The American Pie (film series)
American Pie (1999)
End of Watch
Cops generally don't like cop movies, but quite a few of my friends are or were cops and even they liked this movie. For a change it's not about corruption, competition, or how far you can stretch your authority; it's more about a day in the life. The way the film was shot was interesting too. Much like the camera views in a real police cruiser, which makes the movie even more realistic. Although still fairly predictable, this was a good film, with a good cast and story, and I really enjoyed it! Reviewed by AN 09-21-12
The Expendables 2
I liked the 2nd one better than the first...NO QUESTION! It was action, action, ACTION! Nevermind the horrible acting and cheesy taglines; that's what Stallone flicks are all about anyway expecially in relation to the The Expendables.
His whole goal was to bring back actors/friends that Hollywood has forgotten about. To give them a 2nd chance like he was once given, and they didn't disappoint. I was surprised with the performances of Van Damme and Norris. It was more than I expected and I was pleased. The movie was fun and very action-packed. I will happily watch it again! -Reviewed by AN 08-24-12
This was a mindless film as many expected, but did provide a few laughs. Most of it was a joke, with idiotic characters, but ultimately showed that even ignorant morons have heart, and in the end can make wise decisions. I realize it was meant to be a comedy, but it was just way to far fetched to be even remotely practical and just barely entertaining. Reviewed by AN 08-17-12
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
This was a feel good movie for sure! A "don't let the man get you down" sort of flick that touches everyone who sees it. Every now and then Disney proves you don't need a R- rating to be entertained by a movie. It was just a happy story. It makes one believe even further that everything works out in the end. It was a good story, good cast, with an even better message. Go see it! Reviewed by AN 08-17-12
The Dark Knight Rises
I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises and believe there were some great things in it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (who previously worked with Nolan in 2010’s Inception) was a new addition to the franchise and gave a terrific performance as Detective Blake. Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway also surprised me with their ability to be action performers. Bane was a bit of a letdown for me. The movie trailers promised so much for his character that just didn’t deliver the same showdown we saw with Batman and the Joker. I keep reading about the “political agenda” this movie supposedly had, and how it’s "almost impossible for The Dark Knight Rises to meet the level of expectation it had facing it", but the bottom line is Christopher Nolan redefined the possibilities of the comic book/superhero movie. Even it fell way below fans and critics expectations following the Colorado shooting, it still performed very well and will continue to end on a note that will keep everyone happy. Reviewed by AN 07-20-12
Well Seth, whether people liked it or didn't like this movie, I figured you'd find success either way. I congratulate you on wearing "four hats" as an voice actor, producer, writer and director on this production and creating something that's far from practical and making it believable and entertaining. Although I didn't love it, it was worth a few great laughs, and the audience seemed to agree with me! -Reviewed by AN 06-29-12
Wow, well I actually saw this! Besides being overwhelmed 50-1 (female to male ratio) which would not be so bad under different circumstances, I made it through this film while entertaining a few laughs and some moderate enjoyment. I figured it was only a matter of time before we saw another Full Monty style plot with a prettier cast. Steven Soderbergh has definitely "branched out" since Oceans 11, 12, and 13! Nothing wrong with taking a step in a new direction. Sometimes takings risks in Hollywood can result in a huge payout, and although we are yet to see the weekend totals as I write this, judging by the lines I witnessed personally at the theaters, and the feedback I've heard from local theater executives, I think this juice was worth the squeeze! -Reviewed by AN 06-29-12
Cabin in the Woods
There is no way to describe this movie without spoiling the plot for someone. Easy to say this is not a typical Horror movie you were lead to believe it is. Horror/Scifi/Comedy/Action that is the only way I can attempt to describe this film. The comedy in this film is excellently woven into a gory action film. I want so much to go into detail about this film, but I will ruin it. Don't watch the trailers, don't talk to people who have scene this movie, don't think about it. Just see it in theatres with as many people as possible. This is a stage 5 "fuck yeah mother fucker" type of film. Reviewed by RB 04-13-12
I am with Ryan on this almost completely. You really can't say too much without giving away anything. There are things I wanted to see earlier on in the film, that I was thrilled to see happen towards the end. For that, I give it a lot of credit. Everyone keeps saying it was "inspired" by 5 or 6 other movies, and maybe it is, but who cares. It is it's own film and unique in its own right. I was not blown away though. It was good for plenty of laughs, and surprises, and for that I give it 4 Nickels. -AN
Friends With Kids
Friends with Kids is another movie along the lines of Bridesmaids where they show you that adult situations can be funny. In this case there are two friends are tired of hanging out with all their married friends with kids and cannot seem to find someone to have kids with themselves. The Friends decide to have meaningless sex and have a kid, raising the child like divorced parents. This is where the movie turns from Hilarious sex and drinking jokes to the inevitable relationship drama. This movie starts off funny and ends with the greatest line I have ever heard, but the middle of this film is a downer. -Reviewed by RB 04-06-12
I saw this in high school. It was a blast! It was our generation's high/college movie. Much like Porky's (1982) and Animal House (1978), it marked the party life of our time and made me laugh along with everyone else. It broke several cinema norms. I will never forget seeing it in the theater. *Rotten Tomatoes gives a 60% Fresh
American Pie 2 (2001)
This was still funny and took place over Spring Break with all the friends meeting back up after the their first year in college I believe, Still some good laughs, but not nearly as good as the original. *Rotten Tomatoes gives a 52% Rotten
American Wedding (2003)
This was better than the second one for sure. We were missing a few original characters (due to primarily salary demands) and thinking they were too good for these "roles", but it didn't matter anyway, because I liked it better than the 2nd one anyway. It showed the characters real feelings towards each other, and some fresher writing. Just all and all a little more creative than the 2nd. *Rotten Tomatoes gives a 55% Rotten
American Pie Presents - Band Camp (2005)
BAD! I didn't see it, nor care to... *Rotten Tomatoes gives a 20% Rotten
American Pie: The Naked Mile (2006)
REALLY BAD! I didn't see it, nor care to... and neither did our competitor/s!
American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007)
EXTREMELY BAD! I didn't see it, nor care to... and neither did our competitor/s!
This final installment was okay. It was good for some laughs, I just never got real into it. Really just "another slice of pie" so to speak. I like that all the original cast came back. There was a few fights, but then reconciliations as usual. I suppose it was an overall good close to the series. -Reviewed by AN 04-06-12 *Rotten Tomatoes gives a 47% Rotten (so far).
The Hunger Games
With all the hype surrounding this movie, I really was expecting to be blown away. The previews and discussions preceding its release gave me a general idea of the plot, so I knew what I was getting into. If you are not familiar with it, this movie is based off of the three part series by Suzanne Collins. I have not read the series yet (I will probably get to it sometime after the Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight books, so after reading every other book in existence TWICE) but after watching the movie I was left feeling as though something was missing. Movies based on books rarely live up to the expectations of the books’ fans and I imagine that this one was similar. Books often try to portray an underlining social or economic commentary that usually always gets drowned out when converted into a movie. There simply is not enough time to compress the entire book into a two and a half hour film. The story survives, but the message is often lost. The Hunger Games was very fast paced and moved right along, which serves well to get through all the major plot points, but it left me feeling lost and as if I had something major was missing. There were a lot of BASIC questions left unanswered. What were the sponsors for and how were they recruited? What was the background of other players? What was really driving Woody Harrelson’s character (other than alcohol)? For some reason Woody Harrelson makes a believable alcoholic but every single one of his other acting jobs is just horrid. I am sure that these questions are addressed in the books, but some of them would have made valuable plot points to hit on in the movie. Other than the plot leaving me behind, some of the camera work in this film was absolutely horrible. I get that they want to get that “first person” point of view, but it was so extreme from time to time you would think they hired the kids from “Blair Witch Project” to shoot several actions scenes in the movie. Hollywood please note, shaking a camera when running or falling does not convey a realistic sense of motion nor a realistic first person perspective. The human brain and eye compensate for motion using natural stabilizers, so it would make sense that you also use them on your camera. For the horrid camera work and a plot that leaves far too many BASIC plot questions unanswered. -Reviewed by DL 04-03-12
Last time I checked, or at least when I was a kid, fights I got in with other kids at school or elsewhere didn't involve an all day meeting between our parents. Perhaps by today's standards, this is a more common occurrence, I don't know...I'm not currently a parent. Regardless, I see it being a practical resolution with all the severe consequences that result from "bullying" these days or having a kid that's a "bully". I didn't especially enjoy this movie, but I certainly appreciated it from the standpoint of previously being on both sides of stick. I found humor in how the story progressed, how simple cobbler lead to "harder things", and especially hearing Kate Winslet shout profanities. This is another flick that slipped though the cracks for some reason, but if you find the time, you may want to reach and grab it! Reviewed by AN 04-01-12
I Melt With You
I Melt With You left me in a dark fog very depressed and confused as to what comes over people. It's a dark and tragic story. Although critically panned currently holding a 13% Rotten Tomatoes Rating, I think these critics were confused. This isn't about a quartet of 40 somethings in the midst of a midlife crisis. This movie's about one's selfishness and the regret those feel upon realization. Rather than face the music, we watch these guys turn it up and further their frusteration by fueling it with excessive drug use. If anything I believe it teaches us the dangers of addiction and greed. It shows us in living color that there are always consequences to your actions physically and/or mentally. A very wise old man once told me "you're never supposed to drink when you're sad or mad". These characters were both and the drinking was mixed heavily with various drug cocktails. After reading countless negative reviews on this film, I feel like a real outcast when I say I enjoyed it and this is why. If you haven't experienced this, picture this: You're at a big party. You've been drinking, taking shots, talking to everyone, dancing, singing, jamming to the music, etc. What started off very loud, quickly gets soft when you find yourself either waking up or sobering up in your bed, on the couch, or on the floor and you quickly begin to assess your surroundings and evaluate the night you had before. I've been on that scale as the partier and the designated driver. I've come to the rationalization that you can only appreciate this type of movie when you've emulated all the perspectives.
Reviewed by AN 03-09-12
Every generation seems to have had it's party movie. For my folks it was Animal House
. To some of my older friends and cousins, it was Porky's
. For my age group, it was Can't Hardly Wait
and American Pie
. For today's late teens and early adults, Project X
keeps that tradition alive. This movie was not great, but it had its parts. It was funny and delivered everything it had promised. I left the theater happy. I got everything I expected and a little extra.
Reviewed by AN 03-02-12
Cillian Murphy, 28 Days Later
, Take 2. Minus the somewhat entertaining twist at the end of this movie, it was very slow! With such a small cast, on a remote island, and stranded, you'd think they could have come up with something a little better. This was another Red Box/Direct to DVD though, so for what it's worth...not too bad!
-Reviewed by AN 02-29-12
The Son of No One
Very predictable, but a great cast! Another story about police cover-ups, good cop/bad cops, corruption, post 9/11 public reaction to the police force, blackmail, etc. Plots we've all seen before. Another Red Box/Direct to DVD though, so for what it's worth...not too bad!
-Reviewed by AN 02-29-12
This Means War
Although I'm sure a real joke to any real FBI, CIA, or Secret Service Agent, to me this was an entertaining movie. On a 65 million dollar budget it's already grossed over 87...so mission accomplished I suppose. Besides a lot of wasted resources keeping surveillance on one another's sex capades, I didn't really hold issue with any other aspects of this film. Reese has been all over the board the last 2 years including a dud with How Do You Know
, a hit with Water For Elephants
, and an entertaining joke with This Means War
. So, what next?
Reviewed by AN 02-17-12
Much like the "Bourne" films, this movie was very fast paced. There was a substantial amount of action and some outstanding chase and fight scenes. There was not a lot of character development though. A little more of a back-story, especially in relation to Denzel Washington's character, would have been nice. Although several details remained unanswered, most of the credit I give Safe House
is in regards to the fight scenes. People get shot, stabbed and beat up left and right. The characters get hurt, and get into even more fights and more hurt. There's no "miraculous healing" between fights like we see in most action movies. I was as worn as these characters were by the end of this movie. Reviewed by AN 02-16-12
With a similar premise to Jumper (2008)
, I still thought this film had a very original plot. There was a lot going on, and I believe the attitudes and emotions associated with suddenly having so much power was realistically portrayed. With an almost completely unknown cast, the characters worked well together. I was entertained the entire time and look forward to seeing it again. Reviewed by AN 02-16-12
The Sunset Limited
There is only black and white in this movie and much debate. Two men with two totally opposite beliefs on life and the reasons for living. Not very many people online have commented on their opinion of this movie. The day I write this, Rotten Tomatoes has yet to unveil its rating. Single shot camera action is very difficult. Working with only one other person on one set is very difficult. Tommy Lee Jones wore three hats on this production as actor, director, and producer. I knew about 3 minutes into this film that they were never gonna leave the set. There's not very many actors that can pull off an hour and 30 minutes of just talking to each other in the same small space. This movie was neither fun, nor entertaining to watch, yet it took me some much longer to finish because I kept going back to hear what the characters were saying to each other over and over again. I got an education about things I don't necessarily care about while watching this, but it was fascinating all the same. I had to stop half way through to put some pieces together, and think about my own life for a minute. It reminded me of Tape (2001)
directed by Richard Linklater and starring Ethan Hawke, Sean Leonard Scott, and Uma Thurman. It was filmed in the same manner yet with 3 characters instead of 2. It was not without its fair share of critical acclaim. A feat I hope The Sunset Limited
can one day day claim for itself. Reviewed by AN 02-15-12
This is another movie that didn't receive a wide release, and very little critical acclaim. It stars Richard Gere and Topher Grace as agents that re-open an investigation on a 25 year + international spy/hitman that is suspected to have recently assassinated a US Senator. Considering the very low budget, I thought the film was mildly entertaining. There's a few good chase and fight scenes, and the characters work alright together, but it seemed a lot like The Sentinel
that was released back in 2006 starring Richard Gere and Kiefer Sutherland. Reviewed by AN 02-14-12
Texas Killing Fields
Being a limited release, I had low expectations to begin with in relation to this movie. What's even more upsetting, is it had the potential to be a much better flick, with Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, The Beach, Trainspotting) holding the reigns, as it was initially supposed to be. It should've been darker and scarier. It had a good cast, just not the best plot. Texas Killing Fields
is loosely based on the "unsolved" murders of younger women who's bodies were dumped along Interstate 45 (in between Houston and Galveston, TX) in a 50 mile desolate stretch of highway surrounded by marsh and abandoned oil fields. My description alone was scarier than the movie itself! Reviewed by AN 02-08-12
The Woman in Black
I've never seen a Harry Potter
Film, nor will I, so this was the first performance I've seen by Britain's wealthiest young entertainer, Daniel Radcliffe. I will admit, for being as young and inexperienced in diverse film roles as Radcliffe is, he did a good job. Though if any person built a personal net worth of 80 million dollars for playing (1) fictional story-based character, I'd hope they had the balls to broaden their horizons too. Unfortunately, he chose to branch out to the horror/thriller genre that literally been beaten to the ground the last several years and kicked down the hill. Sure, you can expect a few jumps during certain scenes, but what gives? Knowing the circumstances already, why would he venture to this extremely haunted and desolate mansion unarmed and flying solo... hello? Give me my choice of one or two friends equipped with anything as simple as a crowbar, wrench, or baseball bat and we'll happily taken on this broad in black or any other haunting inhabitant anywhere. This Shining, Grudge, House on Haunted Hill, Casper
and his uncles bullshit is really getting old...but it continues making money. For that, I tip my hat to those responsible.
Reviewed by AN 02-01-12
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Had it not been for the very talented 82 year old Max von Sydow (we all know best as playing Father Merrin) in 1973's The Exorcist
, I was extremely mad and incredibly close to leaving the theater after watching a few minutes of this movie! This film has already been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor though is only deserving of the latter. What upsets me more than anything is pairing two of Hollywood's highest paid and most talented celebrities (Hanks and Bullock) and giving them parent acting roles that any average person could play off the street. Thomas Horn plays the main character Oskar Schell. Had it otherwise not been assumed has severe autism in the film, he would of been in my perspective one of the most obnoxious characters I've ever seen on the "silver screen". Had it not been for "The Renter" making an appearance on screen, I was literally seconds away from walking out of the theater for an equal amount of boredom and annoyance. All the 9/11 premised films thus far have frustrated me. United 93
and World Trade Center
, both released in 2006, I had about the same reaction to. I'd much rather see real people's stories of 'where they were' that day as apposed to the now 3 commercially released 9/11 plot based films we have seen already. I was having my senior picture taken with the rest of the Oak Park High School Class of 2002 that day. It's crazy to think about while all those people were dying, several hundred of us were outside on an otherwise beautiful day smiling for our Senior Class of 2002 Picture. That's what I remember. That day of school with my classmates and teachers. All these Hollywood perceptions and distortions; crosses between fiction and non, are getting on my last nerve. I just can't support all the "buzz" I've heard backing this movie...I CAN'T!
Reviewed by AN 02-01-12
Liam Neeson again playing the guy you "don't wanna mess with". He kicked ass in Taken
, he fought hard in Unknown
, and he was tough in The Grey
. Not only did this movie have tough characters, it was fairly tough to watch. Between a violent plane crash, ground bearing injuries sustained, frostbite/exposure, and animal attacks, this was a pretty graphic film. It was not a "feel good" movie. I'm glad to see Hollywood let these characters win some battles, but not the war. Too often these days, anything the studios release are all WIN WIN movies. This one wasn't. In this scenario, there is no winning. You win by staying alive as long as you can and fighting until the end. The only thing I didn't like was the repetitive flashback sequences with Neeson's wife character. "Be brave" or "be strong" she says. Give me a break already, literally...I get the point! I've been in 2 life or death situations. When you're in them, the only thing you're thinking about at the time is how to get out of them. There's no time to daydream about your wife telling you to "be brave" when you're being charged by half-assed computer generated wolf. You act now and think later. -Reviewed by AN 01-27-12
I haven't seen a good smuggling movie for awhile. There were some very good performances too. I liked the casting, even Giovanni Ribisi as the villain, I just wish he wouldn't have been such a wuss. I've never seen or met a drug dealer that couldn't beat some ass. Ribisi had all hired thugs. That's the only thing that upset me about this movie. I really like Ben Foster! He plays a very likeable/believable bad guy. It was also a fast-paced movie. The film doesn't lose your interest at any point. Although you anticipate a majority of the outcomes, you still enjoy watching them.
-Reviewed by AN 01-13-12
The Devil Inside
Just as I suspected...the same as every other exorcism flick of the last 10 years! This movie is definitely good for a few jumps, but they're all so predictable. It takes the fun and entertainment out of it. This whole "based on a true story", or "inspired by actual events" genre is truly beating a dead horse and has been severely over-played. What started with the successful and entertaining "found footage" genres such as: Blair Witch Project (1999), Paranormal Activity (2007), and Cloverfield (2008), has really ended in disaster and needs to be stopped. Hopefully after being critically panned by myself and fellow critics, someone will eventually get the point. Fernanda Andrade (the unknown lead actress), is the only real reason this film even got "2". Reviewed by AN 01-06-12
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
No! Are you kidding me Jason Lee? Reviewed by AN 12-16-11
We Bought a Zoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Nickel Reviews Rewind: 5 that earned 5!:
Cocoon was the first big movie Ron Howard directed after Splash.
I grew up watching this movie. I've continued watching up (probably over 100 times) and it never gets old! It throws out that question what would older people do if they found the fountain of youth? It's too bad I have to travel back to 1985 to find a truly uplifting film. A movie you can watch that will lift your spirits, and although highly unlikely, is made believable by the great acting that actually landed Don Ameche and Best-Supporting Actor nomination that same year. Cocoon also starred Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Wilford Brimley, Brian Dennehy, and Steve Guttenberg. Reviewed by AN 11-14-11
A River Runs Through It (1992)
This was the movie that really launched Brad Pitt into super-stardom and landed him a spot on the A-List! Although great acting by all other players in the flick, Tom Skerritt is the only other one who went on to do much of anything. I read once Robert Redford (who directed the film) was one of many actors/directors that asked Norman Maclean if he could direct a film based off his popular 1976 novel A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
. Maclean agreed, and apparently was able to approve the final screenplay draft prior to his death and the movies release respectively. A River Runs Through It
was another one of those coming of age films much like Stand by Me
that I grew up on. It's outstanding and truthful depiction of Maclean's childhood by talented actors is what has kept it in my top ten favorite movies of all time! Reviewed by AN 11-14-11
A Bronx Tale (1993)
This was Robert DeNiro's directorial debut. I've read after seeing the play on off-Broadway in 1990, DeNiro asked Chazz
Palminteri for the film rights, which he agreed to in exchange for the starring role in the film. Due to both the critically and commercially successful run of the play and film respectively, Palminteri revived the play and took it on tour in 2007 where I was able to meet him and see his play in Tucson, AZ. I put A Bronx Tale right up there with Casino and Goodfellas. It reflects the mafia in a way no previous films of its time had. There's lots of humor and life lessons alike. Chazz told me and in many other interviews it's loosely based on a variety of situations he was exposed to as a child growing up in the Bronx. Reviewed by AN 11-14-11
Blown Away (1994)
This is one of my favorite Hero/Villian movies ever! It was received very poorly both critically and commercially, but I love it! It goes from Ireland to Boston. There's Guinness drinking, explosions, and at least two songs from U2's Joshua Tree Album, used in parts of the film that fit perfectly. You also have father/son Jeff Bridges/Lloyd Bridges starring together as former IRA members. I don't know what draws me so close to this film. Perhaps my fascination with Ireland, curiosity over the years of conflict there, having done my internship there or what? Maybe that I've just always liked Tommy lee Jones and Jeff Bridges. The pair worked well together in Blown Away
. I don't care what the critics said, or how well it did at the box office. Reviewed by AN 11-14-11
The Newton Boys (1998)
This was loosely based on the "most successful bank robbers of all time". It was one of the many collaborations Matthew McConaughey did with director Richard Linklater. Much like all the film versions of Dillinger, The Newton Boys has car chases, bank robberies, explosions, partying, love triangles, etc. All the elements that add drama and excitement to a film that I enjoy. Again, this film was panned critically and commercially, but again I don't care. Everyone I've introduced to the movie too, has enjoyed it. There is a cool scene during the closing credits too which shows miscellaneous interviews with all the Newton Brothers featuring one with Johnny Carson and the youngest Newton Boy and the last living at the time of the interview in the early 80's. Reviewed by AN 11-14-11
Rocky Patel Decade Corona
This week I went to a tasting event at my local cigar shop (Don Juan Cigars, Metairie) to sample the Rocky Patel line of cigars. My personal feelings for Rocky aside (I rarely spend money for his cigars), he does have a couple that are decent smokes. Tonight, the event cigar was a Decade Corona with a Corojo wrapper. This cigar did not disappoint. It had a wonderfully smooth draw and produced a nice amount of thick tasty smoke. I detected notes of roasted nuts throughout the smoke. The flavor did not vary greatly over the course of the smoke, which was disappointing. It burned evenly and well and for it's price point ($7 depending on the store) is not a horrible starter smoke. This would certainly be an easy beginners smoke or for a more experienced smoker wanting to explore the medium to full bodied line of cigars. There are going to be others out there better at the same price point, but this one will likely be the most widely available and well known. If you want to begin exploring the cigar world and need a sampling of decent cigars, put this one on your list. You won't be disappointed, but at the same time, it won't blow you away. It has a decent value and is a decent smoke, but as you begin to delve deeper into the world of full bodied cigars, I doubt this will become a favorite. Reviewed by DL 01-18-12
Camacho Liberty 2011
The Liberty 2011 was listed as “the best cigar Honduras has ever offered”. The 2011 continues the series’ reign as one of the most sought after rarities in the industry, earning a mythical status. Only 40,000 cigars were produced, total, yielding just 2,000 chests in all. Presented in glorious fashion, each cigar comes wrapped in tissue paper, then enclosed inside individual Spanish cedar coffin boxes. 20 coffins are then set inside a large, humidor-quality Spanish cedar chest that has been individually numbered. The year's smoke features a dark, oily Honduran Habano wrapper, a rich Honduran binder, and a blend of powerful, but well-aged Honduran and Dominican long-fillers. The result is a complex, full-bodied smoke that’s impressively smooth and refined.
Camacho 11/18 10-Year Anniversary
This is a highly enjoyable cigar! It was extremely flavorful and was created to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Camacho Cigars. Aside from being Camacho’s first box-pressed ultra-premium stick, the 10th Anniversary combines a bold blend of 100% authentic Corojo tobaccos grown in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras. Careful blending techniques and top-notch quality control promoted a truly one-of-a-kind smoke with an amazing level of flavor. The smoke is smooth, creamy, and rich, coating the palate with smooth notes of earth, leather, and roasted nuts, all complemented by a relaxing, peppery aftertaste. I would say it is medium to full-bodied, perfectly balanced, and truly delicious.
Camacho 11/18 Triple Maduro
This was the first triple maduro the cigar industry had ever seen. It is produced in very limited quantities - only about 300,000 cigars per year - the Camacho Triple Maduro utilizes a blend of 100% maduro tobaccos to generate a wealth of flavor in a slow, cool smoking experience. It is hearty and rich, with a generous helping of spice, earthy undertones are present, while a peppery sweetness lingers long after each draw. It is a powerful, yet refined and well-balanced smoke.
The Carnegie Club on 156 W 56th (NYC)
I have visited New York twice now in my life, once in 2003 when you could smoke anywhere, and again in 2011 where you could smoke nowhere! That's why I was overjoyed to learn there was a place called "The Carnegie Club" on 156th W. 56th Street in Manhattan that serves cocktails and has a small selection of decent cigars. I went to the club twice on my visit. First visit was on a Thursday night, when it was very slow. I visited again the following Saturday night when it was packed. They have a Sinatra/Louie Prima "Big Band" playing orchestra there that plays both an early evening and night owl set every Saturday night. The club typically charges a $10 cover for bringing in your own smokes on all days except Saturday when they charge $35 during band sets with a two drink minimum. I had my fee waived both nights due to my position and history in the tobacco industry, but it was brought to my attention big enough groups or referrals from specific hotels and/or restaurants will also garner you free admission. The lounge itself is parlor style complete with bookshelves and a platform staircase going from level 1 up to 2. The loft above looks over the lounge below. The amount and variety of alcohol would cater to any seasoned cigar smoker and the staff is very friendly. The ventilation could have been a bit better, but I have no complaints otherwise. I had a great time!
Davidoff on Madison Ave (NYC)
I found four of the five cigars I was looking for here. I had a smoke with Florida's 14th District Congressman Connie Mack, who had just finished an interview with Sean Hannity. We chatted a little bit about smoking bans and restrictions sweeping across the country. They had a very rare collection of cigars here, very helpful employees, and a small, but comfortable smoking lounge. Cigar prices were reasonable for New York as well. Only 1-3 dollars more than what you'd find in Kansas City.
Davidoff on Columbus Circle (NYC)
1 and 5 cigars I was looking for here. A very friendly and helpful staff, but no lounge to smoke in and just a decent selection if you're a seasoned smoker like I am. Good smokes nonetheless, just not the variety of the the Davidoff Store on Madison.
MF La Reloba Sumatra
The La Reloba Sumatra is from Nicaragua. It's a medium to full-bodied cigar. The Sumatra wrapper of the La Reloba has a silky feel to it on the fingers and a nice amount of oils. The cigar is rolled very well and there are no soft spots that I could see. I tasted some pepper notes in this stick which aren’t as refined as most other Pepin cigars. The pepper hit me in the back of the throat and the roof of my mouth and remained there for some time. The medium color ash held on very well despite some flake in the initial third. There was a nice volume of smoke present with an excellent aroma. The Toro size is my favorite.
Esteban Carreras 211
If you have been reading my cigar reviews, you know that Esteban Carreras has been making some really good progress on my top smoked/recommended cigars. This 211 blend was newly featured at IPCPR Vegas 2011, and my feedback in addition to everyone else’s has been very positive. I have always been better friends with the EC reps than Craig Cunningham himself, because Craig has never given me the time of day at events the few times I’ve met him. Regardless, at the current price point of the 211, 187, and 5150, depending on the strength of cigar you like…these are the best “bang for your buck” cigars on the market priced retail $6-8. As long as they remain at that current value, I will move them like crazy! This 211 though is another winning blend by Craig and his crew at Esteban Carreras. The name of the Esteban Carreras 211 follows the EC 5150 and 187 cigars that were released this past year. These cigars were code-named after police codes, and the 211 follows suit as the police code for "robbery". The Esteban Carreras 211's wrapper is the same profile as what is used on the Davidoff Millennium (supposedly) which is an Ecuadorian Sun-grown hybrid with an Ecuadorian Sun-grown wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan filler.
Esteban Carreras 187
Fans of spicy cigars will really enjoy the 187, which was named after the police code "murder". With a price point identical to the 5150 (reviewed below) this is the stronger of the two blends. It's a maduro-shade leaf grown in Nicaragua and is accompanied by an all-Nicaraguan interior blend that offers a full body and a spicy aroma. The draw is excellent and the burn is even, allowing you to enjoy the mostly-spicy flavor throughout the duration. The flavor displays a lively balance of sharp spice and sweetness on the finish. This is a cigar which got my attention, not only because it's price, but also the quality which it holds all the way through. The volume of flavor expands in the second half, with an emphasis on spice and pepper, with an occasional sweet note as well.
Esteban Carreras 5150
For a $6.00 retail toro sized cigar this is not a bad smoke. 5150, which means "involuntary psychiatric hold" in the state of California, was released in 2010. The 5150 is a medium-brown wrapper of Sumatra seed, but grown in Ecuador. It offers a medium-to-full body, with a toasty and spicy aroma from the start. The appearance is nice with a smoothly colored wrapper and no large veins or flaws. While smoking the 5150, I tasted grassy and earthy notes with a very similar aromas. Being where the price point is currently, this is a good bar hand out smoke, but one I'm definately not ashamed to smoke myself.
Uptown's Smoke Shop (Nashville, TN)
This store was very nice! A very friendly and attentive staff anxious to help it's customers. There was a side pipe tobacco stand, a cigar dominoes table, a chess and a checkers table. The walk-in humidor (although good selection, regular and boutique cigars) it was fairly small in size and congested while other customers were inside. There was a nice seating area downstairs in addition to a separate pipe smoking lounge upstairs with the restrooms.
Buckhead Cigar (Atlanta, GA)
Definitely a good selection of cigars at Buckhead. Mike, (owner/manager) was extremely helpful and friendly with me over the phone. While in the store, the man that helped me (although friendly) did not seem very informed or familiar with the inventory and stated to me "I only smoke mild cigars" when I asked him about a stronger one in the humidor. Well, I prefer stronger cigars myself, but it doesn't mean I won't smoke milder ones in an effort to better familiarize myself with products and be able to answer customers questions. The variety and inventory of rare/limited edition cigars was very impressive though.
Outlaw Cigar Company
I suppose some would say I’m bias for giving Outlaw 5 nickels, (since I’m currently an employee) and that may be. However, what about the other tens of thousands of customers that keep coming back to Outlaw for the biggest, baddest cigar events in the world? How can you blame the customers or me…really? The Outlaw Cigar Company currently has the nation’s largest full service cigar shop (at their south store) with a 1500 square foot, state of the art, walk-in humidor. There are plenty of seats to go around, 9 plasma screen TV’s between locations, daily activities, and monthly cigar events, and I mean how could you possibly go wrong? You can’t! My rating of 5 nickels stands!
1. Avo Maduro #3
This cigar has a slightly oily, dark wrapper. The draw produces plenty of smoke. The ash is dark; the burn is fairly straight but may require a couple touch-ups. The body picks up while retaining the smooth, light finish, picking up some leathery tones and the slightest bit of spice. The aroma on this cigar is unique and rather pleasant, probably one of the better smelling cigars I’ve ever smoked.
2. La Flor Domicana Chisel Maduro
The LFD has a nice dark brown oily wrapper. It is firm in construction from head to foot. Once lit, I get strong flavors of espresso and roasted nuts. There is quite a bit of spice on the puff, but not overwhelming. I like my cigars to pack some spice, so I don’t mind it at all. The flavor profile stayed consistent, but starts to leave a bitter aftertaste in the last 1/3. I find it to be regularly strong, but not the powerhouse everyone says. The burn is very solid. Overall, the LFD Double Ligero Chisel is listed as a full-bodied cigar. I would agree with this, and at the end, it always creeps up on me a little.
3. Griffin 25th
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Griffin's brand, this 2009 Special Edition cigar is packaged in an exquisite cylindrical ceramic pot which holds 25 cigars and offers a full-bodied, truly exceptional blend. These cigars in the highly acclaimed Robusto format acquire their distinctiveness both from their unique blend of San Vicente Seco, Piloto Ligero and Olor Ligero tobaccos from various growing regions and from their Poloto binder and Connecticut Ecuador wrapper. As of now, my favorite cigar of all time!
4. Camacho Limited Edition 2007
Barber Pole cigars in general are cool to look at, but not generally friendly smokes. The different types of tobacco usually burn at different rates making them annoying to smoke. This version of the Liberty though is darker than the 2008 version. It features a fair amount of veins on the wrapper, and surprisingly a few at the foot. This cigar is pleasing to the eye, and the construction (veins at the foot) is impressive. The draw features some very sweet notes with a touch of cocoa. It later reveals notes of chocolate and sweetness with a touch of cinnamon. For a barber pole, the burn line is remarkably straight. The ash is tight white, and held on for inches at a time. If the draw was just a little better, I would really enjoy smoking these more. The Camacho Liberty Series continues to be the only line of Camacho Cigars that I truly enjoy.
5. Casa Fuente
With the exception of consistent and slight imperfections in their leaf, these cigars are outstanding! They have an impressive weight to them, no soft spots, and gorgeous Cameroon wrappers. The pre-light notes at the foot and the draw are a nice sweet molasses that is incredibly well defined. Upon lighting the cigar, there are some pepper notes that quickly fade into a nice sweet molasses and nutty taste on my palate. The second third (while the sweetness remains) wood and cedar become the dominant notes. As the cigars close all 3 flavors start working together. These cigars have a gorgeous white ash that holds extremely well. They offer no flake at all, and are able to maintain a nice long ash each time I start one. The draw is perfect and yet another benchmark for me in terms of rare cigars.
6. The Griffin 2007
This 2007 Edition is packaged in smart looking aluminum tubes with a carbon fiber effect. This version is exceptionally creamy tasting with the signature complex spice for which The Griffin's is famous and remains one of my favorites.
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