eOne’s New Found Footage Thriller Worth At Least One Watch

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

eOne’s new paranormal thriller The Jungle is a good fit or anyone that is a fan of the found footage genre.  One part Predator and one part The Blair Witch Project, the movie finds a group of filmmakers in a far flung jungle in search of a rarely seen big cat.  The cat in question is a fictional leopard breed apparently.  During their search for the cat, the men encounter a mythological creature of sorts that they did not set out to look for.  It’s definitely a deadly beast, too.  The use of such a script actually makes the movie worth at least one watch.  This will be discussed later.  Another aspect of the movie that makes it worth at least one watch is the overall lack of music.  Its most impactful moment comes not during the movie, but at the movie’s end, believe it or not.  And last but not least of all, despite the complaints of so many audiences, one can say of this movie that unlike certain other movies of its ilk, the figure being hunted is actually seen to a point.  All three factors together make The Jungle a movie that deserves at least a chance if no more.

Writer/Director Andrew Traucki’s script for The Jungle is not one that has exactly received the highest of praise.  The reality of Traucki’s script is that it is deserving of more respect than it has received thus far from critics and viewers alike.  That’s because a closer watch of the movie reveals that Traucki’s script, which is one part Predator and one part The Blair Witch Project, actually throws something of a twist into the story that makes it at least somewhat different from both of the aforementioned movies.  The story doesn’t start out with the main cast in search of some fabled creature.  Rather, they are in search of what is supposed to be a real creature that is simply rarely seen in nature.  Along the way, they just happen to come in contact with a deadly creature that they did not set out to find.  The catch is did they find it or did it find them?  The rest of the time, the men find themselves more focused on catching the creature on film than on their original subject.  The ending won’t be given away.  But it goes without saying that it doesn’t end well.  Audiences will find out for themselves just how badly it turns out when they check out this movie for themselves.

Andrew Traucki’s script for The Jungle is central to the ability of viewers to suspend their disbelief and give the movie a chance.  Another factor that viewers will appreciate in viewing this movie is its overall lack of soundtrack.  This doesn’t exactly play that much of a role during the course of the movie.  But considering the story’s events, the lack of any music even as the end credits roll makes for the biggest emotional impact of all.  Traucki is to be applauded here in his directorial role for such a decision.  It leaves viewers feeling a certain intended emptiness and shock at the events that unfolded over the course of the movie’s near ninety-minutes.  And that effect is perhaps far more long lasting than anything else presented throughout the movie.  That’s not to discount the script by any means.  Rather it just goes to show the often overlooked importance of a movie’s soundtrack or lack thereof in this case.  It’s a model which other movie makers should take into account when adding a soundtrack to their next films.

The last factor to take into consideration in examining The Jungle is subtle, but just as important as the factors already noted. That factor is the appearance of the creature that was being track (or was tracking the men). Unlike so many other movies within the found film genre, audiences actually do get a glimpse of the creature in question that is being followed. In the case of so many other films within this genre, audiences are only told about the subject of the search. They rarely actually get to see the subject being sought. The subject here is seen at least partially. It is seen in the same vein as those really bad videos from people searching in real life for Bigfoot and other such creatures. So as gripping as those sightings are, they are also worth their share of laughs, too believe it or not. They make the movie more worth the watch, even if only slightly so. And along with the movie’s script and wise absence of soundtrack, The Jungle is made all the more worth watching at least once.

The Jungle is available now on DVD in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Jungle-Rupert-Reid/dp/B00J5BCV3E/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1405338674&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Jungle. 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.

Hell On Wheels Remains One Of TV’s Top Dramas In Its Third Season

Courtesy:  eOne/AMC

Courtesy: eOne/AMC

eOne will release the third season of AMC’s hit western drama Hell on Wheels next Tuesday, July 15th. It goes without saying that the third season of this standout series is the show’s best yet. And being that the series’ fourth season debuts in just a few weeks, its release is perfectly timed. It gives audiences that have watched the show since the beginning the chance to catch up should they have missed any episodes of this season or the series’ first two seasons. And for those that have not yet seen even the first season, audiences that watch this season will the most important key to its success. That key is the series’ writing. While it is recommended that audiences new to the series watch from Season 1, the show’s writers have done such an expert job that they don’t necessarily need to watch those first two seasons in order to appreciate Season Three. The acting on the part of the cast is just as integral to the success of Hell on Wheels Season Three. The cast has become so accustomed to one another that it has made the acting all the more believable. In turn, it makes suspension of disbelief all the easier, too. And last but not least of all, the bonus material included in this set rounds out the whole package, proving once and for why Hell On Wheels Season Three is one of the year’s best box sets for adults.

Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season is one of the best new box sets for adults in 2014. There is so much to like about this set. The most obvious of this season’s positives is the show’s writing. Season Three sees some of the show’s strongest writing to date. That is evident in the character development on the parts of Cullen and especially Eva and Elam. Audiences start to see a much more emotional and human side of Cullen in Season Three. This is especially the case when Cullen is forced to make the choice to hang a young man at one point. The young man’s father tossed him to the proverbial woods after his father had shot the then head of railroad security. Cullen knew he was condemning an innocent boy to death for the sins of his father. The pain in his eyes as the young man was strung up is deeply telling. It shows that Cullen knew that hanging the young man was wrong and that it hurt him badly to see it happen. Such a scene adds to Cullen’s flawed yet sympathetic character. There is another scene shared between Cullen and Elam that shows just as much depth not just of Cullen’s character, but of Elam’s, too. That ties into what is perhaps the most powerful example of the show’s expert writing this season—the extended story arc involving the kidnapping of Elam and Eva’s daughter Rose.

Just as audiences see quite a bit of development in Cullen in each episode this season, so does the story arc involving the kidnapping of Rose help to develop both Elam and Eva. Elam’s softer yet more protective side comes out as he searches for whomever kidnapped his daughter. The story arc does have a positive outcome in the short run. That ending won’t be revealed here for the sake of those that haven’t yet had the chance to see this season. But it’s not all happy for long as things take a painful emotional turn. The turn in question ironically serves to flesh out Elam’s character even more than ever. One can’t help but feel for him in the long-term outcome. That audiences will left feeling so strongly about Elam exhibits once more why the writing in this season is some of the series’ best yet. There is plenty more that could be discussed in terms of how the writing in Season Three makes it a success. But there is neither time nor space enough for that without one losing interest in this review. So on to the next topic.

The second aspect of Hell on Wheels’ third season box set that makes it a success is the acting on the part of the show’s cast. Having worked together on the series’ first two hugely successful seasons, it is obvious that a certain amount of chemistry has developed between the cast members. That chemistry has made the acting even more natural in this season. The end result is acting that allows audiences to completely suspend their disbelief and be pulled into the world crafted collectively by the writers and the actors. There’s even some light humor thrown in for good measure to lighten the tension that runs throughout the town and its people. And people won’t be able to help but laugh at those brief moments of humor. Audiences will agree that this helps to solidify the cast’s acting as an important part of the whole. And together with the solid writing, it puts this season’s set at the tipping point. There is one final part of the whole that puts this box set over that proverbial tipping point—the bonus material.

The bonus material included in Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season continues the tradition established by eOne in the box sets containing Seasons One and Two. Audiences are offered a recap of Season Two in order to help viewers catch back up before Season Four starts next month. And as with the previously released box sets, this set also includes companion “Inside the Episodes” featurettes with each episode. And of course, the standard “Behind-The-Scenes” featurettes are there, too. So not only can viewers catch up before Season Four starts next month, but they are given a thorough look behind the cameras once again. They are allowed to see the work that went into bringing Season Three to life. That combination of elements works with the writing and acting in Season Three to put it over the top. Collectively, it shows once and for all why this box set is one of the year’s top new box sets for adults.

Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season will be available next Tuesday, July 15th in stores and online. It will be available both on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on Hell on Wheels is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/HellonWheelsAMC, http://www.amc.com/shows/hell-on-wheels, and http://twitter.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.

eOne Announces Release Date, Info For Hell On Wheels Season Three

Courtesy:  eOne/AMC

Courtesy: eOne/AMC

Hell will rise again this summer.

Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, July 15th. Season Three follows the continuing saga of former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon as he works with the Union Pacific on its westward construction. Season Three picks up after the attack by a group of Native Americans on the railroad encampment that closed out Season Two. Also in Season Three, audiences see Cullen make his plans to take over the Union Pacific and get it across the country.

One of AMC’s top series, it has been credited for helping to modernize the once powerhouse Western genre on television. The upcoming complete third season’s release comes only weeks before the premiere of the series’ fourth season on Saturday, August 2nd.

Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season comes with its own compliment of bonus features along with every one of Season Three’s episodes. Those bonus features include: An inside look at Season Three, a recap of season two, a set tour with Common, Behind The Music featurettes, and an “Inside The Episode” featurette with each of Season Three’s ten episodes.

Season Four will retail for SRP of $39.98 on DVD and $49.98 on Blu-ray. More information on Hell on Wheels is available online at http://www.facebook.com/HellOnWheelsAMC, http://www.amc.com/shows/hell-on-wheels, and http://twitter.com/HellOnWheelsAMC. More information on this and other releases from eOne is available online via Twitter at http://twitter.com/eOneHomeVideo. 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.

Little Ones Will Love eOne’s Latest Wheels On The Bus DVD

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

The latest collection of episodes from eOne’s series The Wheels on the Bus is another fun time for children, parents, and teachers. It’s a good fit for toddlers and pre-school age children. That’s thanks to the mix of music and lessons shared throughout the three episodes contained on the disc. That’s just part of what makes the DVD another piece worth watching. The total run time of the DVD is roughly thirty-six minutes. That makes the run time of each of the episodes about twelve minutes total. That’s just about right for the attention span of the program’s intended viewers. That aspect along with the combination of songs and lessons in each episode makes this DVD all the more fun for young viewers and their families.

The main factor that makes The Wheels on the Bus: A Day at the Farm another fun DVD from eOne and One Happy Child is the combination of more musical numbers and lessons spread across the DVD’s three episodes. The songs included in each episode include even more new verses to the beloved children’s song. The new verses written for each episode don’t necessarily apply directly to the episodes themselves. That doesn’t take away anything from the verses. They’ll actually have younger viewers singing and dancing along just as much as the song’s original verses. And the songs written specifically for each episode’s given story will have younger viewers singing and dancing along just as much. This applies even in the end credits sequence for each episode. Each episode has its own outtakes during its end credits. And along with the outtakes is another original song that makes the viewing experience even more enjoyable.

The musical numbers included within the context of each episode are just part of what makes the DVD in whole enjoyable for younger viewers. The lessons shared throughout the episodes add to each episode’s enjoyment. There is a lesson about the importance of healthy eating in one episode. Another teaches about service dogs. It teaches how they are trained from their puppy years up through their adult years. The DVD’s opening episode teaches a lesson about the different animals on the farm. This short lesson is a good starting point for both parents and teachers in discussing the different kinds of animals that live on a farm. It could potentially lead to a field trip of sorts to a farm. The lesson about healthy eating is a great starting point in a discussion for teachers and parents alike to discuss healthy eating habits. This is especially the case considering the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. It’s one more positive to the DVD’s overall viewing experience.

The lessons and the music contained in the episodes on The Wheels on the Bus: A Day at the Farm make up a big part of what makes the DVD in whole enjoyable for children and adults. There is still one more factor to consider in the overall enjoyment of this DVD. That factor is the total run time of the three episodes together. The total run time of this DVD is roughly thirty-six minutes. That puts the total run time of each of the DVD’s three episodes at around twelve minutes tops. Considering that the target audience age of the series is kids ages 1 – 5, a twelve minute run time is just right. Given, the attention span of most viewers in that age range is not that long. But the use of the catchy tunes and lessons taught at the level of said viewers will keep the attention of those viewers just long enough. Keeping this in mind, the DVD in whole becomes all the more enjoyable whether used in the classroom or the living room. It becomes a piece that parents, teachers, and students should give at least one watch.

The Wheels on the Bus: A Day at the Farm is available now on DVD in stores and online. It was released this past Tuesday, June 3rd. It can be ordered online from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Wheels-Bus-Day-at-Farm/dp/B00J5BCV5M/ref=sr_1_8?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1402243779&sr=1-8&keywords=The+Wheels+on+the+Bus. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at http://entertainmentone.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 WWI Mini-Series Is A Must See For History Buffs Of All Kinds

Courtesy:  Entertainment One/American Heroes Channel

Courtesy: Entertainment One/American Heroes Channel

World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are the most talked about conflicts in military history.  The trio has been fodder for more movies and television specials than can be counted on two hands alone.  They aren’t the only conflicts that have shaped the history of world, though.  As many stories have come from these conflicts, there is one conflict in particular that has never fully received the attention that it deserves.  The conflict in question is the First World War.  Much like World War II, WWI started in Europe.  But it started for a much different reason than did World War II as audiences will learn in watching this in depth-reissue of the Military Channel mini-series.  The information shared throughout the program’s eight-plus hours is just a single part of what makes this re-issued mini-series well worth the watch.  The accompanying vintage footage of pre-wartime Europe and Europe during the war is another positive to the presentation as a whole.  Last but most definitely not least, the entire program is singularly narrated.  The people behind the documentary didn’t rely on celebrity “experts” to help move the program along. That final factor makes this three-disc set one more that both history buffs and military history buffs will appreciate.

The First World War is an important presentation both for history buffs in general and more specifically for any military history buff. That is because of the amount and depth of information shared throughout the course of its eight-plus hours. It doesn’t just breeze over the war’s history with a few handfuls of highlights. Rather it traces the history of the war going beyond the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria that is said to have started the war. It goes all the way back to racial and political tensions between the various groups of the area that would eventually lead to said assassination. Audiences learn how the British actually used the Japanese to take over certain regions of China and so many other facts that aren’t taught in public schools or even in college level courses. That explains why the entire mini-series runs just over eight hours across three-discs. And it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that makes this set worth the watch.

The in-depth content that makes up The First World War is a solid foundation to the mini-series in whole. It presents to audiences far more information than could be presented over the course of an academic year in public schools.   It presents even more than could be presented over the course of a semester in a college level course, too. Audiences will also appreciate the use of the vintage pictures and footage incorporated into the mini-series, too. Footage from the days of World War II is far more plentiful (or so it would seem) than from the days of World War I. It makes the footage presented here all the more valuable and important in understanding what was going on in the world in the days and months leading up to the start of World War I and even during the war itself. And along with the diary readings offered throughout the program, It makes the presentation as a whole even more interesting for any history buff in general and military history buff. That leads to one more point of equal importance in this mini-series. The point in question is the lack of “expert” and celebrity guests to discuss the events of the war.

Most specials, series, and mini-series centered on the world’s various important historical events that air on television are accompanied by “expert” and celebrity guests. The “expert” guests all have their share of valuable information. But the inclusion of celebrity guests to narrate, do readings and otherwise just make appearances is little more than a marketing ploy used to get eyeballs. And being that this mini-series originally aired on the American Heroes Channel (formerly Military Channel), it’s rather interesting to note that those behind this program didn’t employ such a marketing ploy. It’s interesting because programs run on other Discovery Communications networks do in fact use that angle. It’s nice to sit back and watch this program without some celebrity or alleged “expert” adding his or her own two cents every few minutes or so. It’s just one narrator, vintage footage, and a straight, pure history of a war that deserves far more coverage than it has ever received from any network or filmmaker. It collectively makes The First World War a must see for anyone that has any interest at all in history in general and in military history.

The First World War is available now. It can be ordered now online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/First-World-War-Woodrow-Wilson/dp/B00IS6WPT2/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1401566849&sr=1-1&keywords=The+First+World+War. More information on this and other programs from American Heroes Channel is available at http://www.ahctv.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.

EOne’s New Horror Comedy Is Full Of Frights And Fun

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

One part stoner flick, one part buddy comedy, and one part horror spoof, Entertainment One’s new horror comedy Knights of Badassdom (yes, that’s really its title) is an outrageously over-the-top  story that any of today’scollege frat boy audiences will enjoy watching at least once.  It’s obvious right from the story’s outset that it was not meant to be taken with a single grain of seriousness.  It centers on a group of twenty-something friends that have to face off against a succubus from Hell after their obsession with live action role playing (LARPing)—yes, that is a real thing, not just something cooked up for this movie—goes a little bit too far.  The completely outrageous script behind this story is central to its intended audiences being able to enjoy it.  Equally important to the story’s enjoyment is the acting on the part of the cast.  And of course, what home release is complete without its special features?  There are actually some interesting tidbits shared through the movie’s bonus features that make the movie more interesting.  Those tidbits, the cast’s acting and the outrageous, over-the-top story make this indie horror spoof a movie well worth watching at least once.

Co-writers Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wallhave crafted a story in Knights of Badassdom.  Dreyfuss and Wall have done so much with so little that it is difficult to know where exactly to begin in examining their script.  On the surface, Knights of Badassdom works because of its silly factor.  It is just a good, fun, and slightly gruesome turn-off-your-brain flick.  It’s one part stoner flick, one part buddy comedy, and one part horror spoof that has absolutely no intention of taking itself the least bit seriously.  On a deeper level, one could argue that there’s a story of a group of men forced to grow up if only a little because they got what they’d always wished for and then some during their make believe games.  That’s thanks to them having accidentally unleashMatted a succubus from Hell during one of their imaginary ceremonies.  At first the five friends think that they’re just taking part in a weekend of LARPing (Live Action Role Playing)—yes it is in fact real and not something conjured up for this story.  But when people start turning up dead, they start to realize that there is an evil force among them.  The friends—Hung (Peter Dinklage), Gwen (Summer Glau), Eric (Steve Zahn), Joe (Ryan Kwanten), and Ronnie Kwok (Jimmi Simpson)—end up having to face that evil force and stop it once and for all, essentially allowing them to finally live out their make believe fantasies for real.  Any viewer that can take this movie for the all-out nonsensical work that it is will appreciate all of the inanity (and insanity).  Those viewers will agree in watching the story that it is funny enough that it is worth at least one watch.

The story behind Knights of Badassdom has so many different facets about it that even as intentionally nonsensical as it was, it was still entertaining.  Helping the story’s entertainment was the acting on the part of the movie’s cast.  Led by actor Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), the cast’s interaction with one another throughout the story made for more than a few laughs.  And their portrayals of the stereotypical people in the role playing culture are just as entertaining.  One can’t help but laugh watching Steve Zahn as the wanna-be wizard, casting his “spells.” And Jimmi Simpson’s portrayal of the controlling, somewhat egotistical “game master” Ronnie Kwok is a complete laugh riot. Both Summer Glau and Peter Dinklage add their own charm, to the mix, too. The whole cast together will have viewers laughing nonstop right to the final scenes.

The movie’s cast and its interpretation of the movie’s script work together to make it a surprisingly entertaining work. It’s the cast’s interpretation of the script that makes all of the total absurdity believable and entertaining all at once. There is still one remaining factor in this new release from Entertainment One that makes it the surprisingly enjoyable work that it is. That last factor is the movie’s bonus material. The interview with director Joe Lynch is the best of the bonus features. Lynch discusses in his interview his love of the classic 1980s horror flicks and how that influenced his direction on this movie. Even more interesting is his mention of special effects company Spectral Motion making the monster and handling all of the special effects for this movie. He discusses how he wanted to have an actual monster and real special effects versus the far too overused CG effects employed by Hollywood’s biggest studios. That devotion to using the physical versus the digital made a big difference in the movie. Sure the monster looked cheesy. But as Lynch notes in his interview, it was supposed to look cheesy.   It was part of that homage to the 80s monster movies that Lynch grew up watching. Audiences will be amazed even more to learn that Spectral Motion is the company behind the creatures seen in Hellboy and Hellboy II. That such a well-known and equally respected company would offer its services for an indie horror flick—an indie horror spoof even—speaks volumes. And it paid off in a big way. Audiences will appreciate Lynch’s interview when they see it in its entirety. They will also appreciate the acting on the part of the movie’s cast and the script, penned by co-writers Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall. Audiences will appreciate all of these factors and more that they will find for themselves when they order the movie on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be ordered online now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Knights-Badassdom-Blu-ray-Peter-Dinklage/dp/B00HOGRJQG/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1398801394&sr=1-2&keywords=knights+of+badassdom.

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.

Chimaira Releases New Video, Hits The Road Again

Chimaira Tour Poster

Cleveland’s own Chimaira kicks off its “Celebrate the Chaos” tour this weekend.  In coordination with this announcement, the band has also released the video for its latest single.  ‘Wrapped in Violence’ is the third single from Crown of Phantoms, the band’s seventh full length studio release.  The video was filmed in black and white and features footage of the band performing its new single.  It can be viewed online via YouTube now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNelTL6QpvI&feature=youtu.be.

The band’s new tour kicks off Thursday, January 30th at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see the band perform live, too.  The band is scheduled to perform three dates in North Carolina.  The first of those dates is Friday, February 7th in Hooligans in Jacksonville, NC. It will be followed by a live show Saturday, February 8th at the Drunk Horse Pub in Fayetteville, NC.  The third of the band’s North Carolina shows will be at The Casbah @ The Fremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC.  The full tour listing for Chimaira’s “Celebrate The Chaos” tour is below.

1/30/14 — Worcester, MA The Palladium (Upstairs)

1/31/14 — Wilmington, DE Mojo 13

02/01/14 — Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance (16+)

02/04/14 — Amityville, NY Revolution (16+)

02/05/14 — Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar

02/06/14 — Reading, PA Reverb

02/07/14 — Jacksonville, NC Hooligan’s

02/08/14 — Fayetteville, NC Drunk Horse Pub

02/09/14 — Charlotte, NC The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall

02/11/14 — Knoxville, TV NV Nightclub (18+)

02/12/14 — Atlanta, GA The Masquerade

02/14/14 — St. Petersburg, FL The State Theater

02/15/14 — Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall

02/17/14 — Broussard, LA The Station (18+)

02/18/14 — Shreveport, LA Riverside Warehouse (21+)

02/21/14 — Kokomo, IN Center Stage

02/22/14 — Louisville, KY Diamond Pub & Billiards (18+)

02/23/14 — Newport, KY Thompson House (18+)

More information on Chimaira’s new single, album, tour and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/chimaira, http://twitter.com/ChimairaBand and http://www.chimaira.com.

Black Label Society Tapped To Headline Revolver Golden Gods Tour

Courtesy: eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Veteran hard rock band Black Label Society has been tapped to headline this year’s annual Revolver Golden Gods Tour presented by Epiphone.  The announcement comes only weeks after the announcement that the band—fronted by legendary guitarist/vocalist Zakk Wylde—will release its latest album Catacombs of the Black Vatican April 8th.

This year’s Revolver Golden Gods tour presented by Epiphone spans thirty-two cities.  It kicks off Wednesday, April 16th in Seattle, Washington and winds down Saturday, June 7th at the home of Black Label Society, Los Angeles California.  The complete Revolver Golden Gods Tour presented by Epiphone schedule is listed below.

Wed/Apr-16  Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
Thu/Apr-17  Portland, OR @ Roseland
Fri/Apr-18  Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Sat/Apr-19  Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater
Mon/Apr-21  Billings, MT @ Shrine Auditorium
Fri/Apr-25  Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
Sat/Apr-26  Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
Tue/Apr-29  Ybor City, FL (Tampa) @ The Ritz
Wed/Apr-30  Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
Fri/May-02  Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
Sun/May-04  Silver Spring, MD @ Fillmore
Mon/May-05  Clifton Park, NY (Albany) @ Northern Lights
Wed/May-07  Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Thu/May-08  Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
Fri/May-09  Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Sat/May-10  New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Mon/May-12  Norfolk, VA @ Norva
Tue/May-13  Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
Thu/May-15  Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Sat/May-17  Ft. Wayne, IN @ Piere’s
Mon/May-19  Sioux Falls, SD @ The District
Tue/May-20   Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
Wed/May-21  St. Paul, MN (Minneapolis) @ Myth
Fri/May-23  Grand Prairie, TX (Dallas) @ Verizon Theater
Tue/May-27  New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
Wed/May-28  Houston, TX @ House of Blues
Sun/Jun-01  Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater
Mon/Jun-02  Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex – Rockwell
Wed/Jun-04  Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
Thu/Jun-05  Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
Fri/Jun-06  San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
Sat/Jun-07  Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theater

Along with its upcoming headlining spot on the Revolver Golden Golds Tour presented by Epiphone, Black Label Society will also present its own thirteen-city Canadian tour.  That tour will feature the band performing some somewhat stripped down versions of its hits as well as songs from Wylde’s solo album, Book of Shadows.

‘My Dying Time’, the lead single from BLS’ upcoming album, can be downloaded now via iTunes.  It can be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/my-dying-time-single/id798941029.  The album in its entirety can be pre-ordered via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/catacombs-black-vatican-deluxe/id799689367?ls=1.  The album’s track listing is available below.

01. Fields Of Unforgiveness
02. My Dying Time
03. Believe
04. Angel Of Mercy
05. Heart Of Darkness
06. Beyond The Down
07. Scars
08. Damn The Flood
09. I’ve Gone Away
10. Empty Promises
11. Shades Of Gray
12. Dark Side Of The Sun (bonus track)
13. The Nomad (bonus track)

More information on Black Label Society’s upcoming album and tours is available online at http://www.zakkwylde.com, http://twitter.com/zakkwyldebls, http://www.facebook.com/zakkwylde and http://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety.  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.

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.

Black Label Society Releases Album Art, Track Listing For Upcoming LP

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Zakk Wylde and his Black Label brethren have released the official track listing and album art for the upcoming Black Label Society album, Catacombs of the Black Vatican.  Also released is the album’s lead single, ‘My Dying Time.’  The single is available now online via iTunes.  The track listing for Catacombs of the Black Vatican is available below.

01. Fields Of Unforgiveness

02. My Dying Time


03. Believe


04. Angel Of Mercy


05. Heart Of Darkness


06. Beyond The Down


07. Scars


08. Damn The Flood


09. I’ve Gone Away


10. Empty Promises


11. Shades Of Gray


12. Dark Side Of The Sun (bonus track)


13. The Nomad (bonus track)

Catacombs of the Black Vatican will be available in stores and online via eOne on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014.  It is first full length studio album from Black Label Society since 2009’s Order of The Black, which debuted on the Billboard Top 200 Chart at #4.  The band’s most recent recording, Unblackened, was released in 2013 on both a double-disc CD set an Blu-ray. The performance taped for that live performance was recorded at L.A.’s Club Nokia.  Two live dates are currently planned for the band this Spring. The first of those dates is on May 16th in Columbus, Ohio.  The other, a performance at the annual Rockfest festival, is scheduled for May 30th.  More information on the band’s tour schedule, its upcoming schedule and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety and http://www.blacklabelsociety.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.