Sunday, June 30, 2013

Charlotte Cupcakes - SAS Cupcakes

Ever since I started doing these cupcake blogs I've heard about SAS Cupcakes.

There are a few cupcake shops that have gotten lots of word-of-mouth publicity around Charlotte and SAS is one of them.

SAS has two locations in the Charlotte area. The one I went to is located in a small shopping center at the intersection of Ardrey Kell and Rea Roads.

The outside looks is unimpressive. It blends into the surroundings very well. The storefront doesn't stand out as a, "I have to stop in there!' kind of place.

The inside of the store isn't as plain.

It looks like a Party America that's been flipped into a fairy princess castle. There are cases of candy that can be bought by the scoop. Large lollipops, cupcake photo frames, and pointy princess hats decorate the counter and shelves.

It's like a candy store, Party America and cupcake shop all rolled into one.

Somebody has been listening - Captain Planet movie in the works

Dreams do come true!

Alright, this may not qualify as a dream coming true, but it is pretty cool. It was announced this week that Sony Pictures is in final negotiations to make a live action Captain Planet movie is in the works.

I've already blogged about what direction I think they should take with the movie and why I think it will work. I hope it's successful, the way Transformers have been.

The project is already off to a good start since they have some good people on board. Don Murphy (one of the producers in the Transformers franchise) and Mark Gordon (a producer of Speed, Saving Private Ryan and Grey's Anatomy) are producing the adaptation.

Related Content:
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The Big Bang Theory (Seasons 1 - 4) - reviewed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Actors Who Have Pulled Double Duty

As much as I didn’t enjoy watching Jack and Jill the other day, I do have to hand it to Adam Sandler. He did a decent job pulling double duty --- playing two different characters in the same film.

Obviously it was Sandler playing both Jack and Jill, but he did a good enough job using different mannerisms, facial expressions and voices that it almost seemed like two characters weren’t both played by Sandler.

I’m no actor. I’ve never played two characters on the same stage or in the same movie, but I imagine doing so would be fairly difficult.

Several actors and actresses have pulled double duty over the years, successfully playing two separate characters and making them seem different. Here’s some of the more memorable performances:

Who can forget Mike Myers playing Austin Powers and Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies? This is one case of double duty that isn’t as evident.

I watched the movies when I was younger and didn’t realize it was Mike Myers acting out both characters until sometime after the second movie was released.

Hair and makeup did a great job with Dr. Evil. I’m not sure what the reason was for having Myers play multiple roles, but I’m glad that decision was made. I can’t picture anyone else doing as good a job playing the comically devious Dr. Evil or awkwardly cool Austin Powers.

Back in the 1960s, when Bewitched was airing on television, the writers introduced a new character to the show: Serena. She was Samantha’s wild cousin, always down for a party. Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha, ended up playing Serena too. Maybe it’s because Elizabeth Montgomery was always on the sweeter side when she played Samantha, but it was kind of surprising seeing her play more of a vamp than a housewife. It worked out well though, adding yet another colorful character to the show.

The writers on I Dream of Jeannie may have copied the Samantha/Serena idea with Jeannie’s sister Jeannie. In fact, it’s pretty obvious they did. Jeannie’s sister, Jeannie, had black hair, just like Serena. She, like Serena, usually caused trouble when she showed up. The only differences were that she was a sister, not a cousin, and her name was Jeannie, not Serena.

Nonetheless, Barbara Eden did a great job playing both roles at the same time. Jeannie (the one in pink) was always sweet, innocent and wide-eyed. Eden changed her mannerisms completely when she played Jeannie (the evil sister in green). She waved her arms, sashayed from side-to-side when she walked, always had a hint of trouble in her eyes and talked with some kind of knock-off English accent.

Before Barbara Eden played both Jeannies and Elizabeth Montgomery was pulling double duty on Bewitched with Samantha and Serena, a younger blonde bombshell was sinking her teeth into two roles as well. In 1961, Disney’s The Parent Trap was released.

It was the story of two twins who were determined to reunite their divorced parents. The teenage actress who played Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers was Hayley Mills. Just like in Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, the writers made sure to give the characters distinguishable differences. Sharon had longer hair and a Boston accent. Susan had short hair and, although she didn’t have an accent, her California roots were evident in the portrayal. Eventually Sharon cut her hair and dropped the Boston accent in order to trade places with Susan, giving . Mills went on to play both characters again in The Parent Trap 2, which wasn’t anywhere near as amazing as it’s predecessor.

Remember when Lindsay Lohan was known for her performance in The Parent Trap remake and not for her run-ins with the law? The writers made some updates to the plot, but, overall, kept the 1998 version the same as the 1961 version.

Annie James and Hallie Parker met at camp, where they realized they were twins and then pulled the switcharoo. Just like in the original Parent Trap, Lohan played both characters. Annie had a British accent this time around, while Hallie Parker was from California.

I just went to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation in the cheap theatre again and I’m still amazed at Jonathan Pryce’s performance as Zartan and the President of the United States. Both characters appeared on screen several times, but it was never confusing as to who was who. Pryce really did give to totally different performances for the two roles.

His tone of voice and facial expressions were completely different when playing Zartan. He seemed evil. Meanwhile, when he was The President, he seemed like a likable leader, showing bravery, despite being held captive by terrorists. Pryce wasn't an actor I'd seen much of before G.I. Joe, so his awesome performance was a nice surprise.

Related Content:
Jack and Jill - reviewed.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation - reviewed.
Man of Steel – reviewed.
Star Trek: Into Darkness - reviewed.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Jack and Jill - reviewed.

If you remember seeing the previews for Jack and Jill and thinking, ‘That movie doesn’t look very good,’ then you were right.

I watched Jack and Jill the other day and it’s kind of a shame I did. That’s close to two hours of my life I won’t get back.

I’m being a little too harsh, but it wasn’t a very good movie.

I’m kind of shocked, reading up some statistics on it now, that the movie wasn’t a total box office bomb. Critics dogged it (rightfully so), but the movie didn’t lose money. I guess that says something about Adam Sandler’s star power.

The entire selling point of the movie is that Adam Sandler pulls double duty, playing the roles of identical twins Jack and Jill. That’s also the problem with the movie.

Sandler is so over-the-top while playing Jill that it becomes a very unrealistic movie.

I know it’s a comedy, but can we at least keep one foot on the ground with reality?

I’ve always been so-so on Adam Sandler movies. His exaggerated and loud acting doesn’t always equal funny. In recent years he seems to have mellowed on that front. 50 First Dates was amazing because he wasn’t running around like a ranting, raving lunatic. Adam Sandler’s character was a normal guy.

Grown Ups, despite the minimal effort put into the script, was alright.

Some of Sandler’s earlier films were rough to sit through though. Happy Gilmore wasn’t too bad. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was watchable. So was Click. I only saw half of Little Nicky though and that was enough. I saw bits and pieces of The Wedding Singer, but never the entire movie. Maybe I'll give that one a shot.

Jack and Jill was like seeing the old Adam Sandler (as Jill) and the new, aged Adam Sandler (as Jack).

The movie begins when the Bronx born-and-bred Jill goes to Hollywood to visit her identical twin brother, Jack, after their mother dies.

Jack has a family in the form of two kids (neither of whom are cute or entertaining) and Katie Holmes, who has been so busy being Mrs. Tom Cruise that she seems to have lost most of the acting talent she once had. She seemed void of any personality whatsoever and definitely doesn’t have chemistry with Sandler.

Jack, a successful commercial director, is often embarrassed and annoyed by Jill’s antics – a subplot in the movie – especially when her weekend trip turns into a lengthier visit.

It becomes obvious to Jack that what Jill needs is simple: someone to love – the main plot of the movie.

Enter Al Pacino, who, playing Al Pacino, is infatuated with Jill.

The former Godfather is probably the best part about this slapstick comedy.

However, between Regis Philbin, Drew Carey, Billy Banks (you know, the Taebo guy?), Jared (from the Subway commercials), Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, there were far too many cameos in the movie. All it was missing was the Dell Dude and an appearance by Flo, from the Progressive Insurance commercials.

Besides an abundance of cameos, the movie has a little bit of love, a little bit of physical comedy, and a small twist or two. What it lacks, unfortunately, is comedy that garners anything more than a chuckle.

The result is a 93 minute movie that seems more like the second know, the one that left your legs cramping after you saw it in the movie theatre? The one that lasted 150 minutes?

If you’re going to see this movie, I would recommend seeing it the way I did: for free. I borrowed it, which made it more bearable when it was over.

Related Content:
Man of Steel – reviewed.
Star Trek: Into Darkness - reviewed.
Iron Man 3 - reviewed.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - reviewed.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Charlotte Cupcakes - Decadent Designs Bakery

I went looking for The Blushing Bakeshoppe in Ballantyne, but I’m assuming it closed since I spent an hour walking around the Ballantyne Village looking for the shop. I tried calling the phone number that was listed on the Blushing Bakeshoppe Facebook page. It was still working, but I got the voicemail.

Turns out, there’s a new bakery right across the street. I stumbled upon Decadent Designs Bakery.

There’s a large display case of cupcakes inside, along with a couple of high tables in case you want to eat inside.

I wasn’t sure which cupcakes to get as there were several flavors to choose from. Three of them caught my eye though: a chocolate-covered Boston Cream Cupcake, a Key Lime cupcake with light green frosting and a larger Strawberry cupcake that was intricately decorated.

More Spidey to come too

Iron Man isn't the only super hero returning to the big screen in the next several years. You'll be seeing a lot of Spidey too.

"Sony's film studio announced Monday it has OK'ed the third and fourth editions of the webbed franchise, and that they will hit theaters on June 10, 2016 and May 4, 2018," USA Today reports.

Andrew Garfield is already resuming his role as Spider-Man. He's in New York filming the sequel to last year's The Amazing Spider-Man.

It's set for a May 2014 release date -- the same month that X-Men: Days of Future Past is set for.

Related Content:
Iron Man 3 - reviewed.
More Iron Man to come
The Amazing Spider-Man - reviewed.

More Iron Man to come

After some speculation that Robert Downey Jr. may have put on the Iron Man suit for the last time, Marvel announced that he's signed on for more appearances as the high-tech super hero.

" ... Marvel is pleased to announce the signing of Robert Downey, Jr. to reprise the role of the “billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist," they said in a statement on

There may not be any additional individual Iron Man movies, but Downey will return in The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3.

Marvel also revealed that the sequel to The Avengers, being written and directed by Joss Whedon, will feature new Marvel characters that haven't been on the big screen before.

It's slated for production in 2014 and is set to be released May 1, 2015.

Related Content:
Iron Man 3 - reviewed.
The Avengers - reviewed.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Man of Steel – reviewed.

Christopher Nolan succeeded in creating an incredible Dark Knight trilogy. I’m not quite sure he succeeded in creating an incredible part one in Superman’s story.

In a way, the movie was really good. It introduced us to Superman, his allies and his foes. Yet, it kind of fell flat for me.

When it comes to super heroes, I make it no secret that Batman is my favorite. I never really became a big fan of the Superman character until I rented the Christopher Reeve movies about five years ago. After I saw those movies, I was very eager to see Superman Returns. After I saw that one, I wanted another, but that possible franchise fell apart.

When it was announced that Man of Steel was in the making, I was anxious to see what kind of magic Nolan would produce with Superman.

I don’t regret going to see the movie, but I wasn’t blown away either. That being said, the Batman trilogy didn’t really pick up until The Dark Knight. Even though Batman Begins wasn’t the best film of the three, it needed to be made in order to go on to bigger and better things.

I’m hoping that’s the same case with Man of Steel. Come to think of it, I’d probably rank Man of Steel higher than Batman Begins. It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges because Superman and Batman are two very different characters with two very different settings, but if Man of Steel is already off to a better start than the Dark Knight trilogy, I’m hoping it will provide some amazing moments in any sequels that follow.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Charlotte Cupcakes - It's a Piece of Cake

There’s at least two closed cupcake shops I’ve run into in Indian Trail, but along Indian Trail Road, there’s a cupcake shop that’s in business.

It’s A Piece of Cake is located in a small strip mall near the Ace Hardware.

I drove by a couple of times before, but each time the store looked like it was closed. I called ahead to make sure it was actually open. It was, so the Indian Trail cupcake taste test was good to go.

The cupcake shop isn’t much to look at inside. There was a display case, but there were a bunch of seemingly random things in there as well. It was almost like a garage sale. It was like a pawn shop-turned-bakery.

Nonetheless, there were a few different flavors of cupcakes in plastic six-packs in the display cases, so I chose three of them: a Twix cupcake, an Almond Joy cupcake, and a chocolate cupcake.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Captain Picard Day!

If you look at Wikipedia's page for June 16th, you'll see a slew of historic events.

Perhaps more exciting than anything listed on the Wikipedia page is the fact that June 16th is also Captain Picard Day.

Captain Picard Day is celebrated on June 16th because it is the equivalent date to Stardate 47457.1, mentioned in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode entitled The Pegasus. In that episode, Captain Picard Day is an occasion for the Enterprise to host schoolchildren and show them what Starfleet is like.

Here's a list of other great captains:

Captain Planet
Who else can save the planet from pollution-loving bad guys and be a good role model -- all while rocking green hair? That's greatness all by itself. Add in his super powers and his always cool attitude, and you have a great captain indeed.

Captain Hook
He loses battles to a flying teenager in tights who leads a battle of lost boys against hardened pirates. Yet, somehow, Hook is able to maintain the pirates' allegiance. He may have lost his hand to an alligator, but Hook his clever enough to keep his pirates at his command.

Captain Crunch
He doesn't lead any crew members, as far as I know -- though the idea of a Peanut Butter Crunch army does sound pretty cool.

Captain Jack Sparrow
He's abandoned his crew and his "friends" more times than people could count. However, he always maintained loyalty to the Black Pearl. Maintaining one's loyalty to one's ship is a vital part of being a good captain.

Captain America
The All-American good guy -- Captain America is there to protect and serve, Captains don't get much better than that.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Charlotte Cupcakes - Black Velvet Patisserie

Straight out the gate: if you want to go to Black Velvet Patisserie, you’d better have your GPS or be a Mooresville native.

Black Velvet is actually right on Main Street, but I had a heck of a time getting to Main Street. Off the Interstate, around curves, and across railroad tracks to get there.

It was my first time in Mooresville. I did have my GPS, but somehow I still ended up parking about 3 blocks away from the bakery.

There are a couple of small cafe tables inside the shop. It seems like it would be a nice place to have a cupcake on a sunny afternoon.

The day I went there were about seven different cupcake flavors to choose from. I ended up picking out three of them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Revamping the reality series

American Idol producers Nigel Ythgoe and Ken Warwick have been fired after season 12 of the hit TV show.

The show has been in major makeover mode ever since it began dipping in the ratings, facing new found competition from NBC's The Voice. So far American Idol got rid of two producers and lost three members of the judging panel: Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson.

They can give the show a new look, introduce new rules into the competition and get an entirely new staff, but the problem they are facing is one a lot of other reality TV shows face as well: how far do you go in revamping the show?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Charlotte Cupcakes - Maggiemoos

This week I did something a little different. I got some ice cream cupcakes.

I got them from Maggiemoos, in the University area. Oddly enough, Maggiemoos seems to be the same company as Marble Slab.

They didn’t have a lot of selection to choose from, but I got the Cookies and Cream four-pack.

At first bite, there was almost a mint taste to the cupcakes – something I liked.

After the mint taste disappears, the whipped cream (kind of a less fluffy version of Cool Whip) takes over.

Then comes the Maggiemoos ice cream, which reminds me of a delicious dish from Dairy Queen. It’s very plain, but very good too.

Finally it’s a firm portion of chocolate cupcake that finishes off the taste.

As if the combination of cupcake, ice cream and whipped topping wasn’t good enough, there’s a soft Oreo cookie on top, along with a few cookie crumbles.

The cupcake was amazing because there are so many different flavors to it. In each bite you literally get a mouthful of different flavors.

None of the flavors are exceptionally tasty, but when they’re all added together, one really can’t complain.

Find a Maggiemoos location near you

The positives: Ice cream and cupcake is always a winning combination.

The negatives: not too much to complain about on this one. The tastes could have been a little better, but with so many flavors and textures, it didn't much matter.

Cost: $8.95 for four of them isn't too bad. It's roughly $2.23 per cupcake, which isn't too bad.

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