‘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.

Anthrax Announces Details For Livestream Concert’s Home Release; Tour Planned For This Summer

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Anthrax is scheduled to release its new live recording this summer.

The band announced this week, it is scheduled to release the new presentation, dubbed Anthrax XL, in honor of its 40th anniversary, July 15 through Megaforce Records. The concert featured in the recording was a livestream performance that the band recorded July 16 and 17, 2021 as part of the band’s ongoing 40th anniversary celebration.

The concert features a number of the band’s biggest hits and some deep cuts. As a bonus, it will also feature never-before-seen rehearsal footage and Scott Ian’s “walking tour” of New York City. The tour finds Ian pointing out places throughout the city at which Anthrax has played throughout its life.

The recording’s set list is featured below. In anticipation of the recording’s release, the band premiered a live clip of its performance of ‘Aftershock‘ Wednesday.

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

Courtesy: Herfitz PR/Atom Splitter PR

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 Police’s New Live Recording Is A Mostly Successful Offering

Courtesy: Mercury Studios

For the first time in more than a dozen years, veteran rock band The Police officially released a new live recording this week in the form of Around the World: Restored & Expanded.  Released Friday through Mercury Studios, the recording is the band’s first new live recording since the release of its then latest live recording, Certifiable: Live in Buenos Aires in 2008.  That recording was released through A&M Records.  This latest presentation is such that it will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from the band’s most devoted audiences to even more causal audiences.  That is due in large part to its featured set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The audio’s companion tour documentary that is featured in the set’s DVD and Blu-ray platforms adds its own share of interest.  It will be discussed a little later.  The liner notes penned by The Police guitarist Andy Summers are a welcome companion to the tour documentary and round out the presentation’s most notable elements.  They will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered they make Around the World: Restored & Expanded a presentation that most fans of The Police will find enjoyable.

Around the World: Restored & Expanded, the new live recording from The Police, is a presentation that most of the band’s audiences will find appealing.  That is due in large part to its featured set list.  Totaling 11 songs, the set list is pulled from performances that the band held on its then debut global tour in 1980.  The songs presented here were pulled from the band’s first two albums, Outlandos d’Amour (1978) and Reggatta de Blanc (1979).  That 1978 record is the most heavily represented here, with six total songs.  The latter received four nods.  As an added bonus, the rare b-side, ‘Visions of the Night’ is also featured here.  The song was a b-side to the band’s hit single, ‘Walking on the Moon’.  Simply put, what audiences get in this collection of songs is a presentation of The Police from what was at the time still its infancy.  To that end, it is a welcome representation of the band’s catalog at the time.  Keeping that in mind, this aspect is certain to appeal to plenty of audiences.  The only downside to the set list is that it is only made available on the recording’s CD platform.  Given, there are live performances of four of the songs featured in the audio side, but it still would have been great having the entire collection, considering that the tour documentary presented on the DVD and Blu-ray runs only an hour and 23 minutes.  Beggars can’t be choosers, though.  To that end, it is still good to even have this presentation of The Police’s early days both in studio and on the road.

The songs that make up the main body of Around the World: Restored & Expanded are just part of the presentation’s appeal for the band’s noted audiences.  The tour documentary that is featured in the collection’s DVD and Blu-ray presentation will appeal just as much to the noted audiences.  Audiences see the band make its way around the world, from Asia to Australia, to Africa (more specifically Egypt) to South America and to America, audiences are taken along for the band’s ride in its debut world tour.  Along the way, audiences get to see the noted live performances that are also separated as bonus content on the DVD and BD platforms.  While the band is in Asia, audiences get to see Summers take on a sumo wrestler, though some might not really want to see him in the glorified diaper that sumo wrestlers wear.  Yes, that was meant to be a lighthearted statement.  Audiences also get to see the band on board a boat in the waters of what looks like possibly Thailand.  When the band reaches Egypt things get a bit tense.  At first audiences think that a certain discussion had between a group of individuals was acted out, but as Summers points out in his notes, it apparently was not set up.  This will be discussed a little later.  Over in Australia, audiences see the band in the countryside as well as on stage.  Overall, the documentary builds on the foundation formed by the recording’s audio side and enhances the concert experience that much more for the noted audiences.

Building on the presentation that is the documentary are the liner notes penned by Summers.  As already pointed out, Summers explains that the band’s stay in Egypt was anything but good.  Summers explains that a comment made by Sting to an Egyptian official and his initial refusal to take back what he said almost caused an international incident.  Another incident was narrowly avoided in one South American country when Summers apparently had a physical altercation of sorts with a law enforcement official at a concert.  These two items will be left for audiences to discover for themselves, but they definitely build on the experience even more.  That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is the liner notes.  Summers also writes in his notes that the band had yet another close call in New Zealand, yet again involving law enforcement.  This is yet another intriguing anecdote that will be left for audiences to read about for themselves.  Between this story, the others pointed out here and everything else that Summers recalls in his notes, the overall content in the recording’s companion booklet puts the finishing touch to the presentation and ensures that much more that the band’s established audiences and casual fans alike will appreciate the presentation.  When this content, the audio, and video are all considered, they leave no doubt that the noted audiences will find plenty to appreciate about the recording.

Around the World: Restored and Expanded is a presentation that most fans of The Police will find enjoyable.  That is due in large part to the recording’s featured songs.  They are in themselves a strong representation of the band in its infancy.  That is because the songs that make up the main body of the recording are all pulled from the band’s first two albums.  There is even a rare b-side included in the mix for good measure.  The tour documentary that accompanies the performances makes for its own interest.  That is because it takes audiences along for the ride with the band on its first-ever world tour.  Audiences get to see firsthand, much of what the band experienced, including the high and occasional not so high points.  The liner notes penned by The Police guitarist Andy Summers work directly with the documentary to enhance the viewing experience therein.  That is because they are those firsthand notes.  They take audiences even deeper into the band’s tour and finish off the overall presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Around the World: Restored & Expanded a presentation that most fans of The Police will find a welcome new offering from the band and from Mercury Studios.

Around the World: Restored & Expanded is available now. More information on the recording is available along with all of the latest news from The Police at:

Website: https://thepolice.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thepoliceband

More information on this and other titles from Mercury Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://mercurystudios.co

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MercuryStudiosCo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/mercurystudios

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.  

Mercury Studios Announces Details For New Documentary/Concert Presentation

Courtesy: Mercury Studios

Mercury Studios will celebrate the legacy of Thin Lizzy and its front man Phil Lynott this summer with a new dual documentary/concert presentation.

Phil Lynott Songs For While I’m Away + Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live at the Sydney Opera House October 1978 is scheduled for release June 24. The expansive presentation will release on 2DVD/CD and Blu-ray/DVD/CD. Pre-orders are open and a trailer for the presentation is streaming here.

The band’s live recording is a re-issue of the presentation that was previously released on VHS, laserdisc, and DVD. It features five additional songs not featured in the concert’s previous releases as well as remastered video and remixed audio.

The set list in the concert features songs, such as ‘The Boys Are Back in Town,’ ‘Still In Love With You,’ and ‘Warriors.’ The 13-song set list is featured in different orders on the CD and DVD presentations. As an added note, there is an option on the DVD to play the songs with the Lost Performances from the order in which they were originally performed.

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available at:

Websitehttps://mercurystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MercuryStudiosCo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/mercurystudios

More information on Thin Lizzy’s new documentary/concert is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://thinlizzyofficial.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thinlizzy_

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.

Home Release Date Announced For ‘The Beatles and India’

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Renoir Pictures and Silva Screen’s documentary, The Beatles and India will come home this summer.

The documentary is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-ray June 21 through MVD Entertainment Group. The documentary’s home release will come more than a year after it made its theatrical debut at the UK Asian Film Festival.

The documentary focuses on the impact that Indian culture had on The Beatles’ music. It follows the band’s journey to Rishikesh, India in 1968 and how the Fab Four’s journey changed them and their journey. The doc was inspired by author Ajoy Bose’s book, Across The Universe – The Beatles in India, produced by British Indian music businessman Reynold D’Silva and directed by Bose.

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.

Mercury Studios Announces Details For Another Live Show From The Rolling Stones

Courtesy: Mercury Studios

Mercury Studios is reaching into The Rolling Stones’ live vault once again.

The company, formerly Eagle Rock Entertainment, announced Wednesday, it is scheduled to release Licked Live in NYC June 10. A trailer for the recording is streaming here.

The concert presented in the package was held January 18, 2003 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden for an HBO special. It was the second of two dates that the band performed at the venue that month, with the first date having been held two days prior on Jan. 16.

Mercury Studios will release the concert on DVD/2CD and SD Blu-ray/2CD combo packs, as well as 2CD and 3 LP standalone sets. It features performances of many of the band’s greats hits, such as ‘Brown Sugar,’ ‘Gimme Shelter,’ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ Additionally, Sheryl Crow made a guest appearance on the band’s performance of ‘Honky Tonk Women.’

As an added bonus, the package’s DVD and BD packages will feature the band’s rehearsal footage and three extra performances not featured in the original HBO performance. Also, the SD Blu-ray package will feature the 51-minute documentary, “Tip of the Tongue,” which follows the band as it prepares for the tour.

The full concert set list is noted below for each of its platforms.

Track listing:
Screen Shot 2022-04-12 at 12.35.30 PM
Courtesy: Mercury Studios

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available at:

Website: https://mercurystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MercuryStudiosCo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/mercurystudios

More information on Licked Live in NYC is available along with all of its latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.rollingstones.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/therollingstones

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RollingStones

To keep up with the latest 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.

20th Century Studios’ ‘Murder On The Nile’ Reboot Is A Reboot That Is Actually Worth Watching…If Only Occasionally

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios

Crime sells, and it sells a lot. From television to books to movies, it sells. As much as humans might want to deny their fascination with crime, it sells. That is why there are so many TV shows that center solely on crime. That is why newspapers and news agencies thrive on the topic. It brings those eyeballs, and with them, sales. That is why some of the most well-known novels in literary history center on crime. One of the great names in literary crime is the late great author Agatha Christie. Her novels about Hercule Poirot and the crimes that he solved are known the world around. They have been read by countless audiences, and the TV series that rose from the books has been seen by just as many viewers. The popularity of Christie’s works is such that they have also led to multiple big screen adaptations of those books, the most recent being this year’s take of her novel, Death on the Nile. Released theatrically this year through 20th Century Studios, it came 44 years after the then most recent adaptation, which was released in 1978. Now Tuesday, it will come home on DVD and Blu-ray, less than two months after its Feb. 11 domestic theatrical premiere.

The second of 20th Century Studios’ adaptations from Christie’s novels following the 2017 release of Murder on the Orient Express (which was also a reboot of a previous theatrical rendition), this presentation is not terrible nor is it great. It is worth watching at least once. The studio’s new updated take of Murder on the Nile is worth watching at least once. That is due in large part to the story, which will be discussed shortly. While the story makes for its own engagement and entertainment, the pacing thereof is slightly problematic. It is not enough to doom the movie, but is still important to note. It will be discussed a little later. The movie’s general presentation works with the story to make for more appeal, and will also be addressed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Death on the Nile. All things considered, they make this latest update on the story worth watching occasionally.

20th Century Studios’ reboot of Death on the Nile is an interesting update on the late great author’s timeless crime thriller novel. Its appeal comes primarily through its story. The story is simple. It features Poirot on a boat trip down the Nile River with a group of well-to-do individuals as part of a couple’s honeymoon. Along the way, the newlywed wife, Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot — Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, Red Notice) is gunned down as she sleeps one night during the river cruise. Linnet’s new husband, Simon (Armie Hammer — The Lone Ranger, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Social Network) is heartbroken, and everyone on board is a suspect. Poirot (played here once again by Kenneth Branagh — Murder on the Orient Express, Henry V, Hamlet) interviews each suspect on board, including his own friend, Bouc (played once again by Tom Bateman — Jekyll & Hyde, Murder on the Orient Express, Snatched). AS the interviews take place and everyone suspects everyone else, two other murders happen, and they are connected directly to that of Linnet. The final reveal will not be covered here out of respect for those who have yet to watch the movie, but in hindsight, it comes as no surprise, considering how so many real life crime stories unfold in shows, such as Dateline and 48 Hours. This critic will at least admit that the one person thought to be the offender turned out to not be that person, but rather a red herring. Now given, being another adaptation of Christie’s original story, there are variations, which is somewhat disconcerting. At the same time though, the story plays out relatively well and will keep viewers engaged and entertained.

While the story plays out so well, there is still a concern about its pacing. The story wastes little time introducing the main characters. However, from there, the story takes its time building up the full plot. Specifically, it spends the first hour of its two hours building the plot. That buildup drags more than once, which will lead some audiences to want to fast forward plenty of times. The second act, which takes place aboard the boat, drags at multiple points, too as Poirot interviews each suspect. What keeps things moving is the surprise murders that happen in connection with that of Linnet. If not for those moments though, the movie would have otherwise just plodded along, so to that end, it’s more proof of the attraction that humans have to crime. Even in the final act as Poirot begins to unfold everything, the remaining group together in one room, there seems to be a bit more exposition than is really needed. Thankfully it is not so much that it bogs down the action too much. Keeping all of this in mind, the story’s pacing does pose some problems for the movie’s overall presentation. Thankfully though, that issue is not so concerning that it makes the movie a total failure.

Keeping in mind that the pacing, while problematic is not overly so, there is at least one more positive to this reboot’s presentation. That positive is the movie’s general presentation. It is clear throughout the movie’s two hour six minute run time (which is relatively short considering how most movies average two and a half hours nowadays if not longer) that lots of sound stages and computer generated effects are used. At times that blend of real sets and CG is a little bit cheesy, but there is honestly something appealing about it, especially in an age when so many movies rely almost entirely on computer generated graphics and green screens. It is a bit of a throwback to movie making from a bygone era. The costumes are also nice throwbacks, including Branagh’s clearly fake mustache. Speaking of Branagh, his acting is part of that general presentation. It leads the way once again among a cast whose work is otherwise just part of the whole. Also of note here is that while there is some blood used at points, its use is so minimal. In an age when so many crime stories overly use blood and gore, this minimalist approach is just as welcome to the general presentation as anything else. It is such a nice change of pace. Keeping everything noted here in mind, the whole of the general presentation makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment. When that engagement and entertainment is considered along with the overall positive of the movie’s story, the whole makes this reboot of Death on The Nile worth watching at least occasionally.

20th Century Studios’ new update of Agatha Christie’s crime novel, Death on the Nile is an intriguing presentation. It is not great nor is it terrible. Its story, which is relatively easy to follow makes for most of the reason for giving it a chance. It is a crime story that while fiction, is mirrored in real life by just as many true stories very similar in fashion, ironically enough. The story’s pacing is somewhat problematic because it drags at points throughout the story. The general presentation works with the story to make for more engagement and entertainment. When the two items are considered together, they make for reason enough to give the movie some appeal and in turn worth watching at least occasionally. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this movie’s presentation. All things considered, they make this reboot of Murder on the Nile worth watching at least occasionally.

Murder on the Nile is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://www.20thcenturystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

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.  

Arrow Video Announces ‘Robocop’ 4K UHD/Steelbook and ’12 Monkeys’ 4K UHD Re-Issue Dates

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Arrow Video is scheduled to re-issue Orion Pictures’ 1987 crime/action thriller Robocop again next month, along with a new re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1995 movie 12 Monkeys.

The company’s re-issue of Robocop is scheduled for release April 12 on 4K UHD steelbook and will come more than two years after the company’s most recent re-issue of the movie. Robocop centers on a Detroit police officer who becomes half-man-half robot, all crime fighter after he is gunned down by members of a notorious gang. Ashe fights crime on the streets of his beloved city, there is also strife within the department, which is owned by an equally notorious group, known as OCP. While not a gang, it still exerts its own influence on the department and city. Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD steelbook re-issue of Robocop will retail for MSRP of $49.95. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Arrow Video’s 12 Monkeys 4K UHD re-issue is scheduled for release April 26. The movie stars Bruce Willis (Die Hard 1-5) as a convict named James Cole, who has to travel back in time from 2035 to 1990 in order to stop the outbreak of a plague that wiped out most of the human race, but no animals. If Cole can stop the plague and the group associated with the plague, he will win his parole. When Cole is imprisoned in a psychiatric Ward for his warnings, things get even more difficult. 12 Monkeys will retail for MSRP of $49.95. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.

Both titles are available to order here.

More information on these and other titles from Arrow Video is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

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.

Real Cinephiles, Vintage Sci-Fi Fans Will Enjoy Corinth Films’ New 50s Sci-Fi Flicks Collection

Courtesy: Corinth Films

The 1950s is one of the single greatest eras of American cinema. That is because it was during this era that the science fiction and horror realms came together to create some of the movie industry’s greatest and still timeless movies. Movies, such as Them!, The Beast From 30,000 Fathoms, and This Island Earth joined the likes of It Came From Outer Space, Godzilla, and It Came From Beneath The Sea and so many others to give audiences a fun fright. That era also produced some lesser-known flicks within said realms, such as Rocketship X-M, The Brain From Planet Arous, and The Hideous Sun Demon that as cheesy as they are, still offer their own entertainment value. Now thanks to independent movie company Corinth Films, those three films have been culled in one setting for renewed attention in the newly released collection, Drive-In Retro Classics. Released on DVD March 15, this cinematic collection is a must have for any fan of 1950s cinema. The movies themselves are reason enough for that. This will be discussed shortly. While the movies are reason enough for audiences to take in this collection, the lack of any bonus content slightly detracts from its presentation and will be addressed a little later. Knowing that the lack of any bonus content is not enough to doom this set, the discussion on the movies’ general effect should also be examined, and will be later, too. It rounds out the collection’s most important elements. When it and the other items noted are considered together, they still make the set still well worth watching, and owning, especially by true cinephiles and lovers of classic science fiction and horror.

Corinth Films’ newly released vintage science fiction/horror cinematic collection, Drive-In Retro Classics is a must have for any true fan of movies from the 1950s and of vintage science fiction and horror. That is due in no small part to its featured trio of movies. The movies are Rocketship X-M (1950), The Brain From Planet Arous (1957), and The Hideous Sun Demon (1958). The Brain From Planet Arous is a great hybrid sci-fi/horror flick that finds its protagonist, Steve March (John Agar — The Mole PeopleSands of Iwo JimaFort Apache) possessed (yes, possessed) by a giant brain creature from another planet, Planet Arous. The very concept of possession is typically saved for religious-themed horror flicks. Though, there have been movies in which the innocent victim’s mind is controlled by an alien being. In the case of this story though, March is actually possessed by the alien/spirit being. It actually enters his body like a demon and gives March the powers of radiation to kill and destroy. Meanwhile another brain creature (a good one in this case) comes to Earth in search of the evil brain creature. How it all plays out will be left for audiences to discover on their own. It all has a happy ending. Again, the comparison to horror movies centered on possession makes the story all the more interesting especially being that this is a science fiction movie about an evil being from another planet wanting to conquer Earth and the universe. That in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion among audiences. To that end, it would have been interesting to have some discussion on the matter in some bonus content, but sadly there is no bonus content. This will be discussed a little later.

The Hideous Sun Demon is interesting in its own right. In the case of this movie, one cannot help but make something of a Frankenstein comparison. That is because the monster in this case is in fact, not necessarily the bad guy, when one really thinks about it. Played by Robert Clarke (The Man From Planet XCaptain John Smith and PocahontasBeyond The Time Barrier), the monster becomes itself when Clarke’s character, Dr. Gilbert McKenna, is exposed to sunlight after initially being exposed to a dangerous level of radiation. Things turn out anything but good for McKenna/the monster in the end, again making for a direct comparison to Frankenstein. On another note, one can’t help but wonder if this movie played any part in the creation of the famed Dr. Connors/Lizard from the Spiderman universe in Marvel Comics. That is yet another discussion that would have been interesting for inclusion in the set, but sadly isn’t. On yet another note, this very concept of McKenna turning into a monster whenever the sun comes out seems to be a turning of two other classic Universal movie monsters, Dracula and the Wolfman. Dracula goes out by the light of the moon, and the Wolfman becomes himself by the light of the moon. Where Dracula is afraid of sunlight because it can kill him, McKenna becomes his monster because of the sunlight. So again, one can’t help but wonder if there was influence from those old timeless Universal monster movies here.

Getting back on the subject at hand, McKenna has a friend who thinks he has a serum that can help cure McKenna, but things don’t exactly go as planned, leading to a final showdown between the monster and law enforcement atop an oil container at a refinery. The matter of the serum is also a link back to Dr. Conners’ story in the Spiderman universe, again leading to the noted comparison. The way in which the story ends is so much like that of Frankenstein, too. There is even a scene in which McKenna (in his human form) is talking to a little girl. It immediately conjures thoughts of the scene from Frankenstein when the monster meets the little girl. Of course, the outcome is quite different, but the comparison is unavoidable. All things considered, the story proves itself a unique presentation that audiences will find fun to watch every now and then.

Rocketship X-M takes audiences in yet another direction. In the case of this movie, the story is a space travel type tale. A group of astronauts goes into space with the aim of going to the moon, but instead ends up off course and landing on Mars. They discover that there is in fact life on Mars, too, but not what people might think. Instead of multi-headed, multi-eyed creatures with long, slimy tentacles, the beings are humanoid. The astronauts, led by a very young Lloyd Bridges (AirplaneAirplane IIHot ShotsHot Shots Part Deux) as Col. Floyd Graham, even discover a stone head that looks like some of those found in Egypt through the decades. This discovery brings about a discussion that any ancient alien theorists will find engaging. The planet’s inhabitants kill most of the crew while Graham and two others survive. The catch is that while the remaining group survives its encounter on Mars and gets back to Earth, the finale is less than happy. Rather, the whole thing ends on a decidedly somber note, leaving one wondering ultimately why they watched. At the same time, that wonderment leads to the understanding of why Rocketship X-M is one of the lesser-known science fiction flicks from the 50s. Even with that in mind, it is still worth watching at least once.

While the movies that make up the body of Drive-In Retro Classics are each worth watching in themselves and collectively, the lack of any bonus content connected with them detracts from the collection’s presentation to a point. As noted already, it would have been interesting to have a discussion on The Brain From Planet Arous and its combined science fiction and religious horror elements. Again, this movie’s story finds a being from another planet actually possessing the story’s protagonist. This is a blending of two separate genres in one and works so well. It would have been nice to have someone connected to the movie or even an academic with knowledge of the movie talk about this and other matters, such as the film history of its main cast. Sadly none of that is there.

A discussion on whether there was in fact a direct link between Universal’s classic monster movies and The Hideous Sun Demon would have also added to the collection’s presentation. The connections are unavoidable in watching the movie, but again, without some discussion on that possible background, audiences are left to just assume that the connection was intentional. It is a piece of cinema history that in its absence just hurts the overall engagement and entertainment in the movie that much.

Moving to bonus content for Rocketship X-M, some discussion on the movie as it relates to the likes of Destination Moon (which came out around the same time as Rocketship X-M) would have been interesting. Just as interesting would have been any talks on humans’ (and moviemakers’) fascination with the moon. The history of movies centered on humans going to the moon reaches back to the very birth of movie making, so something on that would certainly have been interesting. On a similar note, Destination Moon and Rocketship X-M each came out five years before the so-called “Space Race” started, so obviously there is no connection there. That aside, that is in itself worth noting in another discussion.

The discussions on the movies’ background and their connections to other items is just some of the bonus content that would have really helped enhance the viewing experience here. Some discussion on the special effects used in the movies would have added even more to the viewing experience. Clearly the special effects in these movies are very low grade. From the video effects used in the possession scenes in The Brain From Planet Arous to the makeup and costume for the lizard creature in The Hideous Sun Demon, to the obvious strings used to create the effect of weightlessness in Rocketship X-M and more, there is plenty to address in the way of the movies’ special effects. It just would have been nice to have those discussions and the others addressed here. Not having them does not doom the collection’s presentation, but it certainly would have enhanced the viewing experience so much.

Knowing that the lack of any bonus content does not make this overall presentation a failure, there is one more item to examine. That item is the movies’ general effect. Audiences will note that little if any effort was made to remaster the movies’ video and audio in presenting them here. To a point that is a bad thing, as is evidenced in the audio in The Hideous Sun Demon. There are points throughout this movie in which it sounds like the audio was recorded on an area microphone. At other points, the audio is more balanced. In the case of The Brain From Planet Arous, there are obvious jump cuts and other related video matters that clearly were not touched up. Even with the imperfections there, there is something so positive about it all. It plays into a sense of nostalgia that viewers will find themselves appreciating plenty. When this is considered along with the movies themselves and their stories, that collective makes for plenty of reason in itself for audiences to watch all three movies in this collection. To that end, the collection proves worth owning and watching even despite the lack of any bonus content.

Corinth Films’ classic sci-fi collection, Drive-In Retro Classics, is a largely successful offering for any true cinephile and lover of vintage science fiction and horror. That is due in no small part to the movies featured in the collection. They are lesser-known entries from what is one of the greatest eras of cinema, but still fun sci-fi flicks either way. The lack of any bonus content associated with the movies does detract from the overall presentation, but not enough to doom the set. To that end, the general effect of the movies’ presentation works with the movies and their stories to make for even more reason for audiences to give the collection a chance. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation. All things considered, they make Drive-In Retro Classics a presentation that true cinephiles and lovers of vintage science fiction will find engaging and enjoyable.

Drive-In Retro Classics is available through Corinth Films. More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:

Websitehttps://corinthfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/corinthfilms1977

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/corinthfilms

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.