[Movie Review] ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ is the Hilarious and Heartfelt Hero We Deserve

In 2016 we saw Batman twice in theaters and for most of us, we left those two encounters less than enthusiastic. With Warner Bros. flailing wildly in need of a hit, in steps some tiny plastic toys to save the day. Even with as good as The LEGO Batman Movie is, it also amplifies how inept Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were at the most fundamental level–being entertaining. In a way, the latest in the Batman universe acts as a sincere apology for the aforementioned disappointments.

To be fair The LEGO Batman Movie has the benefit of irreverent humor that leans heavily in meta territory. The film exists in a world where Gotham City and its citizens are kind of tired of Batman’s shenanigans. Years of fighting bad guys and yet crime rates are as high as ever. Even Batman’s greatest enemy, Joker, has decided that he must concoct a new scheme to get the Caped Crusader in touch with his emotions. With the help of a recently adopted orphan, Dick Grayson, and the city’s new commissioner, Barbara Gordon, Batman embarks on a mission to save his tarnished reputation and the city.  (more…)

[Movie Review] M. Night Has ‘Split’ Personalities

split_tgofposterAdvice for Split…just sit back, relax and enjoy the one man show that is James McAvoy. Don’t wait for a twist. Don’t expect M. Night to drop the ball at some point. Just find a comfortably groove in your theater seat and picture yourself at one of the greatest one man shows you’ve seen in recent memory–maybe ever.

M. Night Shim Sham has certainly made a name for himself over the last decade or so–and not all in a good way. After breaking onto the scene and becoming known as the master of the twist it then quickly became his Achilles heel. When The Visit was released last year people were giddy with the idea that the filmmaker had reinvented himself–that the filmmaker who had grown to be waaay into himself as an artist and the twist machine was running on empty had finally turned a corner. Split continues that progression, but in a much different way.  (more…)

[Movie Review] Crying Tears of Red, White & Blue for ‘Patriots Day’

patriotsday_tgofposterPeter Berg has clawed his way into a comfortable if controversial niche. Some might call it shameless exploitation of national tragedy, but the filmmaker for the most part manages to treat these sensitive topics with just enough respect to skate by. Patriot’s Day is Berg’s second release of 2016, but one that strike’s a chord that’s still a little fresher in our memories. Perhaps the most surprising is that while the film focuses less on the marathon bombing and more on the following investigation and capture of those responsible. The result is a rousing thriller that just happens to be based on real-life events that still manages to force out some tears.

Unlike most of Berg’s latest true story films you’d be hard pressed to have to explain the Boston marathon bombing to just about anyone old enough to have the urge to see the movie. The film focuses on the involvement of a hobbled police officer, Tommy Saunders (Berg’s muse, Mark Wahlberg), who finds himself at ground zero of finish line explosions and wrapped up in several aspects of the following investigation. Along the way there are a number of high profile actors poking there heads in for their masculine man-isms and over written one-liners but Wahlberg’s character easily shares the majority of the spotlight.  (more…)

[Opinion] Your Untappd ‘Distinct Beers’ Milestone and What it Says About You

img_2406No, I’m not just channeling my inner Cosmo writer with that title, but I suppose the change of pace does warrant a little bit of explanation. Here at TGoF the goal has never been to just get on and babble incoherently about beer and movies. Okay, so it actually did start that way, because I never had any illusions that I would have the inspiration to do anything but get on and babble incoherently about beer and movies.

When 2016 came to a close, I felt it was now or never to at least try and change things up a bit going into 2017. Step one is to branch off a bit into some other opinionated posts related to my bread and butter–beer and movies. I haven’t planned much outside of step one, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. So, every now and then when inspiration strikes you’ll hopefully see some “new” and “different” content filling the space on my little blog and with any luck, anyone who stumbles across it will enjoy. Welcome to TGoF in 2017…now lets get started! (more…)

[Best of 2016] TGoF’s Picks for the Best Movies of 2016

It was a fairly quiet year of moviegoing here at TGoF. Lots of adjusting to life with a baby along with other typical life happenings that eat into one’s time and energy. The result made it difficult to fit in some of what many would consider the best movies of the year and being a genre lover I always make time for those pesky horror movies–which is why my lists tend to befuddle the more refined movie snobs. However, in review of the movies I saw this year and not being satisfied with the options for a top ten the executive decision was made to this year do a top five instead. Condensing down hopefully just accentuates how great I felt the top choices were as opposed to how weak (yet still highly rated) my overall top ten would have been.

Over the course of the next few weeks it’s possible I’ll make it out to cinema darlings like La La Land and and Moonlight, but for now hopefully you’re eyes will find my choices for what I did see in 2016 acceptable enough. As always thanks for checking out my ramblings and I look forward to getting back in the saddle more and more on 2017! (more…)

[TV Review] CBS Might Be ‘BrainDead’ For Cancelling This Easily Digestable Gem 

braindeadcbs_tgofHere at TGoF Headquarters (aka my living room or wherever I happen to be consuming media) I don’t catch a whole lot of TV. It’s a shame really, as I’m sure I’ve missed out on some quality programming. However, it’s proven tough to keep interested in multiple shows at a time while also seeing as many movies as I have time for and keeping up with the hustle and bustle of daily life. When I can, binging has been the way to go for me and DVD or Netflix has been the way to go in that regard.

However, waiting for DVD introduces another set of issues–in the case of BrainDead its finding a top-notch ‘brainless’ piece of pulp entertainment only to learn later that it’s been cancelled. Of course, therein lies the silver lining–with only a season under its belt, BrainDead stuck around without ever having the chance to grow tiresome and as easily consumable as the show was, it’s easy to see it jumping the shark quickly…even for a show about brain eating bugs with a flair for politics.  (more…)

[Movie Review] ‘Rogue One’ Delivers Star Wars Fun With a Darker Flair

img_2146There are a great deal of Star Wars fans that will never know what it was like seeing the originally trilogy on the big screen during its original run. Sure, we can go to re-releases and restorations in hopes of capturing the same feeling that our parents and grandparents were treated to, but it will never truly be the same experience. I believe Rogue One has come the closest to achieving that feeling than any previous sequel or prequel has all the while blending new visuals and techniques with a twist on the old aesthetic of A New Hope.

Of course Rogue One picks up before the introduction of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewy with The Death Star just wrapping up its creation and a devastating weapons test on the horizon. The rebellion tasks a pair of rebels to track down and kill the lead scientist in charge of designing and overseeing the construction of the massive weapon. However, once a fraction of the Star’s destructive power is unleashed the rebellion loses hope and it’s up to a rogue collective to devise a plan to steal the ship’s plans to study and reveal its weaknesses.  (more…)

[Beer Review] Snow Beast Winter Ale by Kinkaider Brewing Company

snowbeast_tgofLots of beer drinkers out there have their go-to style for winter drinking, but not this guy. Winter warmers and stouts are the typical drink of choice because they have a warming effect for the consumer, while I continue reaching for the hoppy familiarity of my favorite IPAs and pale ales. That’s not to say I don’t still dip into the occasional stout and winter warmer, they just do not tend to be my standbys in the fridge. All that being said, there might be a change on the way as a new contender has emerged from the snowy oblivion of Nebraska courtesy of the good folks at Kinkaider Brewing Company in the form of their Snow Beast Winter Ale.

Pouring beautifully deep amber in appearance and settling much darker in the glass–festive red hues when held up to a light. The foam dissipated quickly, but upon finishing the pour it held a thin and soapy consistency.  My preconceptions on the aroma are quickly shattered in an instant. Instead of a malty spicy mess I’m welcomed warmly by sweet vanilla and some darker cherry-like fruit. The cinnamon does not pop out even with some deep inhales, but the beer comes across in aroma like a delicious Christmas dessert, close to that of a cordial cherry.

The first sip is a bit of a show stopper. A very unique flurry of flavors swirl around on the tongue. Drinking temperature definitely impacts certain notes that are perceivable. (more…)

[Movie Review] ‘Arrival’ Stirs Up All the Emotions

arrivalposter_tgofLife is a beautiful thing. It’s complex, subjectively fulfilling and in various ways, sad. Denis Villeneuve excels in conveying humanity and emotion in the most beautiful and hideous ways. Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario are incredible examples of just how dark the filmmaker views the human condition so it’s only right that with Arrival he introduces extraterrestrials to have a heady and heart-wrenching talk with us humans.

Arrival is high end science fiction. A thinking person’s genre flick. Villeneuve drops a handful of alien spacecrafts into our world and a less discerning movie-goer salivates while waiting for the eye-popping VFX and ariel dogfights. However, when your main character, Louise (Amy Adams), being a linguist and her side kick, Ian (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist, sent to decrypt and analyze alien language to engage in deep conversation there just isn’t room for devastating city-wide explosions and laser beams.  (more…)

[Beer Review] Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale by New Belgium Brewing Company

For me, gimmick beers tend to end in failure. It’s up in the air what truly constitutes a gimmick beer, but three specifically come to mind that fit the bill. Pizza Beer Company’s Mama Mia Pizza Beer. It’s the only beer the company makes and it’s got a clear hook. It also tastes like pizza sauce. If that’s your thing, good on ya, but if I’m tasting pizza sauce I want it on my pizza and not in my beer glass. Second is, New Belgium’s previous Ben & Jerry’s collaboration, the Salted Caramel Brownie Ale. Salted caramel just isn’t something I think is possible to capture in a beer and it essentially was your run-of-the-mill brown ale. Not undrinkable, but essentially just a marketing ploy. The third is Rogue’s line of awful Voodoo Doughnut creations (except the Maple Bacon, I think I remember not spitting that one out).

Naturally, seeing them dip back into the well wasn’t something I was excited about, but I’m a fair guy with an open mind- most of the time. Plus, a golden brown ale aside from making me role my eyes at the obvious oxymoron, seemed unique enough to give it a shot. Low and behold, I cracked a bottle open, poured and in my glass I have New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale. As promised it pours a very rich golden color with a slight soapy head. As it settles in the glass of you didn’t know any better it takes on the appearance of apple cider.  (more…)