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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Advertisements

Are Khloe And Lamar Back Together? That And More In The New Issue Of Us Weekly

Courtesy:  DKC Public Relations

Courtesy: DKC Public Relations

It’s Khloe and Lamar Take Two.  In the new November 11th issue of Us Weekly magazine, Odom has allegedly apologized to Khloe and asked for her forgiveness according to an insider close to the situation.  The unnamed insider said of Lamar’s apology, “Lamar broke down and apologized deeply to her” and that “he got clean, and that’s why she started talking to him again.  She was willing to give him a second chance.”  The article also quotes the anonymous figure as saying that Khloe wasn’t the only one that had to be won over.  His mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, was in attendance at the time of Odom’s apology and that while she was forgiving, she had a small warning for the NBA star.  “She told him she loved him and he said the same.  But she also told him, ‘Don’t you ever do this again.’”

Also in the new issue of Us Weekly, Hart of Dixie star Rachel Bilson is featured in this week’s ’25 Things You Don’t Know About Me.’  Here’s a quick look at some of the things fans might not know about her.

–“I was in a full-on standoff fight with my pet pig; it ended in tears.”

–“The most starstruck I’ve ever been was when I saw Larry David.”

–“Paul Rudd is my hero.”

–“I was memorized the entire dance to Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U” and performed it in my living room.”

In “Hot Hollywood” section, Us Weekly takes a look at just how much celebrities charge to make appearances.  Kristin Stewart, star of the Twilight franchise, charged $500,000 just to spend fifteen minutes with a prince that donated money to the Hurricane Sandy relief fund.  And veteran action star Sylvester Stallone was at the recent New York Comic Con, charging $445 for photos.

The features noted here are just part of what readers have to look forward to in the new issue of Us Weekly.  The November 11th issue also includes features on Prince George, Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, and an exclusive interview with Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey.  That’s all in the new issue of Us Weekly.  More information on this and other stories from Us Weekly is available online at http://www.facebook.com/UsWeekly and http://www.UsMagazine.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bernie And Ernie Closes Out ESPN’s Fall “Season” Of 30 For 30

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN and ESPN Films wind down the Fall 2013 edition of 30 for 30 next Tuesday, November 5th.  The Worldwide leader in sports finishes off this season of its Peabody Award-winning series by taking viewers into the world of college basketball in Bernie and Ernie.

Bernie and Ernie takes viewers into the relationship between former college basketball stars Bernard King and Ernie Grunfield.  The pair rose to fame as the center of the University of Tennessee’s men’s college basketball team in the mid-1970s.  Between them, the pair scored on average fifty points per game.  Their rise to fame eventually led to a cover story for Sports Illustrated.  While things were coming up roses for the pair in the public eye, things were much different for the two men behind closed doors.  There was a distance between the players during their years together on the team.  That was because of their different upbringings.  King lived hard growing up.  Despite being devout Christians, King’s parents offered little to no emotional support to him as he nurtured his talent.  And during his college years, he had to endure acts of racial bigotry.

Ernie Grunfeld had a different upbringing than his team mate.  As a child, the young Romanian immigrant spoke no English at all.  But by his teen years, he was being recruited by some two hundred colleges.  He had no clue about everything that King was enduring while the pair were attending the university of Tennessee.  This is what would eventually lead to a distance between the players.  However, years after they left the Volunteers, the pair would end up reuniting after King was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year.  Bernie and Ernie examines that friendship from the pair’s years in college up to this year.  It is narrated by Public Enemy front man Chuck D and directed by Jason Hehir (The Fab Five).  Bernie and Ernie premieres Tuesday, November 5th at 8pm ET on ESPN.

Bernie and Ernie will be available for download via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video the day after its broadcast.  A six-disc collectible gift set featuring the first fifteen films from 30 for 30 Volume II on November 26th, 2013.  More information on this and all things 30 for 30 is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30, http://twitter.com/30for30, and http://espn.go.com/30for30.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Girl On Fire’s Debut Album Is One Of 2013’s Best New Rock, Indie Records

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  That timeless adage obviously wasn’t what Seattle, Washington’s own Girl on Fire had in mind when it came up with the title to its debut record, Not Broken.  Regardless, it is still a fitting title for the band’s debut record.  That’s because there is nothing broken about this record.  As a matter of fact, for a first outing, Not Broken is a solid record from beginning to end.  And with the proper support from mainstream radio programmers, the band could very well be the next band to add its name to the already long list of famed bands from the city.

Not Broken is a fitting title for Girl on Fire’s debut full length album.  This is despite the fact that while the band obviously didn’t have a certain timeless adage in mind when its members were coming up with a title for the album.  Not Broken will grab listeners right from the album’s opener and lead single, ‘The Takedown.’  This song is an instant fan hit with its catchy guitar riffs and equally infectious defiant chorus of “We are not afraid to bleed/Awake the strength inside/Shadows come to life.”  It’s instantly easy to see the band playing this song to a packed arena, the crowd pumping its fists and singing in unison.  Any mainstream radio programmer that doesn’t give this single a chance is missing out.  Period.  Making the song even more radio friendly is the fact that front man Austin Held and his band mates—Nick Mahan (guitar), Nicholas Wiggins (guitar), Josh Mouser (bass), and Harry MacDonald (drums)—have crafted a song that could easily lead listeners to mistake it for Linkin Park.  The song’s official music video is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLCWhKV5avc&feature=youtu.be.    Held even sounds just like LP/STP front man Chester Bennington.  It’s eerie how closely similar the two singers sound.

The positive message and equally enjoyable musical side of ‘The Takedown’ doesn’t stop after the song ends.  The band keeps its energy and positivity flowing throughout the album.  This is evident in the song ‘Believe.’  The song starts off at a slow tempo with Held singing, ‘These scars/Have to be covered/Never discovered/From outside eyes/I’ve been running in circles/While losing my purpose/It’s hard to breath.”  The reason for the slower, more moody opener (and its corresponding moments) is to highlight the more uplifting sections of the song and make them more influential.  Held sings in those more uplifting moments, “And I will be strong/And I won’t hold on/To the darker side of me/When you fall/No one sings/Hide your pain/Underneath/Like the scars/They never fade/Something in you/No one can take/I believe/I believe/Let’s just believe.”  This is only a portion of the song.  But that same contrast of positivity winning out over the most negative of thoughts runs throughout the song.  It makes this one more song that every listener will both enjoy and appreciate.

‘The Takedown’ and ‘Believe’ are both excellent examples of the positive lyrical themes that populate Not Broken.  Those themes don’t end with these or other songs, either.  The album’s title track is just as powerful both musically and lyrically.  Held sings about having overcome the worst that life could handle as difficult as times might have been at one time or another.  He sings, ‘I’m not broken/I’m alive/I’ve been kicked down/But I’ll surive/Never give up/Never hide/I won’t go down without a fight/You can drag me down to the mat/You can rip my heart/Right out of my chest/I’m not broken/I’m not broken.  This kind of uplifting content is something that every listener can use at one time or another regardless of age.  That’s because even as adults, we all have people that will try to kick us down and then kick us again when we’re down.  Even through all of that, Held and company are telling listeners it is possible to have the inner strength and determination to not let such situations get us down.  This isn’t the type of thing that would only apply to younger listeners.  The gentle piano run that opens the verses set against the harder rocking chorus parts makes once again make for an excellent juxtaposition of emotions.  They expertly illustrate the two different emotions and especially highlight the possibility of  hope and personal determination.  This song, along with the previously mentioned songs (and those not mentioned) make Girl on Fire’s debut a contender to be both one of the year’s best rock records and one of the year’s best new independent albums, too.  Not Broken is available now.  It can be ordered online direct from the Century Media Records website at http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=512.  More information on this release, the band’s current tour in support of Not Broken and more from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/girlonfiremusic, http://www.girlonfiremusic.com, http://twitter.com/girlonfiremusic, http://www.myspace.com/girlonfiremusic, and http://www.purevolume.com/girlonfire.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hugh Laurie Live One Of The Year’s Most Surprising Live Recordings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Actor Hugh Laurie is best known for his role as the title character on Fox’s former hit medical drama, House.  The show ran a total of eight seasons over the course of almost eight years.  With the show’s end in May of 2012, many were left wondering what was next for Laurie.  The answer:  Music.  Of course.  For whatever reason, television stars have a desire to be music stars and vice versa.  Sadly, so many of said celebrities fail in their endeavors.  Laurie, interestingly enough, is not among those numbers.  He now has two full length albums out and has just recently released a new live Blu-ray and DVD through Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The performance was recorded on March 26th, 2012 for broadcast on PBS.  This is revealed in the recording’s bonus interview.  This is just the beginning of what makes this performance so worth watching.  Audiences will also note Laurie’s humility throughout the performance.  It’s something that is echoed in his post show interview, too.  That humility makes him stand out among the sea of TV stars that think themselves music stars, too.  The set list chosen for the show seals the deal on this recording.  It includes a solid mix of blues classics from some of Laurie’s favorite blues musicians.  It all comes together to make Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary a surprisingly impressive release and one that any of Laurie’s fans will want to see.

Hugh Laurie’s new live Blu-ray and DVD, Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary is one of the most surprising live recordings of 2013.  One of the more interesting facts about this recording is that it was originally recorded for broadcast on PBS.  This is noteworthy because PBS typically releases its programming on its own.  It doesn’t normally use outside resources for distribution of its DVDs and Blu-rays.  So it would definitely be interesting to find out how Eagle Rock Entertainment worked out a distribution deal with PBS for this concert.    Given, it’s a minor detail.  But it’s still something that will catch the ear of any viewer and lead to discussions, whether one watches much of PBS’ programming or not.  One should also note that being that this performance was originally recorded for broadcast on PBS, it also serves as one more example of what makes PBS such a valuable asset for audiences, especially in today’s television market.

That this concert was originally recorded for PBS and distributed via Eagle Rock Entertainment makes for quite the starting point in any discussion and viewing of the concert.  That’s because PBS is known for quality programming.  Just as interesting is the performance put on by Laurie and his band mates in the Copper Bottom Band.  Anyone that had not heard either of Laurie’s new albums would never have suspected the level of talent or the humility presented by the former House star.  It would have been so easy for Laurie to let his ego get the better of himself and take center stage throughout the roughly ninety-minute set.  But he didn’t do that.  He did the exact opposite, letting the band members shine throughout each song instead.  When he did take the stage, his dry wit and musical talent made for plenty of enjoyable and funny moments.  His vocals were just as noteworthy as his wit.  That’s because the best way to describe his vocals would be as a hybrid of Randy Newman and Dr. John.  It’s something that has to be heard to be believed, especially for those that have not yet experienced Laurie’s talents.

The humility presented by Laurie in this concert is very real as audiences will see in the recording’s bonus post-show interview also recorded for PBS.  He openly touts the talents of the Copper Bottom Band members and how honored he was to be playing with them.  He even jokes about how excited he was to be playing with them despite his stereotypical British demeanor.  He goes on to discuss among other topics, how he grew up with a deep love and respect for classic blues and how that led to the current pair of albums that he has recorded.  That discussion yields even more laughs.  Yet again, it’s more display of his humility and respect for his craft.  It’s something that is rarely seen among celebrities that come to the music industry from other areas.  That rare display will echo with audiences and make them appreciate Laurie that much more as a true artist regardless of whether or not he should return to acting at a later point in his career.  And it will make audiences appreciate this new live recording that much more, too.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this release and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  More information on Laurie’s new album, live recording and upcoming live events is available online at http://www.facebook.com/HughLaurie.  Laurie is currently touring in support of his new album, Didn’t It Rain.  He will be performing at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC this Friday, November 1st at 8pm.  Tickets can be purchased for the show online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E004AF8A8DDDD19?brand=carolinathtr&camefrom=CFC_CTD_WEB.

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Olympus Has Fallen Falls And Falls Hard

Courtesy:  Sony Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Sony Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.  There is no other word that so aptly describes Sony Pictures’ new action thriller Olympus Has Fallen.  There is little to nothing redeeming about this roughly two-hour turn-off-your-brain action flick.  From the moment this forgettable travesty starts, it is so rife with problems that it’s nearly impossible to know where exactly to start.  Perhaps the best place to start would be from the beginning.  So let’s begin from the beginning.  Gerard Butler’s moody Mike Banning is the all too stereotypical anti-hero who is haunted by the past and trying to make amends for something for which he blames himself.  Of course, when everyone else is killed by a Korean paramilitary group in a surprise attack, Banning is the only one that can come in and save the day.  Of course.  On top of that, he is having relationship issues with his girlfriend, too.  Sound familiar yet?  It should.  This just sounds like an updated take of the one true action classic, Die Hard.  The only difference is that instead of being set in Los Angeles, this one is set inside the White House with a few other minor changes.

The general lack of originality isn’t the only problem from which this movie suffers.  As noted, there is also a major issue with the story’s plot holes, which begin from early on.  How exactly a foreign paramilitary group managed to get their hands on fully armed and equipped C-130 Hercules is never explained at any one point in the story.  That’s just the beginning of the problems.  Writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt never fully give any background on how the paramilitary group managed to infiltrate a group of South Korean diplomats, either.  The only background that’s given is on the group’s leader late in the story.  Here audiences get yet another massive plot hole.  It is at least revealed that he’s a South Korean who held a grudge against America for the death of his mother when he was a child.  But even that is a problem.  Yet again, audiences get another clichéd story element.  The leader of the bad guys is a madman out for revenge for something that happened when he was a child.  This has been done to death.  And now it’s been buried with its use here.  These are rather key issues that seriously hurt this story.  At least the pair took the time to explain the group’s motivations.  That’s about all that can be said in their defense, though.  That being the case, it only gets worse from there.  It gets worse thanks to the references to 9/11.

At the time that Olympus Has Fallen premiered, America was nearly twelve years removed from the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.  But for so many families across the country, that horrible day was still fresh in their minds.  That being the case, it could very easily be argued that having a giant, fully armed C-130 fly over the nation’s capital mowing down innocent civilians  was little more than a pair of writers capitalizing on a national tragedy.  And that is just abhorrent.  It’s one thing to have a group of bad guys taking on Americans and Americans winning.  But to touch on a nerve that is still so sensitive to this day is entirely thoughtless.  It’s not the end of the movie’s problems, either.

Olympus Has Fallen has so many problems that it drowns in them.  It only gets worse.  In their attempts to make up for all of the problems that plague this movie, Rothenberger and Benedikt have front loaded it with more than enough over the top explosions and blood shed to make any college frat boy scream with delight like a little schoolgirl.  It’s the finishing touch on a movie that hardly lives up to the standard set by much better action flicks that have come before.  All things considered, Olympus Has Fallen  has made itself one of the worst action flicks of 2013 and one of the worst movies of the year, too.

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Zodiac Offers Even More Pure Guitar-Driven Rock On Its New Record

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Hiding Place, the second full length release from Germany’s Zodiac, is a solid follow-up to the band’s 2012 debut record, A Bit of Devil.  The band’s sophomore release picks up right where A Bit of Devil left off.  Right from the album’s outset, listeners are transported back in time to the golden era of real rock and roll and taken on a musical trip that would impress even older listeners that lived through that great age.  The band gets so much right throughout all nine of the songs collected for this record.  From the soaring guitar solos of Stephen Gall and front man Nick van Delft to Janosch Rathmer’s almost John Bonham-esque drumming to bassist Ruben Claro’s solid bass lines, so much can be said of this record.  Even the album’s lyrical side is noteworthy.  The band’s musicianship and lyrical finesse together make every song on this record a joy.  It would be impossible to examine each and every song.  Though, a few examples might work.  And what better place to start than with the album’s opener, ‘Downtown?”

‘Downtown’ is everything that makes blues-driven rock and roll so great.  It is bound to be a fan favorite with its straight forward energy and blues-based guitar riffs.  What makes this song so outstanding is the fact that just as with so many classic rock favorites, the band has made this more than just another rock song.  It’s a two-parter, with the first half being an anthem for a Saturday night on the town.  That’s especially the case considering that the band sings in the song’s chorus, “Bright lights are shining/Big city diamond/Where are you now…We’re going downtown/Where nobody knows your name.”  The chorus set against the song’s musical energy will loosen up even the person who has had the toughest of work weeks.  The jam session that makes up the song’s second half instantly conjures thoughts of rock’s greatest age.  One can close one’s eyes, take in the music, and see the band onstage jamming out together, and feeding off of the energy shared by its audiences in this segment of the song.  All of it together makes ‘Downtown’ the perfect choice to open the album.

‘Downtown’ is the perfect opener for Hiding Place.  It is certain to get any listener up and moving whether in their living room or with friends.  Just as certain to get listeners moving is the album’s third song, ‘Under My Bed.’  All four members of the band contribute their own element to make this song a hit.  The truly interesting thing about this song is how much vocalist Nick van Delft sounds like blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan in this song.  Bassist Ruben Claro’s funk-infused bass lines set against the SRV style guitar solos make this song stand out even more.  That’s not to discount drummer Janosch Rathmer’s work.  He keeps time through the song, not missing a beat as he adds his own flair to it.  As with ‘Downtown’ it would be easy to see this driving blues-based rocker being just as much of a fan favorite both on the album and in concert.

So much can be noted of the songs on Hiding Place as one can tell by now.  It would take far too long to examine each and every song on this record.  Though at least one more example can be shared showing what listeners can expect from this record.  That last example lies in the album’s penultimate song, ‘I Wanna Know.’  This song doesn’t have the same energy as ‘Downtown’ or ‘Under My Bed.’  It does boast its own energy and feel, though.  This is actually a good thing.  It’s good in that it proves the band’s slower songs can be just as enjoyable as those more up-tempo numbers.  What’s more, its contemplative lyrics are just as certain to catch listeners’ attention.  Van Delft sings in this song, ‘I wanna know/How my soul/Brought me on my knees/I wanna know/What to do/In times like these.”  The slightly slower yet equally hard musical side helps to illustrate the emotion that the band attempts to translate to listeners.  It’s one more part of the album that makes the whole presentation so fun for anyone that is a fan of pure, guitar driven rock and roll.  It’s not all that listeners have to look forward to, either.  The songs note noted here are just worthy of checking out, too.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Fans can also get a chance to hear the band’s music in person, too as the band tours in support of Hiding Place.  The band is currently in the midst of a European tour.  It will kick off the U.S. leg of its tour beginning November 14th in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The band will make a tour stop in North Carolina on Saturday, December 7th at Amos Southend in Charlotte.  The concert is scheduled for a 7pm start time.  More tour dates and news from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Zodiac.Rock and http://www.zodiac-rock.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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.