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.

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IFC Films Releasing New Rom-Com Just In Time For Valentine’s Day

Courtesy:  IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

IFC Films is releasing a new romantic comedy just in time for Valentine’s Day this year.  A Case of You, starring Justin Long (She’s Just Not That Into You, Live Free or Die Hard, Going The Distance), Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle, Airheads, Dudley Do-Right), Evan Rachel Wood (Across The Universe, The Ides of March, Mildred Pierce) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), is a story set in the age of digital dating.  When writer Sam (Justin Long) creates an overly embellished online dating profile to win over his love interest Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), it works a little too well.  The result is that Sam must make a choice between telling Birdie the truth about himself or trying to maintain his façade.  Veteran actor Vince Vaughan (Wedding Crashers, The Intern, Anchorman) makes an appearance, too. He plays Sam’s boss Alan.

A Case of You will entertain any of today’s audiences because of its believability.  It explores the sometimes laughable lengths to which we as people will go for love.  Also signed on for the new rom-com are :  Sam Rockwell, Sienna Miller, Peter Billingsley, Busy Philipps, and Keir O’Donnell.  O’Donnel was one of the movie’s writers along with Justin Long and his brother Christian Long.  It is long’s first movie as a writer and producer.  Kait Coiro (And While We Were Here) directed the movie.  It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, February 4th from IFC Films for MSRPs of $24.98 and $29.98 respectively.

More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at http://www.IFCFilms.com and http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial.  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.

Da Vinci’s Demons A Surprise Hit In Its Debut Season

Courtesy:  Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Da Vinci’s Demons is not the first historically based drama on television today.  It is however, one of the best.  And now thanks to Starz and Anchor Bay, those that aren’t lucky enough to have Starz network can experience the first season of this hit series for themselves on DVD and Blu-ray.  The first season of Da Vinci’s Demons is so entertaining first and foremost because of its clever writing. Unlike so many other historical dramas, this one is more centered on action and adventure than drama.  It’s one part Indiana Jones and one part…well…Da Vinci’s Code tied into one.  Audiences will also appreciate the work on the part of the show’s cast throughout all eight of Season One’s episodes.  And of course what box set would be complete without at least some bonus features?  The bonus features included in Da Vinci’s Demons Season One are relatively brief.  But they play their own part in making the overall presentation of Season One enjoyable.  These aspects taken into consideration, they work in tandem to make this debut season one that is a must see for any fan of historical dramas.

The most important element of Da Vinci’s Demons Season One is its writing.  Credit where credit is due.  Series creator and writer David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Blade Trilogy) has crafted in the series’ first season that is a more akin to Indiana Jones than say Game of Thrones.  It just used setting in question as the backdrop for all of the action.  Goyer and his staff of writers are more than deserving of respect for balancing the story of his search for the “Book of Leaves” with his being wrapped up in the political and religious turmoil of the time.  It would have been so easy for the two separate story lines to step on one another, especially considering the depth of each story line.  Keeping in mind the depth of the story arcs throughout Season One, viewers will have to be fully invested in each episode in order to fully appreciate them.  One cannot simply have any of Season One’s episodes playing while one does housework, etc. and expect to have a full appreciation for the writing.  This is a good thing, too.  It is good because in being fully invested in each episode, audiences will see the value of and originality in each episode and the first season overall.

The writing behind any TV show and movie is the backbone of each.  It can make or break the given TV show or movie.  By direct correlation, the work of the show’s cast makes the show even more of a joy to watch.  Actor Tom Riley aptly fills the role of a young Leonardo Da Vinci opposite his equally talented cast mates.  He shows his acting chops quite well with this subtle wit and control over his character’s deeper emotions.  There are those actors that tend to ham it up on both ends of that spectrum.  But Riley doesn’t do that.  It makes him all the more fun to watch.   He and his cast mates collectively make suspension of disbelief easy, too.  This should come as no surprise considering the resumes of some of the main cast.  The cast is comprised of rather well trained theater actors that are just as experienced in their craft as they are trained.  Elliot Cowan (Lorenzo Medici) is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.  He also holds a degree in Drama from Birmingham University.  He has starred in a number of major films including Alexander (2004) and The Golden Compass (2007).  Viewers will recognize Gregg Chillin (Zoroaster) from his roles in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  And those that have seen Nanny McPhee Returns will likely recognize actor Eros Vlahos.  Vlahos played Cyril Gray in that movie.  He has also starred in none other than Game of Thrones as Lommy Greenhands.  The collective resume of the cast of Da Vinci’s Demons goes on for quite some time.  But one can tell from this microscopic look at that resume just why suspension of disbelief was so easy and why the cast gelled so well together.  It’s one more aspect of the show that makes it such a surprise hit.

The casting and writing behind Da Vinci’s Demons are integral to the show’s success.  Also noteworthy in this triple-disc box set is the bonus features.  The primary bonus features included in the set take viewers into the recording studio, where the show’s soundtrack was recorded.  Also included among the bonus features are the standard deleted scenes, and a look behind the scenes of the show.  Each feature is a short vignette.  But they do their own part to make the overall experience richer.  Even more important to Season One is the inclusion of bonus commentary as well as the option to play each episode with a recap of the previous episodes.  The recap is especially helpful regardless of whether or not one missed any of the episodes presented in this set.  Even if a person has seen each episode, a recap helps remind viewers of what has already happened.  Considering that each episode is just over an hour in length, it makes the recaps even more important an addition to each episode.  It is the proverbial cherry on the sundae that makes Season One of Da Vinci’s Demons such a surprise hit.  Along with the show’s writing and its acting, it makes this box set all the more worth picking up.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Anchor Bay Entertainment’s website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=fd093f1f-88ae-e211-b6d4-d4ae527c3b65.  More information on this and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Starz is available online at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com and http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Starz Announces Release Date For The White Queen Home Release

Courtesy:  Starz Entertainment

Courtesy: Starz Entertainment

Starz Entertainment has officially announced the release date for the home release of its hit mini-series, The White Queen.  The ten-episode mini-series will be released Tuesday, February 4th.  The story re-tells the infamous “War of the Roses” from the standpoint of the women involved in the feud.  Those women were Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville.  They were part of the feud between the House of York and the House of Lancaster that took place in 1464.  The feud in question was centered on who was the rightful King of England.  After Edward IV is crowned king and falls in love with Lancastrian commoner Elizabeth Woodville, a conflict arises between her and her rivals, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville.  Each one will do whatever it takes to gain the power of the crown.

The White Queen will be released on DVD and Blu-ray/UV combo pack on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014, just in time for Valentines Day.  Both sets will come with plenty of bonus features.  The features in question are listed below.

Bonus Features:

  • The Making Of THE WHITE QUEEN
  • Series Overview
  • Book To Series
  • The History Behind THE WHITE QUEEN
  • THE WHITE QUEEN: Set Tour
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • The King
  • The Heir Apparent
  • Woman In A Man’s World
  • Conjuring Up The Queen/Magic
  • Dressing The Queen/Wardrobe

 

MSRP for the DVD and Blu-ray/UV sets are $49.98 and $59.98 respectively.  More information on these and other releases from Starz Entertainment is available online at http://www.starz.com, http://www.facebook.com/Starz, and http://twitter.com/starz_channel.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

3rd Rock’s Season 6 A Funny Finale For Former Standout NBC Sitcom

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Today’s sitcoms are anything family friendly.  They have become increasingly over laden with sexual innuendo, foul language, and completely dumbed down humor.  These are the main complaints that are received by many audiences about many of the sitcoms currently airing on television’s “Big 4”, and even on some cable based comedies.  Thank goodness for companies Mill Creek Entertainment for offering audiences an alternative to the mostly blue humor that pollutes today’s comedies.  One of the most recent of those alternatives from Mill Creek Entertainment is the release of NBC’s hit sitcom, 3rd Rock from the Sun Season Six.

The sixth and final season of the once powerhouse NBC comedy is just as funny as the show’s previous five seasons thanks once again to the show’s writers.  The Solomon family continues trying to learn the ways of humans in its ongoing mission, all while creating its own share of laughs along the way.  Dick learns in the show’s final season that he’s *gasp* Canadian.  The Solomon family also temporarily takes on new lives in an alternate universe.  And Tommy experiences the human experience that is college.  These are just a few of the funny moments that fill out the final season of 3rd Rock from the Sun.  That’s not all that makes this season such a joy.  A who’s who of guest stars appears throughout Season six, too, adding to the laughs.  A whole slew of fellow NBC stars come in this season including former Saturday Night Live cast members Darrell Hammond, Tracy Morgan, and Ana Gasteyer.  Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU) and Mark McKinney (The Kids in the Hall) and singer Elvis Costello also show up this season.  Even as small as their parts are, the guest stars add their own comic element to the show, making it even more entertaining.

The writing in 3rd Rock’s final season is just as entertaining as it was in the series’ premiere season.  Some might have considered it a bit of a cheap thing to do a Saturday Night Live crossover and a slight pump for Law & Order: SVU.  But it all works quite well in the two-part episode, “Dick’ll Take Manhattan.”  The writers, probably knowing it was the show’s last season, take a playful stab at then fellow NBC hit, Saturday Night Live and even the NBC brass as Harry becomes the head of the network.  The writers didn’t just take a stab at NBC.  They even poked fun at HBO’s then hit show, Sex and the City, with Sally (Kristen Johnston) taking the place of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie.  It gets even funnier, with each member of the cast having their own hilarious moments.  This standout episode was just one that served as a tribute to the wit of the show’s writers.  Fans will also love the semi-political comedy of “Red, White & Dick.”  This episode sees Dick discovering that he is Canadian in his quest to become more American.  What it is about this kind of joke that makes it so funny is anyone’s guess.  Canada seems to be the butt of so many jokes in American entertainment.  But it is hilarious nonetheless, and it serves as a solid cornerstone for Dick’s attempts to become more American and in the same vein, more human.  It will have any viewer laughing till they cry.

The writing behind each episode of 3rd Rock’s final season offers nonstop laughs in every episode.  It’s a prime example of what used to make NBC a powerhouse network during the 1990s.  The cameo guest spots don’t hurt, either.  Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) appears as Mary’s (Jane Curtin) sister Renita Albright this season.  She sets out to steal Dick from Mary purely out of sibling rivalry.  That adults could be such strong rivals goes back to the show’s solid writing.  Audiences will love watching Mary and Renita going back and forth, sniping at one another like two little children.  Mullally is just one of the many guest stars that made an appearance this season.  Richard Belzer, Tracy Morgan, and Ana Gasteyer—all NBC stars—made appearances, as did singer Elvis Costello.  Costello made an appearance in the series finale.  The others all appeared in the two-parter, “Dick’ll Take Manhattan.”  Watching a then young Joseph Gordon-Levitt go toe to toe with the then rising SNL stars is a laugh riot.  Who ever would have thought that Tommy would date Ana Gasteyer.  And his moments with Tracy Morgan are just as funny.

The writing and the guest spots together make this final season a fitting way to close out what is by this critic’s view, one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th century.  The DVD release of this season has one more aspect that while not being perfect, is still good in its own right.  Mill Creek has packaged all three discs of this set in their own envelope.  Mill Creek Entertainment is the only company that packages DVDs in this fashion.  It isn’t a perfect packaging method, considering that the envelopes are not padded.  That would make them perfect.  But having them in envelopes allows audiences to take as many discs as they want when travelling instead of having to take an entire DVD case.  This is actually quite smart in its own right.  If the higher ups at Mill Creek would maintain its form of packaging and simply make the envelopes padded, it would make this packaging fashion quite impressive and the overall presentation of its multi-disc sets that much more impressive.  3rd Rock from the Sun Season Six is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered online via the Mill Creek Direct website at https://www.millcreekdirect.com/3rd-rock-from-the-sun-season-6.html. After ordering the three-disc set, audiences can find out about more releases from Mill Creek Entertainment on its official website, http://www.millcreekentertainment.com or its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at 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.

Escape From Planet Earth A Fun Escape For Families

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Company

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Company

Escape from Planet Earth (Anchor Bay Entertainment/Weinstein Company) was released to theaters in February 2013.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t last very long in theaters after its premiere.  The reason(s) why it didn’t last are anyone’s guess.  But the most probable of reasons would be its comparison to the 2009 family friendly CG “animated” sci-fi comedy, Planet 51.  There is no denying the comparisons to said story.  But in its defense, Planet 51 isn’t the only movie from which Escape from Planet Earth lifted.  There are also influences from the likes of Monsters, Inc. and Monsters vs. Aliens throughout this movie.  And while it does lift from previous movies, it does have some originality in terms of its messages and its comic elements.  Those comic elements include the sci-fi and pop culture spoofs made much in the same vein as in Planet 51.  The spoofs aren’t the same as in Planet 51, either.  This makes them that much funnier and helps to make up for the story’s less original aspects.

It’s difficult to honestly write this and call Escape from Planet Earth the most original movie of its kind.  That’s because of the fact that it can so easily be compared to the 2009 family friendly sci-fi comedy, Planet 51.  On the surface, Escape From Planet Earth can so easily be considered to be Planet 51 in reverse.  Instead of the human astronaut trying to escape from the alien planet, this time, it’s the aliens trying to escape Earth.  It’s not the only movie to which this work can be compared.  It can also be compared to Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (2001).  The comparison to that movie comes in the form of General Shanker’s (William Shatner—Star Trek) soldiers.  A close look at the men will bring viewers to note that his men are always running around in yellow, rubber hazmat suits that cover their entire bodies, including their faces.  This is very much in the same style as the agents of the Child Detection Agency from Monsters, Inc.  And the general story itself makes it just as easily compared to Dreamworks’ Monsters vs. Aliens.  It’s just that movie as much in reverse as Planet 51 in reverse.  Knowing all of these influences takes away quite a bit from the movie.  But for all that is taken away from it, Escape From Planet Earth isn’t without its positives.

Writers Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen (hmmmmm Bob, planet Bob…..coincidence?) did a lot of lifting from other previous CG based family friendly sci-fi flicks to make Escape from Planet Earth.  For all of the comparisons that can be made, what can be said of this creation is that it does still manage to save itself.  It saves itself thanks to its theme of family bonds and its pop culture and sci-fi spoofs made throughout the nearly ninety minute movie.  The theme of the family bond is something that those other family films don’t have.  So this serves to help set this movie apart from those movies and give it its own identity.

Just as the movie’s theme of family bonds helps to set it apart from other movies of its ilk, the pop culture and sci-fi references made throughout the movie help to set it apart even more.  The jokes are quite plentiful throughout the course of the movie’s run time.  There are jokes about classic 1950s sci-fi flicks, conspiracy theories and even a subtle stab at director James Cameron.  It’s so subtle that if a person isn’t really watching closely, one will miss it.  Those that catch it will truly appreciate it, considering Cameron’s reputation when it comes to science fiction movies.  There are far more subtle jokes and pokes that are peppered throughout the movie.  And those that give this movie a chance will appreciate the movie even more for them.  In turn, they will see that while it may not be the most original movie in its genre, it really is a movie that is worth at least one watch.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from the Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=5b081188-3392-e211-b3c9-d4ae527c3b65.  Fans can also check in on all of the latest updates on new releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.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.

Burgos, Amidu Lead FNF July 26th

 

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is back again this week with another big card.  This week’s show is headlined by a bout between former Junior Lightweight and Featherweight title challenger Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos (30 – 1 – 1, 20 KOs, ESPN.com ranked #4 Junior Lightweight) and Yakubu “The Black Mamba” Amidu (18 – 4 – 1, 16 KOs).  The twelve-round fight comes to viewers live from the Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California.  It will be broadcast live at 9pm EST on ESPN2, WatchESPN, and broadband Spanish-Language ESPNDeportes+.  ESPN Deportes will carry Friday’s show Saturday, July 27th at 9pm EST.

 

Burgos, a native of Mexico, comes into this week’s main event on the heels of a twelve-round fight against Roman Martinez that ended in a draw.  The fight was a Junior Lightweight title fight.  ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael wrote of the bout, “Making his first defense, Martinez escaped with his belt on another highly debatable decision. Almost all of press row, as well as the Twitterverse and HBO’s Harold Lederman, had Burgos winning the fight. He hammered Martinez with hard body punches throughout the bout. According to CompuBox, Burgos landed more punches in 10 out of the 12 rounds. Burgos just seemed more in control, stronger and better able to do what he wanted to do. Martinez seemed to have a hard time dealing with his height and reach.”

 

Amidu also comes into this week’s main event looking to get back in the “Win” column after suffering a split-decision loss in his last fight, a ten-round bout against Haskell Rhodes.  Amidu’s co-manager and trainer, Baba Sumaila, discussed expectations for this week’s fight in a recent interview, expressing his confidence in his fighter in his comments.  “I’ve been working with Yakubu since he came to the United States,” he said.  “I managed his brother, Abdullai. So when Yakubu came here, I started working with him. Yakubu is always training. When we have a fight, he increases the tempo to make him more ready for the fight. We know our opponent is very good, but we’re ready for that. We are ready.”

 

Friday’s main event will be accompanied by a ten-round co-feature between Lightweights Miguel “Silky Smooth” Gonzalez (21 – 3, 15 KOs) and Josenilson “Jo” Dos Santos (24 – 1, 14 KOs).  Both fighters look to keep their “Win” column growing, coming into this week’s bout.  Gonzalez’s most recent fight ended in a unanimous decision win for him in ten rounds over former Lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta.  Dos Santos’ most recent match ended in a unanimous decision for him in a twelve-round fight against Carlos Rodriguez.

 

Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore will be on hand this week ringside to call all the action for ESPN2, while Todd Grisham will be in studio with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Delvin Rodriguez, and Pablo Viruega will have the call for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.  Leopoldo Gonzalez and Claudia Trejos will be in studio and Bernardo Osuna will have live interviews and reports for ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+. 

 

Fans of Friday Night Fights don’t have to be in attendance to be part of each week’s fight.  Fans can get the LiveFriday Night Fights app on the FNF Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf.  The app allows viewers to score the fights round-by-round from the comfort of their own home.  And while they score the fights, fans can stay up with all of the latest FNF news and more on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF and http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo

 

The latest Friday Night Fights schedule is listed below.

 

Upcoming Schedule:

 

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location   Networks
Fri., Aug 2 9 p.m. Javier Fortuna (22-0, 16 KOs) vs. Luis Franco (11-1, 7 KOs)—10 rounds, Featherweights  Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Okla.  ESPN2, ESPN Deportes,  WatchESPN
Fri., Aug 9 10 p.m. Rustam Nugaev (24-6-1, 14 KOs) vs. José Hernández (14-6-1, 6 KOs)—10 rounds, Lightweights  Morongo Casino, Cabazon, Calif.  ESPN2, ESPN ESPN Deportes+ , WatchESPN
Fri., Aug 16 9 p.m. Andrzej Fonfara (23-2, 13 KOs)  vs. Gabriel Campillo (22-5-1, 9 KOs)—12 rounds, Light Heavyweights U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago ESPN2, ESPN ESPN Deportes+ , WatchESPN
Fri., Aug 23 TBD Argenis Méndez (21-2, 11 KOs) vs. Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10 KOs)—12 rounds, Jr. Lightweights  Turning Stone Casino, Verona N.Y. ESPN2, ESPN ESPN Deportes+ , WatchESPN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Delta Rae Featured In New True Blood Trailer, Confirmed For More Performances

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Fans of HBO’s hit series, True Blood have been waiting anxiously for the show’s new season.  Now, a new trailer for Season Six has been released to the masses via YouTube.  And any fan of the show that lives in North Carolina will have even more reason to smile when they watch it.  That’s because Durham, North Carolina’s own Delta Rae is featured prominently in the trailer.  Or rather, the band’s music is featured.  The band’s debut single, ‘Bottom of The River’ from its Warner Brothers Records debut album, Carry The Fire is used as a music bed for the trailer.  The band was quite excited about having its music used in the trailer.  “We’ve been immense fans of True Blood since the pilot” vocalist Brittany Holljes explains.  “The show captures southern myth and the magic of American folklore — the same mysterious storytelling that inspires so much of our music. To go from dressing up like the whole cast (Yes, I was Sookie) for Halloween three years ago, to hearing our song on the trailer is utterly MIND BLOWING.”  The trailer for True Blood Season Six can be viewed on YouTube at http://youtu.be/tGgt_jllHcA.  The official video for the single can be viewed at http://youtu.be/bimam2j2gEgAnd fans can even check out a very special performance of the song with a group of young fans with Staten Island, NY’s famed PS22 Chorus.  The PS22 Chorus has also performed with Carrie Underwood, Rihanna, and a number of other famous artists.   Along with its performance of ‘Bottom of the River’, the band also performed renditions of ‘If I Loved You’, ‘Dance in the Graveyards’ and ‘Fire’ with its young fans.  Links to the performances are available via YouTube below. 

‘Bottom of the River’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76Ga_nWQrb8,

‘If I Loved You’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvTJ7LpraC4&feature=youtu.be

‘Dance in the Graveyards’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoi7e0_lvi0&feature=youtu.be

‘Fire’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8LzzF2q0BM&feature=youtu.be

Having its music used for the trailer for a hit TV show is just one of the many things going on for Delta Rae right now.  It has been scheduled to perform at this year’s annual Bonnaroo festival, Austin City Limits, Hangout Festival, Firefly, and Bumbershoot.   The dates are just part of a very busy Summer touring schedule, which is available below.

North American Summer Tour Dates:
05.18     Hangout Music Fest – Gulf Shores, AL
05.20     House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
05.21     Bronze Peacock/House of Blues – Houston, TX
05.23     The Kessler Theater – Dallas, TX
05.24     Levitt Pavilion – Arlington, TX (FREE)
05.25     The Parish Room – Austin, TX
05.28     The Vanguard – Tulsa, OK
05.30     Wakarusa Festival (Outpost Stage) – Ozark, AR
05.31     Wakarusa Festival (Main Stage) – Ozark, AR
06.01     Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival – Elmer, NJ
06.07     Smoky Hill River Festival (Eric Stein Stage) – Salina, KS
06.16     Bonnaroo Music Festival – Manchester, TN
06.20     Musikfest Cafe – Bethlehem, PA
06.22     Jefferson Theater – Charlottesville, VA
06.23     Firefly Music Festival – Dover, DE
06.27     Nashville Dancin’ – Nashville, TN (FREE)
06.28     The Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO
06.29     KANROCKSAS (Kansas Speedway) – Kansas City, KS
07.12     Bunbury Music Festival (Sawyer Point) – Cincinnati, OH
07.20     Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Concert Series – Napa, CA
07.21     The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, CA
07.27     FLOYDFEST – Floyd, VA
07.31     First Canadian Place (Outdoor Stage) – Peterborough, ON
08.01     First Canadian Place (Outdoor Stage) – Toronto, ON
08.02     Illuminaqua Festival – Welland, ON
09.02     Bumbershoot – Seattle, WA
09.20     Port City Music Hall – Portland, ME
10.04-06     Austin City Limits – Austin, TX
10.11-13     Austin City Limits – Austin, TX

To keep up with the latest tour news and more from Delta Rae, fans can go online to http://www.deltarae.com/tour/upcoming or its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/deltarae.  Fans can also stay up with all the latest from Delta Rae on Twitter at http://twitter.com/deltarae

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.

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes Re-Airing Pacquiao/Marquez Fight

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN Deportes and ESPN2 are going to re-air one of the biggest matches ever in the career of boxers Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez IV.  The six-round fight originally aired on HBO on December    8th.  It ended with Marquez defeating Pacquiao by KO in the bout’s sixth round.  Audiences that have ESPN Deportes will get a bonus with the match’s re-airing as Marquez will discuss the fight round by round with Jorge Eduardo Sanchez.  The discussions will take place between each round.  The fight, which was the third of three showdowns between the pair, was recently nominated by the Boxing Writers Association of America among its contenders for “Fight of the Year.”  The duo’s first match in 2008 was a split decision.  The second meeting ended with Pacquiao winning in 2011 by majority decision.

The third of the matches will be re-aired on ESPN Deportes tonight at 9pm and then again next Saturday night at 10pm.  The third re-airing will run on ESPN2 Friday, February 8th at 8pm.

To keep up with the latest news from ESPN Deportes and ESPN, go online to http://espndeportes.espn.go.com, http://www.facebook.com/ESPNDeportes, http://espn.go.com, and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, 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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN, Grantland Premiere New 30 For 30 Short

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

 

ESPN and Grantland have premiered the latest in the network’s 30 for 30 shorts series.  Ali: The Mission can be viewed online now at grantland.com.  The short, which is narrated by music star John Legend, follows boxer Muhammad Ali’s 1990 mission to free hostages being held in Iraq.  Ali’s mission in question took him to Iraq and a face to face meeting with then dictator Saddam Hussein.  Ali met with Hussein to try and negotiate the release of Americans who had been taken hostage after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.  The hostages in question were being used as “human shields” to try and prevent American forces from striking the region.  Ali’s mission was a success, bringing home a total of fifteen hostages.  And six weeks afterwards, the U.S. embarked on Operation Desert Storm on January 16th, 1991. 

When asked about Ali and narrating this latest short, Legend said, “There are so many stories and myths out there about The Greatest, but this one struck a personal chord with me as I don’t know that people today are even aware of Ali’s immense philanthropic work or this specific mission to Iraq before Desert Storm began.”  He went on to share his thoughts on being part of ESPN’s latest project saying, “Entertainers and athletes are often blessed with a platform from which to improve the world, and it was an honor for me to be the voice of this film showcasing the incredible journey Ali made that changed the lives of these hostages forever.”

The new short was directed by Amani Martin (Benji, HBO’s Brooklyn Dodgers, The Ghosts of Flatbush).  It features interviews with and stories from the hostages themselves.  The individuals in question will share their stories and reactions to everything that unfolded through Ali’s negotiations with Hussein.  It can be viewed at grantland.com now at http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8849155/the-latest-offering-new-30-30-documentary-series or at ESPN online at http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=ali-the-mission.

To keep up with all the latest news on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and http://www.espn.com/30for30

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, 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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.