Demotivational Poster of the Day

Demotivational Poster of the Day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Weekender: Coffee Beer, Bacon Ice Cream and Mint Juleps

The weekend is the mint in your julep.
Intelligentsia Beer at Goose Island
Two beverage powerhouses have combined their respective geniuses, and you have no choice but to pay attention—well, it helps that caffeine-pusher Intelligentsia is involved. Introducing Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, an espresso-infused twist on Goose Island's whiskey-barrel-aged brew. Alas, not available for breakfast.
Now available, Goose Island, 1800 N Clybourn Ave, 312-915-0071

THE WORLD’S GREATEST WHISKY HOUSE

Johnnie Walker's House of Walker

The House of Walker is an exclusive experience where guests are led through a sampling of the best Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskies. It's coming to Chicago before too long, but if you want to know more, you'll have to join the club. Space is limited, so RSVP now.

Bacon Ice Cream at Chalkboard

The $50 five-course deal, which includes wine pairings, at this snug North Center boîte is undoubtedly a good one. But after your tuna-sashimi spring rolls and roasted halibut with citrus marmalade comes the real excitement: housemade bacon ice cream. Pork desserts always make you squeal.

Available through May 9, Chalkboard, 4343 N Lincoln Ave, 773-477-7144


Art Chicago After-Party

After rubbing elbows with artists and collectors at the Merchandise Mart during Art Chicago, you may find you have some excess creative energy to burn off. A warehouse party, a few cocktails, gratis appetizers, a rock band and a legion of art students in tight leggings should help.

Apr 30, 7-10pm, $5, Creative Lounge Chicago, 1564 N Damen Ave, 3rd Floor

Derby Party at the Pony

If you're sipping a mint julep amid beautiful women wearing awe-inspiring haberdashery, it can only mean one thing: it's Saturday. Add a buffet of Southern favorites, a raffle for a day of horse riding in Lake Forest and galloping ponies on TV, and then you have a party.
May 1, 3:30-5:30pm, The Pony, 1638 W Belmont Ave, 773-828-5055

Peep Show at Enclave

Aubrey O'Day possesses many remarkable talents. Right now, however, it's only her ace Playboy modeling skills that are leaping to mind. So see what she's truly capable of when (almost) fully clothed as she leads this tantalizing burlesque revue. You've always loved the performing arts.

May 1, 9pm, free admission before 11pm, Enclave, 220 W Chicago Ave, 312-654-0234









Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get Cornered: Ravenswood's New Whiskey Palace

Fountainhead
1968-70 W Montrose Ave
(at Damen)
Chicago, IL 60613
773-697-8204You probably have a good, dependable corner saloon tucked away somewhere. Nothing fancy, just a beer-and-shot joint.

We don't want to change that... much. But let's add a few microbrews to the beer part of the equation. Maybe a single-barrel whiskey or two (or 150) to the shot part. And as long as we're tinkering, let's throw some pork belly in there somewhere too.

Welcome to Fountainhead, your new wellspring of good whiskey, beer and, if need be, braised pork belly sandwiches, slated to open this week in Ravenswood.

Basically, this place looks like what would happen if your basic Chicago corner saloon were redecorated by Belgians. With its wrought-iron lighting fixtures, vintage European adverts, brick fireplace and secluded nook in the back, this is the kind of spot where you can really hunker down for the evening. And once you look at that beer and whiskey list, you may have to.

The lineup ranges from craft bourbons and regional scotches to everything in between, but you'll also want to spend some serious time exploring the 27-tap strong world tour of Belgium (Cantillion) to Chicago (Metropolis).

To keep up your strength as you power through, you'll find mussels bathed in Belgian ale, a pork belly sandwich, also braised in ale, and—in case you're sensing a theme—a duck confit mac and cheese with... a German beer.

You love a good variation on a theme.

Slice 'n' Easy: NY Thin Crust on the North Side

Pizzeria Serio
1708 W Belmont Ave
(between Paulina and Ravenswood)
Chicago, IL 60657
773-525-0600As you know, it's always about the journey, never the destination.

So suit up, strap in, or do whatever it is you do to prepare for another mission in your ongoing pursuit of that mythical beast known as the perfect pizza.

The newest contender: Pizzeria Serio, a house of brick-oven-fired pies opening tomorrow in Roscoe Village.

Like all the best pizza joints, there's really nothing too flashy about it. Just some exposed brick walls, shiny ductwork and a bar that will remain dry until a liquor license comes through this summer. So that bottle of Barbera d'Asti you always carry in your back pocket pays off again.

The main attraction is the fearsome 800-degree oven, turning out eight kinds of 14-inch specialty pies, from basic margherita to the Meat Your Heart Out (with pepperoni, sausage and Canadian bacon). It also promises authentic New York-style pizzas in the heart of Chicago. Score one for having big doughballs, we guess.

This will be a good choice after a day at Wrigley, if you crave a pie that's a little heartier than, say, Spacca Napoli's, but a little chewier than the traditional Chicago thin-crust, falling within a strictly regulated crustiness zone that Giuliani enacted into law in the late '90s.

We're happy to report that the Supreme Court just upheld it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bold Move: Seeing the World by Coffee

Starbucks.com/BoldHere we are. It's early. And you probably want just one thing: a day off.

Or failing that, some coffee.

While we're working on the first one, we can help you immediately with the second one. With an assist from our friends in Seattle...

For this week only, visit your local Starbucks and enjoy the bold pick of the week.

It's the final station on what's been a whirlwind voyage around the planet, with plenty of hot, fresh coffee to help keep your spirits high. For this week alone, you'll be able to sample a bold coffee from a far-flung place—and you'll be able to try it for $1.50.

Your final stop: the earthy Sumatra brew, which is said to have been created for the adventurer who throws caution to the wind and follows the path of danger and mystery. (Aided only by his razor-sharp wits and a cup of joe.) The result: an intense brew with a full, buttery body. (Your favorite kind of body.)

But even after this adventure has ended, Starbucks will have its usual assortment of mind-bending blends on hand, not to mention new forms of enticement they're introducing all the time.

See you on the next go-around.

The Losers (2010/I)

A tale of double cross and revenge, centered upon the members of an elite U.S. Special Forces unit sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. The team-Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar -find themselves the target of a lethal betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Presumed dead, the group makes plans to even the score when they're joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with her own agenda. Working together, they must remain deep undercover while tracking the heavily-guarded Max, a ruthless man bent on embroiling the world in a new high-tech global war.
Firmly rooted in the comicbook style, this frantic action film is a good deal of fun to watch. Part of the pleasure is the awesome cast, who play up the team spirit and fun as they go about their business. Yes, it's silly. Sure, there's plenty of goofy moments. But there's nothing wrong with that. Surprisingly violent for a PG-13 movie these days, it still ended up being a bit more tame than I'd have liked. It's an R rated story, if that makes sense. The editing is a touch too choppy, and there is the usual overuse of hand-held camera. But all in all, a solid action movie with plenty to please fans of the genre.


I'm not going to write some artistic review and slam this movie because it won't win an oscar. I would if this movie took itself seriously, but from the opening scene it doesn't. It's just a fun action flick that is well worth a bucket of popcorn. There is well-acted comedy here with a string of one-liners well above most action flicks. Yes the action is cheesy at times, but it's supposed to be and is still good. The entire cast really pulls this one off. A really fun 2 hours.

****/*****

4/5 Stars

Taking It on the Chin: A Razor Emporium on Michigan Avenue

The Art of Shaving
520 N Michigan Avenue
(at Illinois)
Chicago, IL 60611
312-527-1604On Monday morning, everyone's clamoring for some face time with you.

So by Monday afternoon, your face might need a rest. The kind that only a few hot towels and a badger-hair shaving brush can provide...
So welcome to The Art of Shaving, a combination old-fashioned barbershop and all-things-shaving store nestled in the first floor of the North Bridge Mall on Michigan Avenue.

Inside, you'll find a small, handsome, wood-paneled haircutting sanctuary, where your five o'clock shadow will welcome the comfort of soothing hot towels and relaxing lather. The latter comes courtesy of a highly experienced barber—a barber ninja, really—who wields his tempered steel straight razor with such precision, you may sleep right through the whole thing. (Luckily, he won't.)

Of course, if you'd like to take charge of your own face, you can swing by for the basics: disposable blades, pre-shaving oils, tubs of rich shaving cream. And since your basics happen to include fine badger-hair shaving brushes and $1,000 sterling-silver-and-buffalo-horn-handled razors, you can stock up on those too.

You've been going through them so fast lately.

The Box (2009/I)

Norma and Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger, delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world; someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the cross-hairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.

This movie had a ton of potential, however it fell way short! Good story line but it was way confusing and I'm not sure I understand what happened. Something about a box and aliens. The ending was possibly the worst ending I have ever seen. Probably the worst movie of the year! Such a let down, it was a good idea!

You'd think the description would describe what was going to happen in the movie. This is an hour and half of my life that is gone. I've got a box to put this in.

Avoid this movie if you can. It raises more questions at the end and leaves you hanging. I rather rent "Joe's Apartment" again than to have ever rented this movie. ***Spoiler*** Who was his employer? Why was he testing? The movie hinted at some of the answers but didn't answer them.

*/*****

1/5 Stars

Friday, April 23, 2010

Boss Hog: A New Hog Haven Near Wrigley

The Piggery
1625 W Irving Park Rd
(at Marshfield)
Chicago, IL 60613
773-281-7447Pig's ears at the Purple Pig and salty pork rinds at the Publican: fine, respectable, even wondrous things. Works of art, in fact.

But it's Friday, and you're not hungry for art. You want ribs. Good, old-fashioned, falling-off-the-bone, drenched-in-sweet-sticky-goodness, let's-not-over-think-this ribs.
Introducing The Piggery, a sports-and-ribs joint that opened last night on the outer cusp of Wrigleyville with—we'll just say it now—a moniker worthy of a place in the Great Barbecue Names Hall of Fame (which we think just opened outside Memphis).

At first blush, it just looks like a simple, friendly neighborhood joint, exactly the sort of place to take in a Bulls or Blackhawks playoff game. But once upon a time, this space was Biasetti's Steak & Rib House, whose tender 'cue is still reverently whispered about in some circles. One of the original owners—along with an original partner from Evanston's Lucky Platter—is back, doing what he does best: whipping up super-saucy baby backs and making sure you have plenty of napkins.

There's no beer sommelier or anything like that, but they're more than capable of pouring you a cold microbrew. On those nights when ribs are a less pressing concern, go ahead and dabble in a pork pot roast, a whiskey-apple-glazed pork loin or the Firecrackers, which are sort of like jalapeño poppers, but wrapped in bacon.

And totally boneless.
The Piggery, now open, 773-281-7447

FOLLOW FRIDAY: 1000 Tiny Things I Hate

http://tinythingsihate.blogspot.com/

This week on Follow Friday we have the infamous "1000 Tiny Things I Hate" blog. He's all the way to #0182. Sure he only posts about a half-dozen or so a month, but they are freakin' hysterical and all are things that we should hate!

Check him out if you have a chance. Very much entertaining!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2012 (2009/I)

Dr. Adrian Helmsley, part of a worldwide geophysical team investigating the effect on the earth of radiation from unprecedented solar storms, learns that the earth's core is heating up. He warns U.S. President Thomas Wilson that the crust of the earth is becoming unstable and that without proper preparations for saving a fraction of the world's population, the entire race is doomed. Meanwhile, writer Jackson Curtis stumbles on the same information. While the world's leaders race to build "arks" to escape the impending cataclysm, Curtis struggles to find a way to save his family. Meanwhile, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of unprecedented strength wreak havoc around the world.

Perhaps they should have waited a year or two in production before releasing this film. The script had the feel of a formulaic plan hobbled together from projects past. The score failed to reflect the gravity of the tragedy at hand. In fact, there was little in the way of investment with respect to the main characters as they still seemed to be strangers at the end of the film. It was exhilarating at times, but lacked the focus on individual characters to allow the catastrophic impact of the events depicted to reach a personal level.

You've seen Independence Day, you've seen War of the Worlds, now the world is coming to an end once again in the movie 2012 starring John Cusack. My first thoughts when the movie finished was "Wow, that was way too long". I felt there was a lot of nonsense they really should have left out of the movie. The majority of the criticism I've heard about this movie was bad. Like always when I watch a movie, I felt I was going to give it an open mind and ignore the negative criticism. Overall, the film was not bad nor good, but in my opinion, just decent. It's John Cusack, his family and the world trying to run away from the crashing world. Will they make it to safety and one must wonder what safety is in a world that's coming to an end??? If the world was coming to an end in reality, the first thing I'd do is say bye bye family and then I'd get drunk.

***/*****

3/5 Stars

Know Your Tequila: Margarita Season Is Upon Us

The sun's out. The temperature's high. You have an insatiable desire to get out on a rooftop and drink.

And now this: tequila season.
Which brings us to our old friend Don Julio, the world's first ultra-premium tequila, handcrafted in Mexico for your summertime pleasures.

Consider it an excuse to get to know—or get to know again—your tequila. It started the way these things often do: by word of mouth. Don Julio (yes, there was a real guy) started distilling tequila in 1942, and passing it out to his friends. (Lesson: always befriend a guy who spends his days distilling.) Today, it's made much the same way—lovingly, by hand, in Mexico. (By a team of Salma Hayek look-alikes, we assume.)

All of which is a long way of saying it's the perfect fuel for your summertime bacchanalia. Use it to make your ultra-premium margaritas, or even as the perfect substitute for rum in an ultra-clean mojito. Or just pour it into a glass and enjoy it neat.

Okay, you can add ice. If you must.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

THE 2010 LAMMYS ARE HERE!!

http://largeassmovieblogs.blogspot.com/2010/04/you-are-cordially-invited-to-attend.html

I, unfortunatly, haven't been "officially" inducted into LAMB yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be there any day now! I won't be involved with The Lammys this year, but I'm for sure in the running for next year! As for this year, get your asses over to the Large Ass Movie Blogs and participate! I will!


Bedeviled: Chimichangas and Chocolate Tamales in River North

Dos Diablos
15 W Hubbard St
(between Dearborn and State)
Chicago, IL 60654
312-245-5252Flaming margaritas. Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Barroom burlesque. The recent insanity in River North really must end.

But not before you've gone mano a mano with an 18-inch deep-fried monster that goes by the name The Big Mel. Yes, it's a chimichanga...
Welcome to Dos Diablos, your new Hubbard Street lair for frozen margaritas, sizzling fajitas and a little post-work mayhem starting this Monday.

Despite meals fit for competitive eaters, Dos Diablos is a rather stunning antique-wood-and-hammered-copper cantina, the kind where jewel-toned lanterns swing above the bar. It's a place where John Wayne himself might have been tempted by the soft whir of the frozen margarita machine, and maybe, just maybe, been amused that his whiskey is served in shot glasses that look like tiny beer mugs.

After your long cattle drive in from the office, you'll probably appreciate a menu that's proudly loco: flaming orders of Mexican Saganaki (panela cheese alit with lime and tequila), nachos served in a paella pan and chocolate tamales for dessert. By the way, if you finish that Big Mel in 20 minutes—it's three-and-a-half pounds—they'll rename one of the towns on their wall-size Texas/Mexico map in your honor.

Marfa, you've been warned.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Street Legal: Like a Radar Detector for Parking Tickets

StopParkingTickets.comAh, the sounds of April in Chicago: a crack of the bat at Wrigley. The soft crash of the lake waves. The whir of a Department of Streets and Sanitation sweeper barreling down on you.

Here to make sure you're well out of its way: StopParkingTickets.com, a new service that's the next best thing to a radar detector for street sweepers.
Think of it as the last line of defense between you and a $50 parking ticket. For a small fee, you'll receive a gentle electronic tap on the shoulder when you've somehow managed to forget that arcane street sweeper's schedule of semi-regular trips down your street.

You'll start by typing in your email, cell phone and where you normally park. Then, a team of savvy cartographers—all with advanced degrees in Chicago ward maps—will carefully plot the information in their sophisticated database (i.e., a stack of maps, and info from the alderman's office) to make sure you're alerted the night before it's time to remove your car from the street. So you'll feel reassured, even if the city's foolproof system of tying a no-parking placard to a tree somehow falls victim to the wind, vandals or squirrels.

Because you know those squirrels have it in for you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Game Theory: Tequila Meets Monopoly in River North

Blue Frog
2222 E Hubbard St
(east of State)
Chicago, IL 60611
312-527-1200You're an adult. Very mature. And if you're hanging out at the bar, you're not there to play games.

Unless that game is a tequila-fueled bout of Candy Land.

So welcome Blue Frog 22, a spin-off just a few blocks north of the classic River North watering hole, and soon to be a go-to for all your after-work karaoke, sports viewing and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots needs.

This Blue Frog still won't make your short list for those sophisticated evenings entertaining clients—unless, of course, you're trying to land that big Parker Bros. account. Just think of this as the big brother the original always longed for. And like most big brothers, it has more games, bigger rooms, cooler music and a big stash of beer.

Basically, the decor looks like a toy box exploded all over some beach in Cabo. You'll find 200 board games waiting for you to check out from the library—everything from Operation to the sitcom-based equivalent: the M*A*S*H game from Milton Bradley. (You, naturally, will be Hawkeye.)

There are burgers, salads and lots of expertly fried things, plus karaoke five nights a week. Just remember Blue Frog's three simple, very bizarre karaoke rules. (1) Have fun and drink, (2) No heckling and (3) Don't say anything untoward about Patrick Swayze.

So don't even think about putting Baby in a corner.

Kick-Ass (2010)

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan with a few friends and who lives alone with his father. His life is not very difficult and his personal trials not that overwhelming. However, one day he makes the simple decision to become a super-hero even though he has no powers or training.
The previews do this movie no justice as a action flick. I went in expecting a Superbad style comedy with a little super hero stuff thrown in. The action sequences are incredible, with Hit Girl carrying this one on her back. Cage is shown just enough not to be annoying and there is a pretty good set up explaining these powerless super heroes origins.

OK, so Ebert's insane rant aside, this is clearly not a kids film. So leave them at home. Seriously. That said, this movie is a lot of fun. Filled with comic and movie nerd in-jokes, as well as some straight-up clever dialog and excellent performances, there's plenty to like. Oh yeah, and it's ultra-violent. Not 2008's Rambo violent, but closer to that than your average action film. And yes, there is cursing. *Gasp* Certainly worth a watch for comic readers, but also good for people who just enjoy a rip-roaring shoot 'em up, chop 'em up action film. And though I'd like to see him in non-villainous roles for once, Mark Strong was cool once again as the big bad guy.

Super violent, a little girl says cunt. What isnt to like? If you dont like this movie, I dont like you.

Similar to almost every other reviewer on the web, this film is on par with The Dark Knight. Hit Girl was the real superhero in the movie, with a deep, in depth back story with her father, Big Daddy, played by Nicholas Cage. Watching an 11-year-old girl swear and kill all of the "bad guys" is very surreal and thought-provoking. Why would any sane parent allow their child to be in this kind of movie? The main character, Kick-Ass, is the typical geek wanting to become a superhero. Anyway, why not stop reading my review... go watch it now!

****/*****


4/5 Stars

Night Shift (1982)

A nebbish of a morgue attendant gets shunted back to the night shift where he is shackled with an obnoxious neophyte partner who dreams of the "one great idea" for success. His life takes a bizarre turn when a prostitute neighbor complains about the loss of her pimp. His partner, upon hearing the situation, suggests that they fill that opening themselves using the morgue at night as their brothel. Against his better judgement, he gets talked into the idea, only to find that it's more than his boss that has objections to this bit of entrepreneurship.

What can you expect when you rent a comedy that's 25+ years old? Well, lot's of formula and cliche. Essentially this film is about a guy who hates being a Stock Broker so he takes a job at the City Morgue and lives a miserable existence with a fiance he has to almost beg to make love to him. She is obsessed with her weight and bored by their intimacy to the point of sneaking a snack during sex. Winkler's character is every eighties wimp cliche possible. He's a worry-wart who has the quality that's going to save him and all of the people he ultimately begins to care about as the film thunders on. Michael Keaton plays the character that got him typecast for the next decade as an over the top wild eyed 'party animal' with little to no brains and a penchant for getting his friends into messes that his loud mouth antics only make worse. Shelley Long plays the worlds most unbelieveable prostitute but exudes that great charm she always manages to bring to her characters. She is Shelley Long after all, and in the 80's she was made of gold. What makes the film funny is the idea. Guys hate their jobs at the Morgue, Winkler's neighbor, the prostitue played by Long, has lost her pimp (he was offed at the beginning of the film) and the guys decide to take over as pimps using Winkler's business saavy to bring in the money. It's a funny film with lots of great moments but it's not great overall. I liked it but would recommend that if you watch it, you be in a particularly brainless sort of mood where you don't want to watch something that will make you ponder anything but an immediate laugh. The inevitable romance between Long and Winkler is comic and a bit sappy and you can see where Adam Sandler got the 'everything works out' cliche for ALL of his films from.

This movie has some charming and funny moments, but Ron Howard's direction seems more suited for television. This is one of Howard's early films and has since improved. The chemistry between Winkler and Keaton is a lot of fun to watch.

***/*****

3/5 Stars

Ninja Assassin (2009)

Trained since childhood to be a lethal killer, Raizo has since turned his back on the Ozunu clan that raised him and now seeks revenge for their heartless murders. Teaming up with Europol investigator Mika, Raizo steadily butchers his enemies while inching ever closer to the long-awaited bloody reunion with his former master.


The ninja movie is back with a vengeance. In the hands of a big studio, a very capable director (James McTeigue--V For Vendetta), and modern tech-fx-cgi bang for the buck, this might spearhead a resurgence in the subgenre. What to praise? Dozens of unique kills and action scenes. Rain as the charismatic lead. Sho Kusugi in an awesome role. And blood. Lots of it. (In this movie ninjas move sooo fast they blur and some realists will cry foul. This is an escapist action film, so have fun. You didn't actually think people could fly in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON?)


Ninja Assassin is certainly one of the most stylish Ninja movies ever made. The cinematography and soundtrack are awesome, capturing the shadowy, quick moving stereotype of these black clad martial arts experts with their swords, chains, flying stars, etc. And the blood and gore is almost off the scale as you see people sliced and diced. But behind all these extravagant action scenes is also a pretty good story, interesting script, and unexpectedly good acting, The story explains through flashbacks how these adult Ninja Assassins came to be - throw away street kids subsequently enslaved in an orphanage that serves as the martial arts training ground for Ninja clans. We meet the patriarch of this so called family, Ozunu (Sho Kosugi), who demands absolute loyalty, or death. Raizo (Rain), rebels, survives an escape, and becomes the outcast Ninja Ninja Assassin - interesting twist on the movie title. Throw in Naomie Harris as a targeted Europol agent who knows too much about the Ninja Assassin Clan, and then teams up with Raizo to bring the Clan down, the movie then shifts into a high action bloodbath. I was fascinated with the actor Rain - what a perfectly honed body and what great martial arts choreography. The other actor that really impressed me was Sho Kosugi, the chief villain, who was really scarily sinister. The brutality scenes of the kids training at the orphanage was eye-opening, and leaves more of an impression that the stylistic, almost cartoonish, adult action. If you're into Ninja type movies, then Ninja Assassin is definitely one I'd recommend viewing.


****/*****


4/5 Stars

Downhill from Here: Volcano Surfing in Nicaragua

Volcano Boarding
through Tierra TourLeón, Nicaragua
505-2315-4278 As your Icelandic friends can tell you, volcanoes are nothing to kid around with.

They're big, they're filled with molten rock, and, from time to time, they like to show off for the outside world.

But you've never let the threat of a little lava stand in the way of a good time.

Introducing Volcano Boarding, your chance to take a high-speed slide down the sandy slope of a Nicaraguan rumbler, running now.

Basically, this is your chance to find the same rush of speed you get in the Swiss Alps—only someone swapped those well-traversed snowy peaks for 1,600 feet of volcanic pebbles. A brave outfit called Tierra Tour will bus you to a peak known as Cerro Negro, hike with you to the top and outfit you with the necessary jumpsuit, pads and good wishes—and then you tear down the rough slope on a snowboard-style wooden plank. (You need something tougher than a regular board to stand up to this terrain.)

The last eruption was in 1999, disrupting boarding for a solid two days, and there could be another any day now. So you'll want to watch your back—or request a toboggan-style board that'll rocket you down at up to 40 miles an hour.

Which we're pretty sure is faster than lava.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Four guy friends, all of them bored with their adult lives, travel back to their respective 80s heydays thanks to a time-bending hot tub.


Fueled by energy drinks, vodka and nostalgia for their younger, wilder days, a group of aging best friends travels back in time to 1987, where they get the chance to relive the best year of their lives. And their time machine? Well, it's a hot tub. John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover and Sebastian Stan co-star in this out-of-the-box comedy that takes time travel to a whole new level.

Hot Tub Time Machine is without a doubt 2010s The Hangover. The film stars a great 4-man lead ensemble of John Cusack (proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks), Rob Corddry (yet another Daily Show reporter to skyrockets to fame and steals the show), Craig Robinson (proving once again that this guy needs to be the main attraction in more films) and young Clark Duke (a great rising star). With their lives in a rut, the 4 guys reunite to take drunken, suicidal friend Corddry to their old hangout place at a lofty ski resort that was THE party place back in 86. Now a complete dump, the 4 spend a drunken night in the hot tub that sends them back to the party in 86. Unhelpfully misguided by prophetic Chevy Chase (whose perfect in the role), the gang must continue all the events they did in order not to screw up their futures, so what do they do? The exact opposite. Lots of hilarity ensues, resulting in lots of gross-out, vulgar, modern jokes that Im sure will upset many an uptight person who gets easily offended. Not me; I loved this movie to death. It was great seeing Cusack in a different light for a change, and Robinson and Corddry were the films biggest highlights. Also appearing are a couple of interesting faces from the 80s. Though hes been in lots of stuff since the 80s, Crispin Glover (best remembered from back to the Future) shows up (as a hilarious one-armed bellhop), as well as William Zabka, the go-to bad guy for 80s films like Back to School or the Karate Kids. Commendable sophomore direction from Steve Pink, who makes up for the not-so-funny Accepted. Thankfully, his long career of writing and acting in several Cusack films was probably what resulting in Cusack coming aboard this genuinelly non-Cusack film. Overall, LOTS of funny moments that made me immediately want to watch this film again. Great stuff.

Turn your brain off and be ready for a crude and vulgar laugh fest. Not the best material, but one of the most hilarious cast you will find. If you can laugh at the immature, you will love this film.

*****/*****

5/5 Stars!

Groom for One: Straight Razors and Secret Rooms at the Elysian

The Men's Atelier
at the Elysian
11 E Walton St, 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
312-646-1310You're not afraid of this modern, let-it-all-hang-out, post-privacy world of ours.

Yet when it comes to your most sacred relationships, you still insist on a modicum of discretion. We're talking, of course, about the one between you and your barber.

For that, we introduce The Men's Atelier, your own private barbering chamber now busily sharpening its razors at the Elysian.

You usually know the Elysian for its socializing: boisterous champagne brunches at Balsan, quiet dinners spent at Ria with a well-chosen date. But you'll come to think of this as a fortress of solitude for your hair.

It's part of the soothing white-on-white world of the Elysian spa—so feel free to take full advantage of the amenities; there's nothing like a fluffy robe to make Q2 sales reports seem awfully insignificant.

You'll be led to your snug private room stocked with hot towels ready to caress your face before a straight-razor shave, a single leather chair (really more lounge than barber) and your own flat-screen (better yet, your own remote). Oh, yes: there's also a highly skilled barber in there somewhere too. You can't miss her.

As you relax, you may want to request that a manicurist be summoned forthwith to give some extra TLC to your fingers and toes—after all, it is almost beach season.

Not to mention footsie season.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rio World Chicago: New Brazilian Feasting in River North

You've heard great stories of when the Brazilians first invaded Chicago. The music. The funny gaucho pants. The skewers of meat on every corner of River North.

Things were pretty good. (The cachaça helped, of course.)

But times have changed. Concepts have evolved. Tourists got wise to your best tables.

So we think it's time to get back to Brazilian basics: nonstop heaving platters of succulent meat north of Curitiba. Welcome to Al Primo Canto Galeteria, opening tonight in the former Le Lan space.

You may have already heard about Al Primo Canto's particular brand of deliciousness. There's one in Edgebrook, a neighborhood in the northern hinterlands, which explains why you've never actually been there. Nice, then, that they've come to you.

The space mixes rustic exposed brick and jade marble, while the menu specializes in the charcoal-roasted young chicken of southern Brazil and the Italian immigrant influence from that region.

You and a group of your hungriest friends can start the night with plates of roasted eggplant and cheese bread, quickly followed by three kinds of pasta—but go easy on them: you'll soon be facing down unlimited chicken, lamb and beef tenderloin (along with sides of crunchy potatoes, arugula salad and polenta). And if all-you-can-eat is too much, you can always order à la carte.

Thankfully, you're not the type who knows when to say when.

Al Primo Canto Galeteria, opening tonight, BYOB for the first few weeks, 312-280-9090

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Collector (2009/I)

Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.


Finally, for the first time in years America has done a horror film right. No happy ending, a ruthless killing machine of a villain and some extremely disturbing violence. I pray to god this is a stand-alone film and if they have any common sense to not make a sequel out of this nearly perfect horror film. Just updated to see and I hear they are already talking about a sequel. Damn.


The "Saw" concept is slightly here by focusing more intently on a house that’s been converted into a deathtrap instead of the killer. Extreme, sadistic bloody violence and senseless gore... LOVED IT! It's got serial-killer, torture, traps and sexuality/nudity!


The immediate thought is to compare this film to the Saw series, simply based on the creative killing contraptions, but really that is where the similarities end. Out of desperation for money, Arkin breaks into the house of his boss to steal jewels. Little does he know, the house is rigged with tons of deadly homemade contraptions to torture, maim, or kill. Clearly once he figures this out, he wants to get out of there. Not so fast. The family is tied up and someone else is there. It turns into a maddening chase between Arkin and the other masked man throughout the house. I found this to be quite scary, gory, and unsettling. Mostly because you never really understand why this is happening. The killings were most definitely cringe-worthy. This one might give me nightmares, it was terrifying. Oh, and the movie name comes from the fact that the masked killer collects people.


****/*****


4/5 Stars

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bitch Slap (2009)

When three curvaceous babes, stripper Trixie, business executive Hel, and the feisty ex-con Camero, arrive at a desert hideaway to steal a stash of diamonds from an underworld kingpin, things quickly spiral out of control. Allegiances are switched, truths are revealed, criminals are unmasked and nothing is quite what it seems as the fate of the world is precariously balanced among this trio of sexy femmes fatales.


Check your brain at the door! While it is hard to believe this got passed over at the Oscars, or the Razzies for that matter, it is 1.75 hours of mindless movie. It seems to revel in the fact that it is not at all plausible, believable, or even really well done. I found the flashback expositions hysterical. Let's face it, if you looked at the supporting players, what did you really expect out of this movie? There was just no way this was going to be a deep sociological drama. It is was it is is, a good movie for a Saturday afternoon as you are catching up on other things. PS. pay attention to the credits at the end. If you had any aspirations for the movie, they will be explained.


The Robert Tapert HERCULES/ZENA gang join up in this Grindhouse rip-off, Russ-Meyer wannabe. It's too long for it's own good, but there's enough trash talk and humor to keep it lively. The Lucy Lawless nun bit is worth the price of admission on it's own; and there's a teasing strip to AVE MARIA that just doesn't go all the way. Heavy handed but coozalicious!


Overflowing with girl-on-girl action of all sorts (fights, hair-pulling, blood, romance), guns (big ones) and lots of film noir flashbacks, I ask: What's not to like about buff, bad-girl lesbians who are heavily armed? Nothing, in my book. Now, the 3 lead actresses are all pretty and with bodacious figures (always a plus) -- talent would have been nice but, hey, you can't have everything. A little long, and far too self-conscious (B-movies have to be created by accident to be truly campy and fun -- here, the core idea was to create a B-movie) "Slap" is catnip for the Sapphic set. If only there had been more skin...


***/*****


3/5 Stars

Friday, April 9, 2010

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http://moviemongrel.blogspot.com/



"A blog dedicated to independent films, and nerd culture, or whatever I feel like watching"



While he isn't that much of a frequent blogger, when he does blog it is greatness. Check him out if you're looking for a new blog to follow!~

Over the Borderline: Tacos and Anarchy in Wrigleyville

3438 N Clark St(at Newport)
Chicago, IL 60657
773-244-0660 Let's start with a premise that we can all agree upon: pork belly tacos and superior whiskey are good things. No argument here.

Now let's go off the reservation—for a bit. Let's dress mounds of Tater Tots as if they're plates of cheesy, spicy nachos. Let's swap tequila for whiskey in your margarita. It might be awful. It might be fun. It might be anarchy.

There's only one way to find out.

Meet us at Dos Gringos Trailer Park Chicago, a tequila-and-beer-soaked paean to those lost Mexican weekends of your youth... or, at the very least, lost Wrigleyville weekends... opening tonight.

This isn't some upscale taqueria where you and your date will swirl fine anejos while savoring complex mole verde. It's just a crazy, serape-colored cantina, a spin-off of the Arizona franchise, offering delicacies like cold, cheap Corona and stiff belts of tequila. There are plenty of TVs, so you can come here for tacos, burritos, tamales and those Tater nachos while watching Monday's opener. But you'll find that the best action is behind the bar. (You always do.)

That's where you'll have nine rabble-rousing margaritas to choose from, including the Redneck (you guessed it, the one with whiskey) and the Donkey Punch (we have no idea what that means) with tequila, peach schnapps and a dash of... champagne.

See, you always know how to class things up.

Dos Gringos Trailer Park Chicago, opening tonight with $1 tacos and $3 burritos, full menu starts Monday, 773-244-0660

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I post this for Canadian Cal...

While looking for my Demotivational Picture of the Day, I stumbled across this and it YELLED OUT Canadian Cal. So, I thought I would post it in honor of him. Here ya go!

Fnord

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oven Match: Pizza and Italian Doughnuts in Logan Square

Ciao Napoli Pizzeria
2607 N Milwaukee Ave(at Kedzie)
Chicago, IL 60647
773-278-7300


You may think Logan Square is hotter than ever.

But a 900-degree secret has been slowly smoldering. And come 4pm today, that secret will no longer be contained.

Prepare for Ciao Napoli Pizzeria, the latest fusillade in this town's quest to out-pizza Naples when it comes to authentic pizza pie.

The belly of this beast is its unrelenting furnace, lovingly built brick-by-brick by Ciao's brash fourth-generation Naples-born pizzaiolo. It's able to turn out the perfect pie in a mere 80 seconds, the scientifically proven optimal time to wait for your pesto-and-shrimp pizza.

The decor is all earth tones and exposed bricks and big windows. The best seat is in the front bar, where you can coolly work your way up to the pies via an antipasti like Sushi Parma (a mozzarella/prosciutto roll-up), handmade gnocchi and—debuting next week—cocktails like an Amici (gin, Aperol, mint liqueur) or a Luna Rosa (bourbon, port and grenadine, topped with champagne).

When it comes to the main event, you'll find everything you've come to demand from these designer pizza joints, like fresh buffalo mozzarella on your Margherita. Then there are boundary-pushers like the Pizza 6 Formaggi, a six-cheese brute recklessly testing the upper limits of the whole dough-cheese dyad. For dessert, indulge your taste for Nutella-drizzled Italian doughnuts.

Which you probably didn't even know you had.

Armored (2009)

The war veteran, Ty Hackett, is hired to work as security guard by the Eagle Shield Security where his old friend Mike Cochroone works. Ty is having financial difficulties after the death of his father, and is raising his brother Jimmy alone. He teams up with Mike's brother-in-law, Baines, and their coworkers Quinn, Palmer and Dobbs. One night, Mike invites Ty to join in the robbery of two armored trucks transporting forty-two million dollars. The reluctant Ty accepts after Mike promises that nobody would be hurt in the heist.

Armored is exactly what I expected and it is exactly what it is supposed to be: a typical, action-packed heist movie. Like many modern action movies, the acting is mediocre, the drama forced, and the plot needs some suspension of belief. Armored also relies heavily on genre convention, deriving from movies like Die Hard and Panic Room. Despite its flaws, this heist movie entertains with some cool explosions and exciting action sequences. If the premise and trailer appeal to you then you will not be disappointed.

Am I the only one that thought when I saw the preview for this movie that it was going to be funnier? And of course, the only funny part was in the preview. When I got past the fact there was no comedy, I found this movie to be very slow moving. Too much time spent with the "bad guys" beating on the armored vehicle with a random piece of metal. Good plot though, just wish it was more action packed.

Loved the fact that there were some awesome supporting actors all compiled into this movie. Hard to go wrong with an ensemble like that.


***/*****

3/5 Stars

Monday, April 5, 2010

Toast Masters: Vintage Barware from the Playboy Club

Today, we're here to talk to you about your drinking habits.

They're a little new-fashioned. In fact... they need a little more Hef.

That's why we're letting you in on a little secret we found lurking in the basement of Andersonville vintage shop Brimfield: Classic Champagne Coupes—the very ones last seen being served by cotton-tailed, bunny-eared waitresses at the original Chicago Playboy Club. (We're still looking for the cotton tails and bunny ears).

Imagine the conversations this stemware has been privy to: Hugh, Barbi Benton and Henry Kissinger huddled in a booth, discussing détente, the Paris Peace Accords and Barbi's soon-to-explode singing career. (If only these glasses could talk...) And while this style of stemware is enjoying a resurgence at mixology havens like Gilt Bar and the Exchange, you'll also find them useful when building a champagne pyramid at your next soiree. (It's a classy touch.)

Which reminds us: the original design is said to have been modeled to the contours of Marie Antoinette's... curvier assets (like the ones you'll find in Hef's magazine), which the French aristocracy considered the perfect shape and size for sipping bubbly.

When it comes to champagne, you never argue with the French.

I'm looking for a movie buddy for After.Life

After a horrific car accident, Anna (Ricci) wakes up to find the local funeral director Eliot Deacon (Neeson) preparing her body for her funeral. Confused, terrified and feeling still very much alive, Anna doesn't believe she's dead, despite the funeral director's reassurances that she is merely in transition to the afterlife. Eliot convinces her he has the ability to communicate with the dead and is the only one who can help her. Trapped inside the funeral home, with nobody to turn to except Eliot, Anna is forced to face her deepest fears and accept her own death. But Anna's grief-stricken boyfriend Paul (Long) still can't shake the nagging suspicion that Eliot isn't what he appears to be. As the funeral nears, Paul gets closer to unlocking the disturbing truth, but it could be too late; Anna may have already begun to cross over the other side. Written by Anchor Bay Films

Anyone in the Chicago area wanna go see this with me at a sneak preview of it tomorrow night? I won free tickets for me and one guest to see AFTER.LIFE on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 7:00pm at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. Chicago, IL 60611

All of my friends are either busy or "don't like that kinda movie". I could go with my roommate, but I'd rather not. lol I'm just looking for someone in the Chicagoland that wants to enjoy a free flick. Not saying we have to be bussom buddies and hang out for life afterwards, just don't want the free seat to go to waste.

I'm probably going to skip school to go see this movie because it sounds pretty awesome. Let me know if anyone's interested. Post a reply here or send me an e-mail at joblessjosh@gmail.comk

It would help if you were in the Chicagoland area tomorrow... or at least could get there... (Sorry Canadian Cal!)

Pity the Sool: An Aquatic Paradise in Indonesia


Sometimes you've got to go a long way to get anywhere.

A flight to Jakarta, another to a tiny Papuan haunt called Sorong, a four-hour boat ride to a private island so tiny it barely qualifies for a name.

But once you arrive, prepare for the splendor of the kind of diving Cousteau would weep over...

Welcome to Misool Eco Resort, a far-flung Indonesian outpost dropped above some of the best diving in the world, open now.

In other words, you can forget the Great Barrier Reef. This dive hotel has 425 square miles of protected coral forests to pick from—the busiest ocean floor in the world, with more fish and more species than you'll find anywhere else. You'll spend your days hopping hotel-run boats out to the ocean's more interesting spots, and spend your nights with millionaire hobbyists, alluring nature photographers and Zissou-style adventurers, swapping stories and whiskey bottles in the hotel restaurant.

And when you wake up the next morning, you'll look straight from your bedroom onto a crystal-blue ocean, with nary a cruise ship in sight. The island itself is kept perfectly pristine—the phones all work via satellite, the food mostly comes straight from the ocean, and everything else comes in and leaves on those dive boats—so it's as close to Blue Lagoon territory as you're likely to get.

At least until you go to the blue lagoon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Couples Retreat (2009)

Dave and Ronnie, Jason and Cynthia, and Joey and Lucy are close. The group used to include Shane and Jennifer, but they divorced and she's gone. Jason and Cynthia announce that their marriage is in trouble, and they beg their friends (and Shane's young girlfriend) to join them on a couples' retreat, at the package rate, on a tropical island. The others reluctantly agree, planning to play while Jason and Cynthia work on their marriage with an island psychologist. To everyone's surprise, the package is inflexible: each couple must participate in the couples' exercises. Soon fault lines appear in all four relationships. What's in store for each couple?


Vince Vaughn films are hit and miss with me. However, this rom-com had a heart. It was funny and discussed some difficult topics concerning marriage. The breathtaking scenery provided a picturesque backdrop for a group of friends to work on their relationships. The journey this group took together had some laugh out loud moments coupled with a few tender scenes. Overall, it was a pleasant surprise.


Everyone knows by now, this is about four couples that head to a glorious island (Eden) to work on their marriages. The island and setting is gorgeous, and may be the best part of the film! The movie is a bit uneven, with more slow parts than I expected. On the other hand, the decent handful of funny scenes were very funny, especially the yoga instructor. The cast, of course, is great. Vaughn, Davis, Favreau, Bell, Reno, Akerman, Love, Hawk and Bateman all provided adequate comedic moments. I was entertained. Sure, it could have been much better, but it was not bad. I really need an island vacation after watching this.


***/*****


3/5 Stars