Check out the two full galleries from Liquid Stranger’s live performance at El Rey on March 3rd, 2020. Find more photos from the show in Gallery 2[Read more…]
By Hector Valverde
Let’s cut to the chase: Pixar’s latest, Onward, is good. But just how good? Sporting an awesome fantasy world alongside the studio’s patented mix of humor and heart, I’d say Onward happily sits somewhere in the middle tier of Pixar’s body of work. That is to say, it’s an early contender for one of the year’s best films.
Monster University’s Dan Scanlon helms this tale of a fantasy world where magic has long been supplanted by urban technology. Centaurs drive around in cars, the legendary manticore tends bar at a family tavern, and the sorcery of wizards is old, outdated news with the convenience of smartphones and electricity. In the wake of it all, Marvel bros Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voice elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot who, on Ian’s sixteenth birthday, receive a wizard’s staff belonging to their late father, along with a rare crystal with the ability to resurrect him for a day.
Eager to meet the father they never knew, Ian and Barley cast the corresponding spell but, in a panic, only manage to bring back his legs. With the 24-hour timer running, the two brothers rush off on a quest to find another crystal and complete the spell to see their father one final time.
The world of Onward is a real treat all around, popping with wonderful creativity that makes the more niche reaches of high fantasy painlessly accessible. Everything about the magical suburban land just clicks, dishing out gag after clever gag from an endless bag of comedy bits drawing inspiration from D&D, Tolkien, and other like classics. The animation itself additionally looks incredible, though the recurring CGI dilemma of detailed, but cartoony character models against jarringly photoreal environments once more rears its head here.
The film could have coasted by on its rich world alone, but its sweet story of brotherly love elevates it with that special Pixar touch. The mature message and resolution at its heart are surprising even for a Pixar film, and Holland and Pratt build the siblings’ relationship with warm, genuine chemistry that you don’t see land very often. As always, bring tissues and prepare yourself for impending waterworks, especially if you’re a brother, sibling, or even part of a tight fraternal pair.
Additionally, a theme/message/critique concerning society’s relinquishment of effort and mastery in the name of convenience lightly circulates throughout the film, though it never quite makes its stamp fully. It’s there just enough to tease further substance but just doesn’t deliver enough to really confirm it. It’s not a big complaint, especially with the film’s world opening itself so naturally for future installments to address these themes, but it’s a little frustrating all the same.
I emerged from Onward smacking my lips from the film’s flavorful world of rocking potential, and I’m already salivating for a sequel. Packing all the ingredients of Pixar magic, it’s another instant classic in the studio’s acclaimed repertoire, and I can’t wait to see more.
By ABQ-Live Staff
Hungry? Below is a list of local restaurants in the Albuquerque area open for delivery
JC New York Pizza – offering FREE delivery and carryout
Located in: Albuquerque
Address: 215 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: (505) 766-6973
Japanese Kitchen Sushi Bar & Steakhouse – offering curbside pick up and delivery through Selflane.
Address: 6511 Americas Pkwy, Albuquerque, NM 87110
Menu : Selflane.com
Phone: (505) 872-1166
Two Cranes Bistro and Brew – offering delivery through GrubHub, Selflane as well as curbside pick-up. Any order over $10 receives a free roll of toilet paper and you can buy 6 rolls for 4.50.
Located: 901 Rio Grande Boulevard Northwest Suite
Phone: (505) 295-3970
Filling Philly’s Downtown – offering delivery and carryout
Address: 301 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: (505) 208-0228
Christi Maes – is offering curbside and take out
Address: 1400 San Pedro Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110
Phone: (505) 255-4740
Cocina Azul – is offering delivery through Grubhub and carryout
Address: 5916 Holly Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113
Menu: Cocina Azul Menu
Phone: (505) 831-4500
Rio Bravo Brewing Company – open from 12-8 pm for to go (carryout and curbside delivery) orders as well as 6 Packs, Kegs and New Growler Fills
Address: 1912 2nd St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: (505) 900-3909
Monroes – open for carryout, delivery, and curbside. In addition, any purchase of 3 jars of Chile or $25 or more gift card gets you a free roll of toilet paper.
Address: 1025 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: (505) 242-1111
Rock and Brews ABQ – offering carryout and delivery.
Address: 4800 Montgomery Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Phone: (505) 340-2953
Yanni’s Modern Mediterranean -open for Grubhub and carryout
Address: 3109 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: (505) 268-9250
Two Fools Tavern – doing to go from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. People can call 505-265-7447
Address: 3211 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Menu: Two Fools Menu
Phone: (505) 265-7447
Frontier Restaurant – offering take-out orders placed in-store and orders placed over the phone.
Address: 2400 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Menu: Frontier Menu
Phone: (505) 266-0550
O’Hare’s Grille & Pub – carryout available
Address: 4100 Southern Blvd SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124
Menu: O Hare’s Menu
Phone: (505) 896-0123
El Patio – carryout and delivery
Address: 10500 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114
Phone: (505) 898-1771
The Last Call – Carryout and delivery
Address: 420 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Menu: Last Call Menu
Phone: (505) 300-4911
Gino’s Pizza – carryout and delivery
Phone: (505) 883-6000
Fork and Fig – carryout and delivery
6904 Menaul Blvd NE C, Albuquerque, NM 87110
Menu: Fork and Fig Menu
Phone: (505) 881-5293
Asian Pear – carryout available through phone
Address: 8101 San Pedro Dr NE d, Albuquerque, NM 87113
Menu: Asian Pear Menu
Phone: (505) 766-9405
M’tuccis Italian Restaurant – carryout and delivery
Address: 6001 Winter Haven Rd NW M, Albuquerque, NM 87120
Menu: M’Tuccis Menu
Phone: (505) 503-7327
Five Star Burgers– carryout and delivery
Address: 5901 Wyoming Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Menu: Five Star Burger Menu
Phone: (505) 821-1909
Oak Tree Cafe – carryout and delivery
Address: 4545 Alameda Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87117
Menu : Oak Tree Cafe Menu
Phone: (505) 830-2233
Desert Valley Brewing Company– open for carryout and local delivery
Address: 3700 Ellison Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114
Phone: (505) 899-8494
Chile Chicken Nashville Hot Chicken– open for carryout and local delivery
Address: 3105 Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111
Phone: (505) 293-1700
La Reforma – open for carryout and delivery
Address: 8900 San Mateo Blvd NE suite i, Albuquerque, NM 87113
Phone: (505) 717-1361
Los Compadres Restaurant– open for carryout and delivery
Address: 2437 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104
Phone: (505) 452-8091
Cinnamon Cafe – curbside pick-up
Address: 5809 Juan Tabo Blvd NE Suite A, Albuquerque, NM 87111
Phone: (505) 492-2119
Additional lists can be found here courtesy of AroundABQ505. If you know of more restaurant lists email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Hector Valverde
Ah, the Dark Universe. Universal Pictures’ disastrous attempts to launch a modern interconnected horror franchise with Dracula Untold and The Mummy (2017) will forever go down as one of the most dunkable failures in recent movie history. Well, the third time’s the charm, I guess, because Leigh Whannell and Blumhouse Productions may have just paved another way forward with their inspired reimagining of The Invisible Man.
Ditching the material of H.G. Wells’ novel and its classic (?) 1933 adaption, this new tale of transparent terror opens to a panicked woman, Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss), running away from her billionaire boyfriend, Adrian, after years of psychological manipulation and abuse. Just as she’s beginning to recover from their traumatic relationship, Cecilia receives news of Adrian’s suicide, along with a $5 million parting gift from him. Though initially eager to move on with her life free from his controlling grasp, uncomfortable bumps in the night leave Cecilia convinced that Adrian’s not only still alive but tormenting her in a newly invisible form.
Along with a riveting score from Benjamin Wallfisch, Whannell breathes new life into this reboot with clever writing and directing that always keeps you at edge. Elizabeth Moss’ raw, all-in performance would be enough to carry the film’s spooky conceit in its own right (Aldis Hodge also kills it in a warm, charismatic supporting role). Still, Whannell takes it a step further by wickedly manipulating his audience’s perception of the events onscreen.
Excessive empty space envelops each frame as if to taunt you, filling the screen with an unnerving presence that extends the film’s thrills into a personally-involving nightmare. Turning The Invisible Man into a story about gaslighting was a genius move on Whannell’s part. Though a little modern horror rote at times, his directing worked so well on me I was frequently questioning my and Cecilia’s sanity as the film progressed.
That being said, the narrative lacks that extra insightful thematic touch in the screenplay to push the film beyond a surface level reading. Nothing about gaslighting, abuse, or their toll on the victim and assailant’s psyches is really said beyond the obvious, which is a shame given how openly the material lends itself to be thoughtfully expanded upon. As a simple horror movie, it more than works, but you can’t help but think about how much more The Invisible Man could have been with a little more substance put in.
Additionally, the film slightly screws itself over with an unneeded fourth act/epilogue that carries on well after it reaches its satisfying and logical conclusion. The ending felt like it undid the one bit of narrative substance it earned with a supporting character in the back and, to say the least, left a bad taste in my mouth in how it treated Cecilia.
Inventively written and directed by Leigh Whannell, the high quality of The Invisible Man makes for a solid standalone monster movie with a promising future ahead of it. With bated breath, we’ll see.
By Calgary Maez
DC has had some highs and lows with the DC Extended Universe; with 2019 including some of their highest highs. So how does Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) rank among its predecessors? Like the film’s title: an over-the-top mess.
Birds of Prey stars Margot Robbie as anti-heroine Harley Quinn, who goes through a dramatic breakup with The Joker and now has a target painted on her back by Roman Sionis, A.K.A. Black Mask, who is played by Ewan McGregor.
The lead actor and actress definitely have fun within their roles and have a decent supporting cast, such as Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary. However, their supporting roles fall short with Huntress’ very limited screen time and Black Canary’s very limited abilities.
Director Cathy Yan tries to take a unique approach by telling the film from Quinn’s point of view, and portrays her overly jumbled thought process. However, this technique doesn’t pay off. The film takes about an hour to introduce all of its characters through heavy flashback scenes and heavy exposition dialogue.
At one point, you forget what the overall plot is because the film juggles all of the characters’ backstories so much. It’s also worth pointing out that it seems as though it’s more of a Harley Quinn spin-off than it is a Birds of Prey film.
The film does have some scenes with great action and funny dialogue mixed within, especially in the third act.
Overall, Birds of Prey feels like a glorified breakup film through the eyes of the psychotic Harley Quinn with members of the actual Birds of Prey mixed in. Although it does have some moments of cool action and funny dialogue, it’s not worth the price of admission because of its poorly written story and messy set-up of characters, accompanied by their poor overall development.
Photos Courtesy of IMDB.
Check out great films at Icon Cinema today!
By Nichole Harwood
Albuquerque locals are coming together to change the lives of the city’s most impressionable youth. Kingdom Builders Daycare is located in the International District, in Albuquerque’s Southeast side of town. Over the years it has had severe damage to their fences surrounding the playground. Local members of the community have risen up, hoping to change the conditions for children of the daycare.
Partnering with Last Ditch Effort’s owner, Alec “Cam” Fergeson, the management of Kingdom Builders Daycare is working hard to build a better environment for their children. This spring, the daycare will be adding several music classes, gardening, a nutrition program, and a pottery course to the existing daycare curriculum. The final addition to the project will be a brand new playground for all the children to enjoy!
James Landry of Kingdom Builders Daycare said the goal is to not only improve the daycare playground but also enrich the curriculum for their students. Many of the children who attend the daycare are CYFD funded, Landry said, pulling from many cultural backgrounds, including the African refugee community that is growing in Albuquerque. Kingdom Builders Daycare is one of the only daycares that has hired Swahili speakers to help communicate with the new students.
“We have this amazing eclectic group of kids that are being raised together,” Landry said. “We have this opportunity to work with these kids at the youngest level to break some of the cycles of poverty, of the drug abuse and physical abuse that are rampant in this neighborhood.”
Landry hopes to improve local Albuquerque children’s lives and also bring the children of refugees into a positive environment by improving the conditions for the children at the daycare. They wish to honor their culture while introducing them to Albuquerque’s own.
Pastor Pete Myers will be joining the project, spearheading a free music program to enrich the environment further for the children.
“We’re trying to recognize the needs the community has and the kids have and adapt our program to make sure we’re meeting the needs of the families,” Myers said.
The gardening program, Myers said, will help show the children the importance of nutritional value and agriculture, while letting them interact in a fun, safe environment. Alongside this program, Myers hopes the music program will help to improve the lives of the children in the long run, as schools with music programs have a higher graduation rate regardless of income, he said.
“The truth is a lot of the families in this neighborhood do not have the money for what it costs for quality music education—they don’t have the money to buy instruments to even teach themselves to play,” Myers said. “So that is something that we have the people around who are gifted in those areas that can help. Our hope is to use those people, and make connections in the community, to make this program even bigger and better.”
In addition to helping the children through this program, Myers said Kingdom Builders Daycare has also reached out to the adults within the community by hiring them to work at the daycare while pursuing a degree. Myers said this way they can invest in their own future, becoming an example for the youth they are surrounded by.
Myers said it’s fulfilling to see lives change and lives turn around; he hopes to see people’s situations improve by first not being in need and then being able to help others in need.
Landry agreed with Myers, explaining many of the adults within the community they hired do not always have the mindset or innate hope, drive, or belief in themselves. Landry said by helping both children and adults grow they are teaching their staff their work is more than just a job, but a mission as well.
“They’re starting to see that their investment in the community actually pays back in dividends,” Landry said. “We get to see these adults developing and the children developing at the same time.”
Fergeson said his company is honored to be a part of the ongoing effort to improve Kingdom Builders Daycare. When he was first shown the playground, Fergeson said he was sad it was surrounded by a bullet-riddled fence. After seeing that he became determined to make the daycare a beacon of hope.
“My biggest thing is being the change they want to see,” Fergeson said. “If you don’t like something, do something to change it. You can’t just sit there and complain about it and expect things to change. You have to get out there and do it. And I think starting with this program is beautiful
He said this is a long-term project starting with the younger generation and molding them into positive, productive members of society.
The work has just begun, but Fergeson, Landry, and Myers are looking to the future, determined to make a positive change on the community. This includes, according to Fergeson, changing how the area they’re working in is referred to. Fergeson believes that continuing to refer to the International District as the “War Zone” only continues to perpetuate the stigma and the mindset of the people who live there. Fergeson said changing the way the district is viewed, along with impacting the area with positive change, he hopes to see a brighter future for the district.
“I can’t prevent crime. I’m not a superhero; however, I think by doing the things we’re discussing now would be a big deterrent,” he said. “I think by creating and instilling a sense of pride in this beautiful place is just going to change the culture and community around it.”
For more information on the continuing effort here
By ABQ-Live Staff
The baddest little show is coming to The Dirty Bourbon Tuesday, March 3, from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Extreme Midget Wrestling is bringing their tour to Albuquerque in a fight for the title. This Pro Wrestling War is one of a kind and is sure to shock and awe.
Frank Roberts of Dallas, Texas, said in a review, “I have always been an avid WWE fan, so, when I heard Extreme Midget Wrestling was coming to town, I had to go. Listen, these little guys bring just as much action as the big guys do! These guys are incredible.”
Don’t wait to get a seat, grab your tickets online now! General admission is $20 in advance, an additional $5 if purchasing at the door. Want to get closer to the action? For $30, you can get ringside seating! Ringside doesn’t have numbered seating, but you are guaranteed a closer view of the action.
Want to get even closer? For $40, you can get the V.I.P. package that includes 1st-row seating, a meet and greet pass, and photos with the wrestlers before the show. You must be at The Dirty Bourbon at 7 p.m. to redeem the package.
Photos Courtesy of extrememidgetwrestling.com
By Hector Valverde
There’s always that one sad movie that gets left out or forgotten in the cascade of prestigious releases rushing to score Oscar nominations at the end of the year. Despite featuring a great cast and a compelling story, Just Mercy is only a mediocre film that gets left in the dust of other, much better movies.
Just Mercy follows the real-life case of Walter McMillian, a black lumberjack put on death row after being wrongfully accused of killing a white woman. After moving to the Deep South to represent convicts without resources, newly graduated lawyer Bryan Stevenson fights to repeal McMillian’s sentence before his execution.
Michael B. Jordan (Stevenson) and Brie Larson (his assistant Eva) are wasted; they’re given the bare minimum amount of personality to pass as characters despite being billed as a big selling point for the film. Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx gives a halfway decent supporting performance as McMillian, but his solid work is mostly lost in a boring, uninspired, blatantly obvious piece of Oscar-bait that seldom bothers to differentiate itself from other similar work.
From its cookie-cutter characters down to its story and general narrative, everything about Just Mercy has already been told dozens of times in significantly more interesting and affecting films; there’s not a lot of moving substance or emotion in its storytelling to compensate. The end stinger paying tribute to the people behind the true story hits harder than anything else preceding it, mostly because the majority of the film goes for the easiest, most overused tropes and emotional appeals in the melodramatic-handbook.
Despite having good intentions and more than solid material to tell a moving, sadly timeless narrative about racial injustice, the film instead comes across as preachy with its forced and lame attempts at greater thematic depth. It’s a shame, too, because writer and director Destin Daniel Cretton has previously proven himself with great work in his two excellent collaborations with Larson, Short Term 12 and The Glass Castle.
For more current film and television reviews, follow Hector Valverde on Twitter @hpvalverde.