The Hampton Roads Show

Draft Day scores a field goal

April 14th, 2014 at 2:43 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

A behind-the-scenes look at one of the NFL’s most important days of the year is the what makes up the new film Draft Day.

Draft Day stars Kevin Costner as Sonny — the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns — the team his recently deceased father coached.  It’s the dawn of Draft Day and a lot on the line in the National Football League.

Sonny is barely holding on with the owner and the head coach of the team as he appears to go rogue on the franchise with trades galore before the team is even on the clock at the draft.  The Coach (relatively new to the Browns after winning a SuperBowl ring with the Dallas Cowboys) is played by Dennis Leary.  He wants the team he wants, but Sonny wants him to coach the team he gives him.

As the clock rapidly approaches the time to make the first pick, the audience gets a taste of the behind-the-scenes maneuvers teams make ahead of the draft.   Once they are finally on the clock and ready to make a pick… the movie finally gets going.

Before this point — it was really bogged down with the story line of the relationship Sonny has been hiding from everyone — one with Ali (Jennifer Garner) –She’s the lawyer in charge of managing the teams salary caps. Apparently trying to prove that Sonny has a heart… the relationship is all fizzle and no fire.  And randomly added in was a new intern — why I don’t know, but he has a lot of lines that help us get nowhere.

The character of Sonny Weaver is in the capable hands of Kevin Costner here, but it’s not empassioned enough for me to really buy in.  Garner, also capable, is not really believeable for me in this role, and when we get the big kiss, I hardly feel the love.

Director Ivan Reitman, delivers a by-the-numbers film that falls short of the likes of Moneyball and Jerry Maguire.   It’s got some solid structure with some twists and turns that keep it interesting, and a touch of heart that makes it satisfying.  But something is missing…
I think Draft Day will score with football fans… but they will have to settle for the field goal, not the touchdown.


Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references.

Noah takes on The Hobbit?

April 14th, 2014 at 2:39 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

The controversy surrounding the film Noah has been swirling, so let’s start there.  If you haven’t heard — The National Religious Broadcasters requested the film studio Paramount Pictures add a disclaimer to the film: which they did.  This is the disclaimer:
“The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”
I only mention it because the story of Noah in the Old Testament has some missing parts, and the film fills them in.  Some have taken issue with that.

Nevertheless, in this film version of the story, Noah — a descendant of Adam and Eve’s son Seth — hides with his family on the fringe areas of humanity… The human population having turned to total wickedness.

Noah (Russell Crowe) has visions he believes sent by the Creator and determines that a Great Flood is coming to cleanse the earth.  So he gathers the family to tell them what they must do.  Noah’s task is to build an ark to save the innocent — the animals.

With a little help from The Watchers — which seem to come right out of The Hobbit — they build a massive ark, while the characters develop and Noah sees that there is both good and evil in EVERYONE — even his sons, and himself.  This realization creates an amazing conflict in Noah as the flood comes, his faith is tested and his loyalty to the creator and his family are at odds.

Crowe does a good job as Noah — managing to show the conflict within and the challenges he faces.  Jennifer Connolly as Noah’s wife Naameh does the same.  She really shines in one scene faced with the ultimate choice of life and death and the future of their family — it is a scene that is utterly wrenching.  Anthony Hopkins appears as the YODA-esque grandfather Methuselah and is a stand out.

The film itself really plays in the moment more like sci-fi than biblical epic, but I realized later that a lot of things in the Old Testament do seem very sci-fi.  The special effects are at times really cool — and the flood itself is on point.

While Writer/Director Darren Aronofsky (acclaimed for films like The Wrestler and Black Swan among others) does take some license, the essential elements of the story of Noah and the Great Flood are there… betrayal, obedience, faith, redemption.

Controversy aside, a thought-provoking film to say the least.

Disclaimer: Russell Crowe sings.  I have to say that for all the people — like myself — who shutter at the memory of him singing in Les Miserables.


Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.

Check into The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 14th, 2014 at 2:32 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

The Grand Budapest Hotel features another jam packed cast! There are cameos galore.

It’s the story of the many adventures of Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) — an unforgettable concierge at a luxurious hotel and his best friend — Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), his lobby boy.

In a nutshell, a priceless renaissance painting goes missing and a wealthy countess/family matriarch dies.  The rest of the film has to do with all of that… and just who will get the family fortune.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is hilarity at it’s finest.  Wes Anderson has hit the nail on the head of sophisticated comedy.  From the script to the casting to the directing and cinematography… it’s practically perfect.  Speaking of casting: Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson,  and Jeff Goldblum are among them!


Rated R for language, some sexual content and violence.

Muppets Most Wanted brings the laughs we want

April 14th, 2014 at 2:21 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

So this Muppets feature picks up where the last one left off.  Walter has become one of them and they are wrapping a movie!  But now what?  That’s just what they have to figure out.

Enter Dominic BadGUY or BadGEE — it’s french.  He’s played by Ricky Gervais.  Dominic is working with a hardened criminal — the world’s most wanted frog — Constantine, nearly an identical twin to our beloved Kermit — who has been locked up in a gulag in Siberia under the watchful eye of the warden there (Tina Fey).

Dominic and Constantine executed a master plan that breaks him out of the gulag and lands Kermit in the gulag, so that they can carry out their evil plan to steal the crown jewels — and no one is wise to the switch!  Not even Miss Piggy!

As you would expect there are hi-jinx and Muppet shows aplenty… not to mention CAMEO APPEARANCES!  Cameos including Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Christoph Waltz, Selma Hayek, Diddy, Celine Dion, Stanley Tucci, Usher, Zach Galifinakis, Josh Grobin… the list goes on!

I absolutely loved the cast — but especially Modern Family’s Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napolean — the Interpol inspector tasked to work with the CIA’s Eagle Muppet on this major case.  He is hilarious!

THREE AND A HALF COOKIES for me… Entertaining as all get out!  Some laugh out loud funnies!

Rated PG for some mild action.

Jake Clemons’ Homecoming

April 7th, 2014 at 11:45 am by under THRS Live Music

microphoneThis Saturday at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach, The Boss and his Hall Of Fame E Street Band will blow the roof of the joint with a show packed with classics and new cuts from their latest album High Hopes and a unique cover or two that you wouldn’t expect from Bruce.  During his Australian tour, they cranked out INXS and AC/DC and last night in Dallas, they opened up with Van Halen’s Jump.  Who knows what he has in store for us.  One thing that is going to make that show extra special is that our own Jake Clemons will be making his Virginia Beach debut as a member of The E Street Band.

Last year was one heck of a ride for Jake.  In addition to the duties with the Asbury Park crew, he finished and released his fantastic EP, Embracing Light, and toured the World with his exceptional band (which features Norfolk native Jake Hull).  He was our Live Music Friday featured artist in August and then performed with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed his single, You Must Be Crazy, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  This year, Jake is juggling double duty with touring with his band and performing with Bruce and this weekend is no exception.  After picking up the pieces of the roof with Springsteen Saturday night, he and his band will head to The Naro and perform a special benefit show Sunday night at 7:30 for the Sinkinson Dyslexia Foundation.

The Virginia Beach-based foundation was formed to help children and adults with dyslexia from lower middle income families.  Specialized care is not cheap and the foundation provide free diagnostic services and tutoring programs that address dyslexia.  100% of the proceeds from the show will go directly to the foundation and you’ll want to get your tickets now because this show will sellout.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here but there are a select number of $10 tickets and click this link right here to get your promo code.

This is going to be a great show that is supporting a great cause.  I will be there and I hope to see you there as well.


Follow me on Twitter @TheBloomBoys


LMF: Spring, Summer and Wednesday

March 26th, 2014 at 12:17 pm by under THRS Live Music

microphoneI’m back at the LMF offices aka my desk after a very needed and restful week off.  Of course, with any time off, I come back to work with the virtual stack of emails and voicemails.  Today, I have a couple of items that will make your day a little better.

Brian Grilli and his band of outlaws have been playing their you-know-whats off the past year promoting Brian’s solo album, A Damn Good Day, and it’s a damn good one too.  He just released a video for his song, “Letter From An Outlaw“, which is in contention to be featured in an upcoming episode of Sons Of Anarchy.  The video was viewed some several thousand times over on YouTube but some dictator of anything not awesome reported it as being offensive and it was taken down.  So, Brian has re-posted it and you need to watch it.  Check out the video below and make sure you catch Brian at one of his shows.  Click here to check out his website.

Our good friend, Jake Clemons is in the middle of a tour supporting his latest EP, Embracing Light.  Jake will be splitting his time between his solo tour and touring with The Boss, which will be happening the weekend of April 12-13.  Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will be performing at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach Saturday, April 12 (tickets are still available via and, just announced, Jake and his awesome band will be performing the very next night at the Naro in Ghent.  This show will be a benefit for the Sinkinson Dyslexia Foundation and will start at 7:30p.  You can click this link to get your tickets but get them now as this show will sellout.

That’s all for me today.  I’ll check back in later this week.  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC

LMF: Esbern Snare

March 7th, 2014 at 4:20 pm by under The Hampton Roads Show, THRS Live Music

microphoneIt was an absolute pleasure to have the talented Esbern Snare in the studio today as our Live Music Friday featured artist.  Created a year ago by brothers Adam and Luke Jones, they enlisted the talents of Joseph Brockman, Eric Dryfka, Josiah Crumrine and Andrew Micheal Montgomery. You might recognize Andrew as the six-string slinger for Logan Vath’s The Vacant.  Esbern Snare have been in the studio the past year working on their debut album, A Violent Peace, that is scheduled to be released at the end of this month.  You can catch them tonight at the Belmont House of Smoke in Norfolk with The Janks and Levi Kerr.

In other news, our good friend Kishi Bashi is set to release his follow-up to his ground breaking record “151a”.  Lightght is set for release on May  13 on Joyful Noise Recordings.  You can check the first single by clicking on this little fancy link.

Speaking of new music, The Last Bison is in the studio working on their second full length release under Republic Records.  They are working with the extraordinary Jim Parroco, who worked with them on Quill.  The release should happen later this year.

That’s all for me today.  Stay dry and I’ll catch up with you next week.  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC 





LMF: Steamroller Blues

February 25th, 2014 at 12:09 pm by under The Hampton Roads Show, THRS Live Music

microphoneLast night was the premier of Season 6 of The Voice and an alum of Live Music Friday, Bria Kelly, closed out the show with a thunderous rendition of James Taylor’s Steamroller Blues.  Bria had her choice of coach as all four judges (Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Usher and Shakira) and decided on Usher.  Round two airs tonight.

Bria performed on The Hampton Roads Show back in December of 2012 after she was a semifinalist on America’s Got Talent and we knew that we would be hearing more from her.  I’m happy to say that our little Live Music Friday family is growing more and more on the national stage.  The first big taste was when Kishi Bashi performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and then The Last Bison signed a major deal with Republic Records.  Jake Clemons performed on both Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  He will be performing with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at Farm Bureau Live April 12.  Who knows who will be the next one!

Check out Bria’s performance on The Hampton Roads Show:


Movie Review: Winter’s Tale

February 17th, 2014 at 5:05 pm by under The Hampton Roads Show, THRS Movie Reviews

For Valentine’s Day weekend you have to expect love stories to hit theaters… but this is nothing like what I expected!

First of all, I was an English major in college and Shakespeare was my “focal author”… and The Winter’s Tale was — IS — my favorite play by the bard… I just knew this was going to be a modern day telling of the great play.  But … no.

THIS Winter’s Tale is based on the 1983 best-selling novel by Mark Helprin.  It’s an attempt at a sort of grown up fairy tale by first-time director Akiva Goldsman.  We know Goldsman from his Oscar-winning screenwriting of A Beautiful Mind… And he recruited some of the stars from that film to flesh out this movie.  Russel Crowe is Pearly — a hard-nosed demon and former boss of Peter Lake (Colin Ferrel).

Peter Lake was an orphan in 1895 who had to fend for himself, eventually learning to steal like a pro.  Pearly takes him under his wing… his demonic wing at that.  Soon enough Peter decides to go his own way — that the dark side wasn’t for him.  That’s when he decides — against his better judgement and at the urging of a random flying white horse — to rob one more house and get out of new york…. but– he runs in to this lady…

Peter falls hard… He just wants to be with Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey fame).  Her father (William Hurt) has his doubts, but soon puts his trust in him.  Peter and Beverly have one magical night and it’s over.  But the romance is VERY short-lived.

Pearly is still gunning for Peter.  Despite Pearly’s attempt to kill him, Peter apparently can’t die until he gives his miracle to someone.  What?  Pearly even appeals to LUCIFER himself for help — an unbilled Will Smith!  Will Smith playing the devil (and quite badly at that).

Soon enough Peter — back here in 2014 and still unaware of his history or even his name — (for a hundred years?) — finds a journalist (Jennifer Connolly) who helps him find himself again… and the purpose of his miracle.

I have no idea what just happened.  I have to believe the book, which I haven’t read, is beautifully written, and the movie can hold no comparison.  It was barely watchable.  The acting was mostly dreadful.  Crowe, Smith, Hurt, are all wobbly and unbelieveable at times.  Colin Ferrel does an okay job with the magical not understanding and I was even moved to tears in a couple of scenes that he clearly felt to his core as he acted them…  But the story!  I just felt like it was UNbelievable… in a ridiculous kind of way.  Disappointed from Les Miserable to this, I beg you… Russell Crowe… please be good in the upcoming NOAH.


Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality


The LEGO Movie: ‘Everything is Awesome!’

February 11th, 2014 at 1:57 pm by under The Hampton Roads Show, THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for The LEGO Movie.

Now playing in theaters across Hampton Roads.

the-lego-movie-prize-posterAnd then there’s THE LEGO MOVIE!  I took the boys — the 17-year old and the 9-year old — to see this, and I was prepared to take a nap.  But there was none to be had.

Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec) is the voice of Emmet — he’s the standard LEGO construction man who soon finds himself in the middle of a huge situation.  Apparently, he is special — the SPECIAL ONE, which he doesn’t believe.  There’s a group of misfits who think Emmet has come to save their world from the likes of President Business — aka Will Ferrell.  The cast of characters is just awesome!!  (As is ‘EVERYTHING‘ in this movie.)  You’ve got — Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte), the love interest LEGO named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and the Yoda-esque Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman).
Defeating the evil President Business is no small task — unless the gang can get Emmitt to believe in himself.  The crazy adventure that follows is fun, funny, and funtastic.  There are some really neat special effects at work here.  We get a mix between stop-motion animation and some really cool CG stuff that makes for the perfect blend for this story.
As for the story  — it twists and turns and not even the most grown up of grown ups would see the ending coming.  Couple that with some sarcastic, ironic, and compelling dialogue and you’ve got a real winner.
The LEGO Movie is written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 2“).  The writing is punchy, and very funny!  But, it also has a simple feeling that appeals to every heart.

It was six thumbs up from the Cooke Clan… We’re going back.  We’re buying it when it comes out.  (And who does that anymore?)

Seriously — moms and dads, beg your kids to take you to see The LEGO Movie.