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Best foot forward
September 1, 2011 - April Diodato
Can anyone believe that Sept. 1 is already upon us? The ninth month of the year signifies many things – for starters, it is Self Improvement Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, International Square Dancing Month and National Courtesy Month.
The start of September is also synonymous with the start of a new school year. While I don't miss rising at 6 a.m. to catch the school bus or, to be perfectly honest, much of anything about grade school, there was one part of back-to-school season that I always looked forward to: the opportunity for a fresh start. Even if you are no longer held hostage by the academic calendar, why pass up the opportunity to start anew?
The oncoming fall is all about change – in fact, I’ve already spotted a few yellow-and-orange leaves outside my window. Find a new hobby or a new place to go this weekend, attempt to form some new (good) habits and, at the very least, take advantage of this excellent excuse to do some wardrobe updating. Try remixing what you already have – the old rules no longer apply. This fall, why not put your best foot forward?
SUMMER MOVIE ROUND-UP
As an avid cinema fan and tenant of an upper apartment rendered oven-like by the consistently balmy weather, I did my darndest to see every movie I possibly could this summer. As the DVD release dates of some of the early summer hits approach, let's look back at the best and worst of summer 2012. I hope it helps you to decide what to rent as we go from one meteorological extreme to another – part of Western New York’s charm.
- Best Comedy: “Bridesmaids” — A strong start to the summer movie season, it set the tone for what turned out to be one of the most consistently enjoyable seasons of movie-going in recent memory. “Bridesmaids” definitely requires re-watching, especially for the scenes in the bridal store, the worst bachelorette party of all time, and every single scene with John Hamm. The DVD release date is Sept. 20.
- Best Superhero Movie: “Thor” — An unexpected triumph, “Thor” boasted some of the most entertaining action scenes I saw all season, making the most of its 3D (which many 3D movies have failed to do); an amusing story, and quite possibly the sexiest space god alive as its star. Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as Thor is yet another reason to mark next summer's “The Avengers” on the calendar. The “Thor” DVD release date is Sept. 13.
- Best All-Around: “Super 8” — A creature feature with a heartwarming story at its center, “Super 8” appeals to the child in us all. If you haven’t seen it already, make sure you pick it up when it’s released on DVD Oct. 18.
- Most Forgettable: “Horrible Bosses” — Even Charlie Day from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" couldn't save this so-called comedy, largely devoid of humor. It's so sophomoric, it's insulting that the filmmakers thought anyone would find it funny. Sorry, Jennifer Aniston -- try again. The DVD release date is estimated for November.
- Wildest Movie-Going Experience: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” – Midnight showings are always brimming with excitable fans, but none so much as the final Harry Potter film. Armed with their wands, festive costumes and unbridled enthusiasm, it was almost impossible to actually watch the movie over the shouting and sniffles that filled the theater. Those who saw it on opening night will benefit from a subsequent viewing. Luckily, the DVD release is slated for November.
- Most Pleasant Surprise: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — Did we really need another “Planet of the Apes” movie following the sub-par 2001 remake starring Marky Mark Wahlberg? The incidental answer is yes. I dare you to watch “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” look into the eyes of that marginalized, genetically-altered ape and not feel moved by his plight – or, at the very least, riveted by the spectacular work done to create this film. The DVD Release date is estimated for December.
- Biggest Disappointment: “Captain America: The First Avenger” — Based on the teaser trailer that debuted many months before its release, it appeared that the mind-blowing digital effects work on Steve Rogers' transformation into Captain America and the patriotic, Nazi-thumping story would result in a fantastic film. Sadly, the effects weren't enough to save a mostly-dull, mediocre movie with characters as flat as cardboard cut-outs. The DVD release date is estimated for November.
- The Movie Equivalent Of Water Torture: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” — No story, no surprises, no point for its existence — it was, in a word, awful. I got some flak for my negative review of the third “Transformers,” which I found surprising and completely absurd – have the standards for American entertainment value fallen that far? I'm concerned that fans of the film have brains riddled with Swiss cheese-like holes from lack of meaningful stimulation. And no, I didn't just hate it because I'm a girl, and yes, I was offered that explanation in the year 2011. The DVD release date is estimated for November.
Season four of “Sons of Anarchy” starts on Tuesday, Sept. 6, with a 90-minute premiere at 10 p.m. Are you aware that “Sons” is one of the best shows on television right now? With the help of a Netflix subscription, I devoured the first two seasons that were available for instant viewing, and the third season was just released on DVD Tuesday. I strongly recommend that anyone who is looking for a new show to get hooked on take advantage of the five days left until the new season begins and watch the series so far in its entirety.
“Sons” is about the struggles of and within a biker gang in an idyllic small town called Charming, Calif. It’s well-written, extremely well-acted and there are surprises around every turn. For those bored with the predictability of many television shows, “Sons” is never afraid to kill off a character or suddenly reveal a detail that turns everything you thought you knew completely upside-down. The standout star – aside from the astonishingly attractive Charlie Hunnam as antihero Jax Teller – is Katey Sagal, the matriarch and puppet master extraordinaire of the crew. Best known for her role as Peg Bundy on “Married With Children,” the talented and multifaceted Sagal won a Golden Globe for her work on the third season of “Sons.”
Tuesday, 6 p.m. Be there.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Are you a slave to fashion but can’t make it to New York City by Sept. 8? Look no further than the Queen City. Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week is Sept. 3 through 10, with the main runway event Sept. 10 at the Buffalo Convention Center. Visit www.fashionweekbuffalo.com or http://www.facebook.com/FashionWeekBuffalo for all of the fashionable details.
- It’s summer’s last hurrah, otherwise known as Labor Day Weekend. The Dockside Cafe and Bar at the Clarion Hotel will have music all weekend – Lemon 12 tonight, Side Effects Friday, US on Saturday and Fallen Union on Sunday.
- Walleye Willie’s will have live music each night: Big Tone tonight, Studio 54 Friday and BJ Jeremiah Saturday.
- BJ's has its first show of the fall semester tonight with a pair of Buffalo bands. It features the space age sounds of Wooden Waves and the indie rock of The Failures' Union. Zinophobia is back for the semester as well, so look for a new issue of Fredonia's favorite 'zine at the bar. The show starts at 10 p.m. It is free for those of legal drinking age (21) and $3 for those over 18.
- The Pops Craft Brew Festival will be held tonight in Bemus Point, featuring a performance by Sean Patrick McGraw, samples from local breweries, food and prizes. The festival runs from 6 to 9 p.m.
- The 2011 Great Rhythm Festival will be held Friday through Sunday at the Blue Heron Festival grounds. Rejuvenate yourself with workshops and music throughout the weekend. Visit www.greatrhythmrevival.com for more information.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments and events to email@example.com
"Sons of Anarchy" is one of the best shows on television today. Rev up your engines for Season 4, starting Sept. 6.