Rocklahoma Organizers Announce New Ticket Package

Courtesy:  Ashton Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Rocklahoma concert festival announced this week that they will make available a new ticket package for audiences.

The new Zippo Encore Fan Package For Two will be available beginning next Tuesday, March 18th at 1pm ET/12pm CT.  The package includes:

  • Two (2) Weekend General Admission Tickets (inclusive of all service charges and fees)
  • Meal vouchers (two per day)
  • Two (2) Official Festival Zippo Lighters
  • One (1) one-year subscription to Revolver Magazine.

Tickets can be ordered online at the official Rocklahoma website, http://www.rocklahoma.com.

Also on March 18th, ticket prices both for general admission tickets and general admission 4-packs will increase.  General admission tickets currently are available for a price of $109 plus fees.  Beginning March 18th, that price will increase to $129 plus fees.  Weekend 4-pack General Admission packs will increase from $349 plus fees to $399 plus fees.  This takes effect beginning at 1pm ET/12pm CT.

Members of the military can get discounted tickets for the Rocklahoma festival online at http://www.govx.com.  Prices for those tickets will also increase March 18th at 1pm ET/12pm CT.

The new ticket package and price increases are not all that organizers announced this week for the annual festival.  Organizers also announced the return of the “Miss Rocklahoma” contest.  The contest runs through April 18th.  Ten finalists will be announced in late April online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.  Contestants and fans can register and vote online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.

The complete lineup for this year’s edition of the Rocklahoma Festival is:  Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Staind, Twisted Sister, Deftones, Seether, Motörhead, Jackyl, Filter, Black Label Society, Theory of a Deadman, Killswitch Engage, Skid Row, Tom Keifer of Cinderella, Hellyeah, Kix, Down, Pop Evil, Adelitas Way, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium, Texas Hippie Coalition, The Pretty Reckless, Thousand Foot Krutch, Redlight King, Skindred, KYNG, We As Human, Nothing More, Devour the Day, Heaven’s Basement, Gemini Syndrome, Butcher Babies, Eve to Adam, Truckfighters, Scorpion Child, Twelve Foot Ninja, Kill Devil Hill, Killer Dwarfs, Mandy Lion, Bai Bang, Lynam, ASKA, Black Tora, Firstryke, Mystery, Nasty Habit, Sleepy Hollow, Wicked, Down & Dirty, Loveblast, Ruff Justice, Ratchet Dolls, Ragdoll, Dellacoma, Chaotic Resemblance, Scattered Hamlet, Siren, Mach22, Tempt, London’s Dungeon, Mine Enemies Fall, Station, The Chimpz, Sleepwalking Home, Well Hung Heart, Framing The Red, Blackwater Rebellion, Dryvr, Jet West and Dirty Crush.

The annual Rocklahoma Festival is sponsored by Bud Light, U.S. Cellular, Jagermeister, Monster Energy, Hard Rock Casino, Route 66 RVs, and Jack Daniels.

More information on the annual Rocklahoma Festival is available online at http://www.rocklahoma.com, http://www.facebook.com/rocklahoma and http://twitter.com/rocklahoma.  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 Hunchback of Notre Dame Is One Of Disney’s Modern Classics

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios has largely made its fame on taking classic literary stories and adapting them for the big screen.  For the most part, doing so has led to great success for Disney.  So it goes without saying that when Disney’s heads decided to bring Victor Hugo’s literary classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame to audiences in animated form doing so was a pretty big risk.  That is because this is hardly the happiest of stories.  Somehow though, Disney managed to pull off the job and craft what should be considered to be one of the company’s modern classics.  Whereas its renditions of The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Cinderella and others are considered the company’s original classics, its take on Hugo’s literary masterpiece fits nicely into the category of modern classics.  This is the case for a variety of reasons. In watching this rendition, one can’t help but be taken back to Disney’s golden era.  From the subtlety of the mix of hand drawn and digital animation, to the big song cues to the animation, one actually feels as if one is actually watching a stage presentation made into an animated film.  And while it may be a little bit scary for younger audiences with its darker elements, it still stands as one of the better works in Disney’s modern era.

Viewers that closely watch the newly re-issued Hunchback of Notre Dame I/II combo pack will catch a subtlety that others might not that harkens back to Disney’s golden era.  That subtlety is a mix of animation styles.  There are a handful of scenes throughout this movie that show on one side, the rougher, less “streamlined” animation style sitting side by side.  This is explained briefly in the original “Making of featurette” that was included in the movie’s previous release.  Actor Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) explains the reality behind the misconception that all animation done for Disney movies—at the time—was done by computer.  The difference between the hand drawn animation and digital animation is pretty clear.  And the very fact that animators tried to duplicate the animation of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men” even in the slightest in this feature makes it worthy of at least a little bit of respect.

If the attempt by animators to replicate the animation of Disney’s most famed animators isn’t enough for viewers, then perhaps the story’s musical numbers will help win over audiences.  Composer Alan Menken returned for this movie after having massive success nearly a decade prior on another of Disney’s biggest modern classics in The Little Mermaid.  The animation works in tandem with the big musical numbers to really leave viewers feeling like they are watching a stage presentation in animated form.  That’s even more the case now that the movie has been re-issued on Blu-ray.  There is just a certain quality on which one can’t put one’s finger that pulls audiences in and makes the story believable.  That’s the sign of a quality work.

If the song cues and the animation aren’t enough, then the movie’s more comical moments will entertain audiences.  Even in some of the movie’s darker moments, the story’s writers come up with some pretty funny moments to help lighten the mood.  A prime example of this comes late in the movie, in the final showdown sequence.  As Quasimodo and Frollo face off in the cathedral’s tower, soldiers are below, trying to break in.  Laverne (voiced by the late Mary Wickers) helps in the fight by calling on a large group of birds.  This moment is a tribute not just to the classic Warner Brothers movie, The Wizard of Oz, but also to Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic, The Birds.  While the latter tribute may have been unintentional, it is there.  It’s just one of so many moments that will have viewers laughing.  Add in Jason Alexander’s comedic timing and viewers get more than enough laughs to offset the movie’s darker moments.  Those darker moments being offset and the movie’s enjoyable musical numbers and hybrid animation together make The Hunchback of Notre Dame one of the better movies from Disney’s modern era.  One might even go so far as to call it one of Disney’s modern classics.  It is available now on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Disney store at http://www.disneystore.com/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-blu-ray-and-dvd-combo-pack/mp/1331583/1000316/ and at the Disney DVD store at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-two-movie-collection.html

To keep up with the latest 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.

Cinderella III A Good Finisher For The Cinderella Franchise

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Cinderella III is a good finale for Disney’s Cinderella franchise.  This franchise closer follows a tried and true formula but switches it up a little bit with an interesting twist that ties directly into the franchise’s second movie.  It proves once again that true love will always overcome all obstacles.  That includes an evil stepmother who would go to absolutely any length in order to get what she wants.  Thus is the story behind Cinderella III.

Cinderella III returns to the conflict between young Cinderella who is already married to Prince Charming, and her evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine.  When Anastasia (voiced once more by Tress MacNeille—The Simpsons, Futurama) discovers how Cinderella won over the prince in the first place and gets her hands on the fairy godmother’s wand, Lady Tremaine proceeds to use it to turn back time and try to keep Cinderella from ever being able to try on the fabled glass slipper that led to her happily ever after.  The irony of the whole story comes from Anastasia.  She ultimately plays a direct role in the final outcome of the story.  Now on the surface, this goes completely against the final segment of Cinderella II.  To that extent, some audiences may complain about an issue with continuity, since she was the one who caused Cinderella’s predicament in this story to begin with even after having found love in Cinderella II thanks to Cinderella.  But the final credits of this story do at least make the attempt to tie everything back together.

The final credits provide more than just an attempt to tie the first two movies in the Cinderella franchise together.  There is a final, funny moment that is tied in to the final moments of this story that will leave both parents and kids laughing.  It’s a moment of two characters getting what comes to them.  Who those characters are will be left to audiences who have yet to see this story for themselves.  It’s a good finish to everything and makes amends for a story that would have made more sense had it been Cinderella II instead of the franchise’s third movie.  Had this movie come second and Cinderella II come last, the entire franchise would have been near perfect because of how both sequels end.  Nonetheless, it still is a good story for a sequel and a good watch for parents and kids alike both during the holidays and throughout the year.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cinderella II One Of Disney’s More Underrated Sequels

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Cinderella II is an interesting work of a sequel.  It’s a sequel that both is and isn’t a sequel at the same time.  There are those who have already had their say with this feature.  And while many of the opinions on it have been anything but kind, it really isn’t that bad of a sequel.  Perhaps the reason that this feature was surrounded by so many negative opinions was its setup.  Rather than being a typical movie, Cinderella II was openly separated into three distinct acts.  From the very get-go, the separation of the story into three distinct acts likely threw viewers for a loop.  That’s not to defend the audiences who complained.  Rather, it made it come across as just a grouping of three different shorts, instead of an actual movie.  Take away the segment separation though, and audiences get what turns out to be exactly that.

While the first and third acts of Cinderella II work quite well together, the story’s second act seems to have no link to either the first or third on the surface.  This also likely threw off audiences and in turn, made them not enjoy it.  However, a deeper look at the story shows that its second act actually does indeed play a role in the near ninety-minute feature.  It ties the story’s first and final act in that dreams came true even for the little mouse, Jaq.  He found romance and learned a very valuable lesson at the same time.  In connection, even Cinderella’s now not so mean step-sister learns how evil Lady Tremaine was.  She even tried to keep Anastasia (voiced by veteran voice actress Tress McNeille—The Simpsons, Futurama) from having any romantic connection to a commoner.  Through help ironically from Cinderella, Anastasia finds love with him and even learns her own valuable lesson.  At the same time, even Cinderella herself learns another lesson in that now that she was gone from that house, both the sisters had seen for themselves how Lady Tremaine was.  It put things into perspective for Cinderella, which led her to be so willing to help Anastasia.  So it makes for a good conclusion to this story.

Just as the story ends solidly enough, its opening segment is a nice continuation of the original Cinderella, too.  What critics of Cinderella II have overlooked with this story is that despite being separated into three separate segments, it really does continue the original story.  What’s intriguing about the opening segment is that it shows Cinderella’s life after happily ever after.  The lead older woman of the house comes across as another evil stepmother type.  That is until Cinderella gets her and the King to loosen up.  In turn, even her dreams of living happily ever after come true.  So overall, dreams do come true for not just Cinderella, but for everyone in this largely underrated sequel to one of Disney’s most classic princess tales.  Now that it has been re-issued in a triple-disc blu-ray/DVD set, perhaps those people who criticized this story before will have a different view on it and give it another chance.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online via the Disney store and at the official Disney DVD website at http://www.disneystore.com/cinderella-ii-and-cinderella-iii-3-disc-set/mp/1324153/1000316/ and http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/cinderella-ii-and-cinderella-iii-special-edition-2-movie-collection.html#48097.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cinderella Still One Of Disney’s Finest After More Than Six Decades

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Walt Disney’s take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella is one of the most important stories in the history of Hollywood’s vast arena of animated features.  It is also one of the most important movies in the equally storied history of Disney’s company.  Cinderella was for all intensive purposes, the movie that saved Disney Studios.  Don’t believe that?  Just watch the special features on the brand new upcoming Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack re-issue of this classic Disney story.

Disney Studios’ debut animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was a hit.  But as noted in the bonus features of this new re-issue, the two movies that followed—Pinocchio, and Fantasia—paled in comparison to Snow White.  Yes, they were successful movies.  But they never reached the heights of Snow White.  Audiences learn here that until Cinderella came along in 1950, Disney had to rely on military training films for income.  It’s fitting that when Cinderella finally debuted in 1950, its very first musical number centered on dreams and wishes.  Cinderella sings that a dream is a wish your heart makes while you sleep.  When Walt Disney first started up his company, he had a dream; A wish if you will.  And fittingly, Cinderella helped to make Walt’s dream come true just as Cinderella’s dream came true.  As one of the figures interviewed notes, it is in its essence, a rags to riches story.  Take away the romance element of the story, and Cinderella really is an underdog story.  Taken from that angle, it’s a story that every viewer can appreciate.

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

The success of Cinderella can be attributed to a number of factors.  It’s not just that underdog/rags to riches story that makes it enjoyable.  It was the work that went into bringing the story to life that still makes it a success today.  From the animation itself to choosing voice talents to live shoots, the extensive bonus features included in this new re-issue show why despite all the knockoffs over the years, there is still only one Cinderella.  Audiences will be amazed to learn that before pen and pencil even hit paper, Disney actually shot a live action version of the story.  That live action shoot would become the model for Disney’s animators, the famed “Nine Old Men.”

Speaking of models, one animator even proudly displays his physical model of Cinderella’s carriage.  Anyone who has any interest in theater production will be in awe of how he came up with the model that would eventually become its own on-screen legend.

Along with discussions on live shoots and models, also included with this new re-issues is a discussion on Mary Alice O’Conner.  O’Connor was married to animator Ken O’Connor, who was charged with designing Cinderella’s fairy godmother.  It was Mary Alice who would be the model for the beloved figure.  The story of Mrs. O’Connor depicts a woman who was an exact fit for this iconic figure.  O’Connor gave of herself so selflessly throughout her life, expecting nothing in return.  She gave because she wanted to make people happy and took joy in seeing others take what she started and make something even greater from that start.  Anyone who is dry-eyed after watching this feature simply isn’t human.

The feature on Mary Alice O’Connor brings things right back to the feature focusing on choice of voice talents.  By now, audiences should see why Cinderella was, is, and always will be one of the most important works in the history of animated features.

Cinderella will be available Tuesday in a brand new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in both DVD and Blu-Ray packaging.  Fans can order it online at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment review and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rom/Com update is worth its own load of laughs

Courtesy: IFC Films

How do you know when you’ve found the one?  When you look into their eyes and find yourself singing, ‘You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings.’

This is one of the key moments of dialogue between Katie (Kelly MacDonald–Disney’s “Brave”) and James (David Tennant–Doctor Who) in IFC Film’s recent rom/com take off of Cinderella, “The Decoy Bride.”  That single line of dialogue is so important because not only does it take off Cinderella, it also lifts at least somewhat from Bette Midler’s 1997 rom/com, “That Old Feeling.”  It also lifts, at least to a certain degree, from the 1990 Julia Roberts/Richard Gere rom/com “Pretty Woman.”  It’s pretty easy to see Macdonald attempting to emulate Julia Roberts throughout the movie.  “Decoy Bride” does lift from other rom/com classics, as noted.  But in its defense, the central plot of James and Lara trying to escape the papparazzi so that they can get married is a prime example of art imitating life, especially withthe recent case surrounding certain celebrities, who will remain unnamed here.  That it’s such a direct mirror of the world’s obsession with celebrities makes it worthy of its share of laughs.

The story behind “The Decoy Bride” is great fun.  Audiences who want a little more insight into the story will appreciate the cast interviews included in the special features.  Each cast member discusses being added to the film, and working together.  [David] Tennant even discusses the weather during filming.  While a rain machine was used at some points, Tennant points out how precise the people on the Isle of Man were in  predicting the weather.  Director Sheree Folkson advances that with her own discussionon how perfectly the weather played out for the entire movie. 

The Decoy Bride is in essence an update of the classic story of Cinderella.  And it does lift from other previous rom/coms.  But it still manages to make its own identity and life.  And keeping that in mind, it is worth at least one watch by any fan of the rom/com genre.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  fans can also keep up with the laest entertainment reviews and news at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.