Hyde Park Live 1969 Is One Of Eagle Rock’s Most Intriguing Live Stones Shows

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s latest entry in its Rolling Stones From The Vault series is one of its most intriguing installments yet.  That is thanks in large part to its stylistic approach.  The overall presentation of this recording is more along the lines of a hybrid concert documentary than a pure concert presentation unlike its predecessors.  The concert’s set list is also of note in the concert’s interest.  The set list presented here is relatively short, boasting only a total of eight songs at a total run time of fifty-five minutes.  That’s relatively short in comparison to other Rolling Stones concerts and concerts from other bands and artists in general.  It could be a reflection of the band having lost one of its founding members only days prior to the show.  Regardless, it still stands as an important element of the show that makes it such an intriguing watch.  The production values of the concert are also of note.  The efforts of those charged with restoring the concert’s audio and video for its presentation here are to be commended.  On another level, audiences will note a distinctly different shooting style here than that typically expected in a concert recording.  It is a more guerilla style presentation.  Interestingly enough that very style of shooting gives the recording a feeling that makes it stand out even more.  And that is just scratching the surface of this recording.  The band’s stage presence is notably unlike what audiences are used to seeing from its members.  The recording’s companion booklet generates even more interest to the concert.  All things considered, From The Vault: Hyde Park 1969 proves in the end exactly why it is the most interesting of Eagle Rock’s live Rolling Stones recordings.  Audiences that recognize all of the noted elements will agree with this critic’s sentiment and in turn will note its importance to the whole of Eagle Rock’s From The Vault series thus making it that much more worth the watch.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s latest entry in its Rolling Stones From The Vault series is one of its most intriguing installments yet.  That is thanks in large part to its stylistic approach.  More simply put, it is not presented as a standard concert recording.  Rather it is more along the lines of a hybrid concert documentary feature.  That argument is made as audiences get more than just a concert here.  Rather, audiences get a concert as well as commentary from front man Mick Jagger at various points throughout the show.  The commentary in question hits on the economics of touring, his personal thoughts on having to soldier on without Brian Jones, and much more.  Some of the commentary is first-hand with Jagger on camera as he discusses the noted subjects while other pieces are edited together with footage of the band performing and of people taking in the concert in various ways.  Those various ways in which the audience takes in the concert includes singing, dancing, and even sailing (yes, sailing) sailboats near the stage as they take in the concert.  Given the use of such an approach is not exactly anything new in the world of concert recordings and tour documentaries.  But it is also not an overly common practice among directors tapped to head up the projects.  This includes even more recent recordings from much less experienced bands and performers.  To that extent, the fact that it is not so overly common of an approach makes it a rather important element worth noting in this recording.  It is not the only element worth noting, either.  The concert’s set list should be noted as another key element to the concert.

The set list that makes up the body of The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park show is just as important to its interest as is the stylistic approach taken in the concert’s overall presentation.  The set list presented in this concert is relatively short in comparison both to other, previously released Rolling Stones concerts and those of other bands past and present. That is because the concert presented here is what audiences saw in the concert’s original television broadcast.  It is noted in the concert’s companion booklet that the set list, which actually consists of fourteen songs rather than eight, was altered quite a bit for television.  That would explain why six of the set’s songs are not included here and why the show is out of order from the actual set list, which is listed in the booklet.  Considering this Eagle Rock is not to be held responsible for what is and isn’t presented especially if those remaining six songs might not be available right now. One can only hope that with this knowledge, Eagle Rock will manage to get hold of said songs somewhere down the road and eventually assemble them together for the full concert as it was meant to be seen by the band’s legions of fans around the world. This aside even presenting the concert’s original TV broadcast, the set list makes for its own share of enjoyment. Audiences get to hear in this set list the band’s first-ever live performance of its hit song ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ and of ‘I’m Yours & I’m Hers.’ The band’s take on ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ here is quite different from what was laid down on its studio version. That version is considerably more upbeat versus this much slower take. Being slower takes nothing away from the song by any means. Rather it makes it just as interesting. Keeping that in mind it is a good thing that it was left in this presentation to say the least. It is just one more way in which the show’s set list proves to be so integral to the overall interest of Hyde Park Live 1969. The set list having been noted, it still is not the last reason that Hyde Park Live 1969 proves to be such an intriguing recording. The production values presented in the “broadcast” are also worth noting.

Both the approach taken by those at Granada TV for its broadcast of Hyde Park Live 1969 and the set list chosen by those same individuals do quite a bit to make this recording intriguing. For all of the interest that both elements generate together, they are hardly all that is worth noting. The production values exhibited in the recording are just as worth noting. The efforts of those charged with re-mastering the recording for its presentation here are to be applauded for their efforts. Considering the recording technology available at the time of the concert’s original recording both the audio and video have stood the test of time quite well. And those that brought it back to life made it look and sound just as good if not better. Thanks to their efforts a certain sense of nostalgia is established in watching the concert. On another level, the guerilla-style approach taken by the camera crew and associated editing makes the presentation even more interesting. It really catches the show’s energy especially when the camera operators start using the quick zoom in and out on some of the crowd shots later in the show. The shots of the crowd in its various activities throughout the concert do just as much to heighten the concert’s energy. These are just a couple of ways in which the work of the camera crew and editors make the production values even more important in the grand scheme of Hyde Park Live 1969. Together with the work of those that restored the concert for its presentation here, the production values in whole prove in the end to be just as important as any other element of the recording in making it such an interesting watch. The collective production values of the recording partnered with the show’s abbreviated set list and the overall approach to the concert make wholly clear why Hyde Park live 1969 is such an intriguing recording. Being such an intriguing presentation it becomes a piece that every Rolling Stones fan should see.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s newly released Rolling Stones concert From The Vault: Hyde Park 1969 is the most intriguing of the series’ recordings to be released so far. That is thanks to the stylistic approach taken by the people at Granada TV to the presentation in whole. The show’s abbreviated set list adds even more interest. It makes one wonder if the songs that were cut from the band’s concert are available for a full concert experience. The work of those that originally recorded the concert and of those that resurrected it for its presentation here make it even more worth the watch. All three elements come together to prove why From The Vault: Hyde Park 1969 is a piece that every Rolling Stones fan should see. That is not to ignore the band’s stage presence throughout the broadcast which is notably reserved and the concert’s companion booklet, which adds even more insight into the concert. It isn’t just some random booklet tossed in to be added. It gives an in-depth history of the concert and the significance of the concert presented here. The band’s somewhat reserved presence on stage is likely linked to the fact that the band had lost one of its own only days before the concert. Such a loss would have a tough impact on any performer, especially knowing that the show must go on. Whether for this factor, for the companion booklet or for any of the other noted elements, From The Vault: Hyde Park 1969 shows in the end to be quite the interesting watch regardless of audiences’ fandom. From The Vault: Hyde Park 1969 is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

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.

Pac-Man Fever Returns Just In Time For Pixels Premiere

Courtesy:  ABC PR

Courtesy: ABC PR

Adam Sandler’s latest big screen feature Pixels hits theaters across America today. In celebration of the movie’s nationwide premiere the classic hit song ‘Pac Man Fever’ has now gotten new life.

An updated version of Buckner & Garcia’s hit song debuted this week featuring film/game producer and personality Jace Hall. Audiences can check out the song’s lyric video online now via Popmatters.com at http://www.popmatters.com/post/195747-buckner-garcia-feat.-jace-hall-pac-man-fever-eat-em-up-2015-video-pr/.

Courtesy:  ABCPR/Popmatters.com

Courtesy: ABCPR/Popmatters.com

The original take of ‘Pac-Man Fever’ sold an incredible 1.2 million copies in 1982. Of those 1.2 million copies, a sum of 10,000 copies was moved in the song’s first week of availability, pushing the song into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart. The surprising results of the song’s creation led to the release of a full album that took only two weeks for Buckner and Garcia to complete. The album, also titled Pac-Man Fever, sold more than two and a half million copies pushing the album all the way to the #9 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. Since that time the single, which started it all has gone on to sell more than two million copies. Audiences of all ages will be especially interested to note of this update that it retains the original vocal track by Gary Garcia, who passed away in 2011.

Audiences can see a performance of the original ‘Pac-Man Fever’ from a 1982 broadcast of American Bandstand online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEGSFk-vCqU.

More information on ‘Pac-Man Fever’ and its subsequent album is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pacmanfevereatemup.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pacmanfeverOG

 

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.

Shout! Factory Starts Releasing Maude’s Single Season Sets Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Earlier this year, Shout! Factory released CBS’ classic sitcom Maude in its entirety on DVD. Next month the leading name in home entertainment will follow-up the show’s complete series collection with the release of Maude: The Complete Second Season.

Shout! Factory will release Maude: The Complete Second Season in stores and online on Tuesday, August 11th. It will be released only on DVD and will retail for $24.97. Season Two opens with a powerful two-part episode that addresses the issue of alcoholism when Walter (played here by Bill Murray—Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, What About Bob) is accused of having a drinking problem. The problem is raised when it is revealed that Walter had been making crank calls to Maude’s mother. Upon being confronted by Maude and Carol about his problem he proceeds to get so drunk that he ruins Phillip’s birthday cake and gets into an altercation with Maude that becomes physical. The fallout from the events of the episode’s first half will move every viewer.

In another of Season Two’s key moments, Maude’s housekeeper Florida leaves the show. “Florida’s Goodbye” sees actress Esther Rolle leave the show as she would go on to star in the equally beloved sitcom Good Times shortly after her departure. It is in this episode that Florida’s husband Henry receives a job promotion leading Florida to make the decision to stay at home and be a housewife. In her denial over Florida’s departure, Maude turns down every applicant for Florida’s replacement, hoping beyond hope that Florida would return.

Audiences also see in this season Maude go through a big change of her own as she decides to get a facelift in the two-part episode “Maude’s Facelift.” This episode sees Maude decide to get a facelift after Vivian gets one. Maude’s jealousy toward Vivian for the facelift leads her to make the decision to get one herself. Of course, the end result leads to problems with Walter in the long term.

The episodes noted here are just a few examples of what audiences have to look forward to from the second season of Maude. Maude: The Complete Second Season will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, August 11th. It will retail for MSRP of $24.97. However, it can be pre-ordered online now for a discounted price of $19.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-two. Audiences can also check out Season Two’s complete episode list at the noted website. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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.

MLB Productions’ New Babe Ruth Bio Is One Of 2015’s Top New Sports Documentaries

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Courtesy: Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Major League Baseball’s 2015 season has officially hit the home stretch. Only a matter of weeks is left before the playoff field is set. That means that every single game counts now. And as things begin to heat up in the race for the post-season, MLB Productions has given fans even more reason to get excited about the game thanks to the release of the documentary American Hercules: Babe Ruth. Released earlier this year, American Hercules: Babe Ruth is an interesting look at the life and legacy of one of the league’s most mythical figures. The story presented within the course of its roughly sixty-three lies at the center of its enjoyment. The story in question is especially interesting for those that have always known Ruth’s name but little else about the man behind the myth. The footage featured throughout the presentation is another of its positives. It is a mix of modern day footage, and vintage footage used together to fully illustrate the documentary’s central story. The bonus material that is included with the documentary rounds out the presentation, completing it. Among the bonuses included in this presentation are the standard “making of featurette” an examination of Ruth’s World Series appearances, and even a look at Ruth’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Each extra in its own presents plenty of insight into who Babe Ruth was. Collectively, they add even more interest to the story of Babe Ruth the man, the myth, and the legend presented in the documentary’s main presentation. When combined with the documentary’s main presentation and the footage that is used to help illustrate the story, all three elements show exactly why American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of the best of this year’s best sports documentaries.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of the best of this year’s crop of new sports documentaries. While it was originally released late this spring, it is just as enjoyable for baseball fans now as the league makes its way through the last weeks of the regular season. It is just as enjoyable for any sports history buff as for baseball fans. The main way in which it proves itself to have such broad appeal is through the story at the center of the dcumentary. The story presented here is more than just another standard story of Babe Ruth’s baseball career. Rather it is the story of his life and career both on and off the field. From his days growing up in a troubled home to becoming an orphan growing up at St. Mary’s to his wild, infamous life off the ball field, audiences get a full picture of who Babe Ruth was and how he became the legendary figure that has been mythologized in the decades since his passing. Audiences that might not have otherwise known will be interested to learn that Ruth actually started out his professional baseball career not as a member of the Red Sox or even the Yankees but rather with none other than the Baltimore Orioles. Just as interesting to learn is that while his legend surrounds his hitting, Ruth actually started out as a pitcher. It wasn’t until he became a member of the Yankees that his hitting talent was really discovered. The story is made even more interesting as it follows what is known in the study of mythology as “The Hero’s Journey.” The concept is presented by mythologist Phil Cousineau. It is a surprisingly clear representation of his life in every stage. The Call to Adventure and meeting with his mentor come in his childhood at St. Marys. Crossing the threshold comes as Ruth’s star rises. As his fame rises, he is also forced to navigate the labyrinth with all of its temptations. The ultimate ordeal comes as he faces his wife’s death and then has to re-collect himself and start his journey again. The journey continues from here and is explained in depth but not so deeply as to lose audiences. In taking in Ruth’s journey, audiences will gain not only an appreciation of who Ruth was on and off the field but for what he did for the game of baseball, too. In the end, audiences that follow his Hero’s Journey will agree that the story lying at the center of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is the most important element of the documentary.

The story at the center of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is the most important element of the documentary. It is thanks to this in-depth presentation that both sports history buffs and baseball fans in general will gain a whoole new appreciation for who “The Babe” was both on and off the field. It is only part of what makes this presentation such an enjoyable watch for sports fans. The footage that is incorporated into the story gives it even more depth and interest. Thanks to the tireless efforts of all involved, audiences get to see Babe Ruth the baseball player annd Babe Ruth the family man with this wife and adopted daughter. There is footage of his early days playing with the Orioles as well as his days with both Boston and New York. This comes into play again later in the documentary’s bonus material. It will be discussed at more length later. Audiences even get to see Ruth the infamous playboy; the man who, as narrator Martin Sheen (yes, THAT Martin Sheen) notes, came about as a result of his childhood, growing up an orphan. The older footage that is incorporated into the body of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is only part of what makes the story so interesting. Again thanks to those charged with finding and editing the footage, audiences get to see today the early childhood home of Babe Ruth, the orphanage where he spent the majority of his youth and young adult life, and even the memorial in Baltimore that was scultped in honor of one of the city’s most beloved sons among much more footage. The vintage and modern footage together expertly illustrate the story of Babe Ruth’s life. Not everybody has seen every bit of the footage presented here. That being the case it makes the footage in whole all the more enjoyable both for sports historians and baseball fans alike. For all of its worth the collective footage used to help tell the story of Babe Ruth’s life is just one more element of this recently released DVD that makes it so enjoyable for sports historians and baseball fans alike. The disc’s bonus material rounds out the presentation, completing it and proving in full why American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries.

The bonus material included with American Hercules: Babe Ruth rounds out the ways in which the DVD shows itself to be such an enjoyable watch. The bonus material isn’t just a bunch of clips, etc. Rather audiences get an in-depth making of featurette that explains the painstaking efforts undertaken to bring the documentary to life all the way down to finding an authoritative voice that would keep audiences engaged. That search for such a powerful is what led those behind the lens to employ veteran actor Martin Sheen as the film’s narrator. There is also an in-depth look at Ruth’s years with the Yankees as New York became the powerhouse that it is known to be today. even more insightful is the revelation that the team that won so many of the Yankees’ early titles was essentially bought from its hated rivals, the Red Sox. There’s even an interesting insight in regards to how Yankee Stadium came about as a result of tensions between the then Giants and Yankees. If that isn’t enough for fans, there is a look at Ruth’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This feature allows one of the documentary’s rare moments in which audiences actually get to hear him talk. Hearing his voice adds a certain something more to Ruth’s profile; something on which a finger can’t be placed but that does in fact add even more interest to the featurette. Famed sports broadcaster Bob Costas lends his talents to one of the bonus featurettes, making for even more reason for audiences to check out all of the disc’s bonus material. By themselves, these bonuses make for their own share of enjoyment and insight for audiences. When partnered with the disc’s central story and the footage used to illustrate and advance the story, all three elements together prove it to be a work that any sports historian and baseball fan will welcome to his or her personal DVD library regardless of their team allegiance.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth offers sports historians and baseball fans alike plenty to enjoy between its central story, its mix of vintage and modern footage, and its bonus material. Regardless of one’s team allegiances, every sports historian and baseball fan alike will agree that all three elements together prove the presentation in whole to be one that is a welcome addition to any of the noted audiences’ home libraries. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered directly from MLB Productions’ online store now at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=65306866. More information on this and other titles available from MLB Productions is available online now at:

Website: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/video/mlb_productions

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

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.

Eagle Rock Entertainment Announces Release Date, Specs For New George Strait Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The King of Country returns this summer with a brand new live recording courtesy of the leader in live recordings.

Eagle Rock Entertainment announced today that it will release George Strait’s new live recording The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium on Friday, August 28th. The recording comes right at the end of the annual summer concert season, just in time to give fans one more concert before summer starts winding down and the weather slowly begins to turn. It will be available on DVD and digital formats. The DVD will retail for MSRP of $14.98. Details for digital pricing will be announced soon.

Originally filmed on June 7, 2014 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium features performances from not only one of country’s most respected names but also from some of the greatest names in country both past and present including: Jason Aldean, Ray Benson, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, and even Strait’s own son, George “Bubba” Strait, Jr. Between Strait’s own performances and those of his guests, the show’s set list comes to a total of forty songs that span Strait’s storied career. Among that massive list of hits featured in this recording are the likes of: ‘Unwound,’ ‘The Chair,’ ‘Amarillo By Morning,’ ‘Check Yes Or No,’ ‘Give It Away,’ ‘Troubador,’ All My Exes Live in Texas,’ and plenty of others. The track listing for the concert is listed below.

Track Listing:

  1. Check Yes Or No
  2. A Fire I Can’t Put Out
  3. Love Bug (with Vince Gill)
  4. Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (with Vince Gill)
  5. River Of Love
  6. Lead On
  7. Fool Hearted Memory (with Jason Aldean)
  8. Nobody In His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her (with Jason Aldean)
  9. Arkansas Dave (with Bubba Strait)
  10. I Saw God Today
  11. Cowboys Like Us (with Eric Church)
  12. Easy Come, Easy Go (with Eric Church)
  13. That’s What Breaking Hearts Do
  14. Marina Del Rey
  15. Here For A Good Time (with Sheryl Crow)
  16. When Did You Stop Loving Me (with Sheryl Crow)
  17. I Can Still Make Cheyenne
  18. Drinkin’ Man
  19. Jackson (with Martina McBride)
  20. Golden Ring (with Martina McBride)
  21. Give It Away
  22. I Got A Car
  23. A Showman’s Life (with Faith Hill)
  24. Let’s Fall To Pieces Together (with Faith Hill)
  25. I Believe
  26. Blame It On Mexico
  27. Amarillo By Morning (with Alan Jackson)
  28. Murder On Music Row (with Alan Jackson)
  29. The Chair
  30. Give It All We Got Tonight
  31. How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls (with Miranda Lambert)
  32. Run (with Miranda Lambert)
  33. You Look So Good In Love
  34. I’ll Always Remember You
  35. Ocean Front Property (with Kenny Chesney)
  36. The Fireman (with Kenny Chesney)
  37. Troubadour
  38. Unwound
  39. All My Ex’s Live In Texas (with Jason Aldean, Ray Benson, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride)
  40. The Cowboy Rides Away

Along with its massive set list, Eagle Rock Entertainment has also included bonus commentary from Strait himself and the concert as well as interviews with many of the guests that appeared for the concert as additional content.

The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium will be released on Friday, August 28th in stores and online on DVD and digital formats. The DVD will retail for MSRP of $14.98. Details for its digital release’s pricing will be announced soon. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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.

Minions Is Anything But Memorable

Courtesy:  Universal Studios

Courtesy: Universal Studios

First, there was Despicable Me. Then came its far less entertaining or memorable sequel Despicable Me 2 only three years after the original movie’s release.  Now two years after the release of that movie, audiences Universal Studios has taken yet another step back with the release of its new Despicable Me hybrid spinoff/prequel MInions.  Minions has remained one of Hollywood’s worst-kept secrets ever since the release of Despicable Me five years ago in 2010.  Regardless of whether or not audiences have seen that movie, everybody knew that Gru’s little yellow, twinkie-esque henchmen would get their own movie somewhere along the line.  It was more a matter of when than if.  The thing is that just as everybody knew the movie would happen, everybody also knew that there was no need for this movie to be made, either.  And this movie proves that argument without a shadow of a doubt.  Given it is not the worst new theatrical release of 2015.  But it definitely is anything but one of the year’s best.  The main way in which it proves itself so forgettable is its script.  This movie’s script is completely contrived and feels as if it was written both by and for someone with ADHD.  The fact that it felt like it was written by and for someone with ADHD is in itself another issue that weighs down the movie.  It jumps from point to point and moves so quickly that audiences really must pay close attention to the movie in order to keep up with everything going on.  For all of its major problems, it can at least be said of Minions that there is one shining light among everything.  That shining light is the work of the movie’s cast.  More specifically, veteran actress Sandra Bullock is to be commended along with fellow veterans Michael Keaton and Allison Janney.  While the movie’s cast is impressive in its own right, it still is not enough to save the movie and make it anything memorable or fully enjoyable.  That being the case, Universal Studios’ new CG-based flick Minions proves in the end to be one of this year’s worst new theatrical releases.

Universal Studios’ new CG-based family flick Minions is one of the worst of this year’s crop of theatrical releases.  This includes both the year’s new family flicks (as rare as they are) and movies overall.  It is yet more proof that Hollywood’s seemingly unending river of prequels, sequels, remakes, and spinoffs is something that must be halted.  This is made most obvious through the movie’s script.  The script behind this movie is completely contrived.  It follows the evolution of the Minions from pre-history up to the 1960s, when they meet their first real “master” who was not Gru.  Instead it was a woman named Scarlet, who as it turns out was the world’s first female supervillain according to the story.  Of course, them being her henchmen and bumbling through a bunch of Three Stooges style comedy in their roles, writer Brian Lynch decided to give them the standard zero-to-hero story, even making Bob King of England for about eight hours along the way.  Of course they go from living it up in Buckingham to suddenly just changing the law and letting Scarlet take over before becoming heroes, stopping her in the end.  Some might ask the question, “what’s wrong with all of that?”  The problem with all of that is that suspension of disbelief is very difficult considering it all.  The minions essentially created the whole mess when they tried to steal the queen’s crown for Scarlet.  That set off the whole chain of events that would lead them to face off against Scarlet in the end.  Having stopped her, the minions are rewarded for basically cleaning up a mess that they caused in the first place.  Sound Familiar?  It should, Avengers fans.  Yes, this critic went there.  Taking the entire story and its outcome into consideration alongside the events of Despicable Me and its sequel, it really leaves one questioning how exactly the Minions could go from zeros to heros and back to serving another evil master along the way.  The big picture of it all just makes this story’s script completely contrived and unbelievable.  In turn it makes the movie rather unenjoyable in and of itself.

Brian Lynch’s script is in itself a major stopping point for Minions.  It is just one of the problems that weigh down this largely forgettable flick.  The movie’s pacing is another heavily weighing factor.  The manner in which Lynch crafted the script makes it feel like Lynch himself has ADHD or ADD and in turn wrote it for similar audiences.  Lynch wastes no time with the story once he really gets it moving.  Once the Minions meet Scarlet, things pick right up and move so fast that audiences are left feeling as if they have to have a program to follow the story.  After all, it doesn’t take long for Kevin, Stuart, and Bob to go from being lowly no one henchmen to living it up in Buckingham Palace to looking again for their next master, even after having been made heroes (again) for cleaning up a mess that they created in the first place.  The whole thing moves at what feels like a rapid fire pace from beginning to end, slowing down only momentarily at given points.  That quick pacing partnered with a script that is anything but believable or memorable, Minions proves even more why this movie, while not the year’s worst, is anything but one of the year’s best.

Minions, as it is shown here, is anything but one of this year’s best new movies.  If anything it is more ammunition in the argument against Hollywood’s seemingly endless river of prequels, sequels, remakes, and spinoffs.  For all of the issues weighing it down, it would be unfair to say that the movie is a complete loss.  It can be said that despite the major glaring issues raised by the movie’s script and its pacing, the work of the movie’s cast it to be applauded.  More specifically, the work of lead voice actor Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side, Speed, Miss Congeniality)  and that of fellow veteran actors Michael Keaton (Batman, Batman Returns, Birdman) and Allison Janney (Juno, Finding Nemo, American Beauty) is to be applauded.  Bullock is entertaining in her own right as the villainess Scarlett Overkill.  Her chemistry with Pierre Coffin (who voiced the minions) makes for plenty of laughs.  While Keaton and Janney only play small parts in the movie, they are just as entertaining as Walter and Madge Nelson, the evil, bank-robbing couple that brings the Kevin, Stuart, and Bob to Villain-con in the first place.  The duo’s demeanor as they pick up the minions and then proceed to rob a bank on the way to the convention is hilarious.  It’s not the first time that movie villains have been portrayed in such comical fashion.  But that doesn’t make the pair’s portrayal any less entertaining. The same can be said of their work later in their shorter appearances, too. Their work in those moments is no less entertaining than in their central appearance early on in the story. That the pair remained so entertaining throughout even in bit parts is a tribute to each actor’s talents. Those talents and those of Bullock combined together make for plenty of laughs throughout the course of this movie. Of course as much as the trio does for the movie it still is not enough to save the production. In the end, even with their efforts, Minions still proves to be a movie that is going to find itself just as forgotten as its predecessors and the majority of Hollywood’s countless other prequels, sequels, remakes, and spinoffs.

Universal’s new Despicable Me prequel/spinoff Minions is anything but one of this year’s best new theatrical releases. It isn’t the year’s worst, either. But it definitely is not one that will go on to be anything memorable in the long run. That is thanks in large part to a script that at its base, is rather unoriginal. The script sees the minions creating a mess in their search for a master and eventually cleaning up the very mess that they created and being rewarded for doing so. The script’s pacing is just as problematic as the story housed within the script. The pacing of the script requires audiences to remain fully engaged in the story for fear that they will miss something. It moves that fast. While both elements weigh down the movie very badly, it can be said that Minions does have at least one saving grace—the work of certain members of its voice cast. Those members specifically are lead actor Sandra Bullock and supporting cast Micheal Keaton and Allison Janney. Their collective work makes for its own share of entertainment throughout the course of the movie. However that entertainment is still not enough to save Minions from itself. That being the case, Minions proves in the end to be a movie that while not the year’s worst movie, is also anything but one of this year’s best. Rather it is one more work that will hopefully do anything but make its audiences into minions of Minions.

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.

Smith’s Fans Will Adore Eagle Rock’s New Video Documentary On Smith’s Life And Career

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment officially releases its latest music documentary Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith today. The documentary, available on both DVD and Blu-ray is a piece that any of Smith’s fan’s will want to have in their personal home libraries. This is regardless of whether or not said audiences have already seen it in its previous theatrical release. The main reason that Smith’s fans will want to add Heaven Adores You to their personal collections is the story presented within the documentary. The story that is presented within the documentary is a classic story that has been told countless times before of many other celebrities. It is the story of a reluctant celebrity whose life was cut short allegedly of his own doing. It is believed that the pressures of celebrity just weighed too heavily on him leading to his untimely death. On another level, audiences Smith’s fans old and new alike will find that the larger discussion of Smith’s impact on the music community plays its own part in the documentary’s success. The project’s editing rounds out the presentation. The mix of Smith’s own voice during radio interviews that he conducted set against various footage of the Portland, Oregon countryside and other footage makes for quite the emotional depth. There is also footage of Smith himself in interviews and performances held before his passing. The look on his face and the tone in his voice within itself presents a man (and a musician) who held so much inside emotionally. Those pieces set against the rest of the footage create so much more depth within the whole of the presentation. When set alongside both the documentary’s central presentation and its much deeper human story, all three elements together combine to make Heaven Adores You a piece that, again, any Elliott Smith fan will welcome in their own personal home collection.

Heaven Adores You proves in a number of ways to be a documentary that any Elliott Smith will welcome in their own personal home collection. The main way in which it proves this is the deeply moving human drama that is the story of Smith’s rise to fame and his reluctance to wear the proverbial crown thrust upon his head. No disrespect is meant towards the legacy of the late great Kurt Cobain or so many other music legends here but it could almost be argued here that the story in question mirrors that of those artists in so many ways. It is so similar in that it presents the story of a man (and a musician) whose fame built faster than perhaps could be handled by the individual. The end result is one that has been heard, read, and reported on so many times over the course of music’s history. The weight became so great that Smith, like so many others before him, became dependent on drugs and alcohol. The end result of that dependency was Smith cutting himself off from everybody that cared about him and eventually. It isn’t all bad, though. From his death have come numerous benefit concerts that pay homage to Smith and the musical legacy that he has left behind. To that extent, the story in whole isn’t entirely bittersweet. However, both the deeper moments of Smith’s life and career set against those happier moments that have stemmed from his life and career make the story in whole well worth the watch. That taken into consideration, the story of Elliott Smith’s life, career, and death and his lasting legacy makes this story reason in itself for Smith’s fans to check out this new documentary. It is but one reason that his fans will want to see this work, too.

The story of Elliott Smith’s life, career, death, and legacy is plenty of reason for Smith’s fans to check out this new documentary. It is only one part of what makes this documentary worth the watch among Smith’s fans. The bigger picture of the documentary is just as important to its whole as its central story. Audiences get first-hand insight from Smith’s family and friends on who he was both on stage and off. What’s more audiences also get insight into Smith’s roots, his gradual rise to fame and their own thoughts on the effect of that fame on Smith both as a person and performer. In regards to the effect of fame on Smith, audiences will be interested to learn that it was that very fame that drove him to change his sound and even how it led him to become the somewhat introverted individual that he became over time. Watching his interviews it is clear. He doesn’t make a lot of eye contact with either the camera or even with his interviewer. That within itself is very telling. Those segments set against the interviews with Smith’s family and friends paint a vivid picture of an individual that was definitely a tortured soul. He was someone that simply wasn’t ready for the limelight and didn’t know how to handle it. It makes one feel even more sympathy for him. The fact that even the more objective story presented through this documentary can elicit such strong emotions shows even more why Heaven Adores You will connect with Smith’s fans when they add it to their own personal libraries.

Both the objective and subjective stories presented in Heaven Adores You are pivotal in their own right to fans’ enjoyment of the documentary. On their own, they bring plenty of interest to the documentary for Smith’s fans. Collectively, they make the presentation one that will both move and inform fans. As important as they are to the whole of the program, they are not all that fans will appreciate about it. The work of those that edited Heaven Adores You deserve their own share of credit here, too. Smith’s reserved tone as he discusses his songs and his life set against the program’s stunning footage of Portland generates just as much of an emotional impact. It is difficult to put a finger on whatever it is that makes the connection so hard-hitting. Whatever it is, it is to be highly applauded. Much the same can be said of the use of Smith’s songs overtop of the footage and even as a backing for the interviews with his friends and family. The inclusion of footage from Smith’s early career partnered with those same interviews adds even more interest to the documentary. The pairing serves to help illustrate the story of Smith’s rise to fame. It does its own impressive job here, too. Together with the other noted elements of the documentary’s editing, and those not noted, the visual aspect of the documentary shows in the end to be just as pivotal to its success and enjoyment as the stories that are presented throughout the program. All things considered, Heaven Adores You shows itself to be in the end a presentation that Elliott Smith’s fans will adore.

Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith is an interesting look at the life and career of its title subject. The incorporation of two separate stories–one subjective and the other objective–makes it well worth the watch by Smith’s fans in and of themselves. The work of those that edited the documentary is just as noteworthy. Thanks to their efforts, the documentary in whole connects with fans in a way that will both move them emotionally and inform them at the same time all the while keeping fans fully engaged. Whether for the noted stories or for the editing, the presentation in whole proves in the end to be a documentary that any of Elliott Smith’s fans will themselves adore. Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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.