Author: tallglassoffilm

Movie Review: Jurassic Park 3D (1993/2013)

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Steven Spielberg’s JURASSIC PARK is one of my all time favorites- a film that never gets old and always satisfies. 3D is a gimmick that I was over as soon as it became the norm for at least one wide release every week. I almost always choose non 3D screenings of movies when I attend them if available and if I have no choice then more often than not I won’t see it at all till a DVD release. The rerelease of JURASSIC PARK both excited and worried me with the post conversion 3D, that it would take something I loved and turn it into a blatant and shameless cash grab. In some ways it may be somewhat of a cash grab since I’m still not sold on the 3D, but I am more than thrilled that I got to see this larger than life adventure on the big screen once again.

Based on the Michael Crichton novel the film is the story of an eccentric millionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), who has found a way to clone dinosaurs using strands of DNA pulled from mosquitoes buried deep in the Earth. Hammond uses this as a way to create a park where people can feast their eyes on creatures we’ve only seen in books and fossils on display in museums. To ease the tension of investors after the death of a worker he must seek the approval of experts Dr. Grant (Sam Niel), Dr. Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to get back on track to open the attraction. After some shady acts of another park employee the tour group and small group of employees are stuck in the park as a storm rolls in, the electrified fences are turned off and the dinosaurs start breaking from their enclosures- which includes the deadly T-Rex and raptors.

As a movie in general I had no worries about the quality of the material diminishing with the rerelease. What I was worried about was the addition of 3D to the festivities making this particular experience more of a headache than an enjoyable afternoon at the theater. I’m finicky about 3D mostly because I am not a fan of contacts, so I have to wear the 3D glasses over the glasses I already wear to see- so the extra pair of spectacles tends to annoy me. To this date I’ve only seen and enjoyed maybe two movies in 3D and both were animated films.

To my surprise the 3D in JURASSIC PARK is not a complete waste. There are some pretty cool moments and depth of field moments that make the experience a little more immersive. The problem is that 3D wears me down and by the end I was a bit tired of the gimmick and the longer the film runs the less I even try to pay attention to the 3D to the point I just feel like I’m watching a dimmer version of a movie I really love.

I was worried how the night scenes would hold up with the darkness of the 3D glasses and for the most part the image remained intact while I had a hard time recognizing the depth of field in the scenes. The standout being the T-Rex attack, but the lack of 3D can be attributed to the fact that this scene just thrills me no end and can’t be bothered with anything but just drinking every ounce of special effects magic and entertainment from it.

A few times the 3D was great at making me feel like I was part of the experience- the stampede scene being one that stands out. For me though once the dinosaurs are loose the 3D took a backseat to my absolute love of the practical and CG effects and how much love JURASSIC PARK as an experience.

The bottom line from my perspective is that anything that brings JURASSIC PARK back to theaters for fans to experience all over again is a winner in my book. I’m also excited to see it back on the big screen to win over a whole new generation of fans that never had a chance to experience it. The special effects hold up as does almost everything else in my opinion. As 3D experiences go- especially the post converted variety- this is an above average example of the medium and it works more often than it doesn’t. If you are like me and keep a DVD/Blu-Ray copy close by should the urge to watch ever strike then you do not want to miss seeing JURASSIC PARK and all its dino glory on the big screen once again.

Rating: A

Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

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It wasn’t long ago when I was just another voice in the crowd decrying the announcement of yet another remake, let alone the remake of Sam Raimi’s classic THE EVIL DEAD. Throw in news of Diablo Cody coming in to do rewrites on the script and I was having nightmares of a script full of hackneyed teen speak- in short, things were not stacking up in favor of Fede Alvarez’s EVIL DEAD. Then the first red band trailer came out and every single one of my reservations melted away in an instant and I was instantly pumped for the film. Now fast forwarding further now that I’ve had a chance to see the film I am beyond happy to say that I love this movie. I sat in my chair squirming in horror at some incredible practical gore effects in what is easily the hardest R rated movies to come out of Hollywood maybe ever. From beginning to end even while I squirmed in my seat EVIL DEAD had me grinning from ear to ear.

Now I will make my confession- I cannot say that I was madly in love with Raimi’s original film. Before you furious close the window I will clarify that I do really like it, but it hasn’t aged well for me specifically. There’s a lot I really dig about it and it grows on me a little more every time I watch it. That being said I cannot speak to how well the remake will hold up through the test if time, but I wanted to watch it again the second it was over. It is faithful to the original while offering something all its own to take it to the next level.

EVIL DEAD takes the tired five people at a secluded cabin and doesn’t really turn it on its head so much as it accepts what it is and exaggerates everything you already expect. This time instead of five friends on a happy-go-lucky getaway it turns things a little darker by giving them a purpose to be there- their friend Mia (Jane Levy) is quitting drugs cold turkey and don’t want her to be able to leave when things get tough. So naturally her friends and brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), expect that she will go through hardcore withdrawal and will say or do anything to get them to leave. When they discover a mysterious book in the basement, curiosity leads one of the friends to read a few fateful words that unleash evil that possesses Mia and her behavior the friends write off as side effects from drug withdrawal- until it becomes obvious something darker has taken hold and it may be too late to reverse their fate.

It was hard to gauge the audience reaction to a lot of the things going on in this film. There was plenty of scattered laughter throughout and not always at obvious moments of comedic relief- and trust me, with the amount of f***ed up stuff in this, you NEED the comedic relief. Alvarez embraces everything silly about the set up as does the original, but takes everything to a mostly hilariously enjoyable fashion. The bad decisions, the over-the-top gore and plethora of Raimi-esque camerawork are magnified and displayed perfectly. However, everything that’s dark and disturbing about this are frighteningly so. Some lines might make you giggle, but the logistics of what’s happening or what Mia’s possessed mind is saying are far more terrifying than the initial reaction might be. Essentially this is an immensely enjoyable mixture of cheesy B-horror and darkly serious horror.

The cheese of it all comes from the comedic moments and the throwback moments to the original that includes the demon voices of those possessed and the nasty things they say. The darkness within comes from examining some of the lines deeper and realizing that while the spirit of the film is fun, deep down there’s something incredibly dark about it. However, the script in general is the film’s biggest problem from my perspective. There are a handful of fantastic scripted moments, a handful of really good to okay moments and a little less than a handful of ‘meh’ moments. Added together the script isn’t terrible and for this type of horror film it all works without trying to nitpick too much about the script.

The actors stand just as tall as everyone from the original, with the exception that no one can quite capture the magic of Bruce Campbell as Ash. The smartest thing Alvarez has done is that he steers far away from trying to set up one character as the iconic Ash and instead you can see the spirit of that character throughout in almost every character and their comedic moments. Fernandez and Levy are the MVPs, but this incarnation of EVIL DEAD is the very definition of a team effort.

Now, man oh man the gore. I’m willing to hedge my bets that the budget of this film was exhausted entirely on buckets, upon buckets, upon buckets of blood. The red liquid splashes all over the screen after the mostly slow setup. Once Mia gets possessed in a scene fans of the original will squeal over, the blood rarely stops flowing- in fact the final 10 minutes have more blood flying that in maybe every wide released horror film from last year. That’s the other thing I love about the remake over the original in the fact that Alvarez took what seemed to be an insurmountable task, through off his gloves and just went for it and came out with a film that actually deserves to be said in the same breath as Raimi’s film.

I feel like I could go on and on about this one so I’ll try to round up everything else worth noting here. The score while unspectacular has some nice throwback notes to it. I mentioned the camerawork that almost perfectly captures the type of stuff Raimi leaned heavily on in the original and it works in spades here as well. The practical gore effects are nothing short of spectacular, though I’m not sold that CG didn’t play a hand in some parts. The finale kept me on my toes because there are several parts of the trailer that I suspect were included to throw us off and a lot of what happened in the final moments I was not expecting to go down the way they did.

At this point I feel like I’m gushing about EVIL DEAD like an overeager teen boy that just had sex for the first time. Part of me wants to dial back my excitement a little while the other just wants to tell every last soul how much I loved this movie. My excitement comes from just how much I want this movie to do well at the box office so I can see more balls-to-the-wall horror movies released in a wide capacity and also because I believe that Fede Alvarez did what I’m sure almost no one thought he could by remaking a film that in all seriousness didn’t need to be remade nor really should have been remade. So now to return to my previous sex metaphor, Alvarez’s EVIL DEAD is fast, messy and immensely satisfying- everything that it rightfully should be. If you don’t feel like you need a cigarette after then I think you’re doing wrong.

Rating: A-

10 More Craft Beers I’m Dying To Try

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Browsing the internet is the worst possible thing for me to do because I’m constantly running into awesome stuff that steals hours and hours of my time until I’ve lost all opportunities to be productive. Not even 24 hours after I posted my initial list of beers I’m dying to try did I find a ton more that started making me more than a little thirsty. Granted I already had some picks that I didn’t include on the list so the more I found the more I justified the need for another list.

Trying so many different beers tends to be quite the expensive habit/hobby/obsession/leisure activity, but discovering something truly special that knocks you on your feet becomes incredibly addictive and I’m constantly in search of those beers that make me redefine what I look for in the beers I drink. I also have to thank any number of people on Instagram/Twitter (I’m @CrummyLuke on both) for posting all these delicious looking beverages and fueling my already immensely burning fire for craft beer. I’ve taken to posting all the beers I’ve tried as well, although mg photography skills leave a little to be desired. You will notice that I tend to repeat brewerys on between my lists- the reason being I tend to try to keep a narrow vision and also try not to reach too high and aim at stuff that is a little more readily available without extraordinary measures. Also keeping a narrow vision keeps me from being overwhelmed by the ground I need to cover (well more overwhelmed than usual anyway) and when I say I look at options readily available I mean stuff that I can at least get without selling my organs on the black market.

Also a quick update on my previous list of beers I wanted to try I was able to get my hands on Stone Brewing Company’s Arrogant Bastard Ale (Along with their IPA, Levitation Ale and Pale Ale), though this was of the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale variety and I gotta say that it along with all the others were very impressive. There is quite a bit going on with every one of their beers and I can see why they are so popular. Unfortunately that is the only update for the list that I have. So without further ado here is ten more beers that I can hopefully get my hands on soon.

Surly Brewing Company Coffee Bender/Bender – I have a weird relationship with anything involving coffee- the smell draws me in, but the taste is what usually drives me away. If it’s in my beer I’m a little more sympathetic to an extent and reading/seeing so much love on Surly Brewing Company’s beers lately I can’t help but be curious. Given that I’m due for a road trip here soon, Minnesota is looking even more attractive to me right now. Since my reservations about the intense coffee flavors I’ve heard Coffee Bender has I’ve lumped it in with Surly’s Bender which apparently has hints of coffee, but I’m assuming will be a better introduction to the style of Surly than diving right into the Coffee Bender.

Three Floyds Brewing Company Gumballhead – At this point I could make one of these lists about everything Three Floyds has to offer, so I’m really just trying to focus on the ones I’m particularly attracted to. When I started writing these I started wondering why I should justify picks having no experience with anything Three Floyds or any brewery I’ve never tried and the simple uninteresting answer is based simply on the love I see online and reading about the popularity. Given you don’t see people flocking to the store to buy Bud Light to the point of selling out I think I’m on the right track.

Bells Brewery Inc Hopslam – I didn’t include this on my initial list, though I almost did and since then I even took a trip about an hour away across my state border to try and secure myself some of this having not called ahead of time. What I quickly learned is that I grossly underestimated the popularity of this one as I drove to secure this for myself based on a Facebook post saying the store had some about a week or two after the post and once I was there I was informed it was sold out within 20 minutes of said Facebook post. Needless to say (but I will anyway) the search continues. Update: Since initially writing this post I came into possession of a couple of bottles of this deliciously hoppy ale. While I am on board with the quality of the beer I don’t know that I can confidently say as of yet that it’s one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Don’t misunderstand though, I really believe that it got even tastier after the second time I cracked one open.

Surly Brewing Company Furious/Abrasive Ale – I just started homebrewing with a friend of mine just over a year ago and I also have been seeing a trend of people on beer trading forums/Instagram ferociously looking for anything they have to offer so I did a little more research. I really dug the history of the brewery that the site has posted and really highlights what most beer lovers and aspiring brewers hope for so Surly and their whole lineup has jumped high up on my wishlist. I grouped Furious with Abrasive as I am continuing to grow my love for IPAs and it only seemed right to include both of Surly’s offerings especially because they both are raved about online.

Three Floyd’s Brewing Company Alpha King – Aaaaand the Three Floyds love continues- Ok I promise I will try to make this the last repeat on this list so its not so boring and predictable. Truth is Three Floyds is probably my biggest obsession at this point and their Zombie Dust/Gumballhead/Alpha King are the three that I have my crosshairs on that I’m also starting to see in my dreams on a nightly basis. I don’t know if this is all setting me up for disappointment, but only getting my greedy paws on this and opening one up will end the mystery and possibly be the start of a sultry beer affair.

The Alchemist Heady Topper – Maybe this will show just how out of touch I am or removed from where all the good craft beer happenings are going on, but I had no knowledge of The Alchemist or their beer, but this one in particular is littered in conversations all over the web with.people trying to get their hands on it. I mean seeing it on the Top 50 beers on Rate Beer certainly is a thing that exists, but the Black Friday esque anarchy I’ve seen online of people looking to get some is a bit more telling. I’m predicting a pretty treacherous road in front of me to get a hold of it- especially since my travel plans don’t exactly include a trip to VT or the surrounding area.  

Dogfish Head Brewing Company Aprihop – When I first started getting into craft beers it didn’t take me long to realize just how over my head I really was. The more I discover about the burgeoning popularity of craft beer the more out of touch I discover I’ve been. The community online is a bit overwhelming and everyone has different levels of knowledge and experience with all the various breweries out there. Dogfish Head is one I first learned about on a horror movie podcast of all things (Bloody Good Horror) and once I heard of them I looked up their lineup and what people had to say about their releases and it quickly became on the many many breweries with beers I can’t wait to get my hands on. Add in the fact that I’m starting to love IPAs a little more everyday and that beers infused with fruit kind of opened my curiosity for experimental styles I could not avoid including it on the list. 

Shorts Brewing Company Key Lime Pie – This is the choice that is on here if for no other reason that to be the WTF pick or the “things that make you go hmm” pick. Through google searches of strange beers, experimental beers or general craft beer searches you’re bound to find something that makes your head tilt, but at the sametime actually sound like something you want to try (unlike a Seaweed ale I stumbled across). Said to be brewed with fresh limes, milk, marshmellow cream and graham crackers that’s enough to at least get my attention. Billed a dessert beer the color and description of a nose that has hints of graham cracker crust it immediately makes me crave a Pumking- so sure, I don’t see the harm in wanting to give it a whirl.

Stone Brewing Company Enjoy By XX/XX/XX – Over the course of my education and enjoyment of craft beer since the start of my journey a lot of things have peaked my interest. Now, if I took my research to the next level and read more about the beers I want to try I’d be able to answer the next question- what is it about the Enjoy By bceers by Stone Brewing that gives it the “Brewed not to last” moniker? As it stands, it just intrigues me more and more and sometimes I enjoy not knowing every specific detail about a beer before I try it just so I can experience it from a pure place and that’s what I look forward to doing with this specific Stone brew.

The Bruery White Chocolate – I have an intense and awkwardly inexplicable love for almost anything made with white chocolate. So it ‘should’ come as no surprise that a beer called White Chocolate would get my attention. Granted the name comes from the fact that the brew is made with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans thus promting the name. The barrel aged creation also has.the style of a barely wine which in my experience hasn’t been the kindest to me, but given my willingness to try almost everything there is absolutely nothing keeping me from being excited to give this a go.

Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

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Remember TRAINING DAY? Man I really love that movie- which is part of the reason I was really excited for Antoine Fuqua’s latest film OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. I didn’t see a single preview for the film until for some reason they played one in front of the screening that I was in attendance for and I’ll admit that the short trailer that was shown kind of got me excited for a brainless action flick. The extent as to the brainlessness was what I was not prepared for. Fuqua’s film is full of nothing but Gerard Butler winking at the camera delivering one liners, horrid CGI effects and darkly lit action in which you can barely tell what’s happening. The incomprehensible takes hold from the get go and doesn’t let up until the very end.

As stated before Gerard Butler stars as Mike Banning, a secret service agent that is for some reason shamed after an accident that wasn’t even his fault leads to the death of someone very close to the president. A year and a half after the incident he has since been shunned from the secret service and confined to a desk job at the US Treasury. Tensions between North and South Korea prompt the South Korean Ambassador to visit the White House which North Korean terrorists use as an opportunity to attack and take control of the Presidential stronghold and holding President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) along with several other VIPs hostage. During the attack Banning takes initiative to sneak his way into the White House and find the President’s son to get him out of harms way and taking out the terrorists one by one to redeem himself for his previous failings.

Forget the reliance on using Koreans as villains lately and said enemy seizing control of a section of American soil- the film has a myriad of bigger issues. Nothing about anything that happens here makes any lick of sense. Government officials are tortured into giving away their Top Secret security codes and the president orders them to give the code and swears they will never get his out of him, yet what’s to stop these terrorists from pulling these people in front of him again and torturing them all over again to get his code? Even that is only a small part of questions I had during the film as there will be several points where you will likely be leaning to the person next to you pointing out some kind of inconsistency.

During the initial siege of the White House which might very well be kind of fun to watch is undermined by some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in recent memory for a wide release film. When I say these effects are bad, I mean they are embarrassing- at times it looks like test footage that the artists forgot to render before submitting it for a final cut. At one point when we see an aftermath shot of the DC skyline it looks like an obvious CG model with absolutely no realistic mapping rendered in. Eventually once these ‘epic’ action scenes comes to a close Fuqua centers the action in the darkened White House where a whole new set of issues arise.

The opening assault on the White House will likely evoke some post 9/11 feelings and to an extent the shot of the plain approaching the city and barraging the area with bullets are mildly effective. Those scenes fall apart once the seams start showing and the horrid CGI becomes more prevalent. The ground assault which features suicide bombers also pokes the post 9/11 nerves that go hand in hand with the countless number of reports of suicide bombers overseas during the war and becomes a bit too transparent at trying to poke at those fears.

The casting of Gerard Butler I find to be one of the first signs that this could either be ridiculous but entertaining or just plain embarrassing- in the end it’s a weird mixture of both. Butler has the tough guy part down, but he never brings much to it and at times be barely even tries to hide his accent. LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me, but Butler’s physicality is obscured by fight scenes filmed in nearly pitch black rooms where you can barely tell what’s happening and is topped off by a mildly amusing, but usually always eye roll inducing one liner.

Lastly, the script is easily one of the most boring, incompetent and ridiculous pieces of writing I’ve encounted so far this year and maybe of the last couple years. Aside from Butler’s one liners there’s Aaron Eckhart putting on his best ‘pissed off face’ and ordering people to give these terrorists super duper top secret nuclear codes that make the US vulnerable to nuclear attack- and this is supposed to be the man that will stop at nothing to protect the country he is in charge of. Each of the people threatened refuse to give their code until Echart screams and orders them to give it up- that’s just a small example of the mind numbingly idiotic decisions the characters make. Then of course there’s the generic sneering villain barely worth mentioning except to say, wow, how did this guy get this job? Not just the actor, but also the stuff that gets revealed about his character that I found to be so ridiculously stupid I might have walked out if I hadn’t already given up an hour and twenty minutes of my time.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN might find an audience willing to put up with it- in fact I know there were people at my screening that enjoyed it quite a bit, I’m just not one of them. I admit that I laughed a few times, but I got bigger laughs from pointing out stuff that didn’t make sense with a friend sitting next to me and making up dialogue that I’m willing to bet fit better than whatever was in the script. Fuqua isn’t to blame for the failure lying within the screenplay, but he is to blame for deeming it worthy of his time and bringing it to life in this way. There are fleeting moments that made me smile, but at times I felt I was laughing at it rather than with it.  Everything that usually makes a fun action flick is here except that it looks like something that good action movies would unceremoniously leave in the toilet after an unfortunate encounter with irritable bowel syndrome.

Rating: D

Brew & View: Watchmen

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Born partially out of my worry about Zack Snyder’s upcoming MAN OF STEEL, I took to watching one of his previous films that I actually really liked- at least I did at the time of its release. I’ve never officially posted a review of WATCHMEN so this might seem too easy to come in now and talk negatively about something I never talked positively about previously. So before I get into my recent viewing of WATCHMEN I will say I loved it when it first came out, bought it the first day of its Blu-Ray release and watched it gleefully for the weeks after.

My love for it stemmed almost entirely around Jackie Earl Haley’s performance as Rorschach, the visual style Snyder brought to it and a a majority of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s scenes. A lot of time has passed since the last time I watched and enjoyed WATCHMEN until recently I sat down to watch it and found plenty of the film still enjoyable, but also so much that has not aged well since then. The biggest flaw I’ve seen that I hope is not a trend with Snyder’s films since I have high hopes for MAN OF STEEL is he just lacks the ability to get great performances from all of his actors. Aside from Haley and Morgan and maybe Billy Crudup everyone else is mostly terrible. Even if they are intentionally so due to it being a graphic novel adaptation, but honestly even on that level the characters feel much weaker than I remembered.

Beer Pairing: Empyrean Brewing Company’s Watch Man IPA

Empyrean’s Watch Man IPA obviously has the shameless name connection going for it, but as with most IPA’s they aren’t for everyone, which more than explains Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN. Also much like the film Empyrean’s IPA is quite tasty at first, but eventually the taste kind of fades away and I’m left wondering how much I really enjoyed to begin with.

I don’t want it to sound too much like a diss because honestly this won’t be the last time I sit to watch WATCHMEN and I certainly expect that I will enjoy my fair share of the Watch Man IPA in the future. The point I’m trying to make is that every now and again there are things that you remember fondly that dim with memory and experiences and don’t quite live up to your original perception- both are true with the picks of this edition of Brew & View.

For a beer that starts tasty and finishes a little less than so, it fits perfectly with WATCHMEN. Fans of the graphic novel almost always point to the differences in the endings between the film and the novel and usually always unfavorably so. Granted the ending in the film makes it a little more accessible, it is still pretty disappointing that Snyder didn’t feel like he could just go ahead and use the last act of the novel for his film since it does take place in an alternate timeline and all.

The similarities between this edition of Brew & View might be most evident in the name and the rest I might be stretching a bit, but I just couldn’t resist pairing the two. Neither stands up to better examples of the genre of movie or style of beer which would link the two in some way or another and honestly I can drink about anything and as far as craft beer goes the Watch Man IPA is very inoffensive to the taste buds while being a little less than satisfactory. However, anything that can provide a decent buzz and make whatever you’re watching that much better is nothing to be too down on.

20 Horror Movies You Should See But Probably Haven’t

The headline says it all, yet to avoid being too presumptuous I will preface the whole list by saying there may be a few more mainstream choices present just as a means to give less discerning horror fans easier to swallow choices. I might have taken liberties with what is or isn’t considered full on horror, but either way they are at least related to the genre and are great movies I want to bring to people’s attention that they may not have been aware of before.

Everything else you need to know about the list is that I specifically tried to avoid going too far back in years- one reason being that based on a few conversations I had people tend to avoid some older movies because the age seems to make it harder to connect with (which I can appreciate), the second reason being aside from a few classics my retro horror knowledge isn’t all that extensive either. I also want to point out that I tried to put in a mixture of semi obscure choices as well as some that are a little more accessible and digestible for genre newbies as I know all too well that if you try to overextend what you’re willing to accept in a movie, especially horror, you are setting yourself up for a truly unpleasant experience. It is my sincere hope that I hit on a few that you haven’t seen and are interested in- though I also expect that my choices won’t be met with an overwhelming wave of approval. One of the fun things about horror are the vast majority of tastes and preferences within the genre so at the very least I hope this sparks some interesting conversation. Also feel free to share some of your favorite lesser known horror titles.

Cold Prey – In the horror genre there is usually a lot of bicker back and forth about rather or not something that doesn’t even try to break original ground is in fact a good or successful horror movie. More often than not I’m in the camp that loves or admires a movie for trying to do something different even if it fails, but then again I also enjoy the same old formula every now and again if its done well and that perfectly explains COLD PREY. There is nothing original about a group of 20 somethings in a secluded location being stalked by a killer, but the way it’s executed more than makes up for any ho-hum the premise evokes. The long awaited sequel hits DVD April 23, 2013 and is also well worth checking out if not even more so than the original. Both 1 and 2 are easy watches for people who don’t like over-the-top gore and want more suspense. I also really dig the backstory of the killer that’s fleshed out a bit more in the second film. Fair warning for anyone who finds reading annoying during a movie that its subtitled and as with most foreign films I strongly recommend staying FAR away from the English dubbing.

Midnight Son – When coming up with this list I only just realized I hadn’t even taken the time to write a review for this one. However, since this isn’t a list about reviews I haven’t written but probably should I’ll just give its due now. MIDNIGHT SON is the type of vampire movie that TWILIGHT haters will love (I hope)- it takes the vampire cannon and does its own thing with it, but not to the level of making their skin glitter in the sunlight. The main character’s performance is fantastic and it’s got equal amounts of deep dark vampire horror and awkward sexuality to go along with the engaging character work.

Triangle This is basically going to be the Christopher Smith all encompassing pick as I believe every last one of his films belongs on the list, but TRIANGLE happens to be my personal favorite, followed closely by BLACK DEATH. To my knowledge as of this exact moment I’m writing everything but TRIANGLE is currently on Netflix Instant (CREEP, SEVERANCE and BLACK DEATH) and you should definitely go out and rent TRIANGLE and hold a Christopher Smith marathon immediately. TRIANGLE absolutely broke my brain when I first watched it and it still gives me headaches to this day, but aside from the engrossing puzzle that it is Melissa George gives a fantastic performance. Also, for the more mainstream fans, THE HUNGER GAMES’ Liam Hemsworth is also in the film.

The Loved Ones As if I haven’t felated the hell out of this movie already I am going so far as to say if you watch no other movie on this list if you watch this I will be happy. Possibly one of the best horror movies of the past decade is this demented little Australian flick about a girl who REALLY wants a date to a dance, but if she has to settle then apparently a little depraved kidnapping and torture will suffice. Boosted by an extremely dark sense if humor and fantastic performances this is a movie no horror fan should miss.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane – Jonathan Levine may not be a household name just yet, but he’s on his way. Which makes it all the more confusing why ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE can’t find its way to the states on every retail shelf in the country. Luckily if you do live in the states, you can get your hands on a Blu-Ray copy that’s region free from Amazon and plays on almost every Blu-Ray player (It would not load on my PS3). As far as teen slashers go, this little flick has a pretty wicked little ending that made me fall in love with what I was actually kind of lukewarm on until then. As of the start of SXSW 2013 it sounds like the Weinsteins are bringing this bad boy back to life for theatrical release in 2013. Keep an eye out and check it out if it comes to a theater near you.

Splinter – Creature features are a gamble. They run through risks of too much CGI, terrible practical effects, unimaginative creature designs and any number of other genre trappings. SPLINTER is kind of a wonder in the creature feature genre with its tension, creature effects and conceit while also being infinitely entertaining. The performances are great and the idea of the creature and the stuff the characters endure because of it are really something to watch.

Inside/Martyrs – For a while there French horror was pulling out all the stops and were shocking audiences with the brilliance of their film’s not just in the unflinching violence, but overall composition of the film in general. INSIDE came out from Dimension Extreme and I bought it based on a few recommendations and I.could not get it out of my head. In a similar fashion MARTYRS did the same thing a year later, but to an even more extreme degree. I don’t want to go into detail about either film, except to warn anyone that both films are incredibly brutal downers that you need to be prepared for before sitting down to watch them.

The Burrowers – At a time when Western set movies are kind of popular this is a film perfect to sneak in for late night viewing as not only does it take place in a Western setting, but it’s also a creature feature. Granted that if you are watching it late at night it’s not a fast paced action/horror that will jolt you awake, but it is an engaging and well acted little overlooked flick well worth a watch.

Pontypool – At this point in horror there isn’t a whole lot we haven’t seen in regards to the zombie subgenre. However PONTYPOOL offers an alternate perspective, even if it drops the ball once the explanations start becomming clear especially from one specific character’s acting. Overall though the buildup in PONTYPOOL is pretty great and there are some pretty unsettling moments in a mostly talky horror flick.

The Shrine Of all the films I’ve listed so far I’m going to come right out and say that this might be my weakest choice- at least in terms of my enjoyment. The first half of this movie is quite a chore to sit through, but if you stick with it there are some really cool horror elements to round it out. There’s an old school vibe to some of the climactic scenes and some really creepy settings, but it takes quite a commitment to get into the last half of the film if you haven’t already fallen asleep.

Deadgirl Way back when, in the days I was a foolhearty kid that didn’t try to watch everything that I possibly could I would have watched something like this and either scoffed at you for wasting my time or been turned off on movies altogether. This isn’t the type of film you show to people that consume brainless Hollywood blockbusters like Skittles, it’s not even a horror film you recommend to people looking for a way to get turned on to the genre. This is the type of horror movie you show to people with an extremely twisted sense of humor, are not easily offended (due to the subject matter and actions of the characters) and tend to have a very pronounced bit of morbid curiosity. As the movie watcher I am now, I have all of those traits and I find something like DEADGIRL kind of fascinating and fun- though I mean that in a way as I would study the psyche of the main characters and in some of the humor in the film. It is my sincere hope that if you’re reading this list you already are in a place where you check stuff out for morbid curiosity or are ready to bridge the gap from traditional horror to more off the beaten path horror.

The Corridor – The indie spirit is something that I feel makes the horror genre as strong as it is. With a limited budget and limited means filmmakers have to get creative with their films and that means finding subject material that breaks the norms to gather an audience or be so clever with their technical aspects that people are forced to pay attention. Those are the things I want to be more dominant in my horror films and while THE CORRIDOR is a bit shaky with some of the effects in the latter half of the film, it takes the indie spirit to some pretty awesome places. To say the film is strange would be an understatement, but the story and the way it unfolds is so engaging and mind boggling that it really deserves an audience to help spread the word about it.

Heartless – I love the premise to this movie and even though I’m including it on this list, I’m not in love with it. I do however, appreciate the film on some level and recognize that there will be people out there that will eat this movie up more than I did. I’m not saying I don’t like it on some level, I’m merely saying I didn’t think it was great on any specific level.

The Frighteners – This will likely be the oldest film on the list and for the sole reason that it was a film I remember seeing in theaters and loving the hell out of it at the time. I don’t even know where awareness of THE FRIGHTENERS currently stands, but given the popularity of Peter Jackson and his immensely popular LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and of course the recently released first installment of THE HOBBIT I felt people should have an awareness of where he came from that’s a bit more friendly for the audience of LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT as opposed to throwing them straight into something like DEAD ALIVE- though by all means seek that out too if you’re ready for some really awesome gross out horror. THE FRIGHTENERS is a whole lot of fun and has kind of a slapstick humor about while also being very dark under the surface and is something I still watch on a regular basis.

Home Movie – I actually just checked this one out recently based on another list that highlighted some lesser known horror movies which then inspired me to kind do a list of my own and “pass it forward” so to speak. This really is a wicked little film with some deeply disturbing moments. For the vast majority of this film the tension builds and the dimeanor of the characters morphs from scene to scene until it all culminates in an ending that pops the bubble that’s been developing from the start in a startling way.

The Children – While on the topic of evil kids I would be really disappointed if I didn’t mention the most recent evil kid flick that really got under my skin. Not unlike HOME MOVIE it features kids with what seems to be complete indifference to the continuation of their parents lives. With a tagline like “You brought them into this world. Now they will take you out” how can you not at least be intrigued. It came out of Sam Rami’s Ghosthouse Productions label which picked up and released mostly duds in the same vein the After Dark Horrorfest releases, but this is the one that came from it that deserves to be sought out.

The Ruins – Of the vast majority of the films on this list very few of them got solid releases in theaters- sure it’s possible you got to see it in theaters, but in smaller markets (like mine) people have to keep tabs on the smaller releases so we can check them out on DVD. THE RUINS was a little more Hollywood than most of these other releases as it has recognizable faces and had a pretty solid release- which I say based on the fact that I saw it on opening day, take that as you will. I will give anyone their space when they see the film is essentially about killer vines, but I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice to write the film off. The conflict that arrises from a group of 20 somethings stuck in a horrific situation and the people forcing them to stay on the pyramid or face execution make the film horrific on a psychological level as well as the actual horror of being consumed by plants. THE RUINS is also shot beautifully as well so at least there’s some stunning photography to stare at here and there. If you’re a completist the film is also based on a book that is also good in its own right that I would also recommend checking out.

Frozen – Now while on the subject of 20 somethings stuck in a hopeless situation that doesn’t involve a cabin in the middle of nowhere Adam Green’s FROZEN is a much different beast from his cheesy horror throwback HATCHET. This one much like THE RUINS stars Shawn Ashmore as one of three college friends that get stuck on a ski lift after hours because of a mistake made by the slope’s crew and the slope itself will remain closed for the weekend. So, stuck in freezing weather in a chair raised high off the ground the trio are forced to make tough decisions in order to survive. I know plenty of horor buffs and non horror folks that have understandable issues with this one, but I love it. The film is shot and acted perfectly with a tremendous amount of restraint on the part of Green to lay off the gore switch which emphasizes the drama of the situation. Aside from a shot near the end the gore is quite tame, but the violence that is there is realistic and horrifying. Say what you will about the behavior of certain elements within the plot, I was engaged from beginning to end with this one.

Sleep Tight – The majority of movie going audiences want nothing to do with subtitled movies- hence why we see remakes being greenlit left and right. What people don’t realize is that more often than not something gets lost in translation and the source material that inspires these remakes gets lost to obscurity. I’d really hate to see that same fate happen to this little gem from 1/2 of the duo that brought us REC and REC 2 as it’s almost a guarentee that the material that makes this so disturbing would be scrapped entirely to make an English remake more marketable. This is an extremely well directed and tension filled flick that while subtitled does not contain huge stretches of dialogue- the majority of scenes revolve around silence and a character hiding/sneaking around. The film is immensely rewarding to genre buffs as the finale is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.

Kill List – Every once in a while you come across movies where the characters are actually speaking English, but are nearly impossible to understand through their accents. KILL LIST has those moments, but when it matters everything comes through perfectly fine and the film revels in moments of tension and quiet to get your attention before intense eruptions of violence. The finale, while familiar to another (more despicable) film that came out recently hits viewers differently, but if you are fully on board for the ride it will leave you with an empty yet satisfied feeling with plenty of questions to fuel conversations afterward.

BONUS PICK

Attack The Block – Much like THE LOVED ONES I cannot sing enough praise for ATTACK THE BLOCK. This was my favorite overall film of 2011 and one that I also argued in favor of with quite a few people I recommended it to. It’s a tough sell to get people to come around to liking a group of kids that start off so unlikable at the beginning of the film and again the really tough to decipher dialogue through thick English accents. If you can get passed the accents and slang dialogue this film is immensely rewarding with a phenomenal score, awesome alien effects and a pretty great central performance from John Boyega. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t want sit and watch this on a loop throughout the day.

Movie Review: The Imposter (2012)

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I don’t spend a lot of time tracking down documentaries, at least not as often as I probably should. My problem is that not a lot of topics seem compelling enough to hold my attention for a full hour and a half or so. When I heard so many great things about THE IMPOSTER I couldn’t help but check it out, if only to see what all the hype was about. To a certain extent, the documentary earns all the praise that’s been heaped about it, but I can’t help but feel like it dies out at a less than desireable note.

The topic of THE IMPOSTER is told from the perspective of a family’s three year search for Nicholas Barclay only to have a man overseas randomly claim to be the missing teenager and somehow fooling the family and even some government agencies that he indeed is Nicholas. The problem eventually comes that the man’s story inevitably falls apart when he is constantly questioned by professionals trained to spot inaccuracies and behavior which leads to something a little more disturbing bubbling beneath the surface of the disappearance of Nicholas Barclay.

The things that really standout about THE IMPOSTER for me is that the recreated footage of events in the film are filmed beautifully as are almost all the scenes included that are not from archived footage. The way that the story is presented has its fair share of ups and downs- from the get go I was questioning just where it was going which made me wonder what exactly was so compelling about this story. It is shocking enough that a 20 something man can infiltrate this grieving family with no remorse and even talk his way around the governement, but I wasn’t feeling that it was leading to anything substantial- until about the last half hour.

THE IMPOSTER slowly creeps into something a little darker in the final 25 minutes to a half hour where I was fully engrossed and 100% on board with how the topic was unfolding which elevated the first half of the film because everything it presents towards the end makes the opening the more interesting. I felt tense and intrigued for the rest of the film until the final shot, which then presents another issue I had. As engrossing as the final minutes are I feel like it leaves the audience suspended in mid air with no closure or clear opinion on the information presented in the last half hour. It could be argued that you are supposed to make your own presumptions about the information and let the movie live on its own with your opinion and the conversations you might have about it, but I felt a little empty at the end with no strong opinion either way. With that kind of interpretation it makes subsequent conversation a little fruitless if you can’t have a meaningful set of opinions to add to the subject. In some ways I suppose a case could be made about the deceitful nature of the imposter himself and the assumptions he presents, but the extent to which that conversation would lead me toward a clearer point of view is still questionable to me.

I did appreciate the use of recreated footage as a means to give the film a really vibrant look as it is beautifully filmed and to an extent worth checking the film out just to admire the photography, though the shots themselves add little to the way the story is told. The extra footage in some way may seem transparent as a way to add more tension and interest to the film instead of just stock footage and voiceover as would normally be used, but I think in the case of THE IMPOSTER it greatly elavates the least interesting moments. There’s a number of technical aspects that might cause distraction where the voiceover of the imposter syncs with the mouth movements of the recreated moments which I found to be a nice touch at least on a technical level, but not at the storytelling level.

As documentaries go THE IMPOSTER takes a few liberties with the way that the story is told, but in ways that work to its benefit. The topic on display here is one that unfolds in a patient manner and slowly creeps into your brain and in the last half hour really takes hold until the very last shot. To be perfectly honest, as compelling as the film is I still cannot shake the empty feeling I felt once the credits roll- rather it was by design or not I feel THE IMPOSTER end with unfinished business that for better or worse will leave the viewer with plenty of unanswered questions. It is the job of a good documentary to reel us in and keep us engaged from beginning to end and this film does that better than I would have admitted at the beginning, but masterfully winds down to a endpoint that made me wish there were more story to tell. I don’t normally have a feeling that I want to watch a documentary more than once, but THE IMPOSTER I feel is one that rewards a second viewing if to watch the opening interviews with a new perspective and gain a more rounded opinion on the topic.

Rating: A-

Movie Review: Seven Psychopaths (2012)

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Having just recently taken the time to check out IN BRUGES and really liking it I was pretty excited to take in Martin McDonagh’s newest film SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS. From the get go the dark humor and violence kicks into high gear and I was giddy about how awesome the rest of the film was going to be. For the next 45 minutes or so I felt my excitement for the film grow and then it started to coast a bit until it finally started a slow but steady decline before. McDonagh’s mostly hilarious jab at the movie industry comes out firing, but starts shooting blanks a little over halfway through.

Colin Farrell stars as Marty, a screenwriter working on a script about Seven Psychopaths and is not quite sure how to finish it. Marty’s friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) has a thing for kidnapping dogs and collecting the reward money with along with Hans (Christopher Walken). One day Billy and Hans kidnap a Shih Tzu that belongs to the crazy and irrational gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson) and Marty gets tossed into the midst of the cat and mouse game as Charlie tries to hunt down his dog.

The premise seems ripe for some really goofy comedy and for the most part it delivers on the laughs due in large part to the ridiculousness of a dog napping plot. During the first half of the film the script is full of snappy dialogue between characters and a great deal of really funny moments. Somewhere down the road the film just veers off its path and loses everything that was making it special. The finale tries hard to introduce the humor present in the first half, but never regains its footing.

The standout performance belongs mostly to Walken, although Harrelson has a handful of pretty great moments while Rockwell and Farrell trade back and forth with mostly boring character beats and moments that border on crossing into something interesting. Rockwell stands out more than Farrell, but even his character just is kind of there during the finale and offers nothing all that interesting to pull anyone back in after the film begins to drag. Farrell’s character is who I blame for making the film lose any or all of its momentum. Whenever Marty starts musing about his script and his vision of it the result is something akin to a cinematic lullaby that nearly talked me to sleep a few times.

I’m not sure where the fingers should be pointed in terms of the finale half of the film. It loses a good portion of its energy leading to the final scenes, but the first half is so much fun that it becomes frustrating just how far it veers from the spirit it started out with. Despite a few jokes in the finale the writing doesn’t even seem to be presented with the same vision of the rest of the film which makes for a very conflicting experience.

On one hand I wanted to like the movie so much more than I did based entirely on my first impression- but on the other you can only hold on to first impressions so long before you start to come to terms with the fact that the first impression may be the peak of the enjoyment you’re going to get. McDonagh’s SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS had so much potential to be something spectacular with an amazing cast and some great writing, but somewhere down the line McDonagh slows things down only to try to ramp them up again right before the finish line and by then it was just a little too late. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS may be a bit disappointing in the end, but is so much fun out of the gate that it at least deserves a test drive.

Rating: B-

Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania (2012)

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From the get go I loved the concept of an animated movie about all the classic movie monsters together in a hotel and the puns/hijinx that would ensue. Read into it a little more and I saw Adam Sandler and the rest of his posse on board doing voices and my excitement dimmed considerably. If it was over a decade ago and I read some of the same names I may have been way more excited, but with the most recent filmography of those involved I had little hope. That being said, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA was far more enjoyable than my reservations painted it, even if it tends to pander to the audiences with extremely short attention spans.

As a kids film HOTEL TRANSLYVANIA has everything that keeps the kids glued to the screen- funny looking characters, slapstick comedy, fart jokes and plenty of vibrant colors. For the average adult sitting to watch it though I feel that it lacks a focused and consistent story aside from trying to pull at their parenting heartstrings.

Sandler voices Dracula who has chosen to build a hotel for all his supernatural friends to escape to while also raising his daughter to be weary of humans in the most protective ways possible. The older she gets the more curious she becomes to visit the outside world and take a chance amongst the humans. Unexpectedly, a human stumbles upon the hotel and Dracula does everything he can to disguise him as one of their own, which leads to the unintended consequence of the human falling for his daughter and vice versa.

The animation is a lot of fun and the environments have a lot of detail, though not as beautifully rendered as your typical Pixar affair. It’s the pacing and scattershot nature of all the jokes and visual gags that are to blame for a lot of the overall disconnect I personally had with the film. The script is next in line of complaints for too often using bland character jokes and rarely bringing anything really intriguing to the table- granted it works on a kids movie level, but lands more often than not on a thud when trying more adult related jokes.

I believe it should go without saying that I never expected HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA to shatter my expectations for animated features, so based on that alone it’s par for the course. The entire film is very inoffensive and in the spirit of fast moving fun entertainment it more than fits the bill. Being stamped with a label as shallow entertainment is usually less than flattering, but in the realm of movies targeted at kids HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA at least deserves to hold its head high as a piece of fluff cinema. There are no deep introspective themes to explore in any frame of this film, but that’s not always a bad thing.

Rating: B

Tall Glass of Film’s Top 10 Craft Beers

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Before you dive into a list of my favorite craft beers that I’ve had the opportunity to try and would easily drink on a regular basis there’s something you should know. Even as I double checked the list i was hyper aware that the list is a bit thin and missing beers from breweries that are putting out incredible releases. The problem is I am limited to what is readily available and limited in other aspects as well, but I get out and try as much as I can when I can. In all honesty the other issue is that I’ve only really been turned on to hopping around and trying every beer in site over the last couple of years so I still have a lot of ground to cover.

In essence even as I’ve already tried a lot of different beers I still have a long way to go and you all can take the journey with me. Before I get too mushy, I need to remember this is all about beer so let’s just jump into my list of favorite craft beers.

10. New Belgium Brewing Company’s Red Hoptober – I have two things to confess- one, it would have been a lot easier to make a top five list and two, I have not had many New Belgium beers that I really love. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t “hated” anything in particular I just haven’t fallen head over heals for any of their releases. Red Hoptober is about as close as it comes and I will say that it was even closes to love when I had it out of a tap as opposed to the bottle. You’ll notice I usually have a thing for seasonals and that’s my dilemma most of the time. As a fall release it’s nice to break the slew of pumpkin beer releases with something a little hoppier and less pumpkiny.

9. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Ruthless Rye IPA – I only got to try this one recently and I’m not at all shy about including it on this list already. I’m also becomming more and more obsessed with IPAs and this is one of my favorites of the ones I’ve had as of late. It’s hoppy, with a bit of a bite, but it’s also not all that heavy to drink. Sierra Nevada doesn’t appear to be short on fans, but in all honesty this is the first one that I tried that I can’t wait to drink again.

8. Lucky Bucket Brewing Company’s Kriek – I could not resist sneaking in some local flavor on my list and as much as Lucky Bucket continues to grow on me I can’t say that any of their year round bottled releases have hooked me. I will say though that each time they release a small batch that you can try at the brewery or at local bars I always find myself going back for more. Such is the case with their sour cherry kreik that I first tried on a night out with some friends and may be my absolute favorite of their small batch releases. I look forward to seeing some of these find their way to a bottle for storage purposes or just so that I can enjoy them from the comfort of my home on a weeknight after a long day at work and don’t feel like venturing out to a large crowded bar.

7. Boulder Beer Company’s Hazed & Infused – In the last couple years I’ve attempted to try as many beers as possible whenever possible in order to expand my knowledge of beer in general, but also expose my senses to the craft of beer. I’m still working on it to this day no matter how many beers I try, but Boulder’s Hazed & Infused was one of my first forays to the liquor store in the first of many mix and match 6 packs I buy in order to try as many beers as I do and on first taste I knew this was something I really wanted to keep doing. One of the hoppier beers of the first batch I opened myself up to compared to the beers I had been drinking before is still one I pass by at the store and consider drinking again instead of sifting through for something new. I will always remember this one fondly as one that really opened up my mind to trying new beer and helped start me on my way to discovering craft beer and the many different tastes involved.

6. Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Creme Brulee Stout Of every stout I’ve tried none have come close to the sweetness of Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee Stout. Two others I considered for the list that rank among my favorites are Odell’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout and Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout- both of which I only tried recently and I wasn’t really prepared to add them to the list just yet. I’ve also never had Southern Tier’s Chokolat, so obviously it couldn’t be considered until that moment, but this particular choice really surprised me.

5. Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Hop Stoopid I am new to everything that is Lagunitas as they’ve only just become available locally to me and this was my very first choice when I saw it on the shelf. There’s nothing fancy about the look, but who needs fancy when what’s inside the bottle is so deliciously hoppy and complex. It sort of took me back a bit at first, but as I continued to drink it I started liking it more and more. At this point I’ve tried every other style available here (Sucks, IPA, Pils, Cappuccino Stout, Little Sumpin Wild Ale and Little Sumpin Sumpin and Maximus) and Hop Stoopid remains my favorite of the bunch, though I am fully on board the Lagunitas bandwagon.

4. Tallgrass Brewing Company’s 8-Bit Pale Ale When I first started picking beers on my regular trips to the store I passed the line of Tallgrass releases several times, almost always wanting to pick it up but holding off each time. The day finally came that I caved in and picked up the 8-Bit and I devoured the 4 pack way faster than I probably should have. The 8-Bit Pale Ale has a delicious hop character that’s got its bitterness, but is mellowed by what I perceive as a very subtle citrus taste. This is the type of beer that makes me embarrassed that I wasted so much of my early 20’s on tasteless domestic beers.

3. Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale I feel that there’s a bit of an unfair view on beer infused with any sort of fruit- that they are targeted more for female drinkers due to the sweetness and the fact that the majority have lower alcohol content therefore aren’t as “hardcore.” To am extent I agree they may not be the type of beer that puts hair on your chest, but sweetness in a beer doesn’t alone make it the wine cooler of craft beer. I’ve had several strawberry beers and all have their value, but Samuel Smith’s has a lineup of really tasty fruit infused beers and the Organic Strawberry Ale is particularly great. Friends I know that enjoy fruit beers believe this to be too sweet and prefer something like the Früli over this, but for my money Samuel Smith’s gives you way more bang for your buck.

2. Wells and Young’s Brewing Company’s Banana Bread Beer In my spare time I also have taken up homebrewing and I am particularly obsessed with experimenting with adding bananas to a beer, but can’t quite settle on a style. Well’s Banana Bread Beer is what I can only hope my final project turns out as once I get it done and if I tastes even close to this I will be stock piling every last bottle for myself. The brilliance of this beer to me cannot be understated as when you first sip it the taste is much darker and has the characteristics of a nut brown ale, but finishes with a delicious banana aftertaste, thus earning its name Banana Bread Beer. Of these last two choices if I was forced to drink nothing but for the rest of my life, I would indeed die as one happy beer lover.

1. Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Imperial Pumking I mentioned before how Southern Tier’s wonderful lineup of great craft beers are not available locally to me, but surrounding areas do and though it tends to be inconvenient to travel just for beer, I’m happy to do so for the Pumking. This is the beer that made me believe in love at first sip as as soon as I enjoyed my first drink of this delightful seasonal release I was hooked. I had only picked up two just in case it didn’t live up to its reputation, but when I finished the first and looked at the lone remaining bottle I was hesitant to waste it. I’ve since made one other trip during its seasonal release and along with a friend dropped almost $300 just on bottles of Pumking in one fell swoop. I have no doubt there are plenty of people who have thrown down way more than that for their favorite beer (and by all means I want to hear your stories), but since I rarely seem to buy the same beer twice anymore so I can keep trying new stuff, that was quite the commitment. Needless to say, this August I already have started making plans to do it all over again.