Mushroomhead Debuts ‘Devils Be Damned’ Video

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Mushroomhead is giving audiences another preview of its upcoming DVD.

The veteran Cleveland, Ohio-based band debuted the video for its song ‘Devils Be Damned‘ today. Filmed inside the infamous Ohio State Reformatory, which doubled as the infamous Shawshank Prison (yes, that Shawshank Prison), from Castle Rock Entertainment’s 1994 drama The Shawshank Redemption.  The video features the band performing its new single at various locations inside the prison as a young girl makes her way through its halls before finally finding a place of comfort inside the otherwise imposing structure.

Band founder and drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton offered his own interesting insight into the video in a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, saying that the same tunnel used by Tim Robbins’ character Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption was also used in this video.

“There’s a scene [in the video] where the little girl is crawling through the tunnel — that’s the same tunnel that Tim Robbins crawled through at the end of the movie — you know, the whole ‘Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of s*** and came out clean on the other side’ line — that’s the same tunnel she crawled through.”

The video’s debut comes a little more than a month after the debut of the video for ‘We Are The Truth.’  That video is themed after Renaissance Pictures’ famed 1981 horror movie Evil Dead.  Specifically, the video debuted July 8.

Both songs are included in the Mushroomhead’s most recent full-length studio recording, 2014’s The Righteous and the Butterfly.  The videos will both be included as part of the presentation for Volume III.

Volume III is scheduled to be released August 17. The band will launch a tour in support of the DVD the same day. The nearly month-long tour includes stops in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Seattle, Washington; Salt Lake City, Utah and a handful of other cities. The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

The Summer of Screams tour line-up:
MUSHROOMHEAD
Powerman 5000 (9-2 to 9-15)
The Browning
Psychostick (8-17 to 8-31)
Kissing Candice
Unsaid Fate
Voodoo Terror Tribe (8-17 to 8-30)/Earth Caller (8-31 to 9-15)

The Summer of Screams tour dates:
8/17 – Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater

8/18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
8/19 – Toronto, ON @ Rockpile West
8/21 – Manchester, NH @ Bungalow
8/22 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
8/23 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
8/24 – Spartanburg, SC @ Groundzero
8/25 – Huntsville, AL @ Sidetracks Music Hall
8/26 – New Orleans, LA @ Southport Music Hall
8/28 – Houston, TX @ Houston Underground
8/29 – Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live
8/30 – Laredo, TX @ Ethos Live
8/31 – Fort Worth, TX @ The Rail Club
9/2 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720
9/4 – Orangevale, CA@ The Boardwalk
9/5 – Portland, OR @ Dante’s
9/6 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/7 – Billings, MT @ Pub Station
9/8 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
9/9 – Denver, CO @ Roxy Theater
9/11 – Merriam, KS @ Aftershock
9/12 – Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s
9/13 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre
9/14 – Ringle, WI @ Q & Z Expo Center
9/15 – Chicago, IL @ Patio Theater

Along with its live dates, the band has also announced a handful of signing dates, which align with the band’s tour.  Those dates are noted below.

MUSHROOMHEAD Signing Dates: 
8/22 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ Darkside (611 Dutchess Turnpike) – Begins 6:00 PM
8/28 – Houston, TX @ Cactus (2110 Portsmouth St) – Begins 6:00 PM
8/29 – Austin, TX @ Waterloo (600 N Lamar Blvd) – Begins 5:00 PM
9/5 – Portland, OR @ Music Millennium (3158 E Burnside St) – Begins 6:00 PM (tentative, check local listing)
9/6 – Seattle, WA @ Silver Platters (2930 1st Ave S) – Begins 6:00 PM (tentative, check local listing)
9/7 – Billings, MT @ Ernie November (1825 Grand Ave) – Begins 6:00 PM

Volume III comes 10 years after the release of the band’s second DVD, aptly titled Volume II (2008) and 13 years after the release of its debut DVD, Volume I (2005). A trailer for the DVD is streaming online now here.

More information on Mushroomhead’s new DVD is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.mushroomhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mushroomhead

 

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Paramount’s Latest Installment In The Jack Ryan Franchise Falls Flat

Courtesy:  Paramount Studios

Courtesy: Paramount Studios

2014 has not been a good year for movies.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that this year has been one of the worst years for movies in recent years.  Marvel and DC spent the summer trying hard to one-up the other on a bigger scale than ever before.  And both of Michael Bay’s big screen blockbusters failed to reach audiences in the way that had been hoped.  And the summer season wasn’t the only disappointing part of the year, either.  Paramount tried to make a hit with its latest installment in the Jack Ryan franchise in the form of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  Sadly, even putting that movie at the start of the year didn’t help this largely disappointing, formulaic flick.  Compared to the big name films that filled out (and flopped) the summer movie season this year, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is not much better.  The most obvious of reasons for its failure is the fact that it’s not just a continuation of the late author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan franchise, but that it is yet another complete re-working of that franchise.  That is nothing new from the Jack Ryan franchise.  Another reason that this movie fails is its writing.  Rather than paying homage to the stylistic approach of previous Jack Ryan films, this one is more of a formulaic action flick than one with the substance of say The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games or Clear and Present Danger.  The one positive to the whole thing is believe it or not the acting on the part of veteran actor Kevin Costner.  That’s the biggest surprise of all considering how overrated he and the movies in which he has starred throughout his career have proven to be over the years.  It’s the one shining light in a movie that does absolutely nothing to honor the legacy of Tom Clancy’s one great franchise.  Had this movie been any other movie and not part of the Jack Ryan franchise, it might have worked.  But sadly that wasn’t the case.  And as a result, it will ultimately end up becoming a largely forgettable film.

When Paramount Studios decided to back Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the studio’s heads had to have known that this movie was a major gamble.  The last time that audiences heard from Jack Ryan was in 2002’s largely forgettable film The Sum Of All Fears.  That movie failed for many of the same reasons that this latest installment in the Jack Ryan franchise failed, too. The primary reason for that failure is the fact that it is obviously set on a completely different timeline than the franchise’s previous installments—The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger.  Those that remember that far back will recall that according to the original canon, Ryan was injured in a  helicopter accident in Vietnam or Korea.  This movie sees Jack being injured after his chopper was shot down in Afghanistan.  And the movie itself is set not long after the events of September 11th, 2001.  So right from the beginning, audiences are introduced to a story that is set on yet another completely different time line.  At least the transition between the original Jack Ryan movies (The Sum of All Fears not included) was believable.  This isn’t the first time that lead actor Chris Pine has starred in a reboot, either, sadly enough, either.  Anyone remember the recently rebooted Star Trek franchise?

The fact that Paramount has not only rebooted the Jack Ryan franchise, but put it on a completely different timeline is bad enough.  But that’s only the beginning of the problems for this movie.  Things get even worse when taking into consideration the movie’s script.  This movie’s script hardly echoes the quality scripts presented in the original movies in the Jack Ryan franchise.  It is a formulaic action flick rife with car chases, explosions, the standard hero and villain roles, and equally standard chase to save the damsel in distress.  The damsel in question is Ryan’s love interest Dr. Cathy Muller, played well enough by Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean 1 – 3).  It’s all set against a story that is anything but original.  As a matter of fact, it lifts liberally from some all too familiar events from the early 1990s.  The original Jack Ryan movies didn’t need to rely on actual events to be enjoyable.  The people behind their scripts crafted stories that were both original and enjoyable all in one.  This movie sadly doesn’t do that.  The result is yet again a story that will in the long run be anything but memorable.

For all of the negatives that weigh down Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, there is at least one positive to the whole thing, albeit a small positive.  But good is good, right? The one positive to the entire presentation is the work of veteran actor Kevin Costner.  Those that are familiar with Seth McFarlane’s hit animated Fox sitcom Family Guy will recall the joke asking “How does he keep getting work?”  The joke is fully substantiated considering Costner’s own acting and the movies in which he has starred throughout his career.  In this critic’s own view, the only good movie in which Kevin Costner has ever starred was Field of Dreams (1989).  His acting was good.  And the story was just as good.  Other than that, he hasn’t really landed a memorable role or starred in a memorable movie.  In the case of this movie, Kostner takes a back seat to the much younger Pine.  He doesn’t try to hog the screen as some sort of mentor or anything to that extent.  He is just someone older with more experience.  He passes on some knowledge to Pine’s younger Ryan at one point.  Other than that, he is largely a supporting character.  And he does quite well in that role, too. He is actually believable in that role, interestingly enough.  That being said, his acting is about the only thing to which audiences have to be excited in this movie.  Other than that, it is mostly a forgettable movie.

When Paramount Studios decided last year to release Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at the back end of the annual winter movie season, the studio’s hopes were obviously that it would bring in better numbers, not being jumbled in with the far too overcrowded summer blockbuster season.  Sadly, even now in its home release, audiences will see that no matter when the movie was released, it was doomed to failure.  It could be argued that in examining the movie’s script, it is little more than a fictionalized and modernized story “based on actual events.”  That’s especially the case for those that remember certain events from the early 1990s.  The fact that the movie places Jack Ryan in a wholly different timeline once again takes away from its enjoyment even more.  Even the star power of veteran actor Kevin Costner couldn’t help the movie even though he actually succeeded in his supporting role.   Keira Knightley does very little to help the story, either.  Her character Dr. Cathy Muller comes across as little more than the helpless love interest to Pine’s Jack.  All things considered, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit proves to be one more in a long line of prequels, sequels, and reboots churned out this year that will ultimately end up being forgotten amid that mass of other equally forgettable  films.  Here’s to hoping that should audiences ever see any new adventures of Jack Ryan, Paramount and company will get it right next time.

Olympus Has Fallen Falls And Falls Hard

Courtesy:  Sony Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Sony Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.  There is no other word that so aptly describes Sony Pictures’ new action thriller Olympus Has Fallen.  There is little to nothing redeeming about this roughly two-hour turn-off-your-brain action flick.  From the moment this forgettable travesty starts, it is so rife with problems that it’s nearly impossible to know where exactly to start.  Perhaps the best place to start would be from the beginning.  So let’s begin from the beginning.  Gerard Butler’s moody Mike Banning is the all too stereotypical anti-hero who is haunted by the past and trying to make amends for something for which he blames himself.  Of course, when everyone else is killed by a Korean paramilitary group in a surprise attack, Banning is the only one that can come in and save the day.  Of course.  On top of that, he is having relationship issues with his girlfriend, too.  Sound familiar yet?  It should.  This just sounds like an updated take of the one true action classic, Die Hard.  The only difference is that instead of being set in Los Angeles, this one is set inside the White House with a few other minor changes.

The general lack of originality isn’t the only problem from which this movie suffers.  As noted, there is also a major issue with the story’s plot holes, which begin from early on.  How exactly a foreign paramilitary group managed to get their hands on fully armed and equipped C-130 Hercules is never explained at any one point in the story.  That’s just the beginning of the problems.  Writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt never fully give any background on how the paramilitary group managed to infiltrate a group of South Korean diplomats, either.  The only background that’s given is on the group’s leader late in the story.  Here audiences get yet another massive plot hole.  It is at least revealed that he’s a South Korean who held a grudge against America for the death of his mother when he was a child.  But even that is a problem.  Yet again, audiences get another clichéd story element.  The leader of the bad guys is a madman out for revenge for something that happened when he was a child.  This has been done to death.  And now it’s been buried with its use here.  These are rather key issues that seriously hurt this story.  At least the pair took the time to explain the group’s motivations.  That’s about all that can be said in their defense, though.  That being the case, it only gets worse from there.  It gets worse thanks to the references to 9/11.

At the time that Olympus Has Fallen premiered, America was nearly twelve years removed from the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.  But for so many families across the country, that horrible day was still fresh in their minds.  That being the case, it could very easily be argued that having a giant, fully armed C-130 fly over the nation’s capital mowing down innocent civilians  was little more than a pair of writers capitalizing on a national tragedy.  And that is just abhorrent.  It’s one thing to have a group of bad guys taking on Americans and Americans winning.  But to touch on a nerve that is still so sensitive to this day is entirely thoughtless.  It’s not the end of the movie’s problems, either.

Olympus Has Fallen has so many problems that it drowns in them.  It only gets worse.  In their attempts to make up for all of the problems that plague this movie, Rothenberger and Benedikt have front loaded it with more than enough over the top explosions and blood shed to make any college frat boy scream with delight like a little schoolgirl.  It’s the finishing touch on a movie that hardly lives up to the standard set by much better action flicks that have come before.  All things considered, Olympus Has Fallen  has made itself one of the worst action flicks of 2013 and one of the worst movies of the year, too.

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.

Batman Finale One Of 2012’s Best Movies, Home Releases

 

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Thank you David S. Goyer.  Thank you Christopher Nolan.  And thank you Jonathan Nolan.  Thanks to this trio, action film fans have gotten what is one of not only the best actions films of 2012, but one of the best films of 2012, hands down.  And while it is an impressive movie, one can’t help but wonder if perhaps it would have been better served to have been split at least into one final movie instead of trying to cram the entire thing into a near three hour time span.  That, perhaps, is the only true fault of this franchise closer……or is it the closer.  For those who have yet to see The Dark Knight Rises, Goyer and the Nolanâ(TM)s leave the door somewhat ajar for the possibility of another movie, even if it isn’t helmed by either of the Nolans.  What that means will not be given away, for the sake of those who have yet to experience this thrill ride of a story.

The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting title for this third and final(?) movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise.  What audiences see in this installment is Bruce wayne having had everything taken away.  He even loses his fortune through a series of twists and turns written into the primary plot.  That is one of the problems with the story’s writing.  How he loses his money exactly won’t be given away, either, here.  But the manner in which it is tied into the larger storyline is somewhat roundabout.  But being that said instance happens, combined with another downfall of sorts (there’s a little hint there), it makes the movie’s title that much more of a fit.  Audiences see Bruce Wayne AND Batman rise.  There’s even homage to the comic storyline in which Bane broke Batman’s back.  Of course, in that storyline, another character named Azrael had to take on the Batman mantle.  That doesn’t happen here.

As subtle as it was there was another factor that made The Dark Knight Rises an interesting movie.  In the first fight scene between Batman and Bane, there is no music to heighten the mood of the moment.  Typically, with any action movie, said music would be standard.  But in this case, that fight scene in question as just as powerful without the music.  That’s because audiences see just how tough Bane is.  There’s no need for music to emphasize that he was one tough villain.  The music is actually discussed in the bonus features in the new home release of The Dark Knight Rises.  It’s just one of many bonus features that make the movie even better now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  Whether one is a trained movie production professional or simply has an appreciation for the work that goes into bringing such an epic movie to life, the extensive bonus features included in this release make for much more appreciation for the dedication to the Batman franchise.  The only irony of the new home release of The Dark Knight Rises is the lack of commentary on the main disc with the movie.  That isn’t entirely a loss though.  Considering the extensive bonus features included in the set, the lack of commentary is a minor issue.  Add in impressive quality footage in the Blu-ray presentation and audiences get a work that is not just one of the best movies of 2012 but also one of the best home releases of 2012.

As previously noted, The Dark Knight Rises clocks in at nearly three hours in length.  Goyer and the Nolans should be commended for making such an effort to bring everything from the first two movies and bring the whole franchise full circle.  Even Dr. Crane (A.K.A. The Scarecrow) is back again.  But because the trio made such an effort, it felt like too much was crammed into too little space.  While most critics might have panned the men for doing it, since the Harry Potter franchise did the same thing,The Dark Knight Rises might have been even more of a joy had it been spread out into another movie.  It would have left both the most seasoned Batman fans and the more casual ones feeling fulfilled while still wanting more.  Instead, it obviously left some audiences feeling winded after such a wild ride.  Regardless, what David S. Goyer and the Nolans have done for audiences with not just given this generation its definitive Batman, but it has clearly left the door open for Nolan or anyone else to continue the franchise in his or her own vision.  Should that happen, here is to the hopes that whoever should take the reins next will bring audiences a Batman franchise as impressive as Nolan’s, AND Burton’s.

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Dolphin Tale goes belly up

Courtesy: Warner Brothers PIctures

Dolphin Tale is hardly the most original movie ever made.  It’s one part Flipper, one part Free Willy and one part Soul Surfer all tossed together in a pot.  The one big problem with this most recent animal rescue movie is its preachiness.  It comes across more as a means to preach to young, impressionable audiences than to really be anything of substance. 

The movie starts off by showing the dolphin, Winter, playing with her fellow dolphins, among a mass of fishing equipment.  As subtle as this is, it’s obviously a message about the impact of fishing on the ocean environment.  That message is driven home even more when Winter is discovered beached by a fisherman.  The fisherman sees young Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) and gets him to come help get Winter out of the net in which she was caught.  In the process of freeing Winter, it’s revealed that the netting caused severe damage to her tail, eventually leading it to be amputated.

The amputation of Winter’s tale leads to the secondary preachy story here.  The secondary preachy store is centered on the effects of war on soldiers, both physical and mental.  Sawyer works with Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) to get a prosthetic tale for Winter.  Dr. McCarthy works with woudned war veterans, making prosthetics for them.  He comes in to play as a result of injuries sustained by Sawyer’s cousin while he was serving.  It’s a subtle way for the writers to preach about war and its effects on soldiers and their families.  On one hand, this might be too much for younger audiences to grasp.  On the other hand, being that it’s part of a movie aimed at young audiences, it could be interpreted as a cheap way to try and influence said young audiences’ mindsets.  What’s more, audiences watch movies as a means to escape the preachiness and negativity in the world.  So to have a movie script do the exact opposite of escapism only serves to make it that much less of a worthwhile watch.