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Movie Review Monday: Green Lantern

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Mike Finkelstein was relaxing in his backyard when he was suddenly picked up by a big green ball of energy.  He met an alien, then a bunch of others (one of which sounded a lot like Michael Clarke Duncan), and became a superhero that could create Hot Wheels race tracks.  Oh yeah, and he still had time to see “Green Lantern.”

PLOT: A hot-shot pilot (Hal Jordan) encounters a dying alien who belongs to an intergalactic peace corps known as the Green Lanterns.  When he is chosen to take on the responsibility of being one of the heroes, he has to learn to overcome his fears as he battles an event entity called Parallax, bent on destroying everything in its path.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: We seem to be in somewhat of a golden age of superhero movies.  We have the Marvel Universe putting forth SPIDERMAN, X MEN, and a nine picture deal locking in all the AVENGERS in their own movies, and then an epic crossover film.  We have DC Comics with Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN series, and hopefully something jaw dropping with Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL.  With all of those fighting for your fan boy dollar, there is a new standard for superhero movies that has to be met.

Whoever decided to write GREEN LANTERN did not get that memo.

Notice that I say “Whoever decided to WRITE…”  That wasn’t a mistake…the film’s script is absolutely terrible, and most of the movie’s issues can be drawn back to it.  Let’s take this from the beginning:

When you start a film with what feels like a five minute long narration describing the entire history of the Green Lanterns (it wasn’t that long, but it felt like it), you know you’re in trouble.  Maybe it’d be okay if that were your only narration, but no…in every single scene, there was some monologue explaining some back-story to the audience.  (We get the picture, boys…no need to constantly shove it down our throats.)  I wanted to give the excuse that Green Lantern is not as well known as other superheroes and needed the explanation, but IRON MAN and THOR didn’t have that problem, and they weren’t ridiculously popular either before their films came out (especially the latter).

As for story, absolutely everything is clichéd and “Superhero by-the books.”  For characters, we have the immature bad boy pilot, the ex girlfriend who tries to be strong, but is still in love, and the misunderstood, angry foe corrupted by evil.  We have daddy issues with Hal’s father and his premature death (in an absurd flashback that actually made the audience laugh…not something you want during an ‘emotional’ moment), constant speeches, mostly by Blake Lively, about how irresponsible Hal is (gee… wonder if he’ll become responsible by the end of the film…), and supporting characters, including a random nephew, that go absolutely nowhere and disappear into the nothingness after one or two scenes “furthering” Hal as a character.  At least make it seem like you’re trying!

With all those issues, I feel bad for Ryan Reynolds.  I’m a huge fan of the guy, especially after seeing BURIED (if you haven’t seen it, you must), and here, it’s obvious he’s doing his best with what he has to work with.  He brings his natural charm in every scene he is in, and gets in some great laughs.  Since we’re supposed to feel Hal’s fear, the easy charisma sometimes works against the character, but then you can’t knock it too much, because if it weren’t for him, the film would be on a straight-to-DVD $9.99 rack at your local pharmacy.

Peter Sarsgaard also does a very good job making a one-dimensional character something more.  For someone so good looking, Sarsgaard has been Hollywood’s go-to creepy guy lately, and he does a great job as Hector Hammond.  You could see in his eyes the innocence, then the anger, and then the evil, and Hammond has some of the best one-liners in the film.

Sadly, the rest of the cast couldn’t lift the script up at all, because, to be frank, they had nothing to work with.  Blake Lively proved that she is more than just a pretty face with THE TOWN.  Here, she’s nothing more than a broken record with pursed lips.  Tim Robbins was phoning it in as Senator Hammond, and it felt like he was basically there because to be in a superhero movie is the cool thing to do right now.  And while Taika Waititi did a great job as Hal’s best friend, it almost felt like the character was an afterthought…the result of a note in the drafts that said “need friend comic relief”

Then, there is huge problem number 3 (and the only non-writing issue): the special effects.  I will preface my comments with the fact that I saw this movie in 2D, and I’ll admit that there were scenes that seemed like they could work excellently in 3D.  That doesn’t hide the fact that the first twenty minutes felt like a video game opening.  When your villain looks almost cartoonish, and its destructive powers come straight out of the movie, 9 (yeah, that’s exactly how it feels), there’s no threat.  The flying sequences looked downright fake, and the suit reeks of computer animation with Reynolds’ head on top.  And the sad part is that the special effects were the selling point of this film for a long time!

Martin Campbell is a very capable director.  He’s done some great work with both James Bond and Zorro films, and no matter what you think of Mel Gibson, EDGE OF DARKNESS looked absolutely stunning.  But a Christopher Nolan, he is not.  Nolan knows the comic mythology of Batman and stays true to it.  Campbell had no passion for this universe.  Yes, there were a few amusing moments here and there, and some great little one-liners poking fun at superhero movies in general, but overall, GREEN LANTERN is a mess.  The film seems almost pieced together, with the writers trying to fit in every superhero movie cliché they could think of, to the point that it can’t even find it’s own identity.   And in today’s golden age of superheroes, you need to step up your game if you want to play with the big boys.

GRADE: C

Mike’s LIKES:

1) RYAN REYNOLDS: While he may have not been the perfect character, the only thing that saved this movie from being completely clichéd and horrible was Reynolds’ being Reynolds.  Hysterical and charming as always.

2) PETER SARSGAARD: The only other character besides Reynolds that actually had some substance. Sarsgaard is kind of the go-to guy when it comes to creepy, and here, he pulls that off with some great one-liners.

3) “RUN”: Yeah, best one-liner out of all mentioned in #2

4) JOKING ABOUT SUPERHERO STEREOTYPES: It’s always funny when you’re able to poke fun at yourself.  Here, they did a few times, my favorite being the comment on the damn small masks that do anything but “protect your identity”

5) HALS BEST FRIEND: Taika Waititi did a good job for what he had to work with: the one-dimensional best friend role that barely came up, unless a sarcastic moment was needed.  I still laughed.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) BLAKE LIVELY: This really hurt me, because Lively actually proved that she was so much more than a pretty face with THE TOWN, and then just regressed into everything she shouldn’t be for this part.  One dimensional, and nothing to really feel for, but I also blame that a lot on the script.

2) HORRIBLE WRITING/CLICHED SPEECHES: You can only have horrible dialogue and constant speeches about Hal’s irresponsibility forced down your throat for so long.  Mix that with too much jumping around and characters that you’re supposed to feel for, even though they disappear after one scene, and you have a B-level by-the-books superhero flick.

3) TIM ROBBINS: I’m sorry, but Tim Robbins seemed so out of place here.  It was like “that older generation actor trying to be cool, so he jumps into a comic book movie”.

4) FAKE SPECIAL EFFECTS: When it feels like you’re watching a video game back story for the first twenty minutes, no level of 3D could help.

5) CONSTANT BACK STORY/EXPLANATION: Maybe it’s because the Green Lantern mythology isn’t as well known as other superheroes’ and the writers felt they needed to explain it to the audience, but how many narrations and speeches does it take?!  When you have to stop major characters to look at the audience and go “here’s what’s going on…”, we check out.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Sam Worthington and Chris Pine were in consideration for the role of Hal Jordan. Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake and Jared Leto actually screen-tested for the role.

2) Around June 2006, Robert Smigel had completed a script of the film, which was a comedy-adventure to star Jack Black. The studio dropped the script due to extreme negative feedback from fans.

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VIDEO:Rolled Ice Cream, Cheetos Bagels And Grasshoppers Are Just Some Of The Unusual Things Brian Balthazar Has Eaten On ‘The Wendy Williams Show’

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You’ve seen pop culture expert, Brian Balthazar, appear on The Wendy Williams Show quite a bit over the last few years. He even co-hosted the show on three separate occasions. It wasn’t until his last visit where he and Jason Biggs chowed down on a KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich that it hit me: Being on the daytime talk show makes Brian Balthazar hungry!

The proof is in the pudding…pun definitely intended. Carla Hall made sure to bring some snacks for Brian when they cohosted together.

Sure, Wendy is known for telling us to “grab a snack and come on back”…

But you’d have to be absolutely famished to want to eat fish sliders at 10am.

He’s gotten so hungry he resorted to eating GRASSHOPPER TACOS on the show!

Could it be that Brian isn’t actually hungry though? Could he just be a brave soul willing to be the taste tester so we don’t have to? Could my theory be flawed?!

I suddenly feel like maybe we owe Brian a big thanks…

Either way, it’s fun to watch! Click below to take a look at a compilation of all the fun stuff Brian Balthazar has eaten on The Wendy Williams Show!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign

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As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!

THE DINING ROOM

Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!

ON TO THE GUEST BEDROOM!

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
THE GUEST BEDROOM

Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!

 

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THE GAME ROOM

BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT / GAME ROOM

Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from PoolTables.com and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!

 

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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