Chicken People


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 83 Minutes
From:Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Samuel Goldwyn Films and CMT
Available on DVD and Digital Platforms:  November 22, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Chicken PeopleThis is what I call a “Who knew?” documentary? Who knew there were so many kinds of chickens? Who knew there was a National Poultry Show? Who knew there was a Standard of Perfection, a book that details the perfect chicken? Who knew you could be an engineer and systematically breed chickens to try to produce a champion? And yes, who knew there was an Ohio National Poultry Show, the chicken equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show?

The chicken people do.

“Chicken People” is a documentary following the lives of three people over the course of about a year, and their quest to raise a perfect chicken, at least as rated by the Standard of Perfection, and win the National Poultry Show. Yes, that means that they have the best of 9,700 birds entered in the competition. And yes, that’s right, 9,700 birds are entered, one will win.

Our heroes for this film are Brian Caraker who dreams of being a singer, Shari McCollough who has a hobby farm with her family and loves to take nature pictures, and Brian Knox who is an engineer that builds engines and breeds his chickens through the scientific analysis. I will admit that, at the beginning of the movie, the bad person in me was thinking I was just going to be making fun of these people over the course of 80+ minutes, but dammit, these are the most likable folks, yet quirky, and by the end of “Chicken People” I wanted all of them to win.

The documentary opens with a brief explanation of the National Poultry Show, the “Standard of Perfection,” and an introduction to our characters. We then follow them throughout the next year as they have new chickens to raise for the upcoming competition. We see their various concepts for breeding the best bird (Yes, there is chicken sex so hide the kids!), we get to see a little bit into their “normal” lives, and we meet the people who love them, as well as put up with them.

As the year progresses and we near the big show, wouldn’t you know it that the Ohio Nationals get cancelled because of the avian flu. What to do? It’s on to Knoxville for the Dixie Classic Poultry Show, and I will admit, these are some awesome looking chickens.

Trouble is afoot as Brian Caraker gets to the show and talks of how the tails of his chicken are all messed up because of the transport box, and all I can think is “Come on Brian, you need a better box!”, Brian Knox is proud because his bird is doing well, and it’s the son of #5494 that was the best in breed in Ohio the previous year, and Shari is excited, but doesn’t seem to believe she has a chance to win.

“Chicken People” instantly reminded me of the movie “Best in Show” with the people being quirky like those were in the mockumentary, only in “Chicken People” they are real people and not actors, and I found the entire story unbelievable fascinating. The only let-down I had was the final day of competition. Sure, the hairdryers were out to groom the chickens, the clippers were out to trim the beaks, and the finalists are nervous, but unlike the Westminster Dog Show there isn’t this grand show area, it’s just judges going from cage to cage basically saying “Yup, this one is nice.” No grand crowds, no cheering, it’s mostly just the people in the finals waiting to see if they win.

And the winner is…. You’ll just have to watch the documentary.

A fascinating look at the world of poultry competition, people you will actually root for, and you will find out that they make diapers for chickens. It’s 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for “Chicken People.” You might start out the movie by laughing at the contestants, but by the end of the movie you will be laughing with them, and loving them. And their chickens.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!


Uncle Nick


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 81 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Online:  November 1, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Uncle NickI guess I was at that age when I was old enough to like baseball, but too young for my parents to explain to me what happened at the Ten Cent Beer game, a legendary debacle of fan sportsmanship resulting in a bunch of drunk, unruly fans ruining a lovely day at the ballpark for those who just wanted to see a ballgame.

Who knew you could build a Christmas movie around the progression of events at the Ten Cent Beer Game, but the folks of “Uncle Nick” did a pretty good job.

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The Dark Horse


Rated: R | Running Time: 124 Minutes
From: Broadgreen Pictures
Available on DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  July 12, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Sometimes all you need to find is that purpose in life to overcome your personal challenges. Genesis Potini did just that. “The Dark Horse” tells that story.

Based on the true story, “The Dark Horse” weaves the history of Genesis Potini (in the movie played wonderfully by Cliff Curtis), a chess champion in New Zealand battling with mental illness who discovers his passion in teaching others the glory of chess, and in doing so is able to calm many of the demons in his head.

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Back in the Day


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 121 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
Available on Blu-ray and DVD: June 28, 2016
Get it via: Amazon | iTunes

Anthony (William Demeo) does it, he finally wins the boxing championship, and his life is now complete. What to do now? Anthony sits down with Larry Merchant (played by Larry Merchant) to tell his life story. His life story is “Back in the Day,” a fictional boxing movie like many others, mixed with overblown mafia stereotypes.

Well, crap, I could give you the story, but that’s really about it, and that’s too bad.

I guess I’ll expand a bit…

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Bachelor Games


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Gravitas Ventures / Strike Films
Available on Digital Platforms July 8, 2016

The publicity material for “Bachelor Games” touted the movie as a horror-comedy. I understand the horror part, sort of, but I’m still waiting on the funny.

Let’s get to the basics…

A bunch of dudes get together for a bachelor party. Sounds like a fun time, right? Where are they headed? Vegas? The Bahamas? No, our group is heading to the Andes mountains in Argentina. Yup, they are on their way to a secluded town where they do some drinking, some drugs, and there is even a stripper. There is also local lore about “The Hunter” who protects the land. What are our boys going to do? Go hiking in the land of course!

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Get A Job


Rated: R | Running Time: 84 Minutes
From: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD on June 14, 2016
Get it via Amazon | iTunes

As I was watching “Get a Job,” one prevailing sentiment kept occurring between the jokes that seemed to be trying too hard, and that was “Hey, thats…,” and “That’s the dude from…,” and “She was in…,” and “I remember him.” Then, at the end of it all, all I could really wonder was “How did most of these bigger-name people, folks like Christopher ‘Superbad’ Mintz-Plasse, Marcia ‘in a whole bunch of everything’ Gay Harden, John ‘Harold and Kumar’ Cho, Jorge ‘Lost’ Garcia, Jay ‘Saturday Night Live’ Pharoah, Anna ‘Pitch Perfect’ Kendrick and Bryan ‘Breaking Bad’ Cranston get in this pretty average ‘coming of age’ kind of movie?”

Let’s get to the story, I suppose…

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Andron


Rated: R | Running Time: 90 Minutes
From: Momentum Pictures
In Theaters, VOD and Digital EST on June 3, 2016
Watch it via: Amazon | iTunes

I will say this about “Andron,” it has one of the longest plot developments of all time, especially for a movie that is about an hour and a half. The thing is that even if I understood the entire plot earlier, it wouldn’t have helped. I’ll help you out a bit with the story.

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Cherry Tree


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 86 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Blu-ray and DVD April 5, 2016

Faith’s dad is dying of cancer. Boo-hoo, what to do? I know, be the surrogate mother to a demon created by centipedes! Such are the basics of the horror flick “Cherry Tree.”

Okay, the movie is slightly more complicated, but really, it doesn’t matter.

I’ll expand things a bit for review purposes.

Faith (Naomi Battrick) is sort of the picked on girl at school. As the movie begins we learn the folklore of witches and a cherry tree, as told by young skippy, Brian (Patrick Gibson). Faith’s world is rocked both by being picked on, and also by the fact her dad has cancer.

Enter creepy, field hockey coach, Sissy (Anna Walton).

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The Weird Power of Music


For most of the day, yesterday, I was in a pretty good mood. It was one of those days when there seemed to be a spring in my step, I was feeling good, and then for whatever reason, still unknown to me, as evening came I became grumpy. Little things annoyed me, I was in this weird mood of just feeling like I couldn’t get anything done, couldn’t get the gumption to start, and just plowed through the evening.

Kind of worried I might snap at my wife for no good reason, I just opted to go to bed, flustered at why my mood changed, and hoping to wake in a better mood.

Nope.

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Helping Settle a Court Case

Have you been summoned for jury duty?

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There it was, a jury summons. I get the mail, flip through the normal bills, flyers, stuff that instantly gets shredded, and then whisper, “Shit.” I looked just like the guy in the “Welcome to Jury Duty” video, or whatever they called it, who opens his mail and sees his jury notice, only I didn’t see him whisper, “Shit.”

And so began my odyssey to achieve, as the “Handbook for Illinois Jurors” says, a “higher opinion of the privilege enjoyed by the free citizens of our country to participate in the administration of justice.” My journey began almost like the stages of grief. There was the denial, the bargaining, the depression, the anger, and then finally the acceptance.

First came the denial.

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