Film Review: Fun Family Adventure “Jungle Cruise”

I grew up visiting Disneyland throughout my adolescence. A definite perk of living in Southern California, and I definitely grew to have my favorite rides at the park. Given my sense of humor, it’s no surprise that The Jungle Cruise was on that list with the wry and pun-filled patter of the guides, coupled with calm, peaceful faux jungle terrain. A jungle in the heart of Anaheim? It requires no more a suspension of disbelief…Read More

Film Review: Creepy, Flawed Horror “Old”

There are few directors in Hollywood that have a spottier track record than M. Night Shyamalan. Bursting on the scene with the original and disconcerting 1999 film The Sixth Sense, the director has spent the last two decades trying to recapture that mix of mundane, eerie, and unexpected. Muchly relying on a startling twist in the last scene and mostly without success. From Signs, to The Village, The Happening to Lady in the Water, we’ve learned that Shyamalan…Read More

Cruisin’ with the Terrific 2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Edition 4×4

It all started way back in 1966, when Ford Motor Company introduced a “sport utility” vehicle called the Bronco. It had three models, the Roadster, the Wagon, and the Sport Utility. It did really well and over the years, Ford has gone through five major redesigns of the vehicle, ending its production run in 1996 as it was replaced by the Ford Explorer and then the Expedition. Until this year, when Ford announced it was…Read More

Game Review: Catching the Solo Spirit of the Board Game “Distilled”

Fermentation is probably one of the most important chemical reactions known to humankind. Since the dawn of civilization, people have been taking advantage of how sugars change into alcohol, the process that underlies every alcoholic beverage, from the lowliest moonshine to the fanciest aged cognac. Fundamentally, though, it’s straightforward: water + yeast + sugars = alcohol. Want to make a specific spirit like vodka, gin, or brandy? You’ll need specific sugar sources (grains versus fruits,…Read More

Film Review: Ultra-Cool, Stylish Actioner “Hydra”

The open scene of the new Japanese martial arts action film Hydra tells you everything you need to know about the movie; stylized florescent lighting, spontaneous and shockingly violent action, an 80’s electronica soundtrack and almost no dialog. Director Kensuke Sonomura and cinematographer Yasuyuki Suzuki have created a beautiful homage to 80’s action films, even with the typeface chosen for the opening credits. Like waking up to a slap on the face, the opening scene…Read More

Does Watching TV Together Really Help Families Bond?

CenturyLinkQuote hit me up with an email announcement about some research the company performed about families and television viewing. Since CLQ is a CenturyLink reseller and sells Internet and TV services to homes, it’s hard to imagine that the firm would find a negative correlation between families, TV, and happiness, but it’s still interesting reading… CLQ quotes Nielsen’s estimate that 121 million US homes have televisions. But I dug a bit further, finding that’s out…Read More

Game Review: Engaging Roll & Write Puzzler “Torpedo Dice”

Ever since their introduction, there’s something about submarines that fascinates people. Maybe it’s the unimaginable experience of being in a metal tube thousands of feet under the ocean’s surface, skulking along, waiting for a chance to surface and BLAM! attack with a well-placed torpedo. Or maybe it’s the fact that submarines are the wild card of modern warfare, able to sneak up on ships without warning in a way that no other craft or vessel…Read More

A Week Of Driving the Terrific 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line AWD

Go to the Kia Motors Web site, check out the Sorento lineup and you’ll find that there are a lot of trim levels, ranging from LX, to S, EX, SX and SX Prestige, but the one trim level that isn’t listed is the “X-Line”. It’s the top of the line for every component on the vehicle, from bumpers to mirrors, pedals to roof rails. It’s also semi-mythical at this point because of how incredibly popular this…Read More

Game Review: The Goofy Fun “Chez Cthulhu” Card Game

As if having roommates isn’t enough hassle, now you have to worry about whether Cthulhu is encroaching on your living space. Man, what a hassle. And are the Old Ones going to pay rent and do their share of the chores? In the wacky card game Chez Cthulhu you and up to four of your friends are drinking and harassing each other, I mean, living together, worshiping Cthulhu, and being massive slackers. The most slack…Read More

Upping my Laundry Game with Tru Earth Detergent Sheets

I like doing dishes, I don’t even mind vacuuming or cleaning windows and mirrors. But laundry? That’s the real chore if you ask me, and it’s endless; our clothes are in a slow death spiral from the first time you bring them home, a cycle of wear and get dirty, wash and break down the fibers, repeat. Eventually, they end up threadbare, tear or just look awful, so it’s time to replace them, a sometimes…Read More

Luxury, but Little Personality: The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD

If you’re buying a premium luxury vehicle, you’re likely looking for more than just a good drive experience, you also seek a vehicle with a strong brand identity. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Alfa-Romeo, even Tesla have established a certain reputation. Drivers who seek a car with that particular personality head to the car-maker’s lots to check out the offerings. Lexus, the premium upmarket Toyota brand, is also in this category and for the most part, the…Read More

Film Review: Amusing, Forgettable “The Boss Baby: Family Business”

Like a story out of a late-night drinking session with long-suffering preschool staff, the 2017 animated feature The Boss Baby was silly fun, with lots of laughs due to the improbable juxtaposition of babies and corporate business. The film featured the voice talents of Alec Baldwin as the baby and Tobey Maguire as older brother Tim. Rounding out the family were Jimmy Kimmel as Dad and Lisa Kudrow as Mom. The film was a surprise…Read More

Film Review: The Surprisingly Unengaging “Black Widow”

Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff has always seemed like a minor character in the pantheon of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters and no wonder; she’s competing with gods and other mythic characters. A left-over Cold War cliché of a character, she was trained by the Soviets to be a beautiful killer, ready to dispatch anyone at a moment’s notice. You’ve seen her type time and again in Le Carré novels, the TV series The Americans, and more….Read More

Lawnbright Update: Late June and the Lawn Looks Great

I live in suburbia. In fact, I’m so deep in suburbia that I’m not only on my local Homeowners Association board, I’m the President of the HOA. Turns out it’s not much work and as an HOA we’re more focused on building community and helping out our neighbors, but everyone on the ‘hood still has that great symbol of suburban life: Grass. Should we all xeriscape? Probably. Have any of us taken that step? No….Read More

A Week Behind the Wheel of the 2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

Let’s just get this out of the way first, as it’s going to be a big theme of this writeup: The 2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe is a beautiful car with sleek, gorgeous lines and a nicely appointed interior, marred by a ghastly front grill. It’s hard to understand what the BMW design engineers were thinking when they added the “beaver teeth” chrome-edged grill to the front of a vehicle that has literally zero chrome…Read More