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.

EOne’s New Bella Sara DVD A Good Fit For Any Young Female Viewer

Courtesy:  Entertainment One/Foxfield Entertainment/The Bella Sara Company

Courtesy: Entertainment One/Foxfield Entertainment/The Bella Sara Company

Entertainment One released the latest adventure of Bella Sara last week. Bella Sara: Emma’s Wings is one more enjoyable watch for the young female audiences at whom it is aimed. That is the case first and foremost because unlike previous Bella Sara DVDs, this presentation is actually a full feature length presentation. Another reason that its intended audiences will appreciate this latest release in the Bella Sara series is its general writing. And lastly, the general content puts the final touch on this release. All these factors together make Bella Sara: Emma’s Wings a presentation that any young female viewer will enjoy.

The first aspect of Bella Sara: Emma’s Wings that its intended audiences will appreciate this presentation is a full-length piece. Previous releases in the Bella Sara series were presented in shorter form. So this presentation is the first in the ongoing series of releases that could consider itself a full length feature. While it is an independent release, it could easily compete with the likes of the full length straight to DVD Barbie features that are currently out there. That being the case, that factor alone would make it a good fit for any young female viewer’s slumber party, birthday party or other social event.

That Bella Sara: Emma’s Wings is presented as a full length feature is a good thing for this release in comparison to previous releases in the series. Just as important to the overall enjoyment for the feature’s viewers is its combined general writing and content. The story is simple enough for any viewer to follow. Presented here is what is essentially a coming-of-age story of sorts. Young teen Emma finds herself and literally her voice after discovering a secret that had been long-held by her mother through most of Emma’s youth. It is made obvious that Emma’s mother had died at the start of the story. It isn’t noted how she died. And that is in all honesty beside the point. Her mother being out of the picture actually helps to serve as a catalyst to the story’s progression. So in the long run, it is actually a good thing that the cause of her mother’s death wasn’t explained. Along her journey into the world that is North of North, Emma has to take on the evil Ivenna and her henchman who want to take over the land by taking away all of the “horse magic.” It’s through her own personal journey of self-discovery and realization that Emma is able to defeat Ivenna and save North of North. The general progression of the story is just as simple as the story itself. So that should help to keep young viewers fully engaged in the feature from start to finish.

The simple storyline contained in this new release from Entertainment One will definitely keep the feature’s intended audiences engaged throughout the course of tis roughly hour and fifteen-minute run time. In the same vein, one would be remiss to not mention the feature’s general content. The story is obviously fantasy based. And it centers on horses. This is a double whammy for all involved. The Bella Sara Company, Foxfield Entertainment and Entertainment One have collectively taken two items about which so many younger female viewers crazy and combined them into one. Add in the short musical numbers to the mix (and the overall writing) and viewers get a near complete package. All of this material packaged into what is a relatively full length presentation makes everything complete. It all combines to make Bella Sara: Emma’s Wings a feature that any young female viewer will enjoy whether by herself, with friends or even with her mother.

Bella Sara: Emma’s Wings is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HNTOYF8/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1V0JEAXF18XKCR96GP00&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846. 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.

The Allman Brothers Band To Release New Live DVD

MSO PR

MSO PR

The Allman Brothers Band will release a special live DVD this Spring.

The band’s new live DVD 40 will be released Tuesday, April 30th via EOne Entertainment. The concert was recorded March 26th, 2009. That day was the fortieth anniversary of the first performance of the band’s original lineup. It was on March 26th, 1969 that the band’s original lineup—Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe Oakley, and Berry Oakley—performed together in Macon, Georgia.

In related news, the current lineup of The Allman Brothers Band will be back on stage, performing live this weekend. The band will perform live in Live Oak, Florida this Saturday, April 11th at the 10th annual Wanee Festival. The band’s previous four performances at the Beacon Theatre had to be postponed as singer Gregg Allman had recently been suffering from bronchitis. Allman spoke to reporters concerning the progress of his recovery, stating that he felt he was almost back to full strength and was optimistic about the band’s upcoming live performances. “I feel almost 100% following my bout with Bronchitis,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the Allman Brothers Band fans at the Wanee Festival April 10-12, as well as I cannot wait for my first trip to Australia with my solo band to meet my down under fans.”

The band’s most current live schedule is listed below.

DATE

CITY VENUE
Fri 4/11 Live Oak, FL Wanee Music Festival
Sat 4/12 Live Oak, FL Wanee Music Festival
Thu-Sun 6/5-6/8 Hunter Mountain, NY Mountain Jam
Thu-Sun 8/14-8/17 Scranton, PA Peach Music Festival
Thu-Sun 9/4-9/7 Arrington, VA Lockn’ Music Festival

 

More information on The Allman Brothers Band, its upcoming live DVD, performances and more is available online at http://allmanbrothersband.com, http://www.hittinthenote.com, http://www.waneefestival.com, and http://www.facebook.com/allmanbrothersband. 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.

Messina’s New LP Was Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Veteran country music artist Jo Dee Messina released her self-titled debut album nearly twenty years ago in 1996.  From there, she released her next two albums within two years of each other.  Her fourth album Delicious Surprise took four years to be released from the date of her third album.  Until now, that was the longest span of time that she had spent between new album.  Nine years after the release of Delicious Surprise, Messina will finally release her fifth full length studio effort next Tuesday, March 18th.  That album, simply titled Me, shows that even after nine years away, Messina still has plenty of fire underneath her.  And she makes that statement in bold fashion with her album’s opener, ‘Not Dead Yet.’

‘Not Dead Yet’ can be summed up in one simple word.  That word is anthemic.  On the surface, this adrenaline fueled fist pumper could be argued to be a song steeped in the common theme of relationship issues.  That argument could be made thanks to the song’s first verse, in which she sings, “You’re the one who stopped believin’/While I’m still in the chase/You’ve shattered my feelings/But you won’t shatter my faith.”  But with the knowledge of her finally being released from a long-term contract in 2013, this song takes on a whole new meaning.  It becomes more clear as she sings in the song’s chorus, “You can put me down/You can count me out/I’m not listening to you/I’ve paid my dues/Gotten bent and bruised/Walked a thousand miles in these shoes/I’m here/And I’m well/Felt the fire/I’ve been through hell/I’m a little out of breath/But baby/I’m not dead yet.” That sense of optimism and self-confidence is carried throughout the remainder of the song. And it is certain to have every fan singing along, pumping their fists in the air whether in their home, their car, or even at one of Messina’s concerts.  The end result is a song that serves not just as entertainment, but a song that can reach so many listeners.  It’s one of those motivating pieces that tells people it’s possible to get through even the most difficult times and to not give up.  Considering how tough so many people have it right now, this song is a welcome motivator and equally perfect opener for Messina’s return.

‘Not Dead Yet’ is a perfect way to open Me.  That’s thanks to the power in both its music and lyrics.  Just as anthemic is ‘A Woman’s Rant.’  This “girl power” piece is one to which every one of Messina’s female fans will be able to relate.  It’s the story of one woman’s day from start to finish, from the stresses of taking care of her family first thing in the morning all the way to balancing the everyday stresses of balancing being a wife and mom.  It’s one part musical stand-up comedy act thanks to the wit and sarcasm in her writing, and one part social statement. The boldest of the social statements made in the song comes with Messina singing, “There’s so many things I can’t begin to understand/The differences there between a woman and a man/You see/Women they do twice the work/And get half the pay/Menthey climb the ladder while the women pave the way/They say that we’re the weaker sex/I have to disagree/I’d walk a mile in his shoes if he’d walk half a mile in these.”  Even in her social statement about inequalities in employment, that wit shoes its face as she makes a joke about the combined pain of walking in heels and of being treated nowhere near the equal of men.  It’s one of so many statements made over the course of the song’s three and a half minutes that makes this another of the best additions to Me.

Messina shows plenty of self-confidence and self-assuredness throughout both ‘Not Dead Yet’ and ‘A Woman’s Rant’ as should be clear by now.  There is at least one more song on this record that displays that same positivity.  That song is ‘Take It.’ As with the previously noted songs, Messina doesn’t mince any words here.  She makes it clear right from the song’s opening verse that this is another song of self-empowerment, as she sings, “Look at me/I’m swinging from the chandelier, baby/I’m a woman with no fear/I’m breakin’ free/From these chains/From these chains that bind me/Anything that ties me down/I have no explanation/For the loss of hesitation/Lack of reservation.”  The song’s solid country rock musical backing adds to the song’s power and makes it even more of another solid addition to the album.

The songs that were included on Me were chosen by Jo Dee Messina’s fans since the album as a whole was fan-funded via Kick Starter.  As the songs noted in this review show, Messina’s fans made at least three very good choices.  When audiences hear the album in its entirety, they will agree that her fans made far more good choices than could potentially be noted in just one sitting. The songs of self-empowerment and pride are just part of what fans will appreciate about Me.  There are more emotional moments throughout the album, too.  Between those more reserved moments and the high-adrenaline songs noted here, Me proves to be quite the impressive return for Jo Dee Messina.  Audiences will be able to hear her perform those songs and plenty more when she hits the road beginning May 23rd in Biloxi, MS.  Fans can find out where else she’ll be performing live online at http://www.facebook.com/jodeemessina and http://www.jodeemessina.com.  Fans can also pre-order Me and keep up with all of the latest from Jo Dee Messina now via Messina’s official website.  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.

Peppa Pig’s Latest Compilation Fun For Audiences New And Old

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Peppa Pig’s latest collection of episodes will hit stores next Tuesday, March 18th courtesy of Entertainment One.  Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party offers young viewers fourteen more fun-filled shorts from Nick, Jr.’s hit series.  Whether or not audiences are familiar with Peppa Pig, everyone will agree that there is much about this show that makes it perfect for pre-school age viewers.  One of the many aspects of the show that makes it so enjoyable for young viewers is that its shorts are no more than roughly five minutes. Viewers that are less familiar with the series will see this firsthand when they purchase or order this new DVD.  Another positive aspect of the series displayed in the shorts on this DVD is the ability of the writers to balance entertainment and important life lessons within such a small span of time.  That in itself is a feat worth noting.  And one would be remiss to omit any mention of the series’ animation style.  Because it is made to look like it was drawn by a child, it becomes all the more accessible for young viewers.  These are just a few examples of what makes the episodes in this latest DVD from Peppa Pig enjoyable for young viewers.  Every family will find their own positives when they purchase or order the DVD for themselves.  Regardless of which aspects each family finds that makes the episodes on this disc so enjoyable, every family will agree that everything noted here makes it a DVD worth having for their pre-schooler.

Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party is not the first home release of shorts from the aforementioned series.  Despite this, there may still be some families that have yet to experience what makes this Nick Jr. series so popular with both its viewers and their parents.  The first notable positive of the episodes collected for this compilation is the run time of each short.  Each short included on this disc barely tops the five minute mark.  This far outperforms the shorts of most other children’s programs.  The shorts of said shows can run anywhere from fifteen minutes to a full half hour.  That makes keeping young eyes engaged without breaking their attention difficult.  So by comparison, the heads behind Peppa Pig have done quite a bit right with the timing on these shorts.

The short run time of the episodes in this compilation is the foundation of what makes them a perfect collective group of episodes for pre-school age viewers.  Just as important to note in these episodes is the work of the series’ writers.  The series’ writers only had five minutes with which to work and entertain and engage audiences.  The writers utilized every second of that short time span, making the shorts both entertaining and in some cases educational so to speak. They did so without letting the shorts feel like they’ve been jammed with content, either.  For this reason, the series’ writers deserve a standing ovation.  It shows just how well they have been trained in their craft.  Audiences will find themselves applauding the writers for this reason, too in watching this DVD.

A couple examples of episodes containing important lessons in this set are “Dens” and “Grandpa Pig’s Boat.”   In “Dens,” Peppa and her friends learn a very important lesson about not excluding others.  In, “Grandpa Pig’s Boat,” Peppa’s grandfather learns his own important lesson about bragging to others and the potential consequences.  There are more lessons and fun included throughout each of the DVD’s fourteen total shorts than there is time and space to mention everything.  As with the short run-time, that balance of entertainment and education makes this DVD all the more worth purchasing and/or ordering for any family with young children.

The writing and run time of the shorts included in Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party are both integral to the overall enjoyment of the episodes collected for this DVD.  There is one more aspect worth noting that makes these episodes especially enjoyable for those that perhaps are less familiar with Peppa Pig.  That aspect is the series’ animation.  Audiences will note in the episodes on the latest DVD that the shorts look like they were drawn by a child.  This was no accident.  That they look like they were drawn by a child makes them more relatable to young audiences.  That ability to relate to the show’s target audience serves even more to keep viewers fully engaged.  Given, it isn’t the only series to use such animation style.  PBS Kids’ Peg + Cat uses a similar animation style.  But it is the only other example of a series that uses such animation style that comes to mind.  CG graphics dominate most of today’s children’s programming.  So even if the animation of these episodes was created via computer, it doesn’t show.  That is a true testament to the series and these episodes on s smaller scale.  It makes the episodes all the more examples of what makes these episodes (and the series as a whole) so original and so enjoyable for young eyes and minds.  Peppa Pig; My Birthday Party can be ordered now online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FWVXRLG/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=15X655GDEJKNC4G1306Z&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846.

More information on this and other Peppa Pig DVDs and all things Peppa Pig is available online at http://www.peppapig.com, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialPeppaPig, and http://twitter.com/PeppaPigCartoon.  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.

Syfy’s Primeval Spinoff A Truly Underrated,Undervalued Sci-fi Series

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and zombies are all the rage right now across the entertainment spectrum. True Blood, Being Human, The Walking Dead, and so many others are a big draw across the television spectrum.  And even now another vampire based movie has hit theaters called Vampire Academy.  With all of the emphasis on such content, it should come as no surprise that Syfy’s spinoff to the hit British sci-fi series Primeval lasted no more than a single season.  That is not a swipe at Primeval or its spinoff, Primeval: New World.  Rather, it is an observation on why exactly this show didn’t last.  Primeval: New World is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  And those that actually sit down and give this series a chance will see just why it deserved more of a chance than it received.  First and foremost, it deserves more chance than it got in its original broadcast in that its writers were doing something that no other show was doing.  It was proposing the question of what would happen if by some odd circumstance, a means appeared for dinosaurs to enter the modern human world.  The end result of that is quite the adventure across the three discs that make up the set. The writing for each episode of this short-lived series is one part of what makes it worth a watch.  The special effects and on-location sets also help to make the series’ episodes enjoyable.  And let us also not forget about bonus material included in the recently released sets.  They play their own part in the success of the overall presentation. Together with the special effects and the writing, they complete the set, proving even more than ever why this set is worth the watch by any sci-fi purist.

Primeval: New World only lasted one season in its original run on Syfy and on Canadian television.  Many people (critics and audiences alike) have speculated as to why exactly this series ran only one season.  The real reason that most people would much rather not admit for whatever reason is because of the ratings being pulled in by all of the paranormal-centered shows and movies that currently permeate the entertainment spectrum.  Werewolves, ghosts, zombies, and vampires are all the rage right now on TV and in theaters.  So sadly, this show just didn’t stand a snowball’s chance.  But now with its release on DVD and Blu-ray, more audiences will see on what they missed out on in the show’s original run. The show’s writers crafted in Primeval: New World a show that is science fiction at its most pure. The whole concept of a time/space rift opening and allowing creatures from another time to invade the twenty-first century is as sci-fi as it gets. Add in a bunch of high tech gadgets to subdue the creatures in question, and audiences get a full dose of pure science fiction.  And considering that Syfy has seemingly strayed so far from its science fiction roots in recent years, having a show with so much science fiction was a welcome return to form for the network.

The writing behind each of the series’ stories is certain to keep any audience that gives the series a chance fully engaged.  Also to the show’s credits are those charged with bringing to life those fearsome creatures that Evan Cross (Nial Matter—Eureka) and his team hunt, as well as the show’s other special effects.  That along with the on-site shooting in Canada helped to make the show even more enjoyable.  It would have been so easy for those behind the cameras and computer screens to just make some really bad computer generated dinosaurs and other effects.  Believe it or not, there are some film and TV studios that to this day don’t care about quality effects.  This show’s crew wasn’t one of them.  It’s just part of the behind-the-lens work that makes the show stand out even more among the crowd.  One would be remiss to ignore the work by the cast and crew with the on-site shooting.  That plays a role, too.  That the cast and crew would be so willing to work with all of the weather changes throughout each episode’s shooting adds to the ability of viewers to suspend their disbelief.  As audiences will see in the recently released box set’s bonus features, it seemed to rain a lot during the series shooting. Yet the cast and crew worked with the weather regardless.  It actually heightened the action and emotion of some scenes, interestingly enough.

The bonus material included in this set has already been briefly mentioned.  Audiences get to see the impact of the weather on the series’ shooting throughout the bonus behind-the-scenes featurette.  What is most interesting about these featurettes is that they are actually episode specific. Rather than getting one large bundle package of sorts, each episode comes with its own introduction and discussion that can be watched before or after the episode in question.  They are somewhat brief.  But that’s actually a good thing.  It means that audiences don’t have to invest a whole block of time to each one.  Each bonus synopsis gives just enough information to set the stage for its companion episode. Each one also gives a little bit of insight into the work that went into bringing each episode to life.  So that enhances each episode even more.  For those reasons, the bonus material included in this box set becomes the set’s finishing touch and brings everything full circle.  It is that last piece that helps show why a show such as Primeval: New World is still so underrated today.  It solidifies just what makes this series stand out from the glut of paranormal based shows that clog the airwaves and theaters to this day.  Primeval: New World is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Primeval-New-World-Complete-Blu-ray/dp/B00ECXJC1O/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1390796896&sr=1-2&keywords=primeval+new+world+complete+series.  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.

ROTR Organizers Announce Early Details For 2014 Festival

Rock on the Range 2014 Logo

Courtesy: MSO PR

The 2013 edition of the annual Rock on the Range festival was one of the biggest that organizers of the annual event have ever experienced.  2013 saw the annual event completely sell out.  Seeing the success that the festival had in 2013, festival organizers have announced that the festival will now expand to three full days this year. The festival, which will run from May 16th – May 18th this year, will be headlined by three very big name acts.  Those acts are Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Kid Rock.

While the trio of aforementioned bands will headline the once again expanded festival (last year saw the festival expand to three nights) are big names in themselves, they won’t be the only bands to perform at this year’s show.  Also scheduled to perform this year are: Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society and Killswitch Engage among many others.  The complete lineup of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s ROTR Festival is listed below.

2014 ROCK ON THE RANGE BAND LINEUP

Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Seether, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Bring Me The Horizon, Theory of a Deadman, Down, Black Stone Cherry, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Pop Evil, Of Mice & Men, Adelitas Way, Trivium, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, The Pretty Reckless, We Came as Romans, Fuel, Redlight King, Miss May I, Reignwolf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Texas Hippie Coalition, Rev Theory, Skindred, Kyng, Fozzy, Heaven’s Basement, Butcher Babies, Nothing More, Exodus, King 810, Devour the Day, We As Human, We Are Harlot, Kvelertak, Jim Breuer Band, One OK Rock, Twelve Foot Ninja, Avatar, WERM, Monster Truck, Wilson, Crobot and Truckfighters with comedians Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine and more.

Audiences will note that along with the lineup up some of the biggest names in the rock world, this year’s festival also boasts the return of the ROTR Comedy Tent.  Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine, and a number of up-and-coming comedians will perform at the ROTR Comedy Tent.

Weekend passes including Field General Admission, Stadium General Admission, hotel and VIP packages and a stadium four-pack go on sale Friday, January 24th at 10am ET.  More ticket information is available online at http://www.RockOnTheRange.com.  Additional information and updates on this year’s festival is available online at http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and http://twitter.com/rockontherange.  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.

Being Human Stands Out Among TV’s Serials In Its Third Season

Courtesy:  Entertainment One/Syfy

Courtesy: Entertainment One/Syfy

Werewolves and vampires and ghosts, oh my! Werewolves and vampires and ghosts, oh my! That’s right. The werewolves, vampires, and ghosts are back for another season in Being Human Season Three. Syfy and Entertainment One have partnered to release the third season of the hit horror based prime time soap opera just in time to count down the days to the premiere of the series’ fourth season on Syfy. Season Three has been lauded both by fans and the cast alike as being the best so far for the series. And it is made even better now that Season Three has been released to DVD and Blu-ray. First and foremost, it is a serial , like so many other shows out there right now. But unlike so many serials, one doesn’t come into Season Three feeling like one needs a program to follow the show. That’s something rare to find especially among the overwhelming glut of serials that fill television’s Big 4 and the cable networks. Staying in that same vein (no pun intended), audiences will appreciate just as much the “built-in”episode guide included in the box. Each episode is listed within the box set. And each episode comes with a brief but concise summary, helping to set the stage for each episode. If the episode listing and summaries aren’t enough for fans, then perhaps the included bonus features will get audiences excited. All of these factors together make the new DVD and Blu-ray box set release of Being Human Season Three one that any fan of the show will enjoy as they count the days to Season Four’s premiere.

The first thing that audiences should take into consideration with the third season of Being Human—whether seeing it for the first time or not in its third season—is its writing. On the surface, this series is just one more of so many serials that crowd the airwaves in this era. But on a deeper level, it is a series that is largely easy to follow. There is no need for a program to keep up with this plot or that one or even another one. It actually maintains in large part, the same characters and same developing storyline that it started out with in the show’s first season. Far too many other serials on TV today continue to get that formula wrong. Their writers try so hard to keep things going that they end up writing themselves into the proverbial corner. In the case of this series, that hasn’t happened, even in the show’s third season. Audiences that have any knowledge of television’s other serial offerings will concur with this fact.

The writing involved in each of this season’s episodes is the foundation for the overall success of Season Three. Resting on that foundation of sorts is another aspect that audiences will appreciate in its new home release. That second aspect is the episode listing and summaries included inside both the season’s DVD and Blu-ray case. On the inside front and back of the case is a complete listing of each episode. Also included with the episode listing are brief but concise summaries of each episode. The summaries collectively are a positive for those that are more familiar with this season in that they serve as a refresher for said audiences. For those same audiences, maybe said audiences missed one episode or another. Then the summaries serve an even greater purpose. For those that are seeing Season Three for the first time, the episode list and summaries will set the stage for the episodes contained on the set’s four discs. As little attention as some audiences might give such a factor, this just goes to show how important the included episode list and summaries become in the bigger picture of things.

The last factor that audiences should take into consideration with this new DVD and Blu-ray box set is the included bonus features. Included in this set is a rather in-depth behind-the-scenes featurette, a standard blooper reel, and for those (like this critic) that have never had the pleasure of attending the famed San Diego Comic Con, the complete Being Human panel from said event. Fans of the show will enjoy the Comic Con panel. It’s a nice lighthearted moment from the cast that will leave audiences applauding and laughing along with those in attendance. The Behind-The-Scenes featurette is the key bonus feature among the bonuses. It advances the writing, the episode list and summaries even more. It expands on the events of Season Three while also offering some first person commentary from the cast on set. There are also segments highlighting the show’s special effects, the makeup work, and much more. Each of the segments in question is separated from the others by its own slate. Again, this seems like something minor at first glance. But on a deeper level, it helps to keep audiences’ attention and keep up with what is being discussed through the course of each segment. Far too few shows do this with the bonus features on their home releases.  So audiences will appreciate this being done here.  It is one more part of the whole in the complete Being Human Season Three that fans of the show will appreciate when they pick up their own copy.  It is available in stores and online now.  More information on Being Human is available online at http://www.facebook.com/beinghuman.  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.

Get Ready For Being Human Season 4 With A Free Copy Of Season 3

Courtesy:  Entertainment One/Syfy

Courtesy: Entertainment One/Syfy

Happy new year, everyone!  I hope that your new year is off to a great start.  In honor of the new Year, Phil’s Pick is proud to announce a brand new contest.  It’s short notice, but this Friday, one lucky person will win a free DVD copy of Being Human Season 3.  The hit Syfy series returns for its fourth season January 13th at 9m ET.  While fans count down the days to the Season Four premiere, one lucky fan can catch up with a free copy of Season Three on DVD courtesy of Phil’s Picks.  All you have to do is write on the Phil’s Picks FB timeline at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks noting that you want to be entered for a chance at this one free copy.  It’s that easy.  Season Three is also available in stores and online.  It can be ordered via Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004R35DLW/ref=cm_sw_su_dp.  More information on the upcoming Season Four premiere and all things Being Human is available online at http://www.facebook.com/beinghuman.

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.

EOne’s Angel of the Skies Is An Underrated WWII Story

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

World War II was the most devastating military conflict that the world has ever seen.  The interesting thing about this war is that it led to the creation of some of the film industry’s most iconic movies.  Movies like Tora Tora Tora, Patton, and The Longest Day became cornerstones of the biggest titles linked to WWII.  Since the days of those classics, countless other movies centered on WWII have been churned out.  Some of them have been not so bad, while others have been not so memorable.  Entertainment One’s new WWII era movie Angel of the Skies is one of those movies that while it is an indie flick, is still one that is not so bad.  Sure, there are some historical inaccuracies depicted in the movie.  But the general story behind the movie is what makes it worth at least one watch.  The acting on the part of the cast helps to make the movie worth at least one watch, too.  And the same can be said of the early flight scenes and backdrops.  All of it taken into account, Angel of the Skies is not as bad as some have already made it out to be.

Angel of the Skies has received mixed reviews by some critics.  The biggest criticism of the movie has been its historical accuracy.  There are some issues with said accuracy.  But one must also take into account that no movie ever based on historical events was one hundred percent accurate in itself.  That being taken into account, it really is not that bad of a movie within its genre.  The story itself is worth a watch first and foremost for the themes tied into the overall story.  Writer/director Christopher-Lee dos Santos ties into his story, the themes of brotherhood, determination, and dedication.  He does so in a way that none of the themes overpower themselves through the course of the movie.  They actually work together to give the story an emotional depth that will keep viewers engaged through the movie’s near two-hour run time.  The story’s theme of dedication works quite well in a dual role here.  On one hand, the theme of dedication works as it is linked to the sub-story between Flight Officer Earl Kirk and his girlfriend, Deborah Caldwell (Lillie Claire—Supernatural, Suing The Devil) and to the dedication of the flight crew to one another after  their plane is shot down.  That theme of dedication among the flight crew directly compliments the script’s theme of brotherhood, too.  Even in the greatest of odds, the men refuse to leave one another behind if at all possible, and will do whatever it takes to save one of their own from Nazi officers.  In turn, that theme of brotherhood is directly linked to the theme of determination.  The men were determined to survive and survive together at all costs.  Each of these themes work together seamlessly to make a story that is worth at least one watch by any history buff and film buff.

The interweaving themes that make up the script behind Angel of the Skies are central to the movie’s ability to keep viewers engaged.  They collectively aren’t all to be considered.  The acting of the cast helps to move the story along, too.  The actors that make up the movie’s cast are largely unknowns.  Despite that, they put on a believable performance.  This is the case both by themselves and together.  The men that make up the flight crew do quite the job in their roles.  As enjoyable as it is to watch them take on their roles, it’s the vile SS officer Stutze that truly stands out in this movie.  Stutze (David James) is truly ruthless in his attempts to locate the South African airmen and carry out his duties.  Not to reveal too much, but he is so vile that he goes so far as to have his men kill a German milkmaid that had protected the airmen after they were shot down.  This after he told her that everything would be okay.  He even gunned down a defenseless American soldier early on as part of his character’s setup.  The ability of an actor or actress to make his or her character that despicable means that said individual is more than doing his or her job in said role.  If the combined themes aren’t enough to keep audiences engaged through the story, then that juxtaposition of character types and roles will definitely do its part to keep viewers engaged.

The general writing and acting that comprise Angel of the Skies combine to make it a movie that is well worth at least one watch.  They don’t work by themselves, though.  The movie’s special effects and backdrops play their own role in making this movie worth at least one watch.  Unlike so many other WWII based movies, this movie mixes CG with live action.  The flight scenes are largely computer generated.  It’s obvious where the computer elements were used, too.  But at least they weren’t as cheesy as those used in the 2006 James Franco WWI flop, Flyboys.  One almost couldn’t tell the difference as the bombers were flying into German airspace.  The only times that one could tell for certain that computer graphics were used were when the bombers came under fire from the Messerschmitts and when the flight crew’s bomber crashed.  The rest of the movie’s story was set against a live action backdrop.  What’s interesting about the live action backdrop is that it didn’t feel as over the top as those used in some other WWII era dramas.  It felt more real for lack of better wording.  That is an area in which far too many movie makers get things wrong.  Too many movie makers look for settings that will enhance their movies.  And it only serves to lessen the movies in question to a certain extent.  That isn’t the case here, though.  That realistic feel combines with the movie’s writing and the cast’s acting to make it a movie that despite being an indie flick is still one worth watching at least once by any history buff and movie buff.  It will be available next Tuesday, December 31st on DVD.  It can be ordered direct from the Entertainment One website at http://us.eonefilms.com/films/angel-of-the-skies?lang=en-US.  More information on this and other releases from EOne is available online at http://www.entertainmentone.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.