History Heats Up This Fall With Texas Rising

Courtesy:  History/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History/Lionsgate

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

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

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

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

–“Capturing the Revolution: Filming Texas Rising” featurette

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

–“General Santa Anna: Leading Mexico” featurette

*Subject to change

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

Website: http://www.history.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HISTORY

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ESPN Films’ 30 For 30 Returns Tonight

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s hit film series 30 for 30 kicks off a new season tonight.

The network’s award-winning film series kicks off tonight at 7pm with the film Playing for the Mob.  The season’s premiere film/episode examines the role of mobster Henry Hill on a number of Boston College’s basketball games.  Hill once helped to fix many of the university’s basketball games.  The film is narrated by actor Ray Liotta (Goodfellas).  It airs tonight at 9pm ET on ESPN.  This season’s complete schedule of films is listed below.

Tuesday, Oct.7, 9 p.m. – “Playing for the Mob”
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 10 p.m. – “The Day The Series Stopped”
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 9 p.m. – “When The Garden Was Eden”
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 9 p.m. – “Brian and The Boz”
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 9 p.m. – “Brothers in Exile”
Tuesday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m. – “Rand University”
Saturday, Dec. 13, 9 p.m. – “The U Part 2”

More information on this season’s schedule and all of the latest 30 for 30 news and is available online at:

Website: http://www.espn.com/30for30

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30

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Pawn Holds Its Own Against Other Crime Thrillers

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Anchor Bay Entertainment’s new crime thriller, Pawn is an interesting work.  For a movie that was filmed in roughly fifteen days, and helmed by a first time director—David A. Armstrong—it turned out to be not the standard crime thriller.  Rather, it’s a story that requires audiences to completely invest their attention on the story.  If viewers can do this, then they will find that despite some scripting issues, it still turns out to be a movie that is worth at least one watch.

One of the main positives to Pawn is that it wastes no time jumping right into the story.  The story is simple enough.  On one side, audiences get a crime thriller that’s front loaded with lots of crosses and double crosses; so many in fact that some viewers may need a program to follow exactly what’s going on.  In direct relation is the story of a young man who simply wants to turn around his life after having gotten out of jail only hours before the standoff at crime boss Yuri’s café.  The young man is used as a red herring for one specific aspect of the story.  Though, it becomes increasingly obvious that he is used in such role as the story advances.  Because of this one can’t help but cheer for him and hope that he gets out of the café alive and in one piece.

The writing behind Pawn forces viewers to fully engage and immerse themselves in its world.  It’s just one of the movie’s positives.  What can also be noted of the movie is that the acting on the part of both Chiklis and Common was expert once again.  This should come as no surprise, especially considering that Chiklis has quite the extensive resume when it comes to crime thrillers.  He worked for seven seasons on FX’s The Shield, not to mention an equally extensive stage resume, too.  And Common played the role of a crooked cop himself in the 2010 movie, Date Night.  What’s most interesting is hearing Chiklis pull off a British accent.  Typically American actors don’t have much success trying to pull off foreign accents.  But somehow, he pulled it off.  Though he did sound somewhat like Bob Hoskins as Smee in Hook.  And considering that Hoskins is a U.K. born actor, this is actually quite the compliment to Chiklis.

Next to the outstanding of the movie’s all-star cast, one can say of Pawn is its cinematography.  The angles and the fast paced shots help keep the suspense throughout the story.  Even in less action packed moments, the camera work does an impressive job of keeping viewers entirely engaged.  One such example comes late in the story when the unnamed “Man in the suit” (played by Ray Liotta) attempts to feel Amanda’s (Nikki Reed) baby bump after having spent quite an amount of time threatening her life and that of her husband and her unborn child.  The tension in the room is thanks in large part to the camera work.  The angle of the shot leaves viewers wondering what he’s about to do.  It’s just one of so many impressive shots achieved throughout this crime thriller.  And it’s just one of so many moments that make this a crime thriller that is worth at least one watch.

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.

Treyarch, Activision Release New Black Ops II DLC Map Pack

Courtesy:  Activision/Treyarch Studios

Courtesy: Activision/Treyarch Studios

Good news, gamers.  Treyarch and Activision are set to release another addition to the massive hit, Call of Duty Black Ops II.  The companies will release their latest Downloadable Content (DLC) for the game next Tuesday, April 16thCall of Duty Black Ops II: Uprising is the latest addition to the hit game.  Uprising offers fans four new maps set around the world.  “Magma” takes gamers into a Japanese village that has been overrun by volcanic eruptions and lava.  “Encore” takes players into a deserted London music festival.  It offers plenty of opportunities for close-in combat between players.  “”Vertigo” takes players to India and a dizzying high-rise that features a high-tech lab and lots more.  And last, “Studio” takes fans back to the COD: Firing Range, which is a fan favorite from the original Call of Duty: Black Ops.  It takes place on a Hollywood back lot with a number of varying cinematic themes.

The four new maps offered in Uprising are just part of what fans have to look forward to this time out.  Fans of the previous DLC will take joy in the inclusion of the Mob of The Dead Zombies experience.  It lets users go back in time to Alcatraz Prison during Prohibition time and face off against zombies as one of the infamous gangsters, Billy Handsome (Ray Liotta), Al “The Weasel” Arlington (Joe Pantoliano), Salvatore “Sal” DeLuca (Chazz Palminteri), and Michael “Finn” O’Leary (Michael Madsen).  This new map includes the new feature, Purgatory, which lets users actually go into the afterlife to face even more zombies.  Treyarch Studios head Mark Lamia commented on this new feature along with the rest of the new DLC.  He expressed his excitement at what gamers get in this latest update to the Black Ops II franchise.  “With Uprising, the team has really outdone itself again,” he said.  “In addition to creating four new multiplayer maps, the studio has been hard at work on the zombies front to surpass what we accomplished with Call of the Dead.  What they’ve done this time around is nothing Zombies fans have seen before – and if you don’t believe me, just wait until you get into Purgatory.”

Call of Duty Black Ops II: Uprising is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.  It will be available first, exclusively on Xbox LIVE for 1200 Microsoft Points on April 16th.  It is also available in the Call of Duty: Black Ops II DLC Season Pass* in which fans can buy all four massive DLC Map Packs planned for this year.  The Season Pass also allows fans to receive the Nuketown Zombies bonus map, and an additional exclusive in-game calling card at an MSRP of $49.99 or 4,000 Microsoft Points – a discount of 800 Microsoft Points off the individual purchase of all four DLC Map Packs.

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