Unboxing: Meowbox [October 2017] #unboxing @Meowbox

Happy Sunday everyone!

The Meowbox arrived last week and its finally uploaded and ready! Like last year, its Halloween themed, which fits perfectly into our Halloween month. Or wait…as Meowbox says, Meowlloween 😉

Thanks for watching! Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

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Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

And we’re finally here! The Final Chapter of the Saw franchise! Its been one rocky journey and I mean literally seeing as it went on a downhill slope for a little bit before slowly redeeming itself a little at a time. After the ending of Saw VI, I did want to see how they would end it. I guess I should mention, although its called 3D, I saw it in normal 2D.

Let’s wrap this franchise up (seeing as I’m still unsure whether I should see Jigsaw)!

Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

saw the final chapter

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery, Chad Donella, Laurence Anthony, Cary Elwes

As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror. –IMDB

The end is here. The sixth one ended with an injured Hoffman (Damn! Why does he just die?) and he’s onto Jill being a part of Jigsaw’s big plan. Call it a test or whatever, but it was one deadly one and he definitely passed it since he survived and now rather vengeful. The seventh one starts with a rather ambitious and grandiose game for a love triangle and its the first time its been out in the open (at least on screen). Of course, its disgusting and the choice the players make here are rather obvious and I’m going to be honest that watching these back to back has been really nauseating so I already felt incredibly sick at the first game and those are usually just introductions to the movie, which didn’t bode well. However, the story does really come together for this one. It brings back familiar faces from previous films and also takes for that moral journey that I had talked about in this final game also. At this point, its already noticeable that the script does reveal its intentions for the game fairly obviously however, the backstory with Jigsaw and Jill and Hoffman is where the mystery and twists all come out and its in the intricacies and extremities of each of the tests/games.

Saw VII

With that said, the main game focuses around Bobby, a man who has gotten his fame for his outlook on what he’s learned from surviving Jigsaw’s game. When he gets reeled into this game, we get flashbacks of how he met Jigsaw and all the pieces fall together in some ways. His tasks, much like the last film, are a huge puzzle where he is lead to go from one room to the next where he needs to save the people he knows in order to move forward to save his wife. The story is so similar to the sixth installment. However, his finale is one that we see coming a decent point before that or at least its definitely in your suspicions. While that is the case, its really is just one freaky test to the next. Its a bloody affair over and over again. We get a look at each of these characters before in a few scenes. Not enough to care too much about them but if you buy into this fellow Bobby’s role, then its alright.

Saw VII

What does make up for it is the idea of finally seeing how every fits together with Jill, Hoffman, and Jigsaw. Of course, we also bring in another agent into the formula. He does a fairly decent job. They even manage to seek out where the game is being played as they track down Bobby and fall a step behind. As I write this, I feel like its not as memorable as I’d like it to be for the whole investigation. However, the whole Jigsaw, Jill and Hoffman parts are the key twists here as they fill in those gaps of how it works which makes sense for the most part.

Honestly, I’m out of things to say about the Saw franchise. It has a formula and every time I feel like I’m saying similar things except now its just what works in the formula and doesn’t. The Final Chapter works for the most part and the way it ends it is quite awesome. There are twists that work and some that don’t. It really isn’t too bad although this one is incredibly bloody and gory.

Have you seen Saw VII? Did you see it in 3D? What are your thoughts on the franchise? Which movie is your fave?
Finally, do you think I should go see Jigsaw?

As an ending note here, I just thought of something that I’m going to work on as a final piece for this franchise. I feel like its needed to justify it more. One to look at how I’d rank each of these films, as well as a review of the entire story here in general. Either way, that’s coming up soon!

Recipe: Maple-Bourbon Wings

It feels like forever since I’ve picked up the cookbook and actually did a recipe! Hopefully, it’ll happen more frequently in the near future. The plans are always there but somehow the time just isn’t.

This past weekend, I decided to try out a recipe from the latest issue of Food Network for October 2017. They have a Fried Maple-Bourbon Wings and frying is so annoying, including the clean-up work afterwards that I decided to use their recipe but modify a little to bake in the oven.

Here’s the recipe and how it turned out.

Maple-Bourbon Wings
(inspired by Fried Maple Bourbon Wings in Food Network October 2017 Issue)

Maple Bourbon Wings

Ingredients

2 lbs Chicken Wings
1 small shallot
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup bourbon
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles)
Oil

  1. Preheat oven at 375C.
  2. Mince the shallot in a small bowl. Add in maple syrup and bourbon and oil. Stir together. Then add in ketchup and dijon mustard. Mix well.  Add adobo sauce if you’d like (we didn’t).
  3. In a larger bowl, cover the sauce over the chicken wings. If you have time, its best to cover and let marinate it in the fridge for as long as you can.
  4. In a lined sheet pan, lay out your wings in a single layer. Remember to keep a little distance so it doesn’t stick together. Oil if using aluminum sheet as to not stick. Pour remaining sauce over the wings.
  5. Put in oven for 25 minutes, turning halfway or until cooked through.

With that said, that was still a diversion of the actual recipe. If you want to challenge yourself to the fried one. just drop me an email and I can send it to you. Or leave a comment or whatnot. Regardless, I did keep a part of the original recipe there in terms of ingredients although removing a few things you need to fry it, like flour and such. My substitutes here really came down to using green onions instead of shallots. Normally, we don’t have shallots here unless it comes with a box and in that case, we have already used it. Green onions are not only in our backyard but also frequently not always used up to the max in the meal boxes so we have left over whenever its for garnish or whatnot.

This recipe is pretty good overall. The maple and bourbon mixture is just right. However, you should use shallots and not green onion. We assume that gave it an odd taste that took time to get used to. Ours could benefit with marinating more than 15 minutes or whatever. I usually would take the time to do it or just simmer it in the pan to let the flavors seep into the meat. It was a last minute decision to put this together.

Now to think about what to do with our second batch of chicken wings? Any suggestions?

Hiking: Thousand Islands National Park #Canada150 #DiscoveryPass #hiking

I realized that we’ve been having a ton of movie reviews lately. So, for my sake and anyone else who drops by here not for reviews, we’re having a review-free day! During my vacation, we headed off to Thousand Islands National Park to take advantage of the Canada 150 Discovery Pass to do some hiking.

Thousand Islands is wildly known for its cruise around the beautiful Thousand Islands area to see all the lovely residences on the different islands scattered about and eventually for the longer cruises and those with passports can head on to see the castle. We’ve never been to the castle but its on our bucket list however, Thousand Islands National Park was somewhere that popped up on our radar to check out. We ended up heading into the park and while one of the three locations to go hiking were closed, we ended up going to check out the other two trails locations.

The Visitor’s Centre is located at the Mallorytown Landing Trail area which is kind of like walking around in someone’s backyard as a good bit of the beginning and end rounds around some houses in proximity. However, the trail is pretty nice and easy. Its mostly flat and goes up a small hill in the back roads.

Thousand Islands National Park

It turns out I did take some pictures but nothing was quite as memorable as finally seeing the toilets here which were in little cabins like this and had this Phoenix composting system or something. It said to close the lids on the toilets when people were done but of course, no one does so as I was in there, I kept imagining that the whole Snakes in the Plane scenario would happen or some frog would hop out at me. Stupid since its crazy deep but hey, overactive imagination can be a curse sometimes.

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Here are two shots that I liked of the Mallorytown Landing trail.

Just down the road for about a five minute drive was our next location with a network of over 2 hours worth of trails if you really wanted to do it and it was the Jones Creek Trail. We headed over there and figured out a way to at least reach the other side of their boardwalk and the lookout spot and then head back. The trails have all these animal names and it was pretty cool. For those looking for those trails, you can find the map HERE. we started on the eel and kept going right to follow Turtle which keeping right lead to Heron which leads to the Boardwalk and we did a part of Snipe to the lookout point and headed back. The trails are marked pretty well with the colors of the trails on the map so its easy to just spot where the trail is by looking for those little tags hung on the trees. The trails were relatively easy and its mostly lookout points at marshlands.

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

As much as it was a flat course, it was still really comfortable to walk in. The trails were nice and it still had the nature trail that the trails weren’t always really defined so the hunt for those colored signs happened at times. Some of the lookouts aren’t exactly great but its still a milder walk which turned out for the better since we don’t get the chance to hike as much as we’d like.

Thousand Islands National Park is a decent spot. There are some nice scenery around. Although, you should definitely go for the cruise if you are in the area. As for us, we’ll probably see if the leaves are still around and hunt down another location to hike up in the mountains to catch some leaves before the weather gets cooler and we only go hiking in the spring after the snow has melted and/or when the parks open up again.

Horror Marathon: Saw VI (2009) #horror #Saw #SawVI #Franchise

Moving along with quite well with the Saw franchise and we are at the 6th movie. Its becoming wildly apparent that this is one long story that can’t be really reviewed by part however, we will try.

Lets go!

Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Peter Outerbridge, Shawnee Smith, Athena Karkanis

Agent Strahm is dead, and FBI agent Erickson draws nearer to Hoffman. Meanwhile, a pair of insurance executives find themselves in another game set by Jigsaw.-IMDB

NOOO!!! Scott Patterson’s Agent Strahm is dead. He was my highlight in the last two movies. At least he died pretty epicly, sort of.

I never thought that I would say this at this point in the franchise but the sixth movie breathed some life back into the franchise. However, since the last two movies, I haven’t been able to watch any of the first victims/games because its just incredibly disgusting. Gore and torture porn doesn’t normal bother me a lot but its probably the watching back to back of them that has caused a decrease tolerance. So, I was pretty nauseous in that first part because the sound effects made me also imagine what was going on and I have one outrageous imagination. And actually because of that beginning, I went into this sixth one quite bitter and angry for this opening direction. Lets just say I’m fed up of the gore which doesn’t make sense because this is what I had originally thought Saw franchise was all about.

Saw VI

To be fair, Saw VI is quite good. In terms of the direction of the story, it starts lining up with Jigsaw’s last game in his will and reveals the answer as to other person or people involved. The question at this point (and before) is always how do these people caught in the game relate to Jigsaw? How did they meet and what bad things have these people done? Jigsaw’s captives are rarely people who have done nothing and here is where this film excels. The story itself highlights Jigsaw’s mentality in spades about the morality and ethics. The backstory of everyone’s involvement is what links all the movies together but this story really brings out the why for Jigsaw’s action especially when his mantra is cherish your life and yet the guy caught in the game is stuck in making decisions to essentially use his formula on the people he knows and make him question his choices. What I did like the best was actually the way Saw VI manages to keep its tension and momentum and really keep us guessing to the end which was quite a twist. Good job on the switch in director to Kevin Greutert who seems take the gore a little too seriously still manages to balance it well enough in the psychological department to make it work.

Saw VI

While I do praise this instalment and had a good bit of enjoyment from it, which is surprising considering I was angry at it when the movie started, there are still flaws. It mostly goes down to our character making predictable choices. However, it might just fall into how well we know Jigsaw’s puzzle concepts particularly under time crunch blended with the guy in the game who does a decent performance. Or maybe, its just my expectations are so low that it didn’t matter anymore so there was more enjoyment because of that.

Overall, Saw VI does a decent job here. It makes the The Final Chapter (which we know is a lie since theres a new movie out in a week or so) a little more promising. How will they end it?

Did you watch Saw VI? 

Horror Marathon: Gerald’s Game (2017)

Let’s take a break from straight up horror and go for something a little more psychological. Gerald’s Game was recently released as a Netflix Originals and is directed by Mike Flanagan who I overall love quite a bit. His latest movies have been good and not great, however, I always wonder how you can rival a great debut like Absentia. However, I do think he has a great vision on building horror and always remain hopeful when it comes to creating the tense atmosphere. With some expectation and little knowledge of what Gerald’s Game is about, I went to check it out!

Gerald’s Game (2017)

gerald's game

Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Chiara Aurelia, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel

While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.-IMDB

Stephen King’s novels have been adapted since forever. This year, it seems to be all over the place with IT recently released in theatres and then there’s been TV shows as well. Now, we land on Gerald’s Game. For those new here, I’m a reader but sadly, I’ve been incredibly behind on reading Stephen King novels. I’ve only read two novellas, A Good Marriage and 1922 and a novel, Carrie. I’m currently reading IT and that’s proving to be an endless task. However, I have watched a lot of adaptations of his. I can say that he has great art in creating incredible characters and developments and such and even the mystery, thriller, suspense, horror atmosphere balance. However, be it The Mist or IT, I can’t quite buy into their endings. Suffice to say that I didn’t know anything about Gerald’s Game before jumping into this one. When the movie started and even into the 2nd part of it, I was a fan. It was captivating and thrilling to watching our main character try to figure out a way to survive and have her inner monologue and even hallucinating a second version of herself (like her conscience or something) and her dead husband. However, the story does start to become slightly flat as we near the ending.

gerald's game

Gerald’s Game is a great psychological thriller. There are some gruesome imagery here but overall, its a gripping experience as this wife, Jessie struggles to get herself out of these chains before she dehydrates and dies as no one is expected to be in the neighborhood for the next few days. In many ways, it is very much a thriller with perhaps some horror elements which I found were possibly the weaker parts of the film. The tension built in the conversations and the ideas she got to sustain herself was incredibly engaging to watch. Mike Flanagan is great at creating atmosphere in his films and he yet again achieves it here. The movie is almost completely lead by Carla Gugino and while I can’t quite pinpoint where I’ve seen her act before (although I’m aware of who she is), she does an outstanding job. She takes on the role of Jessie is such a mesmerizing way that its hard to not want her to escape and be scared or nervous together with her as she tries to do one thing or the next. However predictable some of the outcomes are, her role keeps us intrigued to keep watching. Opposite her is Bruce Greenwood who plays her husband. He isn’t physically alive for very long however, the little hints we get dive into further conversations that she envisions as his ghost somewhat hangs around with her. In some ways, her ghost and his ghost play this angel and demon role and its quite entertaining to watch also.

Gerald's Game

While I can appreciate the fact that the story takes on a tangent of Jessie’s past with her father and it somewhat justifies why she chose her current husband, it drives her to the past where she remembers her time with her father and the things he did. I’ll probably be mentioning something a little more fleshed out on portraying fathers in Stephen King’s stories when I get to the IT reviews. Here Jessie’s father is played by Henry Thomas. Its odd how her family was because it seems that the mother suspects something and yet not really. However the jest of it is the trauma that she’s somehow pushed away about her father. That was a pretty disturbing scene. Somehow, this is where the story seems to derail a little. The best parts of Gerald’s Game is when she has those conversations and in the single setting and not when she hallucinates or sees some weird things or goes into her memories. Something about it seems to be executed not quite as effectively, losing the great tension it had built from the beginning.

Overall, Gerald’s Game is a pretty decent movie. I’m talking about this completely as the movie itself and not as an adaptation since I’ve never read the book. If you have read the book and have seen this, does the movie do the book justice? Carla Gugino alone is worth the watch here. She truly commands this role perfectly. Its an engaging and intriguing watch however, it does lose its footing in the last third or maybe even at somewhere near the halfway point. And then the ending, well… I’m not exactly a fan. But then, I’ve had issues with Stephen King endings before. However, Stephen King builds great, deep and twisted characters that not a lot of other authors have ever been able to do and Gerald’s Game shows that off a whole lot.

Game Warp Podcast Talks Kickstarter Project, King of the Hat!

In the next episode of Game Warp, we sit down with Hyroglyphik Games for a second time. This time, they have moved up to create a Kickstarter project for their upcoming 2 to 4 players couch co-op game King of the Hat. King of the Hat has a cute back story and some cool characters set in a world where everyone has a hat and the hat is their soul. Hear more in our podcast interview with them.

Thanks for watching!