Tag-Team Reviews
The Book of Life

By Jorge Figueiredo - February 5th, 2015


‎High quality animated films have been the norm for quite some time now; but every once in a while, a non-Disney film manages to amaze and captivate us. Fox’s The Book of Life (written and directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez and produced in part by Guillermo Del Toro) was out in theaters towards the end of last year, but it made its debut among a number of other hugely anticipated films. Smallest Thumbs and I never got out to see it during its run, but we were lucky enough to be sent a copy for review. The Book of Life’s gorgeous design and amazing sense of pacing delivers a compelling story in a world where people and gods walk almost in step with each other – and where lowly mortals can still inspire their immortal counterparts. If you have not seen this wonderful film yet, we highly recommend it.

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Combat Systema: Volume 1
The Russian Martial Art of Hand-to-Hand Combat

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 2nd, 2015

Video images pulled from the sample YouTube clip from Paladin Press.

I believe that a well-rounded martial arts education should include more than one art, which is why I find Systema (a Russian martial art, also known as “The System”) so interesting. This hybrid involves various aspects of melee fighting, including quick-strikes, redirection of opponent momentum, grappling and other weapons-based movement (although, I find the unarmed aspect of it a lot more interesting). Kevin Secours, who many of our readers know from his work in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, has studied under top Russian masters and has engineered a scientific approach to learning what I believe to be some of the main aspects of Systema that make it so practical: flexibility and fluidity. The “Combat Systema” approach is well laid out in Kevin’s first video with Paladin Press, Combat Systema: The Russian Martial Art of Hand-to-Hand Combat. If you are looking for interesting material to supplement your training (as a source of information), then this video is for you.

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Firkin Pubs
Celebrate Release of Vikings on Home Video

By Evan Bergstra - October 15th, 2014


Vikings, in case you’re unfamiliar with the program, is a rare example of delightfully high-profile Canadian content (Canadian-Irish if you’re splitting hairs, but it still counts). The series is a compelling bit of stylized historical fiction following the adventures, struggles and glory of a Viking farmer-warrior named Ragnar Lothbrok. Though it airs on History, it has all the sharpness, grit and production values you might expect from AMC or Showtime. I confess I’m only half-way through the first season, but so far it’s got me hooked.

The show is looking forward to a third season in 2015, but the current promotion is for the Season 2 launch on DVD and Blu-ray, which hit shelves on October 14. In celebration of the launch, the show’s marketing folks have teamed up with Firkin Pubs to dish out hearty meats in hefty servings. Last week they brought a few writers in to try the spread and I was lucky to enough to join in. I hope the photos do it justice.

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Inside Firkin’ Vikings!

By Jorge Figueiredo - October 7th, 2014


Many have heard tell the tales of Vikings, History Canada’s Vikings series. This series takes a look at the Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, and his rise from farmer to not-so-farmer/bad-ass. Well, Vikings Season Two DVD and Blu-Ray will launch on October 14 in Canada, to many raised mugs of whatever Vikings drank in the old days. Phase 4 films, in a partnership with the Firkin Group of Pubs and Inside Fitness have some fun things in store for fans.

From October 1 to November 30 of this year, The Firkin pubs will be offering customers a special Vikings menu (at all 30 locations across Ontario). Giant smoked turkey drumsticks and chipotle and beer Barbecue beef ribs will be some of the food offered on their menu – and there will be prizes to be won, too (you can find the nearest location here). On the other hand, Inside Fitness is offering its readers a chance to “Get Fit Like a Viking” (which might be tougher to do if you eat like a Viking every day at Firkin pubs). Inside Fitness’ prize pack includes a pair of Marley Liberate on-ear headphones, Universal Nutrition Animal Pack supplements, a Titin Force compression weighted system, a copy of both seasons of Vikings on DVD and a limited edition Vikings letter opener and shield pin. You can check out Inside Fitness’ page on how to win this interesting prize pack.

Tag-Team Impressions
Barbie: The Pearl Princess

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 12th, 2014


Recently, Smallest Thumbs and I were invited to check out a screening of Barbie: the Pearl Princess at a local movie theatre, ahead of its release on Blu-ray/DVD. I can practically hear the shudders from a number of the readers right now – but, frankly, it wasn’t so bad. Smallest Thumbs enjoyed the film, which was fairly well-made. Throughout the film, Barbie (as the mermaid, Lumina) yearns to know what it’s like to be a princess, and then relies on her wits and the creative use of her magical powers to save the day.

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Burn Notice Season 5 (DVD)

By Jorge Figueiredo - July 30th, 2012


If you have never watched Burn Notice, you really should. A friend turned me onto this sleeper summer hit a number of years ago. A lot of the summer filler shows fizzle out because of crappy writing and loss of momentum – but Burn Notice is different. The Season 5 DVD set demonstrates how this series has not lost momentum at all. Please note that there are mild spoilers in here (but nothing that’s not on the back of the DVD case).

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White Collar – Season 3 (DVD)

By Rebecca Larocque - July 28th, 2012


Yar. There be mild spoilers here. – ed

On paper, White Collar has so many elements that could condemn it to mediocrity. There’s your charming con man who’s working with the FBI, trying to go reform himself while struggling against the temptation of one last score. There’s the successful, confident FBI agent who is responsible for the original capture of the con man – and who is now responsible for making sure he doesn’t stray again. There’s the con man’s quirky, acidic sidekick who’s skilled at navigating the criminal underground. And then there’s the FBI agent’s patient and beautiful wife. It could all descend into a mess of cliches: of people angrily yelling at each other about trust issues; about how you are married to your job; or about how hard it is to stay on the straight and narrow. But, it works – so beautifully.

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