Gates “Digs Up” More Celeb Histories In FYR’s Third Season This Spring

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS just recently wrapped up the third season of its hit history/genealogy-based series Finding Your Roots. And officials with PBS and PBS Distribution are making sure that audiences won’t have to wait long to own Season Three for themselves.

PBS and PBS Distribution will release the third season of Finding Your Roots on Tuesday, April 12th. Season Three will feature twenty-eight more well-known figures from across the worlds of entertainment, politics, literature, and more. The list includes names such as: Actor Neil Patrick Harris, rappers LL Cool J and Sean Combs, Senator John McCain, Actress Patricia Arquette, political activist and organizer Donna Brazile, celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich, and many others. The entire run is totals at six hundred minutes and is spread across three-discs. Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discussed the series’ third season in a recent interview noting that it is human to want to know where we came from. He added that he hoped that this season would influence audiences to research their own family histories, especially among younger audiences. “There is something essential in human nature that drives us to wonder where we came from,” he said. “We can’t truly know ourselves until we know something of our origins. With new DNA technology we can learn more about this past and go further back than ever before, and we hope that the new season will inspire people to find out more about their own personal family stories, and spark an interest among young people in genetics, anthropology, history, and the pursuit of science.”

Season Three finds that actresses Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette, and Senator John McCain all have very deep, rich military roots. Those roots have helped each to develop a sense of strength and integrity. Sean Combs and LL Cool J both discover in their interviews that have some rather interesting family histories that leave them thinking about things in ways they never thought possible. And Donna Brazile tries to get answers about her family’s name while polarizing feminist Gloria Steinem learns in her interview that she is not the first of her kind in her family. These are just some of the secrets that are unearthed over the course of Finding Your Roots’ third season. Bill Hader, Jimmy Kimmel, and Norman Lear each learn about the highs and lows of their families’ histories while Ty Burell is left shocked to learn about his African heritage. All of this and so much more is in the third season of Finding Your Roots.

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will be available on Tuesday, April 12th. It will be released exclusively on DVD. It will retail for MSRP of $39.99 but can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $34.99 via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=85849896&cp=&sr=1&kw=finding+your+roots&origkw=Finding+Your+Roots&parentPage=search.  Audiences can view a trailer for this season online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJwt-aiI0uA.

 

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS DIstribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS DIstribution

 

More information on this season of Finding Your Roots and the series’ previous seasons is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HenryLouisGates

 

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.

6 Souls Is An Underrated Indie Horror Flick

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz

Much has been said and written concerning the recently released supernatural horror/thriller, 6 Souls (Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz), most of it not so nice.  The reality of 6 Souls is that it isn’t as bad as so many critics and audiences would have others believe.  It clocks in at nearly two hours.  In that time, it manages to keep those looking for a good scare fully engaged.  It will leave those audiences wondering what’s going to happen right to the final climactic reveal.  That final reveal conjures thoughts of a certain episode of Rod Serling’s classic, The Twilight Zone. There are those that have also criticized this story for being allegedly somewhat preachy in its raising of theological beliefs.  Those that did so perhaps didn’t watch the story all the way through to realize the actual importance of this aspect of the story.  It is in reality just part of the writing that makes this a movie from which audiences won’t want to turn away.

Writer Michael Cooney has been lambasted by many audiences and critics alike for having used religion and theology as part of the story that is 6 Souls.  One can’t help but wonder if those that criticized the inclusion of these elements were able to see this story for what it was or if they even took the time to watch the entire near two-hour story.  The inclusion of religion and theology was not meant in the least to be preachy.  In fact, the use of these elements eventually led up to what was the twist in the story’s climax that few if any saw coming.  That twist won’t be revealed for the sake of those that haven’t yet seen this gripping supernatural and psychological horror/thriller.  However, those that actually did take the time to watch through to the climax and beyond would hopefully realize why the constant mentions of faith versus atheism come into play.  Cooney had absolutely no intention of shoving religion down anyone’s throat.  Maybe a second watch will do those critics some good in getting them to realize this.

Having responded to those that would criticize 6 Souls, the next obvious path to take would be to take note of the influences of so many other TV shows and movies.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ portrayal of Adam/David/Wesley is in itself proof of another famed movie villain.  Some might not see it.  But those that watch his performance closely will see hints of Sir Anthony Hopkins’ infamous killer, Hannibal Lecter, just in his general delivery.  There is something about his demeanor that shows an influence from Hopkins here.  In terms of the overall story, those that remember Rod Serling’s original baclk and white Twilight Zone, they might remember an episode by the name of “Queen of the Nile.”  For the sake of not spoiling anything, audiences can look up that episode for themselves.  But the story’s reveal here instantly harkens back to that episode.  The even deeper concept behind the reveal hints back to a more recent horror movie from the 1990s starring one John Goodman.  Again, audiences will have to look that up as this critic will not share that movie for the sake of not spoiling anything.  There are other influences tossed in here and there.  And as much as people would like to criticize the story for being “disrespectful” to its influences and audiences (as one critic stated of it), it does pay due respects by making those influences work together for a story that will keep viewers watching on the edge of their seats and guessing what will happen next.  And in the end, isn’t that what any thriller and/or horror movie is supposed to do?  Isn’t it supposed to make viewers surprised at how it can make them jump at the slightest sound and question what they thought they knew?  That’s exactly what this underrated horror story does.  For that, it deserves more than just a passing glance.  For an indie horror flick, it’s a movie that is more than just a “Saturday night scare” as another critic called it.  It’s a movie that audiences will find themselves surprised at how much they really enjoy it, given the chance.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from the Anchor Bay Entertainment online store at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=e56e9d05-d4c7-4471-a321-d9cf28e17061.  After ordering or buying 6 Souls, audiences can keep up with the latest news from Anchor Bay Entertainment on its official website, http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/anchorbay.

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.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is crazy, but not stupid

Boy meets girl, loses her, and gets her back in the end.  Name that movie.  Pretty tough call, right?  That’s because it’s the most common theme for nearly every romantic comedy ever made.  The plot has been done so many times–in so many different manners–that it’s amazing the genre is even still considered viable.  Thankfully though, every now and then a diamond in the rough comes to light, and renews hope in the rom-com genre.  In 2011, that diamond in the rough was the ensemble piece, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a quirky and original rom-com led by the one and only Steve Carell.  It’s not the first rom-com with an ensemble cast.  Who out there remembers Valentines Day?  I should be ashamed for even knowing about that movie.  It was an awful movie, by the way.  But I digress.  Unlike so many other movies that pollute the rom-com genre, it’s a movie that actually has heart, and an original story.  The problem with the story is that as original and heartwarming as it is, it has too much going on.  There are too many interweaving plotlines.  The general story tries so hard to cover all of its bases that it leads to a pacing problem.  The issue with the story’s pacing is so noticeable that it can lead some audiences to want to hit the fast forward button on their remotes.

The primary storyline in the movie is between Cal Weaver (Carell) and his wife, Emily.  Cal is trying to rediscover himself after Emily tells him during a night out, that she wants a divorce.  She proceeds to admit to Cal on their drive home, that she had been cheating on him.  This is where things begin to get complicated.  So pull out your scorecards.  Ready?  In attempting to rediscover himself, Cal meets playboy Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), who teaches Cal how to woo women.  During the process, Cal meets his son’s teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei), and Jacob meets Hannah, whom he later falls for.  This results in Jacob changing his ways, and a surprise twist thrown in for good measure.  The tie in with Kate is directly related to Cal’s son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) cursing in class one day because his affections toward an older girl were spurned.  The girl in question is named Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).  Jessica has a schoolgirl crush on Cal.  And that leads to some interesting events.  So, is everyone following along?  The whole game of six degrees continues on even more, to the point that a person would need a program to follow it all.  It simply bogs the story down too much. 

No one can be blamed for wanting to skip through portions of the movie, due to its pacing problem.  No one can even be blamed for actually doing it.  However, those who don’t will be rewarded with a happy ending that’ll leave them with some sense of fullfilment, and a smile on their faces in the end.  Said audiences’ minds might be reeling from all the storylines after it’s all said and done.  Those who manage to keep up with it all will definitely find Crazy, Stupid, Love to be crazy, yes.  But they’ll also find it to be anything but stupid.