Lionsgate Announces Release Date For Manhattan: Season One

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/WGN America

Courtesy: Lionsgate/WGN America

Manhattan is coming home this spring.

Lionsgate will release the first season of its hit drama Manhattan on Blu-ray+Digital, DVD+Digital, and Digital HD on Tuesday, April 7th. The serial, which currently airs on WGN, is a historically-based fiction that follows the events leading up to the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb. It focuses on the scientists that developed the bomb and their struggles to balance their secretive operations with their own personal lives. The series stars Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards, The Blacklist, Beautiful Creatures) and Michael Chernus (Orange Is The New Black, The Bourne Legacy, Love & Other Drugs).

Season One’s Blu-ray+Digital release will be a three-disc set and its DVD+Digital release a four-disc set. Both sets will feature the same bonus material. That material includes a making of featurette—“Ground Zero: Bringing The Bomb To Screen”—episode specific commentaries, a featurette on J. Robert Oppenheimer, and more. The full list of the box sets’ bonus material is noted below. The Blu-ray+Digital box set will retails for $49.97 and the DVD box set $49.98.

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • “Ground Zero: Bringing the Bomb to Screen” featurette
  • “P.O. Box 1663: Creating a City that Didn’t Exist” featurette
  • “‘Now I Am Become Death': J. Robert Oppenheimer” featurette
  • “Recreating an Era: ‘Manhattan’Costume Design” featurette
  • Select episode audio commentaries with Cast and Crew

*Subject to change.

 

All the latest updates on Manhattan are available online at:

 

Website: http://wgnamerica.com/shows/manhattan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ManhattanWGNA/timeline

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ManhattanWGNA

 

All of the latest information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

 

Website: https://www.lionsgate.com

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

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

 

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

Open Up Those Notebooks: Bear Hunt–The Movie Is One Of This Year’s Best New DVD’s For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Jamhouse Records

Courtesy: Jamhouse Records

Two years ago when it released its album Bear Hunt, kindie-rock band Josh and the Jamtones surprised a lot of people. That is because the album, which was released without the backing of any record label, proved to be one of the best new children’s albums of the year. It also proved to be just as entertaining for adults. It proved to be so entertaining for so many audiences because of its originality and creativity. Even within the kindie-rock world, no other act had released an album anything like Bear Hunt. The band took one of the most famous and beloved campfire “songs” of all time in the album’s title work and completely turned it on its ear with a wonderfully entertaining group of sketches. The sketches in question were interspersed with a number of equally entertaining songs proving unquestionably exactly why Bear Hunt was (and still is today) one of the best albums both for children and adults alike. Now the Boston-based quintet has followed up the success of that album with an equally entertaining release in its new DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie. Bear Hunt: The Movie is so entertaining first and foremost simply for the fact that it did exactly what so many fans of Josh and the Jamtones had hoped for. It brings to life (so to speak) the story presented on the band’s 2013 album. Its stylistic approach is more than any fan could hope to see. The use of the hand crafted puppets and backdrops together makes for its own entertainment value. The look of the puppets and backdrops couples with Josh and Patrick’s own performances make the sketches all the more entertaining and in turn the DVD itself that much more worth the watch. The sketches that lie at the heart of Bear Hunt: The Movie more than make the band’s new DVD worth the watch with their look and acting. Just as noteworthy are the companion music videos that round out the DVD. The videos that complement Bear Hunt: The Movie make it even more worth the watch. They include songs both from Bear Hunt: The Album and from the band’s other works. The combination of their fun sound and equally entertaining look rounds out the reasons that any family should check out this DVD. Whether for the videos or for the sketches, both parts of this DVD make it a great addition to any family’s home library. The elements tied into the sketches and videos (their look and sound) make the DVD even more worth the purchase. And when they are all taken into consideration together, they prove Bear Hunt: The Movie to be an early candidate for this year’s list of the best new DVDs for children and families.

The companion to its full-length 2013 album Bear Hunt, Josh and the Jamtones’ new DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie is an easy, early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. The central reason that it is so deserving of this honor is the quartet of sketches that were lifted directly from the band’s album. They are stylistically everything for which fans had hoped after hearing them two years ago on Bear Hunt: The Album. The design of the characters’ puppet figures and backdrops in each sketch are themselves unlike anything that any other kindie-rock act is using today. It is difficult to fully put into words just how that look makes the sketches so enjoyable. Audiences will understand when they watch the sketches for themselves. Audiences can get a glimpse of one of the sketches online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHwovF_zCzY. The understanding of the song gained in watching just this skit will lead any viewer to agree fully as to why the primary sketches included on Bear Hunt: The Movie more than make their own reason to pick up the whole DVD.

The look of the sketches that lie at the heart of Bear Hunt: The Movie on its own more than makes this DVD a welcome addition to any family’s home library. The acting on the part of Josh and Patrick adds even more enjoyment to the sketches and even more reason for any family to add this DVD to its home library. What audiences get in Josh and Patrick’s performance isn’t just a couple of guys handling cardboard string puppets. The puppets themselves have been rather intricately designed for maximum suspension of disbelief. The duo’s different reactions portrayed in each of the sketches makes the pair’s acting even more believable and in turn entertaining. Josh’s outrageous reaction in being told about the single, child sized bed in the duo’s room, the duo’s comic timing in its discussion about Josh’s purple teddy bear, and the guys’ eventual meeting with the “evil scary bear” all prove this argument. Each moment will leave adults laughing just as *ahem* ferociously as their younger counterparts. Yes, that bad pun was fully intended. That laugh riot acting in each of the sketches makes each one entertaining in its own right. And taken into consideration with the look of the skits, both elements show plenty of reason for ay family to add this DVD to its ow home library.

The central skits that make up Bear Hunt: The Movie and their incorporated elements–their look and comic acting–make for plenty of reason for any family to add Bear Hunt: The Movie to its own home DVD library. For all of the enjoyment offered by these elements, there is still more to note in regards to what makes this DVD so enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Just as worth noting as the aforementioned elements are the music videos that accompany the skits. The music videos in question come from both songs included on Bear Hunt and from the band’s previous works. Among those songs/videos included from Bear Hunt: The Album were: ‘Fill It Up,’ ‘Snow Day,’ and ‘Swing Low,’ which opens the album. ‘The videos for ‘John Jacob,’ ‘Jump Up!,’ and ‘Iko Iko’ are new additions to the DVD. All three of those songs were taken from the band’s 2012 album Jump Up. There’s just as much to say about these videos as the sketches that sit at the heart of the DVD. The videos themselves make a great introduction to Josh and the Jamtones’ music for anyone that might not be so familiar with the band’s music. The laid back groove of ‘Fill It Up’ coupled with its simple, positive lyrics is just one example of why the videos make for a great introduction. Front man Josh Schrieber sings about spreading the love and “filling up” the world with love. It’s a great message. And coupled with the song’s video, it becomes an even stronger example of what makes this band so great. The look of the video (and the other videos) will be discussed later. For now, the focus will remain on the songs themselves. Getting back to that, the video for ‘Iko Iko’ presents yet another great tune from one of the greatest family acts out there today. Audiences will be interested to know that this is actually a cover song. It was originally written and recorded by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford.” It was made even more famous in 1965 by a group known as The Dixie Cups. Through some research, the song’s words translate roughly to, “Listen listen!/Listen listen at the rear/It’s very good at the rear/It’s a very good year.” The lyrics are a mix of Louisiana Creole and Native American. It’s interesting considering the song’s history. Regardless, the rendition performed here is still a fun piece. And then there is the band’s original work ‘Snow Day.’ Considering all of the snow that has been pounding the Northeast and Midwest this year, it’s a fitting song for any family in those regions. Most of the song centers on the joy that kids feel at having a snow day but then throws a curveball in the mix. That curveball won’t be given away for those that haven’t heard it. though it can be said that the evil scary bear makes an appearance in the video. The song’s video was recently released online and can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHwovF_zCzY. Getting on the topic of the videos themselves, the varied look of the videos makes them even more of a bonus.

The videos that accompany the Bear Hunt sketches on Bear Hunt: The Movie are a huge positive to the presentation simply for the fact that they make for a great introduction to those not so familiar with Josh and the Jamtones’ musical body of work. This is especially the case being that some of the videos included on the DVD are companion pieces to songs included on Bear Hunt: The Album. The look of the videos makes them even more of a positive. None of the videos included on the DVD look like one another. The video for ‘Iko Iko’ is a lyric video while the video for ‘John Jacob’ is a wonderfully entertaining work that stands out stylistically from any other animated music video or even cartoon out there. Hand crafted or not, it is next to impossible to tell if it was crafted by hand or by computer. That is a testament to those responsible for bringing this video to life. The video for ‘Swing Low’ presents Josh and the Jamtones in a live setting, giving audiences a glimpse into the band on the road. And the companion video to ‘Snow Day’ is something that cannot be explained in words. it must be seen to be understood. Again that video is available online now from the band on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHwovF_zCzY. The simplicity of front man Josh Schrieber singing ‘Fill It Up’ against footage of the band’s “HQ” being established is just as entertaining. Whether it be these videos or the accompanying video for ‘Jump Up!,’ the various styles of the videos and the positive messages contained within the songs shows clearly why the videos that are included as part of Bear Hunt: The Movie are just as important to its success as the sketches at the DVD’s center. All together all of these elements prove Bear Hunt: The Movie to be a must have for any family and one of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families.

Bear Hunt: The Movie boasts plenty of positives as has already been noted. The sketches that lie at the heart of the DVD make the DVD well worth the watch by themselves. The music videos that accompany the sketches add even more enjoyment to the DVD. That is thanks both to the band’s stylistic approach to the videos (and the sketches) and to the fun, overall content of each song and sketch. All combined, the sketches and videos that make up this DVD more than make it worth the purchase. They also combine to make it one of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. It can be purchased at any Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant nationwide and can be ordered online direct from Josh and the Jamtones’ website at http://joshandthejamtones.com. It is also going to be made available as an app via the iTunes app store very soon. More information on this and other releases from Josh and the Jamtones is available online along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://joshandthejamtones.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheJamtones

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.

StarVista Shines Bright Again Thanks To The Wonder Years Season Two

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

ABC’s The Wonder Years was one of the most successful and popular programs on television in its original run on ABC from 1988 – 1993.  Even after more than two decades since it finally came to an end, it still remains one of the most beloved series in television’s modern history.  As beloved as the series continued to prove to be since it ended its original run, it wouldn’t be until last year that devotees of The Wonder Years would finally be rewarded for their loyalty to the series.  The complete first season of The Wonder Years finally got its first ever full, proper DVD release last fall courtesy of StarVista Entertainment.  And this week, StarVista Entertainment has followed up that release with the series’ complete second season.  Season Two picks up where the series’ first season left off in every sense of the phrase, presenting wonderful, timeless episodes that are just as relatable today as they were in their original airings.  The acting on the part of the cast remains just as impressive as in Season One.  And the mass of bonus material including the companion booklet and the on-disc bonuses impresses yet again in its own way.  Each of the noted elements—the writing, acting, and bonus material—that went into the second season of The Wonder Years plays its own pivotal role in making this long-awaited box set so impressive.  All three together make the second season of The Wonder Years another must have for any of the series’ original audiences.

When it was finally released last year, StarVista Entertainment’s release of The Wonder Years: Season One proved in so many ways to be well worth the two-decade plus wait.  One of the main reasons that it proved so well worth the wait was the writing behind its episodes.  Much the same can be said of the writing in Season Two’s episodes.  The series’ writers continued in Season Two to present a series that was a serial without actually being a serial.  It followed the Arnold family’s growth.  But unlike today’s series, it didn’t require audiences to dedicate the amount of time that said series require of audiences.  It’s a model that sadly hasn’t been seen since the days of Home Improvement, Wings, The Cosby Show, and 3rd Rock From The Sun just to name a handful of series.  It’s just part of what continues to make the writing so impressive in the series’ second season.  The ability of audiences to so easily relate to the series concepts in these episodes makes the writing just as strong.  Every viewer will relate to the fallout from Kevin and Winnie’s breakup at the end of Season One because every viewer has navigated those same troubled waters in their own lives whether as children or teens.  In the same vein, the growing complexities of Kevin and Paul’s friendship throughout Season Two are just as real.  The strain put on the pair’s friendship when Paul starts dating in “Steady As She Goes” is a situation to which any viewer can relate.  It’s a situation to which both men and women can relate as both boys and girls go (have gone) through at some point in life.  And the emotional strain caused by a divorce as in “How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation” is just as much an issue to which so many audiences can relate.  It’s just one more example of how the writing behind Season Two makes its episodes just as enjoyable as those that made up the series’ first season.  There are plenty of other examples of why the series’ writing this season remains so solid.  From the special message in “Christmas” to the tensions which every married couple has had at some point even today in “Pottery Will Get You Nowhere,” to the already noted episodes, audiences will see from episode to episode just why the writing behind Season Two’s episodes is central to the set’s success and enjoyment.

The writing behind the second season of The Wonder Years is the center point of its success and enjoyment.  Even now in the twenty-first century, the situations presented throughout each episode are situations to which any family can relate.  That is because every viewer has found himself or herself in at least one of the given situations if not most.  That having been noted, the work of the show’s cast in terms of interpreting Season Two’s scripts adds to the episodes’ enjoyment.  At no one point does it ever feel like the cast is going over the top.  Maybe the reason for that is that the situations presented in Season Two were just as timeless then as they are today.  They were (and are) so real that it made interpreting their scripts that easy.  It is so easy to believe Kevin’s heartbreak when he learns that Winnie hasn’t fallen back in love with him and when he is struggling to keep his parents from fighting after Jack gives Norma no support as she takes a pottery course.  The frustration of the Arnolds in trying to keep up with the times in “Christmas” is just as real and believable.  Even today, it’s so easy for any family to see itself in the position of the Arnolds as they feel left behind by technology and those with the latest technology.  That reality made the acting just as easy for the cast just as the reality of divorce made the acting in the season finale so easy.  And because the acting in these (and all of Season Two’s episodes) is so believable, it makes the episodes in whole more believable and that much more enjoyable for audiences.  The believability of the cast’s acting coupled with the work of the script writers makes collectively for a big reason that The Wonder Years: Season Two is a must see for any fan of this classic series.

The work of the cast and the writers in The Wonder Years’ second season make up a big part of the reason that any fan of the show should check out this new box set from StarVista Entertainment.  While both elements are of equal importance to the set’s success, there is still one more element to note of the set that will impress audiences just as much.  That final element is the set’s collective bonus material.  The bonus material includes not just the bonus interviews and featurettes on the set’s fourth disc but the set’s companion booklet, too. The material included on the set’s fourth disc includes more interviews with Fred Savage’s TV parents Dan Lauria and Alley Mills as well as an interview with narrator Daniel Stern (Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Bushwacked). There is also a look back at the turbulent era in which The Wonder Years’ second season took place. The era in question was the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was a time of great social change for America, and as audiences will see in “The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Era” those changes were reflected directly in the episodes. They were part of the previously noted writing that made Season Two so enjoyable. Along with all of that, there is also a roundtable discussion with Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, and Josh Saviano in which the trio looks back on the events of Season Two and what those events meant to each one of them. The companion booklet that is included with Season Two maintains the standard set by the booklet included in Season One’s box. Simply put, it is more than just an episode guide. It outlines the episodes and gives some background on the episodes as well as some history behind the show and other little important tidbits such as current events and music history in relation to the episodes’ settings. The fact that the people at StarVista entertainment would strive to maintain that high standard even with the set’s companion booklet shows that they wanted to continue honoring the series and those that made it so great, and the show’s fans. Such an in-depth booklet coupled with equally in-depth bonuses included on-disc show together why the bonus material included in The Wonder Years: Season Two is just as important to its presentation as the episodes and the work of the cast. By themselves, the bonuses included in this set make for plenty of reason for the show’s original fans to add this set to their home library. Together with the work of the cast and the writers, audiences are presented with a set that is in every way a definite must have.

The Wonder Years: Season Two is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Years-Season-2-4DVD/dp/B00OGD8PX6/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1423063498&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Wonder+years+Season+2. More information on this and other titles from StarVista Entertainment is available online at:

 

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

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.

Life’s A Breeze Is A Dramedy Well Worth The Watch

Courtesy:  Magnolia Pictures/Magnolia Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures/Magnolia Home Entertainment

Money, it’s often said, is the root of all evil. However, the reality is that it is not money but the want of money that is the source of all evil. It is that want of money that drives man to do bad things. Those bad things include putting their own well-being over that of their own friends and family. And that message is at the core of Life’s A Breeze, the new dramedy from indie studio Magnolia Home Entertainment. It’s also a message that is presented without being preachy. For that reason alone, it makes Life’s A Breeze well worth the watch. The story behind which that message rests is just as important to the movie’s success. It centers on a group of adult children who start out just trying to help their elderly mother. But in learning of the mattress and the alleged fortune stashed within, things change very quickly. The end result reveals a message just as deep as the central message of human greed. That secondary message is one of how the elderly are viewed and treated by younger adults and even young people. Both of those messages coupled with the movie’s story make for plenty of reason for audiences to check out Life’s A Breeze now that it’s available on DVD and Blu-ray. While each element proves its importance in its own way, there is still one remaining element worth noting to the movie’s benefit. That element is the work of the movie’s cast. Being an import from Ireland, American audiences won’t recognize any of the cast in this movie. But that’s beside the point. That’s because every member of the cast is equally entertaining. Pat Shortt’s portrayal of the dopey, somewhat scheming Colm, young Kelly Thornton’s presentation of Emma, and Fionnula Flanagan’s take on the family’s underappreciated matriarch Nan are all spot on. The rest of the cast is just as entertaining in its supporting roles. The cast’s acting is so surprisingly entertaining that it makes suspension of disbelief quite easy. That ability of audiences to so easily suspend their disbelief leads to even easier grasp of the movie’s central story and its messages. Those whose minds are open enough will find themselves appreciating all of these elements together and agreeing that while not necessarily the “Feel-good film” that the Irish Times claimed it to be, it is still a movie that is as deep as it is funny and touching. That being the case, it proves to be yet another independent release that is just as worth the watch as anything churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five studios.

Hollywood in its current era has become increasingly a wasteland over the course of the past two decades or more thanks to the fact that those at the heads of the major studios have become afraid to take chances and back anything original and creative. Even the audiences that one supported Hollywood’s endless river of prequels, sequels, and remakes are becoming increasingly vocal against this practice. They are starting to chomp at the bit for something with real substance that doesn’t require involvement in more than one movie. They want the mainstream movie world to step out and take those chances again. Where Hollywood has struggled to offer anything along those lines, smaller, independent companies such as Magnolia Home Entertainment have picked up the slack and given those audiences exactly what they want and need. The most recent example of this comes from its new Irish import Life’s A Breeze. Its message about the emphasis that we as people put on money versus that of our own loved ones lies at the center of the movie’s enjoyment. Thanks to the efforts of the movie’s writer/director Lance Daly, that message is presented without being overly preachy. Its rather serious nature is balanced with just enough moments of comic relief to keep it from overpowering audiences while still remaining at the story’s forefront. The message itself is presented through the movie’s story, which sees a group of adult children hunting for a missing matress that belongs to their mother. The mattress in question allegedly has almost a million Euros, which is equal to a little more than a million dollars American currency. It isn’t until their mother tells them about the mattress that they even start to care. Even then, they care more about the money for themselves than for her. It’s such a sad, telling and true statement that transcends nations. And because of its ability to reach so many different audiences, the story proves itself to be another of the movie’s most important positives.

The central message of man’s greed that lies within Life’s A Breeze is itself plenty of reason for audiences to check out this surprisingly worthwhile watch. There is no preachy nature involved in the message’s delivery. It is delivered with class thanks to the Daly’s work. Its value to the movie in whole can’t be denied. And neither can the value of the story itself. The story that is used to deliver the movie’s message is just as important to the whole. The story is centered on a group of adult children who are cleaning up the home of their mother Nan (Fionnula Flanagan–The Others, Yes Man, Four Brothers), which is something almost akin to that of a hoarder. In the process, Nan’s childre end up throwing out her mattress, which she alleges contained close to a million Euros. That is, on the current market, a little less than a million dollars in U.S. currency. The problem is that they are not trying to find the money for her. Rather, they want it for themselves. When the people of the city are called upon by Colm to help, they prove even more the emphasis put on money over others. The only person that treats Nan with any real civility and humanity through it all is her grand-daughter Emma (Kelly Thornton–Clean Break, Love/Hate). The bond that grows between Nan and Emma throughout the course of the movie will bring audiences both to laughter and tears. And speaking of Emma, her final scene, which also closes the movie, will move audiences just as much. Itdrives home once and for all the message of human greed and how we as people should value who and what we have. Most amazing of all is the fact that this is done all within two short shots. Those shots won’t be given away here for the sake of those that haven’t yet seen the movie. But alongside the rest of the movie, they make for a powerful close to a movie that more than proves itself just as enjoyable as any big name blockbuster.

There are a lot of deep, thought-provoking moments throughout the course of Life’s A Breeze. For all of those moments that are shared, there are plenty of laughs along the way, too. They come courtesy of Colm’s (Pat Shortt–Calvary, The Guard, Rory O’Shea) buffoonery in his hunt. One of his best moments comes when he thinks that Nan has won the nation’s lottery. This is another moment that won’t be given away. But it involves shaving cream and his fellow grown-up siblings. There is another moment when Colm has to chase down a bunch of kids who have stolen Nan’s wheeled shed so as to burn it in a bonfire. He is essentially accused by one mother of being a pedophile when he confronts one of the kids. It’s one more of so many great moments provided by Shortt that will leave audiences laughing. Those moments collectively set against the movie’s more in-depth, emotional moments make the movie’s story that much more enjoyable and prove why the story is just as important to the enjoyment of the whole as its central message.

The pairing of the story behind Life’s A Breeze and the delivery of its message of human greed makes this independent dramedy a work that is just as worth the watch as any of its counterparts released by Hollywood’s major studios. In fact, it could be argued to be even better than those movies as it doesn’t try to dumb itself down, unlike those movies. It still offers its own share of laughs and deeper moments for a presentation that any true movie lover should see at least once. While the work put into Life’s a Breeze in terms of its script and its central message both play their own pivotal roles in the movie’s enjoyment, one would be remiss to ignore the work of the movie’s cast. It’s already been noted that lead star Pat Shortt is a laugh riot as Nan’s son Colm. His comic timing as he struggles to find Nan’s mattress make for plenty of laughs. He is wholly believable in his portrayal of the oafish, almost middle-aged man who leads his siblings in the search for Nan’s money. Fionnula Flanagan is just as entertaining in her portrayal of Nan. Nan isn’t just some helpless, elderly woman. She proves to be pretty sharp even in her old age. She will have audiences laughing plenty when she and Emma set out to find the matress themselves without telling her own children. Her reaction to the male stripper (yes, there’s even a male stripper) at her 80th birthday party is timeless and will have anyone laughing just as uproariously. And then there’s Emma. Kelly Thornton’s take on Emma makes the story just as rich in its own way. Emma is the only one that show’s any real respect and love for Nan. Seeing Thornton handle Emma’s growth as Emma’s relationship with her grandmother grows adds even more depth to the story. Emma really is that hope for mankind among all of the selfish, short-sighted individuals that fill the world. She reminds audiences that it is possible to show care and concern for others over money, but that one must first care more for people than for money for that to happen. It is one more wonderful job of acting from the movie’s cast. And together with the work of her cast mates, it makes for one more equally wonderful reason to watch Life’s A Breeze at least once. It also shows once more why this deep, funny, and moving indie flick should be an early pick for any critic’s list of the year’s best new indie flicks.

The work of the cast in Life’s A Breeze, its central story, and its primary message together make it an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new indie flicks. It proves thanks to all of these elements that it is just as enjoyable as any dramedy churned out by Hollywood’s major studios. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Magnolia Home Entertainment online at http://www.magpictures.com/lifesabreeze/. More information on this and other releases from Magnolia Home Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.magpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/magnoliapics

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.

Sci-Fi Fans and ET Enthusiasts Alike Will Enjoy In Search Of Aliens Season 1

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/Lionsgate/History/H2

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/Lionsgate/History/H2

History Channel and H2’s hit sci-fi/history hybrid series Ancient Aliens has proven to be quite the hit among audiences ever since it debuted in 2009. Since that time, it has gone on to run seven seasons and is currently in the midst of its eighth full season on H2. The success of that series led to the premiere of a spinoff in the form of Searching For Aliens last summer. Since not everybody has access to H2, History Channel and A&E Home Video made available to audiences the full first season of In Search of Aliens on DVD last month. The three disc season set is a good addition to the library of any sci-fi fan and even any true believer. The central reason that it is a welcome addition to said audiences’ libraries is its episodes. The episodes that make up the series’ first season both throw back to the topics covered in Ancient Aliens and introduce new topics. And while some of host Girogio Tsoukalos’ theories seem somewhat far-fetched, others make at least a certain amount of sense. To that extent, the theories and arguments raised in each episode aren’t just the standard “oh it’s got to be aliens” argument. Though, Tsoukalos does always find a way to argue that every mystery is answered by alien intervention. And last of note in this box set is are the graphic illustrations used to help explain each of Tsoukalos’ theories. While they don’t necessarily do anything to convince skeptics, they do help to illustrate Tsoukalos’ theories. And that makes each of this season’s episodes all the more watchable. All three factors together show exactly why In Search of Aliens Season One is a welcome addition to the collection of any sci-fi fan and alien enthusiast.

At first glance, one might assume that History and H2’s new extraterrestrial series In Search of Aliens is just a rehashing of Ancient Aliens. But any viewer that gives it a chance will note that In Search of Aliens is in fact not that. There are episodes that seem familiar since their subject mater was already discussed in previous episodes of Ancient Aliens. But there are also episodes that feature subject matter that was not handled in the aforementioned series, too. That is the central aspect of In Search of Aliens Season One that audiences will appreciate. The series re-visits the mystery of the Nazca lines, the alleged alien influence on America’s founding, and the Nazis’ attempt at time travel in its first season. It also goes into more depth, examining the potential link between alien life and some of the world’s most legendary creatures in Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. There is also an examination into what is known as “The Roswell Rock.” The rock in question is a magnetized stone that was allegedly left behind by the military at the site of the infamous Roswell UFO crash site. This episode especially is certain to create discussion as it is shown just how easily the raised symbol on the rock could have been man-made. The examination of what makes the rock a natural magnet is even more interesting. On one side, it could easily argued that it just happened to be a natural phenomenon that someone found and used to carve the formation that appears on it. There are naturally occurring items such as “The Roswell Rock” out there. So it is sure to keep create its own share of discussion alongside the other episodes included in this season’s set. Whether it be for that single episode, any of the others or all of them together, the fact that these episodes balance familiar theories with less familiar theories is reason enough for any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast to check out In Search of Aliens Season One.

The mix of old and new theories that make up the whole of In Search Of Aliens Season One is within itself plenty of reason for ay sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast to check out this box set. The arguments expounded by host Giorgio Tsoukalos make for another reason for audiences to check out this collection of episodes. Given, some of his theories seem far-fetched. But others do leave some room for thought. Many of his arguments are made through interviews with “experts” in specific fields related to each topic. In the case of the legendary Nazca lines, his interview with a construction expert reveals how the iconic “mountaintop landing strip” would have entailed countless blast operations, paving and much more over the course of two to three decades at least. Considering that and what looks obviously like a modern set of airport runways, one can’t deny that the possibility of something other than humans was responsible for its construction. On the other hand, the episode centered on “The Roswell Rock” leaves plenty of room for doubt. It is shown just how easy it would have been re-create the symbol on the rock. What’s more, if the man who owned the rock came out as having it, wouldn’t the government have come in and taken it at some point? Even more worth noting is that naturally occurring items such as the magnetic rock have been found around the world. So for Tsoukalos to just say, “oh it’s alien, I don’t care what anyone says!” is a bit close-minded. The theories and arguments raised in Season One’s other episodes are sure to generate their own share of discussion. The discussion in question coupled with Tsoukalos’ theories and arguments show even more why any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast will appreciate the first season of In Search of Aliens.

The episodes that make up the first season of In Search of Aliens and the theories and arguments therein make for plenty of reason for sci-fi fans and UFO enthusiasts alike to check out this recently released box set. While the theories and arguments raised in each episode help move the episodes along, the video and graphic illustrations used to ground each theory and argument play theory own part in the episodes’ enjoyment. In the case of the episode centering on the Nazi time travel experiment, audiences are presented the sight of the experiments. There is also footage showing Tsoukalos with a group of scientists who test the bell-shaped craft allegedly created by the Nazis for their time travel experiments. that is set alongside footage of the spacecraft used by NASA over the years. It makes a good case for the possibility of some influence from somewhere. And in presenting the case of the Nazca lines, audiences are presented a graphic illustration as part of the argument for its link to extraterrestrials that will definitely have some audiences talking. A CG graphic is shown, illustrating the efforts that would had to have been taken in terms of blasting, etc. to make the mountaintop “landing strip” become a reality. Seeing first hand what was being explained makes the amount of work really mind boggling especially considering how long ago the landing strip and figures around it were crafted. The illustrations incorporated into this season’s episodes make them just as interesting in their own right, too. The end result of the collective illustrations, the arguments and theories themselves is a group of episodes that is a solid extension of Ancient Aliens and a series that has the potential to stand on its own two feet in the long run. It is a group of episodes that any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast will happily welcome into their own home DVD library.

Whether it be for the theories familiar and new to audiences, the arguments tied in to the theories or the video and graphics used to illustrate said arguments and theories, all three elements noted make In Search of Aliens a collection of episodes that any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast will want to see at least once. The episodes included in this season re-introduce the topics covered through the current eight season-run of Ancient Aliens. The theories and arguments within each episode are sure to create their own share of discussion among skeptics and true believers alike. And the combination of graphics and video used to illustrate each theory and argument helps to advance each episode even more, thus keeping audiences engaged. The combination of all of the noted elements makes this collection a welcome addition to the library of any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast regardless of whether or not it gets picked up for a second season. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct online at http://shop.history.com. More information on this and other series from History and H2 is available online at:

Website: http://www.history.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HISTORY

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment 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.

New Live Coletrane Recording Coming This Spring From MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy:  MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Jazz lovers celebrate! This spring, MVD Entertainment Group is going to release a new archived live recording from legendary saxophonist John Coletrame.

MVD Entertainment Group will release So Many Things: The European Tour 1960 on Tuesday, March 10th. The four-disc set is a “sequel” of sorts to Miles Davis and John Coletrane “All of You”: The Last Tour 1960. It follows the band’s performances from its Fall 1961 tour of Europe and features performances of some of Coletrane’s greatest hits including: ‘My Favorite Things,’ ‘Blue Train,’ and ‘Naima’ that Coletrane performed alongside band mates Eric Dolphy (alto sax, bass clarinet, flute), McCoy Tyner (piano), Reggie Workman (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums). There is also a bonus for fans as the quintet performed what is Coletrane’s only recording of Victor Young’s ‘Delilah.’ It also includes photographs, concert memorabilia, and news articles as well as a full-length essay in the set’s liner notes from award-winning British saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett. The complete track listing for the upcoming recording is noted below.
CD 1:
L’Olympia, Paris, November 18th 1961 (First House)
1. Blue Train (Coltrane)
2. I Want To Talk About You (Eckstine)
3. Impressions (Coltrane)
4. My Favourite Things (Rodgers, Hammerstein)

L’Olympia, Paris, November 18th 1961 (Second House)
5. I Want To Talk About You (Eckstine)
6. Blue Train (Coltrane)

CD 2:
L’Olympia, Paris, November 18th 1961 (Second House, cont.)
1. My Favourite Things (Rodgers, Hammerstein)

Falkconercentret, Copenhagen, Denmark, November 20th 1961
2. Announcement
3. Delilah (Young)
4. Everytime We Say Goodbye (Porter)
5. Impressions (Coltrane)
6. Naima (Coltrane)

CD 3:
Falkonercentret, Copenhagen, Denmark, November 20th 1961 (cont.)
1. My Favourite Things (false starts)
2. Announcement by John Coltrane
3. My Favourite Things (Rodgers, Hammerstein)

Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland, November 22nd 1961 (Second House)
4. Blue Train (Coltrane)
5. I Want To Talk About You (Eckstine)
6. Impressions (Coltrane)
7. My Favourite Things (Rodgers, Hammerstein)

CD 4:
Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden, November 23rd 1961 (First House)
1. Blue Train (Coltrane)
2. Naima (Coltrane)
3. Impressions (Coltrane)
4. My Favourite Things (Rodgers, Hammerstein)

Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden, November 23rd 1961 (Second House)
4. My Favourite Things (Rodgers, Hammerstein)

More information on this and other releases from MVD Entertainment Group is available online at:

Website: http://www.mvdb2b.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MVDentgroup

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

One Way Mirror’s New Album Will Capture Any Rock Fan’s Attention

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Late last year this critic introduced audiences to a four-man band from Lyon, France called The Amsterdam Red Light District. The band’s new album Gone For A While proved to be an album that will keep the band around for quite a while. Now with the old year gone and a new year started, this critic has another band from France to introduce to the world. The band’s name is One-Way Mirror. The five-piece will release its second American release and fourth overall album next week in the form of Capture. The band’s latest LP is a solid record for anyone that might be new to the music of One-Way Mirror. That is thanks in large part to the approach taken by the band on this record. The twelve-track, fifty-one minute record utilizes a melodic hard rock sound that makes it a good fit for any mainstream American rock radio station considering the current climate of mainstream rock. One way that it proves this is through the electro-rock sound of ‘Warnings.’ The song starts with a keyboard line that conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails circa 2007. From there it builds into a full-on opus that is sure to have any listener singing along. The string arrangements and keyboards that are incorporated into the album’s closer ‘We Love To Complain’ make it stand out just as much in its own way. And the band’s rocked out take on ‘Lady Marmalade’ will entertain audiences just as much. One of the elements of this cover that makes it so intriguing is the similarity in sound to the likes of Saliva and Fozzy. Front man Guillaume Bideau even sounds like Fozzy front man Chris Jericho at points while the song’s overall musical side hints clearly at influence from both Fozzy and Saliva if not other bands. It’s just one more of the album’s dozen total tracks that makes the record in whole well worth the listen and worth the play by radio programmers across the country.

One-Way Mirror’s latest full-length studio release Capture is a rather aptly titled record. That is because thanks to the mix of musical stylings from one song to the next, the record is certain to (bad pun fully intended here) capture the attention of any rock devotee. There is a hint of rap-rock at random points throughout the record. There is also a throwback to the days of big hair and even bigger riffs at another. And as is evident in ‘Warnings,’ there is even a semi-industrial element thrown in for good measure. Speaking of ‘Warnings’ it is one of the strongest of the album’s songs. The song starts off with a keyboard line that sounds like it was lifted right from Nine Inch Nails’ 2007 album Year Zero. The vocal harmonies that are laid over the keyboard line are similar stylistically speaking to so many other acts being played on any mainstream radio station across America. Lyrically, if the song is to be properly interpreted, it comes across as being something of an introspective opus with Bideau singing, “Why in the hell did we turn into this/It’s not always easy to be yourself/Not easy to be yourself/Could we change/Could we change ourselves/Let’s close our eyes/When we’re frightened by ourselves/We’re frightened by ourselves/So many warnings…so many feelings I’ve hidden inside…” He goes on to ask “how much are ?” It almost comes across as a song questioning a person’s feelings toward himself or herself. That could be entirely wrong, of course. It is merely the interpretation of this critic. It would be interesting to find out the true meaning behind the song’s lyrics. That aside, the song’s musical side makes for enough reason to listen to the song. That it could create such discussion on its lyrics only serves to make it all the stronger of an anchor for Capture. It isn’t the only song that makes Capture worth the listen, either. The band’s rocked up take of ‘Lady Marmalade’ adds even more reason to listen to this record.

‘Warnings’ is one of the most notable moments offered by One-Way Mirror on its upcoming album Capture. The song’s seemingly Nine Inch Nails-influenced sound and deep, thoughtful lyrics together make the song a solid anchor for the album. It isn’t the album’s only solid moment, either. The album’s closer ‘We Love To Complain’ is another of the album’s high points. It starts off gently just as with ‘Warnings’ before launching into a sound similar to that of so many radio friendly bands from the 90s and from music’s current era. The string arrangements that are used to introduce the song expertly set the mood for the song thanks to the notes’ staccato approach and minor key. It is so easy to see this song becoming a favorite among fans both on record and in a live setting. Lyrically, the song comes across as a piece that takes on those people who never seem to be happy about life no matter the situation. The argument can be made as Bideau sings, “Cause we have all that we want/Cause we have all that we need/But it’s never enough and we’re wasting it all/We can be anything we want…but we can never get enough.” As the song progresses, it displays increasingly a Euro-metal sound akin to Lacuna Coil and others of its ilk complete with huge keyboard and string arrangements that soar alongside the band’s own lines. As with ‘Warnings’ the coupling of that musical and lyrical depth makes it just as solid and strong an anchor for the album.

Both ‘Warnings’ and ‘We Love To Complain’ prove to be solid points for Capture. While both songs prove important additions to the album’s body, they are hardly the album’s only songs that listeners will like. The band’s take on ‘Lady Maramlade’ is just as certain to entertain listeners. One wouldn’t think that amping up a classic pop song such as ‘Lady Marmalade’ and would work. But somehow One-Way Mirror made it work. And it did so quite impressively, too. Musically speaking, the song mixes elements of hard rock with classic arena rock from the days of big hair and even bigger riffs to make a song that will, again, capture any listener’s attention. At times Bideau himself sounds like Fozzy front man and superstar wrestler Chris Jericho. If audiences were listening to this song and didn’t know it was Fozzy, that factor alone would make them think that they were listening to Fozzy. At other times, there is a southern sludge-rock feel about the song. Once again, it sounds like an odd combination to have a song such as ‘Lady Marmalade’ handled in such fashion considering that this song is commonly sung by female artists. But it works here nonetheless. As a matter of fact it works so surprisingly well that it would be no surprise if this song also becomes a live favorite. If for no other reason than this cover, audiences will want to check out this album when it is released next week. Who knows, maybe after hearing this song, audiences will give a chance to the others noted here and to those not noted including the full throttle ‘F*** Your Autotune,’ the radio ready riffs in ‘Cliffs,’ and the aggro-rock sound of the album’s opener ‘Stinkin’ of Gold.’ Whether it be for any of those songs or the remaining six works not noted, audiences will find plenty of reason to take in One-Way Mirror’s new album and let it *ahem* capture them.
Capture is currently scheduled to be released next Tuesday, January 27th via Pavement Entertainment. The band currently has no tour dates scheduled. When the band announces its latest tour dates, audiences can find them and all of the latest updates from the band online at:

Website: http://www.one-waymirror.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Way-Mirror/26220377436

Twitter: http://twitter.com/owmirror

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/onewaymirrorband

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.