Elsewhere Review: Equal Exchange Chocolates’ Organic, Dark Chocolate, Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, 55% Cacao

Originally published over at Green Man Review!

This bar is a mouthful to say, but happily it’s also a mouthful of deliciousness. Oh my God this is so good! Think of a browned butter brickle, paired with sea salt, then stirred into 55% cacao dark chocolate. Divine.

Adding goodness to the deliciousness, this bar is organic, kosher, fair trade, and from a worker-owned cooperative. So you can feel good about slamming down the whole bar in one go. 

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“Coming to America 2” – not good, but not bad.

” King Akeem may have forgotten his story, but the people of Zamunda have not.”

Story: It’s been 30 years since Prince Akeem went to Queens to find…his queen. Now, with the passing of his father, Akeem is now King. But one problem; he’s got three daughters. And Zamunda must have a male heir. Tradition, yada yada. “Luckily” for him, Akeem fathered a son before he met Queen Lisa. Gas up the jet, we’re going back to America!

Genre I’d Put It In: Serviceable Remakes Worth A Stream

Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Sequel to the 80s comedy classic Coming To America.

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Streaming Things: Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American comes to Netflix March 18th

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been mainlining stand-up specials for the past year. Anything to make me chuckle, y’all. And Netflix has had some really good stuff; Iliza Shlesinger, Ali Wong, Kevin Hart, Maria Bamford, Ari Eldjárn, Hannah Gadsby, and do damn many more it’s crazy in the very best way. Those are just a few of the folks I watched this week, but the list of top-notch comedians will keep you in giggles for quite a while. How do I know? Because I’m picky about my stand-up, so if I’m giggling, y’all are gonna giggle. (My personal favorite-favorite right now? Michelle Buteau’s “Welcome to Buteaupia”. Go watch it right now. Well, after reading this. Y’know what I mean.) So anyway, Nate Bargatze. His low-key situational comedy plus his fantastic drawl drew me in. And that feet under the covers thing? YES. I feel seen.

Tennessee-born comedian, actor, and podcast host Nate Bargatze is back with his second hour-long Netflix original comedy special, Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American.  Nate reflects on being part of the Oregon Trail generation, meeting his wife while working at Applebee’s and the hilariously relatable moments of being a father and husband. The special was filmed outdoors in Los Angeles in October 2020. It was directed by Troy Miller, who also serves as Executive Producer for Dakota Pictures alongside Alex Murray, Tim Sarkes and Bargatze.

I can’t wait to check out the whole thing. I’ve got my popcorn and beer ready. netflix.com/NateBargatzeTheGreatestAverageAmerican hits March 18th. Let’s do this.

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TrailerWatch – season four of Hulu’s”The Handmaid’s Tale” stirs up rebellion

“My name is June Osborne, and I am a citizen of the United States.”

June looks mad as hell, and she – along with several of her fellow Handmaids – are not gonna take it anymore. Season four looks like it’s going to dig deeper into the dystopia of Gilead, with shots of ghost towns, rebels, and thoughts of war. I can’t wait.

Season four of The Handmaid’s Tale hits Hulu April 28th.

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“The Vigil” – satisfyingly scary

“It wants your pain.”

Story: Yakov is an ex-Hasidic Jewish man who is trying to recover from severe trauma. He’s also broke. So when a friend in the Hasidic community asks Yakov to be a shomer – a “watchman” – over the body of a man who has just passed away? He says yes, because payday. It’s only five hours, til the sun rises. Oh, and the last shomer ran off. Can’t be that bad…what’s that noise?

Genre I’d put it in: Blumhouse Films With An A24 Feel

Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on Jewish tales of the Mazzikin.

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Freaky Fridays – “After Midnight”

Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s look at something cool!

“I had to go away for a while. I’m sorry. I love you.”

Genre: Horror Movies That Are Really Introspective Think Pieces
Year Released: 2021 (though it hit Tribeca in 2019)
Pedigree: Various film festival awards and nominations
Where I Watched: Shudder

Synopsis: Hank and Abby have been together – unmarried, but seemingly solid – for ten years. One day Abby leaves for “a while”, Hank breaks down. But he’s not alone; a monster comes at night trying to get in. Maybe.

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“Nomadland”

“I’m not homeless, I’m houseless… Don’t worry about me, okay?” 

Story: Fern is 61 years old, and picks up seasonal work at the local Amazon warehouse. She lives out of her van, because the company tract house she used to live in closed down…along with the gypsum plant in her all but empty town of Empire, Nevada. So she decides to head to an RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) to check out the nomadic lifestyle, and meet some of the people who call their vehicles home.

Genre I’d put it in: Dramas That Feel Like Documentaries

Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on the nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

Gotta say: I wanted to both sit with the after-effects of this film for a while, and immediately tell everyone that they needed to see it. So here I am, in my jim-jams, tapping out a review that I hope will tempt you into spending two hours on the road with these characters and people.

But first, a bit about the nomads of this film. These folks aren’t of the “hashtag VanLife” persuasion. No social media influencers here. These are individuals that for one reason or another – underemployment, loan debts, disgust with big business, or one bad day during a horrible recession – took to the roads to live as Grapes of Wrath-esque migrants. They move from job to job, going where their longing takes them, and where they can find work. When the stars align, both meet. Their lives are hauntingly beautiful, breathtakingly minimalist, and while they can be filled with happiness, it’s not an easy life one would pick on a whim. This is a whole world that I figured was probably out there – I’ve always heard about folks traveling the country and their RVs and such – but it’s still so new to me. It’s a mix of hope, and heartbreak. It touched my soul. With me? Cool.

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TrailerWatch – WTH is Disney’s “Cruella” doing?

I love Emma Stone. She’s fantastic. I’ve been a fan ever since Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. But guuuurl, WHUT.

As beautifully shot and staged as this trailer is? I can’t get past the fact that this is one of the worst, most despicable villains in the Disney canon. Cruella KILLED DOGS AND WORE THEIR SKINS. She wanted to murder puppies for yet another coat. How in the world is this going to be a story we empathize with?

I’m guessing they’re going with a Joker-esque vibe. But I doubt children – the main target for 101 Dalmatians, and so most likely the vast majority of viewers – will get this film’s high aspirations. I’m guessing this film will either water the legend allllll the way down, or become nightmare fuel.

Cruella hits theaters (and probably Disney+ as a premium release) May 28th, 2021. *shrugs*

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In Queue Review – “Mr. Right”

“I! Like! Turtles!”

Genre: Actiony Rom-com
Release Date: 2015
Where I Watched: Netflix

Talky Talk: This might become a VD tradition around here. Hey, I’m interrupting my night because I want to clue you in on this hidden gem immediately. That should let you know I’m not messing around. So…you can’t decide between a rom-com and a bang-bang actioner for date nite? Why choose? Just throw on this film, and call it a night.

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Virtual Screenining Passes: “The Mauritanian”!

Ready to get your Oscar ballot in order by catching something worthy? Because I’ve got passes for the virtual screening of The Mauritanian! Synopsis!

Captured by the U.S. Government, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) languishes in prison for years without charge or trial. Losing all hope, Slahi finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). Together they face countless obstacles in a desperate pursuit for justice. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), eventually reveals a shocking and far reaching conspiracy. Based on the New York Times best-selling memoir, this is the explosive true story of a fight for survival against all odds.

Ready? Let’s go!

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