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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Soundtrack Review: #Brooklyn

The beautiful score for Brooklyn perfectly matches the film's delicate charm.

Review by Matt Cummings

Music isn't the only thing ingredient to making a good film, but it's an important element in crafting its tone. Composer Michael Brook's score for Brooklyn does just that, taking us to far away places and times that while strengthening the film's chances for a Best Picture nomination.

Told through the eyes of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), Brooklyn tells of a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950's New York. After a difficult voyage and period of adjustment, Ellis is swept up in a relationship with a working Italian (Emory Cohen), who instantly falls in love with Ellis' sweet charm. But when her new life is disrupted by tragic news from home, Ellis returns to find that she might not be so ready to leave.

Composer Michael Brook grants us with a glimpse into Ellis' world in different ways, from the playful Seasick to the gorgeous Rose Dies and Mourning. Many of Brook's pieces aren't long, but they provide important markers for the strong storytelling and help to elevate the already compelling performance by Ronan. We've seen examples this year of how shortened tracks can sometimes leave us wanting more, but in Brooklyn that problem never materializes. Letter to Home, Things are Looking Up, and Proposal (perhaps my favorite) arrive completely formed, and accompany the gorgeous imagery behind Director John Crowley's steady hand.

There is of course a nice selection of Irish songs and instrumentals here as well, supported by Casadh An Tsúgáin (Frankie's Song) by Iarla Ó Lionáird. In the film it works perfectly to tell the plight of the immigrant homeless, and even without any visuals the effect is just as powerful. Others like Tony's Letter also reflect the film's deep Irish roots, both in instrumentation and in its beat. But in the end, this score wins due to its deep orchestral movements, including The Pull of Home and two more of my favorites, Packing for the Voyage and Goodbye Ellis.

Lakeshore Records has done a fine job producing these 24 tracks, and Brooks' adept compositions and execution simply make the film better. It does what any good score should: provide important tonal markers while elevating the experience of Ellis' plight and successes. I couldn't recommend Brooklyn: Original Motion Picture Score more, and hope Brooks receives strong consideration at this year's Oscars.

Brooklyn: Original Motion Picture Score is available now on CD and digital download.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
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Marvel Collector Corps Review: December 2015

Marvel Collector Corps attains top sub box status with its GUARDIANS theme.

Review by Matt Cummings

The subscription box industry is an inconsistent mess, propped up by an amazing reveal one month, then a disaster the next (see our Geek Fuel lamentations HERE and HERE). The problem seems to be QUALITY and TIMING, with Fuel offering cheap Christmas goods that had very little to do with Star Wars, which is what every December box should be doing. Their November box was also a letdown, filled with slightly more interesting items, but nowhere near their spectacular September submission.

While we haven't yet seen Loot Crate's offering, we're worried about the effect that this whipsaw is having on geek lovers everywhere. Why buy a 'mystery box' when it's clear that sometimes these providers are merely robbing Hot Topic and Spencer's of its marked-down merch? As the answers continue to vex us, one box has made quality and timing its #1 goals: Marvel Collector Corps. This month's GUARDIANS theme moves them to the top spot and makes us reconsider the month-to-month model altogether.

The Promise

Before we begin, let's look at the deal again: promising a value of $50, the box would keep the "fluff" (their words) to a minimum with Funko partnering each time to deliver an exclusive figure. Joining at the Founders level would get you an 8" exclusive figure on your one-year anniversary, but you can also subscribe at the Collector level at $25 with $6.95 shipping.

We're still not sure which figure they will release to Founders, but it's clear now that Funko will play a part. My Marvel Unlimited Plus comic sub revealed a terrific (and exclusive) Legends Rescue figure; and with Rocket Raccoon arriving at my door the first time around, I'm hopeful for something just as memorable. Anyone who might have some insight into this is encouraged to let us know.

The Delivery
Once again, the box is huge, which means plenty of room for Christmas/Guardians awesomeness. The Starlord image is classic (if you consider 2008 as the first good Guardians of the Galaxy comic run), and he's represented in fine form. As you can see, the outer box features the same lettering across the entire sides of the box as in previous months.

The Guts
Interior artwork doesn't match any of my Guardians comics, but it's great seeing Rocket sporting a large cannon, as is common with all raccoons these days. As with previous months, MCC divides the box to keep the contents safely secured. No more rustling around to damage the goods!
A hallmark to MCC is their inner flap which contains two collectible "accessories" including a Rocket patch (so awesome!) and a Groot pin. Each of these are exclusive to MCC, and their workmanship is terrific. The Rocket image is what I imagine him to be, that feisty, eye-winking distributor of bad-ass. I'm definitely loving MCC's patch/pin set.

The Comic
After opening the inner flap, we are treated to an exclusive variant cover of Guardians of Infinity. While I have that series primed in my Marvel Unlimited digital subscription, I enjoy these alternate covers, some of which pretty decent money on the secondary market. However, and like all other MCC comics, I'll be keeping this bag/bordered beauty!

Lifting off the comic, we're treated to tri-divided lower box, complete with a wearable and two Funko pieces.

First up is a pair of Pop ornaments. Each are well crafted and measure about the length of an adult palm. Check out the bow ties on each, and what the tie is hiding on Rocket. So. Classic.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this month's box is a Guardians scarf. Yes, it doesn't fit my t-shirt mandate, but it's a quality design and exclusive to MCC. Check out the back, which features a full-size Groot. This is the kind of wearable I can live with, even though I would have preferred a Guardians shirt. But the scarf is wearable right now, which makes its timing perfect.

Lastly - and perhaps a bit of downer consider the other items - is a Starlord coffee cup. As with the Venom cup from last box, this one might be too difficult to actually drink out of, due to its odd shaping around the lip. I can imagine hot coffee dripping onto someone's lap. Still, it's a nice design and again exclusive to MCC.

The Bottom Line
Marvel Collector Corps' December release solidifies its place as the best geek subscription box available. MCC's simple plan to deliver high-quality items that fans want should serve as an industry standard. With boxes like Loot Crate and Geek Fuel whipsawing in quality each month, it's safe to say that the month-to-month plan might not work. There just might not be enough money in Loot or Fuel's systems to offer a consistently high-quality experience without raising prices, which fans won't accept. From MCC's perspective, such a plan isn't necessary, as it now stands atop the pile of pretenders, waiting for the sophomore reveal from Smuggler's Bounty. Until that time, we'll just enjoy our Guardians box and sing holiday tunes with Cosmic in mind.

Want to read our other sub box reviews? We've got them all listed below: MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS
May
June
August October

LOOT CRATE REVIEWS
March
April
May
June
July
August
September

GEEK FUEL REVIEWS
October
November
December

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
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#InsidetheBucket Podcast #84

This week's episode of Inside the Bucket is online! Revel in the digital mastery!
The Force is with us, as Inside the Bucket leaps into hyperspace to bring you all this week's juiciest movie and television news and reviews from our website SANDWICHJOHNFILMS.COM. Matt is joined by SandwichJohn and Brandon, just a few hours after seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Before getting into a detailed review of the most anticipated film of the year, the boys start the show with all the style of a bull and full of greasy attitude, as they discuss this week's hottest TV and movie news. They review several key bits including the first trailer for Star Trek Beyond and character posters for the upcoming reboot of Ghostbusters.

They also discuss what will be a historic box office weekend, with Star Wars breaking every record including people peeing in their pants as they wait in lines outside to get in. The boys also discuss movies and television shows hitting Blu-ray this week.

After a Christmas cookie break, the boys dive headlong into Rants and Raves, where they bitch and complain about all the things they're watching, following, and are generally pissed off about from the past week. Brandon discusses the film Sisters as well as his 2015 top television shows; Matt reviews two subscription boxes: Geek Fuel and Marvel Collector Corps.

The show ends with a non-spoiler review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and before completing a detailed, spoiler-filled discussion. If you haven't seen the film, listen to our non-spoiler portion and then head out to the theater to enjoy it.

We encourage you to participate in mailbag, as well as our Open Forum Friday, which is your chance to get in our business about running a passion project like our trainwreck. Please email us at Comments@SandwichJohnFilms.com with any thoughts you have about our show.

Be warned: Inside the Bucket is an EXPLICIT PODCAST. We tend to say controversial things and cuss just for the heck of it. So, please be careful if you are listening to us while at work.

We hope you laugh as much as we do bringing the show to you. As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support, and we'll see you at one of our screenings.

Please make sure to check out our website SANDWICHJOHNFILMS.COM and make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

NEWS (3:01)
  • Star Trek Beyond Trailer Released
  • #Ghostbusters Character Posters Revealed
BLU-RAY RELEASES - Pan, Pawn Sacrifice, War Room (12:49)

Who won this week at the box office? (28:40)

RANTS AND RAVES (16:31)
  • BRANDON - 2015 TV Winners and Losers, REVIEW: Sisters
  • MATT - Geek Fuel Review, Marvel Collector Corps Review
MOVIE REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (48:27)
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Friday, December 18, 2015

#GeekFuel Review: December 2015

December's Geek Fuel hits the Christmas skids, making us second-guess our commitment.

Review by Matt Cummings

After a somewhat disappointing November, we were ready for a Star Wars celebration, Geek Fuel style. The subscription box service was 1-for-2, having delivered an exceptional October. But as we soon realized, Fuel has a lot of explaining to do about its December contents, and we probably don't want to know the answers.

Before diving in, let's review the details:
  • The cost for a Month to Month is $17.90, $16.90/month for a 3-month subscription, $15.90/month for a 6-month tour and just $13.90/month for a one-year subscription.
  • Shipping $6.00 to the US, Canada, and at least a few other countries.
  • Our first thought is to blast every part of this disaster, but we'll let the pictures do the talking. Again, consider QUALITY and TIMING as you view the following. We'll end our review with some additional thoughts:
    An Epic Holiday Fail
    It's clear from these images that Fuel had no business releasing such a scatter-brained box. Not only did they miss the impending holiday with a Simpsons book made more for March, candy for the Summer months, a shirt better suited for October, and a Star Wars mold that's too big for an ice cube (or really anything else) the obvious lack of quality makes the geek heart hurt. Again, if I don't like a box, give me the chance to part it on the open market. This one is so bad that frankly I'll try to sell some of it but probably will just throw most of it away. It's one of the worst boxes ever, and makes a compelling argument for why alternating months (see Marvel Collector Corps and Smuggler's Bounty) might be the better way to go. At least there, we see better decisions being made over quality AND quantity.

    In the end, Geek Fuel has a lot to explain about its recent boxes. If they're not careful, recent fan disgust over Loot Crate (which forced that company to return a monthly shirt to their themed boxes) will spill over to Geek Fuel. Regardless if they consider each box a 'value' it's clear that the last two definitely have lacked quality AND timing. January could be our last for awhile, so let's hope they return to form with something exciting. But for now, this box definitely is not recommended.

    LOOT CRATE REVIEWS
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September

    GEEK FUEL REVIEWS
    October
    November

    Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
    Read more...

    #GeekFuel Review: November 2015

    November's Geek Fuel box feels a bit like meh.
    Review by Matt Cummings
    Subscription boxes are a tricky gamble these days. One month, a box soars to greatness (see Loot Crate's October box) only to hit frustrating lows the month before. The problem isn't always connection with what fans want, but the quality of the items inside. We can accept a well-crafted box with nothing we particularly like, but only if it contains quality and value that can allow us to either flip or give it to someone else without feeling like ghetto in doing so. This month's Geek Fuel box feels a bit like this, as if someone just wasn't on their geek game. Before diving in, let's review the details:
  • The cost for a Month to Month is $17.90, $16.90/month for a 3-month subscription, $15.90/month for a 6-month tour and just $13.90/month for a one-year subscription.
  • Shipping $6.00 to the US, Canada, and at least a few other countries.
  • Rather than spend time taking the thing apart, let's allow the pictures to show you why this one is definitely missing something, and we'll provide some additional thoughts at the end:
    I'm Still In...But with Conditions!
    Without a true theme, November's box felt scattered. Filled with only decent quality, Geek Fuel hits a bump in the road with a cool Star Wars shirt but little else. The Vault-Tec clip was nice as was the Ghostbusters cards, with little else feeling exclusive or valuable. In fact, I'll bet I could secure most of it from either Hot Topic or Spencer's. This is the danger of a monthly sub box, where the quality whipsaws between extremes. Fuel needs to step up with December in a big way, or I might have to consider other options. This box is not recommended.

    Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
    Read more...

      © Site Graphics by Randy Jennings by http://www.artfreelancer.com/ 2009

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