CD Review: “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”

“Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”
Silver Lining
4 Discs
Runtime: 271 minutes

Our score:  CD 2.5 out of 5 stars
BluRay/DVD 3.5 our of 5 stars

The ultimate heavy metal event-in-a-box is now available for fans to enjoy in the comfort of their very own home. “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” is a collection of some of the best performances from the 2016 Wacken Open Air festival held in Germany each yr. The double disc CD and DVD/BluRay features music from over 30 artists including Arch Enemy, Saxon and Bullet for My Valentine all packaged nicely in multi fold digipack.

No need for lengthy international travel or standing in a soggy bog along the European country side as “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” allows you to enjoy a majority of the Wacken Open Air festival from the safety and dryness of your own couch or recliner. Get comfortable as with a runtime of over four hours you are definitely in for a long haul especially if you plan to check it out from start to finish. If you want to skip around a little I highly recommend checking out the performances from Eluveitie, Bullet for My Valentine and Dio Disciples as they were easily my favorite. I also enjoyed the video version of this package a little more as it included in most cases a couple songs from each artist.

Invite a few friends over crack open some drinks and thrown on either the DVD/BluRay or the included audio versions of the release. Though a majority of the performances contained on the set are from European acts I wasn’t too familiar with there is still plenty of other material from bands I had heard before. Though I enjoyed seeing bands like Steel Panther and Saxon I think I had more fun checking out the bands who I hadn’t heard of because those performances were fresh and new to me. It’s always great to be exposed to new music and that’s certainly what “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” does. I do feel though that if you are a more casual metal fan there might not be enough familiarity included to warrant purchasing the cumbersome four disc set however, If you are a dedicated, die hard metal head that has yearned for the Wacken experience but couldn’t make the trip then this release is certainly for you as it gets you as close as you can be without actually being there.

BluRay/DVD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Profaner- Killing On Command
3.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
4.) Auan- Pjaning Heillar Bjodar
5.) Saxon- Battering Ram
6.) Saxon- Heavy Metal Thunder
7.) Zombies Ate My Girlfriend- Appropriate Hate Crimes
8.) Vader- Triumph of Death
9.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
10.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
11.) Therapy? Screamager
12.) Michael Monroe- 78
13.) Orden Ogan- F.E.V.E.R.
14.) Orden Ogan- The Things We Believe In
15.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
16.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
17.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
18.) Equilibrium- But Im Auge
19.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
20.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
21.) Axel Rudi Pell- Game Of Sins
22.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
23.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
24.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
25.) Lemmy- Born To Lose, Live To Win

Bluray/DVD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Torfrock- Trunkenbold
2.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
3.) Eluveitie- Tegernako
4.) Eluveitie- Havoc
5.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
6.) Bullet For My Valentine- Waking The Demon
7.) Tarja- No Bitter End
8.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
9.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
10.) Unisonic- Unisonic
11.) Caliban- Paralyzed
12.) While She Sleeps- Four Walls
13.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
14.) Myrkur- Jeg er Guden, I er tjenerne
15.) Borknagar- Colossus
16.) Borknagar- Winter Thrice
17.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
18.) Therion- Sons Of The Sun
19.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
20.) Steel Panther- Asian Hooker
21.) Steel Panther- Community Property
22.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
23.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
24.) Buffalo Summer- Money
25.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
26.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
27.) Budderside- Pain
28.) Dio Disciples- The Last In Line
29.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

CD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
3.) Saxon- Battering Ram
4.) Vader- Triumph Of Death
5.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
6.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
7.) Theraphy?- Screamager
8.) Michael Monroe- 78
9.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
10.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
11.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
12.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
13.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
14.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
15.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
16.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
17.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
18.) Eluveitie- Havoc

CD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
2.) Tarja- No Bitter End
3.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
4.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
5.) Unisonic- Unisonic
6.) Caliban- Paralyzed
7.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
8.) Borknagar- Colossus
9.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
10.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
11.) Steel Panther- Community Property
12.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
13.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
14.) Buffalo Summer- Money
15.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
16.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
17.) Budderside- Pain
18.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

CD Review: Gary Clark Jr. “Live North America 2016”

“Live North America 2016”
Gary Clarke Jr.
Warner Bros.
Tracks: 12

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

To coincide with Gary Clarke’s guest appearances during Eric Clapton’s 50th anniversary shows at Madison Square Garden and at The Forum in Los Angeles in mid March comes the guitarists latest live recording titled “Live North America 2016”. The album is being released via Warner Bros. Records and includes all new and unreleased live recordings from Clark’s 2016 tour which was in support of his acclaimed 2015 release “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”.

Live recordings can often be hit or miss. Despite the recent advances in digital recording the main brunt of the work still falls on the artists to put forth a worthwhile performance. In the case of the latest Gary Clark Jr. album “Live North America 2016” is mostly all hits. Clark’s performance throughout the albums 12 tracks captures the listener’s attentions and holds it close. Tracks like the soulful “The Healing” and “Down to Ride” showcase Clark’s talents as both a player and vocalist while songs such as “When My Train Pulls In” and “Numb” capture a grittier side of Clark’s musical pallet.

Though I found the albums overall mix to be a touch off at certain points you have to know going in to a live album that there are going to be some audio short comings as there are multiple factors that come in to play with this type of set up some of which are not favorable for recording. However what is consistant across the albums 70 plus minute run time is the musicianship shown by Clark and his band. Each of the twelve performances that make up this album is sure to have something for every listener out there making it worth checking out.

Track Listing:
1.) Grinder
2.) The Healing
3.) Our Love
4.) Cold Blooded
5.) When My Train Pulls In
6.) Down to Ride
7.) You Saved Me
8.) Shake (feat. Leon Bridges with Jeff Dazey)
9.) Church
10.) Honest I Do
11.) My Baby’s Gone
12.) Numb

VR online gaming development in 2016

VR online gaming development in 2016 managed to at least bring the industry closer to what a lot of people have been wanting for years. Many people have been dreaming about games that are so realistic that they are going to swear that they are happening all around them. There are games now that are at least getting closer and closer to that conclusion in terms of their graphics and their overall mechanics. However, the important thing is that in 2016, the technology surrounding all of this improved.

The year 2016 is going to be known for augmented reality in particular. The Pokemon Go game is already the sort of game that can go on to define an era, at least in the beginning of that point in time. A lot of people love this game. Many developers were worried that Pokemon Go was not really ready at the level that it was. However, since this is a game that was so incredibly popular, it seems that it was ready empirically. The game still managed to make a lot of money and to make history, and there aren’t a lot of other games like that anywhere and at any point.

It is possible that in the online casino gaming world, augmented reality is going to be right around the corner. People might be able to just look through their wearable devices in order to see something that is imposed on reality. The Pokemon characters that are present on the screen in the Pokemon Go games are already enough to convince a lot of people that they are seeing things. These tiny characters can truly alter the entire look of a room. Almost anything related to online casino gaming would be much more dramatic than that. Many people might be able to feel as if they are in a land based casino as a result of an augmented reality online casino game of that nature, and that is only going to bring people further to a fantasy of a lot of online casino gaming fans.

People might have a lot of different expectations when they play games at the All Slots casino online. All slots Online Casino games are going to be fun for a lot of people. Many of these people are going to hope that the games have a certain familiarity to them. People who are used to land based casinos are going to want games that manage to recall those land based casinos. Lots of other people want to be able to really lose themselves in these games, and that means feeling as if the games are really part of the world. When it comes to augmented reality, this is going to be even easier for a lot of people. They will really feel as if the games that they like are all around them and that they are part of the world. When they look through the view screen, that is what they are going to see, and that is enough to make it real.

Channel 4 delivered the coverage for the Paralympic Sports during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics

If you watched the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, one of the stand out events to have caught was the Paralympic Sports. This showcases real superhumans of sport. You honestly cannot watch and be in awe of how hard it must have been to perform the tasks that they do and they show the most dedication and delivery that any other game that occurred during the Olympics.

If you were looking for great news coverage during these events, Channel 4 had you covered. Hosted by Alex Brooker, “The Superhumans Show” is a magazine show covering all things Paralympics featuring all the latest news from qualifying events, and profiles of the established and emerging talent. The Channel 4 show is easily the best place to get all the coverage for these superhumans of sport.

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Channel 4 have released spots to showcase their coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics. Their ‘We’re the Superhumans’ campaign took over social media when it was released when the Superhumans returned to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this past September. I look forward to these game again when the Olympics returns in 2020 taking place in Tokyo!

Kansas City Film Critics Name “Manchester by the Sea” the Best Film of 2016 During Presentation of 51st Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards

Manchester by the Sea was chosen as the Best Film of 2016 by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest critics group in the country. MediaMikes film critics Michael Smith and Jeremy Werner are members of the group. Smith also serves as the groups secretary and is a member of the governing board. The film was also recognized with the Robert Altman Award for Direction and the film’s star, Casey Affleck, was chosen as the year’s Best Actor. The winners were announced today during a ceremony for the 51st Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet Theatre in Kansas City.

Manchester by the Sea led all films with three wins, while Arrival, Hell or High Water and Moonlight each received two awards. Natalie Portman was named Best Actress for her portrayal of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie while Jeff Bridges was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his work as a grizzled Texas Ranger in Hell or High Water. For the 13th time at least one category resulted in a tie when Viola Davis (Fences) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) tied in the Best Supporting Actress category. Zootopia was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.

This year the group also awarded the inaugural Tom Poe Award for Best LGBT Film. A beloved associate professor of film and media arts in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Poe, who passed away in November at the age of 70, was a long-time member of the Critics Circle. His reviews were inevitably astute and well-informed yet just as naturally considered and kind, in keeping with his sympathies for both filmmaker and audience. It was Poe’s belief that “great film reviews give rise to thinking about films.” As such, he supported many members of KCFCC through encouragement and dialogue. Tom Poe was our colleague and friend, and it is our intention that this annual award honor his legacy as an advocate for LGBT rights and promote his desire for justice by way of accurate and beneficial representation. The inaugural recipient is Moonlight.

The full list of winners is below:

BEST FILM

Manchester by the Sea

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

BEST ACTRESS

Natalie Portman – Jackie

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Viola Davis – Fences and Naomie Harris – Moonlight

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Eric Heisserer – Arrival

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Handmaiden – South Korea

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

OJ: Made in America

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Zootopia

VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM

Arrival

TOM POE AWARD FOR BEST LGBT FILM

Moonlight

Get Your Vote in For The 2016 Media Mikes Awards and Win Some Great Swag

2016 is coming to a close and you know what that means. It’s time to vote for the 4th Annual Media Mikes Awards. Once again you, the readers, help choose our winners in six categories, with the staff of Media Mikes deciding on others. And, once again, (10) lucky entrants will be randomly chosen to win some great swag.

All you have to do is pick your favorites in the following categories: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Animated Feature. When you have your choices, just email them to MikeS@Mediamikes.com That’s all there is to it. Last year over 3,000 readers submitted their choices.

The voting period runs through Sunday, January 8th, with the winners being announced on January 15th.

Good luck!

Playmonster Delivers Creativity and Inspiration in their New Products for 2016!

Playmonster has a line of toys called Roominate and I just love the tagline for these, which is “Switch on Your Imagination!” I simply love that! Having a 4 year old daughter, there is nothing I love more than watching her light up when she thinks or when watching her stick out her tongue like daddy when she is problem solving. Nothing makes me happier! So when I heard of these new toys from Playmonster, I knew that they were going to not only entertain my child but also help her grow and learn.

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Here is a little information about the line before we get started “Roominate® is an award-winning and customizable line of wired building systems that inspire open-ended, hands-on play, all while showing girls that creativity and engineering are fun! Using circuits, motors and modular building pieces, girls can build and create their own unique and original structures or vehicles that can be joined together or taken apart and remade into something completely new and different! Then, they can decorate and play!”

There are two of the products that I wanted to showcase from this new Roominate line. The first is the Roominate® Cotton Candy Carnival, which looks guaranteed to spark huge major creativity. Girls used to play with dollhouse, which is fun I’m sure but could get old personally. This makes you build your toy and enjoy and learn through the whole process and then get to spend time enjoying it after. Honestly, these are the type of toys that kids should be playing with these days. Something that is going to get them stimulated and assist in developing their mind and brain!

Here are the official details for the Cotton Candy Carnival: “Snap the pieces together to start your creations…if you can imagine it, you can make it! Design your carnival, and try other things, too. Arrange the food and game play pieces, along with the stickers, or add your own accessories and artwork! Then, bring your creations to life with the circuits and motors! Requires 4 AAA batteries, not included.”

Another great item from Playmonster is Roominate® Emma’s Townhouse. Like the Cotton Candy Carnival set, this is another one creative gift for kids to keep them busy for hours learning and using their brains. I can’t wait to see my daughters eyes light up while she is sticking out her tongue thinking and putting together this unbelievably amazing toy.

Here are the official details for Emma’s Townhouse: “Snap the pieces together to start your creations…if you can imagine it, you can make it! Design your townhouse vertically or horizontally, and try other things, too. Arrange the food, tools and toiletries, along with the stickers, or add your own accessories and artwork! Then, bring your creations to life with the circuits and a motor! Requires 2 AAA batteries, not included.”

Hasbro Toys Delivers the Best New Products for Holiday 2016!

Every holiday season, everyone scrambles to find the best toys and deals for the hottest gifts of the year! Hasbro has been around for nearly 100 years and they always deliver the best toys and products year after year. This hooliday season, I wanted to do a feature on just a few of their new toys to show you the best ideas for this holidays gift season.

If you have little ones, Hasbro has delivered the PLAYSKOOL CHASE N’ GO BALL POPPER Toy, which is a perfect for ages 9 months & up. It is a new update to the classic PLAYSKOOL BALL POPPER toy! It carries an approx retail price of $32.99. I have a nephew that will be spending many hours enjoy this joy for sure and it is also fun to see him enjoying a new version of a toy that I myself used as a kid. Or if you are getting you kids ready for the MLB you can find the top MLB shop coupon codes right here. Here is the official description: The CHASE N’ GO BALL POPPER toy features the same air-powered popping play that kids love with an exciting twist! For a giggling good time, parents or kids can swivel the trunk around to deliver even more unpredictable ball-popping action! The toy has several features that encourage little ones to stand, crawl, grasp, and even dance along to the elephant’s poppin’ tunes. With a slim, easy-to-store design and a convenient handle, this elephant is ready for fun anytime, anywhere!

Being a “grown-up” or not, there is one brand that I have always and will always love as a kid that this Transformers. Hasbro is behind of the year’s coolest toys for kids ages 3-7 and that is the TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS GRIFFIN ROCK FIREHOUSE HEADQUARTERS Playset. This toy is a blast for sure and should be guaranteed to delivers hours of entertainment. I wish I had a toy like this when I was little. At an approx retail price of $32.99, this could be yours this holiday season and your kid will be thankful for such a great gift. Here is the official description: Little ones can imagine all sorts of fun rescue adventures with the RESCUE BOTS team in their GRIFFIN ROCK FIREHOUSE HEADQUARTERS playset! When danger is near, kids can extend the rotating tower to get a full 360-degree view of the surrounding area, then use the two hidden-reveal projectile launchers to pretend put out fires! When it’s time to head out on the next big mission, little ones can gear up the CODY BURNS figure in rescue gear, help him hop on the rescue motorcycle and use the vehicle launcher to takeoff through the secret tunnel. Launcher is also compatible with vehicles from the RESCAN assortment. Raise the helicopter landing pad, extend the ground bridge, and swing out the control center platform to convert the firehouse into the RESCUE BOTS headquarters. Other big-adventure features include an extendible helipad, sliding fire pole, ladder, and a pull-out ground bridge to bring the set to life! Playset comes with CODY BURNS figure, fire gear, and rescue motorcycle.

Meet ELE NA OF AVALOR, Disney’s next Princess! Elena made her debut this past summer and since then she is already taking over the hearts of kids and their family. DISNEY ELENA OF AVALOR Doll is available this Holiday season and it should be a must for any lucky girl. Personally my daughter already had the costume for Elena and watches the show each week without fail. This doll will definitely make her feel like a princess. The detail on this doll is so amazing as well it is like she jumped right out of the TV. Here is the official description: This beautiful fashion doll will allow kids to imagine joining the Crown Princess on all of her magical adventures in the Kingdom of Avalor. The ELENA OF AVALOR doll comes dressed in ELENA OF AVALOR’s series-inspired adventure dress and includes a scepter, hairclip, belt, pair of earrings, and removable shoes. If you want to try and find the best deals you can check out sites like http://awesomecoupons.org – coupon website or you can always find products like this most major toy retailers nationwide and on HasbroToyShop.com.

First all kids of all ages, who doesn’t love Nerf! Who doesn’t love having a shoot ’em up with their friends and family (especially around the holiday season) Hasbro is bringing us two new products. The first being the NERF DOOMLANDS DOUBLE-DEALER Blaster at a approx retail price of $39.99. This is an amazing blaster that includes two 12-dart clips and 24 DOOMLANDS darts and will be a blast to have battles with. Here is the official description: Defend the barren landscape with the possibility of taking down targets two at a time with the DOUBLE-DEALER blaster. This high-capacity blaster features two clear 12-dart clips, clear top design with visible firing mechanisms, and boasts pump-action firing with slam-fire capability. Each pull of the DOUBLE-DEALER blaster trigger fires two darts simultaneously!

The second Nerf product is the Zombie Strike Brainsaw Blaster.NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE BRAINSAW Blaster. Just the title alone sound like a blast! Running an approx. retail price od $29.99. This is a must have for anyone of any age. With all the hype around shows like “The Walking Dead”, this is a fun role playing blaster to enjoy with friends and family. Here is the official description: For the ultimate zombie hunter, the NERF ZOMBIE STRIKE BRAINSAW Blaster offers two ways to repel the hordes! Fire up to eight ZOMBIE STRIKE darts at the undead, and then finish the job with the spinning foam saw blade. Includes eight ZOMBIE STRIKE darts.

Yo-kai Watch has hit the US this year and has become the hottest brand since Pokemon. The latest release is the new Yo-kai Watch™ Model Zero, which is now available for an approx retail price of $29.99. This is literally one of my favorite new animes to hit the US in a long time. My daughter also really loves this as well including the collecting of medal and watches. This is the second watch released from this show and is easily a huge improvement over the first one. Here is the official description: Kids can watch favorite Yo-kai appear before their eyes with the new Yo-kai Watch™ Model Zero! Insert a Yo-Motion™ Yo-kai Medal into the Yo-kai Watch™ Model Zero, push the switch and a short animation of the Yo-kai character will project on a wall to show off their signature move.

The Model Zero uses new medals as well, which are Yo-Motion™ Yo-kai Medals. This holiday season you can purchase Yo-kai Watch Yo-Motion Series 1 Bling Bags Assortment to deliver a new way to summon your favorite Yo-kai. Personally these are so much cooler than the first watch and they add a lot of extra play for the kids to enjoy! Here is the official  description: Kids can expand their Yo-kai collection with a mystery selection of character medals. Each bag includes two character medals with three ways to play! Imagine summoning Yo-kai by inserting the medal into the Yo-kai Watch™ Model Zero, discover the wacky world of the Yo-kai by scanning the medal with the Yo-kai Land app, and collect Yo-kai medals and store them in the Yo-kai Watch™ Medallium Collection Book 2 (book and medals each sold separately).

So there you have it, these are just a few of Hasbro’s amazing new products for the 2016 holiday gift guide. There are many many more great products from Hasbro as well. I hope this helps make the craziness of the holiday shopping just a little bit easier. Feel free to sound off below with products that you would like to see us cover in the future installments or share your own stories of success as well! Happy holidays and thanks for reading!

2016 New Jersey Kiss Expo Review

2016 New Jersey Kiss Expo
Sunday, October 9th 2016
Somerset/Bridgewater Hotel, Somerset, NY

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

One of the longest running and largest Kiss fan expo’s returned this year to the Somerset/Bridgewater Hotel (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Somerset, NJ. On Sunday October 9th the newly renovated hotel played host to throngs of Kiss fans anxious to meet various Kiss celebrities included former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick and current drummer Eric Singer. Along with the numerous autograph and photo opportunities the event include several dealer rooms where fans could purchase everything from newly released Kiss items to some of the more rare and hard to find vintage pieces.

Having not attended a Kiss Expo in quite some time it was great to see that the NJ Kiss Expo was finally returning to the area. The event in years past was one of the largest Kiss themed Expos and always bolstered a top notch guest list making it a must go event for Kiss fans of all ages. This year was no exception as former Kiss and current Grand Funk guitarist Bruce Kulick and current Kiss drummer Eric Singer topped the list which also included artist Ken Kelly, Dennis Woloch and many others. Despite the event getting off to a bit of a late start once things got moving the atmosphere in the venue was upbeat and friendly making for a really enjoyable experience. Each celebrity guest was approachable and spent ample time with those looking for signatures and pictures. The vendor’s area of the event was split in to two different rooms which allowed for plenty of space to move around while looking at the various Kiss related items. There was even a space where kids could get their face painted like their favorite Kiss character.

Though there were several lulls in the day’s events due to scheduling and guests’ wanting to make sure every fan was able to get a signature or picture I think those who attended the event got what they had hoped for and, were more than happy to see the event return. With fewer and fewer Expo’s like this taking place taking place my only hope is that the NJ Expo is back for good and that it will continue to rebuild upon its solid foundation so that it can continue to be the go to expo for Kiss fans of all ages.

2016 New York Comic Con Review: Day 2

2016 New York Comic Con

Friday, October 7th 2016
Jacob K. Javits Center, New York, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

The Jacob K. Javits Center in the heart of New York City once again played host to the annual New York Comic Con on October 6th-9th where for four days the sprawling complex became the epicenter for all things comics and pop culture. The event which is now in its 10th year was once again put on by the Connecticut based company Reed Pop a company who puts on some of the largest pop culture events around the country. This year’s Con was no exception boasted appearances by some of the biggest names in comics, film and television.

For our coverage this year we chose to check out the events taking place on day two of the convention. Friday’s schedule included panels with the casts of “Steven Universe”, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” and “Underworld: Blood Wars”. Autograph signings with “Game of Thrones” star Jack Gleeson, “Stanger Things” Millie Bobby Brown and David Harbour, comic creators Greg Capullo, former My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way and making his final NY Comic Con appearance Stan Lee. Needless to say we were quite excited for the day’s events. Right off the bat the event seemed a bit different this year. Despite the entrances still being overly crowded causing extended wait times once you were inside the venue however, the normal wall to wall congestion seemed much lighter than in previous years. This could be related to the addition of several off site venues which were now hosting panels and screenings throughout the day and/or the newly introduced digitally monitored cue lines which were now required to attend a panel in hopes of alleviating chaotic line ups right before the start of an event. Though this alleviated some congestion it still created a number of new problems and a fair amount of confusion amongst attendees. The new offsite venues which included the Theater at Madison Square Garden and the Hammerstein Ballroom were welcome additions however they two weren’t without issue as once attendees left the main convention hall upon returning he or she would again need to wait in the entrance lines.

Despite the new changes and the fact that we probably weren’t going to be able to see as much as we had in years past we made our way to the main convention floor. As always it was like a bustling mini city packed to the rafters with everything from limited edition figures and books to unique clothing and tchachke’s. It also was the home to some of the pop industries biggest names including everyone from Marvel and DC to Funko and Lego. Displays ranged in sizes from the minute to the immense as each vendor uniquely showcased their latest and greatest products. The main floor is also a lot of fun because you never know who or what you are going to bump in to. This year we ran smack dab into WWE Hall of Famer Sting as he was shooting some segments for the WWE Network while showcasing some of the new WWE themed “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. An area garnering a good share of attention but tucked back along the wall in an area known as “The Block” was promotion for the recently released “Shin Godzilla” film. The display which featured several posters for the film and lush red carpeting also included a chance to get your picture with the real life Godzilla! Ok maybe it was just a guy in a Godzilla suit standing in front of a backdrop but, it was still cool!

As we continued walking the endless isles and floors of the center we quickly realized that the day was quickly coming to an end and that our comic con adventure for 2016 was about over. Though we weren’t able to take in nearly as many panels as we had in previous years the added space to move around in between events was a welcome addition. The new digital cue system still could use some work however over time I think it will help make for a much more enjoyable con experience and one we will definitely being looking forward to for 2017.

New Jersey Kiss Expo takes over Somerset, NY on Sunday, October 9th 2016

New Jersey Kiss Expo takes over Somerset, NY on Sunday, October 9th 2016
Tickets on sale now.

One of the longest running and largest Kiss fan expo’s in the world returns this year to the Somerset/Bridgewater Hotel (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Somerset, NJ. On Sunday October 9th 2016 the rooms and halls of the hotel will be ALIVE with all things KISS! From endless tables of collectibles and rarities to a star studded list of celebrities including current Kiss drummer Eric Singer and former Kiss/current Grand Funk guitarist Bruce Kulick. There will plenty of other events also happing through out the day making this year’s expo the must see event for Kiss fans of all ages.

For tickets and complete event info visit: www.njkissexpo.com

“Army of One” with Russell Brand & Nicolas Cage Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand November 15, 2016

    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ONE MAN’S MOSTLY TRUE QUEST TO CAPTURE OSAMA BIN LADEN

 Available on Digital HD November 4, 2016

Available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand November 15, 2016 

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – (Sept. 27, 2016) – Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, National Treasure) and Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek), embark on one hell of a holy mission in the hilarious comedy Army of One, the mostly true story of one man’s quest to single- handedly capture Osama Bin Laden. Directed by Emmy Award® winning director Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld”) with screenplay by Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman, Army of One will arrive on Blu-rayCombo Pack, DVD, and On Demand November 15, 2016 from Anchor Bay Entertainment and on Digital HD November 4, 2016.

Gary Faulkner (Cage) is an ex-con, unemployed handyman, and modern day Don Quixote who receives a vision from God (Brand) telling him to capture Osama Bin Laden. Armed with only a single sword purchased from a home-shopping network, Gary travels to Pakistan to complete his mission. While on his quest, Gary encounters old friends back home in Colorado, the new friends he makes in Pakistan, the enemies he makes at the CIA – and even God and Osama themselves. Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rainn Wilson, and Paul Scheer also star in this hilarious tale of patriotism and one man’s quest for justice.

Army of One Blu-ray™ and DVD include a “Making of Army of One” bonus featurette and will be available for $29.99 SRP and $22.98 SRP, respectively.

To learn more about the film, please visit www.anchorbayentertainment.com.

ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY AND DIMENSION FILMS

The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and Distribution Company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein. During Harvey and Bob’s tenure at Miramax and TWC, they have received 351 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.

Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; SCRE4M; SPY KIDS: THE KING’S SPEECH; UNDEFEATED; THE ARTIST; THE MASTER; SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK; DJANGO UNCHAINED; SCARY MOVIE 5; LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER; PHILOMENA; THE IMITATION GAME; PADDINGTON; WOMAN IN GOLD; SOUTHPAW, CAROL, MACBETH, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, SING STREET, and HANDS OF STONE. Upcoming releases include AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, THE FOUNDER and GOLD.

TWC boasts an active television production division, which garnered twelve Emmy nominations in 2015. TWC Television produces the reality powerhouse Project Runway, with its spin-off series Project Runway All Stars, hosted by Alyssa Milano, Project Runway Jr, featuring supermodel Hannah Davis and fashion critic Kelley Osbourne Under The Gunn, and Threads. Scripted series include John Fusco’sMarco Polo with Netflix, going into its second season, and War & Peace, which debuted on Lifetime, A&E and HISTORY in 2016. Scripted projects in development include Ten Commandments, Daniel Stashower’s The Hour Of Peril and military drama Six. TWC will also launch several new projects in 2016 across several networks, including MTV, Lifetime, and AMC.

ABOUT ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT

Anchor Bay Entertainment is a leading independent home entertainment company that acquires and releases a wide array of filmed entertainment in the theatrical and home entertainment markets, including STARZ Original series, children’s entertainment, fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports and specialty films on Blu-ray™ and DVD formats. The company has long-term distribution agreements in place for select programming with The Weinstein Company, AMC Networks and Entertainment Studios, among others. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, Calif., Anchor Bay Entertainment (www.anchorbayentertainment.com) is a full service distributor in the North American market. Anchor Bay Entertainment is a Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) business, www.starz.com.

Army of One Blu-ray™

Street Date:  Nov. 15, 2016

Pre-book: Oct. 12, 2016

Catalog #: BD64459  

UPC: 01313264459280

Run Time: 93 Minutes

Rating: R

SRP: $26.99

Format: Widescreen

Aspect Ratio: 2.39

Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Army of One DVD

Street Date: Nov. 15, 2016

Pre-book: Oct. 12, 2016

Catalog #: WC64458

UPC: 01313264458580

Run Time: 93 Minutes

Rating:  R

SRP: $22.98

Format: Widescreen

Aspect Ratio: 2.39

Audio: English 5.1 DTSHD-MA

Media Mikes 2016 Fall/Holiday Movie Preview

Labor Day has come and gone, and unless you’re dressing up as a ghost, you better not be wearing anything white! With the end of summer comes the beginning of fall and the start of Hollywood’s “Prestige Movie Push!”

We’ll take a look at what the studios hope are their best bets to fill the multiplexes and bring home the Oscars. Once again, a big thank you to our friends at Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) for some synopsis information. Opening dates noted are subject to change at the whim of the studios. Enjoy!

OCTOBER 7

THE 13th

Documentary
Directed by: Ava DuVernay

The director of “Selma” gives us an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

OSCAR CHANCES: Will surely make the short list.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION

Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer
Directed by: Nate Parker

Set against the antebellum South, the film follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

OSCAR CHANCES: After last year’s #OSCARSOWHITE controversy, the early buzz on this film almost guaranteed a bounty of nominations. However, it was recently revealed that writer/director/star Nate Parker and his co-writer, Jean McGianni Celestin, were accused of raping a fellow college student in 1999. Though Parker was not found guilty and Celestin had his conviction overturned, their alleged victim committed suicide. Not sure how this news will affect the Academy voters.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett and Justin Theroux
Directed by: Tate Taylor

In the film, being compared to “Gone Girl,” a recently divorced woman
takes the train to work every day and imagines the lives of a young couple she
sees every day. Things get weird when the young wife disappears.

OSCAR CHANCES: Blunt is already getting raves for her performance.


OCTOBER 13

MASCOTS

Starring: Christopher Guest, Parker Posey and Jane Lynch
Directed by: Christopher Guest

Simply described as “a look into the world of competitive mascots,” this is the latest opus from the great Christopher Guest. Sadly, unless I missed it, this is the first of Guest’s films that does not include Eugene Levy.

OSCAR CHANCES: Possible screenplay nod.

 

OCTOBER 14

THE ACCOUNTANT

Starring: Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons and Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

A forensic accountant un-cooks the books for illicit clients. What I like about the trailer is that Affleck seems to be a young genius. Maybe this is his chance to play Will Hunting?

OSCAR CHANCES: Maybe.


KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW?

Starring: Kevin Hart
Directed by: Leslie Small and Tim Story

Kevin Hart performs his comedy in front of 50,000 fans.

OSCAR CHANCES: No.


OCTOBER 21

AMERICAN PASTORAL

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and Ewan McGregor
Directed by: Ewan McGregor

In 1968, a hardworking man, who’s been a staple in his quaint community for years, watches his seemingly perfect middle class life fall apart as his daughter’s new radical political affiliation threatens to destroy their family. Based on the novel by Philip Roth.

OSCAR CHANCES: Adapted screenplay?

IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE

Starring: John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Karen Gillan
Directed by: Ti West

A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody cross-hairs of revenge. Ethan Hawke’s second western this season and John Travolta in a cowboy hat for the first time since “Urban Cowboy.” Yee-hah!

OSCAR CHANCES: Sadly Western’s very rarely get recognized.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders
Directed by: Edward Zwick

Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.

OSCAR CHANCES: Director Zwick has helmed three of my favorite films (“About Last Night,” “Glory” and “Legends of the Fall” but only has an Oscar for co-producing “Shakespeare in Love.” It’s about time this man was recognized, though I don’t think it’s going to be for a Jack Reacher film.

A MONSTER CALLS

Starring: Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver
Directed by: J.A. Bayona

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom’s terminal illness.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects.

TYLER PERRY’S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN

Starring: Tyler Perry
Directed by: Tyler Perry

Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens. I’m scared.

OSCAR CHANCES: I’m going to go out on a limb and say “no”

OCTOBER 28

INFERNO

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones
Directed by: Ron Howard

When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot. The second Felicity Jones film in as many weeks.

OSCAR CHANCES: Sorry, Tom, but your nomination this year is coming from “Sully”

 

NOVEMBER 4

BLEED FOR THIS

Starring: Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart
Directed by: Ben Younger

The inspirational story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza who, after a near fatal car crash, which left him not knowing if he’d ever walk again, made one of sport’s most incredible comebacks.

OSCAR CHANCES: Both Robert DeNiro and Hillary Swank won Oscars for portraying boxers so never say never. Hell, Stallone got nominated…TWICE!

DOCTOR STRANGE

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen
Directed by: Scott Derrickson

A neurosurgeon with a destroyed career sets out to repair his hands only to find himself protecting the world from inter-dimensional threats.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects.

HACKSAW RIDGE

Starring: Andrew Garfield and Sam Worthington
Directed by: Mel Gibson

WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Mel doesn’t appear in this one but his dead-ringer son, Milo, does.

OSCAR CHANCES: Gibson (Mel, not Milo) already has an Oscar for directing so you never know. I’m sure people have forgotten what all of the hub-bub was about concerning him a few years ago.

LOVING

Starring: Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Back in the dark ages, Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married. Apparently they had nothing better to do in Virginia at the time.

OSCAR CHANCES: Acting, picture.

TROLLS

Starring the voices of: Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake
Directed by: Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn

Remember those little plastic things with long hair that you used to put on the end of your pencil? When I was a kid we called them Kewpies but apparently they are Trolls and they have their own movie. Good for them!

OSCAR CHANCES: Maybe best hairstyling?

NOVEMBER 11

ARRIVAL

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

OSCAR CHANCES: Picture, director, acting.

SHUT IN

Starring: Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay
Directed by: Farren Blackburn

A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.

OSCAR CHANCES: Unsure, but young Mr. Tremblay should have been nominated last year for “Room.”

USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE

Starring: Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore
Directed by: Mario Van Peebles

The harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. If you saw “Jaws,” this is the tale that Quint tells. Other “Jaws” related facts: this was the original idea for “Jaws 2.” Also: Mario Van Peebles starred in “Jaws the Revenge.”

OSCAR CHANCES: To me it looks like a “made for TV” movie. How about Emmy chances?


NOVEMBER 18

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

Starring: Hailiee Steinfeld, Blake Jenner and Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Kelly Fremon Craig

High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother. Is that weird? When I was in high-school I wanted to date my best friend’s older sister. Hopefully Stevie Nicks got some money from this.

OSCAR CHANCES: Nada

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jon Voight and Ezra Miller
Directed by: David Yates

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards 70 years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. Even though Harry Potter and his pals are less than 20 years old it seems like they’ve been around forever.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects, music (the great James Newton Howard)

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Starring: Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan

An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.

OSCAR CHANCES: Both Affleck and Williams have been nominated in the past so I’m not ruling anything out.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Starring: Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Tom Ford

An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale. November is Amy Adams month.

OSCAR CHANCES: Across the board


NOVEMBER 23

ALLIED

Starring: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war. Cotillard isn’t married so maybe we can look forward to reading about “Bradarion” soon.

OSCAR CHANCES: Pitt, Cotilliard and Zemeckis have been there before.

BAD SANTA 2

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Tony Cox
Directed by: Mark Waters

Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus, to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve.

OSCAR CHANCES: I thought Billy Bob deserved a nod for the first film but I’m going to say no.

MOANA

Starring the voices of: Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk and Nicole Scherzinger
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Hall and Chris Williams

A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.

OSCAR CHANCES: Animated feature, original song

RULES DON’T APPLY

Starring: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins and Ed Harris
Directed by: Warren Beatty

An unconventional love story of an aspiring actress, her determined driver, and the eccentric billionaire who they work for. Beatty has been wanting to do a Howard Hughes-based film since the 1970s. Not sure if this is what he had in mind back then but, after a 15-year absence, it’s great to see him both in front of and behind the camera.

OSCAR CHANCES: Only two people have been nominated in the same year for acting, directing, writing and producing the best picture: Orson Welles and Warren Beatty. And Beatty did it TWICE!


NOVEMBER 25

LION

Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman
Directed by: Garth Davis

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

OSCAR CHANCES: Many


DECEMBER 2

LA LA LAND

Starring: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Directed by: Damien Chazelle

From the creator of “Whiplash” comes a film about a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. And it’s a musical!

OSCAR CHANCES: Early film festival buzz say’s this may be the film to watch (both on screen and at awards time!)


DECEMBER 9

MISS SLOANE

Starring: Jessica Chastain
Directed by: John Madden

An ambitious lobbyist faces off against the powerful gun lobby in an attempt to pass gun control legislation.

OSCAR CHANCES: Actress. Madden directed the Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love.”

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Starring: Jason Bateman and Jennifer Anniston
Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand.

OSCAR CHANCES: Zip

DECEMBER 16

COLLATERAL BEAUTY

Starring: Will Smith and Keira Knightley
Directed by: David Frankel

A tragic event sends a New York ad man on a downward spiral.

OSCAR CHANCES: I’ve already had to apologize to Will Smith twice for doubting he’d get nominated for “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” There won’t be a third. Good luck Will.

FENCES

Starring: Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
Directed by: Denzel Washington

An African American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life. Based on the August Wilson play.

OSCAR CHANCES: YES!

THE FOUNDER

Starring: Michael Keaton and Patrick Wilson
Directed by: John Lee Hancock

The story of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. You may look at your next hamburger differently. Keaton is said to be so good that they pulled the film from it’s original release date.

OSCAR CHANCES: Keaton

A KIND OF MURDER

Starring: Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel
Directed by: Andy Goddard

In 1960s New York, Walter Stackhouse is a successful architect married to the beautiful Clara who leads a seemingly perfect life. But his fascination with an unsolved murder leads him into a spiral of chaos as he is forced to play cat-and-mouse with a clever killer and an overambitious detective, while at the same time lusting after another woman. This will be a day of decisions for Patrick Wilson fans.

OSCAR CHANCES: Don’t see any

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Starring: Felicity Jones, Jimmy Smits and Warwick Davis
Directed by: Gareth Edwards

Or, as I like to call it, “Episode 6.5” The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans to the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. Holy crap! The Death Star, Leia’s family, Darth Vader AND Wicket the Ewok? I’m already in line!

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects, make up.

DECEMBER 21

20th CENTURY WOMEN

Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Laura Wiggins
Directed by: Mike Mills

The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s.

OSCAR CHANCES: Can anyone tell me why Annette Bening hasn’t won an Oscar yet? Didn’t think so. Keep your fingers crossed.

ASSASSINS CREED

Starring: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard
Directed by: Justin Kurzel

When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society. This synopsis seems so crazy considering the cast. I wonder if the two leads made the same mistake Bill Murray did when he thought “Garfield” had been written by one of the Coen brothers!

OSCAR CHANCES: Fassbender elevates everything he’s in so I’m not saying no!

PASSENGERS

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt
Directed by: Morten Tyldum

A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early. It’s so weird to see Lawrence in a movie at the end of the year NOT directed by David O. Russell. Oh well, there’s always next year.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects, technical stuff

PATRIOTS DAY

Starring: Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Peter Berg

An account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. Sounds better than what I thought it was – knowing Wahlberg is a huge New England Patriot fan I thought it was about a day with Tom Brady. The third film by Wahlberg and director Berg and second this year.

OSCAR CHANCES: Oh yes.

SING

Starring the voices of: Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson
Directed by: Garth Jennings

A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

OSCAR CHANCES: Animated film….maybe.

DECEMBER 25

GOLD

Starring: Matthew McConaughey and Bryce Dallas Howard
Directed by: Stephen Gaghan

An unlikely pair venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold. When he was outrageously thin in “Dallas Buyer’s Club” McConaughey still looked good. In this one he’s bald and….dammit!

OSCAR CHANCES: No sir.

WHY HIM?

Starring: James Franco and Bryan Cranston
Directed by: John Hamburg.

A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend. Based on a story by Jonah Hill. Somebody needed money.

OSCAR CHANCES: I’m ashamed that I have to include those words with this film.

DECEMBER 28

PATERSON

Starring: Adam Driver
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet.

OSCAR CHANCES: Love Jarmusch. Maybe a witting nod.

Concert Review: Gwar B-Q 2016

GWAR B-Q 2016
Lamb of God, GWAR, Against Me!, Dillinger Escape Plan, August Burns Red, Lagwagon, EyeHateGod, Murphy’s Law, Eat The Turnbuckle, The Death of Rock ‘n Roll, Occultist, Mobile Deathcamp, American Nightmare, Brain Tentacles, Sawyer Family, Ramming Speed.

Date: August 20, 2016
Venue: Hadad’s Lake, Richmond VA

Our score: 5 out of 5 stars

The 7th annual GWAR B-Q took place on August 20th and again proved why it is the summer’s premier destination place for Bohabs from all over the globe. The humble setting of Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, VA again played host to the event which featured a variety of events, vendors, food and of course plenty of music. Headlining this year’s event along with hosts GWAR included fellow Richmond natives Lamb of God, Dillinger Escape Plan and Against Me!

With temperatures creeping towards triple digits and with a thick layer of humidity permeating the festival grounds we weren’t quite sure how things were going to play out for the day’s festivities. Thankfully the intergalactic overlords of GWAR had everything in check to ensure all those in attendance didn’t have their day cut short due to the extreme heat. Throughout the medium sized 1950’s era water park were plenty of food and drink vendors eager to help keep you going throughout the day. Prices were very affordable which made it easy to part with your all mighty dollars in that bottled “Gwater” ranged from $1/$2 and beer (PBR talls and Oderus Ale) was $4/$6. The food also was in the single dollar ranges making this hand’s down the festival with the cheapest concessions.

The event featured 3 different stages which all varied in size and for the most part each had ample viewing room. The only one that I found to not have enough space at times was the “Slutman Pavilion”. The smallest of the three stages became quickly cramped for energetic sets by bands like Occultist and the aggressive in your face; wrestling meets metal antics of Eat The Turnbuckle. At times the crowd spilled out the sides into the festival walkways which did cause some holdups when transitioning between the two larger stages. Also littered about were a variety of merchandise tents include one from Gwar slaves Bob Gorman and Matt Maguire and another from GWAR’s very own manager the one and only Sleazy P. Martini. Other musical high points from the day included powerful sets from Louisiana’s EYEHATEGOD which featured guest vocalist Phillip H. Anselmo of Pantera/Down fame. The group laid down a solid set of sludgy, doom metal that had the crowd worked into an utter frenzy. Despite the absence of vocalist Greg Puciato(due to a flight cancelation), Ben Weinman and the rest of Dillinger Escape Plan blasted through a unique set of music which feature a guest saxophone player along with a member of the crowd who was brought up to fill in for the absent member. Against Me! could have possibly been considered the odd man out on this bill which featured mostly metal acts but surprisingly enough was a big hit with the fans and, easily one of my favorite performances of the day. The band sounded and looked great while their set featured both classic material and a handful of new tracks which will be on the group’s new album due out in September. Event hosts GWAR would commandeer the stage next and within seconds of being announced by manager Sleazy P. Martin the sweat and dirt covered crowd was painted blue and red by a host of sprays and splashes. There were no safe zones this day not even in the backstage area which made for a wet but fun time which no one but GWAR can provide. Closing out the festivities were none other than Lamb of God. From the time the band first took the stage till the last notes of their set rang out the crowd was a bevy of excitement and energy. Hovering over head was a massive dirt cloud created by the large crowd who varied in color (ranging from blue to red and all point in between), wetness and thanks to the available water park varying levels of clothing making for one of the most unique LOG crowds I have ever seen. Randy Blythe and company gave there all which the crowd certainly appreciated and in my opinion capped off a perfect day.

As more and more European type festivals start to pop up around the States it can be hard to figure out which ones are the real deal and which ones, well to put it bluntly just plain suck! I am here to tell you the GWAR B-Q is one hundred percent legit. From the cool location and amenities to the low priced concessions and impressive musical line-up it was damn near impossible not to have a good time. Yes this festival might cater to a certain genre or specifically “hardcore” GWAR fans however there is plenty of fun to be had even if you don’t fall in to one of those categories. No matter what you look like, where you come from or what you are into if you go to a GWAR B-Q your going to find tons of cool people, off the wall activities and great music which will create memories that last a life time.

Blu-ray Review “The Jungle Book (2016)”

Actors: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o
Directors: Jon Favreau
Rated: PG
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Run Time: 106 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit right off that I didn’t love this film. Before you jump, the visuals were amazing and at times it was almost difficult to see the line between real and CGI with the characters but I wasn’t grabbed in. I have the fonded appreciation for director Jon Favreau and his work. He updated this 50+ year old film with some outstanding technology but overall, the film feels too dark for me and doesn’t have that cheer of the original.
The voice cast is extremely strong here including Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Scarlet Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Garry Shandling and Giancarlo Esposito. These are some A-list names here and they all do a great job especially with Murray and Walken singing there respective tunes. So once again, I didn’t love this film but I did like it. I just was hoping to leave with more of a smile.

Official Premise: Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.

Despite my opinions on the film itself, the Blu-ray is nearly perfect. Since the visuals in the film are so outstanding it is only expected that the 1080p transfer would deliver it perfectly. From the CG characters to the landscapes there is so much detail through this film. From the water to the hair on the characters, it is all beautiful done and shows up amazing on Blu-ray. I would be curious to see how this looks on 3D Blu-ray. The same goes for the film’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 which delivers a wonderful experience with from the subtlest sounds to the massive battles. Kudos to John Debney’s score for delivering a very well-rounded score.

“The Jungle Book” doesn’t come jam-packed with extras but there is a solid making-of extra, two featurettes, and an audio commentary from director Favreau. Also a DVD copy of the film and a Digital HD code are included. The commentary track is very insightful. Favreau goes into depth on the production and delivers a highly recommended track, I appreciated the film a little more after listening to this track. “The Jungle Book Reimagined” runs just over 30 minutes and looks into the making-of the film from the visual effects to the voice casting etc. Lastly there are two quick featurettes included. The first is “I Am Mowgli” which focuses on casting Neel Sethi and the second is “King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer”, which break down the film’s key scene.