus right there. Our waitress was very quiet and didn’t interact with us very much, but I could tell she was working hard so good for her.




THE AMBIANCE


Now I haven't been to any of the other Settebellos, but the ambiance at the Salt Lake City location felt more like a work in progress than a finely established restaurant. It was simplistic, which was nice.... but it felt like something was missing. Certain areas of the restaurant had more charm than others and more attention to detail. And unfortunately the sound kind of carries wherever you go. The best part would have to be the combination of having the giant oven within eye's view, and the gelato in the conjoined store next door. Overall I feel like the atmosphere of Settebello is where the restaurant needs most of it's improvement. That said, as a lunch place it is more than acceptable. RATING: 3

JEN SAYS: The ambience was less than superior to the service…We had a very large group dining next to us with people ranging from the very young to the very old. It appeared to be one big family gathering. Now, I’m all for family outings and I don’t even mind if they’re loud. They must be having a good time. Unfortunately, as time passed it got to a point where I could tell the family had finished their food and the parents were just sitting around talking. As such, the children started to get antsy and at one point they started treating the entire restaurant like one big jungle gym. We’re talking running up and down the aisles, climbing all over the chairs, and laughing/screaming while they play. I don’t mean to put a damper on playtime but I really think a manager should have stepped in and told the parents to wrangle their kids. Therefore, I give the ambience and service at Settebello’s a combined score of 3.



THE FOOD

Prior to this I had been to Settebello one other time and I remember being OBSESSED with the pizza I got. I couldn't get enough of it and in fact ate the whole thing (a fact I'm not proud of, but not ashamed enough to omit.) I was very excited to return, but unfortunately I did not have the same luck in my pizza choice as I did on that first outing (which sadly, I don't even remember what I got then.) This time I saw an item on the menu called "The Emilia" ( [No Crushed Tomatoes] Prosciutto Cotto, Panna (Italian Cream), Fresh Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiona, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and thought "how could a pizza named after the combined name of me and one of my best friends let me down?" Unfortunately pretty easily. It was fine just bland. What I was really missing I think was that great tomato sauce taste I crave from a pizza...so it was my fault for not ordering a pizza that had it. Luckily, the food had a chance to redeem itself when we ordered dessert: a Nutella pizza. It made everything right again. I'd attempt to describe it, but I don't do it justice the way Jen's description below will. The Emilia I would have given a 3, the Nutella pizza is a 5 all the way. Since I know this place can be great I'll come in the middle and give it a 4....but if you're looking for more consistency in items being good AND having the benefit of it being even faster I urge you to check out Pizzeria Limone (a less sit down restaurant version of the same type of pizza.) I've been informed they too have a Nutella pizza. To help you weigh the ever important decision here's the menus for both. You can find Settebello's menu HERE and Pizzeria Limone HERE RATING: 4.

JEN SAYS: For my culinary enjoyment I ordered the Pizza Carbonara. A pizza with crushed tomatoes, topped with delectable pancetta (tastes like bacon!), and egg (wha!? Who invited that guy??), followed by a layer of creamy mozzarella, seasoned with cracked pepper, a touch of basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Sounds good, yeah? I chose this pizza because it obviously reminded me of the infamous Italian Spaghetti a la Carbonara, one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes.  
So did the pizza live up to my expectations??... Not really. Believe it or not it tasted rather bland. I was expecting to be walloped with an explosion of delicious flavors, but instead I found myself reaching for the salt on the table. The egg also took me for an unexpected tail spin. I didn’t anticipate the flavor being so strong and although I didn’t mind it at first I discovered that the more I ate the less appealing it became. I was tempted to ask my dining companion if she would be interested in trying one of my slices if I could try one of hers…solely because I was still hungry, but didn’t want to eat any more of my own pizza. I felt this dish had great potential, but didn’t quite hit the mark. 
But then…Salvation came in the form of dessert. Say hello to Settebello’s Nutella Pizza. Perfectly cooked crust layered with fresh bananas that’s then covered in a rich blanket of chocolate goodness, topped with shaved almonds for a nice crunchy texture, and doused with a healthy dose of powdered sugar bliss. This is pizza perfection. The pizza is warm so the chocolate melts over everything, the crunchy almonds offer the perfect texture, the combination of chocolate and banana is wonderful, and the powdered sugar adds a wonderful dose of sweetness. Oh my word I want one now. Overall my Pizza Carbonara was average, but I’m convinced I just need to order something more to my liking next time. And of course the Nutella Pizza was perfect. Therefore, I give the food at Settebello’s a 4.

So there, you have it! Some things could be better, but overall it's a pretty nice place to eat an Italian style pizza. My only advice on the entrees: choose wisely.

& A MOVIE. The theme of "choosing wisely" is never more prevalent than in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade. As such it would make an excellent companion to Settebello. Or perhaps Eat, Pray Love with the sequence that is a love letter to Italian pizza? If you're looking for a night out...well you could see The Theory of Everything which I reviewed already HERE. Unfortunately, there aren't any major new releases tomorrow.

12.02.2014

Trailer Wars

You didn't think I was going to let the opportunity go by to discuss my thoughts on the brand new Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens teaser trailer did you? What kind Star Wars fan turned film critic do you take me for? For those who are unaware, last Friday our first glimpse of Star Wars Episode VII was given in a brief 88-second teaser... And the internet went crazy. It was fun once again to be a Star Wars fan. But was that teaser really worth all the hype? I discuss my thoughts on it along with some other recently released trailers... including another long awaited sequel to one more important film series in my young cinematic viewing life: Jurassic World.


JURASSIC WORLD. Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for nostalgia. This trailer goes back to one of the reasons the first movie was so great: the awe and wonder of seeing these dinosaurs exist in the first place. I'm excited to see the park in action because imagining what that park COULD have been, is part of the fun of the first one. Is some of the dialogue a little silly? Yes. But I have confidence in Chris Pratt (who seems to get saddled with most of it,) to pull it off. As long as this is better than the new Godzilla I'll be happy... so that means we need some characters who aren't two dimensional.




AVENGERS 2: THE AGE OF ULTRON.  Note: My apologies to Marvel fanboys. If you get offended easily, please don't hate me and just skip to the next entry. Oh, look another dime a dozen Marvel movie. I appreciated that tonally this trailer felt different than the run of the mill Marvel film, but I don't doubt that the actual movie will be the same vanilla formula I see for each of them. But maybe I'm wrong. (I'm never wrong.) I won't subject you to further Marvel rants and I'll end my thoughts here.



CINDERELLA. Once upon a time there was perhaps the most famous of all fairytales being remade for the umpteenth time. This trailer I thought was beautiful....but legitimately goes through each beat of the story we already all know to the point where I don't feel like it's necessary for ANYONE to see this movie. Short of happily ever after, the trailer gave us a glimpse of every single major moment of this tale. The reason to see it? Cate Blanchett's performance and the lavish production design. Oh and that cat Lucifer. I caught a small glimpse of him and the world can always use more of that cat.


PAN. "Oh great. Just what the world needs. Another Peter Pan movie." That thought might cross your mind when you catch word of another big budget film is due next summer based on that immortal kid. However, after watching this trailer hopefully you will open enough to give a trip to Neverland another go (or two since Peter Pan Live will be airing on television shortly.) Yes we've seen the story of Peter & Wendy, we've seen how J.M Barrie concocted the idea, and we've seen what would happen if Peter grew up and was forced to return to Neverland....so what's left to cover? How he CAME to be Peter Pan of course! This movie seems to act more of a prequel to the traditional story we all know and love, and with Joe Wright at the helm (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Anna Karenina) I'm confident that at the very least it will be visually stunning. Plus I'll watch Hugh Jackman in almost anything...except that robot boxing movie.


STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS. So..... my expectations (as can be expected from the first Star Wars film in ten years....and a direct continuation of the beloved original trilogy...) were through the roof. Fake trailers emerged here and there so when the real one popped up, I almost didn't know whether I should believe it when I saw the first few seconds of the actual trailer. As such... well I was underwhelmed. I know it's a teaser, and I knew I wouldn't get much out of it minus some images. But I was hoping to see a glimpse of Han, Leia & Luke. I seem to be in the minority though as everywhere I turned people were falling all over it with praise. To be honest it reminded me more of the prequel films than the original trilogy in look...so I was surprised people were so enthusiastic. Everyone is peeing their pants over a three sided lightsaber? Frankly, it looked kind of silly to me and coming up with creative ways to change lightsabers was sone of the things the prequel trilogy did that people got over pretty fast (yeah people geek out over Maul's saber, but how many people mention the General Grievous fight where he had 4?) That said....it's really grown on me the more I watch it and I am excited to see JJ Abrams rendition of Star Wars (I only wish he was doing the whole trilogy.) And as I wrote about HERE I did say I wanted the emphasis to be on the new generation...so I guess I can't be disappointed JJ is giving me exactly what I asked for. The countdown is on.

So what did you think of these trailers? I gotta admit, it was pretty fun to see the response from social media over Jurassic World & The Force Awakens. Makes me feel like a kid again. A kid that lived in a world of facebook and twitter.

ETA: Here's the brand new Terminator Genisys trailer!!


TERMINATOR GENISYS. Don't ask me what the deal is with the dopey spelling of Genesis. But other than that this looks like it's got potential! I could see this going either way. I didn't hate Terminator Salvation, by any means...but I think this is the movie we've been waiting for in terms of what's going on in the war. I'm excited and hopeful this will be good.