Brew & View

Short movie summarizations and a beer suggestion to go along with your movie night

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

bvsdoj_tgofThere are those of us who willingly choose to avoid the paper representations of the immensely popular superhero films. In doing so, while unable to provide a glimpse into how faithful the adaptations are, can still provide a unique and still truthful outlook to the success of the filmmakers to present a story that is worthwhile and thrilling. Sadly, it’s filmmakers like Zack Snyder who make us realize how good we had it with Christopher Nolan and his uneven take on the cowled vigilante in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan, provided a grim perspective on the Batman universe and Snyder too uses the grim approach, it also is more often than not…soulless.

For better or worse I approach each superhero flick hoping to experience a well told story. With any luck it’ll come together cohesively even without having read the comics. One should not have to have that knowledge to enjoy the film counterparts because it is the job of the filmmaker to present the story in a way that makes sense in its own right. Snyder has not done his due diligence in this regard- at least from this viewer’s perspective. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly sets the table for DC’s own Avengers type formula, but does so in messy fashion. Consider Synder’s vision the Island of Misfit toys so to speak, which goes a long way in describing the film as a whole. It’s like a child playing with his toys and like a child they’re no sense or meaning to anything that happens, just the bashing together of plastic soulless figures because it’s fun. Plus this particular child has a $250 million budget so those plastic toys look a lot cooler.  (more…)

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Brew & View: The Buzz Awakens

The Movie (No Spoilers)

img_8405To celebrate the long awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it seemed long overdue to bring back a favorite feature of mine, Brew & View. It’s been a long long time–and in a galaxy far away if you will–since we last saw the likes of a Brew & View. Even still, this will not be your typical Brew & View–let’s call it, View & Brew to be a bit more accurate. The following will be a spoiler free review of The Force Awakens, followed by the beer pairing for the film. The beer in question, Toppling Goliath’s Light Speed Pale Ale.

First things first though. It was only a few years ago that J.J. Abrams rejuvenated a series that this reviewer previously had no allegiance to. Abrams successfully injected a sense of enthusiasm and fandom into me that was previously void, so the monumental wait for the filmmaker to tackle a franchise where enthusiasm and fandom already existed was almost unbearable. J.J. tackled the unenviable task of reviving a series that was nearly destroyed by its creator with an uncommon poise and emerged on the other end having given the franchise a much needed infusion of modern tastes that brings Star Wars into a new generation with extreme spectacle.

The Force Awakens picks up some time after the events of Return of the Jedi, wherein Luke has disappeared following a failed attempt to train a group of Jedis. In that time a new threat, the First Order, has risen from the ashes of the Empire, but the Resistance is seeking to ensure that they do not succeed. Both are searching for Luke knowing that he could be the key to stopping the First Order. (more…)

Brew & View: Up In Flames

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Where there is smoke there is fire- I think that’s how the saying goes, unless of course you’re partaking in an alcoholic beverage. Smoked beers aren’t always my cup of tea, but every now and again I come across one that gives me hope for the next. There is also a first time for everything and a smoked IPA is indeed a first for me. Golden Road’s Burning Bush IPA indeed indicates that it is a smoked India Pale Ale, but for a smoked beer, I don’t quite get much of a smokey character out of it. With a name like Burning Bush though, how can I resist the urge to to a Brew & View with it.

Does anyone even remember FIRESTORM? Aside from the Seinfeld episode when the title is brought up several times- I don’t even recall if that is in reference to the actual film. Besides the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be I actually remember getting a little bit of a kick out of FIRESTORM when it first came out. It sure isn’t going to redefine anyone’s faith in cinema, but what modern action films really do these days…or back in the late 90’s for that matter. (more…)

Brew & View: The Beauty Vs. The Beast

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Maybe it’s just drinking beer that brings out the feisty side of me, maybe it’s just the overwhelming hype of certain movies and then again maybe it’s something about a brewing company named Surly that inspired me to bring up one of the most overrated movies in recent memory. I say overrated not because people spew overwhelming love about it wherever you go- quite the opposite I’ve found in my lack of travel- what I really mean is the fact that AVATAR was inexplicably in the running for what most might call a prestigious award the year it was released.

The title of this Brew & View refers to Beauty and a Beast. I don’t want there to be confusion that I somehow screwed things up and I posted the wrong Brew & View- what I’m arguably posing is that for this edition one of the picks is a beauty and the other…not so much. I could have called this the OverRated edition, but that seemed like overkill to me. If you haven’t guessed by now I am not a fan of James Cameron’s AVATAR- but none of my beefs have anything to do with the visuals of the film. I find AVATAR to be profoundly stupid and shockingly boring, but man if them there special effects ain’t perdy.

Now I’ve seen my fair share of stupid movies, I’ve seen my fair share of boring movies and I’ve seen my fair share of movies with awesome special effects that are stupid and boring. The baffling thing to me is that AVATAR got a slew of what I see as undeserved praise during award season and plenty of people felating James Cameron for his work. To some extent Cameron might well deserve some of the love, but only because of the technology he created for the film to create the amazing special effects. That in and of itself is nothing short of ground breaking and I just so happen to love computer animation and computer generated imagery so the innovation in that field cannot go unrecognized.

So, why did I decide to go with Surly’s OverRated West Coast Style IPA to pair with AVATAR? Well that is a pretty simple answer- the name of the beer is OverRated. So anyone reading this to try to justify sending any hate mail due to their anger that I was calling Surly’s offering overrated can power down the engines a bit. I love Surly and I love OverRated- in fact OverRated may be one of my favorite beers released by them, though I’ve only had limited experience with the beers released by Surly. For me this IPA is a much smoother drink as compared to Furious and the Abrasive Ale thus making it something I could drink in succession- the same type of repeated enjoyment that I can’t possibly get from the paired film, AVATAR.

To put some additional context for what makes AVATAR overrated I need only point to the film’s lead actor, Sam Worthington. The man had been cast in movie after movie around the same time and for what? The one main characteristic of his performance is that he has no personality and every character he plays just lands flat- aside from AVATAR just look at his performances in TERMINATOR SALVATION, CLASH OF THE TITANS and WRATH OF THE TITANS. What is the reward for subpar acting? Oh, just being a part of the top grossing movie of all time is all. The amount of money AVATAR made is nothing short of annoying and underserved. I cannot in good conscience begrudge the film making some money since I did love the special effects, but earning the top spot as the top grossing movie of all time hardly demonstrates the quality of the movie.

The road to posting this brew and view has be plagued with an infuriating amount of technical difficulties- most of which stemming from the fact that Apple’s version of WordPress is kind of an abomination and lost every word I typed more than three times. No one asked for the behind the scenes look at what it takes to put this together so just consider this a half assed commentary/bonus feature accompanying the post.

So what have we learned from this session of Brew & View? Well, not much really except that I really don’t like AVATAR and to no one’s surprise I enjoy beer. Surly is consistent in putting out some pretty high quality beer where as AVATAR suffers in consistently putting forth an entertaining film experience. The two might share the same main color scheme, but that is where the similarities come to a complete halt. James Cameron has an eye for some jaw dropping visuals, but his film is profoundly stupid, unoriginal and boring. Few times have I been witness to such amazing imagery and at the same time on the verge of falling asleep. Indeed maybe the only way for me to enjoy AVATAR would be to sit down and consume a 4 pack of OverRated and ride my buzz all the way through- assuming of course my buzz can survive the bloated run time.

Brew & View: Let’s Talk About…Sex

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For this edition of Brew & View I was given inspiration from my better half and I sat down and thought about the best way to fuse the beer with the film and I was struck with inspiration of my own. For a beer from a brewing company by the name of Horny Goat it already seemed justified to find a movie at which sex and being horny were what the movie revolved around. However, then I was struck with the inspiration to take a look at it from two different perspectives- the light side of sex and the dark side.

Horny Goat’s Hopped Up N Horny invokes both the good and the bad of a beer lover- at least in my opinion. It’s a hoppy IPA that sells the bright side of a hoppy beer lover, however it kind of lacks the flavors that make them memorable to me- mix that with alcohol content and you have the dark side of a beer lover.

First up we have 40 DAYS 40 NIGHTS staring Josh Hartnett about a young man that decides he’s having too much sex and thus should give it up for lent, as one does. I saw this as a young man myself and at the time if I’m being honest I couldn’t relate to a character that’s having too much sex and considers that a problem- I recall thoughts of, “What sort of douche thought this thing up. Alas, I did find the movie pretty funny at the time and flash forward to current day I believe I even tried giving up beer for lent- though it didn’t last.

I dunno how many of you out there have ever given anything up for any amount of time that you’re addicted to or rely on to give you a euphoric feeling, but it can turn the best of people into a rambling lunatic with an incredibly short temper. It’s happened to me when I first gave up drinking lots of caffeine and its something depicted in 40 DAY 40 NIGHTS where the men that attempt to give up sex either turn into jittery hot messes or irritable perverts.

Not that I’m trying to insert any subliminal messages that beer is sex or anything, but seriously beer is sex. No not really, but my muse of a wife put the idea in my head and who am I to ignore inspiration no matter where it comes from. She might argue that if I put the time and effort into sex that I do now with beer I may not have been quite as lonely a teen as I was- then again I may have also ended up like the bloke in the next Brew & View pairing.

Next up is SHAME staring Michael Fassbender- the spiritual sequel to what I’m assuming Josh Hartnett’s would have been had Lent not put him on the path of righteousness. SHAME is about a man that quite simply is addicted to sex- so much so that it leads him down some deep and dark pathways. Unlike the previous film this has no hints to a feel good flick, although when you think of sex in a movie you might wonder how that could be. I’m here to tell you that SHAME is named thus for a reason and it’s not because Fassbender’s character is inspired by Lent.

The polar opposite to 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS the film is everything dark about what its like to have an addiction to sex. One that affects your job, your day to day life and of course your personal relationships. If I’m allowed to be serious for a moment, it’s similar to most any addiction even alcohol in terms of the negative effects one suffers from addiction. SHAME really had an effect on me- not because I’m addicted to sex or anything else for that matter- but because the film is so well made and personal that connecting with Fassbender’s character was easy and the emotional journey is devasting because of it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “buzzkill” and SHAME is nothing if not that- in spite of how well made and brilliantly acted it is. Have a few drinks with 40 DAY AND 40 NIGHTS and you’re bound to have a good time maybe even with your pants off. Have a few with SHAME and you’ll see those pants come up as fast as they went off- that or you’ll cry yourself to sleep lying on your bed in a fetal position.

If Hopped Up N Horny is the sponser for your Brew & View date night the hooves are bound to fall on the side of 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS. Should you choose to make your date watch SHAME…well let’s just say I hope you’re stocked up on Lubriderm and Kleenex.

Brew & View: The Drunk and the Furious

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The FAST/FURIOUS franchise has undergone a pretty drastic personality shift from its roots to where it currently stands. What started as a pretty straightforward flick about racing cars and daring thefts has morphed into what is essentially a superhero franchise where the characters have more pull to take down criminals and protect the wellbeing of the world than any military or police operation could. Nothing says this more than a scene in FAST & FURIOUS 6 (or FURIOUS 6) where a gun is pulled on a military official in order to let an international terrorist free with a device that has the potential to do serious harm to the world- simply to avoid the assumed eventual death of someone with no government ties or importance.

This is the type of plotting we’ve come to expect from the last two films in the series where the completley ludacris is embraced over substance- but to extremely entertaining results. So what does that have in common with my choice for the brew I’ve chosen for this post? Isn’t it obvious? The can literally says Furious. If I’m being honest I wanted to get out easy by picking a beer that shared nothing more in common with the movie than the name and in some ways that is the central conceit. As I talk though, as blasphemous as it will sound to people who are head over heals with Surly Brewing Company’s Furious, it too can be described as a beer that embraces its flashy hop taste and is delicious because.of it, but maybe doesn’t have the overall balance I kind of hoped it would.

This may seem kind of like a backhanded compliment to both the movie and the beer, but not really. Justin Lin is a director that knows how ridiculous his films have been- if not I worry for him. Surly’s beer is not disgusting in the least- quite the opposite in fact. I’ve had a few other of Surly’s offerings and they all have been quality beers and between Abrasive and Furious they bare a resemblence to FAST FIVE and FURIOUS 6 as being the biggest and most explosive of the bunch- and there certainly isn’t anything wrong with that.

The FURIOUS movies in theory do not resemble Furious the beer in any way shape or form except in my own way of marrying these two together so far. FURIOUS 6 in particular is an incredibly big and incredibly stupid action flick that’s a whole hell of a lot of fun to watch while Furious is an IPA that’s big in hop taste and I can’t- without deeming myself insane- call it incredibly stupid, but it is a whole hell of a lot of fun to drink.

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.