“The Wedding Ringer” Movie Review

3.5-Watertowers(Kevin Hart Subdued, Sort Of)

Joah Gad (as Doug Harris) is about to marry the woman of his dreams, beautiful Gretchen Palmer (played by Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting).  He is panicking because he never really had any close friends and everyone he calls to ask if they could be his Best Man is not available, meaning they could care less.

the wedding ringerThe wedding planner puts him on to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) who makes a living being a Best Man for lost souls like Doug.  He is very good at it, but, keeps a professional distance, and as soon as the gig is complete…he goes on his way.  Occasionally, he has to preside at a funeral as the best friend, and again does an amazingly good job.

Doug visits Jimmy’s office (in a basement in an amusement park) and they decide that Doug’s wedding is something that Jimmy has never had to attempt previously: The Golden Tux, meaning he has to supply ALL the groomsmen as well as himself. The Golden Tux is complex and risky requiring a lot of preparation to line up all the groomsmen (a mish-mash of weird looking groomsmen that through the movie you come to like and appreciate), to get all the inter-related friends stories right, and is VERY expensive.

Doug agrees to the Golden Tux package despite the costs and risks because his beautiful wife-to-be, Gretchen, is worth every Penny (get it?)….or is she?

We also find out that one of the lost souls happens to be Jimmy, and, somehow, this wedding changes his life.

“The Wedding Ringer” is better than I thought it would be.  Kevin Hart is more subdued than his normal frenetic self, and is impressive. Josh Gad is excellent and the combination of Gad-Hart have an undeniable chemistry that I hope carries on in future movies.

“The Wedding Ringer” is rated R so it is not for kids. But it is an enjoyable romp that includes some really cool inside jokes; the most memorable being at the end of the movie when they are all on a plane and one of the groomsmen (you will recognize him) says he “does not have a good feeling about this flight”.  VERY FUNNY!

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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Teacher Registration Form: Tracy, CA Teachers


Jefferson and Tracy Unified School Districts Only (California)

Register to start participating in the ForCarol.com donation emails. Once a month, during the school year, we will send an email to the teachers on the list and the FIRST to respond will receive the donation amount in the email.

Of course….we need money, so PLEASE tell all your friends and family about ForCarol.com and ask them to donate!

Go here to sign up.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” Movie Review

2.5-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Killing, Killing, and More Killing, Weird)

After the fantastic opening credits (must see), you know very quickly that you are in for an increasing death toll (massive death toll to be more descriptive) involving people being cut in half (lengthwise), heads exploding, knifings, shootings, drownings, explosions, and any number of unique ways to die.

kingsmanAfter the loss of a trainee 20 years or so ago, Kingsman Colin Firth (Galahad) visits the trainee’s wife with a medallion and promise to help if they ever need it.  The wife refuses so Galahad gives the medallion to the young son. The son grows up and eventually trains to be a Kingsman.

Currently, another Kingsman (Lancelot, Jack Davenport) takes it upon himself to rescue a kidnapped Professor (Mark Hamill).  He almost single handedly kills all of the kidnappers….almost….from behind he is is hit in the head, and after a few seconds of confusion, falls apart in two pieces, split in two lengthwise by a beautiful assassin, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella).  Her boss arrives once the bodies have been covered up (the boss does not like the sight of blood, it makes him “Hurl”).  The boss is Valentine (a speech impedimented Samuel L. Jackson).

It turns out that Valentine is a super geek afraid that humanity is killing the earth and has decided that the only way to stop the destruction of earth is to kill most of the human population (a story line also told in the book “Inferno” by Dan Brown). He does this by controlling people (to kill, or to explode) via a SIM card in their cell phones, or, for his closest associates & employees, surgically added behind their ears. He gets EVERYONE to load his SIM card by offering FREE cell phone service, forever (knowing “forever” is going to be a short time).

Missing Lancelot, the Kingsman interviews for his replacement. The son with the medallion is one of the interviewees, and we follow the interview process as it weeds out all but one, and then we get to the crux of the movie: trying to stop Valentine from wiping out most of the human race.

Although spies, killing, and murder is dead-on my favorite genre (I read Thrillers), I did not like Kingsman (except for a few VERY unique scenes, like the opening credits or towards the end of the movie; hundreds of heads exploding to marching, or fireworks, music). Lori enjoyed it…go figure.  It is just too weird for me.  It is definitely not for kids, or the sqeeemish, and it is rated R for a damn good reason: Killing on a massive scale.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“Into The Woods” Movie Review

ForCarol.com Movie Review 3-Watertowers(Musical Fairy Tale Mash-Up)

into the woodsA childless baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt) are sent on a treasure hunt into the woods by a wicked witch (Meryl Streep). They are to find items belonging to: Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy), and Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford).  And when they bring these items back, within three days when the moon is fully blue, the wicked witch will reverse a spell put on the baker’s family so the baker and his wife can have a child.

“Into The Woods” they go.

Once in the woods, they meet up with a number of famous fairy tale characters in addition to those listed above. Johnny Depp is the Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, Chris Pine is the Prince who searches for Cinderella after the ball (his singing is hilarious…I mean Capt Kirk singing…I guess I have him type-cast.) and Christine Baranski is Cinderella’s stepmother.

Do they find the items in time?  You will have to watch the movie to find out.


An all-star cast highlights this musical mash-up of different fairy tales. Unfortunately, it is about 30 minutes too long, and in that time my rating of the movie took a steep slide down as it got darker and darker and quite stupid as the giant (Frances de la Tour, who was also a giant in Harry Potter) stomped around looking for Jack.

“Into The Woods” is a PG movie good for the entire family with no f-words, but, some of the main characters die, which may be disturbing to those who are sensitive. “Into The Woods” is ok, not great. But, to be fair,Kristen and Lori both liked it more than I did.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe! Never Forget.

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“The Interview” Movie Review

3-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Goofy, Gory, Rogan)

Seth Rogan had a major part making this film, and it shows.  “The Interview” is a gross-out movie typical of Seth Rogan.  Sexual innuendos fly, insulting everyone, over the top acting by James Franco (who is fantastic), gore, boobs, and that uncomfortable feeling I always get watching a Rogan movie. But I keep coming back for more, and will continue to do so in the future. NOT for kids, this movie is rated R for a reason.

Rogan (as Aaron Rapaport) is a TV “News” producer of the highly rated, “Skylark Tonight” show starring James Franco as the dimwitted, but, smart, Dave Skylark.

As luck (?) may have it Kim Jong-un the Dictator of North Korea loves Dave Skylark, and in fact, is a super-fan. Aaron reaches out for an interview, and, after some secret meetings, is granted an hour with the supreme leader.

The CIA steps in and wants Kim Jun Un “taken-out” by Rogan and Franco.

Do they complete their mission?

“The Interview” is a controversial film, made more so by the hack attack on Sony, by, supposedly, the North Koreans who decided that they could control (with the addition of terrorist threats) a free countries movie watching habits. WRONG! North Korea found out that a dictatorships reach is not as far as they would hope.

Santa dropped off a Chromecast for Christmas so we watched “The Interview” at home using Google Play.

For more information go to IMDb.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Bilbo’s Great Adventure Ends)

Covering the last 77 pages of the book, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Fie Armies” details the fight for Lonely Mountain now that Smaug has met his fate.

Thorin, the Dwarf King, has fallen ill and is not thinking straight. The Elves and humans join forces to try to work with Thorin, but, he resists.

War is on the horizon between the Elves, Humans and Dwarves.

Seeing an opportunity to ensure peace, Bilbo, takes the Arkenstone to the Elves as a bargaining chip.

In the meantime, the news of the death of Smaug reaches the goblins (Orks in the movie) and they march their army (along with the Wolves) to claim Lonely Mountain (and all the riches within) for themselves.

The five armies: Goblins and Wolves will fight the Dwarves, Humans, and Elves (with air superiority coming later with the Eagles, and in the book, Beorn in his giant bear form).

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is full of action and intrigue (and a few extra characters not in the book). The cinematography is beyond compare and the story is terrific. The fighting is comic book graphic and fine for the entire family, except the most sensitive.

Go to IMDB for more information.  We finally made it back to the movies after Lori broke her leg on October 12, 2014. It felt good to get back to “normal”. We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“This is Where I Leave You” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review (Life is Complicated)

Judd Altman (wonderfully played by Jason Bateman) surprises his wife with a birthday cake. Because life is complicated, he was the one surprised when he caught his boss and wife screwing in the bedroom. So much for that marriage….and job.

this is where i leave youA short time later, his sister, Wendy calls with news of their father’s death. Not a good year for Judd….

When the family gathers for Dad’s funeral, the mother, Hilary (Jane Fonda) announces that dear old atheist-Jewish dad wanted the family to sit in Shiva for the required 7 days. After complaining, they did, and what happens in that 7 day period is the basis of this much better than expected movie.

While sitting Shiva, “This is Where I Leave You” explores the trials and tribulations of each of the family members. Judd is leaving his cheating wife and reconnects with an old love, Penny (Rose Byrne). Wendy is in an unhappy marriage and still loves her injured ex-boyfriend, neighbor Horry (Timothy Olyphant).  Hilary misses her husbands gargantuan penis, but, has a secret and a new set of boobs. Philip (played marvelously by Adam Driver) is the carefree, goofy loser, while Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife can’t conceive.

We were the only ones who laughed–I guess growing up in NY has it’s advantages–at this line delivered by Fey as she questions the validity of this 7 day adventure: “We are sitting Shiva where we put the Christmas tree”. Classic !

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“The November Man” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Reviews College Scholarships(Bloody Good Thriller)

the november manEx-CIA operative, Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is enjoying retirement when his old CIA handler, Hanley (Bill Smirovich) shows up telling him he has been requested to extract an old friend, Natalia (Mediha Musliovic), from her undercover assignment. Natalia has information the CIA needs to control soon-to-be President of Russia, Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski), but she won’t give that information until she is safe.

Devereaux successfully grabs Natalia and while they are driving she gives him the information the CIA needs, which, unfortunately, made her expendable. Devereaux’s ex-student, Mason (Luke Bracey), is ordered to kill Natalia, and does so. Problem is, that pisses off Devereaux (he loved Natalia) and he kills the entire CIA hit team…except his old friend and student.

Devereaux is put on the CIA hit list to stop him from going after everyone involved in Natalia’s death, and Mason is tasked with his killing.

What follows is a cat-and-mouse thriller that is violent, bloody, and intriguing.

Pierce Brosnan and Luke Bracey are both terrific. “The November Man” is a much better movie than the “critics” seem to think. Again, I think they only watch the trailers, or go into the movie with their minds set based on an early review that they read. They are doing a dis-service to this movie (and others that they do this to) because “The November Man” is a taught, well laid out, thriller with surprising twists and turns. Edge of your seat action at it’s best.

“The November Man” is not for kids or the squeamish as there are sex scenes, boobs, and lots of gushing blood as the body count increases at a rapid pace (not as much as Game of Thrones, but, close). The guard on duty at the theater pulled a couple of youngsters out…I waved goodbye to them as they were leaving.  :-)

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“Chef” Movie Review

4.5-Watertowers(Follow Your Heart…..and Twitter)


Fantastic movie that teaches you to follow your heart, no matter what. Scarlett Johnasson, Jon Favreau & others sparkle. Heartwarming movie.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA Cinemark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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NOTE:  Count the characters in the main body of the review.  ;-)



“The Giver” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Memorable)

Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is different.

the giverIn a world of sameness (as depicted by the “Pleasantville” black and white), equality, and order, Jonas is not afraid to question, not afraid to take a chance.

When the 12 year olds (according to the book, in the move he is older) are ready to receive their life work assignments, Jonas’ number is skipped.  WTF?

Jonas, standing alone, is given a special assignment, one that his personality is suited for (the powers to be find out just how suited he is):  That of the keeper of the memories.

Jeff Bridges (The Giver) is the current keeper of the memories.  He had a disastrous internship several years ago when his apprentice (Taylor Swift as Rosemary) and daughter stepped outside of the boundaries of decorum and was executed. (I see a song here?)

Jonas starts his internship and gradually starts to understand just how controlled and banal his, and everyone elses, life is.  He starts to see colors and he stops the morning injections which take away so much….life.

The Giver is on a mission, and he is lucky to have Jonas fall in his lap. The world is about to change.

“The Giver” is an excellent movie with an excellent cast.  No f-words, but, interestingly disturbing life control issues.  Jeff Bridges has had the rights to this for 20 or so years and wanted his dad, Lloyd, to play The Giver. I am so glad Jeff aged into the role as he is perfect. And Meryl Streep is in it.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“The Hundred-Foot Journey” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Delicious)

After tragedy strikes in India, a family of restaurateurs decide to start a new life in Europe. A short stay in London does not work out, so the Kadam family (led by Papa, played by Om Puri) get in their van and search for the perfect spot somewhere in Europe.

the hundred foot journeyWeeks later, somewhere in France, the van’s brakes fail and they crash.

Luckily, a local resident, Marguerite (played by Charlotte Le Bon) happens by and helps the family tow their van into town and feeds them French cuisine. On the way into town they pass an abandoned restaurant 100 feet across the street from a Michelin One Star restaurant. Papa decides that the abandoned building is perfect for their new life.

Only one problem, the owner of the fancy French restaurant, Madame Mallory (played by Helen Mirren) is NOT happy with having a classless Indian restaurant 100 feet away from her award winning restaurant, and she organizes roadblocks to their success. Luckily, Papa is equally as tough and arranges a few roadblocks of his own…..for her.

The Kadam family cook (he does not call himself a chef), Hassan (played by Manish Dayal), happens to be an outstandingly talented chef and his talents show the instant Papa’s restaurant opens.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is an excellent, heartwarming, movie. The cast is wonderful, the pace is slow but interesting, and the characters are fully formed. There are no f-words that I remember and it would be good for the entire family except for the fact that WE WERE the YOUNGEST people in the audience, so I suspect the attracted demographic for this movie are senior citizens.

So much for additional buzz via social media, haha.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

(NEW logo by Inyoung Hong, our 2014 Scholarship winner)

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Reviews College Scholarships(Galactic Adventure)

A thief (Peter Quill played by Chris Platt), two thugs (Groot and Rocket voiced by Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper), an assassin (Gamora played by Zoe Saldana), and a maniac (Drax played by Dave Bautista)” team up to try to save 12 billion people from extinction at the hands of evil ruler Ronan (Lee Pace).

guardiansPeter Quill is hired to steal an orb for a client. He does that, but, once the client finds out that Ronan wants it, he decides that Quill can keep it and shoves him out the door. Outside, Quill is attacked by Gamora who steals the orb for her buyer and both of them are chased by bounty hunters, Groot (“I am Groot”) and Rocket (the racoon).

They are all captured and put in prison, where they promptly stage an escape.

When they are out of prison a battle ensues and Ronan takes the orb becoming the most powerful individual in the galaxy and vowing to kill 12 billion people.

Quill and his team of “losers” are all that stand between Ronan and his goal. Will they succeed?

“Guardians of the Galaxy”  is a fantastic galactic adventure with lots of laughs and tons of action. The cast is excellent and the computer generated Groot and Rocket are amazingly life-like (well, as lifelike as a tree can be). The colors are vibrant and the space battles terrifically done.

I am hooked and cannot wait for the next Guardians movie. A pure winner…..a Marvel of movie making.

Stay all the way thru the credits and you will be rewarded with a funny clip.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this with a packed house at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.



“Lucy” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Transformative, Scarlett Johansson)

Lucy is the name of the oldest known hominid female who bones were found in Ethiopia in 1973.  Go to WikiPedia for more information.

LucyFast forward, 3.2 million years or so, and Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) is about to become the first human to access 100% of her brain; with all the transformative powers that could possibly come with that.

When her American boyfriend in Taiwan asks Lucy to deliver an attache case to a Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi) in a Taipei Hotel, Lucy witnesses the murder of her boyfriend and is forced into employment as a courier for a new drug that Mr. Jang believes will take Europe by storm.

The Jang gang sews a package of the drug inside Lucy’s abdomen and sends her on her way. Lucy (totally unexplained in the movie) ends up being held in a prison like situation and is kicked in the gut by some lowlife. This kick opens the package of drugs and Lucy experiences a number of interesting transformations, two of which are becoming extremely intelligent and increasingly powerful.

We find out—from cuts to a brain researcher, Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman, giving a talk—that humans only access about 10% of their brain. He asks the question: “What would happen if we could access 100% of our brain?”.  Then proposes some theories; including being able to control others and the person’s surroundings.

As Lucy accesses more and more of her brain, her capabilities grow, and we learn that Professor Norman is on the right track with his theories. During this process, Johansson’s character becomes more and more intellectually aloof to her plight, and Johansson plays that aloofness with perfection.

“Lucy” is a unique, interesting, enjoyable, action science fiction movie.  It is rated R mostly for bloody violence (not gory, just bloody). There were a few f-words, but, it is definitely NOT for kids (one set of incompetent parents brought in younger kids).

Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, and Amr Waked (as Detective Pierre Del Rio) are all excellent. We, the audience, root for the good guys and cheer when the bad guys meet their demise.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.



“Tammy” Movie Review

ForCarol.com Movie Review 3-Watertowers(Goofball Comedy with a Message)

“Tammy” was universally panned by the “critics”. We have learned NOT to listen to them and to judge a movie (the whole movie not a poorly made trailer) on it’s own merits and see if it meets our requirement of giving us 2 hours, or so, of away time from reality. “Tammy” more than meets our requirement. The hyper-critical critics should actually go see the movie and Warner Brothers should put up a trailer that depicts the entire movie not just one scene. I chose the trailer above after searching for one that actually goes beyond that one scene.

Tammy (Melissa McCarthy, 43 years old) is a “loser”. She loses her job for being late yet again (she hit a deer with her car this time). When she gets home (walking since her car stopped running) she finds her husband eating a nice dinner (that he prepared, he never prepares dinner) with another woman (Toni Collette).

tammyTammy’s life consists of setback, after setback, after setback.  She does not even know who Mark Twain is.

Leaving her cheating husband, she arrives at her mothers (Allison Janney, 54 years old) house (two houses away from hers) and announces that she is going to leave….she just needs a car. Her alcoholic, diabetic, Grandmother (Susan Sarandon, 67 years old) overhears the conversation and declares that she and her grand-daughter will take a road trip to Niagara Falls.

The process of getting to Niagara Falls is long and arduous and funny and, at times, poignant. Yes, poignant….this is not just the movie shown in the poorly made trailers….it is deeper than that, with McCarthy’s goofball comedy as the veneer showing us that underneath the goofiness, yes, life can be difficult, but, with the right attitude, and perseverance, you can find happiness.

An outstanding supporting cast some mentioned above, also with Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh (who absolutely lights up the screen in her brief appearances) makes Tammy a more than decent movie. You won’t see any Oscars, but, if you take the time to watch the movie (not just the stupid trailers) and think about it….you will come away hopeful and impressed…….and you will laugh, and cry, along the way.

Lots of F-words, not for kids and not for the uppity critics who can’t think beyond their nose (or trailer).

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget (Carol, Chris, Kassy and Bobby)


“Visiting China” by Thomas Alexander

On this blog post I will copy my lifelong (he is three months older than I) friend’s recent trip to China with his daughter, Marty.  I thought it was FASCINATING and wanted to preserve the experience FOREVER instead of it just being on Facebook (which we all know, goes away very quickly and you can’t search….).

Soooooooooo, BOOKMARK this page and visit often as it will take me awhile (a week or two) to grab, copy, and paste “Tom’s Great Adventure to China” in it’s entirety here on ForCarol.com.


June 26, 2014

Gone are the days when I would throw some clothes, a toothbrush and razor in a bag and be packed……now it’s chargers for the phone, laptop, notebook and cameras; back-up batteries; portable hard drives, flash cards, memory sticks; USB cables, patch cables, card readers; transformers, inverters & A-daptors….oh yeah -and meds, contacts & supplies, reading glasses, back-up reading glasses, and back-up back-up reading glasses Have I forgotten anything?


June 26, 2014

And the adventure begins…. — at Boston Logan International Airport.

June 26, 2014

Listening to The Traveling Wilburys on the internet going 568 mph @ 32000 ft above the Chukchi Sea. That’s pretty cool….


June 27, 2014

A little weary, but made it. Hooked up with Marty at airport — at Harbour Plaza Metropolis.


June 28, 2014

Heading up to Beijing….Marty just told me fb is censored/blocked in China….it’s the little things in life ( like freedom of speech) that count …so I guess I’m going into radio silence here for a few weeks (unless I can out-maneuver them technologically!). Thanks for all the interest/support in our trip…see you on the other side!!!! — at Hong Kong International Airport.


June 29 2014

We are blown away. Beautiful airport. Sailed through Immigration, got baggage quickly, sailed through Customs. As we left Customs there was an information desk. No queue. So we stopped and asked if our hotel had a shuttle. Lady spoke good English, told us no, we’d need a taxi. We asked her where to catch the taxi, and she said she could order, it would be. 300 RMB, and be there in 5 minutes. We said great, order it, and while we are waiting I’d hit the ATM (right next to info booth) cause we had no yuan. She said not necessary – I could pay her with a credit card!! I did, and she had a co-worker WALK us to the taxi. We are on our way to the hotel, and I am dumb-founded….. btw….The worst airport experience of this trip so far was my departure from Logan….total chaos at 5 am…


June 29, 2014

A typical Chinese snack…cucumbers and chili sauce and rabe with peanuts. God help me!

marty eating chinese food












June 29, 2014

bobsled great wall

Bobsled Down The Great Wall of China (<—–click to see the video)
So Marty and I visited The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu today, and it was everything we hoped it would be, and a little bit more……looking at the web site, we knew that we would have an option to take a chairlift up, which we did, and was the right choice, because hiking the steps on the wall itself was a formidable task. The surprise, though, was that we had the option to ride a self-driven mechanical bobsled down a chute to get back down! Who’d-a-thunk they would take one of the Eight Wonders of the World and turn it into an amusement park ride? The rules were simple….ride it at your own risk, and if you crash into the sled in front of you, it’s your fault, and you pay for injuries and damage…….If I had known, I would have brought the GoPro…..but I did get some video film a guy coming down while we were going up….and it was a bit of fun coming down….— at The Great Wall Of China at Mutianyu.
June 30, 2014
great wall
Monks gotta’ have some fun too! Saw a couple of Buddhist monks taking selfies and pictures of themselves with an iPhone on The Great Wall of China today….we thought that was pretty funny… — in Beijing, China.
June 30, 2014
pull tab
Haven’t seen pull tabs in at least 30 years. Still used in China. Guess they don’t listen to Buffet over here…
July 1, 2014
tomato and egg
Lunch – Tomato & egg, and rice. And beer.


July 1, 2014


Chinese farming village about 75 miles south of the northern border…


July 2, 2014

We’ve made it to the Land of the Blue Sky……the train trip was a great change of pace, scenic & relaxing, and Mongolia is just beautiful and unique… — at Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia.


July 2, 2014

erlian china

Arrival Erlian (<—–click to see the video)
The train ride from Beijing to Ulaan Baatar requires a 3 hour layover in the Chinese border town of Erlian to go through Customs; and because the Mongolian tracks are a different gauge than the Chinese tracks, and they actually have to take the train into a maintenance shed and change the bogies out and switch it to the Mongolian track….this video is of our arrival in Erlian, and it’s the first time on this trip that I felt that I was in Communist China…….I was wondering if we were all going to have to get off and march around for three hours. Marty says they do this Party rah-rah type stuff all the time in the smaller towns…..

 — at Erlian, China.


Much more coming soon….I’m tired!  haha


“Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” Movie Review

5-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews College Scholarships(SPECTACULAR, Hail Caesar, Hail Serkis)

The human population has been decimated by the simian virus. Very few remain.

dawn of the planet of the apes10 years after Caesar (Andy Serkis) organized the apes and colonized in Muir Woods north of San Francisco, the apes are living a peaceful life and thriving. It has been 2 years since they last saw a human.

One day, humans and apes meet again and the human shoots one of the apes. Caesar, and many apes, descend on the scene and Caesar tells the humans to “Go!”.  They do, but, Caesar has them followed.

What the apes learn is that a human colony of disease resistant survivors are living in San Francisco led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman).  Dreyfus is ready to fight the apes, but, does show some restraint, at least initially. The humans are running out of power and have picked an old dam that might provide power to the colony. Unfortunately, the dam is near the apes new home. Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a Doctor, Ellie (Kerri Russell) and a few other humans try to make peace with the apes so they can repair the dam. Two individuals, however, are not so peaceful:  Koba (an ape played by Toby Kebbell) and Carver (a human played by Kirk Acevedo) hate the other species and, basically, ruin everything.

War starts.

“Dawn of the Apes” is a spectacular movie in every way. Spectacular special effects, spectacular acting by Andy Serkis, spectacular supporting ape cast, spectacular stunts, and a spectacular story on how the “Planet of the Apes” evolved. Very tense. The violence may be a bit too much for little kids.  No f-words. Koba on a horse with guns blazing is epic.

Go to IMDb for more information. We watched this at the Tracy,CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.


“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ Movie Review


Five years after the events in the last movie…..the people of Berk and the dragons are living in harmony.

how to train your dragon 2Instead of participating in the dragon races, Toothless and Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) are exploring, and mapping, the surrounding area…..something that until dragons and humans learned to get along was nearly impossible to accomplish.

One day while exploring they are attacked by dragon kidnappers who bring the captured Dragons to the evil Drago (voiced by Djimon Hounsou). They escape but learn that Drago is planning to attack Berk and, with the evil Alpha Dragon under his control, control all the dragons in the realm.

Toothless and Hiccup are flying along after escaping Drago’s bounty hunters when they are overtaken by another dragon and pilot (for lack of a better word) and end up in a wonderous land of dragons run by a good Alpha Dragon and Hiccup’s long lost Mother, Valka (voiced by Cate Blanchett).

“How to Train your Dragon 2″ is a wonderful “good vs evil” movie covering the full range of emotions before the ending.  Fine for the whole family, but, be warned that deaths do occur. The computer graphics are spectacular.

Overall, a great sequel, that, in my opinion, is better than the first.

We recently watched “How to Train Your Dragon” on VUDU.


Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.



“Transformers: Age of Extinction” Movie Review

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Evil CIA manager, Kelsey Grammer (as Harold Attinger) has made a deal with an alien species to help him eliminate the last of the Autobots. For some reason, Grammer has decided that our friends were now our enemies, and only a few Autobots are left…..all of them leaderless and in hiding.

Mark Wahlberg (as Cade Yeager) is a dirt poor inventor and handyman oblivious to the real world. His house is about to be repossessed and his 17 year old daughter (Nicola Peltz as Tessa) is growing up before his non-seeing eyes.

Searching for junk to turn into a robot or other invention, Wahlberg sifts through a run-down theater where he spots a beat-up old truck. He pays for that (using a friends money) and tows it to his barn / laboratory / workshop.

Tinkering with the truck he realizes he may have stumbled across a Transformer. He did.

Optimus Prime!

All hell breaks loose as the evil forces in the CIA now target Cade, his daughter, her boyfriend (huh? boyfriend?), and the remaining Autobots (including BumbleBee).

There is one f-word, but, otherwise the whole family will enjoy this movie. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” gives us amazing computer generated action with worldwide settings (including the destruction of Hong Kong), from the moment Optimus Prime has been located by the CIA to the end. Wahlberg rocks. He is a great replacement for Shia LeBeouf, and Grammer is good as evil.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget (Carol, Chris, Kassy, and Bobby)


“Think Like A Man Too” Movie Review

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The friends head to Las Vegas for the wedding of two of their own.  Kevin Hart (as Cedric) made himself the best man and has great plans for a terrific bachelor party. On the female side, Carter….err, Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) has plans for a terrific bachelorette party, but, is being usurped by the grooms mother.

think like a man tooWith Hart as the main character (and what a character he is) and narrator “Think Like A Man Too” follows the men and the women around Las Vegas trying to have a fun time with laugh-out-loud, stomach cramping, eye tearing, hilarity. <—That scene in the picture…make sure you have gone to the bathroom or you may lose it laughing. One of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in the movies.

Cedric finds out that the suite he rented for the guys is $40,000 per night, not $4,000. Oooops. To top it off, the wedding party misses their assigned wedding time (because they were all in jail!) and it looks grim for marriage.

“Think Like A Man Too” is wall-to-wall crazy funny. Kevin Hart lends his frantic comedy to the entire cast. In addition to crazy….it is also surprisingly touching and moving. Overall a very good fun movie, albeit one that may not be for everyone. We happen to love Kevin Hart and Taraji P. Henson (and miss her on Person of Interest).

Not for kids, but, I do not remember any f-words. The audience loved it. Stay all the way to the end to get treated to just a bit more Kevin Hart.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget



“22 Jump Street” Movie Review

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Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) have graduated from high school and are heading off to college to find the drug dealer selling a new drug.

22 jump streetAt college, Jenko joins the football team, joins a fraternity, and hangs with a new bro (the Quarterback of the team).  Broken hearted at losing his best friend, Schmidt finds a beautiful coed and they hook-up. Back at 22 Jump Street, Schmidt brags about this hot hook-up to EVERYONE, and this hilariously backfires on him later.

Back at MC State, they follow leads to try to find the drug dealer until they solve the case during Spring Break in Mexico. (Director to himself: “How do we introduce hot people in bathing suits? Got it!  Let’s go on Spring Break!”)

“22 Jump Street” is a simple plot with extremely funny twists that are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Tatum and Hill are PERFECT together and are both very funny. Tatum dances, and Hill does not expose himself, thankfully. The previews of future Jump Streets was hilarious. All with the same basic plot just different kinds of schools.

Not for kids.  R-rated.  Lots of f-words.

Stay all the way to the end…we were the only ones who did, and were rewarded with a funny short clip.  Rock Chalk!  (those who know will know what I mean).  :-)

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark where the audience was filled with teen girls and young women.  Yup…Jonah Hill is hot.  ;-)

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.