History Heats Up This Fall With Texas Rising

Courtesy:  History/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History/Lionsgate

This fall, History will release its latest historically based mini-series Texas Rising in store and online.

Officials with Lionsgate and History announced recently that History’s latest historically based mini-series Texas Rising will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, September 1st. The program will be released both on DVD + Digital and Blu-ray + Digital HD. It centers on the famed war hero Sam Houston and the forces which he led in the battle against General Santa Anna in the fight for Texas’ independence from Mexico. Texas Rising proved in its original broadcast on History to be the network’s first number one scripted series in two years, premiering to some 4.1 million viewers. It was directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated director Roland Joffe (Best Director, The Mission, 1986; Best Director, The Killing Fields, 1985) and starred Golden Globe-nominated actor Bill Paxton (Best Actor in a TV series, Big Love, 2010), Brendan Fraser (The Mummy 1 – 3), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Another World, Muppets Most Wanted), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Watchmen, P.S. I Love You), Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Boogie Nights, The Mist), Olivier Martinez (Unfaithful, S.W.A.T., Taking Lives), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow, Colombiana, Star Trek: Into Darkness), Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill, Agent Carter, Dawson’s Creek), and Max Thieirot (Bates Motel, Jumper, The Pacifier).

Texas Rising will include along with its extra digital copy on both DVD and Blu-ray combo packs a handful of bonuses including: a making of featurette, and featurette examining both Sam Houston and general Santa Anna and their roles in the battle for Texas. The complete listing of bonuses is listed below.

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

–“Capturing the Revolution: Filming Texas Rising” featurette

–“Sam Houston: A Man of the Revolution” featurette

–“General Santa Anna: Leading Mexico” featurette

*Subject to change

Texas Rising will be available on DVD + Digital combo pack and Blu-ray + Ditigal HD combo pack on Tuesday, September 1st. It will retail for MSRP of $26.98 and $29.99 respectively. Both combo packs can be ordered online direct from History’s online store at http://www.shophistorystore.com/texas-rising/details/117496824. More information on this and other titles from History is available online now at:

Website: http://www.history.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HISTORY

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.

A Case Of You A Quirky, Fun Rom-Com For Today’s Thirty-Something Audiences

A Case of You Blu-ray

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFC Films

IFC’s new rom-com A Case of You is the first fun story of its type in 2014.  The story is one that has been told countless times.  But in the case of A Case of You, co-writers Justin and Christian Long have teamed up with Keir O’Donnell to craft a story that is more than just the standard boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end story.  Sure that standard story line is there.  But the execution of the story is what makes it worth the watch.  The writing is just one part of this roughly ninety-minute plus story.  Actor/writer Justin Long (Going The Distance, Live Free Or Die Hard, He’s Just Not The Into You) is fully believable as a desperate character looking for love.  His personal development over the course of the movie will keep viewers completely engaged.  And while it is usually not the most noticeable portion of any movie, the soundtrack used for the story gives it even more charm.  These three factors together make A Case of You a rom-com that any of today’s thirty-something audiences will enjoy.

A Case of You is a fun rom-com for today’s thirty-something audiences.  That is primarily thanks to the writing of Justin Long (who also stars in the movie), his brother Christian Long, and Keir O’Donnell.  Sitcom and movie writers have touched on the oft times ludicrous lengths to which men and women will go in order to attract the opposite sex.  But basing an entire movie on this concept is in its own right original.  That’s because few of said writers have ever actually taken the risk of doing so.  The primary update on the classic rom-com formula isn’t all in the writing that audiences will appreciate. O’Donnell and the brothers Long also collectively impress audiences in that they have taken the rom-com and turned it on its ear by mixing in elements of a stoner flick, too.  One wouldn’t think that a rom-com and a stoner flick would work.  But thanks to the teamwork of O’Donnell and the Long brothers, the stoner elements don’t manage to overpower the central story.  The end result is a story that is quirky but has enough charm to make it endearing at the same time.

The writing and the manner in which it was balanced is the biggest part of what makes A Case of You as enjoyable as it is.  In direct relation, Justin Long shows his ability to interpret his character quite well through his acting.  Many won’t want to publicly admit to it, but there are audiences that will say they too have used Facebook to try and land their love interest.  It’s a sign of the times.  But that’s a commentary for another time.  Sam’s personal growth as he gets to know Birdie even more is relatable to any viewer male or female.  Sam’s sudden fear of commitment when Birdie finally expresses her feelings for him is a classic rom-com and even romantic dramedy element. It’s been used time and again throughout the history of both genres.  But that moment, in relation to his attempts to woo Birdie, makes it an even more impactful moment.  It proves to be the pinnacle of his personal growth.  And it makes the movie’s final minutes all the more heartwarming.  On a side note, the Long brothers and their writing partner deserve even more kudos for not having gone the formulaic route and used the all too clichéd final airport scene that every other rom-com and romantic dramedy uses.  Rather, they actually pay tribute to Dustin Hoffman’s 1967 classic The Graduate.  Whether that was intentional is anyone’s guess.  There is no commentary allowing for such insight.  But it is there regardless.  And it’s one more bonus that classic movie buffs will appreciate.  The positives don’t end here, either.

The writing and acting on the part of lead Justin Long go a long way toward making A Case of You a quirky yet fun flick for today’s thirty-something viewers. There is still one aspect of the story that is deserving of note here that makes everything complete.  That aspect is the movie’s soundtrack.  The music that makes up the movie’s soundtrack is just as quirky as the movie itself.  Included in the movie’s soundtrack are the likes of Spin Doctors, Joan Baez, Johnny Mathis, Fitz and the Tantrums, and so many other artists.  The musical spectrum that makes up the movie’s soundtrack runs the gamut.  As wide as that swath is, each song was a perfect fit for its companion scene.  And each song works just as well on its own on a soundtrack.  It’s the final touch on a movie that is a great fit for any younger couple this Valentine’s Day or another.  It will be available Tuesday, February 4th on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com. 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.

IFC Films Releasing New Rom-Com Just In Time For Valentine’s Day

Courtesy:  IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

IFC Films is releasing a new romantic comedy just in time for Valentine’s Day this year.  A Case of You, starring Justin Long (She’s Just Not That Into You, Live Free or Die Hard, Going The Distance), Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle, Airheads, Dudley Do-Right), Evan Rachel Wood (Across The Universe, The Ides of March, Mildred Pierce) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), is a story set in the age of digital dating.  When writer Sam (Justin Long) creates an overly embellished online dating profile to win over his love interest Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), it works a little too well.  The result is that Sam must make a choice between telling Birdie the truth about himself or trying to maintain his façade.  Veteran actor Vince Vaughan (Wedding Crashers, The Intern, Anchorman) makes an appearance, too. He plays Sam’s boss Alan.

A Case of You will entertain any of today’s audiences because of its believability.  It explores the sometimes laughable lengths to which we as people will go for love.  Also signed on for the new rom-com are :  Sam Rockwell, Sienna Miller, Peter Billingsley, Busy Philipps, and Keir O’Donnell.  O’Donnel was one of the movie’s writers along with Justin Long and his brother Christian Long.  It is long’s first movie as a writer and producer.  Kait Coiro (And While We Were Here) directed the movie.  It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, February 4th from IFC Films for MSRPs of $24.98 and $29.98 respectively.

More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at http://www.IFCFilms.com and http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial.  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.

Escape From Planet Earth A Fun Escape For Families

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Company

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Company

Escape from Planet Earth (Anchor Bay Entertainment/Weinstein Company) was released to theaters in February 2013.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t last very long in theaters after its premiere.  The reason(s) why it didn’t last are anyone’s guess.  But the most probable of reasons would be its comparison to the 2009 family friendly CG “animated” sci-fi comedy, Planet 51.  There is no denying the comparisons to said story.  But in its defense, Planet 51 isn’t the only movie from which Escape from Planet Earth lifted.  There are also influences from the likes of Monsters, Inc. and Monsters vs. Aliens throughout this movie.  And while it does lift from previous movies, it does have some originality in terms of its messages and its comic elements.  Those comic elements include the sci-fi and pop culture spoofs made much in the same vein as in Planet 51.  The spoofs aren’t the same as in Planet 51, either.  This makes them that much funnier and helps to make up for the story’s less original aspects.

It’s difficult to honestly write this and call Escape from Planet Earth the most original movie of its kind.  That’s because of the fact that it can so easily be compared to the 2009 family friendly sci-fi comedy, Planet 51.  On the surface, Escape From Planet Earth can so easily be considered to be Planet 51 in reverse.  Instead of the human astronaut trying to escape from the alien planet, this time, it’s the aliens trying to escape Earth.  It’s not the only movie to which this work can be compared.  It can also be compared to Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (2001).  The comparison to that movie comes in the form of General Shanker’s (William Shatner—Star Trek) soldiers.  A close look at the men will bring viewers to note that his men are always running around in yellow, rubber hazmat suits that cover their entire bodies, including their faces.  This is very much in the same style as the agents of the Child Detection Agency from Monsters, Inc.  And the general story itself makes it just as easily compared to Dreamworks’ Monsters vs. Aliens.  It’s just that movie as much in reverse as Planet 51 in reverse.  Knowing all of these influences takes away quite a bit from the movie.  But for all that is taken away from it, Escape From Planet Earth isn’t without its positives.

Writers Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen (hmmmmm Bob, planet Bob…..coincidence?) did a lot of lifting from other previous CG based family friendly sci-fi flicks to make Escape from Planet Earth.  For all of the comparisons that can be made, what can be said of this creation is that it does still manage to save itself.  It saves itself thanks to its theme of family bonds and its pop culture and sci-fi spoofs made throughout the nearly ninety minute movie.  The theme of the family bond is something that those other family films don’t have.  So this serves to help set this movie apart from those movies and give it its own identity.

Just as the movie’s theme of family bonds helps to set it apart from other movies of its ilk, the pop culture and sci-fi references made throughout the movie help to set it apart even more.  The jokes are quite plentiful throughout the course of the movie’s run time.  There are jokes about classic 1950s sci-fi flicks, conspiracy theories and even a subtle stab at director James Cameron.  It’s so subtle that if a person isn’t really watching closely, one will miss it.  Those that catch it will truly appreciate it, considering Cameron’s reputation when it comes to science fiction movies.  There are far more subtle jokes and pokes that are peppered throughout the movie.  And those that give this movie a chance will appreciate the movie even more for them.  In turn, they will see that while it may not be the most original movie in its genre, it really is a movie that is worth at least one watch.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from the Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=5b081188-3392-e211-b3c9-d4ae527c3b65.  Fans can also check in on all of the latest updates on new releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com.

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.

Airheads Blu-ray Re-Issue Hits All the Right Notes

Courtesy:  Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Airheads is one of the most underappreciated comedies of the 90s.  This spoof on the inner workings of the music industry is one that every movie and music lover should see at least once.  This is regardless of what genre of music one listens to.  And thanks to Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment, everybody can enjoy this undervalued movie once again.  It will be re-issued next Tuesday, May 28th on Blu-ray.

Everybody by now knows how difficult it is to break out in the music industry.  So when three hard working musicians are turned down too many times by record label reps who barely give their demo tape the slightest listen, the trio—Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler—known as “The Lone Rangers” decide to take a drastic step and hold a radio station  hostage.  Ironically, the deejay on staff at the time (played by Joe Mantegna—The Simpsons, Criminal Minds, Joan of Arcadia) ends up actually helping the young musicians as he has become so jaded by the music that he is forced to play by the station manager.  Making things even worse is the revelation that the manager (played by fellow veteran actor Michael McKean) was going to sell the station and change its format, effectively laying off everyone on staff.  Thus ensues an absolutely hilarious poke at those in the highest positions of power within the music business.

Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser have all gone on to relatively stable success, playing both more comedic roles and some very dramatic roles since the original release of Airheads in 1994.  But there is no denying the chemistry that the trio had in playing their roles together.  Nor is there denying how much fun they must have had, too.  There is not one moment throughout the movie’s roughly hour and a half run time that doesn’t generate its share of laughs.  This includes the late Chris Farley’s scene in which his character Wilson rips the nipple ring off of a man who was making fun of Wilson.  The reaction both by Wilson and the man to this is absolutely hilarious.  That and other moments are more proof that Farley was just as good on the big screen as he was as a cast member of Saturday Night Live.  The same can be said of his cast mate, Adam Sandler.  On a side note, Saturday Night Live hasn’t been as good to this day as it was in the 90s.  When the last member of that cast left, that show went downhill.

The primary story of “The Lone Rangers” taking over the radio station will keep any comedy lover engaged throughout the story.  It’s obvious that no one either behind the cameras or in front of them, had any intention of taking themselves seriously.  That’s a big part of why this was such a fun story.  It is just as obvious how much fun the cast and crew had when Ian The Shark (Joe Mantegna) goes off on Milo when he finds out that Milo was going to sell the station.  It would have been funny to see a gag reel showing how many takes it had to have taken for that one scene, everything else aside.  What many people don’t realize about the music industry is just how much radio personalities hate the music that comes through their headphones.  Nearly twenty years after the movie’s debut, Ian’s statement that so much of the music sounds the same rings true.  Making things worse is station program directors who are scared to death of trying anything new and different, I.E. Milo.  It’s one of those timeless stories to which so many hopeful musicians can relate.  Every struggling musician has reached the point of desperation because of those in positions of power.  But none have ever gone to the lengths which “The Lone Rangers” went.  Keeping that in mind, Airheads becomes one of those matters of circumstantial comedy that for once is actually funny and will be for another near two decades and then some.  It will be available next Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered direct via the Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment and sign up for the store.

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.