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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Judas Priest Announces New Fall Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

The members of Judas Priest made a big announcement over the weekend.

The members of the veteran hard rock band announced Friday that the band will hit the road this fall in support of its upcoming 17th overall album, Redeemer of Souls. The band will tour in support of Redeemer of Souls beginning Wednesday, October 1st in Rochester, New York. The tour will see the band crisscrossing the country throughout fall and winter, eventually winding down Tuesday, November 18th in Salt Lake City Utah. This is a major announcement from the band’s members as it had alleged that the band would not tour anymore after its previous tour and would instead focus primarily on new music.

Information regarding special fan pre-sales, merchandise bundles, and more are expected soon. Fans can keep up with all of the latest news regarding the noted ticket sales and more online now at http://tickets.judaspriest.com. The band’s most current tour schedule is listed below.

“REDEEMER OF SOULS TOUR 2014” DATES:

Oct-01 Rochester, NY Main Street Armory

Oct-03 Hammond, IN The Venue at Horseshoe Casino

Oct-04 Louisville, KY Louder Than Life Fest at Champions

Oct-09 Brooklyn, NY Barclays

Oct-10 Atlantic City, NJ Harrah’s

Oct-11 Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand Theater at Foxwood’s

Oct-14 Lowell, MA Tsongas Center at UMass

Oct-15 Allentown, PA PPL Center

Oct-17 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center

Oct-19 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre

Oct-24 Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion

Oct-28 Duluth, GA The Arena at Gwinnett Center

Oct-30 Hollywood, FL Hard Rock Live Arena

Nov-06 Allen, TX Allen Event Center

Nov-07 Austin FunFunFun Fest

Nov-10 Los Angeles, CA Nokia

Nov-12 Phoenix, AZ Jobing Arena

Nov-13 Highland, CA San Manuel Casino

Nov-14 Las Vegas, NV The Pearl

Nov-16 San Jose, CA City National Civic

Nov-18 Salt Lake City, UT Maverik Center

Fans can also keep up with all of the latest news from the band online via its official website and Facebook page at http://www.judaspriest.com and http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest. 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.

NNS Celebrates America’s Independendence With Its Own Fireworks Friday Night

Courtesy:  NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

Courtesy: NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

Joe Gibbs Racing has been the center of attention in recent weeks. The reason being that Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards has been rumored to be heading over there next season. But after last weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway, JGR is the center of attention for another reason. That reason being that JGR driver Elliot Sadler now leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series points thanks to a 10th place finish in the John R. Elliot Hero Campaign 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Chase Elliot, who came into last weekend’s race as the series’ points leader finished two positions behind Sadler in 12th, knocking him down to second overall in the points standings. This weekend, Elliot will look to bounce back and retake the points lead as the NASCAR Nationwide Series races under the lights at Daytona.

The Subway Firecracker 250 will be run at Daytona International Speedway Friday night live on ESPN2. It all begins with ESPN2’s weekly pre-race NASCAR Countdown broadcast at 7pm ET. The green flag is expected to fly at 7:49pm ET. Allen Bestwick will anchor Friday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by ESPN analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth. Nicole Briscoe will anchor NASCAR Countdown. She will be joined by her regular co-hosts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar. 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.

Love Happy A Comedy That Will Make The Whole Family Happy

Courtesy:  Olive Films

Courtesy: Olive Films

Love Happy, the last of the Marx Brothers’ big screen starring vehicles, has largely been panned by audiences and critics alike ever since its debut almost sixty-five years ago.  The main reason for this is perhaps the story’s script, which was co-written by Frank Tashlin, Mac Benoff, Ben Hect, and Harpo Marx.  Being that Harpo was one of the individuals behind this movie’s script, it should come as no surprise that he [Harpo] was at the center of the story while brothers Groucho and Chico played little more than bit parts.  Now, having taken this into consideration, it becomes clear why the movie has remained one of the least favorite of critics and Marx Brothers fans alike.  But a closer examination of the movie reveals why it deserves more credit than it has gotten over the sixty decades plus since it premiered.  Harpo being placed in the lead role is actually a very important reason that audiences should give this movie a second look.  His brothers may play bit parts in this film.  But even in bit parts, they are still entertaining in their own right.  That is another reason that the movie is more entertaining than some would have audiences believe.  And last but not least, the movie’s musical numbers will entertain audiences—even the relatively unnecessary harp solo played in the park near the story’s end.  It can be forgiven considering it exhibits once more Harpo’s talent.  Anyone that takes all of these factors into consideration in watching the new re-issue of Love Happy from Olive Films will see that the film’s critics didn’t see the film for its true value.

The biggest complaint that critics and audiences alike have had about Love Happy over the years is that the movie takes away from The Marx Brothers’ legacy.  They have argued that it does so because it focuses more on Harpo than on the Marx Brothers as a unit.  Making for even more difficulty is that Harpo has always been considered more of a sidekick style character than leading man.  That’s because his brand of comedy was more physical than verbal.  It forced audiences to actually pay attention to his acting, rather than just hear anything.  The age of the silent film had ended years before this movie.  So, audiences had become quite acquainted and comfortable with movies with sound.  That being the case, it becomes increasingly clear why audiences even today are less accepting of this movie.  But if the same audiences were more willing to invest themselves in the movie more fully, they would see the true value in the story.  Said audiences would see the level of physical comedy on the part of Harpo and just how entertaining said comedy makes the movie in the long run.  It really was and is today an art form that has largely been lost.  So to that extent, it makes Love Happy even more of a jewel of a re-issue for any true classic movie fan.

Harpo Marx’s own brand of physical comedy and mime is a wonderful foundation on which the script behind Love Happy Rests.  It is however, not all that makes the movie truly worth watching.  Even in bit parts, Harpo’s brothers Groucho and Chico were entertaining in their own right.  Their screen time might not have been nearly as much as in past Marx Brothers movies.  But even in more diminished roles, both continued to show their prowess.  Groucho was still just as quick witted both as narrator and as the bit part detective Sam Grunion.  His interaction with a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe as an unnamed client is just as hilarious as his interactions with other female cast members in previous works such as Night at the Opera and Duck Soup.  On the other side of the coin, Chico had his own brand of comedy, too.  Both brothers showed an understanding and a respect for their roles in their own way.  Neither one tried to ham it up at all.  Both men did what they had always done, therefore letting Harpo’s own brand of comedy take the limelight.  That respect on the part of Chico and Groucho in relation to Harpo having the lead made for a fully entertaining story.  And audiences that are open-minded enough to see this will agree with that sentiment, too.

The balance in the acting between Harpo, Groucho, and Chico is key to the success of the script behind Love Happy.  That isn’t to say that the script doesn’t deserve some applause.  It is just outrageous enough to be believable as both a crime story and a laugh-a-minute comedy.  There is one more aspect of the movie’s script that makes the story in whole so enjoyable.  That final aspect is the collective musical numbers included in the story.  Musical numbers were still very prevalent in movies even at the start of the 1950s.  That is one thing that thankfully hadn’t yet changed in the film industry at that point in time.  One of the best of the movie’s musical numbers comes in the form of Harpo’s own harp solo late in the story.  He is with Maggie (Vera-Ellen) in the park discussing her future, when out of nowhere he pulls out his harp in an attempt to cheer her up.  Given it seems a bit out there that he just happened to have his harp right there at that moment.  But his talent is unrivaled. That isn’t to take away from the talent of Vera-Ellen as she sings her own number or what may or may not have been Chico on the piano late in the movie. In an age when the majority of movie makers fill their stories with mostly sex and violence, these musical numbers prove that such substance is just as entertaining today as it was decades ago. And together with the equally impressive acting on the part of the Marx Brothers and a fun story, the musical numbers help to make Love Happy a movie that is more than deserving of a second look whether for the first time in a long time or for the first time ever.

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.

Elton John’s Latest Live Release Is One In A “Million”

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Next Tuesday, July 1st, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Elton John’s latest live recording, The Million Dollar Piano.  Eagle Rock Entertainment has long been the standard of success in live recordings from a variety of bands and artists.  And with this latest live recording, it remains once more the very standard by which other companies should base their live releases.  There is so much to appreciate in The Million Dollar Piano.  For starters, there is the show’s set list.  The show’s set list totals eighteen songs and nearly two hours in length.  Throughout the course of the performance, Elton John’s very performance makes the experience even more of a joy.  And making the performance whole is the concert’s combined audio and video mix.  All of these factors taken into consideration, Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano proves to be one more example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live recordings, and why Elton John remains one of the top entertainers in the music industry today.

Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano is such a joy of a concert first and foremost for the same reason that any other concert is enjoyable for audiences.  That reason is the near two-hour concert and its set list. Throughout the concert, John and his fellow musicians present to audiences eighteen fan favorite songs.   Among those fan favorites are the likes of: ‘Crocodile Rock,’ ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘The Bitch Is Back,’ ‘Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) and even some perhaps lesser-known pieces, too.   If the songs included in the main concert’s set list aren’t enough for audiences, then the bonus live performance from Kiev is certain to make audiences happy.  That grouping of songs includes another take of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ as well as performances of ‘Sacrifice,’ ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much,’ and the stirring tribute to the late Princess Diana, ‘Candle in The Wind.’  This bonus mini-concert of sorts puts the recording’s concert run time well over two hours.  And it is two-plus hours of pure enjoyment for audiences of all ages, too.

The set list compiled both for this recording’s primary concert and its bonus “mini-concert” recorded in Kiev together make Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano more than worth the money, whether one purchases it on DVD or Blu-ray.  However, the set list would be nothing without a solid performance from John and his fellow musicians and performers.  Thankfully a strong performance is exactly what audiences get.  He and his fellow band members deliver a solid performance from start to finish. Whether it be in the more upbeat songs or even the deeper, more emotional moments, John and company carry the concert with ease.  The performance is made even more enjoyable as John shares little tidbits and jokes with the audiences between songs.  He tells the audience in attendance about how his pianos are named and points out how the piano he is using in the show actually visually tells the audience what song he is playing as he plays.  His story about how his pianos are named will have audiences watching at home laughing just as much as those that were in attendance as he pokes fun at fellow pop star Madonna.  He also shares some more thought provoking moments as he explains how different songs such as ‘Blue Eyes,’ ‘Indian Summer,’ ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ came to life.  That willingness to joke with the audience and even share more personal stories builds a strong connection to audiences.  In turn, it makes his performance (and that of his band mates) even more enjoyable.  The on-stage presence of John and his band mates alongside the show’s set list together make this recording one that any fan of Elton John will definitely want to add to their personal library.  It still isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this recording.  There is one more factor to examine from this concert that makes it a joy.  That factor is the concert’s collective audio and video mix.

The set list and overall performance by Elton John and his band mates more than make Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano a joy for audiences of all ages.  Even together, they would be nothing without the expert work of those behind the concert’s cameras and audio boards. The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace is an immense structure inside. Audiences will get to see its sheer size in watching this concert recording. And in doing so, will agree that it is anything but small. Taking that into account, those responsible for getting the best shots and keeping the audio levels evened out more than did their jobs. One of the best camera angles used throughout the concert is one that captures John right from keyboard level. Either there was a camera mounted on the piano or a videographer sitting just close enough to get that close up shot. Regardless of which is the case, the slightly angled shot mixed with a specific frame rate makes for a great shot. This is especially the case in some of the concert’s slower numbers. The wide shots are just as powerful in songs such as ‘Rocket Man,’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.’ That’s thanks in part to the video wall used behind the band. The combination of the two together makes such moments so powerful, emotionally speaking. Bigger, more bombastic numbers such as ‘Crocodile Rock’ and ‘The Bitch Is Back’ are equally complimented by the camera work in those numbers, too. The camera work on those numbers heightens their energy and in turn, makes them as enjoyable as any other moment throughout the concert.

The videography concert is a hugely important part of the extrinsic value to this concert recording. Much to the same level, the audio work is just as worthy of applause. Considering the sheer immensity of the Colosseum, it goes without saying that balancing the acoustics both for those in attendance and for those that will purchase this recording was extremely important. It looks to be almost the same size as England’s Albert Hall, if not perhaps slightly bigger. Those managing the concert’s audio levels both during and post-show are to be applauded just as much as those responsible for capturing the concert on video for their part in the final product. At no point in the concert does one performer overpower the other. It shows the expertise of those handling the concert’s audio duties. And thanks to such expert work, audiences can catch every single nuance of every song. Those with home theater systems will especially appreciate those painstaking efforts on the part of those at the audio boards. Such efforts, along with those of the camera crew and the performers, to entertain audiences have far more than paid off here. All things considered, Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leader in live recordings and why Elton John remains to this day one of the top entertainers in the music industry.

Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano will be available next Tuesday, July 1st. It will be available both on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on the concert and Elton John’s current tour schedule is available now online at http://www.facebook.com/EltonJohn and http://www.eltonjohn.com. Audiences can also order the concert via John’s official website. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.ealge-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.

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo “Jumps For Joy” Over New Album’s Release

Courtesy:  Underground Playground Records

Courtesy: Underground Playground Records

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s new album The Perfect Quirk hit stores and online outlets this week. In celebration of the album’s release, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo himself took to the skies and went sky diving! That’s right! And the full video from pre jump to landing can be viewed online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5sDUqLX6Pc. The whole thing is set against the song ‘Imaginary Friend,’ which is just one of many songs included on The Perfect Quirk.

A summer tour in support of The Perfect Quirk has already been set beginning with a performance in Hurst, TX on July 11th. He will also be in his home state of North Carolina for a pair of dates on July 23rd and July 27th respectively. On July 23rd, Skidoo will perform live in Black Mountain, North Carolina at the Black Mountain Music Festival. And on July 27th, he will play a home town show in Asheville, North Carolina at the city’s famed Orange Peel. The current schedule of dates for Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s summer tour is listed below.

SECRET AGENT 23 SKIDOO IN PERFORMANCE

Highlights – Summer 2014

July 11 – Masterworks Concert Series, Hurst, TX

July 13 – 18 – Summerstage Series, NYC

July 19 – Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA

July 23 – Black Mountain Concert Series, Black Mountain, NC

July 27 – The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

Aug. 2 – Rox in Sox Festival, Lake Oswego, OR

Aug. 3 – The Vera Project, Seattle, WA

Aug. 4 – Bonney Lake Kids’ Club, Bonney Lake, WA

Aug. 6 – Kent Summer Concert Series, Kent, WA

Aug. 7 – Everett Summer Concert Series, Everett, WA

More information and all the latest updates on Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s tour and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/secretagent23skidoo and http://www.secretagent23skidoo.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.

Virgin Mobile Recruits Exmortus For New Ad Campaign

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records/Virgin Mobile

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records/Virgin Mobile

Prosthetic Records’ own Exmortus is starring in a new ad campaign for Virgin Mobile.

The new TV spot is a fully tongue-in-cheek piece that sees the L.A.-based four-piece applying its own brand of metal to espouse the benefits of Virgin Mobile. It was directed by Paul B. Cummings (Conan, The Colbert Report). It can be viewed online now at http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7yMf/virgin-mobile-galaxy-s5-metal-band. Drummer Mario Moreno shared his thoughts on the shoot, saying that “We had a great time shooting with Paul and it was an awesome experience, especially breaking all the gear at the end!”

Exmortus will be back on the road again this summer in support of its latest album Slave to the Sword.” It will tour alongside veteran metal band Flotsam and Jetsam on that band’s tour. The current tour itinerary is listed below.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES
7/9     West Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go #
7/10   San Francisco, CA – Slim’s #
7/11   Sacramento, CA – The Boardwalk #
7/12   Portland, OR – Tonic Lounge #
7/13   Seattle, WA – Studio Seven #
7/15   Spokane, WA – Club 412 #
7/16   Boise, ID – The Shredder #
7/17   Salt Lake City, UT – LoFi Cafe #
7/18   Las Vegas, NV – LVCS #
7/19   Mesa, AZ – Club Red #
8/2     Los Angeles, CA – Black Castle (w/ Morbid Saint)
8/22   Santa Ana, CA – Malone’s (w/ Gypsyhawk)
# with Flotsam & Jetsam

More information on Exmortus, its upcoming tour, its new album and more is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/exmortusofficial. 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.