- Your Voice
Last month, during Blizzard Entertainment’s annual BlizzCon convention, Blizzard president and co-founder, Mike Morhaime, announced that a purchasable in-game pet for World of Warcraft will be introduced in December, with all of the proceeds to benefit the Red Cross for Ebola relief efforts. “It has been really rewarding to partner with you to assist worthy causes in the past and we’re honored to continue the tradition this year.” Morhaime told attendees at the convention main stage last month. This isn’t the first time Blizzard has reached out with a charitable hand: last year players were able to purchase the Alterac Brew Pup pet for $10. Half of the money raised went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The company was able to raise $1 million to benefit the foundation. This year’s pet is named Argi, a cute little ram creature that “will jump into your heart and nibble at your Blue Woolen Socks. She’s ready to help guide you through the savage lands of Draenor, climbing, swimming, and running wherever you go.” Just like last year, Argi will cost players $10, but this is not the only opportunity for players to donate. There is also a special bundle with an in-game mount, the Grinning Reaver mount, available for purchase. The special bundle will have a price tag of $30. The Ebola epidemic has garnered international concern since leaving its origins in West Africa. Many developed nations, including the United States, have enacted policies and containment procedures as volunteers and doctors who are infected by the deadly virus are returning home to be treated. Blizzard announced late in November that the subscription base for World of Wacraft has once again broken past the 10 million mark, up from 6.8 million in early Oct. With a significantly larger player base, Blizzard might once again be able to make another million, if not multi-million dollar contribution this year.
DVD releases for 12/16At the Devil’s Door - Not Yet Rated| 1 hr. 33 min.Leigh, an ambitious young real estate agent, is asked to sell a house with a dubious past. When she finds the runaway daughter of the couple trying to sell the home, Leigh becomes entangled with a supernatural force with sinister plans.Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno , Naya Rivera , Ashley Rickards , Wyatt Russell , Ava Acres , Colin Egglesfield , Assaf Cohen , Tara BuckDirector: Nicholas McCarthyGenres: Horror
Below is the Bluegrass Jam schedule for January 2015. The Desert Bluegrass Association – an all-volunteer, non-profit organization – sponsors these jams. Event: Bluegrass Music Jam Session. Date: Sunday January 4 (First Sunday of the Month)Time: 3:00 - 5:00 pmPlace: Udall Recreation Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde RoadSponsored by: Desert Bluegrass Association
New DVDs released on Tuesday, December 9.Dolphin Tale 2 - PG| 1 hr. 47 min. “Dolphin Tale 2” continues the story of the brave dolphin Winter, whose miraculous rescue and recovery—thanks to a groundbreaking prosthetic tail—made her a symbol of hope and perseverance to people around the world and inspired the 2011 family hit movie “Dolphin Tale.”Cast: Harry Connick Jr. , Ashley Judd , Kris Kristofferson , Morgan Freeman , Nathan Gamble , Cozi Zuehlsdorff , Austin Stowell , Betsy LandinDirector: Charles Martin SmithGenres: Docudrama, Adventure
A list of movies being released this week. All movies coming out on Friday, December 12 unless otherwise noted.Exodus Gods and Kings - PG-13| 2 hr. 30 min.From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.Cast: Christian Bale , Joel Edgerton , John Turturro , Aaron Paul , Ben Kingsley , Sigourney Weaver , Golshifteh Farahani , María ValverdeDirector: Ridley ScottGenres: Action, Historical drama, Adventure
On Tuesday we got the fall finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and we got more questions than answers. Some characters are dead, others “dead” and a few more transformed.I have to admit, my initial viewing left me thinking “that was cool, but…” I like the episode, but felt we lacked the answers we were waiting for. Then I did a little research.Confession time, I grew up a comic book geek. I can recite trivia and continuity from about 1975-1996, but after graduating from college the hobby priced me out. I would keep tabs, mostly by picking up occasional graphic novels or flipping through magazines, but I was no longer a diehard. That is why I missed a few of the big reveals in the finale.We knew Sky (Chloe Bennett) had a secret and we were pretty sure it involved the blue alien from last season, but now it appears we know a lot more. Her father Cal (Kyle MacLachlan) referred to her as “Daisy” and a quick google search reveled that she is a character named Daisy Johnson who is a superhero called Quake, who happens to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics. Didn’t know that? Don’t worry, neither did I and I have about 30 boxes of comics taking up closet space in my guest bedroom and my father’s house. Over the past 10-15 years S.H.I.E.L.D. has become more important in the Marvel Universe (duh, just look at the Avengers and the latest Captain America movie), and apparently Quake is important.The one thing I did get, and got a few episodes ago, is that MacLachlan is essentially the comic character Mr. Hyde, though I doubt he will ever be called that.We also know, (thanks google) that the mist that emits from the crystals is something called “Terrigen Mist” and that is what gives the Inhumans their powers? Who are the Inhumans? Humans that were genetically altered by the alien race the Kree (blue aliens) thousands of years ago. The Inhumans are slated for a Marvel movie in 2018.
Jackson Tavern, the latest concept from Metzger Family Restaurants, is scheduled to open this week at 2900 N. Swan Road in Plaza Palomino. It draws its inspiration from the coastal towns of New England, and its menu features creative twists on regional classics from Rhode Island to Maine.But make no mistake about it. At Jackson Tavern, the clam is king.“Clams are the quintessential Rhode Island thing,” said Brian Metzger of Metzger Family Restaurants, which owns and operates Jackson Tavern. “I remember eating clams as a kid growing up in Rhode Island, and they’ve always been my favorite food. I knew that if this menu didn’t represent the clam in a big way, it just wouldn’t be authentic with what we’re trying to do.”The clam makes an appearance on six of the tavern’s menu items, from snacks to supper and seemingly everywhere in between. But it’s the clam cake that holds a special place in Metzger’s heart.“My twin brother and I first started eating clam cakes at age six, when we spent the summer hanging around the Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warwick,” he recalled. “My grandparents took us there every summer, and clam cakes were always such an important part of that experience.”Jackson Tavern’s ode to this Metzger memory is a plate of big bite-sized clam fritters served with a horseradish tartar sauce, a “true taste of Rhode Island,” he promises.
The holiday season is upon us, and for Tucsonans, that means slower traffic, delicious tamales, and wearing thermal socks underneath your sandals. For Oro Valley, however, it also means that the Great American Playhouse is bringing an instant holiday classic to the stage. “We’re No Angels” is an original story written by GAP staple Nick Seivert. Seivert’s writing style is noticeably different from frequent GAP penman Sean MacArthur. While MacArthur enjoys paying homage to cult Hollywood films, Seivert prefers completely homegrown allegories with little to no references to the silver screen. Being an unapologetic film-buff, I tend to prefer MacArthur’s witty movie-reference filled scripts, but there is still something respectable to be said about an entirely new product brought forth from the mind of a comedian such as Seivert. “We’re No Angels” begins with the prime action already having taken place. Much in the way Jacob Marley is dead to begin with in Dickens’ masterpiece, “We’re No Angels” heroine Nellie “Thursday” Baxter (Erin Anderson) has already lost a hefty bet to sly gangster Michael “Moose” Moran (Stewart Gregary). And if Thursday can’t come up with the “10 G’s” she owes Moose, she will be forced to marry the despicable crook. All hope is not lost, however. Do-gooders Henry “Bashful” Jones (Seivert), Dennis “Duke” Johnson (Mike Claridge), and Julius “Junior” Moran (Randy McDonald) are determined to save the day. Proclaiming themselves in the likeness of the three angels of the bible, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the trio promises to pull Thursday out of the fiery furnaces of Moose Moran’s devilish grasp, and help make this the “best Christmas ever!”The greatest holiday gift from the Great American Playhouse (other than the top notch food) is the way their cast seems to gel together so fluidly, constantly bouncing off of one another’s improvisations without as much as a hiccup. Seivert is his normal hilarious self as Bashful, except this time something is different. Having penned the script, it is obvious that the actor is especially invested in his performance. Seivert seems more in tune with the play’s content than any other actor on stage.As always, Randy McDonald stole the show with his endless energy as Junior. At times, I became exhausted just watching the youngster bouncing, dancing, and singing his way into the hearts of the audience. If the GAP is a machine, then McDonald is surely the battery, and the crowd just can’t get enough.Erin Anderson appears to be women’s answer to the rambunctiousness of McDonald. Though Anderson has appeared on the GAP stage in the past, this time around it seemed as though the young actress has truly come into her own as Thursday. She raised eyebrows with her comedic timing, and outright talent. Anderson has evolved as an actress, and has now blossomed into something truly great.
THEATERFriday to Saturday,Dec. 12-13• Enjoy Pima Community College Dance’s contemporary dance concert inspired by movement processes featuring faculty and student works Signature Selections under the direction of Nolan Kubota. Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road; $10; 206-6986. Friday to Sunday,
Hollywood studios deserve major credit for increasing the public’s awareness of mental illness and the silent suffering often faced by those afflicted. Leading actors from several successful 2014 films have masterfully morphed into character to showcase their delusional tendencies or other psychotic episodes. Michael Keaton’s powerful performance in “Birdman” provided audiences with a riveting illustration of bouts from auditory and visual hallucinations. In “Nightcrawler”, Jake Gyllenhaal’s emotionally troubled and socially awkward freelance cameraman role gave us a look into the off-kilter, dangerous menace to Los Angeles residents. Director David Fincher provided audiences with a brilliant depiction of a psychopath in the twisted thriller “Gone Girl”. And now comes a western movie, directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones, which chronicles the suffering and plight of women on the American frontier during the 1850s.“The Homesman” offers a sobering account of the difficulties faced by settlers along the sparsely populated U.S. territories. Based on the 1988 novel by Glendon Swarthout, the movie depicts how bitter cold weather, infectious diseases and isolation from society created unbearable hardships and, ultimately, death to many on the Plains. But this story takes the dark, depressing conditions even one step further--shocking audiences with the sexual abuse and inhumane treatment leveled by husbands upon their wives. The mental and physical assaults so severe that it prompts three women to completely shut down on their families and own lives.The lone bright spot in this movie is the presence of two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank. Standing between a depressing storyline and multiple horrid scenes of harsh treatment towards women lurks the unmistakable generosity of Swank’s character, Mary Bee Cuddy. Determined to find help for those suffering, Swank adds another stellar piece of work to an already remarkable motion picture resume. Unfortunately, Swank’s exceptional performance and the film’s strong start can’t overcome setbacks from a disjointed storyline with too many loose ends at its conclusion. Swank--and to a much lesser degree Jones--heroically carries this movie as far as its weak plot allows…and then some. But in the end, Swank’s effort and the cruel reality check on life’s demands isn’t enough to save this film.This film highlights mental illness and the stigma associated with social exclusion. Anyone different from the norm was discriminated against and suffered for it. In the brutal and heartless conditions of the American frontier, women also fell victim to the harsh treatment from their husbands. “The Homesman” gallantly sheds light on the medical condition by which women suffered as a result of diminished coping abilities. The stressful demands of life became too much for many to overcome. But just as a diagnosis may be easier to find than its cure, “The Homesman” charts a steady course towards hope only to leave viewers stranded in ambivalence. It’s a shame that a film with such a promising start and superb acting squanders both with a depressing, inconclusive end result.Grade: C(Editor’s Note: Patrick King is a resident of Oro Valley and writer for the REEL BRIEF movie blog at www.reelbrief.com. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sing-A-Long Spectacular (Dec. 11th)As the holiday season creeps upon Tucson residents with warm clothing and Christmas music at every turn, don’t miss out on the wintery fun of The Loft Cinema’s Very Merry Holiday Sing-A-Long Spectacular! Held every year on all three Loft screens, this exciting winter gathering encourages viewers of all ages to get together and celebrate their holiday spirit with songs, candy canes, and prizes.This year the festivities will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday with the ugly sweater parade, encouraging everyone to dig up the boldest and brightest pullovers they can find and participate in this zany procession. Once the parade subsides, brave souls in the audience will take the theater stage and share their craziest holiday stories with what’s sure to be a hilarious treat for both speakers and listeners alike. And before anyone rules out sharing their kooky Christmas tales, be aware that the audience’s favorite story will be awarded with a free mystery gift that’s sure to make you the envy of your friends (if not, hey, you still get a free gift). Once the master storyteller has been properly compensated, everyone will take their seats at 7:30 on the dot and the main event will begin: the Sing-A-Long Spectacular.Compiled from everyone’s favorite movies, TV shows, and music videos, this blast of subtitled holiday spirit celebrates the most iconic moments in (big and small) screen history with a stunning list of legends that includes Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Charlie Brown, The Muppets, and many more. A truly exciting way to spend a winter evening with friends and family, the Sing-A-Long Spectacular is definitely something you won’t want to miss! Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children under 12. Free candy canes and egg nog will also be served at the snack bar all throughout the event. “The Women” (Dec. 14th)