ESPN Adds Reds, Cubs Matchup To Its SNB Broadcast Schedule

MLB-on-ESPN_2012

ESPN announced the latest addition to its weekly Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell broadcast schedule this week. On June 14th, ESPN’s flagship baseball broadcast will come live from Chicago as the Cubs host the Reds in an NL Central showdown.

ESPN’s June 14th broadcast will be the closer for the teams’ four-game series, which kicks off Thursday, June 11th. Details for each team’s starting lineup will be released soon. Cincinnati (21 – 27) just finished a three-game sweep of the NL East-leading Washington Nationals on Sunday going 8 – 2 against the Nats. Cincinnati won Friday’s game 5 – 2 and went 8 -5 on Saturday. Cincinnati’s win today came courtesy of a 6-run deluge from the Reds in the 7th inning after a relatively quiet day on both sides of the bat. Before that, Washington had only allowed 2 total runs from Cincinnati. One came in the 4th and the other in the 5th. The Nats’ bullpen struggled in Sunday’s game, with starter Tanner Rourke allowing 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 home runs, and 2 walks in 6 innings pitched. He struck out only 1 batter along the way. Things weren’t much better for the rest of Washington’s bullpen as Matt Grace and Aaron Barrett combined to allow a total of 6 runs, 5 hits, and 6 earned runs. Grace also allowed 2 walks in his time on the mound before being pulled. On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati starter Michael Lorenzen had a slightly better day, allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4 over 6 innings. He had his share of struggles, though. He walked 6 batters, allowed 2 runs, and 2 earned runs over that span of time.

There’s no time to rest for Washington as it prepares for a 7-game home stand beginning Monday night with a three-game series against the Miwaukee Brewers. That series will be followed up by a 4-game series against the Cubs. The Reds only get a day to rest on Monday before hitting the road again on Tuesday, this time to face the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game series in the city of brotherly love. After that, it’s back home for a three-game home-stand against San Diego and then another three-game run against Philadelphia at Great American Ballpark before that long 4-game stretch against the Cubs, which will lead up to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell broadcast on the 14th that will see that series’ final game.

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN (L – R) Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Curt Schilling

Dan Shulman will have the call for the June 14th broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk. Buster Olney will also be on hand during the game for additional coverage. Those not near a TV during the game can catch it on their local ESPN Radio affiliate. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call for ESPN Radio. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet will precede Sunday night’s game. It will air at 7pm ET on ESPN with Karl Ravech anchoring the broadcast. He will be joined by analyst Aaron Boone and reporters Tim Kurkjian and Nicole Briscoe. There’s lots of other action on the diamond in the weeks leading up to that June 14th broadcast including the the Cardinals on the road against the Dodgers on June 7th and the Angels hosting the Tigers tonight, May 31st. The current broadcast schedule, for those that would like to know, of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is listed below.

Sunday Night Baseball upcoming schedule:

Date Game

May 31 Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim presented by Taco Bell

June 7 St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers presented by Taco Bell

June 14 Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs presented by Taco Bell

June 21 San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers presented by Taco Bell

June 28 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals presented by Taco Bell

July 5 TBD

July 12 St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates presented by Taco Bell

July 19 Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim presented by Taco Bell

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online now along with all of the latest MLB news at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

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.

Odyssey/Scala Is One Of 2015’s Best New Live Recordings

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Progressive metal band TesseracT recently released its first-ever live recording. The recording, Odyssey/Scala is an interesting effort from the UK-based band. The dual-disc recording gives audiences quite the treat right off the top in the fact that it offers not just one performance on two platforms but multiple performances on one disc (CD) and one complete hour-plus concert on the other (DVD). Interestingly enough despite that variety of concerts, the set list presented both on the set’s CD and DVD side is the same. It is also in the same order on both platforms. While the CD and DVD platform each present different aspects of TesseracT’s European and Russian 2014 tour, an examination of the shows’ production values still remains a must. For the most part, the production values are impressive on both platforms. Though, it can’t be denied that some of the concerts presented on the set’s CD side have some issues with their audio mixes. Luckily though, those issues aren’t enough to take away from the more positive audio elements presented on that side.The cinematography on the set’s DVD side is beyond exceptional. Coupled with the relatively impressive audio here, the combination of both elements solidifies it as a concert that any fan will enjoy. When the production values of both platforms are taken into consideration with the noted set lists and the fact that audiences get both a full concert on one platform and pieces of multiple shows on the other, Odyssey/Scala proves in the end to be a candidate to be one of this year’s best new live recordings overall.

Odyssey/Scala is a definite candidate for any critic’s list of this year’s best new live recordings overall. That is saying quite a bit being that it is TesseracT’s first-ever live recording. The main reason that it is deserving of such honor is the fact that over the course of the set’s two discs, audiences get both a complete hour-plus concert on the set’s DVD platform and a variety of performances from across the band’s 2014 Europe/Russia tour. That within itself is plenty of reason for Tesseract’s fans to pick up this recording. So in essence, audiences are getting not one performance but one full performance plus a large snapshot of the band’s tour overall as it made its way across Europe and Russia last year. This is something significant because in so many cases, bands that release multi-disc live recordings have a tendency to release the same performance on both platforms. That is not to say that there are not bands that do or have done what TesseracT has done here. But it would seem that the tendency is more towards bands doing the prior. So for TesseracT to do what it has done here means that it has gives its fans both a full audio/visual experience on one platform and a relatively solid audio experience across a multitude of performances from the same tour that gave audiences Scala. It also means that audiences have been given a wide picture of the band’s performance as it made its way across Europe and Russia last year. This makes for a solid foundation on which the rest of this recording rests and in turn serves to show in just one way why Odyssey/Scala should be in ny TesseracT fan’s collection and on any critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings overall.

The fact that Odyssey/Scala’s dual platform presentation gives audiences such a wide view of TesseracT’s live show is an important element of this recording. It serves as the presentation’s foundation. And the foundation established in this fact is strong to say the least. It’s just one part of the whole that makes Odyssey/Scala such an impressive first live effort from TesseracT, too. The set list that is presented on both platforms makes the recording just as impressive. Audiences will be interested to note that while the DVD presents one of TesseracT’s shows and the CD presents a wider array of performances, the set list still remains in tact through it all. That is especially interesting to note. It would have been easy for the band and those at Century Media to simply re-organize the tracks on the CD side. They opted not to do that, though opting instead to keep everything the same. As wild as it may seem, in keeping the set lis the same even being split up among a variety of concerts it actually makes even better the view of the band’s live show. Sure, mixing up the tracks would have still given its own view of the band’s live show in its own right. But having them in the same order even among the band’s different live shows as set against the band’s full live show on Scala makes the experience in whole all the richer and in turn enjoyable. that being the case, it shows once more why Odyssey/Scala belongs in any TesseracT fan’s music library and in any critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings.

On related note, the set list that is featured across both of the set’s discs is especially interesting to note in that both lift liberally from the band’s current body of work. The band currently has two full-length records under its belt and two EPs (I.E. four total releases). The band lifted from each one of those releases for this recording. So even with the band still technically being a relatively young act, it is safe to say that the set list culled for Odyssey/Scala is a career-spanning set. That makes the set list even more important to the whole of this recording.

The set list and overall presentation of Odyssey/Scala are both integral in their own way to its success and enjoyment. While both are key to its success and enjoyment, an examination of the concerts’ production values is just as worth noting here, too. Audiences will especially appreciate the production values incorporated into Scala, the presentation’s DVD side. The audio mix was relatively well-balanced even with the concert having been recorded at what looks like a venue that did not look that large. The real star in terms of the production values here is its cinematography. Thanks to the work of the concert’s camera crew, the concert looks more like a top-notch music video than a live show. Even with the venue seemingly not being overly large, the camera crew managed to get into spaces that give a good view of the packed house and its rabid reaction to the band’s show as well as equally impressive views of the band itself. On another level, the combined efforts of the camera crew and director created shots and movements that served to heighten even more the emotion of the band’s performance. This is so important to the whole of the show because the band didn’t spend much time in the show interacting with the audience. Rather it let the music do the talking. And together with the work of the camera crew, the band speaks volumes. Their combined work makes Scala stand out brightly and proudly.

The production values incorporated into Scala make more than worth the watch by audiences including both the band’s fans and critics alike. On the other side of the set, the audio mix in Odyssey’s concerts is fairly impressive for the most part. Though it can’t be denied that it isn’t perfect. There are some points at which front man Daniel Tompkins gets drowned out by his band mates throughout the shows. It isn’t overwhelming in the grand scheme of things. But it is noticeable enough to be mentioned. And even so, when examined in comparison to the production values of the rest of Odyssey and those of Scala it is hardly enough to do any noticeable damage to the enjoyment of Odyssey/Scala. Because it doesn’t really take away too much from the whole of the set, Odyssey/Scala it can still be said that the overall production values incorporated into Odyssey/Scala as a whole play their own important role in the set’s overall enjoyment and success. When considered with both the package’s set list and the general presentation on CD and DVD, all three elements show collectively exactly why Odyssey/Scala is an impressive live debut for TesseracT and a piece that is deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings overall.

Odyssey/Scala proves itself in plenty of ways to be one of this year’s best new live recordings overall. It is just as impressive of a debut live recording for the UK-based prog-metal band. It proves this thanks to the overall presentation of its CD and DVD platform. The set list presented on both platforms is just as key to the package’s enjoyment and success. The production values incorporated into each of the presented shows roudns out the package’s positives. Each of the noted elements plays its own important role in the enjoyment and success of these presentations. Collectively, they show once again just how much there is to appreciate about this package. All things considered, Odyssey/Scala shows in the end to be a piece that every one of TesseracT’s fans should have in their own music libraries and a piece that deserves a place on any critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings overall. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from TesseracT’s online store at http://www.bandstores.co.uk/shop/tesseractstore/proddetail.php?prod=esm_Tesseract_liveDVD&cat=2292. More information on Odyssey/Scala is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.tesseractband.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tesseractband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tesseractband

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.

ESPN Heads West For This Weekend’s Sunday Night Baseball Broadcast

MLB-on-ESPN_2012

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball is headed west this weekend for its weekly MLB broadcast.

This week’s broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell will come live from Los Angeles for an American League showdown between the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers. Sunday’s game is the closer for the teams’ 4-game series, which kicked off Thursday. The game will air live on ESPN2. The Angels dominated Detroit in the game 12 – 2 with C.J. Wilson being credited with the win for the Angels. Wilson pitched 6 innings allowing only 2 hits, 1 earned run, 5 walks, and struck out 7 batters. On the other side of the ball, Detroit’s Buck Farmer was on the mound. He pitched 5 innings, allowing 9 hits, 7 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 1 batter. Matt Shoemaker is expected to take the mound for the Angels in Sunday night’s game. He last took the mound this past Tuesday against the Padres, pitching seven innings, allowing 4 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, and striking out 6 batters. Shoemaker is 3 – 4 so far this season with 51 innings pitched, 48 strikeouts, and a WHIP average of 1.17. David Price is expected to take the mound for Detroit. His last game was this past Tuesday against Oakland. He pitched 7 innings in that game, allowing 5 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 3 batters.

Currently, the Tigers sit in 3rd in the AL Central 1 ½ games back from division leader Kansas City. Detroit is 5 – 5 in its last ten games and is only slightly better on the road than at home going 14 – 9 on the road and 14 – 12 at home. Los Angeles is currently at .500 (24 – 24) at the time of this post. The team is also 5 – 5 in its last ten games and is better at home than on the road going 12 – 11 at home and 12 – 13 on the road.

Dan Shulman will have the call for Sunday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk in the booth. Reporter Buster Olney will be on the field with more insight into the night’s featured game. The game will be preceded by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7pm ET. Karl Ravech will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined at the desk by analyst Aaron Boone and ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian.

Monday night on Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA, the currently league-leading St. Louis Cardinals will host the struggling Milwaukee Brewers for the first of a three-game series between the teams. Jaime Garcia is expected to start for the Cardinals Monday night. His last time on the mound was this past Tuesday against the Diamondbacks. He was credited with the win in that game having pitched 6 innings. In the course of those innings, he allowed 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 0 walks, and struck out 5 batters. It is not yet known who will start for Milwaukee in Monday night’s series-opener. Monday night’s broadcast is scheduled to start at 8pm ET. Dave O’Brien will have the call for that game. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Aaron Boone and Mark Mulder.

More information on ESPN’s weekly baseball coverage is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

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.

Verizon Indycar Series Back On The Road (Course) This Weekend

Courtesy:  Verizon Indycar Series

Courtesy: Verizon Indycar Series

The drivers of the Verizon Indycar Series will pull double duty this weekend.

With the Indy 500 now in its rear view, the Verizon Indycar Series and its drivers head to Detroit and the Belle Isle street circuit this weekend for the “Chevy Dual in Detroit” presented by Quicken Loans. Allen Bestwick will have the call for both of this weekend’s races. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever for the weekend’s events. Rick DeBruhl, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Jon Beekhuis will be in the pits with additional coverage of the races.

Audiences will be able to see both races on ABC with the broadcast of both set to kick off at 3:30pm ET. Race 1 of the “Chevy Dual in Detroit” is scheduled for Saturday, May 30th and the second May 31st. Juan Pablo Montoya comes into this weekend’s events at op the Verizon Indycar Series points standings with a twenty-five point lead over Team Penske teammate Will Power. He also comes in fresh on the heels of his gripping Indy 500 win this past weekend at IMS. The win marked the first time in fifteen years that Montoya had won the crown jewel of the series’ annual season schedule. All of the latest information on this weekend’s races is available online now along with all of the latest Verizon Indycar Series news at:

Website: http://www.indycar.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/indycar

Twitter: http://twitter.com/indycar

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.

3 Years Hollow To Hit The Road This Summer

Courtesy:  Imagen Records

Courtesy: Imagen Records

3 Years Hollow is hitting the road this summer.

The band announced this week that it will embark on a three-week tour across America in support of its latest full-length studio release The Cracks. Also along for the ride for the tour, which kicks off June 23rd in Ringle, Wisconsin, will be Soil and Powerman 5000. 3 Years Hollow recently debuted its new single ‘Chemical Ride’ and its companion video. It is the third single to be released from The Cracks. The album’s first two singles—‘Hungry’ and ‘For Life’—were both top 30 singles. Audiences can see the video for ‘Chemical Ride’ online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2z1bepbfEM. Front man Jose Urquiza explained the concept behind ‘Chemical Ride’ explaining that its message is that of appreciating all that one has and taking every opportunity provided in life. The song is basically about seizing every single opportunity you have, appreciating the things you have around you, because anything and everything can be taken from you instantly,” he said. “It was a situation that I had witnessed and was close to and it was something I felt I had to write about.”

Urquiza expanded on the story behind the song explaining that its creation came from the death of a dear friend and his own mindset at the time of his friend’s passing. “That realization really hit me when my good friend and mentor, Rob Cimmarusti, passed away this last year,” he said. “He was the owner of Real Trax Recording Studios, where we recorded all three of our albums over the past 7 years and where I learned everything I know about music production and recording. I had been so focused on the future, so focused on things that weren’t even right in front of me, and in the end it cost me a lot of time I could have spent with him. There’s no doubt his influence will live on in 3YH for the rest of our lives.”

3 Years Hollow’s tour with Soil and Powerman 5000 kicks off June 23rd and runs through July 18th. The complete schedule for the tour is listed below.

Powerman 5000/Soil/3 Years Hollow tour dates

Tue 23 Jun – Ringle, WI – Q & Z Expo Center

Wed 24 Jun – Spring Lake Park, MN – POV’s

Thu 25 Jun – Joliet, IL – Mojoes

Fri 26 Jun – Battle Creek, MI – Music Factory

Sat 27 Jun – Beckley, WV – Muncheez

Wed 01 Jul – Winchester, VA – Blue Fox Billiard

Thu 02 Jul – Washington DC – 9:30 Club

Fri 03 Jul – Patchogue NY – Emporium

Sun 05 Jul – Portland, ME – Asylum

Tue 07 Jul – Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall

Wed 08 Jul – Albany, NY – Latitude 360

Thu 09 Jul – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar

Fri 10 Jul – Flint, MI – Machine Shop

Wed 15 Jul – Janesville, WI – Back Bar

Thu 16 Jul – Ft Wayne, IN – Pierre’s

Fri 17 Jul – Traverse City, MI – Ground Zero

Sat 18 Jul – Arlington Heights, IL – Home Bar

Audiences can keep up with any updates to the bands’ tour schedule online now along with all of 3YH’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.3yearshollow.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3yearshollow

Twitter: http://twitter.com/3yearshollow

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.

Haven Is One Of Kamelot’s Heaviest Records To Date

Courtesy:  Napalm Records

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Kamelot’s eleventh full-length studio effort Haven is one of the heaviest albums that the band has released in its now twenty-four years together. Across the course of its thirteen total tracks, the band–Tommy Karevik (vocals), Thomas Youngblood (guitars), Sean Tibbetts (bass), Casey Grillo (drums), and Oliver Palotai (keyboards)–the band has crafted a record that is some of its heaviest not only musically but lyrically, too. The majority of the songs that make up the record come from an emotional point that most listeners would probably rather not visit. Interestingly enough it is that melancholy (and that’s putting it lightly) lyrical content that makes this album so heavily at least in part. The musical side of the songs expertly complements the lyrical approach of the songs, making them compositions that especially the band’s long-time fans will appreciate. While most of the record’s songs come from a deeper emotional place, there are at least a couple of pieces that counter the album’s general feel of melancholy. That being the case, they are also two of the album’s most noteworthy songs. The songs in question are ‘Under Grey Skies’ and ‘My Therapy.’ There is also an equally interesting piece that takes a completely different turn in the form of ‘Age of Innocence.’ This piece displays an emotion at the completely opposite end of those presented in the previously noted songs. It is a powerful piece both musically and lyrically that is just as heavy as those songs because of its mix of music and lyrics. All three of these songs show in their own way what makes Haven one that every one of Kamelot’s fans should hear if they haven’t already done so. Together with the remaining ten tracks that make up the rest of the album all thirteen tracks prove Haven to be a record that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their own personal music libraries.

Haven is one of the heaviest albums that Kamelot has put out since the release of its debut album Eternity nearly twenty years ago. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s musical heaviness and its lyrical heaviness. More specifically, it is thanks to the mix of the melancholy feel of the songs’ music and lyrics combined. It’s not all doom and gloom this time out, though. The band does offer at least a pair of more optimistic pieces for audiences. ‘Under A Grey Sky’ is the first of those songs. And while it is more optimistic than most of the album’s other songs, it is still no less heavy. The call and response of sorts used between front man Tommy Kariken and his female friend in this song makes the song deep in its own right. Karivek’s female friend sings with an almost restrained optimism here, “When I drown in my fears/In the darkness of sorrow/There’s a promise of grace/Under silver grey skies/And I’m drying my tears/In the blaze of the sunlight/A reviere sealed with a kiss.” Karivek responds in kind singing alongside his friend, “You may call me a dreamer/Call me a fool/Just a blue-eyed believer in you/But I’ll die for that someone/In the blink of an eye/So tell me/Please tell me/Just what kind of fool am I.” It is almost as if Karivek and his co-vocalist are saying, “I must be crazy for letting myself feel this way. But something about feeling like such a fool makes me feel good.” that is evident in the power of the pair’s vocal delivery in this chorus. It may be that not everybody has ever been in the situation presented here. But there are plenty of listeners out there that will be able to relate to the feelings of cautious optimism expressed through this song’s combination of music and lyrics. Being that so many audiences will be able to relate to the very heavy emotions expressed here, those audiences will agree that in juxtaposition to the album’s more melancholy songs, it is a clear choice for one of the album’s best works.

The cautious optimism expressed by Karivek and his band mates in ‘Under A Grey Sky’ is a very deep and heavy emotion to which many listeners will be able to relate. its ability to reach so many audiences with its lyrical content by itself makes it a prime example of why fans new and old alike will enjoy this record. Set against the album’s other songs, it shows even more just how heavy this album is both lyrically and musically. It is just one example of how truly heavy Haven proves itself to be, too. Much as with that song, ‘My Therapy’ also exhibits quite the depth and heaviness. The difference between the two songs is that while both express a certain rare hope and optimism on this record, this song expresses that hope in a more confident fashion. That confidence is displayed immediately through the song’s musical side. There is more power to this song, musically speaking in comparison to the more cautious and reserved nature of ‘Under A Grey Sky.’ Kerivek also exhibits even more power in his vocal delivery as he sings, “Come and take me off my daily dose of pain/Take me off and shelter me/From this static nothing.You’re the antidote/For solitude injected in my veins/May the touch of your hand/Forever be my therapy.” Despite writing in metaphors, the message is clear here. Karivek is singing from the standpoint of someone telling a romantic interest that the person in question is the one that makes the song’s subject feel alive. Even as Karivek’s subject essentially pleads with the romantic interest to not leave, that power is never lost. Because it isn’t, it makes the song that much enjoyable. It also makes even clearer why this song is one more example of why Kamelot’s fans should have Haven in their personal music collections.

‘My Therapy’ and ‘Under A Grey Sky’ both exhibit in their own way what makes Haven a record that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their personal music libraries. While they contradict the generally melancholy feel of the album’s other songs, it is that contradiction that makes them so enjoyable by themselves and in turn the album in whole so enjoyable. Next to those more melancholy pieces, the overall picture painted by the album’s songs is one tha is actually quite deep. One of those more melancholy pieces that makes the album’s overall picture so rich comes late in the album in the form of ‘End of Innocence.’ This piece comes across as being from the vantage point of someone that is at the deepest point of his or her depression. That is made evident as Karivek sings right off the top, “Tell me do you remember/The games and the laughter/Far from the choices we’d have to make/A kiss on the lips turned a toad to a prince/And the end was a lifetime away.” He continues on singing in the song’s chorus, “I pour myself onto this page/I am writing a swan song for ages/I will leave it behind/And just maybe you will/Remember me.” By no means is Karivek advocating what it sounds like this subject is considering. He is merely describing the feeling of utter emotional loss that the song’s subject feels here. It is a point at which so many people have reached. Those that have been at that level will be able to relate to this situation. They will especially appreciate the song because they survived and didn’t go through with what the song’s subject seemed to contemplate. Yet again the ability of the song to reach audiences and perhaps even provide a source of strength for some listeners shows even more why this song is another prime example of Haven’s overall strength. Together with the previously noted songs, all three compositions make a strong argument for Haven. They show collectively why whether by themselves or with the album’s other songs Haven is a piece that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their personal music libraries.

‘Under A Grey Sky,’ ‘My Therapy,’ and ‘End Of Innocence’ are all excellent examples of the strength of Haven. By themselves they are just a snapshot of the album’s strength, too. Together with the remaining ten songs that compose the rest of the album, the whole of Haven proves to be an album that is definitely one of the band’s heaviest and not just because of its musical side, either. The combination of its music and lyrics together make it a work that is heavy all the way around and again a piece that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their music libraries. Haven is available now in stores and online. More information on Haven and all of Kamelot’s current tour dates in support of Haven is available online now at:

Website: http://www.kamelot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kamelotofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kamelotofficial

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.

Cinedigm’s New Action Spoof Is A Great Escape For Anyone Wanting A Good Laugh

Courtesy:  Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Indie movie studio Cinedigm’s new action spoof Tooken is dirty.  It is raunchy.  And it is also hilarious.  The spoof of actor Liam Neeson’s Taken trilogy is so dirty and raunchy in fact that it’s a surprise that it earned an “R” rating instead of an “NC-17.”  That aside it is still a laugh riot that viewers won’t be able to help but watch.  That is thanks in large part to its completely nonsensical story that is very much in the vein of the Wayans Brothers’ Scary Movie and Haunted House franchises.  The only difference between those movies and this one is that writer/director John Asher and co-writer Cameron Van Hoy have taken the comic element established in the Wayans brothers’ spoofs and knocked down the wall established by those movies.  Whereas the Wayans brothers at least showed some restrain, this movie pulls zero punches and will leave audiences laughing so hard that they cry all while asking themselves why in the world they are watching the movie.  Of course as important as this element is to the whole of Tooken it would be nothing without the work of the movie’s cast.  Lead actor Lee Tergesen (Monster, Wayne’s World, Oz) does an impressive job of channeling legendary comic actor Leslie Neilsen here.  Last and hardly least worth noting of this indie spoof is it’s the very fact that it is not a big budget movie even being a spoof.  Being a proud, low-budget presentation, there’s something special about it.  It just makes it that much more enjoyable.  And together with both the movie’s story and the work of its cast it solidifies the movie as one that anyone wanting a good laugh.

Cinedigm’s new spoof flick Tooken is hands down one of the funniest movies that audiences will see this year.  It is also the year’s bawdiest and raunchiest comedies that audiences will see this year.  It is so bawdy and raunchy in fact that it is a surprise that it received an “R” rating versus an “NC-17” by the MPAA.  That aside it is still a laugh riot that viewers won’t be able to help but watch.  The comic element of the movie and the movie’s story together make up the central reason that audiences won’t be able to help but watch.  The movie sees retired CIA agent Bryan Millers (Lee Tergesen–(Monster, Wayne’s World, Oz) trying to make a life for himself in retirement.  He is divorced and working as a rent-a-cop, dreaming of his days on “the force.”   And he is trying to stay connected to his teenage daughter Kim at the same time, which is essentially what leads to the story’s plot (if one even wants to call it a plot).  In trying to connect with Kim (played here by actress Laura-Leigh—We’re The Millers, The Client List, The Ward) Bryan finds himself getting caught up in a completely bizarre plot by an evil mastermind named Brownfinger (yes, Brownfinger).  Brownfinger is played by famed comedienne Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva, Face/Off, Notorious C.H.O.).  Brownfinger’s completely bizarre plan involves dogs and explosives.  Yes, truth is stranger than reality.  And it is definitely strange in this case.  Interestingly enough, writer/director John Asher and co-writer Cameron Van Hoy actually has Bryan break down the fourth wall to a point, going so far as to point out himself the absolutely ludicrous nature of Brownfinger’s plan, essentially pointing out what every viewer is likely thinking, too.  That adds even more enjoyment to the whole of the story and points out a related topic that makes the story just as worth the watch as the story itself.  The element in question is the script’s comic element.

The comic element of Tooken is not entirely new to those audiences that are familiar with the Wayans Brothers’ Scary Movie and Haunted House franchises.  It is a brand of comedy that throws back to the likes of Leslie Neilsen’s Naked Gun franchise with its mix of slapstick comedy and sometimes irreverent humor.  What sets the Naged Gun franchise and those of the Wayans Brothers from this spoof is that where their writers exhibited a certain amount of restraint, Asher and Van Hoy exhibit absolutely none, right up to the end, at which the movie borders on something akin to a hardcore porn flick, believe it or not.  It’s still debatable if that is good or bad.  Regardless, the lengths to which Asher and Van Hoy go in delivering the story’s comic element does pay homage to its predecessors while establishing its own brand of comic mayhem, thus making both this element and the movie’s script in whole a solid foundation for those that want a good laugh.

The script crafted for Tooken and its comic elements offer audiences looking for a good laugh plenty of reason to watch this movie even with its ability to disturb some viewers at random points.  Having laid a solid foundation for audiences, the work of the movie’s cast rests easily atop both elements.  Tergesen is especially entertaining in his role as Bryan Millers.  Audiences will especially love how Tergesen willingly switches back and forth between an American accent and a completely intentionally terrible Irish accent as he pokes fun at Liam Neeson throughout the movie.  Those that know their movie history will especially appreciate Tergesen’s work not just for this reason but because his portrayal of Bryan harkens back to Leslie Nielsen’s work in the Naked Gun franchise just as much as the movie’s overall comic element.  Reno Wilson (Mike and Molly, Transformers, Prison Break) is just as entertaining as Lenore’s (Lauren Stamile—Scandal, Burn Notice, Community) new love interest.  He obviously fully embraced his role as Money Maker.  Audiences will find themselves laughing riotously at his full-on portrayal of the stereotypical gangsta rapper figure.  Joyce Bulifant will have viewers laughing just as much in her role as Bryan’s mother Edna.  Edna is everything that the stereotypical grandmother isn’t.  She also used to serve with the CIA.  And she is definitely anything but a little old lady.  The easiest way to describe her is that she is a tough as nails woman with the libido of a teenager.  This is despite her age.  And she shows it throughout the movie.  Bulifant is spot on in her portrayal of Edna, too.  If that doesn’t get audiences laughing, then it’s anyone’s guess what will.  But for those that love a good laugh, her work and that of the rest of the movie’s cast proves in the long run why their collective work makes for even more reason for audiences that love a good laugh will want to see this movie.  There’s not enough time or space to discuss the work of the rest of the movie’s cast (both lead and supporting).  But it goes without saying that the work of the entire cast makes for more than its share of laughs.  Together with the movie’s script and its comic elements, all the noted elements together show even more clearly than ever why comedy fans (adult comedy fans that is) should see this movie if only once.

The work of Tooken’s cast and the work of those that crafted the movie’s script—which also includes its comic element—together make for plenty of reason for older comedy fans to check out this nonstop laugh riot indie action spoof.  For all of the enjoyment that both elements offer audiences, they would mean nothing without the mention of the movie’s intentionally low budget approach.  Yes there are explosions.  Yes there is some blood spatter.  Yes there is gunfire.  But the production values tied into these elements and the rest of the movie are anything but big budget.  The interesting thing is that this is actually a good thing.  It’s another way in which the movie sets itself apart from the works of the Wayans Brothers and other more well-known spoofs. From Money Maker getting his thumb and eventually hand torn off, to the almost cartoonish way that he survived getting blown up beforehand, to the rather disturbing “sword” fight in the movie’s final minutes to so many other moments, the production values of said moments are proudly low budget. In an odd way, the fact that it didn’t try to be a big budget spoof especially in terms of its production values actually made it even more enjoyable. It really served to establish the movie’s identity within the spoof genre. It served to show that a movie can be low budget and still be entertaining regardless of the movie’s genre. Together with the work of the movie’s cast and those that crafted its script, it serves to completely solidify Tooken as a flick that indie or otherwise is still a fun piece for anyone looking to escape, turn off their brain, and have a good laugh.

Tooken may not be a big budget movie or even a big budget spoof. Regardless it is still a movie that anyone looking for an escape and a good laugh will appreciate and enjoy. That is thanks in large part to the movie’s script complete with all of its comic elements. The work of the movie’s cast is just as much to thank for the movie’s enjoyment. The fact that the movie’s cast and crew embrace the movie’s being low budget on every level makes the movie in whole that much more enjoyable. It brings everything full circle and shows clearly why anyone looking for an escape and a good laugh will want to watch this laugh riot indie action spoof. Tooken will be available on DVD Tuesday, July 7th. More information on this and other titles from Cinedigm is available online now at:

Website: http://www.cinedigmentertainment.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm

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