MPI Media Group Announces Release Date For New Munsters Collection

Courtesy: mpi Media Group

Rocker/director Rob Zombie’s “prequel” origin story of The Munsters is scheduled for release this week on digital and Blu-ray, but for those looking for something more along the lines of the original show, mpi Media Group has something on the way next month.

mpi Media Group announced Monday, it is scheduled to release Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Show Cast & More Lost Treasures Oct. 4. The classic presentation is scheduled for release exclusively on DVD. The forthcoming special marks the first time ever that the 1965 TV special will have seen the light of day on DVD.

Along with the title special, the collection also includes a 1966 full-color The Munsters themed “episode” featuring star Fred Gwynne in costume and character as the beloved bumbling head of the Munster household, Herman on The Danny Kaye Show. There are also some rare and vintage segments from other talk shows and a new featurette titled “Munster Memories.” The special presentation features Butch Patrick (who played Eddie Munster in the original series).

In addition, guest appearances by Edie Adams and Joey Bishop, as well as music from New Christy Minstrels.

Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Show Cast & More Lost Treasures will retail for MSRP of $19.98. Its run time is listed as two hours.

More information on this and other titles from mpi Media Group is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Website: https://mpihomevideo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘The Bad Guys’ Is One Of The Most Welcome Surprises Of 2022’s Field Of New Movies

Courtesy: Universal Pictures/Scholastic Entertainment/Dreamworks Animation

Everyone loves a great heist movie, right?  Okay maybe not everyone, but lots of people do, though.  Thanks to Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Animation and Scholastic Entertainment, audiences of all ages got a great new heist movie this year in the form of the cinematic adaptation of author Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys books in the aptly titled movie, The Bad Guys.  This almost two-hour movie is one of the biggest cinematic surprises of 2022.  Having made its theatrical debut April 22, the movie did not last long in theaters, coming home less than two months later to digital and physical platforms June 21.  Why it made the transition so quickly is anyone’s guess.  Its gross ticket sales of more than $96 million managed to finish the movie’s theatrical run in the black.  Regardless of why it was pulled so quickly, that is not necessarily a bad thing.  That is because it meant home audiences who did not want to have to go to the theater would not have to wait that long to finally get to enjoy it in the comfort of their homes.  There is plenty to appreciate about the movie, beginning with its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is also important to note in terms of the movie’s engagement and entertainment and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted does its own share to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout this movie.  All things considered they make The Bad Guys a very good movie for the whole family.

Universal Pictures, Scholastic Entertainment, and Dreamworks Animation’s cinematic adaptation of author Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys book series is one of the most unsuspecting successes of this year’s theatrical releases.  Its success is due in part to its featured story.  The story stays largely true to its source material, combining elements of the stories in Blabey’s beloved children’s books for an overall story about Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, and Ms. Tarantula turning from bad to good, but still at least being a little bad in the end.  The group’s transformation happens after being arrested early on for a heist that it commits.  Professor Marmalade (played by Richard Ayoade – The IT Crowd, The Watch, The Double) comes in after striking a deal with Diane Foxington (voiced by Zazie Beets – Deadpool 2, Joker, Atlanta) to help reform the criminals.  In the process of their reformation, Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell – Moon, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) actually does start going good, which leads to its own share of conflict within the group as the story progresses.  Of course being a family friendly movie, the story ends up with a surprise happy ending that will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  Coming in at just under two hours (one hour, 40 minutes to be exact), the story’s pacing helps things along, too.  Even the romance subplot (yes, sadly even here there is a romance story) does not overpower the bigger story of the Bad Guys turning good, but rather is blended well into the overall story, letting itself take a backseat to the bigger tale.  The overall story also has plenty of jokes that are just edgy enough to have adults laughing but not questioning their content.  So even here is an aspect of the story that further shows the story’s importance and impact.  Overall, the story featured here in The Bad Guys offers so much for audiences to appreciate more than once.

As much as the story featured in The Bad Guys does to make it enjoyable, it is just one part of what makes the movie so engaging and entertaining.  The cast’s work throughout does its own share to make the movie enjoyable.  From Alex Borstein (Family Guy, Bad Santa, Catwoman) taking on the comedic role of Police Chief Misty, who is hellbent on catching Mr. Wolf and company, to Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine, This Is The End, Pineapple Express) adding so much comedic timing as Mr. Shark, to Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born, In The Heights, Hamilton) bringing something of a Joe Pesci type personality to Mr. Piranha, and more, the whole cast brings so much enjoyment to the movie.  Staying for a moment on Ramos’ performance, he does such a great job giving Mr. Piranha that Napoleon complex of sorts for which Pesci’s characters have come to have over the years.  He really has a great gangster persona yet he does it in such a fun fashion that the whole family will enjoy his work.  Robinson brings his own talent to Mr. Shark, making Mr. Shark an equally great comic relief among the group.  He succeeds in creating that contrast between the personalities of his cast mates and deserves his own share of applause.  Borstein, who is largely known for her work on Family Guy is just as entertaining as Officer Misty, giving Officer Misty an almost Ahab-esque personality in her quest to catch The Bad Guys once and for all.  The moments when the group escapes her clutches, her reaction makes for so many laughs.  Between these cast members and the others, every cast member here brings so much to the table and makes for that much more engagement and entertainment for the whole family.  When the cast’s work pairs with the movie’s story, that collective makes for all the more enjoyment here.

The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release rounds out the presentation’s most important elements.  There is a lot of bonus content but not a lot at the same time.  There is an expansive amount of content in the way of learning how to make push pops (which is directly related to a certain element of the movie’s story).  Families can learn how to make healthy and tasty fruit push pops and how to dress each one up as a character from the movie, which takes up a lot of time.  It also means it will take a lot of time for parents to write everything down if they actually make the frozen treats. 

Another bonus that stands out is the standard making of featurette.  Audiences learn through this featurette that the animation style used in this movie was intentionally meant to be different from all of the cookie cutter animation presented by Disney and so many other Dreamworks movies.  It is pointed out that the movie’s animation is an intentional blend of anime and French animation style.  It gives the animation its own welcome unique touch that is just as endearing as the movie’s story and the cast’s work. 

In yet another of the bonuses, audiences get to hear from the movie’s main cast, as the group talks about taking on its respective roles.  The interviews are brief, but still enlightening and entertaining.  That is because of the insight that each cast member offers in terms of taking on the roles of characters that most audiences might not know.  It shows a certain level of respect that each cast member has for the characters, the movie, and for one another.  Between this bonus, the others discussed here and the few others included in the movie’s home release, the overall bonus content is not necessarily ground breaking, but it does add at least a little bit of extra engagement and entertainment to the presentation.  When the enjoyment raised by the bonus content is considered along with the movie’s story and the cast’s work therein, the whole makes the movie overall such a joy to take in any time with the whole family.

Dreamworks Animation, Universal Pictures, and Scholastic Entertainment’s recently released cinematic adaptation of The Bad Guys is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation that the whole family will enjoy together time and again.  That is proven in part through a movie that does so well in bringing together elements of author Aaron Blabey’s books for its central story.  The work of the cast interpreting the scripts adds even more enjoyment to the mix because of the personality that each actor brings to his and her respective character.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release adds its own subtle touch to the presentation, too.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered they make Bad Guys one of the biggest surprises of this year’s field of new theatrical and home movie releases.

Bad Guys is available now on digital and physical platforms.  More information on The Bad Guys is available at:

Website: https://uni.pictures/TheBadGuys

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBadGuysMovie

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

‘League Of Super Pets’ Is Not Super, But Still Worth Watching

Courtesy: Warner Brothers/Warner Animation Group/DC Entertainment

In 2005 when Warner Brothers brought Superman’s canine friend Krypto to the small screen in his own series, it marked the first time ever that any of the DC Entertainment Universe’s animal superheroes had ever gotten its own attention.  Prior to the series’ premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers had only focused on DC’s human and superhuman stars, so it was a key step in the companies’ attempt to expand DC’s comics to screen universe.  The series less than two years from March 2005 to December 2006, spanning just two seasons and even incorporated Krypto’s original Legion of Superheroes cohort Streaky the cat.  After the series ended, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment largely abandoned any plans for any future Super Pets properties on TV and in theaters.  However, late last month, the companies brought some of DC’s super pets back to the screen again, this time in theaters in the form of League of Super Pets.  The movie, which made its theatrical debut July 29, is a mostly entertaining presentation, though is not perfect.  The main positive in this movie is its story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story is enjoyable for the whole family (albeit not entirely accurate to the comics), the story does have one troubling aspect, that being the use of some adult language.  This will be discussed a little later.  It is not enough to doom the movie, so to that end, there is at least one more positive to note in the form of the cast’s work.  This will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered they make League of Super Pets a mostly successful new take on DC’s Legion of Super Pets comic book and new family flick.

League of Super Pets, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers’ latest addition to the ever-expanding DC Entertainment Universe, is a mostly successful overall presentation.  The movie’s story is really the key to its success.  The story in question finds Krypto, Superman’s canine friend having to assemble a group of super powered animals to help save the big blue boy scout after a guinea pig named Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters, Saturday Night Live, Bombshell) bent on world domination kidnaps him and the rest of the Justice League members.  The other animals (which are not original members of the League of Super Pets from the 1962 comic book), gained their powers thanks to some orange kryptonite that broke off of an orange kryptonite meteorite and was captured by said megalomaniacal guinea pig.  The unexpected group of heroes ends up saving the day after Lex Luthor turns on Lulu, and Krypto learns a valuable lesson about friendship along the way.  Meanwhile, the other Super Pets – Ace, Chip, Merton, and PB – all end up being rescued and adopted by the other Justice League members.  There is some accuracy and inaccuracy here.  Ace has always been known to be Batman’s dog, while Chip has had a tie to the Green Lantern Corps.  PB meanwhile was never Wonder Woman’s pet.  She was Circes’ pet in the comics, but that can be forgiven.  The very message about the importance of rescuing shelter pets that is clearly tied into the story makes that forgivable.  Shelter pets need forever homes, so having that accented here in a less than preachy fashion is so welcome.  The friendships between Krypto and the group will resonate with audiences of all ages as the group takes on Lulu and Lex.

While the story featured in League of Super Pets is engaging and entertaining, there is at least one problem within the story.  That problem is the use of some adult language throughout the movie.  The language in question comes from Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne – Orange is the New Black, American Pie, Slums of Beverly Hills).  Lyonne is not to blame here, but rather the movie’s writers.  There are points where Merton clearly is meant to be using a certain foul word since it is bleeped out.  At other points, she uses clearly other foul language that is also bleeped out.  Merton is not the only one who uses some questionable language.  There is a young kitten (yes, a kitten – IE child) who says to the super pets, “See you in heck” as it tries to kill them.  Considering that this movie is rated PG and is meant to be a family friendly flick, having that language in there, even censored, is still disappointing.  That the movie’s writers and creative heads felt the need to go blue in a family movie really does detract from the movie’s appeal, and parents need to be aware of this aspect. 

While the questionable language that is peppered throughout the movie is problematic, it is not enough to make the movie a failure.  The work of the movie’s cast works with the story to make for more appeal.  Dwayne Johnson leads the way as Krypto.  At first, the announcement that he was going to take on the role was questioned by many, and justifiably so.  That is because of his current body of work.  His current body of work is composed of action flicks and very specific tough guy type roles.  It leads one to imagine Johnson giving Krypto such style persona.  Thankfully that was not the case.  He actually made Krypto endearing, showing his ability to adapt to the role. 

On a related note, Kevin Hart, who has also developed himself into a very specific type of actor, pulls back here, too.  His typically annoying, over the top approach to his roles is nonexistent here, which is appealing.  The vulnerability that he brings to Ace as Ace talks abut how he ended up at the shelter balances well with Ace’s more confident side to make Ace a well-rounded character in his own right.  McKinnon really does well in her own right to bring out Lulu’s megalomaniacal nature, too.  She does so well to make Lulu’s diabolical nature so funny and believable at the same time.  Between the performances put on by Johnson, Hart, and McKinnon, and those of the rest of the cast, the whole makes the cast’s overall work just as engaging as the movie’s story.  Those two items together make the movie in general worth watching at least once, even with the concerns of the occasional unnecessary foul language in mind.

League of Super Pets, the latest addition to Warner Brothers and DC’s ever-expanding universe, is an interesting presentation.  It succeeds in part because of its story.  The story finds Krypto having to form a new group of furry super powered friends to save the Justice League.  Along the way, he also has to learn about friendship and teamwork, which will resonate with plenty of audiences. While the story featured in this movie is accessible for audiences of all ages, the occasional use of some questionable language is disappointing.  That is the case even with it being censored.  There was no need for the movie’s writers to go blue and ruin what is otherwise a family friendly atmosphere throughout the story.  It is not enough to doom the movie but is certainly a concern.  The cast’s work pairs with the story to make for more engagement and entertainment.  That is because the cast’s performances are so believable.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered League of Super Pets proves maybe not super but still worth watching at least once.

League of Super Pets is playing now.  The movie’s home release date is under consideration.  More information on this and other titles from Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment is available at https://dc.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

‘The Batman’ Is The Most Unique Batman Movie To Date

Courtesy: Warner Brothers/DC Entertainment

More than 83 years ago, Batman, one of the world’s most famous comic book characters, made his first appearance in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics (Issue #27).  In the nearly 85 years since the Dark Knight made his debut on the printed page, he has had countless stories told both in print and on screen.  Fans of all ages have their favorite version of the big, black bat (longtime fans will get that reference) throughout that time, too.  Audiences got a whole new story of Batman in March when Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment debuted The Batman.  This take of the Batman mythos is the most unique addition to the Batman universe to date.  That is due in large part to its collective presentation style and story, which will be discussed shortly.  The cast’s work on screen makes for its own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in is recent home release is just as much of note as the movie’s primary content and will also be examined hater.  Each item noted here plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered they make this movie one more of this year’s top new theatrical releases.

The Batman, the latest addition to Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment’s decades-long series of Batman movies, is the single most unique entry in that realm.  It is completely separate unlike any of its predecessors both in terms of its stylistic approach and its story, both of which are tied together.  It is the first time in the franchise’s history that a Batman movie has been so gritty and that one of the franchise’s movies has focused more on story than say special effects and Batman’s gadgets (including the Batmobile).  As writer/director Matt Reeves points out in the movie’s bonus content (which will be discussed later), the intent here was to craft a movie that was in fact a detective story, not just another comic book to film tale.  It was meant to present Batman doing what he has done best for decades, solving mysteries.  In this case, it found Batman trying to solve the mystery of The Riddler’s sadistic, homicidal quest to bring his own justice to Gotham City before The Riddler can commit his crimes.  It is more of a hard-boiled film noir style presentation than the movies that audiences have come to know over the decades, and that is wholly a good thing.  There is no 1960s-era cheekiness here.  There is not even any of Tim Burton’s approach here.  If anything, this clearly Hush-esque story feels more like a natural progression of the gritty approach taken by Reeves’ predecessor, Christopher Nolan, in his Batman trilogy.  As noted, the focus is on Batman/Bruce Wayne’s abilities as a human detective and less on his toys (again, longtime Batman fans will get that reference), and that really is a nice change of pace.  That unique approach really gives the movie its own identity separate from the other Batman movies out there.  What’s more even being as long as it is (clocking in at just shy of 3 hours), the story still manages to keep audiences engaged and entertained even despite the issues posed by that length and related pacing.

Speaking of the movie’s run time and pacing, that really does collectively detract from the viewing experience.  From beginning to end, there is so much brooding, even more than ever before.  What’s more, there are so many plot elements and so many twists and turns that the story really does get bogged down in itself by the end.  Speaking of the end, it seems like Reeves and company could not seem to figure out how to end the movie.  From Falcone’s arrest to the chase with the Penguin, to Edward’s arrest and the long sequence that follows, there is just so much in the final act that it is too much.  Reeves and company could have ended the movie at so many points therein, but in going on as long as they did, it makes the story feel that much more like it just plods along.  Considering that the story already plods along at such a slow pace as is, that only hurts it that much more.  Keeping that in mind, the story is unique but is far from perfect.  It really requires audiences to fully immerse themselves in the story and be ready and willing to sit through it all.  Those who are ready and willing to sit through it all will agree that the story is, again, unique, just too long for itself.  It is not enough to doom the story, but certainly does detract from the movie’s overall presentation.

While the story featured in The Batman is a mixed bag, something that is more of a positive overall is the work of the movie’s cast.  Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) plays the part of a troubled young Bruce Wayne surprisingly well here.  He is actually that believable as he takes on what is one of the most iconic roles in modern movie history.  There are no hints of that glittery vampire that he portrayed in the Twilight saga.  Here, audiences get from him a Bruce Wayne/Batman who is emotionally lost.  He is trying to make sense of the tragedy that had consumed Bruce for such a long time.  Perhaps part of the reason that he does so well is that this movie is not just another origin story.  This is not even a Year One story (which is also discussed in the bonus content).  This is Bruce Wayne at a pivotal point in his life and role as Gotham’s protector, coming of age in a manner of speaking.  Pattinson’s ability to interpret Bruce’s emotional and mental state here is so immersive, so kudos goes to him for his performance.

On another note, co-star Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, 12 Years a Slave, Little Miss Sunshine) is just as noteworthy in his diabolical performance as The Riddler/Edward Nash (yes, they changed his last name here, more of a sign of how far this movie branches from the roots of the Batman mythos).  Edward’s performance, the killer instinct that he brings out in this portrayal, immediately conjures thoughts of the villain in Se7en.  From bludgeoning one official to death, to beating another within half an inch of his life and putting a bomb around his neck, to his maniacal sense that he and Batman were two sides of the same coin (wonder is that a foreshadowing of what is to come in the future for Batman?) as he sits on the other side of the glass in Arkham, Dano does so much right with this version of The Riddler.  He really is about as sociopathic and homicidal as the late great Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.  Yes, that is a lofty statement, but it is true.  The way in which he makes The Riddle rant to his followers in his internet posts really brings out that psychotic nature even more.  Overall, Dano is well-deserving of his own applause here.  He makes it that easy for audiences to be shocked by The Riddler and hate Edward.

Dano’s performance is just one more of the most notable in this movie.  Colin Farrell (Daredevil, S.W.A.T., In Bruges) puts on his own powerful performance.  Considering Farrell is not American (just like Pattinson), he makes his accent fully believable at the foundation of his performance.  That foundation is bolstered by his full-on mobster style take on Oswald Cobblepot.  Rather than making “Oz” just another comic book character, Farrell makes The Penguin more of a gangster type name than character with a bunch of bird-themed gadgets, etc.  Again, this is another way in which the movie continues to separate itself from all of the other Batman movies out there.  He makes Oz a character that audiences will love just as much as love to hate.  He is just that impressive in every one of his on-screen moments.  When his performance is considered along with those of Dano, Pattinson, and the rest of the cast, the overall work of the cast is so worthy of applause.  The cast’s work handling the script makes that extensively long, plodding story more bearable.  As a result, audiences will manage to remain engaged in the story to the end, so again, the cast’s work proves just as important here as the story.

The work of the cast interpreting the script in this movie is impressive to say the least.  It is the cast’s work alongside the unique hard-boiled noir detective story here that really makes The Batman worth watching.  This is especially important to note because of the movie’s run time and plodding pacing.  Those elements are just part of what makes the movie bearable.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its recent home release rounds out its most important elements.  The content is extensive, taking on the movie’s creation from pre-production to wrap in its longest feature, which runs just shy of an hour.  Also addressed through the various extras as the makeup and costuming for Selena Kyle/Catwoman, Edward/The Riddler, and Bruce/Batman.  Audiences are also treated to an in-depth examination of the Batmobile, from its creation to its testing and how the movie’s big chase scene came to life.  Audiences also get an interesting look at Batman’s “relationship” with The Riddler, how The Riddler’s view on justice and vengeance inadvertently leads Batman/Bruce to eventually change his view on whether Gotham City is worth saving.  Dano’s discussion here is really eye-opening.  That is because it shows Dano really has an understanding and in turn appreciation for that duality between the lead antagonist and protagonist.  The discussion on how Selena slowly transforms into what will become Catwoman is another interesting albeit brief discussion.  That is because it outlines the personal emotional issues that she faces, finding out the truth of her mother and the role of Falcone (who is played just as well by John Turturro – O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Quiz Show, Barton Fink) in what happened to her mother.  It makes audiences look forward to what star Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class, Mad Max: Fury Road, Divergent) will bring to the role in the next Batman movie.  Each of the bonus features that come with the movie’s home release clearly offer audiences plenty to appreciate.  When they are all considered together, they offer just as much to appreciate if not more than that of the story itself.  Keeping that in mind, when the bonus content featured here is considered along with the movie’s story and the cast’s work therein, the whole makes The Batman a unique new addition to the Batman mythos that while not “your grandad’s Batman” is still well worth watching.

The Batman, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment’s latest addition to the expansive Batman cinematic and TV universe, is a unique presentation.  Its uniqueness is partly due to its featured story.  The story here is not just another typical Batman movie that focuses on Batman’s gadgets and all of the cliché villain portrayals.  Rather, it is a deep hard-boiled crime noir story that is full of twists and turns.  Given there are perhaps too many of those twists and turns throughout, and too many endings in the final act, but the overall story is still worth watching for those who are ready and willing to sit through its nearly 3-hour run time thanks to that overall story and approach.  The cast’s work interpreting the extensive script is a saving grace.  From one actor to the next, every cast member does his and her own important part in making the otherwise plodding story bearable.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release rounds out the movie’s most important elements.  That is because of all of the background that it offers audiences.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered they make the movie not the best of the year’s new theatrical releases, but still one of the best.

The Batman is available now.  More information on this and other titles from DC Entertainment is available at https://dc.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Lightyear’ Is A Surprisingly Entertaining Addition to Disney, Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ Universe

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

More than 25 years ago when Disney and Pixar debuted Toy Story in theaters nationwide, the companies forever changed the face of animation.  In the nearly 30 years since that movie’s debut, the Toy Story franchise has also gone on to become a favorite among audiences of all ages through its movies and shorts alike.  Given, the franchise’s third movie should have been the finale, but that is a discussion for another time.  Fast forward to this year and the debut of the franchise’s new spinoff, Lightyear.  The movie made its digital home debut Wednesday and will make its physical home debut Sept. 13.  The movie was met with mixed reviews when it made its theatrical debut and has since struggled since then, with critics giving the movie a score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences giving it an only slightly higher score, at 84%.  With the movie out now on digital platforms and soon on physical platforms, it will be interesting to see what happens with those scores. One thing that is certain about the movie at this point is that it does deserve to be seen at least once.  That is due in part to its very approach, which will be discussed shortly.  The story within the movie also plays into the overall presentation and will be examined a little later.  The cast’s work rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered they make Lightyear a movie that audiences will find worth watching at least once.

Lightyear, the latest addition to Disney and Pixar’s already extensive Toy Story franchise, is another interesting addition to that universe.  It is a presentation that is worth watching at least once.  That is due in part to the movie’s general presentation.  What is interesting about the presentation is that it is a movie within a movie.  Right as the movie opens, audiences are presented with the message that the movie is the same movie that Andy (from the original Toy Story movies) watched and that got him interested in Buzz Lightyear in the first place.  So the fact that audiences are treated to a movie that is composed of a movie is a unique approach.  On a related note, IMDB lists as one of Lightyear’s goofs as being that Andy never had interest in Buzz Lightyear in the first place in the original Toy Story movie until his mom surprised him with the Buzz Lightyear toy.  It adds that in the second movie, Buzz as a toy wasn’t even based on a movie.  How does the person who wrote about Andy having no interest in Buzz Lightyear prior to getting the toy know for a fact that this is the case?  As excited as Andy was to get his Buzz Lightyear toy, one would imagine Andy had to have had some knowledge of the movie.  Even today in the real world, toy companies market toys based on movies to children all the time and children get excited.  Taking that into account, even if Andy hadn’t seen a Buzz Lightyear movie, he still could have been excited about the toy.  To that end, that goof posted to IMDB holds no water.  Getting back to the matter of the alleged goof in Toy Story 2, who is to say that was not just one of the characters saying Buzz wasn’t based on a movie just to make Buzz angry?  Now keeping everything noted in mind there, the very presentation of the Buzz Lightyear movie as a movie for audiences essentially makes this movie its own presentation.  Yes, it is essentially a spinoff from the Toy Story franchise, but it is still its own standalone presentation that is a valid presentation.

Going a little bit deeper, the story that is presented within the movie makes for its own interest.  The story is an all too familiar tale of personal growth.  Buzz’s growth comes as he has to learn about accepting help and the consequences of letting one’s self be consumed by one’s own personal drive and desire. From causing his ship to crash on the planet in the first place because he had to put everything on himself to being so obsessed with reaching hyperspeed in his attempt to find a way off of the planet, Buzz thought he had to do it all.  He did not want anyone’s help, and that caused him to lose his first partner and almost lose others along the way including that first partner’s granddaughter and her friends.

On a secondary note, audiences learn about the battle between Buzz and Emperor Zurg.  Out of respect for those who have yet to watch this movie, this critic will be careful in discussing the pair’s conflict.  However, audiences who are familiar with the story of how Buck Rogers came to be in the 25th century will find a clear influence there (whether intentional or not).  The conflict between the pair plays into the whole matter of the fabric of space and time and certain paradoxes (again not to give away too much).  Now this conflict between Buzz and Zurg also goes into another so-called good that IMDB has posted about the movie.  It is known that in Toy Story 2, Zurg said that he was Buzz’s father, and that negated the situation in Lightyear.  That little statement was meant wholly as a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Star Wars.  It was not meant to be serious, so again, whatever IMDB employee pointed out this continuity “issue” took that moment far too seriously.  To that end, audiences need to go into this movie’s story completely discounting the so-called goofs that IMDB has listed if they intend to have any appreciation for the story.  As long as they keep that in mind, audiences will find themselves surprisingly able to enjoy the story just as much as the movie’s very unique presentation style.

As much as the movie’s presentation style and story do to make the movie engaging and entertaining, they are just part of what makes the movie worth watching.  The cast’s work is also of note.  Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, etc.) leads the way, bringing Buzz to life on screen this time out.  He is clearly well-versed in the role of the hero, considering his time working with Marvel Studios.  His performance is entertaining but does not necessarily break a lot of ground for a character such as Buzz.  If anyone really stands out in terms of the cast, it is Peter Sohn (Ratatouille, Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur) as he voices Sox, the robot cat.  The subtle way in which he brings Sox to life is a prime example of less is more.  That deadpan delivery that he gives is just so entertaining throughout and really makes him the unsuspecting star of the cast.  Taika Waititi (Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, Jojo Rabbit) and Dale Soules (Orange is the New Black, The Messenger, Prism) bring their own comic touch to the movie as they bring life to Mo and Darcy.  Marcy’s initial declaration about not wanting to hold a gun because it would be a violation of her parole makes for such a great comedic moment putting Soules’ talents on display.  At the same time, that the writers would keep bringing up her criminal past makes the joke get old quick.  Thankfully Soules makes the best of it doing the best she can to try to keep the joke funny.  Waititi’s delivery as Mo makes Mo such an endearing character because he is so innocent.  He can’t help that he is such a clutz, and that constant uncertainty that Mo displays is another great part of how Waititi brings him to life.  They really do so much, as does Sohn and even Evans all things considered.  To that end, the work put in by the cast does its own share to make Lightyear engaging and entertaining, too.  When their work is considered along with the story and even the movie’s general presentation, the whole makes Lightyear a surprisingly engaging and entertaining new offering from Disney and Pixar.  It is not the companies’ best work ever.  That honor still belongs (at least to this critic) to Up.  That aside, it is still a movie that even being a spinoff from the initial Toy Story universe, is still worth watching.

Lightyear, Disney and Pixar’s new Toy Story spinoff, is an interesting addition to that universe.  The movie proves itself so intriguing in part because of its general presentation.  The general presentation is a double presentation of sorts.  It is a movie within a movie that is its own presentation within the bigger Toy Story universe.  That is a unique approach.  The movie’s story is relatively accessible, as it presents Buzz as a central character on a journey of personal growth.  That familiarity is certain to engage and entertain audiences throughout the movie.  The work of the movie’s cast rounds out its most important elements.  From familiar style acting from Evans to more comedic and heartfelt performances from his cast mates, the cast’s work does its own share to engage and entertain audiences.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the presentation that is Lightyear.  All things considered, they make Lightyear a surprisingly welcome addition to Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story universe that is actually worth watching at least once.

Lightyear is available on all digital platforms now.  It is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-ray 13 through Disney and Pixar.  More information on this and other titles from Disney and Pixar is available at:

Websitehttps://www.pixar.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Pixar

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/pixar

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

‘Anthrax XL’ Is A Welcome Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Live Recordings

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit America over the past couple of years or so, everyone knows what the impact was on the live music business.  Even as recent as last year, it caused so much live music to be paused and even cancelled.  Thankfully, many acts out there found a workaround in the form of livestream concerts, including Anthrax, which recorded a livestream concert almost a year ago to the day on July 15 and 16, 2021.  The concert was held as part of the band’s 40th Anniversary tour, which was sidelined as a result of the pandemic.  Now on Friday, that livestream concert will be available on Blu-ray in the form of Anthrax XL through Megaforce Records, which ironically was the very first label to sign the band four decades ago.  It is only fitting that the new recording will come through that label as part of the celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary.  Part of what audiences will appreciate about the semi-live show is its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of that set list adds its own level of enjoyment to the recording and will be examined a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the recording’s main feature puts the finishing touch to the whole, completing the presentation.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of Anthrax XL.  All things considered they make the recording one more of the year’s top new live Blu-rays and DVDs.

Anthrax XL, the new live recording from veteran hard rock band Anthrax, is a strong new offering from the band.  It is a presentation that will find wipe appeal among the band’s fans.  That is due in part to its featured set list.  The 22-song set (though the track listing lists 21 tracks, the opening number is a medley of two songs, so the total is in fact 22) pulls from half of the band’s 12 albums, and even reaches into the band’s 1991 compilation record, Attack of the Killer Bs.  It reaches all the way back to the band’s sophomore album, Spreading The Disease (1985) and all the way up to its most recent album, 2016’s For All Kings.  Given, the set list completely omits any songs from The Sound of White Noise (1993) all the way up to We’ve Come For You All (2013), which makes for quite a bit of interest and certainly discussion.  That’s because all of those albums were released, one after the other, so why would the band ignore those albums in its concert?  Only the band knows.  That aside, the set list pulls from a relatively healthy section of the band’s catalog, which is certain to appeal to plenty of audiences.

The band’s performance of the set list is just as notable as the set list itself.  From beginning to end, the band keeps the energy flowing in every song.  Front man Joey Belladonna presents so much energy as guitarist and founding member Scott Ian works through each driving riff.  Drummer Charlie Benante and bassist Frank Bello add their own energy to the concert.  Even being a livestream concert with no audience in front of the band, the group in whole still gives its all from one song to the next, knowing audiences were still watching albeit online.  To that end, the band’s performance of each song is just as engaging and entertaining as if the band was performing in a full live setting.  Keeping that in mind, the band’s performance of the set list makes for just as much for audiences to appreciate as the set list itself.

While the set list and the band’s performance thereof do plenty to keep audiences engaged and entertained, they are just a part of what makes the recording worth hearing.  The bonus content that accompanies the recording adds another layer of enjoyment to the presentation.  The first half of the bonus content comes in the form of a handful of extra performances, including that of ‘Aftershock,‘ yet another song featured in the band’s 1985 album, Spreading The Disease.  In all, audiences get nearly 15 minutes of bonus performance from the band, making for so much more enjoyment in its own right.  The second half of the bonus content features the band’s rehearsals for its livestream show as well as a tour of the places that have been key in Anthrax’s history, including Megaforce Records, Times Square, Electric Ladyland Studios, and even a pizzeria (of all places).  The tour is guided by Ian and features him talking about the importance of each location to the band’s history.    Audiences will be interested to learn from Ian at one point, about his love for the comic book, Judge Dredd.  That is certain to connect even more audiences with the band.  Between the extra live content, the tour and rehearsals, audiences get so much to appreciate in the bonus content, each part of the bonus content lives up to that title as it puts the finishing touch to the recording’s presentation.  When it is collectively considered along with the rest of the recording’s content and the band’s performance thereof, the whole makes Anthrax XL a welcome presentation for any Anthrax fan.

Anthrax XL, the new live recording from Anthrax, is a welcome new offering from the veteran hard rock band.  It is a fitting celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary, even being in a semi-live setting.  The recording’s success comes in large part through its featured set list.  The 22-song set list pulls from half of the band’s records.  The band’s performance of said set list makes for its own enjoyment, as every band member brings his own energy to the whole.  The bonus content that accompanies the main presentation adds even more performances to the set, making for yet more enjoyment.  Guitarist Scott Ian’s tour of spots that have helped make Anthrax the band that it is today makes for its own unique addition to the bonus content that takes audiences even deeper into the band’s history.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered they make Anthrax XL another welcome addition to this year’s field of top new live recordings.

Anthrax XL is scheduled for release Friday through Megaforce Records. More information on the recording is available along with all of Anthrax’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://anthrax.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/anthrax

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/anthrax

In other news, Anthrax, Black Label Society and Hatebreed will hit the road together this summer.

The bands will launch a five-week tour July 26 in Phoenix, AZ. The tour is scheduled to run through Aug. 28 in Philadelphia, PA and will feature performances in cities nationwide, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Toronto, ON.

Anthrax’s upcoming tour is part of its ongoing 40th Anniversary celebration. For Hatebreed, the tour is a continued celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of the band’s album, Perseverance. The band is in the midst of a tour with Parkway Drive, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Stick To Your Guns in support of the album’s release anniversary. The tour is scheduled to wrap June 5 in San Francisco, CA.

Black Label Society’s upcoming run with Anthrax and Hatebreed is in support of its latest album, Doom Crew, Inc., which was released last year through eOne. Front man Zakk Wylde spoke warmly of Anthrax and Hatebreed as he talked about the upcoming tour.

“ANTHRAX is one of The BESTEST LEGENDARY METAL/THRASH BANDS of ALL TIME – I have been buds with SCOTTY, CHARLIE, FRANKIE & JOEY for over 3O years & they are some of the BESTEST people you will meet,” he said. “JON is The BESTEST new addition ANTHRAX could ask for – HATEBREED are The BESTEST HARDCORE/EXTREME METAL band & BESTEST friends w/ANTHRAX & BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. The ANTHRAX + BLACK LABEL SOCIETY & HATEBREED TOUR is going to be one of the BESTEST TOURS EVER!!”

Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta was also upbeat as he talked about the bands’ upcoming live run.

“Listen up! It’s gonna be a hot summer!” said Jasta.  “Anthrax, BLS & Hatebreed will be on your case, in your face & ready to kick you and your father back in place!  See you in the pit.”

Public ticket sale for the upcoming tour opens at 10 a.m. local time Friday. The tour’s schedule is noted below along with the full schedule for the various ticket sales open times.

Dates for the tour are as follows:

JULY

26  The Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ

28  Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV

29  The Palladium, Los Angeles, CA

30  Heart Health Park, Sacramento, CA

AUGUST

  1  Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO

  2  Midland Theater, Kansas City, MO

  4  Hard Rock Live Northern Indiana, Gary, IN

  5  Oshkosh Arena, Oshkosh, WI

  6  The Fillmore, Minneapolis, MN

  8  Southside Ballroom, Dallas, TX**

  9  Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater, Austin, TX

11  The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA

12  House of Blues, Orlando, FL

13  The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC

15  The Andrew J Brady Music Center, Cincinnati, OH

16  Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN

18  The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD

19  Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

20  The Fillmore, Detroit, MI**

22  StageAE Outside, Pittsburgh, PA

23  History, Toronto, ON  CANADA

24  Amphitheatre Cogeco, Trois Riviere/Montreal, QC

26  Coney Island Amphitheater, Brooklyn, NY

28  The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA**

** Hatebreed will not appear on these dates.

TICKET PRESALE DETAILS:

Citi Presale: Monday, April 18, 2022, 12:00 PM Eastern Time 

Live Nation Presale: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:00 AM Local Time 

Spotify Presale: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 2:00 PM EST 

Ticketmaster Presale: Wednesday, April 20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time 

Blabbermouth Presale: Wednesday, April 20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time 

Knotfest Presale: Wednesday, April 20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time 

Nederlander Presale:  Thursday, April 21, 2022, 10:00 AM Pacific Time

Venue Presales: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 10:00 AM Local Time

All Presale end: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 10:00 PM Local Time 

More information on Black Label Society’s upcoming run with Anthrax and Hatebreed is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://blacklabelsociety.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety

More information on Hatebreed’s run with Anthrax and Black Label Society is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hatebreed.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/hatebreed

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/hatebreed

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

“Dr. Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness” Is An Imperfect But Still Enjoyable Addition To The Marvel Cinematic Universe

A little more than two months after making its domestic theatrical debut, Marvel Studios/Disney’s Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set for home release of 4K UHD and Blu-ray July 26.  The movie is director Sam Raimi’s first time heading a Marvel movie since helming Spiderman 3 in 2007 and while it is not perfect, it is still an entertaining new addition to the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU).  The movie’s success comes in part through its story, which while imperfect in itself still makes the movie worth watching occasionally.  This item will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast plays its own part into the movie’s success and will be addressed a little later.  The movie’s general effect rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered this latest addition to the MCU is a worthwhile story that any true Marvel fan will appreciate.

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the latest entry in the ever-expanding MCU (and second in the Dr. Strange world), is a mostly successful presentation.  The success that it enjoys comes in large part through its story that although imperfect is at least not too long at just over two hours in time.  The story is relatively simple: Dr. Strange meets a powerful young woman named America Chavez who has the ability to transcend Marvel’s various universes and has to protect her from Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. The Scarlet Witch.  He has to protect America from Wanda because Wanda wants to take America’s powers and use them to venture into the multiverse and find the one in which “her children” reside.  Quotation marks are used because Wanda created her children, so they are not her biological children.  This is tied back into Marvel’s small screen world, sadly forcing audiences to know about the story from Disney+’s Vision and the Scarlet Witch series.  This tie into the bigger MCU is nothing new but is still disappointing because it leaves audiences who have not seen that limited series in the dark so to speak.  On a side note, there is also mention of Marvel and Sony’s Spiderman No Way Home in the story albeit brief, therefore once again forcing audiences to have some knowledge of that movie before coming into this presentation.  All of this aside, the story does manage to stand as its own tale that is not tied too closely to the rest of the MCU, so it has that much going for it.

Getting back to the matter of Wanda’s quest to capture America, it really comes across as being cliché to a point.  It all just seems so formulaic considering that the misguided villain story has been done so many times in other superhero stories in various ways but is still the same sort of tale.  Yes, a mother’s love is powerful, and there are women who have been proven so crazy to have children that they would kidnap others’ children in the real world, but this is not the real world.  It is the world of comics on film, and again, Wanda’s story of a misguided villain is anything but new in that realm.  It all just seems too formulaic, and it does detract from the movie’s presentation to a point.  It is not enough to completely doom the movie, though for audiences who can overlook this issue.

Moving on from that aspect, in the process of trying to protect America from Wanda, America and Dr. Strange end up in one of the endless universes out there in the MCU.  In their attempt to get home, he and America find out that a magical book that they need to defeat Wanda is conveniently located in that universe.  The book is not the only point of interest in the universe in which Dr. Strange and America find themselves. Characters from many other Marvel comic books, including Black Bolt, Reed Richards, and the seemingly most powerful mutant in the world, Professor Charles Xavier, are also there.  This is clearly a way for Marvel and Disney to further expand the MCU and really just feels more like fan service than anything really relevant to the story.  Even more problematic is that as the story progresses, the attention tends to turn more toward Dr. Strange than his young charge.  Thankfully the focus does not turn too much and does make a clear attempt to balance the focus even as there is so much going on not only in that universe but in the many other universes, including what one has to assume is “Earth Prime”.  Considering everything that is going on in the two universes that become the center of the story, the movie’s writing team is to be commended for trying to transition fluidly back and forth between the worlds even with the clear contrivance and other issues in the story.  That writing thankfully keeps the movie’s pacing relatively stable throughout its two-hour run time, which is itself appealing, considering the number of movies out there today that seem ton consciously try to exceed the two-and-a-half-hour mark.  Keeping all of this in mind, the story featured in Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is far from perfect, but it is clear that those behind the story’s creation did make an attempt to pull every viewer into the tale.  Those efforts make the story a relatively stable starting point for the movie’s presentation.

Building on the relative stability of the movie’s story is the cast’s work interpreting the story’s script.  Benedict Cumberbatch leads the way as the movie’s titular character.  From beginning to end, Cumberbatch’s personality on screen is so much like that of fellow Marvel star Robert Downey Jr., who for such a long time, portrayed Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man.  That is evidence in the borderline cockiness that Cumberbatch brings out of Steven Strange throughout the movie.  At the same time, he does show a subtle vulnerability in Dr. Strange.  That balance of confidence (maybe overconfidence at times?) and vulnerability makes him a great new potential leader for the Marvel universe or at least a strong character of focus as the MCU enters its next phase.  It just makes him that much more endearing to audiences.

On another note, Elizabeth Olsen’s latest take as Wanda is just as notable in this movie.  There is a certain over the top nature in her subtle fury but also something engaging about her portrayal, too.  From early on, the casual way in which she talks about what happened to Vision in Vision and the Scarlet Witch shows that she has already left reality so to speak.  There is a certain sociopathic nature already peeking through.  As the story progresses, Olsen takes on more of a familiar crazed super villain role.  That familiarity will keep audiences engaged even as comfortable as such a portrayal has become in the comic book to film world.  That is not a slap at Olsen and her work.  It is just that her portrayal is so commonplace that it does not really break any new ground but is still engaging and entertaining in its own right.

On a completely different note, that America is supposed to be the center of Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, star Xochitl Gomez, who portrays America, makes the most of her moments on screen.  The vulnerability and lack of self-assurance that she gives America is something to which so many younger teen audiences will relate.  This even though American is technically a being that is centuries old (as Wanda points out at one moment in the story).  The vulnerability shows through as she sees a vision of her childhood in her home world while the lack of self-assurance shows through in her attempt to control her powers.  It is just too bad that she did not get as much screen time as she likely should have, considering the overall story.  Either way, she makes the most of her time on screen, too.  When her performance is considered alongside those of Cumberbatch and Olsen, the main cast’s work on screen adds to the movie’s appeal in its own right.

The main cast’s work on screen is just one more item of note in examining the movie’s presentation.  The general effect in the presentation is also worth examining.  Right from the movie’s introduction in which Steven is dreaming about being in another universe, fighting a monster as he is trying to get to a book, the look of the movie really has that same look that audiences came to know from Raimi’s work helming the original Spiderman trilogy.  The different worlds, the monsters, everything, they all have that trademark Sam Raimi touch.  That touch in question is that of more comic book than the gritty stuff that so many movies have come to use.  It really is a nice return to form so to speak and will certainly appeal to so many audiences.  The whole thing just has that really more comic book realm on screen feel and is so welcome.  When it is considered along with the work of the movie’s cast and the relatively engaging story, the whole makes the movie overall a mostly successful new addition to the MCU universe.

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a mostly positive new addition to Marvel Studios and Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It is hardly perfect but is also not a failure.  Its success comes in part through its featured story.  The story centers on Dr. Strange’s attempt to keep a powerful mutule-versal being from being kidnapped and essentially killed by The Scarlet Witch, who wants the being’s powers in order to venture into the multiverse and be with her children from one of those universes.  The whole thing is somewhat contrived when viewed in the overall picture, but is still worth taking in.  The main cast’s work on screen adds to the interest especially in the case of Benedict Cumberbatch’s work.  He showed he could potentially take the lead as the next Avengers head if he so wanted.  Elizabeth Olsen’s latest turn as Wanda Maximoff was engaging in its own right, too.  The general effect of the movie rounds out the movie’s most important element in that it really brings back the look of the Spiderman movies helmed by Sam Raimi.  That look is that true comic book to screen look.  It is somewhat cheesy but in an endearing way.  It really does leave audiences feel like they are looking at what they might see in the comic books and is just such a welcome accent to the whole.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie and when considered together, make the movie overall a movie that while imperfect is still entertaining.

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled for release on 4K UHD and BD July 28.  More information on this and other titles from Marvel Studios is available at:

Website: https://www.marvel.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marvelstudios

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marvel

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

Anthrax Premieres ‘The Devil You Know’ Live Clip

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

As the release date for Anthrax’s new live recording, Anthrax XL, nears, the band is giving audiences another preview of the recording with a new live clip.

The band premiered the clip of its performance of ‘The Devil You Know‘ Friday. The recording is schedule for release July 15 through Megaforce Records. The video features the band performing the song on stage and adds in pictures of the band alongside some very well-known friends. Among the well-known friends featured in the pictures are the likes of Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, and Vinnie Paul. Also among those friends featured in the pictures are the likes of Peter Criss, Slash, and James Hetfield.

The audio in the clip is exceptionally clear. The video is just as impressive.

‘The Devil You Know’ is the second live clip that Anthrax has released ahead of Anthrax XL‘s release. The band premiered a live clip of ‘Aftershock‘ early this month.

The track listing for Anthrax’s Anthrax XL Blu-Ray / CD / Digital is as follows:

Time/Fight Em ’Til You Can’t

Madhouse

Caught In A Mosh

Metal Thrashing Mad

Got The Time

I Am The Law

Keep It In The Family

Lone Justice

The Devil You Know

Be All End All

Now It’s Dark

Antisocial

In The End

Medusa

Evil Twin

Indians

Skeletons In The Closet

Blood Eagle Wings

Bring The Noise

A.I.R.

Among The Living

In other news, Anthrax, Black Label Society and Hatebreed will hit the road together this summer.

The bands will launch a five-week tour July 26 in Phoenix, AZ. The tour is scheduled to run through Aug. 28 in Philadelphia, PA and will feature performances in cities nationwide, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Toronto, ON.

Anthrax’s upcoming tour is part of its ongoing 40th Anniversary celebration. For Hatebreed, the tour is a continued celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of the band’s album, Perseverance. The band is in the midst of a tour with Parkway Drive, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Stick To Your Guns in support of the album’s release anniversary. The tour is scheduled to wrap June 5 in San Francisco, CA.

Black Label Society’s upcoming run with Anthrax and Hatebreed is in support of its latest album, Doom Crew, Inc., which was released last year through eOne. Front man Zakk Wylde spoke warmly of Anthrax and Hatebreed as he talked about the upcoming tour.

“ANTHRAX is one of The BESTEST LEGENDARY METAL/THRASH BANDS of ALL TIME – I have been buds with SCOTTY, CHARLIE, FRANKIE & JOEY for over 3O years & they are some of the BESTEST people you will meet,” he said. “JON is The BESTEST new addition ANTHRAX could ask for – HATEBREED are The BESTEST HARDCORE/EXTREME METAL band & BESTEST friends w/ANTHRAX & BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. The ANTHRAX + BLACK LABEL SOCIETY & HATEBREED TOUR is going to be one of the BESTEST TOURS EVER!!”

Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta was also upbeat as he talked about the bands’ upcoming live run.

“Listen up! It’s gonna be a hot summer!” said Jasta.  “Anthrax, BLS & Hatebreed will be on your case, in your face & ready to kick you and your father back in place!  See you in the pit.”

Public ticket sale for the upcoming tour opens at 10 a.m. local time Friday. The tour’s schedule is noted below along with the full schedule for the various ticket sales open times.

Dates for the tour are as follows:

JULY

26  The Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ

28  Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV

29  The Palladium, Los Angeles, CA

30  Heart Health Park, Sacramento, CA

AUGUST

  1  Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO

  2  Midland Theater, Kansas City, MO

  4  Hard Rock Live Northern Indiana, Gary, IN

  5  Oshkosh Arena, Oshkosh, WI

  6  The Fillmore, Minneapolis, MN

  8  Southside Ballroom, Dallas, TX**

  9  Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater, Austin, TX

11  The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA

12  House of Blues, Orlando, FL

13  The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC

15  The Andrew J Brady Music Center, Cincinnati, OH

16  Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN

18  The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD

19  Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

20  The Fillmore, Detroit, MI**

22  StageAE Outside, Pittsburgh, PA

23  History, Toronto, ON  CANADA

24  Amphitheatre Cogeco, Trois Riviere/Montreal, QC

26  Coney Island Amphitheater, Brooklyn, NY

28  The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA**

** Hatebreed will not appear on these dates.

TICKET PRESALE DETAILS:

Citi Presale: Monday, April 18, 2022, 12:00 PM Eastern Time 

Live Nation Presale: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:00 AM Local Time 

Spotify Presale: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 2:00 PM EST 

Ticketmaster Presale: Wednesday, April 20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time 

Blabbermouth Presale: Wednesday, April 20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time 

Knotfest Presale: Wednesday, April 20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time 

Nederlander Presale:  Thursday, April 21, 2022, 10:00 AM Pacific Time

Venue Presales: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 10:00 AM Local Time

All Presale end: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 10:00 PM Local Time 

More information on the upcoming tour is available along with all of Anthrax’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://anthrax.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/anthrax

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/anthrax

More information on Black Label Society’s upcoming run with Anthrax and Hatebreed is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://blacklabelsociety.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety

More information on Hatebreed’s run with Anthrax and Black Label Society is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hatebreed.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/hatebreed

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/hatebreed

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘The Beatles And India’ Is A Mostly Successful New Look At A Pivotal Point In The Beatles’ History

Courtesy: Silva Screen Productions/Renoir Pictures

It goes without saying that The Beatles is considering by many critics and audiences alike to be one of the most important bands in the history of modern music.  The band’s music has and continues to transcend generations since its original release from one album to the next.  Memorabilia surrounding the band still commands high prices among audiences to this day, and to this day, movies and documentaries are still being made about the band.  The most recent of the documentaries to center on The Beatles is the 2021 feature, The Beatles and India.  Having made its theatrical debut in 2021, it is scheduled for home release June 21 on Blu-ray and DVD.  No surprise to anyone, this documentary will appeal primarily to established fans of The Beatles, though more casual audiences will find it worth watching at least once.  The doc’s appeal comes primarily through its main feature, which will be discussed shortly.  While the main feature is a positive to the documentary’s presentation, the whole is not perfect.  There is something of an issue with the audio mix, though it is not enough to doom the documentary.  This will be examined a little later.  The concern with the audio is a bridge of sorts between the documentary’s main feature and bonus content.  Speaking of the bonus content, it is also an item that audiences will find a positive, so it will also be examined later.  When it is considered along with the documentary’s main feature, the two items collectively make the overall presentation a mostly successful offering for any fan of The Beatles.

The Beatles and India, the new documentary centered on the one and only Beatles, is a unique new look at what many considered to be a pivotal part of the band’s history, its journey to Rishikesh, India in 1968.  The story of that journey is interesting in that it is revealed here that it was really because of the band’s then guitarist George Harrison, that The Beatles even went to India in the first place.  As is pointed out, Harrison made the pilgrimage to India because he was more interested in Indian music and culture than his band mates. He apparently convinced his then band mates to make the journey to India, too.  The story from there gets even more interesting.  It gets more interesting as it is revealed that as much as has ever been said and written about the band’s time in India, apparently three quarters of the band did not stay very long.  Ringo and his wife left only a couple of weeks after making the trip.  Paul and his wife stayed less than six weeks.  Even after everything, it was George who largely remained.

Just as interesting to learn in watching this documentary is that apparently the band became pawns of a sort to a number of parties during and after their trip to India, including the very man who had become their spiritual leader of sorts during their time in India.  The story of how that relationship started and ended is surprising to say the very least.  It sounds in the bigger picture, like something that came right out of a movie.  Along with that, the band also became pawns of a sort to another individual back in the United States when they returned from India.  That story pairs with the story of the band’s relationship with the Maharishi to make quite the interesting overall tale.  When the examination of the band’s relationships with others and even each other during and after their trip to India is considered along with the overarching story of Harrison’s role in the whole thing, the overall presentation makes for a story that will keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout the documentary’s 96-minute run time.

While the overall main feature gives audiences reason to watch the documentary, its audio causes some concern.  The concern comes from the realization that the main feature runs surprisingly low.  Audiences will have to turn up the volume on their TVs quite a bit in order to be able to fully hear everything.  This is important to note because by comparison, the audio in the documentary’s bonus content was recorded at quite a high volume.  So in going straight from the main feature to the bonus content, audiences will have to immediately turn down the volume before starting the bonus content.  Otherwise, audiences will find the unpleasant surprise of having extremely loud audio in the bonus content.  Why and how this stark difference in audio levels is anyone’s guess.  It is not enough to doom the documentary, but it certainly negatively impacts the presentation’s aesthetics.

Speaking of the documentary’s bonus content, it will give the noted targeted audiences more reason to watch.  The extensive interview with author Ajoy Bose, whose book Across The Universe – The Beatles In India is the basis for the documentary, is the most notable of the bonuses.  Bose talks about a variety of topics during his interview, including finding the people who were interviewed for the documentary, the long-term influence of India’s culture and music on the band in regards to not just its music but its members, and the research that he did for his book and for the documentary.  His insights in regards to each item will again appeal to plenty of audiences, especially the most devoted fans of The Beatles.  The secondary bonus examining the compound where John, Paul, George, and Ringo stayed during their time in India offers its own interest.  Many will likely take issue with this, but in listening to the narration while observing the map, the whole compound looks and sounds like something that would be used by a cult.  That is sure to generate plenty of its own discussion among audiences and in turn shows why this item is important in its own way to the whole of the bonus content.  When it and the extensive discussions from Bose are considered together, they make clear why the documentary’s bonus content is just as important to the overall presentation as its main feature.  When that secondary and primary content are considered together, they make the documentary in whole a mostly successful presentation.

The Beatles and India, the latest documentary centered in The Beatles, is a presentation that most audiences will find intriguing.  Its interest comes in large part through its main feature.  The main feature focuses on the band’s much talked about journey to India in 1968.  Audiences will find interesting here that despite all the legend that has been made about that trip, it apparently did not go quite as smoothly as many have made it to be.  While the main feature gives audiences reason to watch, the seeming issues with the audio between the main feature and bonus content detracts from the enjoyment to a point.  The main feature was apparently recorded at a low volume while the bonus content was recorded at a much higher volume.  That difference in volume will require audiences to adjust the volume between the two items.  It is not enough to doom the documentary, but certainly does detract from the overall enjoyment.  Speaking of the bonus content, it proves itself worth watching, too.  That is because of the background that is offered on the documentary’s creation and on the band’s time in India through the two main features here.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary’s home presentation.  All things considered, they make the documentary a mostly successful presentation that most audiences will agree is worth watching at least once.

The documentary’s soundtrack was released in March through Silva Screen Records. The doc’s DVD presentation is expected to retail for MSRP of $19.95 and its Blu-ray presentation for MSRP of $24.95. Each can be ordered here.

More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online at:

Websitehttp://mvdentertainment.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/MVDEntertainmentGroup

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and ‘Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Killswitch Engage Debuts ‘As Sure As The Sun Will Rise’ Live Clip

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Killswitch Engage released its new live recording, Live at the Palladium Friday, and with it, another live clip taken from the recording.

The band premiered the live clip of its performance of ‘As Sure As The Sun Will Rise‘ Friday. The clips is the third from the new recording behind clips of ‘Know Your Enemy‘ and ‘Vide Infra.’

The song is a heavy composition that has all of the trademarks of the band’s works throughout its life. The fire in its arrangement is enough reason for audiences to take in the song. The balance of the screams and clean vocals add even more to the presentation.

Front man Jesse Leach talked about the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“This song was an uplifting song for me as soon as I heard the demo,” Leach said. It’s about spiritual redemption and hope amidst this troubled world. It’s a call to arms for those who seek a just and righteous path in this life. The message is fight through the darkness and perils to overcome the war of spirit and flesh.”

Live at the Palladium is available to order and stream here. More information on the recording is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.illswitchengage.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/killswitchengage

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/kseofficial

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.