Tag Archives: Movies

The Incredibles 2 Review


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After cranking out some great posts on Monday, I decided to see The Incredibles 2 in Boston.  The Incredibles 2 is the infamous Pixar sequel to The Incredibles that people have been waiting YEARS for (even me!).  I really enjoyed The Incredibles back in 2004 and the sequel is even much better.

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Here’s the story – The Parr family continue operating as superheroes after defeating Syndrome three months ago.  Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen (Holly Hunter) get the family together to defeat the Underminer from robbing the Metroville Bank.  After defeating the Underminer, Helen is selected to become a superhero and fight crime in New Urbem under her old identity as Elastigirl.

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During one of her missions, Elastigirl confronts her newest foe – the ScreenSlaver.  The ScreenSlaver is the mysterious villain who hijacks the screens to brainwash civilians through hypnotic images.

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While Elastigirl fights crime, Bob becomes a stay-at-home dad.  Bob notices that Jack-Jack has various super powers.  From firing lasers to duplicating himself, Jack-Jack came with many powers that were proved difficult to control.

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Image result for the incredibles 2

Ever since The Incredibles 2 was released back in June 15th, the film gained lots of popularity with many audiences; in fact, it surpassed over $200 million within four days.  Tens of millions of people have gathered into the theater to check out another amazing sequel film from Pixar.  Pixar did amazing with Finding Dory and fans are certainly loving The Incredibles 2.

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Image result for the incredibles 2

In the end, I thought this was an awesome movie.  It was a cute, funny animated film about a kick-ass superhero family fighting crime.  Whether it is catching bad guys or dealing with personal problems (i.e. Violet’s love interest of Tony), the Parr family deal with the problems one way or another.  It was also great to see Jack-Jack’s new powers during the movie as well.  As an added bonus, it’s always wonderful to see the great Edna Mode back in action.

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The Incredibles 2 is THE superhero movie you must check out this summer.

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Summer Reading #1 – Angels in America


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One of my goals this summer is to read more books (at least 5-10 in total).  Days are getting much longer, which means I get extra time to spend outdoors.  With all of these new books I got over the past few months, I figured it’s the perfect time to do some summer reading.  It is also a good time to discuss my summer reading titles for the blog.

First up on the summer reading list involves a timeless play that takess place during the 1980s AIDS crisis when the disease was rampant all across the country.  During these rough times, many gay characters turned on each other due to various personal conflicts among each other.  This is the story of Angels in America.

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Angels in America is a two-part gay fantasia series written by Tony Kushner.  Roy Cohn is a successful New York lawyer and power broker.  He is a deeply closeted gay man who has AIDS.  Through his political connections, he is able to score some supply of an experimental drug called AZT.  Alone in a hospital, he is constantly judged by his night nurse Belize (friend of Prior’s and former drag queen) and the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg.

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In the meantime, Joseph Pitt is a closeted gay Mormon and republic who is offered a job in Washington D.C. by Roy Cohn.  Joe hesitates about accepting the job due to his agoraphobic wife Harper who refuses to move.  Harper starts suspecting that Joe does not love her as she loves him.  It is then that Joe confesses to her that he is gay.

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After his confession, Joe hooks up with Louis Ironson.  Louis’s boyfriend, Prior Walters, contracted AIDS.  While Prior’s illness progresses, Louis moves out and abandons Prior altogether.  Prior is then visited by a pair of ghosts who claim to be his own ancestors and hears this angelic voice informing him to prepare for her arrival.

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The first part of Angels in America is titled ‘Millennium Approaches’ and premiered in May 1991; meanwhile, the second part ‘Perestroika’ premiered in November 1992.  These two parts happen in a span of almost five years.  It’s a metaphorical and symbolical examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America during the 1980s.  Many characters are supernatural beings (such as angels) while others become deceased persons (who are the ghosts).

Image result for Angels in America HBO

Image result for Angels in America HBO

Years after the play was released, Angels in America was made into an HBO series back in December 7th 2003.  The miniseries starred Al Pacino as Roy Cohn with supporting actors including Meryl Streep, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker, Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk, Jeffrey Wright, and others.  There are six episodes that span within a total of 352 minutes.  It makes for a great miniseries that stems from the play.

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Overall, I really enjoyed reading Angels in America.  It was definitely intense to read and I really connected with the characters throughout.  I really enjoyed the symbolism and metaphors surrounding the whole AIDS crisis.  There were times where the story line had some bizarre scenes in the mix, but I understood what was happening either way.

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This play was a great start to my summer reading list.  There were AIDS, homosexuality, heartbreaks, new friendships, and even betrayal all rolled up into one incredible story.  You should definitely pick up Angels in America this summer if you want a riveting tale that involves one of the most notorious health PR nightmares in American history.

Check out Angels in America this summer.

Summer 2018 Goals


It has been an interesting couple of days here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Pride Month started earlier, recreational cannabis shops are opening in less than a month, and summer is coming up real soon.  Summer is usually a more relaxed season and business runs a bit slower than usual; this scenario goes for the PR industry as well.

Being that there aren’t as much entertainment releases during this season, I figured I take things a different direction.  Earlier I composed list of goals I want to complete for this summer.  These are not important life-changing goals that could drastically alter my life; but rather, just fun activities or events I plan to complete for this summer.

Here are my summer goals for this year:

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Read 5-10 Books

To be honest, I have not been reading as much books as I used to.  With the weather getting nicer, now is the time to sit outside and read some books.  I received a bunch of books last Christmas from my family.  This past weekend I finished reading California by Edan Lepucki, which was a real interesting read.

My goal is around 5-10 by the end of the summer, but I will probably add on to that list as time goes on.

Hiking Trips to New Mountains

Hiking trips around Bailey’s Hill are always fun, but its time I extend my trips elsewhere.  There are lots of other hiking trails I have yet to discover around the Boston area.  Even in the busy streets of Boston, there are still nearby trails to hike around.  Hopefully I will find some great trails that are not too far from me.

Rooftop Bar Events

Yesterday I played around with the idea of rooftop events in Boston (which you can read about here).  Rooftop bars make for great events to enjoy drinks on a nice summer day.  Whenever I am in Boston, I will be sure to hit up some good rooftop spots.  I have already spent enough time drinking my craft beers inside the bars and now it’s time to enjoy a cold one out on a rooftop or patio area.

Biking Around Beaches (Nahant, Winthrop, Revere, etc)

Other than hiking trails, I enjoy riding my bike outside as well.  I took my bike out last year a few times in Point of Pines.  It was an exhilarating exercise to do around Revere Beach.  Some other areas I want to ride around are Nahant Beach, Winthrop Beach, Swampscott, and even parts of Boston.  Definitely looking to stay active all while enjoying the great outdoors.

Attend Concerts

A few years ago, I attended some good shows around Boston.  I got to check out the Boston Calling Festival and even saw Gregory Alan Isakov live.  This year I plan to be on the hunt for some good bands coming into the area.  Anything within the jam band/classic rock scene would be great.

Go Camping

Camping is always a fun summer activity.  I went camping a few times with the family and enjoyed getting away from town for a while.  Hopefully I will go camping with some close friends of mine during their break from work.  This could be a great way to take a break and reconnect with nature.

Vacation Trip to Burlington, VT

Burlington, VT was the home of Champlain College, my first college I went to after graduating high school.  This was such an amazing city to be in with so many awesome places in downtown.  I would walk for miles around the city and never get bored of what Burlington had to offer.  During this summer, I definitely want to head back to my old college town for a bit to explore B-Town again (#BrokeInBurlington).

Take Trips to NH and Maine

Besides Burlington, I definitely want to take some quick trips up to New Hampshire and Maine as well.  New Hampshire and Maine are more than an hour away from me, but it’s a great drive to get away from the city.  The city may be fun, but I will carve out some time to explore the countryside.

Summer Blockbusters

Those summer blockbusters are perfect for the rainy days.  There are a lot of great movies coming out this summer that I will have to check out this year.  If the weather isn’t perfect, then its time to check out some summer blockbuster films.  And for the record, I WILL create a post about some of the movies I checked out this summer.

Swimming in the Ocean

One last healthy activity for the summer – swimming.  The ocean will be warming up near the beach, which will be perfect to swim in.  Swimming in the pool is one thing, but swimming in the ocean is even better.  There’s nothing like feeling the waves of cold water splashing over you on a hot summer day.

That is all for the summer goals of 2018.  There may be new goals added if something else comes up.  Either way, this summer is looking to be brighter than ever each and every day!

The Handmaids Tale Comes to Boston


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Boston has become a popular city to filming TV series and movies for quite some time.  Movies such as The Town, Ted 2, Fever Pitch, and American Hustle were all filmed in and around the city.  Actors like Mark Wahlberg helped bring the Hollywood magic over to New England.

Years later and Boston is still a popular destination for filming.  Other than movies, tv series have been filming in Boston as well.  Just recently, it was used for filming season two of The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Image result for The Handmaid's Tale

             The Handmaid’s Tale is derived from the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood and stars Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olson in Mad Men) as June Offred, a woman who was captured while trying to escape to Canada with her husband Luke and daughter Hannah.  Offred is trapped in the dystopian future where fertility rates dropped due to environmental pollution and sexually transmitted diseases.  She is one of many women known as ‘Handmaids’ who are forced into sexual and child-bearing servitude.  These women are not allowed to handle money, work, own property, or even read.

Image result for The Handmaid's Tale Fenway Park

Image result for The Handmaid's Tale Fenway Park

Season two of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale featured various iconic spots in Boston.  The season premiere takes the characters right into Fenway Park.  As seen from the picture, the group of handmaids are thrust into the center of the ballpark’s weeding lawn.  All of the stadium lights are bright enough to illuminate the Green Monster; you can even see the lighting shining upon a long row of nooses as well.

Image result for The Handmaid's Tale Boston Globe

Image result for The Handmaid's Tale Boston Globe

The next iconic location is in episode two where June Offred in the safe house, which is the former headquarters of The Boston Globe on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester (FUN FACT: the former office was also used to film Spotlight).  June roams around the offices of the deserted building, watching Friends and creates a memorial out of cubicle decorations.  Some of the decorations included candles, assorted postcards, a Red Sox hat, and even a Boston Globe mug.  Besides the former office of The Boston Globe, the second episode also showed the Logan Airport mobbed with ICE agents and passengers looking to flee the country.

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Image result for The Boston Globe

This is a great way of promoting Boston.  Filming a series like The Handmaid’s Tale is a unique marketing tactic to showcase some of Boston’s greatest landmarks.  While the Red Sox weren’t playing on the field, Fenway Park was still used in an interesting (and chilling) way.  The creepy photos have been drawing up a strong reaction all across social media.  Either way, its just drumming up more awareness of places like Fenway Park and the former office of The Boston Globe.

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Hollywood continues to head out to New England for filming.  Whether it is a movie or TV series, Boston continues to be used as the setting for the story.  While New York City was always popular for many productions, Boston continues to grow strong in the entertainment industry as well.

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Image result for The Handmaid's Tale Fenway Park

TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale prove that Boston makes for a perfect city setting.  Its amazing how a little Hollywood magic can transform Fenway Park into such a chilling image.  If The Handmaid’s Tale can pull off something like that, who knows what other ideas can come out of Boston.

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In the meantime, be sure to check out The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.  Be sure to look out for Fenway Park and Boston Logan Airport!

Take Your Pills…To Become The Best


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After watching that bizarre documentary Wild Wild Country on Netflix, I was thirsty for more crazy PR nightmares.  Usually I bounce back to one of my various Netflix series, but I was craving for something more educational this past weekend.  I searched around for any more interesting documentaries about cannabis only to stumbled upon some popular title about pills.  It was time to learn about America’s Adderall addiction in Netflix’s Take Your Pills.

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Image result for Netflix Take Your Pills

Image result for Netflix Take Your Pills

Take Your Pills hit the Netflix shelves on March 9th 2018.  The series looked at how people are seeking a performance edge through Adderall, Ritalin, as well as other prescription stimulants.  From professional athletes to college students, many people are taking stimulants like Adderall for that extra boost in their work.  In the hypercompetitive nation of America, people from all walks of life look to prescribed stimulants in order to gain the upper hand.

Image result for Netflix Take Your Pills

Image result for Netflix Take Your Pills

College students were a major focus for the film.  Rather than consume psychedelic substances like cannabis or LSD, young adults are ‘tuning in’ to substances like Ritalin and Adderall.  Students are taking in that one Adderall before working on their final term paper, art project, video, or even studying for their final exams.  Its great that they are working hard for their grades and all that, but it also sparks a dangerous message about our nation’s working environment.

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Recreational use of Adderall or Ritalin isn’t just something people partake in during their time in college – young professionals working in highly competitive job fields are also takings stimulants as well.  These young professionals use stimulants to gain a boost in their careers (the documentary featured examples such as software programming and even finances).  There’s a joke from Silicon Valley where Richard Hendricks tries to score Adderall from kids after finding out that half of the kids use it in Palo Alto.  As funny as the joke is, it definitely rings true to reality in Silicon Valley.

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At the end of the day, the question becomes what kind of society have we created where Americans everywhere are increasingly using stimulants like Adderall to get ahead?  When we did start accepting the idea of giving children medicine just so that they can pay attention in class?  How exactly did this nation become so hypercompetitive where aspiring professionals are using (even abusing!) stimulants to get ahead?

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People back in the 1960s would have never imagined giving their children pills ever in their life; we now live in a world where not only is it the new norm in society, but now find it crucial to have children taking stimulants just to do good in school. What exactly is that ultimate reward they reach in the end?  More money?  Fame? A higher position in the company?

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Imagine what kind of effect this has in the communications industry, especially in the high-stakes career of public relations.  Is this where PR professionals are heading towards?  Taking Adderall or Ritalin daily just to get through thousands of emails for the week?  What’s most disturbing is that its probably happening in agencies right now.

We need to step back for a moment and think about what kind of society we are creating.  There has been so much advancement in technology over the past decades that Americans are finding it harder and harder to keep up.  This competition is being mirrored all the way back to elementary education where parents are fighting to get their children into the best preschools possible.

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If you want to learn more about this disturbing rise of stimulants, then definitely check out Take Your Pills on Netflix.  It’s the kind of documentary that makes you wonder – what would you take to be the best?