Mercury Studios’ Marvin Gaye Live Re-Issue Is A Mostly Successful Presentation

Courtesy: Mercury Studios

This Friday, Mercury Studios will re-issue Marvin Gaye’s previously released live recording, Greatest Hits Live in ’76 on CD.  Originally released in 2007 on DVD, the 23-song presentation is a welcome presentation for anyone who does not already own the recording’s aforementioned DVD presentation.  That is due in large part to its featured songs, which will be discussed shortly.  While the songs that make up the recording’s body are clearly of note in a positive way, the recording is not perfect in its new forthcoming presentation on CD.  That is because of its lack of any liner notes.  This will be discussed a little later.  The recording’s production works with the songs to make for more engagement and entertainment and will be discussed later, too.  When it is considered along with the songs, those two elements make the recording a presentation that Marvin Gaye fans and R&B fans in general will find positive.

Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live in ’76, Mercury Studios’ forthcoming re-issue of the same recording originally released by the label – then known as Eagle Rock Entertainment – in 2007 on DVD, is a mostly positive companion piece to that recording.  The engagement and entertainment that the recording offers audiences comes in large part through its featured songs.  Totaling 23 in all, the songs present a rich cross section of Gaye’s catalog up to that point, reaching as far back as his sophomore 1963 album, That Stubborn Kinda Fellow and as far into his catalog as his 1976 album, I Want You.  While so many people know Gaye primarily for his hit slow jam serenade, ‘Let’s Get It On,’ he also produced some more socially conscious content, such as the timeless classic ‘What’s Going On?’  Both those songs are here and were originally featured in two separate albums released by Gaye, Let’s Get It On (1973) and What’s Going On (1971).  Also featured in this set is the equally iconic song of determination, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ which Gaye released way back in 1967 in his album, United.  Lots of people know Diana Ross’ take of the song, which was actually composed by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson in 1966, and Gaye then first made it a hit not long after its composition.  At the time of the songs’ performances and recordings, only two of Gaye’s original albums – That’s The Way Love Is (1970), his 1961 debut record, The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye — and one tribute album – A Tribute to the Great Nat “King” Cole – were not represented in this collection.  To that end, again, what audiences get in these songs are a relatively rich representation of Gaye’s catalog.  This is something that is certain to appeal to so many audiences.

While the songs that make up the collection’s body are unquestionably important in the best way possible to Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live in ’76, knowing when and where the songs were recording is impossible to know is impossible.  That is because this new CD re-issue of the recording lacks any liner notes at all.  That is at least the case with the review copy received by this critic.  Hopefully consumer copies do not suffer from this issue, too.  If they do, however, then that definitely will detract from the overall engagement and entertainment because it means audiences do not get that background on the songs.  It means no stories on the performances or any other notable anecdotes and pieces of history that might otherwise enrich the listening experience even more for audiences.  While the lack of any history on the performances featured here is undeniably problematic for the recording’s presentation, it is not enough to doom the recording.  To that end, there is one more positive to examine here.  That positive is the overall production presented here. 

The production featured in these songs makes the listening experience so immersive.  There is something about the quality of the sound that really makes audiences feel like they are right there in the concert hall(s), taking in the performances with everyone else.  At times, given, Gaye’s vocals do get a little washed out against the instrumentations, but for the most part, what audiences get is a positive concert experience thanks to the positive general effect generated through the production.  When this is considered along with the positive of the songs that make up the recording’s body, the whole makes this recording still well worth owning among Marvin Gaye fans and R&B fans alike. 

Mercury Studios’ forthcoming CD re-issue of Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live in ’76 is a largely successful presentation from the label’s previous 2007 DVD presentation.  Its success comes in large part through its featured songs.  The songs featured here represent such a rich portion of Gaye’s catalog up to that point, omitting only two of his original studio recordings.  While the songs are clearly and collectively a positive to the recording, the seeming lack of any background on the performances’ histories detracts from the engagement and entertainment guaranteed through the songs themselves.  It would have been nice to have at least some background, knowing whether the songs were all from one concert or multiple performances, and if so when and where they were recorded, as well as any other background on Gaye’s rising star through that portion of his career.  The lack of that background is problematic but not enough to doom the recording.  To that end, the positive general effect of the recording’s production works with the songs to make up for that issue of the lack of liner notes.  That is because of the general effect that is guaranteed through the performances.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered they make the recording a presentation that Marvin Gaye fans and R&B fans in general will find mostly enjoyable.

Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live in ’76 is scheduled for release Friday through Mercury Studios.  More information on this and other titles from Mercury Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://mercurystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MercuryStudiosCo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/mercurystudios

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.

‘Voodoo Macbeth’ Is Worth Watching Despite Concerns Of Content, Rating

Courtesy: Lightyear Entertainment

Movies based on actual events are big business for the cinematic world.  Hollywood’s major studios have made increasing use of said stories throughout their collective history while independent studios have, thankfully, been far less reliant on the genre, though there have been some independent studios that have turned out their own fare, much to the same result of the major studios’ offerings.  The result in question is movies that are otherwise forgettable because of their blend of history and overpowering fictional embellishments.  Now independent studio Lightyear Entertainment has become just the latest studio to join that mass of studios big and small alike that have fallen back on what is really an overblown genre with the recent release of its new movie, Voodoo MacBeth.  Set for release Tuesday, the movie centers on the history of famed media figure Orson Welles’ work with the famed Harlem Negro Theater Unit on its 1936 stage presentation of Shakespeare’s timeless drama, Macbeth.  The independent period drama that is based on actual events is worth watching at least once, but sadly not much more than that.  One reason it proves itself worth that one chance is its writing.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the writing is largely a positive and will keep audiences mostly engaged and entertained, the writing also includes a significant amount of foul language and some material that some might find questionable, yet the movie has no rating.  This is a negative that needs to be addressed.  The bonus commentary that accompanies the movie is one more positive worth noting, considering that the one negative is not enough to doom the movie.  This will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to this movie’s presentation.  All things considered they make Voodoo Macbeth far from being as timeless as Shakespeare’s original, but still worth watching at least once.

Voodoo Macbeth is an intriguing presentation from independent movie studio Lightyear Entertainment.  It is another movie that is worth watching at least once but really does little to help make the case for the historical drama genre.  One thing that it does have going for it is its writing.  The writing encompasses not only Welles’ own story but the bigger story of how the now famed 1936 performance of Macbeth by the Harlem Negro Theater Unit came to happen.  The story of Welles’ personal relationship with his wife, Virginia plays into the bigger picture, but thankfully never overpowers the central story.  There is also the story of the theater troupe’s members and their own personal stories added to the mix. As with Welles’ personal story, their stories don’t take overpower the central story, either.  Along the way, the movie’s writing staff made sure to include the role of racism even there in Harlem at the time to help progress the bigger story of the collective’s drive to put on the play.  Considering how much went into the overall story, it would have been so easy for the writers to let the story get bogged down in itself, but thankfully it didn’t.  That allowed the pacing and story in general to remain fluid.  As a result, audiences are ensured their engagement and entertainment throughout the story.

While the writing that went into Voodoo Macbeth ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment throughout its nearly two hour run time, the writing also includes a lot of foul language and content that some might find questionable, even considering its use in the bigger context of the story.  This is important to note because according to the movie’s case, it has no rating (IE PG, PG-13, R).  What’s more, there is not even any indication anywhere on the case of said content.  Some of that content includes references to homosexuality, which some audiences might find troubling.  At one point, two of the male cast members kiss each other, and at another one of the men in question attends a gay club, so that is content that again is understandable for its use in the context of the story but may cause some audiences to be uncomfortable.  All of this in mind, it is somewhat disconcerting that the movie got away with getting through without a rating.  Whether that is just because it is an independent movie or because it simply slipped through the cracks is anyone’s guess, but audiences need to be aware of all of this.  It is not enough to doom the movie but is definitely still of concern.

Keeping in mind that the movie’s lack of a rating and any mention of its content is absent anywhere herein is not enough to doom the movie, there is at least one more positive to note.  That positive is the movie’s bonus feature-length audio commentary.  The commentary is provided by the collective of cast members Jewell Wilson Bridges and Inger Tudor, producers Miles Alva and Jason Phillips, writer Erica Sutherlin, and director Zoe Salnawe.  If that seems like a lot of people, that is because it is.  As is revealed in the commentary early on, there were 10 directors alone for this movie.  There were a whole lot of people involved in the writing, too.  Salnave even notes in her comments that there were so many creative heads behind the scenes that a lot of attention had to be paid to the writing to ensure the story did not get bogged down in itself.  Thankfully that didn’t happen, even with so many hands in the proverbial pot.  Audiences also learn through the commentary the nearly two hour run time was the goal for all involved.  While no one said anything outright, it would seem that the statement in question was a reference to how so many movies out there today have become so long; upwards of three and even four hours.  On a funnier note, one of the group mentions what is known as the “Macbeth Curse” or the “Scottish Curse.”  The mention comes as the group discusses a power outage happening during the movie’s 25-day filming span and wonders if the curse played into it.  For those who might not be aware of what the curse is, there is a belief in theater that speaking the name Macbeth inside a theater other than in the script, leads to disaster.  Allegedly the so-called curse stems from Shakespeare using an actual incantation in the play Macbeth during the scene involving the witches, and it just so happened that some witches were watching one production of the play.  They got so angry at the presentation that they put a curse on every presentation of the play from that point on.  Whether that is true is anyone’s guess.  Though, considering the one major issue from which this movie suffers shows that maybe there is something to the curse after all.  Along with the lighthearted discussion on the curse, there was also a lot of in-depth discussion on the cast’s work on camera and trying to make the movie look believable in terms of its sets and costumes.  Those who are interested in this aspect of period flicks will appreciate these talks.  All of this in mind along with everything else discussed in the bonus content, it makes the audio commentary a strong companion to the movie.  When the positive of the commentary is considered along with the positive of the writing, the two elements make Voodoo Macbeth worth watching at least once, but sadly not much more than that.

Voodoo Macbeth, Lightyear Entertainment’s new historical drama, is an intriguing presentation from the independent movie studio.  It does little to break any new ground in the bigger picture of the genre, but is still worth watching at least once.  That is due in part to the movie’s writing.  The writing does an admirable job of interweaving so many story lines into the bigger picture that is the movie’s central plot.  While the writing deserves at least some applause, there is content in the writing that makes the movie deserving of a PG-13 rating at the very least and an R at the most.  The thing is that there is no rating here and no indication of any of the content anywhere on the movie’s case.  This is problematic, as audiences need to know this kind of information and aren’t informed.  Knowing this is not enough to doom the movie, its bonus audio commentary adds to the overall appeal.  That is because of the background that it adds to the presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered they make Voodoo Macbeth an intriguing addition to this year’s field of new independent movies that is worth watching at least once, but sadly not much more than that.

Voodoo Macbeth is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms. Its run time is 108 minutes (one hour 48 minutes). The movie will retail for msrp of $24.95 on Blu-ray, $19.95 on DVD, and $12.95 on digital platforms. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.

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

Websitehttps://lightyear.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/lightyearent

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/LightyearEnt

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.

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Lightyear Entertainment To Release New Historical Drama This Month

Courtesy: Lightyear Entertainment

Movies based on actual events are and have been big business for the movie industry for decades, and now Lightyear Entertainment will release a new movie based on a key period in Orson Welles’ life later this month.

Voodoo Macbeth is scheduled for release Jan. 17 through Lightyear Entertainment. The movie focuses on Welles’ work with the Harlem Negro Theater Unit on its 1936 presentation of Shakespeare’s timeless drama, Macbeth. The group’s rendition of the play moved the setting from Scotland to Haiti and used Caribbean voodoo in place of witchcraft used in the original play.

The group’s performance of the play was not without controversy. Politicians called the play subversive. Residents of Harlem called the play exploitative and protested the play. Despite the controversy that swirled around it, the play ended up being successful, playing for 10 weeks at the Lafayette Theater before touring nationwide.

Welles was quoted in a 1982 interview as saying of his work with the troupe, “By all odds, my great success in my life was that play, because the opening night there were five blocks in which all traffic was stopped. You couldn’t get near the theater in Harlem. Everybody who was anybody in the black or white world was there, and the play ended there were so many curtain calls that they finally left the curtain open, and the audience came up on the stage to congratulate the actors. That was magical.”

A feature-length audio commentary with cast members Jewell Wilson Bridges and Inger Tudor, producers Miles Alva and Jason Phillips, script writer Erica Sutherlin, and director Zoe Salnave serves as the movie’s primary bonus content. Actual 1936 footage of the original play from the National Archives and Records Administration is also included as a bonus.

Voodoo Macbeth will release on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms. Its run time is 108 minutes (one hour 48 minutes). The movie will retail for msrp of $24.95 on Blu-ray, $19.95 on DVD, and $12.95 on digital platforms. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.

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

Website: https://lightyear.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LightyearEnt

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.

Mychael Gabriel Debuts New Single, ‘Sunday Afternoon,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent singer-songwriter/producer Mychael Gabriel officially debuted his new single ‘Sunday Afternoon’ and its companion video last week.

The single is featured in Gabriel’s new album, Genesis, which is available now.  The record’s track listing is noted below.

GENESIS Album by MYCHAEL GABRIEL Track Listing:

1 – “In The Beginning”

2 – “Let There Be Light”

3 – “Celebrate”

4 – “Madam I’m Adam”

5 – “Radioactive Girl”

6 – “When It Comes 2 U”

7 – “Sunday Afternoon”

8 – “SummerTyme”

9 – “Diamonds In Your Eyes”

10 – “Mountain King”

11 – “Faith (Love U Anyway)

12 – “See U Again”

The song boasts a emo-pop style musical arrangement that blends melancholy and light, ethereal leanings for its overall body.  The mood that it sets with tug at any listener’s heart strings.

The musical arrangement fits well with the song’s lyrical theme, which according to provided information, focuses on the emotional highs and lows of a relationship.  This is a theme that is certain to resonate with a wide range of audiences.

The video for ‘Sunday Afternoon’ was directed by Gabriel.  It features the singer walking through a lightly wooded area, blue skies overhead as he performs to his new single.

More information on Mychael Gabriel’s new single, video and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://mychaelgabriel.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mychaelgabriel

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.

mpi Media Group To Release New Gerry Anderson Documentary Next Week

Courtesy: mpi Media Group

Gerry Anderson is one of the most well-known figures in the modern history of television and next week, mpi Media Group will release a new documentary about Anderson’s life and work in the form of Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted.

The new documentary is scheduled for release Jan. 10 on DVD.  The documentary was created with the permission from officials running his estate.  His story is told through interviews with Anderson’s family, friends and colleagues. 

The documentary follows Anderson’s upbringing in a household that featured a Jewish father and anti-Semitic father and how he came to create so many beloved series, such as Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Space: 1999 and Stingray over the course of a 92-minute run time.

Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted will retail for MSRP of $24.98.

More information on this and other titles from mpi Media Group is available at:

Websitehttps://mpihomevideo

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

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

Story Pacing, Bonus Content Are The Only Saving Graces For Walt Disney Studios Animation’s Latest CG Feature, ‘Strange World’

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios Animation

The new year has barely begun, but even with that being the case, Walt Disney Studios has already announced its first new home release for 2023.  The company announced late last month it will release its latest CG feature, Strange World Feb. 14 on DVD and Blu-ray.  The movie is the first full CG feature (and first full theatrical CG feature) from the company’s animations branch since the release of Encanto in November 2021.  The company partnered with Bardel Entertainment in December 2021 for the CG adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, so technically, while it is a CG movie (which was released exclusively through Disney’s streaming service, Disney+), it is not a solo release from Disney.  That movie has yet to see a home release date, too.  Strange World does little if anything to improve the track record for Disney’s animation unit, considering the fact that Encanto was so forgettable.  Strange World suffers largely because of its story, which will be discussed a little later.  The story’s pacing is the movie’s main saving grace.  It will be discussed shortly.  The movie’s bonus content is also of note to the positive.  It will be discussed later, too.  When it and the pacing are considered together, they make Strange World worth watching once, but sadly no more than that one time.

Walt Disney Studios Animation’s latest new CG offering Strange World is a disappointing new presentation from the animation arm of Walt Disney Studios.  Much like its most recent predecessor, Encanto, it offers audiences little to make it memorable, other than maybe the fact that it is not a musical.  One of the only other positives to this movie is the pacing of its story.  From beginning to end of its roughly 90-minute run time, the story wastes little time getting things moving.  That is proven right from the movie’s outset, which is a brief back story on the Cade family (the movie’s central stars).  In that introduction, it is revealed that the elder member of the Clade family, Jaeger (Dennis Quaid – Innerspace, The Day After Tomorrow, Frquency) essentially abandoned his family while on a mission in the mountains of the family’s homeland, Avalonia.  Of course, there is more to that story that is revealed as the story progresses.  Not to give away too much, but it is ironic (or maybe not) that Quaid has also worked on Innerspace and The Day After Tomorrow considering the content in this movie’s story, not to give away too much.  Getting back on track, that initial opening setup is very brief, but makes sense as soon as the story fast forwards more than 20 years in the future.  The story that follows is set up very quickly and in clear fashion.  From there, the adventure into the “subterranean” world of Avalonia moves steadily right up to its final act and resolution.  Even the moments in which Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal – Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Nightcrawler) and Jaeger have to come to terms with their relationship do not manage to slow the movie down too much.  That is a good thing, too, considering how that secondary story of the father and son’s relationship (and Searcher’s own relationship with his son, Cade (Jabouki Young-White – Rough Night, Set It Up, C’mon C’mon)) plays into the bigger story.  That secondary story actually weaves seamlessly into the overall story, allowing for the story to not get bogged down in itself and in turn keep moving fluidly from beginning to end.

As much as the pacing of Strange World’s story does for its appeal, the overall story presented herein detracts greatly from that appeal.  That is because in hindsight, the story is really anything but original.  Not to give away too much for those who have yet to watch it, but this movie proves ultimately to be little more than a reimagining of 20th Century Fox’s timeless 1977 science fiction classic, Fantastic Voyage.  That is recognized when Ethan Clade (Young-White) finally realizes the reality of where the family really is in its journey.  Keeping that in mind, the movie’s writing team is to be commended at least to a point, in keeping that realization a surprise not only for the Clade family but also for audiences in the process.  Again though, the realization almost immediately lends itself to comparison to Fantastic Voyage and in turn reduces that engagement and entertainment.

This is just one of the problematic aspects of the story.  The preachy message about finding a renewable source of energy through the setup of pando’s problematic nature is clearly an allegory of how we as humans must find an alternative to fossil fuels.  Yes, we need to get off of fossil fuels, and those efforts to find something else are already there.  To that end, audiences do not need this message continually shoved down their throats.  The purpose of movies is supposed to be an escape everything, not to have preachy messages and agendas pushed.

As if all of this is not problem enough, — again not to give away too much – the ultimate final revelation at the story’s end makes a direct reference to the idiot theory by so many that Earth is flat.  Of course, a flat earth is not shown, but a round one, yet to even suggest we are living on something else that is living – an actual living organism – is laughable and leaves one wondering why this was even incorporated into the movie, unless some nutjob flat earther was part of the writing team.

This still is not the end of the issues posed by the story.  The whole matter of the father and son dynamic between Jaeger, Searcher, and Ethan (Ethan is gay, by the way, and that is shamelessly right out in front of audience, so some parents might want to be aware of this) thankfully does not overwhelm the bigger story of the family’s journey through Avalonia’s “subterranean” world.  At the same time though, it doesn’t really add much, if anything, to the story.  The whole thing of each son trying to make his own path and identity despite his father’s own history is preachy in its own right, and nothing new to the movie industry, too.  Thankfully though, this subplot thankfully does not manage to overpower the overall story even as it doesn’t help the story, either.

Looking back at all of this, there are lots of problems with the story at the center of Strange World.  From its overall lack of originality to its preachy nature, it is just anything but memorable.  It is at least engaging for the one watch.  To that end, the multiple problems featured in this movie’s story are not enough to completely doom Strange World, and leave room for one more positive, that being the movie’s bonus content.

The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release is at least somewhat enjoyable, even despite some preachiness from Young-White in the “Strange Science” bonus feature.  He goes off about the need to care more for the planet, etc. in the end of the 13-minute bonus, which features the movie’s creative heads talking about the story and the work that went into its creation.  The very brief creature feature at least offers some entertainment as it gives names to each of the creatures encountered throughout the Cades’ journey.  The 23-minute “Anatomy of a Scene” featurette is for lack of better wording, the standard “making of” featurette that comes with so many movies, regardless of studio.  Audiences learn how much time and work went into the CG that made the movie, with so much detail given from one subtopic to another.  It and the other bonuses are collectively all that really makes the overall viewing experience here worthwhile, that is other than the pacing of the story.  To that end, the pacing of Strange World’s story and the bonus content featured with the movie’s home release are its saving graces.  Without them, this movie would not be worth watching even once.

Strange World, the latest CG feature from Walt Disney Studios Animation, is sadly another disappointing offering from the animation arm of Walt Disney Studios.  Its story is anything but original, though at least the execution thereof makes for some appeal.  The story’s pacing works to help with that execution, thankfully.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its coming home release is also of note, though not very much.  Keeping all of this in mind, Strange World proves ultimately to be another forgettable offering from Walt Disney Studios Animation.

Strange World is available now digitally.  It is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 14.

More information on this and other movies from Walt Disney Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://waltdisneystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyStudios

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/disneystudios

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.  

Journey’s Latest Live Recording Will Appeal Primarily To Its Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Veteran rock band Journey has been in the headlines quite a bit in the past few years or so, both for good and not so good reasons. From legal issues to a new album this year, the band has kept music reporters quite busy. On Friday, the band gave those reporters even more to stay busy with the release of its latest live recording, Live in Concert at Lollapalooza. The band’s fourth live recording and first since 2019’s dual release, Escape and Frontiers Live in Japan, this new offering’s set list focuses very heavily on Escape. This will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance of the set list makes for its own interest and will be examined a little later. The overall production that went into the recording, which is available on separate DVD/CD, CD, and Blu-ray platforms, is also a positive worth noting. It will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered the collective items noted here make the recording an interesting late year addition to this year’s field of new live recordings.

Live in Concert at Lollapalooza, the latest live recording from Journey is an interesting new offering from the veteran rock band. The recording’s interest comes in part through its set list. Spanning 20 songs, (technically it features 17 songs minus the instrumental interludes), the set list is very limited in its overall reach. It reaches as far back as the band’s 19878 album, Infinity and as recent as the band’s 1986 album Raised on Radio. Considering that the band’s catalog spans 15 albums from 1975 all the way up to this year’s latest release, Freedom, that makes for a very directed set list. What’s more, as noted, the set list leans very heavily on the band’s 1981 album Escape, with a total of six songs being lifted from that album for the set list. Infinity (1978) gets the next highest number of nods at just three songs. Evolution (1979) gets two nods. There are also songs featured in a pair of movie soundtracks, and both of those soundtracks were from movies released in the 80s. Simply put, the soundtrack is essentially a collection of the sings that really helped Journey rise to fame in its heyday. To that end, it is an element that will appeal to the band’s most devoted audiences since it is not exactly what one would consider career-spanning. It is not enough to doom the recording, though. The band’s performance of the set list is of its own applause.

The Band’s performance of the set list is of note because it shows the band putting in its best effort in each song. For a band that first rose to fame more than 40 years ago, the energy from this current lineup is full on from beginning to end. Front man Arnel Pineda keeps the lighting staff and photogs on their toes as he makes his way back and forth across the stage while guitarist Neal Schon keeps the audience engaged through his expert work on his instrument. Even in a calmer moment, such as in ‘Faithfully,’ the band in whole keeps the audience fully engaged, their hands waving in the air as they sing along. It shows the simple approach that the band has taken all these years still works whether in the more high energy moments or the more reserved ballads. Overall, the band’s performance here is everything that audiences have come to expect from Journey. To that end, the group’s performance of the set list is certain to appeal to the noted most devoted Journey fans.

The production that went into Live in Concert at Lollapalooza does well to capture the expert nature of the band’s performance at what is one of the most famous festival concert events in America. The edits, the sound, and the general cinematography to give those devoted fans something to enjoy, too. It puts audiences at home right there on stage and in the crowd with the rest of the fans who were there in person thanks to the positive overall general effect that the production generates. Considering this alongside the band’s performance, those noted audiences who are among the band’s most devoted will find even more reason to take in the concert recording.

Live in Concert at Lollapalooza, the latest live recording from Journey, is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the band’s most devoted audiences. That is due in large part to the concert recording’s set list. The set list is very limited in its reach, focusing more on its most well-known singles than on its overall catalog. The band’s performance of those singles will appeal plenty to the noted audiences because the band clearly puts in its full effort in each performance. The recording’s overall production creates a positive general effect that will appeal to those audiences in its own right, too. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation. All things considered they make Live in Concert at Lollapalooza a presentation that is an intriguing late year addition to this year’s field of new live recordings.

Live in Concert at Lollapalooza is available now through Frontiers Music s.r.l. More information on the recording is available along with all of Journey’s latest news at:

Website: https://journeymusic.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/journeyofficial

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Moonwatcher Films’ Indie Flick, ‘5-25-77’ Is A Surprisingly Enjoyable Based On Actual Events Presentation

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

With 2022 officially in its waning days, it is safe to say that Hollywood’s major studios have struggled to release very much in the way of substantive content. This year has largely been just another filled with prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on books and actual events. However, it looks like with the year finally winding down, maybe just maybe something positive might be finally here thanks to the premiere of Amblin Entertainment’s new drama, The Fablemans. Directed by none other than Steve Spielberg, the movie is a love letter to classic cinema and its role in a person’s own development. Whether it lives up to the hype is yet to be seen since it only premiered today. It is hardly the only movie of its sort. As a matter of fact, independent studio Moonwatcher Films’ brand new movie, 5-25-77 is its own unique story of the role of cinema in a young man’s personal growth. Released to DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, the movie is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation that will move audiences to plenty of laughs and tears. That is due in large part to its story, which will be discussed shortly. The bonus feature-length audio commentary that accompanies the movie adds to the movie’s appeal. It will be examined a little later. The work of the movie’s cast rounds out the most important of the movie’s positives and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation. All things considered they make this movie a refreshing alternative to everything churned out by Hollywood’s major studios so far this year and one more of the year’s top new independent movies.

5-25-77, the newest independent movie from independent studio Moonwatcher Films, is a surprisingly enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new independent movies. What’s more it is also a welcome alternative to all of the content being churned out by Hollywood’s major movie studios, what with all of the prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on books and movies that they have continued to churn on this year. The movie’s appeal comes in large part through its story. The story here is simple: It is a coming-of-age story of sorts that follows the personal growth and development of writer/director/actor Patrick Read Johnson, during his teenage years. The story starts in 1968, when Patrick, as a young boy, is taken to the theater by his parents to see the timeless science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is clear in that opening scene that is where his love of cinema started. From there, he decides to start making his own movies with his own models and friends as the casts. As the story progresses over the course of the movie’s two hour, 13 minute run time, viewers see Patrick grow from a clumsy, goofy young man with stars in his eyes to a more thoughtful, mature young adult. What is really interesting in the overall story is that there is actually so much more depth than audiences realize at first. This is revealed late in the story as one of Patrick’s friends psychoanalyzes him as they and Bill wait outside the hospital for another of the friends, Robin. Patrick’s friend gets him to finally reveal the real reason for his drive to make movies. That revelation will be left for audiences to discover for themselves, but suffice it to say that the revelation in question will lead many viewers to want to go back and watch the movie again. When they do, they will catch something very important that they likely overlooked to begin with early on in the story. The subtlety of that element’s incorporation into the story gives the story so much more depth in the bigger picture.

Another aspect of Patrick’s growth comes through the story of Patrick’s relationship with Linda. The puppy love that he exhibits with Linda is a situation to which so many audiences can relate even today. That is because everyone has felt that infatuation (which is what he was really feeling) at one point or more in their young lives. Patrick’s eventual revelation of the situation involving Linda and Tony is just as pivotal to the story of his development. That is because it is really the final breaking point of sorts for him. The revelation that he makes is the catalyst to him finally making the most important decision of his life at that point. The way in which Johnson weaved this story in with the story of the impact of his childhood on his young adult life makes the overall story so rich and engaging. At times, audiences will be drawn to so much laughter. At others, they will be led to some tears as they watch Johnson’s growth. As a result of the engagement and entertainment that the story generates, audiences will agree that it forms a strong foundation for the movie’s presentation.

The story gains even more traction as audiences go back and watch the movie with its bonus feature-length commentary. The commentary is provided by Johnson and fellow well-known cinema figure, Seth Gaven, founder of the A.V. Squad and editor of the 1990 family friendly sci-fi flick, Spaced Invaders. The background that the duo provides is what adds to that depth. For instance, audiences learn through the commentary that unlike so many movies that are based on actual events, most of what is portrayed in this movie actually happened, including Robin putting her own fist in her mouth and getting it stuck. Yes, audiences will most definitely be left to learn more about that one on their own. On another level, Johnson reveals that the cost of one portion of the movie was roughly $100,000. In other words, the overall cost to make the movie was likely very low. This is important to note because even being a low budget movie, the overall presentation proves to be so engaging and entertaining. There are no special effects or any big budget items anywhere in the movie. As a matter of fact, Johnson and Gaven go into a discussion on that simplicity and tie that into a discussion on the overuse of special effects in the current era of movie making. As if all of this is not enough, Johnson, who appears in the movie as his father, also goes into a brief discussion about his relationship with his father, which again does play its own subtle but pivotal part in the bigger story. His discussion on this topic makes for even more appreciation for the overall story and is just one more of so many interesting anecdotes that Johnson and Gaven share throughout the movie’s commentary. When all of the noted discussions are considered along with the rest of the commentary included in the audio track, the whole makes the whole of the commentary truly a bonus in every sense of the word and even more reason to take in this movie.

The commentary that accompanies the movie is not the last of the items that make 5-25-77 worth watching. The work of the movie’s cast rounds out the most important of its elements. Backing up a little bit, the cast’s work is also discussed in the audio commentary. Johnson reveals in the commentary that the real life Bill and Robin both play small parts in the movie. Bill takes on the role of the theater manager while the real life Robin only gets a brief appearance at a nurse at the hospital. John Francis Daley (Spiderman: Homecoming, Bones, Vacation) takes on the role of Johnson, and does such an entertaining job in his performance. The goofy smile that he gives any time a girl even looks at him is so laugh-inspiring. His dedication to bringing his own movies to life and the awe that he exhibits as young Patrick is introduced to a young Steven Spielberg and just as young George Lucas (as he creates Star Wars) is certain to move audiences. That is because viewers can fully appreciate the stars that are in Patrick’s eyes and the impact that the experience had on him. It is a performance that is fully believable.

Just as impressive is Steve Coulter’s performance of Bill. Coulter (Coasting, Fate Twisted Simply, Please Wait To Be Seated) is a wonderful foil to Daley. He does so well trying to keep Patrick as grounded as possible throughout the story, even as Patrick just keeps letting everything get to him. For lack of better wording he is the straight man to Daley’s more energetic lead who is so deserving of his own praise because of just how he portrays Bill’s more level-headed and realistic approach to everything. His dedication to his friend even as Patrick changes so dramatically is admirable to say the least and it makes for its own share of applause.

One more noteworthy performance come from Collen Camp (Clue, Die Hard With a Vengeance, Sliver) who plays the part of Patrick’s mother. Those moments throughout the movie when she comes into Patrick’s room, calling his name out of frustration are so hilarious. Every viewer will relate to those moments, as everyone has had that happen on one end or the other. At the same time, that moment when she realizes that Patrick has given up his dream of becoming a movie maker just so that he could make Linda happy, the compassion that comes into her eyes is so moving even in its simplicity and subtlety. Her determination to help Patrick get to Hollywood, and the little song and dance moment that follows is such a wonderfully moving and lighthearted scene. It will inspire tears and laughter all at once, as will her reaction in the story’s finale when Patrick finally makes that final decision to take a big step. Again that moment will not be revealed here for the sake of those who have yet to see the movie. That aside, Camp’s performance is engaging and entertaining in its own right. She brings so much emotional depth to the movie in the moments when she is on screen in all of the best ways. When her performance is considered along with the other performances noted here and with the rest of the cast’s work, the whole makes clear, the overall importance of the cast’s work to the movie’s presentation. When the impact of the cast’s work is considered alongside the depth of the movie’s story and the depth that the audio commentary adds to the story, the whole makes 5-25-77 a movie based on actual events that is surprisingly worth watching.

5-25-77, the newest cinematic offering from independent movie studio Moonwatcher Films, is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation. That is due in part to the story at the center of the movie. The movie’s story is a coming of age story that while yes, it is based on actual events, proves to be anything but the overblown, overly embellished movies that are its counterparts from Hollywood’s major studio counterparts. The feature-length audio commentary that accompanies the movie in its new home release adds even more appreciation for the story. That is because it reveals at least in part just how much of the story actually did happen. It also presents a number of other intriguing anecdotes that will keep audiences engaged. The cast’s work throughout the movie makes for its own interest, too. That is because each cast member’s performance is that believable. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of 5-25-77‘s presentation. All things considered they make this movie one more of the year’s top new independent movies.

5-25-77 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray through MVD Entertainment Group. More information on this and other titles from The Film Detective is available at:

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Classic Film Buffs Will Appreciate The Film Detective’s ‘The Bat’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: The Film Detective/MVD Entertainment Group

Halloween is just a matter of days away and just in time for the big day, independent movie distribution company The Film Detective will re-issue Universal Studios’ 1959 movie The Bat on DVD and Blu-ray.  The cult classic has been panned by audiences and critics alike, getting a 20% score from Rotten Tomatoes.  Even Vincent Price (who played more of a supporting part in the movie than lead) allegedly said he was ultimately disappointed with the movie in hindsight.  All of this aside, it is still a work that its established audiences will find just as appealing in its latest presentation as in its theatrical premiere.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its latest re-issue is far from perfect but does add at least a little something to the presentation.  The audio and video in this latest presentation is also of note and will also be discussed later.  When it is considered alongside the other elements noted here, the whole makes The Film Detective’s forthcoming re-issue of The Bat a welcome addition to this year’s field of new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

The Film Detective’s upcoming re-issue of The Bat is a mostly successful offering from the classic cinema distribution company.  The movie’s success comes in part through its central story.  The story is simple:  $1 million that was embezzled by a bank president is hidden in a house that has been rented by author Cornelia Van Gorder (Agnes Moorehead – Bewitched, Charlotte’s Web, Citizen Kane).  Van Gorder and a group of others are in the house and are well aware of the money, searching for it during their stay.  There’s just one problem, the infamous killer known as “The Bat” is also looking for the money, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to get the money first.  While Moorehead is the lead here, the movie continues to be marketed, oddly, more on the back of Vincent Price (The House on Haunted Hill, House of Wax, The Great Mouse Detective).  That is of note because for all intents and purposes, Price’s character of Dr. Malcolm Wells is in fact more of a supporting character here than a lead.  Not to give it away for those who have yet to see the movie, but he is more or less a red herring and not the star, showing up at only certain points in the story.  The Bat’s identity is eventually revealed in the story’s finale, but only after Dr. Wells ends up being killed by The Bat.  Sorry, folks, that had to be revealed.  The money is also found after The Bat is also killed.  Who finally ended The Bat’s reign of terror (so to speak) and how will be left for audiences to figure out for themselves.  There are some very real plot holes and other problems with the acting throughout the movie, but otherwise, they can be overlooked when looking at the bigger picture of the movie’s story.  To that end, the story here is reason enough for audiences to take in this movie.

While the story at the center of The Bat gives audiences reason enough to makethe movie worth watching, the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its latest iteration makes for at least a little bit more reason to take in the movie.  The most notable of the bonuses featured with the movie’s new re-issue is the essay composed by professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney.  Ney’s essay is presented in a booklet that comes with the package.  He notes in his essay, the roots of The Bat, pointing at that it was author Mary Roberts Rinehart’s debut novel, The Circular Staircase, that paved the way for what would become the stage presentation of The Bat.  That presentation, which apparently Price greatly enjoyed as a child, went on to be made into a movie three times over, the final time with Price as one of its stars.  He also points out the very deliberate choice by Rinehart and those involved in The Bat’s creation.  From there Ney furthers the discussion, pointing out how Moorehead’s character of Van Gorder intentionally takes it on herself to try to solve the mystery of The Bat’s identity and the location of the stolen money.  It really is a reflection of changing roles of women in society and again, Ney addresses this, too.  It could be a starting point on so many discussions on feminism and its role in society and in cinema.  As if all of this background is not enough, Ney also offers audiences a background on Rinehart’s very motivation for becoming an author.  Not to give everything away, but it has to do with her family’s own standing.  Interestingly, according to Ney, Rinehart remains one of the lesser-known figures in the literary world today, despite the maintained popularity of The Bat to this day.  This and so much other background information and history that Ney provides in his essay makes for plenty of engaging reading material, and in turn really the most notable of the re-issue’s bonus content.

Ney also provides a feature-length audio commentary throughout the movie.  The problem though, is that he clearly reads from a script throughout the course of his discussion.  That is clear through his pacing and general delivery.  He is not sitting there watching the movie at the same time as audiences.  It detracts from the viewing experience and leaves one feeling like he only did the commentary to get paid, rather than out of love for the movie.  It all just feels too scripted and fluid rather than organic.  To that end, it really does detract from the movie’s presentation.  Thankfully, the negative impact that the commentary leaves is not enough to doom the presentation.

The career retrospective of Crane Wilbur, who wrote the screenplay for The Bat also adds little if anything to the viewing experience and appreciation for the movie.  That is because of how fast it moves.  It just goes from one movie to the next on which he worked, so rapidly that it makes it difficult to follow even for those who fully engage themselves in the brief presentation.

On the positive side of things, the bonus radio broadcasts, which feature Price, of other programs make for their own enjoyment.  They are not connected in the least to The Bat but are still fun to hear.  They take audiences back to another time and give audiences more of a profile of Price’s work.  Keeping that in mind, this and Ney’s essay do just enough to make the bonus content its own positive overall.

Knowing that the bonus content featured in The Bat’s new re-issue is neither entirely good nor bad, there is one more complete positive to note.  That positive is the movie’s overall production.  The audio and video presented here is so clear, even more than 60 years after the movie made its theatrical debut.  It is unknown if any work was done to remaster the footage for its presentation here, but regardless, the overall presentation looks and sounds so good.  That alone more than wakes for reason to take in the movie, especially among its established audiences.  When this and the story are taken into account with the re-issue’s more notable bonus content, the whole makes The Bat’s new re-issue all the more engaging and entertaining.

The Film Detective’s forthcoming re-issue of Universal’s The Bat is a mostly successful presentation that classic film buffs will find enjoyable.  That is due in part to its story, which is a simple soft-boiled crime tale.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new re-issue makes for its own appeal, at least to a point.  The movie’s production rounds out its most important elements.  That is because of the high quality of the sound and video.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie in its new presentation.  All things considered they make The Bat a welcome addition to this year’s field of new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

The Film Detective’s forthcoming re-issue of The Bat is scheduled for release Oct. 25 on DVD and Blu-ray.  More information on this and other titles from The Film Detective is available at:

Website: https://thefilmdetective.com

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MPI Media Group Announces Release Date For New Munsters Collection

Courtesy: mpi Media Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: https://mpihomevideo

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

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