No Tricks Here: Imagine Dragons’ New Live Recording Is Musical Magic

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Imagine Dragons is one of the biggest bands in America today if not the world.  That goes without saying.  Ever since its original formation in 2008 the band has sold millions of albums, earned more than its share of awards and nominations, appeared on any number of TV shows, and entertained audiences the world over.  It even has a brand new single out on the soundtrack to the new romantic dramedy Me Before You.  Even in taking some obviously much-needed time off, the band still isn’t showing any sign of stopping.  That is because this summer the band will release its first official live recording in the form of Smoke & Mirrors Live.  It will be released Friday, June 3rd via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  Whether or not a person is a fan of this Las Vegas, NV-based band’s audiences will agree that this record is one more of 2016’s top new live recordings and yet more proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leading name in live recordings.  This is proven in part by the concert’s set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance and the overall production are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as the show’s set list.  The concert’s varied platforms and packaging are just as notable in the recording’s presentation as the set list and overall stage show.  They round out the most notable of the recording’s elements.  Each noted element shows in its own way to be of its own importance to the recording.  Altogether they show clearly why Smoke & Mirrors Live is one of this year’s top new live recordings.  They also show once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment stands tall to this day as the leading name in live recordings today.

Imagine Dragons’ new live recording Smoke + Mirrors Live is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  It is also more proof as to why Eagle Rock Entertainment stands tall to this day as the leading name in live recordings.  This is proven in part through the concert’s set list.  The concert boasts a total of twenty songs.  Some of those songs stand alone and others are part of mini-medleys.  In all the show’s set list pulls almost evenly from both of the band’s albums so far.  No fewer than seven songs were lifted from the band’s 2012 debut record Night Visions and ten others from Smoke & Mirrors.  The band even included some songs that were included only in certain limited editions of Smoke & Mirrors in the set in the form of ‘Warriors’ and ‘Thief’ alongside a cover of the song ‘Forever Young.’  That covers the show’s twenty total songs.  While the set list does an impressive job of covering the band’s body of work so far, there is a slight issue with the set’s presentation.  The concert’s Blu-ray/CD combo pack features the concert in whole on Blu-ray.  However some of the songs included in the concert’s Blu-ray presentation were omitted in its CD presentation.  What’s more, some of the interludes that are included in the Blu-ray presentation were also omitted from the CD presentation. It is problematic to a point that the noted elements have been omitted from the set’s CD presentation.  But thankfully at least in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack audiences do still get the full set list and concert experience regardless.  Not having the DVD presentation this critic cannot comment on that presentation.  Keeping that in mind the set list still proves to be its own important part of S+M Live’s presentation.  It is not the show’s only important element.  The band’s performance couples with its overall production to form another of the recording’s most important elements.

The set list presented in S+M Live (as it will henceforth be known) is its own important part of the recording’s presentation.  That is because it lifts liberally from both of the band’s current albums including songs that were only available in exclusive limited editions of Smoke + Mirrors.  Even with the set list being abridged–so to speak–in the recording’s CD presentation, placing the CD with the Blu-ray in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack makes up for that and for the omission of the interludes, too.  While the set list ultimately proves important in its own right to the recording’s presentation the band’s performance and stage production are collectively just as important to the recording as the set list.  Front man Dan Reynolds keeps audiences completely entertained both in the concert’s more reserved moments and those that are more fiery.  That is because of the emotion and energy that he exuded in each moment.  Simply put he showed that he was completely involved in the performance.  He wasn’t just phoning it in.  Sadly there are performers who do try to phone it in.  In some cases it works.  In others it obviously doesn’t.  Luckily his is neither case.  His band mates—Wayne Sermon (guitar), Daniel Platzman (drums), and Ben McKee (bass)—along with the rest of the band’s touring members mirror that energy in their own performances.  The collective whole of their performances will keep audiences at home just as entertained as those that were in attendance at the concert’s recording.

On a related note to the band’s performance, the concert’s general stage production plays its own role in the recording’s presentation.  There’s no pyro or seizure-inducing strobes at any point through the show.  Rather, the band utilizes a minimalist set for its show.  There are some monitors that utilize lights within their displays.  But they are really the extent of the show’s “special effects.”  This limits the use of the lights which in turn actually makes them a hugely element in illustrating the mood of each song’s mood.  The lights brighten at all of the right moments and dim in the same fashion. They even change colors at just the right moments in order to help illustrate the songs’ mood.  When they do start pulsating, that action is limited even in those moments.  Simply put the minimalist production used in the band’s stage show proves just as important to the band’s performance as the band’s performance itself.  The two work hand in hand in entertaining audiences and keeping them engaged.  They show in whole that they are indeed just as important to the concert’s presentation as its relatively extensive set list.  They are hardly the last of the recording’s most notable elements.  The concert’s platforms and packaging round out its most notable elements.

The set list presented in Smoke + Mirrors Live is its own important part of the recording’s overall presentation.  That is the case even with the set list varying between the recording’s visual and audio presentation.  The band’s performance and stage production couple for another important part of the recording’s presentation.  That is because they work so well together to entertain audiences with their collective energy.  There is no arguing the importance of each noted element in the recording’s overall presentation.  As important as they are to the whole of the recording they are not the recording’s only important elements.  The varied platforms and packaging of the recording are just as important to its presentation as any of the other noted elements.  In regards to its platforms it is available in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack which is being examined here.  It is also available in a DVD/CD combo pack, standalone DVD and Blu-ray platform, and various digital platforms.  This might not seem like much on the surface.  But in presenting it in all three formats (and each format being “extended”) Eagle Rock and Universal Music have covered all of their bases.  They have essentially reached out to every possible audience group.  This was an extremely wise course of action for all involved.  The recording’s packaging is just as important as its platforms.  That applies primarily to the concert’s physical platforms.  Audiences will note that the packaging for both the DVD/CD combo pack and Blu-ray/CD combo pack is exactly the same.  It presents both halves of the recording in a gatefold packaging.  The discs are each placed on their own spindle in their own respective spot inside the packaging.  This greatly reduces the odds of damage to the case and the discs.  Audiences that are familiar with multi-disc CD packaging will note that many labels today use thin, plates in the middle of a standard sized CD case in order to save space on CD racks.  That does save space.  But as thin as said inserts are, they are very prone to breaking because of their fragility.  The material used for inserts in multi-disc DVD and Blu-ray packaging is more durable, making it smarter for that platform.  Keeping all of this in mind, the packaging used for this (and many other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment) might be bulkier than those from other labels.  But it is more durable and better protects the recordings’ discs.  So to that end, Smoke + Mirrors Live’s packaging proves in the bigger picture to be just as important to its presentation as its set list, stage production and performance by the band.  Each element is equally important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  Even the program’s main menu plays its own part in the concert’s presentation.  Audiences get to see the band prepare for its performance in the recording’s menu.  There are also snippets of said performance played against the menu.  And they aren’t just short, little snippets either.  They are solid samples of each song. Between that and everything else that has been noted audiences get in whole here a recording that audiences in whole will appreciate.  This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band’s body of work.

Imagine Dragons’ new live recording Smoke + Mirrors Live is a recording that every viewer will appreciate.  This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band’s body of work.  This is due in part to the recording’s extensive set list.  The band’s performance and its general stage production work together to keep audiences entertained and engaged from beginning to end.  The packaging of both the DVD/CD and Blu-ray/CD combo pack plays its own important part in the recording’s overall presentation, too.  The concert’s main menu proves important to its presentation, too even as minor as it may seem.  Each element is important to the concert’s presentation in its own special way.  Altogether they make Smoke + Mirrors Live a concert that audiences will not only appreciate but will agree is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  They will agree, too that it proves once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment still stands tall as the leading name in live recordings.  It will be available in stores and online Friday, June 3rd.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

More information on Smoke + Mirrors Live is available online now along with all of Imagine Dragons’ latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.imaginedragonsmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/imaginedragons

 

 

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Synhronicity Will Impress Sci-Fi And Noir Fans ‘Time’ And Again

Courtesy: Magnolia Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Magnolia Home Entertainment

The summer movie season is officially upon us once again.  And once again Hollywood is offering up yet another overly bloated crop of prequels, sequels, remakes and spin-offs.  Captain America: Civil War proved to be a flash in the pan.  DC’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fared just as poorly.  And X-Men: Apocalypse, while out now, received less than stellar reviews by critics ahead of its release.  The rest of this year’s summer blockbusters don’t look overly promising in terms of content or longevity either.  Considering all of this one can only ask if there are any truly worthwhile alternatives to those movies out there.  Thankfully the answer is yes.  One of those alternatives comes in the form of the indie sci-fi flick Synchronicity.  It was released just recently (May 17th to be exact) direct to DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital formats by Magnolia Pictures.  It is a good offering both for sci-fi fans and noir fans.  This is due in part to the movie’s writing.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important as its writing.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with the movie plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  It rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements.  In the end, each of the noted elements proves important in its own right to the movie’s presentation.  Collectively, they show clearly why Synchronicity is one of 2016’s top new indie offerings and potentially one of the year’s best new movies overall.

Magnolia Pictures’ new sci-fi flick Synchronicity is one of the year’s top new indie offerings.  It is also potentially one of the year’s top new overall cinematic offerings.  That is especially the case considering how little Hollywood’s major studios have offered, and how little they have to offer this year.  This argument is proven in part by the movie’s writing.  This applies both to the movie’s central story and its secondary element.  Writer/Director Jacob Gentry has crafted a script for this movie that is more than just another run-of-the-mill sci-fi flick.  Yes, it is rooted in time travel, parallel universes, and other theoretical physics concepts.  But thanks to Gentry’s attention to detail it doesn’t allow itself to become bogged down in discussions on those concepts.  Rather it only uses them as the basis for Jim’s (Chad McKnight—My Super Psycho Sweet 16, The Signal, Last Goodbye) adventure.  The story in question centers on a machine built by Jim and his friends Chuck (AJ Bowen—The Signal, You’re Next, The Sacrament) and Matty (Scott Pythress—The Signal, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Allegiant) that has the ability to open a wormhole and thus allow for time travel.  What they don’t realize until later is that it allows for more than time travel.  That will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  What happens as a result of the wormhole opening will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained from beginning to end.  It is only one part of the script that makes the writing so intriguing.  The theme that Gentry has incorporated into the movie as a secondary element is just as important to the movie’s writing as the movie’s central story.

The story at the center of Synchronicity is in itself an important part of the movie’s writing.  It is not the only important part of that writing however.  Gentry has also included a bit of philosophy into the movie’s script that ties directly into that story.  That bit of philosophy in question is centered on the role of fate in the universe (or universes).  As Jim discovers over time no matter how many times he goes back things still turn out the same for the most part.  Yes, there are some minor differences with each journey.  But by and large the outcome is still the same.  The outcome in question will be left for audiences to discover for themselves just as with the revelation of the wormhole’s abilities.  Audiences will appreciate in noting this underlying theme that Gentry doesn’t allow it to overpower the movie’s central story just as he doesn’t let the very real theoretical physics concepts overpower it either.  Keeping all of this in mind, the writing behind Synchronicity proves in whole to be a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  It shows clearly in and of itself why Synchronicity is such a worthwhile alternative to this year’s major summer blockbusters.  The writing is just one of the elements that shows why Synchronicity is a worthwhile alternatives to this year’s major summer blockbusters.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as worth noting as its writing in its presentation.

The writing behind Synchronicity is a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  Thanks to the work of Writer/Director Jacob Gentry, the sci-fi flick’s central story is expertly balanced with the concepts at its base.  It is just as well-balanced with its underlying philosophical concept of fate.  It all combines to make the movie’s writing an undeniably important part of the movie’s presentation.  The writing is just one important part of that presentation, though.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as the writing.  Chad McKnight is wonderful as lead character Jim Beale.  It is intriguing to watch his gradual psychological decline as he keeps going back through the wormhole over and over again.  At first it isn’t clear what is causing that decline.  But as the story progresses it becomes more evident.  And McKnight does a good job of not letting that breakdown go over the top at any one point.  He makes audiences want to see just how deeply Jim is being affected psychologically by what is going on.  McKnight’s co-star Brianne Davis is just as fun to watch as the mysterious Abby.  Right from the story’s outset she leaves audiences wondering just whose side she is on.  Is she on Jim’s side?  Is she on Kraus’ side?   Or is she on her own side?  Viewers do finally find out her true intentions in the end.  That revelation will move audiences very deeply.  That is thanks in large part to the way in which her intentions are revealed, pointing out again Writer/Director Jacob Gentry’s talents.  Speaking of Gentry once again, his bonus interview, and those with McKnight and Davis, serve to add to appreciation for each individual’s work.  They aren’t the movie’s only bonuses or worthwhile bonuses for that matter.  Gentry’s commentary throughout the movie couples with those interviews to show why the movie’s bonus material is just as important to its presentation as the movie’s writing and the cast’s work on camera.

Jacob Gentry’s work in developing Synchronicity’s script and his cast’s work in interpreting the script are both equally important in examining what makes the movie’s overall presentation so interesting.  While both elements are undeniably important to the movie’s presentation they are not its only important element.  The bonus material that came with the movie is just as important to its presentation as those noted elements.  The interviews with McKnight and Davis do their own part in helping to set the groundwork for understanding and appreciating the movie’s script.  They do just as much to illustrate what makes their characters so important in the overall story.  On the other side of the proverbial coin, Gentry’s bonus interview sheds its own light on the movie’s script, including the script’s previously noted underlying philosophical theme.  Viewers get even more insight while taking in the movie with the bonus commentary from Gentry.  Right off the bat Gentry notes in his commentary that his aim was to raft a movie that felt like it was written in 1982.  That would explain the movie’s decidedly 80s new wave style soundtrack and its retro-futuristic look, which Gentry also discusses at length.  On a related note, Gentry discusses the influence of countless movies and directors on the different camera angles, effects and more on his own directing style.  The movies in question include the likes of Poltergeist, Logan’s Run, Double Indemnity, and so many others.  Among the directors cited in Gentry’s commentary are: Steven Spielberg, Ridley and Tony Scott, and others.  One of the Spielberg mentions comes with a note of certain lighting effects in Synchronicity being influenced by Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The connection isn’t obvious at first.  But in hearing Gentry discuss the influence in the noted moment it really becomes clear.  For all of the serious discussions that Gentry shares throughout the movie he isn’t without his humorous side, too.  One of the funnier of his discussions comes as he discusses the movie’s cast.  He notes about Chad McKnight being tapped for the movie’s lead that it was his way of paying McKnight back for casting him as a dysfunctional character in his previous movies.  One can’t help but laugh alongside Gentry for that sentiment.  His comment about Brianne Davis having a certain Barbara Stanwick characteristic about her in her performance is interesting in another way.  Considering how many different movies that Gentry prattles on about in his commentary few if any are classics from Hollywood’s golden era.  So for him to put Davis alongside such a renowned actress is quite the compliment to Davis.  All of these insights serve to paint the picture of Gentry as a director and his mindset in creating Synchronicity.  They are just some of the insights that he shares over the course of the movie’s hour and forty-minute run time.  Those insights couple with the insights noted here and the movie’s bonus interviews to show in whole why Synchronicity’s bonus material is just as important as its writing and acting to its overall presentation.  All things considered Synchronicity may never gain the attention or acclaim of its counterparts churned out by Hollywood’s major studios.  But truth be told it is just as deserving to be seen as those movies if not more so.

Synchronicity is on the surface just an indie flick.  But in examining it deeper, as has been done here, it proves to be more than just another indie flick.  It is a movie that takes the standard sci-fi setup (and noir setup) and sets it on its ear, just as Gentry notes in his bonus interview.  It presents a story that is original believe it or not.  That is because it doesn’t allow its very real theoretical physics concepts to dominate it.  And its theme of accepting fate is one that works both in regards to philosophy and science.  Chad McKnight and Brianne Davis are just as important to the movie’s overall presentation as the work put in by Jacob Gentry.  Both actors put in an equally impressive performance from beginning to end here.  And the appreciation for their work is increased in watching their respective bonus interviews.  Those interviews and that of Gentry couple with Gentry’s bonus commentary to make the movie’s bonus material just as important to the movie as its writing and the cast’s acting.  Each element proves integral in its own right to the movie’s overall presentation.  Altogether they show in whole why Synchronicity is one of the best alternatives to this year’s overly bloated crop of summer blockbusters.  In turn they present a movie that is one of the year’s top new independent movies and even potentially one of the year’s top new movies overall.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Magnolia Pictures is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.magpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/magnoliapics

 

 

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

Shout! Factory To Take Audiences Into The Stars This Summer

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is taking audiences into the final frontier this summer.

Shout! Factory will launch audiences into space this summer in the brand new documentary IMAX: Journey To Space.  The program is the first of Shout! Factory’s Giant Screen films.  It will be released on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 and will be available on separate Blu-ray and 4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray 2-disc combo packs.  Both platforms will include trailers, a photo gallery, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.  It is narrated by veteran actor and thespian Sir Patrick Stewart.

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The story presented in IMAX: Journey to Space follows NASA in its next ambitious era.  This includes the agency’s plans and preparations for a manned flight to Mars, capturing asteroids, and much more.  It puts the kibosh on the belief that NASA’s space program ended with the end of its shuttle program.  Throughout the course of the story there are interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson (Commander of the final shuttle mission), Serena Aunon (an astronaut chosen for future flights), and others used to help tell the documentary’s story.  It also offers a historical context to the impact of the shuttle program in discussing NASA’s future.

IMAX: Journey To Space will be available in stores Tuesday, June 7th.  The standalone Blu-ray will retail for MSRP of $19.99.  The 4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray combo pack will retail for MSRP of $39.93.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store at the respective discounted prices of $16.99 (Blu-ray) and $34.93 (4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray) via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/journey-to-space.  A trailer for the program is available there, too.

 

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

 

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

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

UDR Music Releasing New Live Motorhead Recording

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Earlier this year the rock community and the music community lost a legend when Lemmy Kilmister passed away.  His passing was a surprise to most.  Though, he had battled ongoing health issues in the last year or so of his life.  This understanding helped to reduce the shock of the Motorhead front man’s passing.  Now as a tribute of sorts to both Kilmister and to Motorhead UDR Music has announced that it will release a new live Motorhead recording next month.

UDR Music will release Clean Your Clock Friday, June 10th.  The concert presented within the recording is one of the band’s final live performances by the band before Kilmister’s untimely passing earlier this year.  It was recorded during a performance by the band in Munich, Germany in 2015.  The performance was recorded during the band’s two-night stand in Munich from November 20th and 21st, 2015.  In anticipation of the recording’s release, audiences can check out the band’s performance of the recording’s title song online now here.  Those that might be prone to epileptic seizures are cautioned about the video due to the continuous flashing lights used during the performance.

 

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

 

Audiences can also check out the new live video for ‘Bomber’ here.

 

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

 

Clean Your Clock will be available on a number of platforms including: standalone CD, Vinyl, CD/DVD combo pack, Blu-ray/CD combo pack, and Digital Download.  It will also be available in two exclusive limited edition box sets.  The first, a Limited Edition zinc allow Motorhead Forever edition, can be pre-ordered here.  The second, a Limited Edition Silver/Gold Pin edition will be available exclusively via UDR here.  The recording’s track listing is noted below.

Clean Your Clock Tracklisting:

Bomber / Stay Clean / Metropolis / When The Sky Comes Looking For You / Over The Top / (Guitar Solo) The Chase Is Better Than The Catch / Lost Woman Blues/ Rock It / Orgasmatron / Doctor Rock / Just ‘Cos You Got The Power/ No Class/ Ace Of Spades/ Whorehouse Blues / Overkill

 

More information on Clean Your Clock is available online now along with all of the latest Morothead news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.udr-music.com, http://www.motorhead.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UDR.Music,                  http://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotorhead

Twitter: http://twitter.com/UdrMusic, http://twitter.com/myMotorhead

 

 

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

Audiences Of All Ages Will “Dig” ‘Alpha & Omega: Dino Digs’

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Splash Entertainment

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Splash Entertainment

Lionsgate has officially released the latest installment in its long-running Alpha & Omega series, Alpha & Omega: Dino Digs.  The series’ sixth installment, it is another enjoyable addition to the family friendly animated franchise.  The movie’s writing is the most important of its elements.  This applies to the movie’s main story and to its underlying eco-friendly message.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as its writing.  Last but hardly last of note in this movie is its collective run time and pacing.  Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation.  Altogether they make this movie another enjoyable installment in Lionsgate’s Alpha & Omega franchise and worth at least one watch.

The latest addition to Lionsgate’s Alpha & Omega franchise, Alpha & Omega Dino Digs is another enjoyable installment in the studio’s ongoing series of adventures from the wolfpack.  Its ranking from the series best to worst is up to each given viewer.  But it can be said in watching this forty-seven minute movie that it is worth at least one watch regardless of where viewers feel it fits into the franchise’s overall picture.  The main reason for this is the movie’s writing, courtesy of Tom Kane.  This applies both to the movie’s story and its underlying eco-friendly message.  Kate and Humphrey’s pups –Stinky, Claudette, and Runt—are once again at the fore of the franchise in this story. This time the trio discovers a prehistoric pal named Amy (voiced by Erin Fitzgerald – Ed, Edd, and Eddy, Sabrina: The Animated Series, Bleach) who has magically come to life when the site of her burial is dug up by an unscrupulous Native American and his henchman.  The group aims to turn sacred Native lands into a golf resort.  It’s up to the pups to get Amy back to the site of her burial so that her spirit can be returned to its rightful place.  It’s a pretty simplistic story.  Kane even goes so far at one point to poke fun at himself for its seemingly contrived nature, beating the critics to the punch instead of allowing them to throw their verbal and written punches.  It plays right into another element of the story’s writing that should be noted.  The element in question is the story’s underlying eco-friendly message.

The story at the heart of Alpha & Omega: Dino Digs is a very simple piece to follow.  It received quite a bit of criticism when the movie was accidentally streamed online in whole via Splash Entertainment’s website.  But the reality is that far more outrageous and unbelievable stories have been turned out by much bigger studios throughout Hollywood’s history.  To that extent, the story at the heart of this Alpha & Omega flick is actually worth at least one watch.  It is just one important part of what makes the movie’s writing so important to its presentation in whole.  The eco-friendly message that is embedded within the movie’s story is just as important to the movie’s presentation as the story itself.  The message in question is presented as the sacred land in which Kate and Humphrey plan to settle is being plundered by the previously noted (and unnamed) businessman.  His brother notes that what is happening should not be happening as nature will react in the same way that it is treated.  This sentiment is echoed at random points throughout the movie. But luckily it isn’t inserted so much as to be considered preachy.  Keeping that in mind, the eco-friendly message that essentially serves as the movie’s foundation proves to be just as important in the movie’s overall writing and presentation as its story.  As important as both elements are collectively to the movie, the writing in whole is not the only important part of the movie’s presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note in the movie’s presentation as its overall writing.

Tom Kane’s work behind Alpha & Omega: Dino Digs is unquestionably important to the movie’s presentation.  The plot might seem somewhat outrageous on the surface.  But in reality it is no more outrageous than the plot of so many other movies (both for kids and adults).  The eco-friendly message that serves as the movie’s foundation strengthens the writing even more.  That is because it doesn’t come across as being preachy (again unlike so many other movies).  As important as the movie’s writing proves to be to its presentation it is just one part of the movie’s presentation that should be noted.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as the movie’s writing.  Once again, Kate and Humphrey’s pups Stinky, Claudette, and Runt are at the center of the story as with so many of the franchise’s recent installments.  Those behind the pups are to b commended for their work, too.  They are Kate Higgins, Hunter Swan, and Lindsay Torrance.  Higgins is the voice of not only Stinky but also the pups’ mom Kate.  Hunter Swan handles voice duties for Runt. And Lindsay Torrance brings voice to Claudette.  The trio’s initial reaction in discovering Amy is one example of what makes their work notable.  They do a good job of capturing the pups’ innocence in their curiosity.  Their reaction to discovering Amy is just as fun for the whole family as is their initial reaction to the new “cave” home.  Between these moments and others throughout the movie, it can be said of the trio’s work that it stands out in this otherwise standard offering from Lionsgate and Splash Entertainment.  Chris Smith is notable in his own right as the voice of the pups’ godfathers Marcel and Paddy.  Viewers will be entertained by the snooty, comical personality that Smith gives the pair.  Even with Smith being a supporting actor he still adds his own touch to the movie as the pair’s voice.  His work and that of his cast mates, when set against the work of the movie’s cast, to show even more why this movie is another Alpha & Omega story that the whole family will *ahem* dig.  The cast’s work is still not the only element that makes this movie worth at least one watch.  The story’s pacing is just as important to its presentation as its writing and the work of its voice cast.

The work of both writer Tom Kane and the voice cast behind Lionsgate’s latest Alpha & Omega installment are clearly important in their own way to the movie’s overall presentation.  Collectively they are even more important to the movie’s presentation as they are alone.  As important as they are to the movie’s presentation they are not the movie’s only important elements.  The movie’s collective run time and pacing is just as important to note in its overall presentation as the work of its writers and cast.  The movie clocks in at only forty-seven minutes.  That is about average for each of this franchise’s installments.  Thanks to the work, again, of the movie’s writer that time passes right by before audiences even realize it has ended.  It never lags or moves too fast at any one point throughout the movie.  Thanks to Kane’s concerted efforts, it keeps the action moving just enough from the movie’s opening setup to the pups’ first meeting with Amy all the way up to their bittersweet final farewell to the friendly female dino.  Thanks to that balance of energy audiences will never feel left behind or lost to any extent. It is because of this that the story’s pacing is deserving of being noted as one of its positives.  When it is set alongside the work of the movie’s cast and its writer, the movie proves to be a work that that the whole family will “dig.”

Alpha & Omega: Dino Digs has been received to quite the mixed reception by audiences and critics ever since its release in stores earlier this month.  It is not a perfect production.  That is clear through its computer-based animation.  The problems posed by the animation in question are not enough to overpower the positives presented by the movie.  Its eco-friendly story is simple enough for audiences of any age to follow.  And in all honesty it is no more outrageous than the fare presented by the likes of Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks or Lionsgate’s other counterparts.  What’s more the eco-friendly message that serves as the story’s foundation avoids becoming preachy at any point.  The work of the movie’s cast adds its own interest to the movie.  The story’s pacing never wavers from beginning to end.  Each of its three acts maintains receives the same energy and attention.  The end result is a story that will certainly keep audiences entertained and engaged if for that reason alone.  The acting and writing add to that mix to make the movie a whole that audiences of all ages will “dig” with just on watch or more.  Alpha & Omega: Dino Digs is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=dino%20digs.  More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies

 

 

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

‘Death Becomes Her’ Has Plenty Of Life And Laughs

Courtesy: Scream! Factory/Universal

Courtesy: Scream! Factory/Universal

Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep, and Goldie Hawn are about as far apart as three actors can get from one another in terms of their bodies of work.  Willis is largely known for his work on 20th Century Fox’s hugely popular Die Hard franchise.  Hawn largely made a name for herself in the 1980s and ‘90s in movies such as Overboard (1987), Private Benjamin (1980), and The First Wives Club (1996).  Streep on the other hand has remained one of Hollywood’s top draws to this day, exhibiting her broad range of talents in the likes of The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The River Wild (1994), and Julie and Julia (2009) just to name a few of her entries.  She also singlehandedly saved the otherwise lackluster biopic The Iron Lady in 2011 and spread her wings just as much (if not more) in the 2002 indie flick Adaptation.  So it goes without saying that when the trio teamed up in 1992 for Universal’s Death Becomes Her it was anybody’s guess how the movie would turn out.  The original reception to the movie was lukewarm at best.  And sadly it has remained a relatively forgotten and underappreciated title for all three actors.  Yet now thanks to Shout! Factory it has gotten a new lease on life in a new “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray re-issue.  It proves in its new re-issue to be well-deserving of a second chance.  That is especially the case considering how little Hollywood has to offer in theaters today.  In shorter wording, its story alone makes it well worth that second chance.  That will be discussed shortly.  The special effects that were utilized in the movie are just as important to note as the movie’s story.  Last but hardly least of note in this movie’s presentation is the work of its cast.  Willis, Streep, and Hawn are surprisingly entertaining together.  Their work rounds out the movie’s most important features.  Of course one can’t ignore the new “Making Of” featurette included in this presentation of the movie.  It is not what would be considered one of the movie’s main elements.  But it is an interesting bonus in its own right.  Keeping this in mind, each of the elements noted here is important in its own right to the movie’s new re-issue.  Altogether they give a whole new life to this undervalued offering from Universal.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Death Becomes Her breathes new life into what has been an otherwise forgotten flick from Universal.  It proves in the long run to be a movie that was then and is now an undervalued offering from the studio.  This is exhibited in large part to the movie’s writing.  More specifically it is exhibited in large part through the story at the heart of the movie.  The story is centered on a rather familiar plot—a love triangle leading to murder.  It’s the basis of so many movies (especially Lifetime movies) and episodes of Dateline and 48 Hours.  Yet in the case of this movie the writing team of Martin Donovan and David Koepp has given that familiar plot quite the paranormal twist of sorts here.  Rather than just letting Madeline (Streep) stay dead, Donovan and Koepp prove that indeed sometimes they come back again.  Yes, that was in itself a bad pun, for any other movie buffs out there that get it.  Thanks to a magical potion Madeline comes back to life after supposedly being killed by Ernest (Willis).  This leads to a confrontation with Ernest’s ex-wife Helen (Hawn) and the revelation that Helen had also taken the potion, leaving both women immortal.  After a brief conflict the pair reconciles and agrees that they both now need Ernest in order to remain in pristine condition due to his talents as a mortician.  The result will leave anyone with a real sense of humor laughing right to the story’s final scene.  The story itself is dark.  But it is still funny in its own right.  It also is just the surface of what makes the movie’s story so entertaining.  As is discussed in the new “Making Of” featurette included in the movie’s re-issue, the real story at the heart of the story is the story of Hollywood’s shallow, self-centered nature.  This will be explained in more depth later.  Getting back on track, the twist that Koepp and Donovan put on an otherwise all-too familiar plot line makes the movie’s central story a breath of fresh air especially when compared to the stories currently being churned out by Hollywood’s Big Six studios.  The movie’s story is just one element that makes it worth the watch.  The special effects that are incorporated into the movie are just as important to note as the movie’s allegorical story.

The story at the center of Death Becomes Her is in itself both funny and thought provoking.  That makes the movie well worth the watch in its new re-issue.  It is just one of the elements that makes the movie so entertaining.  The special effects that are incorporated into the movie are just as notable as its dual-pronged story.  This is another topic tackled in the new “Making Of” featurette included in the movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue.  The use of computer generated special effects was a relatively foreign concept at the time in which Death Becomes Her was filmed.  This is another topic tackled in the new “Making Of” featurette included in the movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue.  It will be discussed later, too.  Staying on the subject at hand, the special effects that were used to bring Madeline and Helen back to life are collectively a wonderful touch to the movie.  That is not just because of their use but because of their look, too.  There is almost a certain cartoonish look to the special effects in question that audiences will love.  One moment in which this is exhibited comes as Helen hits Madeline over the head with a shovel.  Madeline’s head is pushed into her shoulders, making her look like a turtle.  It is in fact a bit that has been used by quite a few cartoons.  Madeline pulling her head out of her shoulders and straightening it is just as familiar and funny.  In another equally entertaining scene, Madeline throws a pole through the hole that had only minutes earlier been blown in Helen’s body when Madeline shot her.  The action itself, and Madeline’s reaction are both priceless.  It’s one more way in which the special effects prove so important to the movie’s overall presentation.  It isn’t the last, either.  Audiences will be interested to learn that as Ernest hangs precariously from a gutter pipe late in the movie, he is not as high up as it seems.  There was obviously some move magic going on there.  But thanks to the work of those behind the scenes, it actually looks believable.  It isn’t just one of those scenes where a subject is splashed up against a blue (or green) screen with a random background haphazardly thrown in.  It really does look like Willis is hanging high atop the building so close to his own demise.  And even as he falls from the building (not to give away too much) the corridor of sorts through which he falls is clearly computer generated.  Yet it still doesn’t look anywhere as bad as similar sequences used in other movies both before and since.  That is a real tribute to the work put in by those responsible for handling the movie’s special effects.  It is yet another way in which the movie’s special effects show themselves to be so important to the overall presentation of Death Becomes Her.  There are plenty of other moments that could be cited, too.  When those moments are set alongside the moments noted here, the whole of said moments gives the movie just as much “life” as its story.  Keeping this in mind, the story at the center of Death Becomes Her and the movie’s special effects make this movie quite the entertaining horror/comedy hybrid.  They are not the movie’s only notable elements.  The cast’s work in front of the cameras is yet another notable part of the movie’s whole.

The story at the center of Death Becomes Her and the special effects that are incorporated in to the movie are both key to the movie’s overall presentation in their own way.  The story takes an all too familiar plot and gives it a funny albeit dark, almost Tim Burton-esque twist.  The cartoonish special effects that are used add even more enjoyment to the movie.  That is because they show neither the cast nor crew took themselves or the movie too seriously.  They will leave any viewer laughing at their look.  Both elements in themselves are hugely important to the movie’s presentation.  Collectively they show why this movie deserved to have been resurrected (bad pun fully intended).  As important as they are they are not the movie’s only important element.  The cast’s work in front of the cameras should be noted, too.  It was previously noted that Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, and Goldie Hawn each come from a very different background.  That is in reference to the films in which they have starred.  Considering this one can only imagine the uncertainty in bring the trio together on camera.  Yet surprisingly all three actors worked quite well together.  Bruce Willis, at that time, was known largely for his action roles.  Yet he actually pulls off quite well the role of Ernest.  Ernest’s alcoholic, somewhat neurotic persona comes through expertly thanks to Willis’ take on the character.  Again, considering that this was something of a departure for Willis, he is to be commended for his work here.  One of his best moments comes as Madeline and Helen are fighting in the background.  The camera focuses on him and he says something to the extent of, “If anyone needs me I’ll be upstairs.”  Willis’ deadpan delivery of the line is a great contradiction to the chaos behind him.  And his reaction early on when he discovers that Madeline is alive when she should be dead is just as funny.  For those who are familiar with the classic horror comedy Arsenic and Old Lace Willis channels a little bit of Cary Grant in this moment.  It is just one more of so many great moments from Willis in the movie and just one more way in which the movie’s cast proves so entertaining.  Meryl Streep is wonderful to watch in her own right as Madeline Ashton.  One can’t help but wonder in watching her take on the self-centered, egotistical woman, if perhaps she channeled a little bit of her for her role in The Devil Wears Prada.  That is inferred from early on as she pushes her assistant aside in her dressing room.  Her constant verbal abuse of Ernest hints at her character as an influence for Miranda Priestly, too.  Goldie Hawn is just as entertaining as Helen.  This is especially true early on as Helen resides in a mental ward.  The deadpan manner in which she says, “Yes, I want to talk about…..Madeline Ashton” is perfect.  Her timing of the line is just as expert.  The reaction of the other actresses in the scene makes the moment all the funnier.  They obviously did not want to hear about Madeline Ashton again.  Her reactions to her body falling offer just as much entertainment as do so many other moments.  Between those comical moments and those presented by her cast mates, the overall work of the movie’s cast offers plenty of laughs from the movie’s opening scene to its end.  They show in whole that the cast’s work is indeed just as important as that of the movie’s writing team and those behind the lens.  All things considered Death Becomes Her proves in the end to be an undervalued and underappreciated movie and one that more than deserved its new life.

Death Becomes Her is an undervalued and underappreciated cinematic work.  Looking at everything that it has to offer it is clear that it more than deserved its new life.  This is exhibited through the work of the movie’s writing team, its crew, and its cast.  As important as these elements are to the movie one would be remiss to ignore the bonus “Making Of” featurette that is included in Shout! Factory’s new BD re-issue of the movie.  It offers new interviews with both writers and the cast that offer a whole new insight into the movie and what makes it so undervalued.  The movie’s original “Making Of” featurette is also included alongside the new feature.  The two features together paint quite an interesting picture not just of the movie but of the cast and crew then and now.  It shows that little has changed in terms of the opinions held by the cast and crew.  With any luck, audiences that perhaps have seen the movie before will take that into account along with the movie’s story, its special effects, and the cast’s work on camera, and have their own change of opinion to the positive should their opinions previously have been more negative.  With any luck said viewers (and those new to the movie) will see in its new re-issue just how undervalued and underappreciated it is and that it indeed deserved the new life that it has received thanks to Shout! Factory.

It should be clear by now that while not a major hit Death Becomes Her is an undervalued and underappreciated movie.  It is a work that more than deserved a new life.  It is evident in the movie’s writing.  It is just as evident in the movie’s special effects and the work of the movie’s cast.  The new bonus “Making Of” featurette and the companion original “Making Of” featurette partner to enrich the movie’s viewing experience even more.  All things considered, Death Becomes Her shows in the end to be a movie with plenty of life and that deserved new life.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-comedy/death-becomes-her-collector-s-edition.  More information on this and other titles from Scream! Factory—Shout! Factory’s horror division—is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/scream-factory

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/scream_factory

 

 

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

Houston Open Air Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media/Danny Wimmer Presents

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media/Danny Wimmer Presents

The lineup for the 2016 Houston Open Air Festival has officially been announced.

Organizers with the Houston Open Air Festival have revealed the lineup for the 2016 Houston Open Air Festival.  The lineup will feature 35 bands over two days.  That list includes: Deftones, Slayer,Chevelle, The Cult, Ministry, Alter Bridge, Ghost, Anthrax, Pierce The Veil, Of Mice & Men, Sevendust, Baroness, Hellyeah, Chevy Metal, Buckcherry, Nothing More, The Amity Affliction, Max & Iggor Cavalera: Return To Roots, Avatar, letlive., Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy, Texas Hippie Coalition, Young Guns, Starset, Sick Puppies, Skindred, Neck Deep, Sons Of Texas, KYNG, Twelve Foot Ninja, Gemini Syndrome, The Word Alive, Dinosaur Pile Up, September Mourning, and more.  Avenged Sevenfold and Alice in Chains have been named as the festival’s headliners.

A rolling discounted Early Bird pre-sale for Weekend General Admission tickets begins this Tuesday, May 17th at 12pm CDT/1pm EDT.  A very limited quantity of tickets will be available during this pre-sale.  They can be purchased online at http://www.HoustonOpenAir.com and will only be available while supplies last.  Their prices are noted below.

 

Early Bird #1: $89.50

Early Bird #2: $99.50

 

VIP weekend tickets will also be available at a cost of $234.50.

Public on-sale tickets will go on sale Friday, May 20th at 12pm CDT/1pm EDT.  They will also be available for purchase online at http://www.HoustonOpenAir.com.  Their prices are listed below.

 

 

Weekend GA: $109.50

Single-day GA: $69.50

Single-day VIP: $129.50

VIP Weekend: $234.50

 

 

VIP tickets include: VIP entrance lanes into venue, access to VIP-only area featuring dedicated bar, beverage and food options (for additional purchase), VIP-only viewing area of Main Stage, dedicated restroom facilities, and a VIP-only commemorative laminate.

A portion of all proceeds from ticket sales for the festival will go toward aiding the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund.  The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund was established by Houston’s mayor Sylvester Turner in order to accept donations for flood relief in the Houston community.  This includes aiding victims of the flooding that stemmed from recent storms that hit the region.  More information on The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund is available online at http://www.houstonrecovers.org.  Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents, spoke with the media recently.  He discussed the timing of the festival’s announcement in relation to the city’s recovery from said storms as well as the motivation for teaming with Mayor Turner in his recovery efforts.  “Houston Open Air has been in the works for almost a year now,” he said.  It’s awkward to announce a major music festival in a city that has experienced such recent hardship and, in fact, we delayed our announcements out of respect for what Houston has endured. But at the same time, our festivals are about highlighting the strengths (or sometimes the needs) of our host city. There’s no more important way to do that right now than to support Mayor Turner’s efforts to help Houston recover from this spring’s flooding and we will be incorporating this message throughout our launch campaign.”

Danny Wimmer is the founder of Danny Wimmer Presents.  He shared his thoughts on the logistics of the concert’s location, its lineup, and more in his discussion with the press.  “Houston is one of the country’s biggest rock markets and, when combined with the impressive food scene happening here, it’s a natural location for a DWP festival,” he said.  “We’re thrilled to have such a diverse first-year lineup that includes Avenged Sevenfold, Alice In Chains and Chevelle. With the inclusion of an incredible food experience and the Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Row, we are kicking off a powerhouse experience that will live in the market for many years to come!”

The Houston Open Air Festival’s band lineup is just part of what audiences have to look forward to this year.  There will also be a special food and drink experience for fans who attend.  This includes the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey Row and a massive Gourmet Man Food Experience  The brands featured in the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey Row include: Jack Daniel’s Black Label, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Old Forester, and Woodford Reserve.  The complete lineup and menus for the Gourmet Man Food experience will be announced soon.

Houston Open Air is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, producer of: Louder Than Life, Chicago Open Air, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Fort Rock, Monster Energy Aftershock, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, Rock on the Range, and more.  It is sponsored by: Monster Energy, Jack Daniel’s, El Jimador, Fxck Cancer’s Dyin2Live, NRG Park, and SoHo Concessions, and more to be announced soon.

NRG Park is the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans and the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  It is located at One NRG Park in Houston, TX.

More information on the Houston Open Air Festival is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.HoustonOpenAir.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HouOpenAir

 

 

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