Archive for the ‘Movies/TV’ Category

posted by on Fitness, Movies/TV

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3 out of 5

missemmamm with DWTS Latin Cardio Dance

I’m not a happy camper.

While perusing low priced exercise DVDs on Amazon, I’ve seen quite a few that were produced by Dancing with the Stars. I put them all on a wishlist for later perusal and went about my business. How would I know which one I’d like the best? Plus, I had other exercises I wanted to try out first.

A couple of weeks ago I came across this title at the flea market. For $2 you better believe I snatched this baby up. The main draw that I can see for this over other fitness DVDs is if you’re a DWTS fan. I have been watching the show off and on (mostly on) for years. So yes, I’m definitely a fan. This title is hosted by Cheryl Burke (my favorite female DWTS dancer) and the sexy Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Kym Johnson is also one of the back up dancers. (She never speaks.) This title is from 2008 so you may notice that Maksim and Kym look much younger. Cheryl is pretty ageless. The other draw is that you can (supposedly) learn a well known dance routine solo.

The runtime of the DVD is 60 minutes. It consists of a warm up, 4 dance routines and a toning workout. The dances are merengue, cha-cha,samba and mamba. Each routine is 10 minutes long. You would be correct in thinking that one hour for all of that is woefully short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FObvm1asBHc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP2L9VJn_Zg

The warm up is 5 minutes and is completely forgettable. I literally just did this title and do not remember it at all. (Okay, if you check out the video of it above, you can see that it’s basically stretching.) The four dances are split up between our two hosts. They go back and forth. We start with the merengue, which is hosted by Cheryl. This dance is okay. You turn your feet in, in an odd pigeon toed move. About halfway in many of the moves became difficult. Yes, spin around in a circle. Umm, okay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORFqQrqOc-M

Next up, Maks teaches us the cha-cha. This dance seems to mainly be twisting your hips and feet back and forth. While doing it in place I wasn’t sure I was doing it correctly at all. Eventually you will do the staple move of this routine so much that you will become comfortable with it.

I find being able to count along with steps very helpful. Maks does not always do so in this routine. In fact this seems to happen every once in a while throughout the entire disc. I’m also not sure that the numbers and the beats always match up (at least to a completely untrained dancer). In both this routine and Maks’ later dance he likes you to cover a lot of the floor. This looks great. However you are going to need a huge amount of space. I have a decent sized living room and still struggled. Again, I was doing well with this dance until the middle when he started going around in a circle. Por que?

dwts samba

via Lionsgate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3osaN-5b9k

Then we attempt the samba with Cheryl. This dance involves a lot of bouncing and stepping the feet behind each other. I found this dance to be more fun and less complicated than the merengue.

dwts mambo

via Lionsgate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkVx7zRRo-Y

Our last dance is Maks with the mambo. This is sort of a smooth, sliding dance. For the most part I dug it, but again had trouble fitting all of the moves into my non dance studio sized living room. Eventually he tries to show us the box step and I faltered terribly at it. I still tried and kept moving but ugh.

dwts toning

via Lionsgate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSUIfgsSGPM

Lastly, there is a toning workout. This is mainly aerobics with some ballet thrown in. I do have a big issue with this though. This section is only 15 minutes long, yet the dancers go back and forth four times. I don’t know if this was something the director wanted or if it had to do with egos (equal screen time) but it’s sooo annoying. I wish they would have stuck to one of them throughout the whole thing. Either would have been good. It did seem like Cheryl had it memorized better than Maks. However when Maks barks orders at you like, “on your knees!”, damn, that shit is hot! Whatever you say Maksim.

Overall I like it but I don’t love it. I’m a huge fan of both dancers but it made me wonder if they give clearer directions when teaching their stars on the show. It seems to me that the demographic for this DVD is an average Dancing with the Stars viewer. I’m guessing that most, like me, are not dancers and will not automatically know how to do the steps.

Since the routines are so short, dances move quickly and are not explained in enough detail to truly master them. Yes, you can do the DVD repeatedly and try to master the steps. I feel like if I try to do that in the future that I’m not going to get a tough enough workout. Yes, I was sweating but it was my first time. It’s not unusual for me to only be able to make it partway through a brand new workout because I throw myself in and can’t keep up with the intensity of it. Since this does have cardio in the title I had to address this fact. It just seems bad to me that this title often offers less instruction than my current go to title, which is ballet and sometimes the narrator just goes with the French terms for the steps in that one.

The menu of the DVD is set up nicely. You can choose to do one section or play all. Plus there is a music only option if you do not want to hear their instructions and a custom dance matrix. I have not played with either of these but I’d probably enjoy the custom dance matrix because (I’m guessing) you get to choose which dances you do together and I do prefer some over others.

At under $10, if you truly love the show and these dancers in particular then you may want to try it. I feel that there are probably better, more in depth fitness DVDs out there to learn the dances properly as well as those that would be simpler but elevate your heart rate more.

You can purchase Dancing with the Stars Latin Cardio Dance from Amazon (Note: This is an affiliate link.)

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Thank you Elizabeth Berkley!-about her Saved by the Bell themed dance on Dancing with the Stars
Candy Colored Dreams starring Dancing with the Stars’ Anna Trebunskaya

Note: I do realize that the whole workout is in this post. That’s good. You can fully judge if you want to purchase it.

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posted by on Conventions, Excursions, Movies/TV

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William Sanders at the April 2014 Steel City Con

William Sanders at the April 2014 Steel City Con

Recently I was able to attend yet another Steel City Con. While browsing vendor tables I noticed an eye catching movie poster. I asked the dude who was manning the table, what was happening. He explained that he was there to let people know about his upcoming film Road Trip of the Dead. William Sanders (director/writer/producer) told me a bit about the project. He explained that unlike many other films, it’s not actually a zombie movie. Instead it’s a documentary style horror film. The general plot is that a group of friends decide to visit the locations used by George Romero while filming in and around the Pittsburgh area.

If you aren’t from this area you may not realize how big it is that Romero shot around here. Chances are you know somebody who knows somebody who had something to do with one of his PA movies. I once had an entire convo with a guy bagging my groceries at a local supermarket who told me how he was an extra in 1990’s Night of the Living Dead. So yeah, that’s the cool thing about this area.

with Tom Savini at Horrorfind Weekend in 2005

with Tom Savini at Horrorfind Weekend in 2005

Hot Donna with Tom Savini at Horrorfind Weekend in 2005

Hot Donna with Tom Savini at Horrorfind Weekend in 2005

Road Trip of the Dead is sure to be both entertaining and informative. Locations featured in the flick will include the Monroeville Mall, the Evans City Cemetery and the Wampum Mines. Plus Tom Savini will be in the film!

Wouldn’t you like to help make this movie happen? Right now, you can go back it on Indiegogo. Indiegogo is a crowdfunding site similar to Kickstarter but with one huge difference, the fundraisers get the money regardless of whether or not they are able to raise the entire goal amount. That means these guys can still make their awesome movie even though they may not meet their goal.

There are a variety of perks available. For only $5 you can receive a special thanks credit, for $10 you will receive a special thanks credit, an Iron City Beer Bottle Opener and a 4X6 promo card from the film, $25 gets you a special thanks credit, a shout out on the film’s official Facebook and twitter accounts and an awesome Road Trip of the Dead poster signed by the cast. Of course there are many other perks that you can receive when you back the movie. They include props and other memorabilia pertaining to Romero’s flicks.

This sounds like a very interesting movie to help fund. Check out some videos from the team behind the film below. Then back it.

Check out:
official Facebook
official twitter

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posted by on Movies/TV

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This post is for the Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot series. In this series you choose a frame of a movie that means something to you. I talked about the movie not long ago in a Netflix post so I’m not really going to say to much about it here.

Even though I’d watched it earlier this year I had no idea what I would choose as my favorite shot. It’s not that the film isn’t beautiful, it’s just that I remember it more for it’s music.

Pocahontas hands

In the end I went with this shot. It’s very simple. However it seems quite meaningful. It’s when Pocahontas and John are meeting for the first time. He is putting his hand out to help her up and it shows an initial trust on her part to actually take it.

Of course I couldn’t resist taking a few more screencaps for fun.

Beautiful shot by very talented animators. I can see why multiple bloggers chose this shot.

Beautiful shot by very talented animators. I can see why multiple bloggers chose this shot.

Governor Ratcliffe is a terrible human being but he has wonderful taste in (dream) apparel.

Governor Ratcliffe is a terrible human being but he has wonderful taste in (dream) apparel.

aw, their first kiss

aw, their first kiss

I have pugs so during my recent viewings of the film I couldn’t help but get a kick out of Percy the pug. So here are some fun Percy caps.

percy 1

percy 2

percy shocked

You can read Nathaniel’s thoughts on the film here and click here to see everyone’s picks from Pocahontas.

Pocahontas is currently available on Netflix Instant Streaming

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posted by on Movie Reviews, Movies/TV

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5 out of 5

It’s so cheesy it’s practically fondue! I love that.

Warning: There are spoilers.

lv shots

Kevin Kline and Romany Malco providing a much needed public service.

When I first heard about the premise of Last Vegas a few years back I thought, that’s an immediate pass. I will not be watching that. Old guys in a rip off of The Hangover? No thank you.

Then the trailer came out and I saw that basically everyone is in this movie. You get Kevin Kline (yum), Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro and Morgan Freeman. That’s an awesome cast.

Did it look silly, over the top and predictable? Yes. Did I want to see it? Yes. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to renting it, I have to say WATCH IT. It’s super fun.

It’s a simple plot, four OLD friends reunite for the first time in a LONG time in Las Vegas. Michael Douglas is a high powered lothario (I know, I feel like I’m in the wrong decade too) who has decided to finally tie the knot. Where does he propose? At a friend’s funeral, cuz he’s just that romantic.

He calls up all of his old buddies to get them to attend his quickie wedding to his 30something girlfriend and it quickly turns into a crazy bachelor party. There are, predictably, but hilariously none the less, a ton of jokes about her age BTW.

Wait, before we actually get to Vegas we are treated to a bit of each fellow’s life: Kline is referred to as the Bionic man as he wears a hearing aid, has a replacement hip and a full medicine cabinet, Morgan Freeman is being babied by his adult son because he had a minor stroke at some point and Robert De Niro is a grouchy shut in (surely they jest, De Niro angry? Nah).

lv party

On to Vegas, these guys are not quite up to speed on today’s scene. Luckily due to some magic on Freeman’s part the guys luck into getting their own personal assistant, the always fab Romany Malco. He helps guide them around the Vegas lifestyle and eventually gets very into it as well.

lv lmfao

There’s so much partying, Vegas baby! It’s off the chain. Yes, that is a cameo by LMFAO!

lv freeman dance

The standout for me is definitely Morgan Freeman. He gets the best lines, “I feel like a princess” and “these Red Bull and vodkas, I feel like I’m getting drunk and electrocuted at the same time”. Plus his character facilitates much of the plot.

lv steen red

lv steen sing

LV steen

There is also a competitive horn dog/grudge thing going on between Douglas and De Niro. Enter the always beautiful, Mary Steenburgen as a lounge singer.

LV suits

standout suits and yes, Turtle from Entourage

Without giving absolutely everything away, watch out for the shopping montage, woot and another unexpected, yet totally in sync with the storyline, cameo.

Sit back, have fun with it, don’t pick it apart and you will probably enjoy this flick.

You can rent or buy Last Vegas on Amazon here (affiliate link)

Photos are via the official Last Vegas twitter

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posted by on Movies/TV, Netflix Streaming

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Yes, there are more Disney movies than the following available on Netflix, but in keeping with the original theme of this series, these are the ones that I truly enjoy.

poca 1
Pocahontas (1995)/Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World (1998)

Pocahontas was released at the tail end of my childhood, bookending into the dreaded teen years. Luckily it was awesome enough to draw me in even though I’m sure I acted too mature for it at the time. Pocahontas was inspired by the life of the famous Native American, known for working in harmony with the early colonists of Jamestown, VA. While history indicates that she did save the life of John Smith, they were not in a relationship. However that is not the film’s take, which I quite enjoy. The basic plot is the early colonists trying to take over the Native American’s land. The love story between Pocahontas and John Smith throws a monkey wrench in the works.

poca2

Watching the movie in my youth I was drawn in by the music (Tia Carrere has a beautiful voice) and seemingly magical properties of the Native Americans. While watching it early this year I not only was able to enjoy that but also the comedy. Seriously, rewatch it as an adult and guffaw at the awesomely fab songs by the baddies who openly admit their plans to steal the Native American’s land. Plus, the villain’s henchman is super flamboyant. The animal sidekicks (on both sides) are also a treat.

I have not had a chance to watch the sequel yet but I assume it’s some fun.

NBC
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
I’m not sure if there’s anyone who isn’t at least passingly familiar with Tim Burton’s stop motion masterpiece at this point. The super quick rundown is that a skeleton king who resides in Halloweentown discovers Christmas. Fun ensues when he gets things a bit wrong.

dumbo sad

Dumbo (1941)
I identify to much with the character of Dumbo to have watched it all that often. Dumbo is an unpopular elephant who is criticized for his large ears. Aw. Even before I hit adolescence and understood this type of cruelty I still found it a sad tale. The film involves Dumbo going to visit his mother. It also includes Dumbo accidentally getting drunk and crows that I (and many others) have found to be racially demeaning. So yeah, if you are planning to watch Dumbo with a child, I’d recommend using it as a way to teach acceptance to those who are different/unpopular but be prepared for questions on his inebriated state and why “the crows talk like that”.

So, what are your Disney favorites that can be found on Netflix? Yes, Mulan is in my queue.

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