Beer Review: Cisco Brewers Pumple Drumkin

Beer:  Pumple Drumkin
Brewer: Cisco Brewers
Source:  12 oz. can
Rating:  * (5.7 of 10)
Comments:  The pumpkin beer has a pumpkin color with a thick head.  The aroma is weak and metallic, and the flavor is spicy but with a weak aftertaste.  It’s an okay beer, but even poured into a glass I can’t escape the canned beer taste.




Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

Title: Safety Not Guaranteed
Release Date: 18 October 2012
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Production Co: Big Beach Films
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
Rating: ***

The staff of a Seattle magazine head to a coastal Washington town to investigate a classified ad by someone recruiting an assistant for a time travel adventure.  The young intern Darius played by Aubrey Plaza makes a connection with the purported time traveler Kenneth (Mark Duplass).  They turn out to have a lot in common, feeling like misfits and suffering from life-changing losses.  There’s also a subplot about a drunk, lecherous writer (Jeff, played Jake Johnson) who actually organized the business trip as a pretext to reunite with an old flame, but I find those parts of the film more intrusive.  The idea of time travel is used to explore the ideas of aging and grief.  There are some cheesy romcom cliches and the conclusion has 80s tv movie feel with various characters gathered in the same place while Jeff cheers on the leads.  Good performances by Plaza and Duplass mixed with a lot of charm, humor, and humanity make for an enjoyable film.

Movie Review: 30 for 30: Four Days in October

Title30 for 30: Four Days in October
Release Date: 5 October 2010
Director: Gary Waskman
Production Co: Major League Baseball Productions
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Documentary | Sports | Baseball
Rating:  ****

The ESPN documentary documents the last four games (played over four consecutive days) of the 2004 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, from the Red Sox point of view.  There’s nothing radical about it from a filmmaking perspective, merely clips of tv and radio footage from the games interspersed with interviews with Red Sox players and some celebrity fans.  I watched it mainly so my 5-year-old son could learn some Red Sox history, and it quickly became his favorite movie.  It was also a nice nostalgia trip to see memorable Red Sox comeback and all the little aspects I’d forgotten (doubly so to watch it without the feeling of twisted intestines that I had back in 2004)

Movie Review: In The Loop

TitleIn The Loop
Release Date: 17 April 2009
Director: Armando Iannucci
Production Co: IFC Films,  BBC Films
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: Comedy | Satire
Rating: ***

This satirical film depicts mid-level government officials in Britain and the US as they work towards declaring war against an unnamed Middle Eastern country (an obvious parody of the run-up to war with Iraq).  Some of them hope to avert the war due to the obvious holes in the rationale behind the invasion, but most of the characters simply want to do whatever will advance their careers.  Every character in this movie has sharp acerbic wit and insults are hurled left and right.  Kind of  a mix of The West Wing and The Office and Dr. Strangelove.   It is funny with a lot quotable dialogue.  On the other hand, the general mean-spiritedness of the affair leaves a bad feeling in my mouth.  Good performances by Peter Calpadi, Tom Hollander, Anna Chlumsky, James Gandolfini, and others carry the film.