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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One Bag Gone

In a quest to be more healthy, at least I think it’s more healthy, for the past months I’ve eliminated most white sugar. Yup, no products with white flour, no pasta, limited fruit, no cookies, no ice cream, and for the hell of it, no beer, and a lot of looking at ingredients on products and putting it back on the shelf wondering why it needed sugar in the first place. However, on this quest, I allow myself one cheat day, a day to eat as much, or as little, of anything I want. Usually cheat day is Saturday, usually there are cookies, usually there is ice cream, and almost always there is beer.

Snyder of Berlin Cheese CurlsThe challenge, however, is defining “cheat day.” Normally I stick with the definition that cheat day begins after waking  and ends when going to bed, the basic cycle of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but then, for our latest weekend, my wife suggested a 24 hour cheat day, starting at about 7PM. This definition came about mostly because she had a craving for some cheese, then a craving for chocolate, then my reminding her that we had special chocolate that was about to expire, and then some cheese curls, and not just any cheese curls, but the best cheese curls in the entire universe from Snyder of Berlin, delivered to me by my sister and brother in law on a recent visit.

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The Dead on Facebook

Have you wished a dead person "Happy Birthday" on Facebook?

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If you’re on Facebook long enough and have enough friends, eventually, if it hasn’t happened to you already, one of them will pass away. I remember the first time it happened to me – the odd post on someone’s wall that hints something is wrong. It could be a simple “I’m going to miss you and the times we shared” post, or the “I’m glad you are at peace now” post, or a post by a family member who is able to log into their account mentioning their dying. The first time I found it a bit unsettling, that here I am, on Facebook, finding out about someone I know dying, from their own timeline nonetheless. I also remember one time I was looking for a person I used to know, found their page, and found out they were dead. Damn. what a bummer. I wondered what happened to the good, old days, when you would find out with a phone call, but then part of me realizes that it’s probably easier to use Facebook so that you don’t have to deal with dozens of “explaining” what happened conversations, the “Let me know the funeral plans” and thereby being burdened with the responsibility of remembering to tell them said plans, or the uncomfortable, rehashing over and over, the person’s dying. Facebook: It’s how we notify, and avoid people.

Okay, back to dead people on Facebook…

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