Couple 3 Films’ ‘Lapsis’ Is A Disappointing Addition To This Year’s New Indie Films Field

Courtesy: Couple 3 Films/Film Movement

When Couple 3 Films’ independent movie Lapsis made its way across the indie movie festival circuit last year, it earned a number of honors at those events.  It brought home the Jury’s Choice Award at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea.  It was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at last year’s SXSW Festival.  It was even named an official selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival in Cleveland, OH and the Nantucket Film Festival in Nantucket, MA.  It was even nominated for the Best First Screenplay Award at the Indie Spirit Awards.  For all of the accolades that the movie received, the reality is that it is in fact not a movie that will connect with every viewer.  That is due largely to the fashion in which the movie’s creative heads presented the movie’s apparent commentary-laden story.  This will be discussed later.  Luckily for audiences, the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its recent DVD release (it was released May 11 through independent distributor Film Movement), serves to clear things up at least slightly.  This will be discussed shortly.  The cinematography featured in the movie rounds out its most important elements.  It works with the bonus content to make the movie at least slightly more engaging.  Keeping all of this in mind, Lapsis proves worth watching at least once, but sadly no more than that.

Couple 3 Films’ statement flick Lapsis is an intriguing but problematic presentation from the independent movie studio.  Apparently, the movie is meant to be a commentary on the division between the haves and have nots in the business realm.  More simply put, it is apparently meant to be a commentary about the division between the suits who make millions annually on the backs of workers who make far less, and those workers in question.  The thing is that this would not even be fully clear if not for the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its recent DVD release.  The movie’s creative heads make a passing comment early on in the feature-length audio commentary about that division being at the heart of the movie while the “Making of” featurette also makes mention of the role of the machines in the movie and in today’s largely automated business world.  Other than those passing statements, little other commentary is really offered as to this matter.  Audiences are otherwise forced to watch through the plodding, nearly two-hour movie to get any sense of that statement.  Go figure, those two very brief mentions are just enough to make the movie worth watching even once.

Those viewers who do watch the movie will find that understand why the noted commentary is so difficult to grasp without the noted brief statements in the bonus commentary.  The whole thing starts off with Ray (Dean Imperial) trying to find a way to pay for care for his little brother, Jamie (Babe Howard – yes that is really his name).  This leads him to agree to take on a job as a “cabler,” laying cable for the growing information technology industry.  As Ray makes his way through his routes, going from cube to cube, he realizes more and more that something is not right.  The “medallion” (which is basically an online identity) that he uses to get paid (or so he thinks) is that of someone that the other cable layers apparently did not and do not like.  Yet, the other cable layers will not initially tell Ray what is going on.  A sense of tension is built throughout the story, leading viewers to expect things to reach a real head, but sadly that never really happens.  There is a climax of sorts when Ray, Jamie and the other cable layers manage to disable all of the robots that lay cable, though one robot does get away.  That is perhaps meant as a statement that even though the “little guy” might think he has won, the battle will never end because big business will always be there, looming.  The story ends very abruptly, leaving viewers ultimately feeling unfulfilled.  As another critic noted, it is as if the writers ran out of ideas (and money) and just decided to let the story be how it was.  Ultimately, the story comes up short because of the overall manner in which it was delivered.  It is as if the writers could not decide if they wanted the story to be a drama, a thriller, or a little of both.  To that end, the story only gains any real interest after audiences have taken in the noted, brief commentary in the movie’s bonus content.  Keeping all of this in mind, the movie proves only slightly more worth watching at the most.

While the bonus content helps at least slightly to make Lapsis worth watching, that encouragement is minimal at best.  The movie’s cinematography adds slightly more motivation to watch.  Considering that the bulk of the movie takes place in forested settings, the cinematography had to be taken especially into account because of the color balances, and that of light and dark.  Additionally, there had to be emphasis on specific angles within given scenes to help heighten the emotions of all involved.  The distortion of the backgrounds (which honestly is slightly overused) does help to heighten the tension as Ray makes his way through his routes and tries to figure out what is going on.  The use of the panavision lenses (as noted in the audio commentary) definitely helps with this aspect overall.  Simply put, the work of those behind the lenses is to be applauded because it helps to set the mood in each scene.  When this is considered along with the slight positive of the movie’s bonus content, the two elements combine to make Lapsis worth watching at least once, but sadly no more than that.

Couple 3 Films’ statement movie Lapsis is a problematic presentation from the independent studio.  Its bonus content serves as its main positive.  Without the bonus content, viewers would be left guessing as to the story’s plot and message.  Speaking of that, the story itself is, again, ambiguous because of the manner in which the story is presented.  Audiences are led to believe the story one kind of tale, but ultimately find out it is something else.  Making things even more difficult is the story’s abrupt ending.  Overall, the whole thing comes across as some kind of odd sci-fi noir flick that attempts to deliver a message but ultimately fails in that effort.  Luckily, the movie’s cinematography works with the bonus content to give viewers at least a little more reason to give the movie a chance.  That is thanks to the color balances, the angles and other aspects.  All things considered here, Lapsis proves to be one of the lesser of this year’s crop of new independent movies.  Lapsis is available now.

More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available at:

Websitehttps://www.filmmovement.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/FilmMovement

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Film_Movement

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‘Raya And The Last Dragon’ Is A Surprisingly Positive Presentation From Disney

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Audiences looking for a worthwhile movie to watch last year had a hard time of things as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The pandemic forced the shutdown of countless movies in production around the world, and delayed the release of others that were already completed.  That extensive list of movies delayed due to the pandemic’s impact includes Walt Disney Studios’ latest CG-flick, Raya and the Last Dragon.  The movie was originally planned for release Nov. 25, 2020 (the week of Thanksgiving), but ended up making its theatrical debut months later, March 12, 2021.  More than two months later – May 18 to be exact — the movie has made its way to home audiences on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD/BD combo pack.  The movie itself is just as enjoyable in its home release as in its theatrical release.  Its bonus content adds to that appeal.  Though at the same time, it also raises at least one concern that deserves some attention.  That concern will be addressed later.  The pacing of the story featured here works with the story itself to make for even more appeal  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie and its presentation in its new home presentation.  All things considered, they make Raya and the Last Dragon a surprisingly welcome new offering from Disney.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a surprisingly welcome new offering from Walt Disney Studios.  The enjoyment comes in the fact that it is an original story.  It is not based on some book and is not yet another of the countless reboots that Disney has churned out in the past couple of years or so.  The story featured here centers on a young woman – Raya – who sets out on a quest to reassemble the “Dragon Gem” years after representatives of the nations of Kumandra fought over the gem and cracked it into multiple pieces, unwittingly freeing a group of evil beings known as the Druun.  The Druun turn everything they touch into stone, including Raya’s father.  That set-up leads to Raya’s quest, which is in her mind, solely focused on bringing her father back to life so to speak.  In the process, Raya meets Sisu, the last dragon, and a motley crew of friends from the nations of Kumandra.  Her new friends’ own strife, which was also caused by the Druun, leads her to increasingly realize the need to trust and to trust in the good in people.  While this (and the message of the need for unity and peace) is at the heart of the story, the movie’s creative heads do not allow any of that content to overpower the enjoyable action and adventure that makes up the rest of the story.  What’s more, the story does well in avoiding being just another coming-of-age tale (which is what Moana, Disney’s most recent “princess” movie, was).  Rather, it just culminates in Raya’s own personal realization and acceptance that she was limiting herself.  Given, that self realization is a familiar plot element that is used in other movies from other studios, but it is presented in a unique, fresh fashion here.  Keeping everything noted here in mind, the story featured in Raya and the Last Dragon serves as a strong starting point for the movie’s presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the movie so surprisingly positive.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new home release enhances the viewing experience even more.

The bonus content featured in the home release of Raya and the Last Dragon is important to its new presentation because of the background that it provides to the story.  The background in question is largely the story of how the movie’s creative heads and cast overcame limitations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to make the movie still happen.  The cast and crew discuss working from home in the feature “Raya” Bringing It Home.”  They talk about the difficulties of trying to balance their work and home life as a result of being forced to work on the movie from home.  From the issue of everyone trying to log onto one of Disney’s systems all at once so as to work on the movie (risking bogging down the system), to dealing with the presence of family while working, to the very mental impact of having to stare at a computer screen for eight (and sometimes more) hours a day just to make the movie happen, the group addresses here, a variety of obstacles that it faced in bringing the story to life.  That alone makes for even more appreciation for the end product.

The noted bonus feature is just one of the key extras featured in the movie’s home release.  “We Are Kumandra” and “Martial Artists” serve to show the dedication that all involved had to making the story true to its source material so to speak.  Viewers learn through “We Are Kumandra” that the movie’s creative heads and voice cast traveled to Southeast Asia pre-pandemic as part of the movie’s pre-production to lean about the culture of the region so as to properly and accurately display it on screen.  “Martial Artists” meanwhile profiles the martial arts expert who displayed the martial arts used across Southeast Asia for the fight scenes.  Again, here is an example of the movie’s creative heads making sure the region, its people, and culture were honestly and honorably displayed.  This is hardly the first time that a Disney movie and its staff have gone to such lengths to make one of its movies as accurate as possible.  It just shows even more, that continued dedication.  That, in turn, leads to even more appreciation for the movie.

On yet another note, the deleted scenes bonus are important to the overall presentation, too.  They are important because in watching them, viewers will agree that they are scenes that were not needed considering what made the final cut versus that content.  What’s more, that the deleted scenes show the Druun as some kind of supernatural entity type creature that can inhabit suits of armor and become evil warriors is also troubling.  It creates the sense of some kind of anime type presentation, especially as Raya uses her sword (which is also part axe in the deleted scenes) to break through the Druun’s armor and “kill” them.  The more subdued use of the Druun in the final product is so much better by comparison.  So here again is more proof of the positive impact of the bonus content. 

As a final touch, the “Taste of Raya” virtual dinner adds its own touch to the bonus content.  The cast and creative heads enjoy a virtual dinner via Zoom as they talk about the work that went into the movie’s creation.  The dinner in question features real Southeast Asian dishes as part of the event. Learning about those dishes and the importance of the representation of Asian culture and peoples in the movie industry adds its own touch to the presentation.  All things considered, the bonus content featured in this movie adds quite a bit of engagement and entertainment to the movie and the viewing experience.

While the bonus content featured with the movie’s home release is its own overall positive, there is a concern tied to the bonus content.  That concern comes in the reality that it is not featured in the movie’s DVD presentation.  That is the only platform on which it is not presented.  This leads one to feel that this is Disney trying to force viewers who want to watch the bonus content to have to pay even more mainly for that content.  This is hardly the first time that Disney has gone this route, either.  Keeping that in mind, it makes for even more frustration toward Disney on top of the frustration already caused by the company basically double charging viewers to watch certain movies on its streaming service, Disney+.  It paints Disney even more as a company that cares more about money than the audiences.  Maybe one day, Disney’s officials will come to their senses about all of this.  In the meantime, audiences who want to watch the movie’s bonus content will have to pay anywhere from $25-$30 (and more counting sales tax).  Even with that in mind, it thankfully is not enough to make the movie’s home presentation a failure.  It is just something that really needs to be addressed by Disney.  The pacing of the movie’s story rounds out its most important elements.

Raya and the Last Dragon clocks in at one hour, 47 minutes.  That is just under the two hour mark.  For families with young children, that is important to note because of the attention span of those younger viewers.  Thankfully, the movie’s creative heads must have taken that into consideration.  That is because even at that run time, the story moves along at a relatively stable pace.  Even in the “slower” moments in which Raya and her growing group are on board Boun’s boat, the story manages to make the dialogue engaging and entertaining.   The result of that solid pacing is that audiences of all ages will remain engaged and entertained throughout.  That maintained engagement and entertainment results in that much more enjoyment in and appreciation for the original, action-filled story.  That, coupled with the engagement and entertainment ensured through the movie’s bonus content, makes the overall presentation a rare positive presentation from Disney that actually deserves a spot among this year’s best new movies.

Walt Disney Studios’ movie Raya and the Last Dragon is a surprisingly enjoyable offering from the studio.  That is due in part to its featured story.  The story is an original work that follows a young woman’s quest to bring her father back to life.  In the process, she learns a valuable lesson about trust and trusting in the good in people.  The story also incorporates an equally important message about the need for peace and unity.  This is all done without either aspect becoming preachy, and overpowering the rest of the story.  What’s more, the story does not just rehash Moana’s whole coming-of-age story.  All things considered here, the story proves to be a solid starting point for the movie.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release adds its own enjoyment to the viewing experience.  That is because of the background that it offers audiences.  The story’s pacing rounds out the most important of its elements.  It ensures that even though the movie runs almost two hours, even young audiences will remain engaged and entertained throughout.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie in its home release.  All things considered, they make the movie a surprisingly enjoyable offering from Disney.  Raya and the Last Dragon is available now on DVD, Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack, and 4K UHD/BD/Digital combo pack.

More information on this and other titles from Disney is available online at:

Website: https://waltdisneystudios.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneystudios

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Shout! Factory, eOne Partner For 35th Anniversary Re-Issue of ‘Transformers: The Movie’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/eOne

Shout! Factory will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original release of Transformers: The Movie this summer.

The home entertainment company, which last re-issued the movie on Blu-ray in 2016, is scheduled to re-issue it again Aug. 3 on a new 4K UHD/BD steelbook presentation. It marks the first time that the movie has seen release on that platform. Additionally, the movie will see release on a standard edition 4K UHD/BD package and separate 35th anniversary BD combo pack platform.

The BD and 4K UHD/BD combo packs will feature the movie in separate HD fullscreen and widescreen presentation. Additionally, the 4K UHD/BD combo pack will feature new bonus content that was not featured in the movie’s previous 2016 BD re-issue as well as the bonus content featured in that release.

The full list of the movie’s bonus content is noted below.

   *New Feature-Length Storyboards, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences

·        *New Fathom Events 30th Anniversary Featurette, including Stan Bush’s acoustic performances of “The Touch” and “Dare”

·        ‘Til All Are One – A comprehensive documentary looking back at THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, singer/songwriter Stan Bush, composer Vince Dicola and others!

·        Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu

·        Featurettes

·        Animated Storyboards

·        Trailers and TV Spots

*exclusive to the Limited Edition SteelBook and 4K UHD releases

Audiences in theUK will see the movie’s re-issue come in September. An exact release date is under consideration. Viewers who pre-order the movie now will receive a bonus 18″X24″ lithograph with new art by Matt Ferguson while supplies last.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available along with the company’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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Paramount’s Not-So-New ‘Peanuts’ Movie Collection Is A Disappointing Presentation

Courtesy: Paramount

It goes without saying that Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang are among the most beloved figures in America’s pop culture history.  Their adventures on the printed page and on screen have brought together generations of audiences and have been seen around the world.  Now this week, four classic Peanuts feature-length films were re-issued yet again by Paramount on Blu-ray in what the studio has dubbed the Snoopy Collection.  That title for the collection is the starting point for what is otherwise a very problematic presentation from Paramount.  It will be discussed shortly.  The collection of the movies in this platform makes for its own share of problems and will be discussed a little later.  The average price point of this collection rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of Paramount’s latest Peanuts movie collection re-issue.  All things considered, they make this re-issued set a dishonor to the legacy of Charles Schulz and to Peanuts fans.

Paramount’s newly re-issued Peanuts 4-Movie Collection is a disappointing presentation from the famed movie studio.  The concern comes right off the top in the set’s titling.  Paramount is marketing the re-issued collection as the Snoopy Collection instead of simply using the original title of the Peanuts 4-Movie Collection.  Such a title infers that all four movies in the collection focus on Snoopy, rather than the whole Peanuts gang.  The reality is that only one movie in the collection – Snoopy, Come Home – centers mainly on Snoopy.  The other three movies – A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, And Don’t Come Back –focus on the whole group.  So in using the new title, Paramount is essentially lying to audiences.  That is, in itself very disappointing.  It is as if someone at Paramount set out to intentionally mislead consumers, expecting them to buy the set just because it has Snoopy on the cover and title; this even though audiences might already own the movies featured in the set.  Speaking of the movies featured in the set, they make up another concern surrounding the collection.

The movies featured in Paramount’s Snoopy Collection were already released together on DVD in 2016, also through Paramount.  What’s more, that single-disc collection is also widely available to purchase online and in stores.  The quality of the footage between the two collections is roughly the same.  There was no re-mastering in this latest case.  So to that end, audiences who might already own that single-disc collection have no reason to purchase this not-so-new collection.  As if that is not enough, all four movies are available by themselves.  A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home were re-issued by themselves in September 2016 on Blu-ray.  They were also re-issued in 2015 on DVD alongside this set’s other two movies.  So audiences who already own the aforementioned Blu-ray releases would essentially be buying those same two movies on Blu-ray again along with the DVD movies, except this time on BD, too.  Maybe audiences don’t own any of the movies or some mix and match, then sure, the set will be worth the purchase.  Those audiences who perhaps (like this critic) already own all four movies have zero reason to buy, though.  That applies whether audiences own the movies in their collection or in their standalone platforms.  Simply put, the presentation of all four movies here is just as little reason for most audiences to buy the set as the deceptive titling for the collection. 

Continuing from the set’s general presentation, its average price point is one more reason that audiences should leave this one on the shelves (physical and digital).  The average price point for the new BD presentation of the Peanuts 4-Movie Collection is $42.  That price was obtained by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million.  Amazon, Walmart, Target each list the set below that price, at $36.97, $38.99, and $29.96 respectively.  Audiences will note that Walmart’s listing is the lowest of that group, while the other two noted retailers’ prices are just below that point.  That is telling in itself.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million meanwhile list the set at an extraordinary $57.99 and $44.99 respectively.  Keep in mind here that each set spreads the movies across four discs, so Paramount cannot use the excuse of extra material used to make the set for the exorbitantly high pricing.

By comparison, the average price point for the noted single-disc DVD collection is $11.19. That price was obtained by averaging prices at the same retailers used to get the average price point for the collection’s BD presentation.  Keeping this in mind, the average price point for the collection’s BD set is more than three times that of the collection’s DVD set.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers once again far exceeds the average, this time at $21.99.  Target and Amazon actually present the least expensive of the set’s listings in this case, at $7.59.  The short and simple of everything here is that the comparison of the DVD collection’s pricing to that of the collection’s new BD re-issue is stark and all the more reason for audiences to lean more toward the DVD collection than the BD set.  When this aspect is considered along with everything else noted here and the fact that both sets spread the movies across four discs, it all makes the not-so-new presentation among the most disappointing of this year’s new family DVD and BD box sets.

Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issue of the Peanuts 4-Movie Collection is a disappointing presentation.  It does nothing but disrespect fans of the timeless franchise and the legacy of Charles Chulz, the creator of Good Ol’ Charlie Brown and company.  The problems with this set start before audiences even place any of the discs in the Blu-ray player’s tray.  Instead of just going with the same name as that used in the set’s 2016 DVD presentation, someone at Paramount instead tried to deceive audiences and change the set’s title to Snoopy Collection.  This is even considering the fact that the set features the same movies as those in the DVD set.  Only one of the set’s movies centers mainly on Snoopy, while the other three focus on the whole Peanuts gang.  So again, here is proof that someone at Paramount thought it smart to act like this set is something new when clearly it isn’t.  Speaking of the featured movies, they have – again – been presented together in a four-disc DVD set that is still widely available to this day.  Those movies are also available as standalone presentations, with two – A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Come Home – already available on Blu-ray by themselves.  The other two movies are available mainly on DVD.  Simply put, what all of this adds up to (no pun intended) is that Paramount is trying to pressure audiences to put that aside and let their fandom control them.  Audiences should not give in to this pressure if they already have these movies in their collective or standalone presentations.  The exorbitant price for this set is just one more reason that audiences should leave this set on the shelves if they already own its featured movies.  This set’s average price point is more than three times that of the set’s DVD presentation.  The separate listings are just as stark in their comparisons.  Keeping that in mind along with everything else noted, the people at Paramount should be ashamed for having dishonored Peanuts’ fans and the legacy of Peanuts’ creator, Charles Schulz with this set.  It all combines to paint Paramount as a company that (like Disney and Warner Home Entertainment) cares more about its bottom line than about actually entertaining audiences.  More simply put, it is a presentation that makes it look like Paramount cares more about quantity (how much money it can make) than about quality (actually offering content worth buying).

More information on these and other Peanuts releases is available online now along with all of the latest Peanuts news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.PEANUTS.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/snoopy

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/snoopy

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‘God Of The Piano’ Is Interesting, But Imperfect

Courtesy: Film Republic/Film Movement

Parents should never pressure their children to take part in activities in which they really have no interest.  Sadly, far too many parents out there heed that warning.  Pressuring children to do things in which they are not interested serves only to harm them mentally and emotionally.  Such is the essential premise for independent movie studio Film Republic’s 2019 drama God of the Piano.  It is a premise that is certain to resonate with plenty of audiences, even being presented in a foreign independent import that was brought to domestic audiences this past February on DVD.  The story to which that premise is connected makes this movie worth watching at least once if no more than that.  For all of the engagement established through this movie’s premise and story, the story is not without at least one fault.  That fault comes through some writing issues within the story.  This will be discussed a little later.  While the story featured in God of the Piano presents both pros and cons, the bonus short film presented with the movie’s domestic DVD release this year makes up for that mixed presentation, rounding out the DVD’s most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD worth watching at least once if no more.

Film Movement’s new domestic DVD presentation of Film Republic’s 2019 movie, God of the Piano is one that is an interesting option for audiences who are perhaps looking for an alternative to the endless river of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events flowing from mainstream American studios.  Its interest comes primarily from its story.  The story in question follows Anat (Naama Preis — The GraveTel AvivAzimuth) a one time piano prodigy who is so obsessed with being in her piano virtuoso father’s shadow that she ends up living vicariously through her “son,” who also turns out to be quite talented on the piano.  The term “son” is used in quotes because there is a catch.  Aidan, her “son” is not really her son.  Anat is so mentally and emotionally scarred by everything that her father did as she herself was growing up that when she gives birth to a deaf son, she switches her biological son with another couple’s son.  That act in itself makes it easy to dislike Anat more than connect with her.  Her desperation does not stop there.  Not to give away too much, but in her attempt to live up to her father’s expectations, she cheats on her husband and sleeps with another man just so that he would make a composition for Aidan to use in an audition for an elite school.  It just so happens that her father is on the board that decides which students get into the school.  Between this extreme act of desperation and the very fact that she would basically abandon her own biological son at birth and take someone else’s child goes a long way toward exhibiting the long-term emotional and mental impacts of parents pressuring their children and placing undue expectations on them.  It may seem unbelievable but any viewer will agree they have seen parents in real life living vicariously through their children.  They just don’t see the full impacts of those parents’ actions.  To that end, the story is actually believable.  While the story is gripping and very clearly heavy, it is not without some faults.

The faults in God of the Piano’s story begin with the very premise presented about the story.  According to information provided about the movie by Film Republic and Film Movement, Anat’s very desperate actions are the result of her relationship with her father.  The information states that Anat lived in her father’s shadow for years, and by result was negatively impacted by this aspect.  Even with this noted as the deeper premise for the story, this part of the story is never actually addressed within the story.  It is insinuated to a point, but never actually addressed within the story that viewers follow within the movie.  All audiences have to go by is that premise for her extreme behavior.  Yes, it would have made the movie longer, but at the same time, would have also made the movie more entertaining. 

On a related note, the information provided on the movie’s box alleges that Anat eventually confronts her father about his role in and impact on her throughout her life.  This was supposed to have come as a result of everything that she does and that happens with Aidan.  That is deceiving because (again not to give away too much) in reality there is no real confrontation.  The only real confrontation comes as she questions her father as to why Aidan was not accepted into the elite school for which he auditioned.  It again is anything but what audiences expected considering the premise presented on the movie’s case.

On yet another note, audiences know that Anat switched her biological son (who is never even named) with another couple’s son.  Yet throughout everything, this part of the story is not re-visited until the movie’s final act.  How it is re-visited will not be revealed here.  Regardless, that her biological son is completely ignored and that she does not even begin to think about him until such point makes it that much more difficult to sympathize with Anat.  Rather, it makes it that much easier to see her as a villain just as much as a victim.  That is because it makes it look like she does not have even the slightest regret over what she has done to that child, to Aidan, and even to his biological parents.  These plot holes of sorts really should have been addressed before this movie even went into production.  That they exist noticeably detracts from the viewing experience.  Luckily they are not enough to make the movie a complete failure.  They just combine to counter the more believable side of the story.

Keeping everything noted about God of the Piano’s story in mind, the story is interesting, but also imperfect.  Thankfully, the story featured in the bonus short film that comes with the movie’s DVD release makes up the failings of the main feature.  The bonus short film, The Audition, is a simple story about a cellist named Sarah who by chance ends up performing at the wedding of what is believed to be her ex-husband.  The story never fully states that Sarah and the man were married, but it is known that the pair was romantically connected at one point.  The 22-minute presentation seamlessly transitions between Sarah’s performance along her fellow musicians and what led up to the pair’s split seamlessly as the story progresses.  The outcome will not be revealed here, but makes for its own interest.  The short story ultimately outshines it counterpart what with its believable and accessible story, and the noted seamless transitions.  When the short is considered along with God of the Piano, in all of its pros and cons, the two stories together make the overall presentation worth watching at least once.

Film Movement’s domestic DVD presentation of Film Republic’s God of the Piano is an interesting but imperfect presentation.  It is not a failure, but is also not a complete success.  That is proven in part through the story in the main feature.  The story is an examination of sorts of the impact of parents’ pressuring their children to do things in which they might not be interested.  The story in itself is interesting because it is believable to a point.  It is also an emotionally heavy story.  That in itself makes for reason enough to give the movie a chance.  While the movie’s general premise makes for reason to watch, the script ignores some key matters, detracting from its presentation to a point.  That is not enough to make the movie a failure.  The bonus short film that accompanies God of the Piano makes up for that story’s shortcomings.  That is even considering the fact that the short runs only 22 minutes.  Each item noted here plays its own important part to the overall DVD presentation of God of the Piano.  All things considered, they make the movie’s domestic DVD presentation worth watching at least once, but sadly not much more than that.

More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available at:

Websitehttps://www.filmmovement.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/FilmMovement

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Film_Movement

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

Details Announced For Second Issue of Joe Satriani’s Limited ‘Crystal Planet’ Comic Book Event Series

Courtesy: Incendium/Heavy Metal

Joe Satriani’s limited event comic book will see its second issue released next month.

Satriani launched the limited series, which is based on his album, Crystal Planet, in March. The second of the series’ five issues is scheduled to ship next month. An exact shipping date is under consideration.

The series’ presentation coms courtesy of Heavy Metal Magazine and Incendiary. Co-created by Satriani and Ned Evett, the new title is centered on lead character Satchel Walker.

Walker is caught between two factions vying for resources from a dying star. It is up to him to end the conflict and bring peace to the universe and time stream. The only way he can achieve the noted goals is through the use of music. Pre-orders for the second issue are open now.

Issue #2 picks up where Issue #1 left off. Walker has experienced a death in his family, and takes his first steps on the Crystal Planet. His lifelong friend Sarah Fortune joins him on his voyage in a banged-up old station wagon as the swarm is hot on the duo’s heels.

Satriani had the following to say of the second issue of the Crystal Planet comic book.

“Satchel Walker’s world is about to be turned upside-down in ways he could never have imagined, he said. “Issue #2 will bring his futuristic, battle-torn nightmares closer to reality and re-unite him with his father’s strange and powerful guitar.” 

The credits for the comic book are noted below.

CREDITS:
CREATED BY: Joe Satriani, Ned Evett
SCRIPT: Tony Lee
PENCILS/INKS: Richard Friend
COLOR: Carlos Cabrera
LETTERS: Jacob Bascle
EDITOR: Llexi Leon

Satriani’s new comic book will also feature a companion collectible figure of Satriani himself as an added bonus. The action figure features Satriani in a Tri-Driver suit from the comic book, along with his signature Ibanez guitar. The figure will retail for MSRP of $29.95. Pre-orders for the action figure are open.

More information on Crystal Planet is available online now along with all of Satriani’s tour dates in support of Shapeshifting is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.satriani.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/joesatriani

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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

Blue Underground’s Re-Issue Of ‘The Final Countdown’ Proves This Movie Deserves A Second Chance From Audiences, Critics

Courtesy: Blue Underground/United Artists

The 1980s is one of the most unique eras in the modern era of movies.  It was this era that turned out so many timeless movies helmed by the late, great John Hughes.  It was also the era that turned out great movies, such as Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Shining among so many others.  For all of the great movies released throughout the 1980s, that era also turned out its own share of movies that while enjoyable, did not get the recognition that maybe they deserved.  One such movie was United Artists’ 1980 action/drama The Final Countdown.  This star-studded movie was largely panned by critics and audiences alike.  The movie, has also mostly been compared to 1984’s The Philadelphia Experiment, which itself received far more acclaim and better response.  That aside, the movie really is an underappreciated presentation, and thanks to independent movie studio Blue Underground, it received new life last month in a new Blu-ray/4KUHD presentation.  The new re-issue is well-deserved and will hopefully earn the movie a new appreciation among science-fiction fans in its new release.  The story featured in the movie serves as the most important of its elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie’s new re-issue is certain to help establish that new appreciation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this presentation such that every science fiction should watch at least once.

Blue Underground’s recently released re-issue of The Final Countdown is a presentation that most science fiction fans will find surprisingly entertaining and engaging.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story in question is simple.  A United States Navy aircraft carrier goes back in time when a bizarre storm comes upon the ship.  It sends the aircraft carrier and its crew back to December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese navy.  At first the carrier’s heads do not believe they could possibly have traveled back in time, but when they come to terms with the reality, the discussion comes up as to whether the lone naval vessel and its crew should take on the Japanese navy by itself and prevent the attack from ever happening.  It is a timeless (no pun intended) plot element used in science fiction.  That aside, it still works here.  The whole thing runs just short of the two hour mark (one hour, 42 minutes to be exact).  It was also presented on a limited budget and limited scheduling (this will be discussed in the examination of the re-issue’s bonus content), but even with those constraints, everything actually turned out well.  Given, there are not a lot of explosions.  There is thankfully not any sexual content, either.  Maybe that lack of such common content is what made people dislike the movie considering there is more talking than action.  In reality though, that required the cast, led by famed actors Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, Lust for Life, Ace in the Hole), Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now, Spawn), and Charles Durning (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dog Day Afternoon, The Muppet Movie) to really put forth their best job acting.  Their interactions really serve to keep the story engaging and entertaining.  The trio’s work echoes their personalities behind the scenes, which will also be addressed in the examination of the movie’s bonus content.  All things considered, the story is simple, but that simplicity, together with the acting (and cinematography) works to make the movie deserving of more credit than it has received.

The story featured at the heart of The Final Countdown is an underrated presentation in its own right.  Sure, it isn’t the action-packed blockbuster that maybe audiences had hoped for from a summer blockbuster (the movie debuted Aug. 1, 1980 as part of that year’s summer blockbuster crop), but is still engaging and entertaining in its own right.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new re-issue shows even more why the movie deserves its own share of respect.  One of the most notable of the bonus features is the movie’s feature-length audio commentary with the movie’s Director of Photography, Victor J. Kemper.  Kemper shares a variety of interesting items in his discussions, one of which being the noted limitations under which the movie’s cast and crew had to work.  He points out that during the scenes in which the Nimitz was at sea, the carrier’s skipper severely limited the cast and crew’s movement throughout the ship and that the movie was shot under a tight budget.  He stressed that the budget was so tight, that by the end of shooting, the organization was out of money.  Audiences must take these statements into account before just criticizing the movie.  Considering how little the organization had to work with, they made the best of a bad situation.

Additionally, Kemper points out that the at sea shooting schedule was limited.  He notes in his commentary that the company spent only eight days shooting at sea while it spent approximately a week-and-a-half shooting in port in Norfolk, VA.  That has to be taken into account, too.  It shows again, what those involved had to work with in order to make the movie happen.  Considering this, all involved are to be commended for what they produced.  That is the case even considering how things were behind the scenes.  Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman talks about what went on behind the scenes in his own bonus interview.

Kaufman alleges in his 14-minute interview that few people involved in the movie (including cast and crew) really took the whole production serious.  He alleges that much of the crew was more concerned with the catering than actually focusing on proper shooting, etc.  Additionally, he alleges that star James Farentino was more concerned with his bedding on board the ship than his acting at another point, adding that if not for Douglas and his son Peter, who served as the movie’s main Producer, the movie likely would not have even been completed.  Kaufman even lodges some rather harsh comments against the movie’s director, Don Taylor.  Audiences will be left to take in those comments for themselves.  Sheen and Durning meanwhile were among the only cast members with whom Kaufman claimed to have enjoyed working.  Considering all of Kaufman’s allegations and the limitations faced in terms of just recording the movie, all involved faced a perfect storm (pardon that pun) in getting this underappreciated movie done.  To that end, it proves again that this movie is deserving of the second chance that it has received from Blue Underground.  It is just as deserving of a second chance from audiences and critics alike.  That is even clearer when audiences read through the “Pilot’s Journal” that is included with the movie’s re-issue.  It points out some conflicts that happened behind the scenes, too, between the people who flew the Zeros and military officials.  It is yet another example of all the problems that this movie apparently faced during production.  In turn, it makes for even more appreciation for what was produced.

Taking into account all that this movie’s story and bonus content offers audiences, there is still one more item to examine in regards to its recent re-issue.  That item is its packaging.  The packaging houses three discs – the movie’s soundtrack (its own bonus for the most devoted audiences), the movie’s Blu-ray presentation, and in its 4K UHD presentation.  The soundtrack sits on its own spindle inside the front of the movie’s case.  The BD and 4K UHD discs sit uniquely in the other side, one under the other.  Now that sounds like the “old” way of packaging multi-disc sets, and to a point it is.  What Blue Underground has done in the case of the BD and 4K UHD presentation however is what makes it unique.  Rather than just overlaying the discs, a plastic cover of sorts separates the discs in the overlay.  This essentially prevents the discs from marring one another when one or the other is removed and replaced.  That unique approach is to be applauded.  Given, it would have made more sense to just use an insert with one spindle on either side for the BD and 4K UHD discs.  That is the more common and equally safe packaging format, but that one minor aspect here does its own share to protect the discs.  What’s more, not every viewer has both a Blu-ray player and 4K UHD player and/or monitor.  To that end, whichever viewers have, they can simply place that disc on top and ignore the other.  That means even more so that the discs will receive less damage.  So once more, audiences see why the packaging is just as much a positive to this presentation as the presentation’s story and its companion bonus content.  When the positive of the packaging is considered along with the story and the movie’s bonus content, the whole of these items makes this re-issue a presentation that science fiction fans will agree is surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  It combines to prove, again, this movie is deserving of its second life and a second chance.

Blue Underground’s recently released re-issue of The Final Countdown is a presentation that every science fiction fan should see or see again.  That is due in part to its story.  Sure, there’s not lots of explosions and sexual content, even with it being a summer blockbuster in its initial release.  Regardless, it is a story that offers an interesting, thoughtful take on a familiar science fiction topic.  The extensive bonus content that accompanies the movie in its re-issue adds its own interest to the whole.  That is because it shows how many obstacles the movie faced in even being recorded.  It makes for even more appreciation considering how much worse it could have turned out, considering all of those obstacles.  The re-issue’s packaging rounds out its most important elements.  It shows just as much thought was put into this aspect as the bonus content and general presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation that proves this movie is deserving of its second life and of a second chance from audiences and critics alike.

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

Websitehttps://blue-underground.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlueUndergroundFilms

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blunderground

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

CMG’s British Noir Double Feature Will Appeal To The Most Devoted Noir Fans

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Money, power, and sex.  Those are the three reasons that people commit crimes.  Whether it be in real life, in any crime novel or movie, the premise is pretty much the same.  Cohen Media Group’s recently released British noir double feature of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is more proof of the noted statements.  The two-movie presentation will appeal to fans of the genre on either side of the Atlantic.  That is due in no small part to each movie’s central story.  They will be discussed shortly.  While the stories serve as solid starting points for the movies, their execution (pardon the pun there) does pose a slight problem for their overall presentation.  This will be discussed a little later.  While the manner in which the stories are told is somewhat problematic for their overall presentation, it is not enough to make the movies fail.  Staying on that note, the work done to restore the footage and present it in this recently released Blu-ray package is also of note.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered, the presentation in whole proves to be such that any noir fan will find it worth watching occasionally.

Cohen Media Group’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is a presentation in which most noir fans will find some enjoyment.  That is due in part to the story featured in each movie presented in the double feature.  Cast a Dark Shadow (1955) centers on a playboy named Edward Bare (Dirk Bogarde – Death in Venice, The Servant, Darling) who has a history of using women and then disposing of them so as to take their money and live a lavish life.  Of course his evil ways do come to an end in an unlikely way.  That revelation will not be spoiled here for those who have yet to see the movie.  This is actually a believable premise.  Anyone who has ever watched TV news magazine shows, such as 48 Hours, Dateline, and 20/20 will attest to the fact that such a story is more based in reality than fiction, even though the story is fiction.  

Wanted for Murder (1946) features another serial killer.  This time the serial killer is a crazed strangler named Victor (Eric Portman – 49th Parallel, A Canterbury Tale, Whisperers) that no one ever would have suspected.  Allegedly Victor became a serial killer because his father was a hangman, and somehow that affected him mentally and emotionally.  This will be discussed shortly because it does become a little bit of a plot hole that detracts from the story’s execution.  Getting back on topic, Victor finds unsuspecting women to become his victims until his own guilt and a hard-working Scotland Yard Detective bring about his (rather anticlimactic) end.  If the concept of a psychotic strangler sounds familiar, it should.  The real life case of the BTK Killer is ironically very similar.  Interestingly, before meeting his own unlikely end, Victor sends letters to law enforcement, teasing them about his crimes.  So again, here audiences get a story that ironically is more akin to real crime than any fiction.  One can’t help but wonder if the Zodiac Killer (whoever he or she is/was) was influenced by this story.  This is yet another way in which the movies’ real life comparisons prove so important in their role in their presentations.  That the stories featured here are so close to real crime stories means audiences will largely be able to suspend their disbelief and in turn take in each story more easily.  This makes for a good starting point for the overall presentation.  As much as the stories’ bases do for their enjoyment, the execution thereof detracts from that enjoyment to a point.

The execution of the movies’ stories detracts from their presentations because it leaves out so much important content.  In the case of Cast a Dark Shadow, the story opens abruptly with Edward his latest victim, who happens to be an elderly woman named Monica (Mona Washbourne – My Fair Lady, Billy Liar, Stevie).  Viewers learn quickly that Monica is Victor’s latest wife.  The couple is on a ride through what is assumed to be a haunted house ride at a fair.  It has to be assumed at that immediate point that viewers are in fact seeing Edward and a victim since there is no real setup or back story here to identify them.  What’s more, taking into consideration the noted assumptions, viewers are also left to assume that Edward’s intent here was to scare Monica to the point of a fatal heart attack.  This is problematic for the story because again, audiences are forced to make so much assumption rather than just have it certified.  As things progress, it is revealed that Monica has named Edward in her will, leading him to, yes, dispose of her. It is here that the story becomes even problematic.  Monica’s lawyer reveals that Edward cannot get Monica’s money until certain circumstances arise.  That aside, Edward goes on to romance yet another woman while living in Monica’s house (his house now).  Enter Monica’s sister Charlotte Young (Kay Walsh – Oliver Twist, Stage Fright, The Horse’s Mouth) in rather unlikely fashion.  Charlotte sets out to uncover Edward’s crime.  Even here, things get somewhat contrived in the whole investigation and even Edward’s eventual confession.  That moment is one of the most confusing times simply because of how it is presented.  Between that moment and so many others throughout this 80-minute (one hour, 20-minute) movie, the story just suffers in its execution.  The dialogue proves problematic.  The abrupt opening, and the general execution right to the equally abrupt ending ultimately makes this movie’s story the lesser of the pair.

The story featured in Wanted for Murder is not without its own fault in terms of its execution.  As noted earlier, Victor is the story’s antagonist.  The only real back story that viewers get on him comes as he make a visit to a museum of infamous historical figures, one of which apparently is his father, who was an infamous hangman.  Here is the problem with this moment.  It is not pointed out directly that the man in question was Victor’s father.  Rather, viewers are left to figure that out for themselves.  This is problematic in that without the direct knowledge that the hangman was Victor’s father, Victor yelling at the mannequin just seems random.  Adding to the problems, the story never really explains how Victor’s father being a hangman led him to become a serial killer.  Again, there is no back story here to really explain away this aspect.  To that end, it makes Victor’s declarations late in the story that his father was the one committing the crimes just as random as his heinous acts.  Had the story’s writer(s) taken more time to explain Victor’s back story it would have made the story more gripping.  That is not to say that it is not gripping.  Though that one aspect really cannot be ignored, nor can the story’s equally random closing moments.  All things considered, the story featured in Wanted for Murder is better than that of Cast a Dark Shadow.  As a matter of fact, there is a certain Hitchcock style sense about the story.  That aside, it is still only slightly better than that featured in Cast a Dark Shadow.  Keeping all of this in mind, the execution of each story featured here detracts considerably from their presentations.  Luckily, this concern is not enough to completely doom the overall presentation.  The restoration of  the footage works with the stories to make them worth watching at least occasionally.

The restoration work in CMG’s presentation of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is worth noting because as old as the movies are, one would think the footage would not look and sound as good as it does.  Thankfully, painstaking efforts were clearly taken to bring the footage back to quality.  It paid off, too.  The sound of the static from the original soundtracks is there in each movie.  The grainy quality is there in the footage, too.  At the same time, it is clear that some re-mastering was done to clean up the footage to a point.  The result is a visual aspect that maintains the footage’s vintage look without that aspect being overpowering.  That and the clear audio collectively show the efforts to restore the footage fully paid off.  To that end, it will encourage viewers to remain engaged and entertained through both movies, even with the concerns raised through the execution of their stories.  All things considered, this noir double proves a work that most noir fans will find worth watching at least occasionally.  

Cohen Media Group’s recently release noir double feature of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is an interesting offering from the company, which is known for releasing vintage cinema.  It proves itself worth watching in part through its stories.  The stories are fiction.  However, a comparison to crimes that have been committed throughout history shows that they are not as fictitious as one might think.  While the stories are believable, considering the real crimes that have been committed around the world through the ages.  While the stories make suspension of disbelief relatively easy for viewers, the execution of each story proves somewhat problematic.  There are some clear concerns raised by plot holes and other general writing problems in each story.  It   detracts from the Blu-ray’s overall presentation, but not enough to make the presentation a failure.  The efforts put in to restore the footage rounds out the Blu-ray’s most important elements.  That is because of how well those efforts paid off.  The footage looks and sounds great in each movie thanks to those efforts.  When the result of that work is considered along with the stories, the two elements are enough to make these vintage noir flicks worth watching at least once even despite the concerns raised through the stories’ execution.  All in all, CMG’s presentation of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is imperfect but still a presentation that most noir fans will find worth watching occasionally.  The double feature is available now.

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

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.

Tracy Bonham’s Debut Family Music Album Is A Great Tool For Elementary Level Music Educators

Grammy®-nominated rocker Tracy Bonham will make her first venture into the world of family music Friday when she releases her debut family music album, Young Maestros Vol. 1.  The 11-song record is short, clocking in at just 29 minutes, but still offers plenty for audiences of all ages to enjoy, not the least of which being its varied musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own share of enjoyment.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they earn the album a spot on the list of 2021’s top new family music albums.

Tracy Bonham’s debut family music album, Young Maestros Vol. 1 is a work that leaves audiences looking forward to its follow-up in the best way possible.  That is proven in part through the record’s varied musical arrangements.  Throughout the course of the album’s nearly 30-minute run time, it presents listeners with arrangements whose stylistic approaches and sounds span the musical universe.  ‘Background Singers’ for instance takes listeners back to the golden age of Rhythm and Blues as it pays tribute to…well…background singers.   The subtle keyboard line, guitar, and bass join with the subtle vocals to present the noted stylistic approach and sound.  ‘Shake Like a Rattlesnake,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, uses its country music style sound and stylistic approach to conjure thoughts of country music legend Johnny Cash.  As a matter of fact, there is a moment in the song’s chorus and its refrains in which she will have listeners thinking of Cash’s timeless hit ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  More specifically, her refrains sound like Cash’s as he sings in his chorus, “I hang my head and Cry.’  Cash isn’t the only country music legend to whom Bonham pays tribute in this record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Song Without an Ending’ immediately lends itself to thoughts of Hank Williams’ timeless song, ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’  As if that is not enough, Bonham even pays tribute to Julie Andrews with references to Andrews take on the big screen adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.  That is quite a wide spread of musical styles and arrangements, and it certainly does not end there.  When the varied arrangements and styles noted here are considered with the rest of the album’s musical content, the whole builds a solid foundation for the album.  Building on that foundation is the engagement and entertainment offered through the album’s equally diverse lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements follows one central theme of music and music theory.  The matter is discussed through a variety of musical topics  ‘Big Beats,’ whose musical arrangement is a direct tribute to a certain well-known song from Sir Mix-a-Lot, and ‘Beats to a Measure’ are both songs that address basic counting in music.  ‘Feelin’ Pretty Major,’ with its throwback 1960s style pop rock style arrangement and sound, also notes beats.  It additionally approaches the topic of major and minor thirds, and other chord structures.  One of the most notable of the songs here, in terms of its music theory-related content comes early in the album in the form of ‘All The Blackbirds.’  The song is actually a unique pneumonic device meant to help young listeners who might be learning how to play piano.  Bonham does not immediately come out and make that clear.  Audiences have to listen close in order to catch the subtle connection, but it is there.  That Bonham could so creatively find a way to help young pianists develop their talent in this case is impressive.  Considering this, the other lyrical content noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the overall lyrical content featured in Young Maestros Vol. 1 does well in following the theme of the album’s title.  It and the album’s musical content collectively goes a long way toward making the album successful.  Even with this in mind, there is still at least one more item that makes the album work.  That last item is the record’s sequencing.

As already noted, the album’s musical arrangements are unique of one another throughout the course of its 29 minute run time.  The album’s lyrical content varies from on to the next, too, even as it centers on one central theme.  The record’s sequencing plays into that variety in both aspects.  It ensures that the content in both cases constantly changes, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  At the same, the sequencing also ensures that the energy in the record’s songs stays stable from start to end.  That energy seems to stick within a specific range from one to the next, never getting too slow and soft or too fast and loud.  That the energy remains so stable throughout shows even more why the record’s sequencing is so important.  When that overall importance is considered with the importance of the record’s overall content, it makes the album’s overall presentation even more engaging and entertaining.  All things considered, the record more than proves it deserves a spot among this year’s top new family music albums.

Tracy Bonham’s debut family music album, Young Maestro’s Vol. 1 is an impressive first family outing for the Grammy®-nominated rocker.  Its positives start in its musical content.  That content proves diverse throughout, reaching across the musical universe.  It features some country and bluegrass alongside some kindie pop and even R&B and hip-hop.  This alone ensures a wide appeal among audiences.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s music arrangement is diverse in its own right.  That is even as it follows one central lyrical theme.  The diverse lyrical content featured here touches on basic music theory concepts, making it a great tool for any elementary level music educator.  The sequencing of all of the noted content puts the finishing touch to the recording, bringing everything full circle.  That is because it ensures the record’s content changes up constantly.  Each item noted is important in its own way to this album.  All things considered, the album proves itself an enjoyable new family music offering that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  Young Maestros Vol. 1 is scheduled for release Friday through Melodeon Music.

Pre-orders for Bonham’s new album are open now.

More information on Tracy Bonham’s new single, video and album is available along with her latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.ecrmusicgrop.com/artists/tracy-bonham

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TracyBonhamMusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/tracy_bonham

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

CMG Announces Details For Forthcoming British Crime Noir Double Feature

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group has a new film noir double feature scheduled for release later this month on Blu-ray and DVD.

The forthcoming collection features the 1946 flick Wanted for Murder and the 1955 movie Cast a Dark Shadow as its primary content. The movies are classic British noir movies.

Wanted For Murder stars Eric Portman (49th Parallel, A Canterbury Tale, The Whisperers) as Victor, the son of a hangman. Thanks to his father’s occupation, Victor eventually goes crazy and starts starts strangling women, essentially emulating his father. However, when he meets and falls in love with Anne Fielding (Dulcie Gray — The Glass Mountain, The Franchise Affair, My Brother Jonathan) he has to suppress his urge to kill even her.

Cast a Dark Shadow stars Dirk Bogarde (Death in Venice, The Servant, Darling) and Margaret Lockwood (The Lady Vanishes, Night Train to Munich, Jassy) in the lead roles. Bogarde stars as playboy Edward Bare, who has developed a knack for marrying women and then killing them and taking their money. However, Charlotte Young (Kay Walsh — Oliver Twist, Stage Fright, The Horse’s Mouth), the sister of one of Edward’s victims is determined to bring him to justice. Things take an extra interesting turn when one of Edward’s latest wives tells him she wants to keep their accounts separate, leading to another murder plot. Charlotte’s plan plays into this matter in its own way.

The double feature will retail for MSRP of $19.95 on DVD and $29.95 on Blu-ray.

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