Dark Sky Bringing The Sheik To DVD Next Month

Courtesy:  Dark Sky Films

Courtesy: Dark Sky Films

Professional wrestling is one of the biggest “spectator sports” in America today if not the world. This is even with people knowing that it is scripted. And even though it is scripted the people behind the characters in the ring are very much real. Any number of documentaries have been done on the men and women who take to the ring throughout the years. However many of said presentations have been more about the characters than those behind them. Next month Dark Sky Films will bring to audiences one of the few presentations about a figure behind the character when it releases the documentary presentation The Sheik.

Dark Sky Films will release The Sheik on Tuesday, March 1st. It will be available exclusively on DVD in stores and online. It focuses on the life and career of Khosrow Ali Vaziri, known for decades in the squared circle as The Iron Sheik. Vaziri, as audiences will learn in the documentary, was born n Iran in 1942. Before coming to the United States in the early 1970’s Vaziri had quite the career in his homeland. He was a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran, an amateur wrestler, and even an Olympian competing in the 1968 summer olympics. But it would be the death of close friend and fellow oympian Gholamreza Takhti, who himself had earned olympic gold, that would change Vaziri’s life forever. After Takhti’s controversial death, Vaziri left his homeland for the U.S. and begin his career as a professional wrestler. He took on the persona of The Iron Sheik in the then WWF and would go on to become one of the company’s most famed villains. His character helped launch the worldwide sensation that came to be known as Hulkamania. Outside of the ring though, things were not all bright and shining. Vaziri battled alcoholism after the murder of one of his daughters. But now in his 70s, Vaziri has garnered new fame as an over-the-top social media figure thanks to his familiar funny outbursts and wild antics.

Originally having premiered in Canada on April 26th, 2014 the hour and thirty-five minute-long documentary tells Vaziri’s story through interviews with his family and friends including his fellow wrestling superstars and pro wrestling historians. The Sheik will be available on DVD in stores and online on Tuesday, March 1st. Pricing information will be announced soon. More information on this and other titles from Dark Sky Films is available online now at:

Website: http://www.darkskyfilms.com

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

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.

Times Of Pride And Peril Is Another Welcome Return For Holy Grail

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Holy Grail. Has. Returned. Three years after it became one of the metal community’s biggest names with its sophomore album Ride The Void, the Los Angeles-based quintet has returned with an album in Times of Pride and Peril that builds even more on the fame and respect earned through its previous recording. The ten-track album does so by taking the old school, metal sound established on Ride The Void and expanded on it, including a more modern hard rock sound to its body. The combination of those two sounds here makes Times of Pride and Peril not just a solid follow-up to Holy Grail’s breakout sophomore album but also an album that is undeniably one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums. Times of Pride and Peril is currently slated to be released in stores and online on Friday, February 12th.

Holy Grail’s latest full-length studio recording is a solid follow-up to its 2013 breakout sophomore album Ride The Void. It is an album that audiences will agree in hearing its ten total tracks that it is unquestionably one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Crystal King.’ This song shows the band–James-Paul Luna (vocals), Eli Santana (lead guitar), Alex Lee (lead guitar), Tyler Meahl (drums), and Blake Mount (bass)–picking right back up where it left off with Ride The Void. The band opens the song with a short, building crescendo before launching full force into the song with Santana, Lee, Meahl, and Mount leading the way. The old school speed metal sound established by the band in this song once again harkens back to the heyday of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and others of that ilk with its dual guitar attack and equally expert time keeping by Meahl. When Luna joins in, his razor-sharp vocal delivery instantly conjures thoughts of legendary Judas Priest front man Rob Halford and Fozzy front man Chris Jericho. In other words Luna’s vocals make him one of metal’s next big true singers if not one of its current biggest. The song’s lyrical content sits against that powerhouse musical content to make clear why ‘Crystal King’ was the perfect choice to open Holy Grail’s new album and why it is also a prime example of just what audiences have to look forward to in this new record. Luna sings here, “It’s just another day out on the battlefield/Proclaiming victory/We conquer all/We’re on the top now/It’s time to strike/We must defend the crown/At any given price/Our dominion never ends/It keeps rolling on and on/And together we’ll ascend/To heights of grandeur/Majesty abound/The taste of glory/Is holier than thou/A heart of valor/Frees a mind of doubt/But if you always win the fight/Do you know wrong from right?” This plays right into the overlaying topic of the band’s new album. The topic in question is that of the rise and fall of an empire. That is not necessarily referencing one empire but different ones. That is especially clear as Luna sings, “The taste of glory/Is holier than thou/A heart of valor/Frees a mind of doubt/But if you always win the fight/Do you know wrong from right?” This comes across as Luna commenting on nations that patrol the world and play world police. Those nations that control everything around the world militarily tend to think that they are in the right. This happens even when there might be some shades of grey in the ethics or moral ground of their actions. This can be argued even more strongly as Luna sings in the song’s second verse, “We got it/We made it/We’ll overthrow/Once we’ve accepted/All the ones that died/We’ll repay the mercy when the enemy’s been crucified.” It is a very telling verse. It comes across as a commentary about brutality begetting brutality–accepting the death of others for the “greater good” and the violence aimed at others in the process. It furthers that discussion on the blind, perhaps clouded mindset of those that have been made to believe their actions are for the good of a whole people. It is a really thought-provoking concept and in turn quite the way to open the band’s new album. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube as the band has just premiered its lyric video online. It can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVn4ENCIy1w.

‘Crystal King’ is a powerful first statement from Holy Grail in its return to the top of the mountain. It is not the only powerful, noteworthy statement from the band either. ‘No More Heroes,’ which is another of the album’s singles, is another powerful, hard-hitting addition to Times of Pride and Peril (TOPAP as it will henceforth be known here). Luna noted of this song in a recent interview that it “is about the evils of tyranny and self-will, where only strength in numbers can persevere.” To be more precise he noted that the concept behind that song is that it is a commentary about the events going on around the world today as a result of tyranny. “Conspiracy or not, heavy s*** is going down in the world, he said, “and we can’t survive battling it alone.” That discussion is illustrated through the song’s lyrical content in which Luna sings, “We’ve reached the point where domination is the law/We’re on the brink of global darkness/No life is worthy/But a pawn in our noble cause/Stomp out the feeble/And the worthless.” While these words sound familiar, it should. It was the view of the brainwashed men who fought for the Nazis in WWII and even now today of those that take innocent lives in the name of terrorism. Again, it illustrates exactly what Luna was saying in his discussion. He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “A savage feast upon the weak at any cost/No sign of mercy for the masses/How about the dignity you had so long ago/Is blood upon your hands as gracious?” The message about the familiar, distressing state of the world in this song is in itself an important part of the song’s whole. That content, set against the song’s power metal musical content, makes the song in whole yet another impressive addition to the album and equally impressive example of what audiences have to look forward to in Holy Grail’s new album. Audiences can hear this song for themselves online now at http://noisey.vice.com/blog/holy-grail-heroes-premiere.

Both ‘Crystal King’ and ‘No More Heroes’ are both key examples of just how much Holy Grail has to offer audiences in its third full-length studio recording. That is thanks to the mix of the songs’ musical and lyrical content. Both songs continue to exhibit the NWOBHM influence on the band in terms of their musical content. In regards to their lyrical content, both equally powerful yet differing statements about what has and continues to happen to the world militarily and politically. While this all works collectively to make both songs important parts of the album’s whole, both songs are hardly the only examples of what audiences have to look forward to in this record. ‘Those Who Will Remain’ is yet another important example of what makes Holy Grail’s new album a welcome return from the band. What makes this song stand out among the album’s songs is that it boasts more of a modern rock sound than most of its counterparts. If one were listening to this song without knowing it was Holy Grail, one would almost think that one was listening to Fozzy. The similarities are that close between the two bands here. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. It shows that the band has branched out musically in this record. And it isn’t the only song that exhibits that either. That is a story for another time, however. Staying on this song, its musical content is just one part of what makes it stand out so strongly. Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical content. Luna seems to sing about self-determination here as he sings, “how do you choose between life and suicide/I’ll try this anyway/And I couldn’t cope…Ready to fight/I will accept my fate/I’ve suffered enough/It’s time to change/Dark in the night/In our eternal flame/The freedom is yours/All the same/To those who will remain.” He goe on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Take it or leave it/The enemy’s nearing/Hungry to feed on the weak and the weary/Marching in stride is the secret to survive/Rise to the top with a fist full of fury…Carry the torch/Just to keep yourself alive.” Everything taken int consideration here, the song in whole could be interpreted as Luna singing about not giving up in life, no matter the difficulties that one faces, be they physical or emotional. Saying that he would rather “walk the maze than die alone” and that “I’ve suffered enough/It’s time to change” support that argument. Of course that is just this critic’s own interpretation. It could, as always, be completely incorrect. So it should not be taken as the only interpretation of the song’s lyrical content. Right or wrong, it plays against the song’s equally powerful musical content and in turn makes the song in whole one more clear example of just what makes TOPAP such a welcome return for Holy Grail and also for the metal and hard rock community in whole. Together with ‘Crystal King,’ ‘No More Heroes’ and the rest of the songs not directly noted here, the whole of TOPAP shows in the end to be a record that is not just a welcome return for the band and its audiences but also a record that is easily one more of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Holy Grail’s latest full-length album is a welcome return both for the band and for its audiences. That is exhibited from the album’s opener ‘Crystal King’ right to its final number ‘Black Lotus.’ From beginning to end the mix of old school heavy metal and modern hard rock couples with lyrics that will get any listener thinking to make a record that will easily become a favorite of any true metal head. It will be available Friday, February 12th in stores and online. It can be pre-ordered online now via iTunes, Amazon, and the band’s official Bandcamp page. It is also available in a series of limited edition vinyl options. Those options include: Black, Limited-Edition Orange, and Limited-Edition Marble variants. Each vinyl copy of Times of Pride and Peril comes in a gatefold package that includes a color poster/lyric insert and download card. The band will hit the road next month in support of TOPAP beginning February 11th in San Antonio, TX. The forty-date-plus tour also includes a performance at The Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday, February 23rd. The band’s current tour schedule is listed in whole below.

 

2/11 San Antonio, TX – Fitzgerald’s ^
2/12 Houston, TX – Scout Bar ^
2/13 Dallas, TX – Trees ^
2/14 Little Rock, AR – Juanita’s ^
2/16 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade ^
2/17 Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits ^
2/18 Orlando, FL – Backbooth ^
2/19 St. Petersburg, FL – The State Theatre ^
2/20 Ocala, FL – O’Malley’s Alley
2/22 Greenville, SC – Gottrocks
2/23 Charlotte, NC – Milestone #
2/24 Virginia Beach, VA – Shakas #
2/25 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie #
2/26 Boston, MA – Once Ballroom #
2/27 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus #
2/29 Burlington, VT – Nectars #
3/1 Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle #
3/2 Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques #
3/3 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck #
3/4 Detroit, MI – Berserker Fest #
3/5 Chicago, IL – Reggies #
3/6 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon #
3/7 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock #
3/8 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium #
3/9 Winnipeg, MB – The Windsor Hotel #
3/11 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina #
3/12 Edmonton, AB – Brixx #
3/13 Calgary, AB – Palomino #
3/14 Kamloops, BC – The Office #
3/16 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore #
3/17 Seattle, WA – El Corazon #
3/18 Spokane, WA – The Pin #
3/19 Portland, OR – Panic Room #
3/20 Bend, OR – Volcanic Theatre Pub #
3/22 Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst #
3/23 San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside #
3/24 Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room #
3/25 San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick #
3/26 Phoenix, AZ – Pub Rock #
3/28 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Bar #
3/29 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater #
3/30 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room #
4/1 Indianapolis, IN – 5th Quarter #
4/2 Newport, KY – Southgate House #

^ with Marty Friedman
# with Black Tusk

More information on Holy Grail’s upcoming album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and tour updates at:

Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/holygrailband

 

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.

MLB Productions’ Giants World Series Film Is A Giant Hit For Team’s Fans

Courtesy:  MLB Productions/Lionsgate

Courtesy: MLB Productions/Lionsgate

The countdown is on.  Spring training is winding down and opening day is now only days away.  In anticipation of Major League Baseball’s 2015 season, MLB Productions has just the thing to get fans–San Francisco Giants at least–into the mood for the upcoming season.  While it was released late last year, MLB Productions’ San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is just the thing to get at least Giants fans excited for the 2015 season.  The main reason that it will get fans excited is the story presented across the film’s near ninety-minute run time.  The story follows the Giants from the ups and downs of the team’s 2014 regular season ride to its incredible seven-game series against the underdog Kansas City Royals.  It spends most of its time focusing on the Giants’ 2014 World Series.  Though there is just enough focus on the regular season to enhance the importance of the team’s World Series appearance this year.  The editing that went into the film should also be noted in terms of what makes it so enjoyable for fans.  The editing includes the mix of the interviews and game footage throughout the film.  The work of the film’s editors helps keep the film’s pacing solid and in turn keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.  This is especially the case when taking into account actor Colin Hanks’ (King Kong, Dexter, Orange County) narration of the film.  Hanks’ almost deadpan deliery somehow makes the on-field action all the more gripping.  Perhaps it is because despite being a Giants’ loyalist, no favoritism is displayed in his delivery.  That coupled with the work of the film’s editors shows why the editing should be noted in its success just as much as the story itself.  Last but not least of all to note in examining what makes this film so enjoyable at least for Giants fans is the inclusion of the film’s bonus material.  The bonus features include the Giants’ full victory parade after the team’s surprising World Series win, a short feature on Giants star Michael Morse, and some of the most important moments of the 2014 World Series among a handful of others.  Whether for the noted bonus features or those not noted, the bonus material in full proves to be yet another reason that fans both of the Giants and baseball fans in general will enjoy this film.  All three elements together prove San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film to be yet another win for MLB Productions and a must have for any Giants fans as the days count down to the 2015 season’s opening day.

The story that was the Giants’ 2014 season is one of the league’s more interesting stories, even coming into the 2015 season.  As audiences will see in San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film, the Giant’s road to the World Series was anything but perfect.  The same can be said of the team’s seven-game series against the upstart Royals.  That story of the team’s up and down season and post-season is the central reason for the enjoyment of this recently released Blu-ray.  While it does highlight the ups and downs of the team’s regular season run, most of the story’s time is spent on the Giants’ post-season efforts.  Audiences will appreciate the efforts of those responsible for bringing the story to life as said individuals didn’t just sweep over the team’s regular season highlights or even focus too much on them.  The same can be said of the Giant’s post-season run up to the World Series, too.  Everything is relatively well-balanced, heightening the emotional impact of the team’s wins and losses alike.  The first-person commentary from the likes of Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Travis Ishikawa and others adds even more to that emotional depth.  And anyone that is familiar with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan will enjoy the story of how his “Yes” gimmick became a season-long rallying cry for the Giants and their fans.  These are just some examples of why the story behind San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film makes it a must have for at least any Giants fan and any baseball enthusiast in general.  There is much more that could be noted here.  But there is not enough space or time for that.  Audiences will find plenty more of the film’s story to appreciate when they purchase this film for themselves.  In the same vein, the film’s editing is just as important to its success.  If not for the editing, the story presented on the disc might not have otherwise been worth the watch.

MLB Productions has maintained a high standard of storytelling and of editing in its presentations for years.  From its “Essential Games” collections to its stand-alone presentations the stories presented by MLB Productions have been gripping and fully engaging.  The story presented in San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is no different.  The same can be said of said films’ editing.  The editing involved in this film is no exception to that rule, either.  Between the game footage, the sound bites from the Giants players and staff, and their personal insights each element compliments the other from beginning to end.  Just as with the story telling itself, the editing that works with the storytelling plays its own part in keeping audiences entertained and engaged.  From the natbursts of the team chanting “yes” along with its fans at AT&T Park to the slow motion shots of Bumgarner throwing his pitches to the scene transitions and more, the editing throughout the film will leave audiences in awe.  It is one more standard that has for years kept MLB Productions’ presentations among the best in sports films.  Together with that aforementioned solid storytelling, it shows even more clearly why San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is a welcome addition to any Giants’ fan’s home library.

The editing and storytelling that went into San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film collectively show plenty of reason for baseball fans (and especially Giants fans) to add this film to their home libraries.  While both elements show plenty of reason for fans to purchase this film, there is still one more element included in its presentation that pushes it over the top.  That final element is the film’s collective bonus material. Included with the film as bonus material is the Giants’ full victory parade, specific highlights from the team’s season and post season, and even a fun little look into one of the team’s long-running traditions to “welcome” new pitchers to the team among plenty of other extras. The tradition in question will have audiences laughing, especially when manager Bruce Bochy’s son opens his lunchbox. Yes, the tradition in question involves lunch boxes. And it is absolutely hilarious. That much will be said and no more for the benefit of those that have yet to see this tradition for themselves. It is original, needless to say. The victory parade shows the pure joy of the players, having overcome so much adversity including injuries that hurt the team’s post-season chances, low expectations early on in the season by the talking heads, and more. It is a truly powerful and moving moment even for those that might not be Giants loyalists. It’s just one of so many great moments that will leave viewers agreeing that the bonus material included with this disc is indeed deserving of the title “Bonus.” It is one more moment that shows why the presentation’s bonus material is just as important to the film as the editing or even the storytelling. And in seeing this, audiences will agree why together with the film’s editing and storytelling, all three elements make San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film a welcome addition to the home library of any Giants fan and any baseball enthusiast in general.

There is a lot to say to the positive in regards to San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film. The story presented within the film will keep viewers engaged from start to finish. The film’s equally impressive editing plays its own part in making the story so enthralling, too. The bonus features included with the film add even more depth and enjoyment to the story of the team’s 2014 season. Whether for the in-depth look at the team’s season, the more lighthearted moments or the more emotional moments, the bonus features live up to their title. And together with the story itself and the film’s editing, the presentation in whole again proves itself well worth the watch by any Giants fan and baseball fan in general. And it is just as worth the addition to any fan’s home library. San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is available online now and can be ordered direct via MLB Productions’ online store at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=51967716&cp=1452365.2184768. More information on this and other titles from MLB Productions is available online at:

Website: http://mlbproductions.com

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

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.

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.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Is 2014’s Best New Movie

Courtesy:  Marvel Studios/Disney

Courtesy: Marvel Studios/Disney

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy is the best new movie of 2014 hands down.  This diamond in the rough is a solid answer to director Tim Burton’s recent declaration that he wanted to see a happy superhero movie.  Given, the “guardians” aren’t exactly superheroes.  But at a time when the fare offered by Marvel and DC has become increasingly dark and dominated by damaged, anti-hero figures, this movie shines as the antithesis of those movies.  One part action and one part fantasy it is the breath of fresh air that the superhero/comic book genre has needed for some time and could not have come at a better time.  The movie’s multifaceted script lies at the center of its success.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as important to its success.  And last but hardly least worth noting of the movie’s success is its collective look and feel.  That includes both its backdrops and its special effects.  The combination of all of these elements proves exactly why Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is one of this year’s best new movies if not the year’s best new movie.  One can only hope that Marvel won’t abandon everything that made this movie great when its sequel comes along in 2017.  Time will tell.  Until such time, audiences will agree that this movie more than deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new movies.

When Warner Brothers debuted its Tim Burton-helmed take on Batman in 1989, it proved to be something of an anomaly.  No movie at the time or even before had taken the route taken by this movie.  It was dark and brooding, just as Bob Kane had first envisioned him.  It wouldn’t be until 2005’s Batman Begins that audiences would see the rebirth of the brooding superhero.  Some will argue that 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, which started in 2000, would qualify in that category.  But that’s only because of the inclusion of one Wolverine.  That being said, Batman Begins is to thank and to blame for what has become of the superhero/comic book genre.  That being said, the debut of Guardians of the Galaxy is a breath of fresh air.  It is the antithesis of those movies in every sense.  And that is thanks first and foremost to the movie’s multi-faceted script.  The script, crafted by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, avoids every one of the trappings of the movies churned out by both Marvel and DC in recent years.  One of those trappings is the brooding superhero approach used by both Marvel and DC throughout the studios’ ongoing competition.  The script keeps the brooding to an extreme minimum with the extent of it being centered on Peter’s own thoughts of his mother’s death when he was a boy.  The brooding on the part of Drax and Gamora on the loss of their own families at the hands of Thanos and Ronan is kept to just as much of a minimum.  Because Gunn and Perlman keep the characters’ brooding in question, it allows for the movie’s related themes, jokes, and story to take center stage.  The end result is a script that while hardly timeless is still one of the most entertaining to come along in a long time both within the superhero/comic book genre and within the action drama in whole.

Gunn and Perlman are more than deserving of applause because of the fact that they took the road less traveled in their script, opting to keep the story’s brooding to an extreme minimum.  In comparison to the rest of the movies churned out by Marvel and DC in recent years, it really is the single most important factor of the duo’s script. It isn’t the only reason that the script works, either.  The themes of family and friendship that the pair incorporated into the story are even more reason for applause.  They go hand in hand with that lack of brooding.  Throughout the course of the story’s script, Gunn and Perlman note the importance of family and friendship.   Gunn and Perlman essentially tell audiences through their script that friends and family don’t have to be just like one another to come together.  They don’t always have to completely like one another, either.  They even go so far as to jokingly say through the quartet’s interactions that the least likely of friends and families can come together when one least expects it.  This message is driven home in the movie’s final minutes, which won’t be given away for the sake of those that have yet to see the movie.  It is something of a cheesy moment, given.  But again in comparison to the previous releases from Marvel and DC, it’s a refreshingly cheesy moment.  It’s yet another aspect of the Guardians’ script that makes the movie such a success.  The jokes that are tossed around throughout the movie is yet another aspect of the movie’s script that adds to its enjoyment.

The contrast of the positive themes and overall lack of brooding in the Guardians’ script is a hugely important aspect of the script that makes it a success.  The jokes that are tossed around throughout the script make it even more of a joy for audiences.  Whether it be the jokes added to Peter Quill and Rocket Raccoon’s banter or the pop culture references used as jokes, or other jokes in general, Gunn and Perlman did an outstanding job in this area, too.  The banter between Peter and Rocket is a laugh riot.  Of course the acting on the part of Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper respectively doesn’t hurt that banter and its jokes, either.  It’s classic back and forth that audiences haven’t seen in a very long time.  There are also plenty of pop culture references used themselves as jokes, including constant references to the hit 1984 Kevin Bacon starring vehicle Footloose.  And Peter’s attempt at a dance-off in order to distract Ronan at one point (again that moment won’t be revealed here) is itself a reference to Michael Jackson if one watches closely.  It’s one thing to use pop culture references in a movie or TV show by themselves to get laughs.  But to use them as jokes (especially as running gags) is rather smart writing.  There are also plenty of stand-alone jokes that will have audiences laughing along the way, too.  The jokes in question aren’t right in audiences’ faces.  But they are clear enough that there’s no missing them.  Again, such placement is very smart writing.  It still is not the end of what makes the script’s writing the key point of success behind Guardians of the Galaxy.  Last but not least worth noting in considering the strength of the Guardians’ script is the story itself.

The story behind Guardians of the Galaxy is the last element of its writing that makes it the hit that it has deservedly proven to be.  The reason that the story works as well as it does is its simplicity.  It seems on the surface that there is a lot involved in the story.  That is because of the amount of backstabbing that goes on.  But the story, at its heart, centers on one fanatical madman’s attempts to destroy an entire race of people and their home world because of his own personal beliefs.  It was used in J.J. Abrams’ recent reboot of Star Trek most recently.  It’s a tried and true plot that has been used any number of times before in other action movies.  And even here it still manages to work in its given setting.  This is especially worth noting considering the story’s extra elements—the chase for Peter Quill and the Orb, Gamora backstabbing Ronan, etc.  There is a lot of extra backstory that is thrown into the mix.  That extra could easily have bogged down the central story.  But even with two people handling the script, that didn’t happen, amazingly enough.  Because those extras don’t bog down the movie’s central plot, said plot is that much easier to grasp and follow, thus keeping viewers engaged from start to finish.  That, alongside the other noted factors that went into the script, shows once and for all why the movie’s writing makes it the best new movie of 2014.

A lot of work went into the writing behind Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  The painstaking efforts that were taken to make this blockbuster stand out against its competition were not for naught, either.  Rather it collectively paid off and then some.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast should not be ignored as a reason for its success, either.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as much to thank for its enjoyment and success as the writing behind the movie.  The constant back and forth banter between Bradley Cooper and Chris Pratt makes for plenty of laughs throughout the movie.  At no one point does the duo’s arguing feel forced.  It feels entirely natural, which is what makes it so entertaining.  Cooper’s portrayal of Rocket set against Vin Diesel’s Groot is just as funny.  Both situations are classic comedy brought into the 21st century. Pro wrestler Dave Bautista’s own interactions with his cast mates on screen make for their own laughs, too as audiences will see when they watch the movie for themselves. One would be remiss to ignore Pratt’s own comic timing both by himself and set against the talents of others. Audiences will laugh uproariously at his comic timing when he distracts Ronan with his “dance off.” It’s yet another way that the cast’s acting makes Guardians of the Galaxy such a surprisingly entertaining work. Yet it still is not all that makes this movie so enjoyable, either. The movie’s look and feels make the movie even better. They collectively round out the movie’s positives and prove once and for all why any lover of action movies and the superhero/comic book genre will love this movie. Together with the cast’s acting and the movie’s overall writing, it proves once and for all why Guardians of the Galaxy is the best new movie of 2014.

It seems like almost every one of the movie spit out by Marvel and DC in recent years have become increasingly dark and gritty in their stories but in their look and feel, too. Thankfully Guardians of the Galaxy is the polar opposite of those movies in this aspect, too. It incorporates some dark elements in terms of its look and feel, yes. But there are also rather bright, colorful backdrops used throughout the movie. And thanks to all of the comic elements incorporated into both the movie’s script and the cast’s acting, the movie’s feel is just as colorful, light, and light-hearted. It is such a welcome change of pace from all of the movies released by Marvel and DC in recent years and even harkens back to the likes of Iron Man in its own interesting way. Not only does it have that same sort of light hearted, comedic feel, but it also has that same sort of playful edge about it, too. That mix of the movie’s fun feel and its balance of light and dark backdrops is perfectly balanced from the movie’s opening flashback to its final minutes. The end result of that mix leaves audiences wanting to see more in the best way possible. With any luck, Guardians 2 will have just as much of a positive look and feel. For that matter hopefully it will have just as solid a script and acting. If it does, then it will prove the success of this movie to be far more than just a fluke.

So much work went into bringing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to life. And that work more than paid off. The movie’s multifaceted writing is its cornerstone. It incorporates themes of family and friendship that audiences of all ages will appreciate. It also avoids all of the brooding that has been a trademark of so many of Marvel and DC’s other previous releases. And the story itself is simple in every sense of the word. The acting on the part of the movie’s cast makes the movie all the more entertaining. It will leave audiences laughing nonstop from beginning to end. The look and feel of the movie is the polar opposite of so many movies that have come before, too from Marvel and DC. Each noted element makes Guardians of the Galaxy a memorable and entertaining movie in its own right. Together, they make it the single best new movie of 2014 fluke or not.

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.

Fozzy Shows Real Growth On Its Latest P

Courtesy:  Century Media

Courtesy: Century Media

Guitarist Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo) and pro wrestler Chris Jericho have been friends for many years.  The pair’s friendship goes back to the days of Jericho’s tenure on the now defunct WCW.  So it came as not too big of a surprise that the pair’s friendship would eventually lead to the creation of Fozzy in the late 90s.  What has come as a surprise is the success that the band has enjoyed since the release of its self-titled debut back in 2000.  That album was pure covers.  And the use of faux names for the band members made Fozzy appear as little more than a one-off Spinal Tap style project put together by the two friends.  Little would anybody know that almost fourteen years after the release of that album, Fozzy would go on to release four more albums each one separating the band even more from its semi-satirical cover band roots.  Now in 2014, the band has released its fifth full length studio album titled Do You Wanna Start A War.  And it is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band and then some.  Whereas the band’s previous albums were full on hard rock opuses, this album maintains more of a balance between that hard rock sound and a more mainstream feel.  It’s almost as if the members of Fozzy have finally found that “happy, familiar place” on this record.  The end result is a record that offers plenty for audiences in both the rock and hard rock realms of the music industry.  On the hard rock side, audiences have already been offered up a solid slab of hard rock in the form of the album’s lead single, ‘One Crazed Anarchist.’  This song is sure to impress fans of both Fozzy and Ward’s other primary project, Stuck Mojo.  On the more mainstream, radio ready side of things, the band offers a heavy yet uplifting piece in the form of ‘Unstoppable.’  And in the completely radio ready realm, the band offers up the up-tempo yet happy-go-lucky style ‘Tonight.’  These are just a few examples of why Fozzy remains a fan favorite nearly fourteen years after its debut record’s release.  Each of the album’s remaining nine songs plays its own role in the overall enjoyment of this record.  And together with the trio of songs noted here, all twelve tracks on this record collectively make it an album that is sure to impress Fozzy’s fans new and old alike.

Fozzy first built the hype over its new album early this spring with the release of ‘One Crazed Anarchist,’ the lead single from its new album.  There is quite a bit to note concerning this song that makes it work.  Musically speaking, audiences that are familiar with the work of Rich Ward and fellow Stuck Mojo band mate Frank Fontsere will instantly hear the influence of the pair’s work with that band in this song.  Front man Chris Jericho’s vocals are just as powerful as he sings about quite a disturbed individual, singing, “One crazed anarchist/He’s ready to blow/Grenade in his pocket and he’s ready to blow/Finger on the trigger/And he’s waiting to pull/It’s time to deliver and his docket is full.”  The song’s chorus seems to hint at how said individual became what he become as Jericho sings, “How did my love just fade away/Faith and hope/Have gone astray/I can’t run away from the beast/Rip the scab/And set it free/It’s the killer in me.”  Of course, he’s speaking metaphorically about “running from the beast.”  It almost hints at someone that has become an extremist of sorts as a result of having lost everything both physically and emotionally.  Keeping that in mind, it makes the song an even harder hitting piece coming at it from a lyrical angle.  Add in the songs steady crunching guitar line underneath Ward’s primary guitar part and an even deeper emotional impact is created.  One should take into account, too Jericho’s own vocal delivery.  He does quite the job of interpreting the subject’s seeming emotional and psychological state as he sings about the unnamed man.  This serves to make ‘One Crazed Anarchist’ one of the best examples of how much Fozzy has grown over the course of its life.  Audiences can check out the songs video now online via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9aKjbRIJ_k.  Just as much of an example of the band’s growth, is the still heavy yet uplifting song ‘Unstoppable.’

‘Unstoppable’ is another example of the growth on Do You Wanna Start A War because while it is a rather heavy song in its own right, it also presents a positive message.  That message is one of self-determination.  The band brought in guest singer Christie Cook for this song.  Her vocals are just as powerful as Jericho’s.  But there’s something that just makes it all perfectly fit here as she sings in the song’s chorus, “You’ll never break me/I’m unstoppable/You’ll never shake me/I’m unstoppable.”  Perhaps it is that certain grittiness in her voice that makes it work.  It’s almost a mix of Lita Ford and Joan Jett, if one can envision such a hybrid sound.  And just as ‘One Crazed Anarchist’ bears its own similarity to Stuck Mojo’s sound, so does this song bear a certain similarity to Stuck Mojo’s ‘Invincble.’  That song in question comes from Stuck Mojo’s most recent release, 2009’s The Great Revival.  One can almost see her on stage with the band, pumping her fist in time with the audience as she sings, “I do just what I want to/Because I know it’s right/Don’t tell me I can’t make it/Won’t down without a fight/Away from my past/Because in my eyes/I can do anything/Now watch me rise.”  This is such an anthemic song.  It is the kind of piece that could easily inspire people in so many situations.  That ability to so easily inspire audiences combined with such a heavy sound make this song one more of this album’s examples of how much Fozzy has grown throughout the years.

Fozzy’s new record shows so much growth from the band. That’s already been evidenced in both the album’s lead single ‘One Crazed Anarchist’ and the driving, uplifting ‘Unstoppable.’ There is at least one more example on this record of just how much Fozzy has come since its earliest days. That example is a song that is perhaps the album’s most mainstream song of all—‘Tonight.’ If ever there was a song that could be used as a radio single it is this song. Jericho and his band mates sing in this arena anthem, “This is our last chance/To show the world/Jus what we’re made of/We’ll bring this town to its knees/And then/We’ll take our chance to shine/Take our chance to fly(and stage our battlecry)/Take our chance to shine/Take our chance to fly (it’s time).” That positive vibe runs throughout the course of the song. It offers that same sort of inspiration as ‘Unstoppable’ that is sure to uplift audiences and entertain them at the same time. It is one more example, as audiences will hear, of how much this band has grown from little more than a novelty cover band to a serious musical group. And as audiences will hear from the album’s other songs, those songs along with the pieces noted here exhibit that growth even more.

Do You Wanna Start A War is available now in stores. Audiences can currently pick it up at Best Buy and get a free Fozzy bandana with purchase. Fans can also pick up the album at any of the band’s live shows. The band is currently touring alongside Theory of a Deadman in support of its new album and will be in Syracuse, NY next Friday, August 2nd at the Chevrolet Court. The band also has a performance scheduled at the famed Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, September 24th. The band’s current tour schedule and all of the latest news and updates from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/FozzyRock and http://www.fozzyrock.com. 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.

Pro Wrestling Gets New Respect Thanks To The Booker

Courtesy:  Indiepix Films

Courtesy: Indiepix Films

Professional wrestling is one of the biggest businesses in the world today. From America to Mexico and all the way to Japan, professional wrestling brings in millions of fans and dollars every year. This is despite the reputation that it still bears even now in the twenty-first century. Most of that business is brought in by the powerhouse that is World Wrestling Entertainment. However, WWE is not the only wrestling brand out there. Any number of tiny indie brands exists throughout the world. In the brand new documentary The Booker: Saving The Art of Pro Wrestling One Match at a Time, audiences will see the fight of just one brand to try and make a name for itself in the huge market that is pro wrestling. It has already been noted that there is still a stigma attached to pro wrestling and its legions of fans. So why watch this documentary? The first reason that anyone should take the time to watch this documentary is that in watching it, they will see that it isn’t just a documentary about wrestling. It’s a documentary about a business. Secondly, audiences will see just how hard hopeful wrestlers work especially at the indie ranks. Lastly, audiences will see just how hard hopeful promoters (one in particular in this case) work to get their brands off the ground. All of this taken into consideration, audiences that give The Booker a chance will see what makes both this documentary and pro wrestling as an art so important.

The Booker: Saving The Art of Pro Wrestling One Match at a Time is a surprisingly interesting documentary for what it is. On the surface, it’s a documentary about an indie wrestling brand trying to make a name for itself in the multi-million dollar world of pro-wrestling.  On a much deeper level though, audiences get a much more in-depth story in the course of the documentary’s run time.  It clocks in at just above the ninety-minute mark.  That in itself is another positive to the overall presentation on a side note.   Getting back on topic, audiences get a story here about a business trying to get off the ground; a traveling theater group even as one interviewee reveals he has come to learn. It could be argued that it is just one of so many models of a small business just trying to get its foot in the door. Viewers see the struggles and hurdles that have to be overcome by the business’s head in order to try and get the business above water. If audiences can take in the documentary from this angle, they will see that pro-wrestling is more than just pro-wrestling.  It is a business and a way of life for so many.  Speaking of a way of life, audiences will take away a new appreciation not just for pro wrestling in watching this documentary, but also for those that make it their life.

Audiences will have a new appreciation not just for pro wrestling in watching The Booker.  They will also gain a new respect for those that make pro wrestling their life.  Audiences will see that for those trying to make a name for themselves in the business, life isn’t easy.  Many, if not all, upstart wrestling hopefuls have to balance being on the road doing shows with their regular workaday lives.  And many of those workaday lives are quite mundane to say the least.  The juxtaposition of the two lives is itself intriguing.  To top it off, many of these people also have families.  That’s one more factor that many hopefuls have to consider.  As is shown here, all of these considerations have led to some casualties.  Some of those hopefuls admit in interviews that they simply couldn’t try to balance it all and chose a normal life.  In an odd way, it’s heartbreaking to see those struggles and casualties.  It makes the entire feature all the more worth the watch.

The struggles of those trying to balance their everyday lives with their in-ring lives is just one part of the human drama that makes The Booker such a surprisingly interesting story.  Just as interesting to behold are the emotional struggles of PCW’s head Paul Scarborough/Paul Platinum.  Scarborough is so dedicated to getting his brand off the ground.  And it shows both when he is working with his wrestling hopefuls and when he is by himself.  It presents a man who is not just a wrestling head or promoter but a struggling businessman trying to make his business work.  At times, viewers will feel for Scarborough.  At others, they might yell at him.  One of those points comes when Scarborough tells his wrestlers that their success or failure at a particular show means whether or not he and his wife would have to take out a second mortgage on their home.  That was rather harsh.  And he could have taken another route to motivate them.  But one can really see his desperation to get the best out of his team.  Taking that into consideration, it will have viewers feeling for Scarborough even more.  It shows again how dedicated he is to what he’s doing.  That dedication ties in with the dedication of PCW’s wrestlers and the very premise of this documentary to make The Booker a piece that both those inside and outside the world of pro wrestling will appreciate after having watched it.  Outsiders will hopefully gain a new respect for the business and those trying to make it in the business, too. Insiders will hopefully smile at the very real portrayal of the lives of those in the business.  It shows in the long run that pro wrestling isn’t just a hobby.  And it deserves far more respect than it gets today from outsiders.  The documentary is available now on DVD.  More information on The Booker is available online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Booker/301962783176574.  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.