What I’m thinking about today:

Paying up.
Twitter experiments
Anthony Hopkins thinks the best actor ever is…
‘Prisoners’ review

1. Some of you may have seen that I celebrated my wedding anniversary last weekend (‘Breaking Bad’ inspired tribute and all). We went to Niagara Falls for a quick getaway and while we were there discovered that Canada has gone to this self-service pay system using this device.

The store clerk or your server will hand the device to you and you then swipe your card, add the tip and then hand it back. The reason is to avoid any uneasiness you may have by letting someone take your credit card out of your sight. Who knows what they may be doing with it? Now you can see – and do – everything for yourself.

Of course, my wife’s first thought was ‘that thing has to be covered in germs’. Hmmm. You know what, that’s a scary thought. Especially people who have been eating things with their hands – fries, wings, ribs, burgers. Yep, their fingers were definitely in the vicinity of their mouth…and now those fingers are pawing the buttons you’ll be touching shortly. Gross.

A thought I had is what if someone is drunk and has to pay? They’ll no doubt mess up the buttons. Accidentally leave a bad tip. Who knows? Drinking and self-service paying doesn’t seem to be a good mix to me.

Then we saw what might be the most annoying thing for servers – most of us have had to work a cash register. Which means most of us have had to change cash register tape. Yep, we saw the machine eat the receipt and the server had to pop the top and reload it.

Dirty fingers. Drunk dialing. Shredded receipts. I don’t know…what do you think? In theory it seems like a more efficient method. But is it?

2. Want to be part of a Twitter experiment? Check out Event Parrot (@EventParrotBy following Event Parrot you won’t see any tweets. Instead you will receive direct messages from the account providing you updates of world events. The experiment is no doubt designed to test our tolerance for an instant news service – and if Twitter is saying instant you know it’s instant.

I’m signed up and looking forward to seeing what it has in store – let me know if you are and what you think.

3. Breaking Bad accolades…not over yet. Well add Anthony Hopkins to the list of ‘Breaking Bad’ fans. He sent a letter to Bryan Cranston after going on a two week all episodes binge. The letter, which is pretty impressive when you consider the source, says Cranston’s performance as Walter White is ‘the best he’s ever seen – ever.’ He then goes on to call the whole cast ‘the best actors he’s ever seen.’

Can you imagine being on the receiving end of a letter like this? Praise of this magnitude? How would you even reply? ‘Uh…thank you?’

As for ‘Tony’ Hopkins (as he signs his letter) – welcome aboard the fan wagon. For those of you who still haven’t seen an episode – this should show you it’s not too late!

4. Because I was in Niagara Falls, sans kids, we saw some movies – ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Captain Phillips’. I’ll review ‘Captain Phillips’ later in the week because I can’t keep quiet about ‘Prisoners’ that long.

First…spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen or don’t like reading movie reviews that give away plot twists, DON’T READ ANY FURTHER.

Ok. Still have ya? Now, ‘Prisoners’…wow was that a well-done movie. Incredibly suspenseful. Well written. Well acted. And very well directed.

My wife was worried I’d think it was a glorified Lifetime movie. I was worried she’d think it was too cheesy. We were both worried about nothing. Nothing in entertainment is a guarantee but when a movie has Hugh Jackman, Melissa Leo, Mario Bello, Terrence Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Paul Dano in it…well, chances are you’re going to be entertained.

The movie wastes no time establishing what the plot is – and what you’re in for. Jackman’s character, Keller Dover, and his family are celebrating Thanksgiving at a neighbor’s house. His daughter leaves the house with the neighbor’s daughter to go back home and look for her toy whistle that she had lost earlier in the day. They don’t come home and both families frantically look for them. They call the police – enter Gyllenhaal’s character, Detective Loki.

The only clue in the disappearance is an RV the girls were trying to play on earlier in the day. The families are convinced if they find the RV they will find the girls. The RV is located and the driver, Alex Jones, played by Paul Dano, tries to flee by ramming the RV into a tree. And that’s where the roller coaster begins.

For the next two hours (it’s a longer film at 153 minutes) you are riding a roller coaster in the dark. My mind, tarnished with stereotypical plot twists of movies past, was treated to a fresh take on a suspenseful movie. I hesitate to call it a modern day Hitchcock but it definitely draws from the classic mystery shows and movies. Even if you think you know who did it, you may not understand why they did it.

The acting, which is superb all the way around, allows you to truly see and question the psychological side of a horrible occurrence – one I wasn’t willing to let my mind accept – as well as right and wrong in general. Where does the law end and a parent’s right to do anything to get their kid back begin? Is there a line?

And as good as the acting is, the film itself – the title, the (lack of) soundtrack, the location and cinematography – is just as much the star. The title and the ending are key contributions to this. The title because you’re never truly able to get a grip on who the movie is about. Who the prisoners actually are. And the ending, which for me was a real treat, brings the movie to life. Weird for me to say that I know but when you see how the movie ends and literally how it ends…you’ll see what I’m talking about. In my opinion it’s the only way they could’ve ended it without compromising the near flawless execution of this very complex story. And for this I credit the film’s director – Denis Villenueve. He does a great job balancing the story, the actors and playing down the big moments. He doesn’t go for cheap thrills or twists, instead seeing each one through and delivering. I look forward to his next film.

As for ‘Prisoners’ – you definitely will enjoy this movie but I would highly recommend you see it in the theater. Let me know what you think.