Wicked Blood As Solid As Any Big Name Action Flick

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

EOne’s new thriller Wicked Blood is worth a watch for anyone that is a fan of AMC’s fan favorite series Breaking Bad. The movie, which runs just over an hour and a half is an action packed thriller that despite being an indie flick, will definitely keep audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The movie, which stars Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Haunter, Little Miss Sunshine), centers on Breslin’s character of Hannah Lee Baker. Hannah and her sister Amber (Alexa Pena Vega) are living alone after having lost both of their parents at a young age. Their uncle Donny (Lew Temple) is the only member of their family that they can trust, despite being running his own drug business. In her attempt to support herself, she ends up getting caught up in the seedy underworld of drug dealing. It all leads up to a finale that no one would have seen coming. Writer/Director Mark Young has crafted a script for this movie that is the first of the factors that makes it worth at least one watch for any fan of the action/thriller genre. The story’s pacing plays directly into the script. Being that the movie comes in below the standard two-hour mark that most major features reach, the story’s pacing is quite impressive. And the acting on the part of the entire cast makes the story all the richer. All three factors noted here work together to make Wicked Blood an underrated action movie worth at least one watch.

Writer/director Mark Young’s script for Wicked Blood is the central point of the success for this independent action flick. On the surface, the concept of an innocent lead character being wrapped up in the seedy world of drug dealing is not exactly anything new. However, Young breaks from the norm with his script. Instead of following the standard formula for such movies, Young adds in an element that could be argued to be a coming-of-age story of sorts for Hannah. Audiences see Hannah go from this fragile, frustrated young woman in a decidedly broken family structure to a more self-confident and determined woman as the story progresses. This is especially noticeable in her reaction to her sister Amber being beaten and left for dead by an assailant who will not be named here. He shows growth in Hannah, too when she enacts a certain plan early on that becomes the crux of the story. It shows growth in that her plan is quite brilliant and just as brave. Young makes this part of the story even more interesting because he actually leaves viewers to believe one thing about what Hannah is doing, only to reveal surprisingly that the opposite was the reality. It is just one of the secrets that makes Young’s script all the better. For that matter, it’s just one of the many aspects of the script that makes the story work.

The various elements used throughout the course of Young’s script are key to the enjoyment of Wicked Blood. In direct connection, the story’s pacing serves to make the movie better. The movie’s run time just does top the ninety-minute mark. That’s actually just below the standard for most major motion pictures. Though there are some rare majors that somehow manage to beat the two-hour mark. Their problem though, is that in doing so, they tend to cram too much into too short a time. This story is the exact opposite. It actually manages to balance everything together at a solid pace in that span of time. In simple terms, audiences won’t be left feeling mentally or visually winded. Young spends just enough time within each scene to keep the story from feeling rushed. That ultimately helps audiences to keep up with everything going on. In the same vein, the scene transitions help with the story’s pacing, too. Audiences aren’t presented with open transitions from one scene to the next. The story actually begins and ends each scene solidly enough that when one scene transitions to the next, audiences aren’t left questioning what had just happened or what is going to happen in the scene to come. This story element makes watching Wicked Blood even easier for viewers and more enjoyable.

The pacing and scene transitions utilized throughout Wicked Blood are both important parts of the whole that makes this movie work. The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as important as the aforementioned aspects to its success. The cast is made up of some relatively well-known figures. So it’s no wonder that each member of the cast is so believable in his or her respective role. Breslin leads the cast as Hannah. Her presentation of Hannah’s personal growth is both powerful and eye opening, especially in seeing what she is willing to do to Bobby. There is a certain fire in Hannah’s eyes and in her voice at that particular moment that really makes her somewhat frightening. It shows that while she may be growing as a person, it shows the depths to which she is willing to sink, too. On the opposite side of the coin, so to speak, audiences have Hannah’s uncle Donny, played by Lew Temple. Temple’s depiction of Donny makes him such a sympathetic character. Here is a man that is a drug user and knows it. Yet he doesn’t want his nieces to get embroiled in what he has been doing for so many years. He shows that he genuinely cares about both of them despite being a drug addict. He’s an imperfect character with a heart of gold. That contradiction of personalities and Temple’s depiction of Donny makes a person believe that there is some good in him. It makes audiences really want to root for Donny. Co-stars James Purefoy and Sean Bean hold their own throughout the story, too. But it is really Breslin and Temple that lead the cast. It is their acting that is the *ahem* glue–audiences that have seen the movie will get that bad pun—that holds everything else together. It is the finishing touch on a movie that proves once more that indie flicks can be just as enjoyable as their major motion picture counterparts regardless of genre. It is the final piece that proves this underrated indie action flick is worth at least one watch.

Wicked Blood is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HI9QDKM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=04QPHQ5JBMNES46GMXYX&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at http://us.eonefilms.com/home. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Starz Acquires Rights To Hawkins Brothers’ Directorial Debut

Courtesy:  Starz Media

Courtesy: Starz Media

Kevin Kasha, Head of Acquisitions for Starz, announced this week that the company has acquired the award-winning movie We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.  The movie, which was the directorial debut of the Hawkins Brothers, premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at AFI Fest.  The deal, signed this week, gives Starz Digital Media exclusive rights to the movie in both Canada and the United States.

Kasha was upbeat in discussing acquiring the film from the up-and-coming directing duo.  “I love when our team discovers films by talented new filmmakers,” he said.  “Set in a dead-end Texas town, Zeke and Simon Hawkins offer audiences a gritty thriller that presents a fresh, sometimes surreal take that will appeal to film fans everywhere. We’re excited they’ve partnered with Starz to share their debut film.”

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place is a gritty crime drama that centers on a trio of teens in Texas that gets pulled into the world of organized crime after the young men go partying with some stolen money.  The movie stars Jeremy Allen White (Shameless), Mackenzie Davis (That Awkward Moment, AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire), Mark Pellegrino (Being Human), and William Devane (The Dark Knight).  The story was written by Dutch Southern and produced by Rough & Tumble Films.

More information on new releases from Starz and Starz Digital Media is available online at http://www.starz.com, http://www.facebook.com/Starz, and http://twitter.com/starz_channel.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kris Jenner Makes Split With Bruce Jenner Official In Us Weekly Interview

Courtesy:  DKC Public Relations/Us Weekly Magazine

Courtesy: DKC Public Relations/Us Weekly Magazine

Kris and Bruce Jenner are through.  This is according to an interview with Kris Jenner in the newest issue of Us Weekly magazine.  She noted in the interview that the couple had split a year ago and that “we are living apart.  But there is no animosity.  We are united and committed to our family.”  She added that while the couple has split, there are no plans at this time for an official divorce and that they remain on good terms.  “We ended a marriage, but that’s not the end of our friendship,” she told Us. “I will always love him, but we are longer a couple in that way.”  The couple had two children together, seventeen-year old Kendall and sixteen year-old Kylie.  Kris is also mother to the famed Kardashian children, Khloe, Kim, Rob, and Kourtney, whom she had with her previous husband Robert Kardashian.  He died in 2003 and had four children from previous relationships including sons Brody and Brandon.  Both are in their thirties now.  More on this story is available online at http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/kris-jenner-bruce-jenner-separate-after-22-years-of-marriage-i-will-always-love-him-2013810#ixzz2hAmn1Um0.

Also featured in the latest issue of Us Weekly is the regular ’25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’ feature.  The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus shares some interesting things fans might not have known about him in this week’s new issue.  Among the facts that he shares are:

“When I was a kid, 3 was my favorite number because if rotated, it looks like a pair of boobs.”

“Growing up, the Clash’s “Straight to Hell” was always our sing-along song while we washed the dishes. (Hi, Mom!)”

“I think apple pie-flavored gum is a revolutionary concept and I love it.”

“My best friend is my cat.”

More information on this and other stories from Us Weekly is available online at http://www.facebook.com/UsWeekly and http://www.UsMagazine.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Haven A Rare Serial Worth Watching In Its Third Season

Courtesy: Entertainment One/Syfy

Courtesy: Entertainment One/Syfy

Syfy used to be one of the greatest networks on cable at one point.  It lived up completely to its name, airing primarily science fiction.  But somewhere along the line, this one great powerhouse of a network fell off and did a total 180, opting instead for really bad modern day B-movies and the like.  But in the last couple of years or so, it has looked like there might be tiny glimmers of hope with the Battlestar Galactica special, “Blood & Chrome” and the introduction of Defiance.  And then, the network took a couple more daring steps, picking up Sanctuary and Haven.  While the prior only lasted four seasons, it was a great mix of fantasy and sci-fi and was a perfect fit for the network.  Haven on the other hand, is more of a sci-fi/supernatural hybrid.  This aside, the show is still a good fit for Syfy.  And currently being in the midst of its fourth season, it will be interesting to see if it can outlast Sanctuary.  While fans take in Season Four, they can now take in every episode from the show’s third season on DVD and Blu-ray.

Things get quite interesting for both Audrey (Emily Rose) and the residents of Haven.  Secrets are finally revealed about Audrey’s past that will change her future forever.  She finds out just who the Colorado Kid is and how he is supposedly connected to her.  That won’t be revealed here for the sake of those trying to catch up with the series.  There is also an evil twin plot with a twist in the two-part episode, “Magic Hour.”  The evil twin plot is a staple of any science fiction program.  And while its execution in this two-part episode has been done before, it’s rarely been done in the format used here.  As Season Three winds down, even more revelations are made in “Last Goodbyes.”  Again, the show’s writers keep the surprises coming; so much so that audiences can’t help but keep watching.  That is the sign of solid writing.  So congratulations are in order for the show’s writers, obviously. 

Writing is key to any television show’s success, regardless of genre.  And if Haven’s third season is any indication, the show’s writing is just as solid as ever, even as a serial.  In the case of a science fiction show, the writing is especially important.  But it’s not the sole factor in the show’s success.  The shooting and special effects are just as key to the show as its writing.  And both were just as expertly pulled off as the writing.  Considering Syfy’s recent track record with a majority of its programming, it would have been so easy for the people behind the cameras to go the cheesy angle.  Rather, the special effects and shooting tied in to the show are just as good as those in NBC’s sci-fi drama, Revolution and even AMC’s The Walking Dead.  That’s some pretty good company in which to sit.  And those that work tirelessly to make the show’s special effects and shooting something special.  Along with its writing, these two factors help to show why exactly why Haven is one of the best dramas on television today.

The writing, special effects, and shooting are all key components to the success of Haven in its third season.  And now that it has been released to DVD and Blu-ray box set, audiences have even more reason to be happy about their favorite show.  That reason is the included bonus features.  Season Three’s box set includes both audio commentary and more than enough bonus features to make any Haven fan squeal with glee.  Fans are treated to the full series of Haven webisodes, and all the standard behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews.  The full making of featurette is there, too in “The Haunting Truth About Haven:  A Documentary.”    Fans will also appreciate the bonus New York ComicCon Haven panel.  This feature is the real bright spot among the bonus features.  That’s because fans really get to see the cast as themselves, rather than as characters.  The cast and writers discuss what could be expected from the showing in coming episodes and the now fourth season.  Rather than taking questions from the audience, the panel is run by a moderator.  And her questions for the cast are both serious at times and at others worthy of more than their share of riotous laughter.  The responses from the cast members are a just as serious and laugh out loud funny.  It’s one more positive to a box set that any true sci-fi fan will appreciate.  And it is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Haven-Complete-Third-Season-Blu-ray/dp/B00DPJEWCK/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1379621678&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=haven+the+comple+third+season.  More information on this and other releases from SyFy is available online at http://www.syfy.com and http://www.facebook.com/Syfy

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com

Writing, Makeup, More Make The Walking Dead Season Three A Hit For Any Viewer

Courtesy:  Starz/Anchor Bay/AMC

Courtesy: Starz/Anchor Bay/AMC

Serials are big business in today’s television industry.  They are some of the most popular shows on television today.  And one of the most popular of the serials currently populating television today is AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead.  This hugely popular series, which is based on a comic book, has garnered legions of fans the world over since it first debuted on AMC in 2010.  The question that is still raised by those not so familiar with the series is “what makes it so popular?”  On the surface, it could be easily answered.  It’s violent, bloody, and gory.  That wouldn’t be entirely false.  But it’s not the whole answer to that question.  The full answer to the question is much deeper than that.  On a deeper, more analytical level, what drives the series is its writing, just like any other television series and movie.  Of course one shouldn’t dismiss the work done by the show’s makeup crew, either, as a source of success for The Walking Dead.  Those individuals also deserve full credit for *ahem* bringing the show’s zombies to life.  And yes, that bad joke was entirely intended.  Audiences that might be new to the Walking Dead will see the importance of these factors first hand now that the show’s third season is available in stores and online on Blu-ray and DVD.

The most obvious reason for the success of The Walking Dead three seasons in is the fact that it is violent, bloody, and gory.  Humans have a natural bloodlust.  This is why (as much as they’d love to deny it) they slow down and rubberneck when they go by a bad wreck on an interstate highway.  They secretly hope to see death and destruction.  They can deny it all they want.  But everybody has that bloodlust in them.  And it is that same bloodlust that leads audiences to watch The Walking Dead even in its third season.  It feeds that deep seeded bloodlust that audiences would rather deny having.  It’s all so shocking.  Yet despite the shock value, audiences can’t help but watch.  This is even exhibited within the context of one of the episodes of Season Three when Daryl is captured and forced to fight his own brother in a fight to the death that also involved some very hungry zombies.  The people witnessing the moment even wanted to see it all unfold in its full gruesome details.  There’s not a lot of blood and gore in this sequence.  But there is plenty of violence.  And together with Season Three’s other episodes, there is more than enough of those elements to make any fan of the zombie genre squeal with glee like a kid in a candy store.

The massive gallons of blood that’s shed and the violence doled out through Season Three are the most obvious of reasons for the success of this season.  On a deeper level, the show has maintained its fan base because of its writing.  The show isn’t just about the violence, blood, and gore.  Audiences are kept engaged in the series because of the human drama tied in to the overall story.  Audiences see personal relationships grow between the survivors of the zombie plague (which still receives no explanation as to how it started even three seasons in).  New characters are also introduced this season, adding to each episode’s drama and tension.  Loyalties are tested on both the human level and the family level throughout this season time and again.  Even if a person isn’t big on the whole zombie craze currently sweeping the country, there’s no denying the continued solidity of the show’s writing in its third season.

The writing in the third season of The Walking Dead is quite sold throughout each of the season’s episodes.  The gore and violence this season is just as certain to appease any zombie fan.  Speaking of the zombies, credit where credit is due.  Those responsible for turning ordinary actors into some of the creepiest creatures in the history of film and television history did quite the job.  By the time that the makeup is done, the actors behind the masks and makeup look just as creepy as those in legendary writer/director George A. Romero’s zombie 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead if not better than them.  That says quite a bit about the talent of the makeup artists.  The convincing work done by the makeup staff, along with the show’s writing and the most obvious of factors, each play their own role in the third season of The Walking Dead’s success.  Together with the commentary included on select episodes of Season Three, it all works in unison to make Season Three one of the series’ best yet.  Season Three of The Walking Dead is available now on Blu-ray and DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct from the Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=04bea624-b064-e211-924c-d4ae527c3b65.

More information on The Walking Dead Season Three and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Starz is available online at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com and http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hell On Wheels One Of TVs Elite Dramas In Its Second Season

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

AMC’s hit Western drama, Hell on Wheels is one of the best dramas on television today.  Yes, that’s rather cliché to say, since so many networks try to claim their dramas to be the best this and that.  But the fact of the matter is that few if any of those other shows live up to their hype.  Hell on Wheels on the other hand more than lives up to the hype.  If its first season was its A-game, then its second season was (and is now that it has been released to DVD and Blu-ray) its A Plus-game.  The show’s writers have taken the story started in Season One and stepped it up all the way around the second time out.  Whether one is new to the show or not, all ten of Season Two’s episodes are sure to keep audiences gripped from start to finish.  And yes, there is a slight soap opera aspect mixed in to the primary story line.  But that soap opera element was there in the show’s first season as with all of the other story lines that are present here.  What’s most impressive is that the show’s writers were able to keep all of the story lines separate from one another throughout the season, thus making it all the more enjoyable.  Add in top notch acting on the part of the cast and more equally expert cinematography, and audiences get more proof that drama on cable is just as good as anything on the “Big Four.”

The writers behind Hell on Wheels surprised a lot of people when the show debuted two seasons ago on AMC.  But two seasons in (and a third season preparing to premiere this Saturday night), it has more than proven itself, as have its writers.  The show’s second season is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.  And with Season Two’s home release, Hell on Wheels’ writers have proven yet again why it does in fact live up to the hype of being one of the best dramas on television today.  The show’s writers have taken what they started with in its debut season and stepped it up in big fashion in Season Two.  Audiences find out what became of Cullen Bohannon after he left Hell on Wheels at the end of Season One.  They also see everything that has transpired in the town, too.  The brothers Mcginnes have gone from being two young naïve Irish immigrants to being relatively successful businessmen with their own personal drama.  The relationship between Joseph Black Moon and his “father”, Reverend Nathaniel Cole has become very strained, to say the least.  And the on again/off again romance between Elam Ferguson and his love interest Eva has reached quite the interesting point, even though Eva is married to another man.  Let us also not forget Thor Gundersen (A.K.A. The Swede).  He reaches perhaps the lowest point possible in the show’s climactic final episodes that are sure to have major implications in Season Three.

One would assume just by seeing everything here, that there was an awful lot going on in Season Two.  That would be right.  It would be just as easy to assume that with so many storylines going on, they would end up stepping all over one another.  That assumption is wrong.  Somehow, the show’s writers were able to take each one of the storylines in Season Two, and keep them entirely separate of one another.  At the same time, they also managed to keep each story line tied into the other smoothly.  The connections were so smooth that audiences that have yet to see Season Two will have no trouble following them or how they tie into one another.  This solid writing is the crux of the continued success of Hell on Wheels.  There is much more that continued to make it successful in its second season, though.  Audiences will also find that the acting on the part of the main cast does its own part in making the show believable.        

The writers behind Hell on Wheels Season Two took the success of the show’s first season and amped things up this time out, developing each storyline clearly and at a pace that doesn’t leave viewers scratching their heads.  This is a major positive to Season Two.  It’s not the only positive.  Just as the writing was executed so well, so was the ability of the cast to interpret the scripts.  The cast’s acting was just as believable this season as it was in its debut season.  This is something rare in television’s current era.  Far too often, viewers know that they are watching a show on the screen.  But in the case of Hell on Wheels, the cast’s chemistry and its ability to interpret each episode’s script is at such a level that it makes suspension of disbelief so easy for audiences.  It’s so easy to be pulled in that audiences won’t want to stop watching from one episode to the next, even with this drama being so much less like other serials on TV today.  It’s one more sign of just how impressive Hell on Wheels remains in its second season.

The writing and acting in Hell on Wheels’ are integral parts of the show’s success.  This is just as evident in the show’s second season as it was in its first season.  They can only do so much by themselves, though.  The people charged with capturing the cast on camera and setting the tone in each scene are just as much to thank for the show’s success in its second season.  The cinematography is just important in the success of Hell on Wheels as the writing and acting.  And suffice it to say that the cinematography was just as expert in Season Two as it was in Season One.  The wide shots of the railroad being built set against the backdrop of the plains under clear blue skies were stunning.  The lack of civilization served to make the colors of the plains and sky even lusher.  And the exterior shots, setting the scene within the town created their own emotions.  The contrast of the muddy ground against the buildings and tents does something just as special.  Not only does it illustrate the colors, but it serves as a stark contrast to the scenes showing the railroad being built.  The camera crews did a wonderful job capturing the set shots throughout each episode.  The camera work during each episode’s shootouts and the deeper, more emotional moments were just as powerful as the rest of the camerawork throughout Season Two.  It’s one more factor that along with the drama’s writing and the acting, will fully immerse viewers in the story.  Together, all of these factors make Hell on Wheels Season Two more proof that cable based dramas are as good as the programming that spans the “Big Four” if not better than those shows.  And whether one is new to Hell on Wheels or not, all of these factors make this another must see season.  Season Two is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0075FF5QM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=filmsiteorg-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0075FF5QM.  And fans can get up to speed up Hell on Wheels on the show’s official website, http://www.amctv.com/shows/hell-on-wheels.  Audiences can also keep up with the latest Hell on Wheels developments on the show’s official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HellonWheelsAMC

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Seal Team Six An Underappreciated Military Thriller

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainmen

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainmen

Movies based on actual events make up one of the largest genres of movies in the modern movie industry.  From stories centered on legal cases to sports to everything else in between, movies based on actual events are more bountiful than the egos that fill the movie industry today.  That’s saying something.  Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to discount so many of those movies, whether they be big budget or independent.  And then there are those such as the recent megahit, Zero Dark Thirty that was anything but passable. It was a definite hit for a variety of reasons.  Ironically, as big of a hit as it was, it actually came after a far lesser known, but just as enjoyable story in Anchor Bay Entertainment’s, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden.  It leaves one wondering what prevented this surprisingly entertaining story from gaining the fame and success of its big blockbuster brother.

The most obvious of reasons why Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden didn’t gain the fame of Zero Dark Thirty is that the prior was an indie flick, while the other was backed by a major studio.  Despite the fact that it was backed by an independent studio, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden is surprisingly entertaining. Any viewer that was a fan of CBS’ short-lived military drama The Unit or Entertainment One’s more recent military action/thriller, Special Forces will enjoy this movie.  It may not have the deep drama-filled storyline of Zero Dark Thirty or the major special effects, etc.  But it still manages to hold its own against its big brother.  As was noted in the movie’s bonus “Making of” featurette, those behind the camera did not set out to make it another Zero Dark Thirty.  It’s obvious this statement was made after the movie in question had been released, considering that this movie was released before the other.  That aside, it’s good to know that it didn’t want to be about all the extra drama that surrounded the raid before and after.  That it focused mainly on the raid itself and the men that carried out the orders is perhaps another reason that it wasn’t as warmly welcomed as its big screen counterpart.

One of the most important factors pointed out in the “Making of” featurette that accompanies this movie is its tri-pointed story approach.  It’s noted that the story is told from the vantage point of not just the members of Seal Team Six, but also from the point of the CIA operatives in Washington, D.C., and from a pair of intelligence gatherers inside Pakistan.  The three points eventually intersect for the final action filled sequence that will have viewers on the edge of their seats.  What is most impressive of the three stories is that the melodrama between Cherry (Anson Mount – Hell on Wheels) and Stunner (Cam Gigandet—The O.C., Twilight, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Easy A) is kept to an extreme minimum.  This allows the story to progress much more smoothly and stay focused on the central story of the operation to take Bin Laden.  In turn, the story’s pacing never lets up, thus keeping viewers engaged throughout the story’s hour and a half run time. 

The script’s limited melodrama is the tip of the iceberg for Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden in keeping audiences engaged.  Keeping the melodrama to an extreme minimum allows for more time for action and focus on story development from all three perspectives.  Instead of wasting unnecessary amounts of time focusing on each member’s personal and family drama, it instead used that time to develop the characters themselves and build tension as preparations began for the operation to take Bin Laden.  Throughout the course of these developments, the script’s pacing never lets up.  This is the center of everything.  The pacing is never too fast or slow.  This combined with the minimalist drama and energy packed action scenes all come together to make this movie an underappreciated military action movie.  It proves, in the end, to be a movie that while it may be a TV movie, is still one that is worth at least one watch by fans of this genre now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online direct from Anchor Bay’s official website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=78fae55b-2924-e211-a8d1-d4ae527c3b65.  Fans of this movie can keep up with even more from Anchor Bay on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBayEntertainmentCanada

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Mad Men Actor Tapped To Host 2013 ESPYS

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Mad Men actor Jon Hamm has been announced as the host of this year’s annual ESPY Awards broadcast.  Hamm, who plays Don Draper on the hit AMC series, was announced as this year’s host this morning on LIVE With Kelly and Michael.  Hamm already has quite the resume.  He has already earned himself a Golden Globe Award, a Television Critics Association Award, and a Critics’ Choice Television Award.  He has also been nominated for awards at the Emmys and the Screen Actors Guild. 

Hamm will be in comfortable company for this year’s ESPYs broadcast.  He will be joined by some of the best of the best in the sports world.  This year’s list of celebrity athlete presenters will be announced at a later date.  He himself has quite the sports pedigree.  Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hamm is an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues.  He played in the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Games in 2009 and 2012.  His role in the games allowed him to play third base, right next to his childhood idol, Ozzie Smith.  He will also be working on a new film from Walt Disney Pictures and Mayhem Pictures this summer titled, Million Dollar Arm.  The movie is about a disillusioned sports agent who is in search of professional pitching talent through a reality show set in India.

Hamm commented in a recent interview on the announcement of his being named to host the ESPYS this year.  “I’m very excited to be hosting the ESPYS.  As a longtime sports fan and a marginally successful high school athlete I feel my skill-set jibes well with a host’s duties,” he said.  “I now have to figure out what cleats to wear with a tuxedo.” 

ESPY Executive Producer Maura Mandt shared Mann’s thoughts about his appointment.  “The ESPYS is designed to showcase the year’s best sports moments in a sharp, fun and entertaining manner and Jon’s the perfect host for this year’s show.  His appearances on shows like 30 Rock and SNL show that humor and creativity are two of his main strengths,” she said.  “The combination of Jon’s dry wit with his passion for sports will give fans a unique and original view of the year in sports.”   

The ESPYS are scheduled to air live Wednesday, July 17th at 9pm EST/8pm CT/6pm PST on ESPN/ESPNHD from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  This year’s broadcast will be more interactive than ever for fans.  All categories except for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and other special awards will be chosen by the fans.  Voting can take place before and during the live show.  Voting will be open from June 28th – July 17th at 9pm EST on ESPN.com/ESPYS.  Voting during the show will be open during the show beginning at 9pm July 17th.  Voting for “Best Team” will be open only on Twitter.  Fans can vote for “Best Team” on Twitter during the show using hashtag ESPYSBestTeam and the team name.

For all the latest ESPYS news, fans can follow the ESPYS on Twitter at @ESPYS.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Haunting Hour’s First Season Closes With Two More Scary Sets Of Stories

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/The Hub

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/The Hub

R.L. Stine and The Hub are back with two more volumes of seriously scary stories for kids and their parents.  The Haunting Hour Vol. 3 & 4 offer audiences ten more tales of terror that will entertain and scare audiences every time they turn them on.  This latest pair of volumes offers not only five great episodes each, but some star power, too.  The Haunting Hour Vol. 3 boats guest appearances from the likes of Robert Capron (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Maddison Pettis (Cory in the House), Christopher Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels, Sanctuary), and others.  Apparently, Heyerdahl has a thing for playing villains, much like Tim Curry, as he takes on the role of quite the scary character in the episode, ‘Fear Never Knocks.’  Heyerdahl’s character is absolutely creepy in his role in this episode, terrorizing a pair of children who stumble upon their grandfather’s “box of fear.”  He is released when young Jenny decides to play with the box, and releases both her fears and those of her brother and fear itself (played by Heyerdahl).  Also in Volume Three, Maddison Pettis is one of three kids that get caught up in a supernatural story that brings the past and present together thanks to a mysterious mask.  The mask shows events that happened in the past, which themselves lead to another mystery that will leave viewers guessing right up to the end of the story.  And in another of the set’s best episodes, Robert Capron plays a young man whose overactive apetite leads him to get much more than he hoped for after a strange ice cream truck starts making rounds through the boy’s neighborhood.  This is an episode that will send “chills” (ba-dump-bump-bump) through every viewer, and will make them think twice next time they see an ice cream truck come through their neighborhood.  What’s more, it’s a valuable warning against over eating, too, ironically enough.  It’s little things like this, and the writing for the other noted episodes that make The Haunting Hour Volume Three another nice inclusion for any fan of ghost stories and of R.L. Stine’s work.

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/The Hub

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/The Hub

The scares don’t stop with Volume Three of The Haunting Hour.  Fans will also enjoy Volume Four, which was released alongside Volume Three.  The show’s fourth volume offers even more scares, as well as guest appearances.  It all opens with another episode that’s just as much a warning as it is a scary story in ‘Wrong Number.’  Debby Ryan (The Suite Life on Deck, Radio Rebel) stars in this episode as Steffani.  Steffani is a rather spoiled young woman that is the very stereotype of the stuck up “mean girl.”  But she gets what’s coming to her when she and her friend decide to prank call an elderly woman one night.  The consequences of her actions turn out to be deadly, as a matter of fact.  This is just one of the many scary stories presented in The Haunting Hour Volume Four.  Another equally terrifying tale included in this set is the episode, ‘Lights Out.’  Super 8 star Gabriel Basso stars as Teddy, a young teen skeptic who is pulled into a ghost hunt after watching a ghost hunt show on TV.  Teddy’s friends set out to prove to him that ghosts are in fact real in their hunt for the supernatural.  He learns that lesson in a way he never would have expected, nor will viewers who have never seen this episode.  The twist ending will scare audiences to no end and leave them talking.  As with Volume Three, what is presented here is just part of what makes Volume Four so enthralling.  The stories presented in these two volumes are sure to scare and entertain both kids and adults alike.

The Haunting Hour recently wrapped its third season on The Hub network.  Allegedly, a fourth season might be in production.  That gives ample time for both seasons Two and Three to be released to DVD while fans await the show’s return to The Hub.  Until then though, these last two volumes of Season One will keep audiences coming back again and again.  All four volumes are available in stores and online and can be ordered online direct at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

NYC Theater To Host Screening Of Shadow People Today

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Horror movie fans will get the chance to see a special screening of Anchor Bay’s new horror/thriller movie, Shadow People today, Monday, March 18th.  New York’s famed Cinema Village will host a very special screening of the movie, presented by Fangoria magazine.  On hand for the screening will be star Dallas Roberts and director Matthew Arnold.  The pair will introduce the movie.  A Q&A session with Matthew Arnold will follow the screening.  It will be moderated by Fangoria Editor Emeritus Tony Timpone.  It all starts at 7pm EST.

More information on the screening, contact the Cinema Village by phone at 212-924-3364.  The theater is located at 22 East 12th Street (@ University Place). New York, NY. 10003. Information about tickets for the screening can be obtained online at http://www.fangoria.com/walking-dead-star-to-host-free-shadow-people-nyc-screening-next-monday/.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.