Happy Thanksgiving! A New Turkey Day Tradition!

Brazeiros

With our kids grown and (at the moment) moved out, we have started a new way of celebrating Thanksgiving. This being the third year, it now qualifies as tradition. We go to Knoxville and have a big Thanksgiving lunch at Brazeiros.

Brazeiros

Brazeiros is a very nice churrascaria. A churrascaria is a Brazilian steakhouse, with an endless supply of meats brought to the table. Sadly these have become rather popular in the last decade. I mention sadly because a good churrascaria is amazing but a bad one will put you right off the concept. The difference appears to be the quality of the meats used. Top quality meats such as at Brazeiros (Knoxville) and Chima (Charlotte) ensure a top quality experience. Unfortunately many churrascarias use bargain basement meats (filet mignon that tastes like sawdust for example). The churrascaria on Norwegian Cruise Lines has a $20 upcharge and is just awful as is my local churrascaria, Brasilia.

Mockingjay 2

Every Thanksgiving, my wife and I drive to Knoxville, eat picanha, drink a caipirinha, and have papaya cream with chambord for dessert. We go to the movies afterward (The Hunger Games Mockingjay this year I think) and a motel for the evening. We go to Mckay’s, do some Christmas shopping Friday morning, and return home.

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving, with or without family.

James Bond Week – Hulu

Hulu of course has nowhere near the depth or breadth of the movies available on Netflix. However someone in their programming and procurement office is pretty savvy.

Hulu

At the beginning of the month, just in time for Spectre, Hulu acquired the exclusive rights for a slew of Bond films. Connery is well-represented, with Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds are Forever – even the non-canon Never Say Never Again. Only his first, Dr. No, is not available. Goldfinger and From Russia With Love are justifiable classics. The others are worth watching just for Connery though Never Say Never Again is a very lazy remake of Thunderball.

From Russia With Love

All seven Bond entries from the Moore tongue-in-cheek era are here: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, Moonraker, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Live and Let Die. Both Dalton’s The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill are available. Heck, they even have George Lazenby’s single outing as Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That one is worth watching for the absolutely radiant Diana Rigg.

The more recent Brosnan and Craig entries are not on Hulu but 16 movies of the franchise is 16 more than Netflix or Amazon Prime have.

Mockingjay Double

Unfortunately I will be missing the Mockingjay double feature but both Hulu and Amazon Prime have The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One streaming in time for the theatrical premiere of Mockingjay Part Two. Netflix has….umm…the not really a satire Starving Games so good luck with that.

Lots of Special November Theatrical Showings

November is shaping up to be a good month for movie viewing.

Mockingjay Double

On the 18th, Regal and other chains are showing a Mockingjay double feature. The first feature begins at 4:30. For some reason, my regal (Biltmore Grande) has this listed at a whopping $26.75 as though it were a full marathon and not a double feature. The Carmike in Asheville is playing this for a much more reasonable $15.

Roman Holiday

On the 29th and again on December 2nd (both at 2 and 7), Turner Classic Movies (via Fathom Events) is bringing Roman Holiday back to theaters. This 1953 movie showcases the talents of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.”

Home Alone

Fathom Events and Fox are bringing Home Alone to theaters the 8th and the 11th at 4:30 and 7:30 (except Cinemark theaters where the early showing is 2 instead of 4:30).

Regal You So Crazy Part 2 – Mockingjay

Regal Cinemas

Apparently Regal got a good reaction to their limited edition $100 Spectre card. Now they have a $100 limited edition The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2 card.

Mockingjay 2

Guests with the Regal Ultimate Ticket can receive one admission to “Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2″ each day for the entire run of the movie in Regal theaters. This limited edition stainless steel collectible is laser etched and features the iconic Mockingjay symbol. Each will be personalized FREE with the recipient’s name. Hurry! Production is limited to only 1,000 available units.  Be Part of the Revolution. Again and again.”

Ultimate Mockingjay

There are a few things that Regal has clarified since the introduction of the Spectre card. Customers receive 100 points on their Regal Crown Club card. They tout this as a bonus but it is just the same number of points you would have received had you spent that $100 on individual tickets. The card is good for IMAX and RPX showings as well.

I like the tchotchke but with RPX showings being $13 in our area, I’d have to go see the movie on eight different days to get my money’s worth.

Obviously the big question is will they do this program for Star Wars?

Also on the Regal front, I received an email about Regal’s new My Way Matinee program. This is a serious misnomer as it is pretty much the opposite of my way.

“In partnership with Puzzles International and the autism community, Regal Cinemas brings you My Way Matinee. This program is a way for individuals, families and friends to enjoy a morning at the movies in a comfortable environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!”

While this program does not at all appeal to me, I do applaud Regal’s efforts to reach out to the autism community. It is interesting that they note “enjoy a morning at the movies” because both Regals in my area stopped showing morning movies as soon as summer ended.

Epic Cinema Tables at Epic Theatres of course!

On my last movie day, I spent the whole day at my local Epic Theatre. I got a nice jumbo hard plastic Ant-Man cup to add to my already overburgeoning collection and my waistline thanks them for having unsweet tea. I don’t care for water and hate diet cola.

Pirates Table

 

Normally they, like most theaters, have too much lobby space. Normally I like to peruse the neat displays for upcoming movies (my favorite was Regal’s whack-a-mole featuring the Minions for Despicable Me 2), but this time I was really impressed with the new tables they got.

Hunger Games Table

 

The tables and chairs seemed very sturdy and the table easy to clean off. The table was a little lower than I would like but now I think I need one in my movie room.

Toy Story 3

 

They had four styles but I imagine these would be quickly customizable to any movie poster. Now should I get Alien or The Thing or something from classic Hollywood?

Spider-Man

The Hunger Games – Mockingjay – You Know Who You Are

Mockingjay

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) – Rated PG-14

When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.”

Well this is a rather pointless review. You already know whether you want to see this film. If you enjoyed the first two, then of course you will want to see how the story turns out. If you didn’t, then you won’t. Mockingjay is quite good even if there isn’t an actual Hunger Game involved.

Regal lines

Everyone returns and Philip Seymour Hoffman is present throughout so most of his scenes must have been in the can before his unfortunate passing. I was fortunate enough to have a day off and went to Regal’s marathon. Not only did I get to see the first two movies on the big screen (again) but I also didn’t have to wait in Regal’s cattle lines (seen here prior to opening crowd showing up).

Mockingjay keychain

 

Marathon attendees also got a $5 medium combo coupon. If you upgrade to a large, you have popcorn and soda for the entire day (I upgraded the soda and had far too much Coke). Attendees also got a FREE Mockingjay keychain (above) and lanyard (below).

Mockingjay lanyard

End of Summer – Time for a Report Card – My Favorites

Well we are fast approaching Labor Day aka The End of Summer. I have been blessed this year to have been able to see most of the summer films. Here are my favorites:

The Avengers: The Avengers is absolutely the best of the summer movies.The heroes are all wonderful (even if Hulk gets all the big laughs), the villain is quite heinous, the action is constant and for comic book fans, there are tons of character beats and plenty of hero face-offs before the big finale.

The Dark Knight Rises: How do you follow-up the best Batman movie? Christopher Nolan did it by making an even better Batman movie. That was The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises is wonderful but flawed. The themes are marvelous and the plot intricate but some of Bane’s dialogue remains unintelligible, a key scene between Bruce and Alfred is thrown away, and a few things just don’t gel right.

Prometheus: I really wanted to love this film and I did. That does not mean that I’m ignorant of the glaring faults contained within. I really enjoyed Charlize Theron’s ice cold executive but it is Michael Fassbender’s performance that commands every scene.

The Amazing Spider-Man: I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this, especially as I thought Sam Raimi and his cast had done two definitive Spider-Man movies with all the definitive roles perfectly cast. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are wonderful here and they are the reason the movie is so good.

The Hunger Games: Okay not technically a summer movie but I only just caught this one at a second-run theater. I found The Hunger Games to be quite good though necessarily skimming through the book. The funny thing is that the action scenes are terrible – the usual over-reliance on shaky-cam to give the impression of urgency. The rest of the movie is really good as are the performances, particularly Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.