STRIFE Guitarist Andrew Kline talks about 20th Anniversary of “In This Defiance”.

The iconic Los Angeles hardcore band STRIFE is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their landmark second LP “In This Defiance”. To commemorate the release the band has put together an extremely limited vinyl release and to find out more about the album Media Mikes spoke with STRIFE guitarist Andrew Kline.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the limited LP package you have coming out commemorating “In This Defiance”?

Andrew Kline: I wanted to do something special for the 20th anniversary of In This Defiance. We teamed up with WAR Records to produce a bubble gum pink colored record that comes in a hand numbered and hand silkscreened cover. There were only 100 made and were sold with a limited edition long sleeve.

AL: What was it like for you looking back and revisiting the album?

AK: “In This Defiance” is my favorite Strife album and we still play a lot of the songs live. It’s a record that I feel doesn’t seem outdated and still fits in with what’s going on within the current hardcore scene.

AL: How do you feel the album relates to the world we are living in now in 2017?

AK: Lyrically, In This Defiance is a pretty personal record. The songs “Grey” and “Blistered” still resonate with me as those songs really relate to the world now.
“Blistered by a raging sun’s flames
Mankind sealed its fate in its haste
Warning signs sent time after time
We just sit back in all this waste”

AL: There seems to be sort of a resurgence of hardcore bands from that late 80’/90’s starting to happen what do you feel has sparked that?

AK: I think that every few years there are a new crop of hardcore kids. They get involved with the scene and they start looking back and getting into bands from different time periods. I think this really created the demand. We’ve definitely seen more than a few bands reunite over the past few years, and I am ok with that.

AL: Are there plans to do some shows where you perform the album in its entirety?

AK: We are hoping to do some shows to support the anniversary of “In This Defiance” at some point before the end of the year. Fans can check out http://strifelahc.comto keep up to date with what is going on.

Film Review: “20th Century Women”

Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig
Directed by: Mike Mills
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 59 mins
A24

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

In 2010, writer/director Mike Mills penned a film loosely based on his father called “Beginners,” with Christopher Plummer taking home an Oscar for his work. This week Mills has turned his pen towards his mother, with Annette Bening shining through in a performance that could end up the same way as Plummer’s did with Oscar gold.

Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) is a 15-year old boy being raised by a less then orthodox mother. We learn from Jamie that his mom Dorothea (Bening) wanted to be a pilot but instead now holds a high position with a major company. Dorothea is 55 and divorced. She doesn’t date much and, when she does, it doesn’t last long. Her world is Jamie. Or so she thinks. Her world also consists of Abbie (Gerwig), a boarder dealing with the possibility of having cervix cancer, William (Billy Crudup), a former hippie with a knack for fixing cars and pottery bowls, and Julie (Fanning), a neighborhood girl that Jamie is helplessly in love with. As their stories intertwine, it’s hard to see who the mature member of the “family” is and who the child is.

Set in 1979, the film makes great use with its pop culture references. Musical acts like the Raincoats and Black Flag dot the soundtrack while references to President Ford falling down the stairs of Air Force One or President Carter addressing the nation and it’s “crisis of confidence” – now referred to as “the Malaise Speech” – help set the tone of the on-screen action. As someone who remembers these events, and the “groovy” clothes from the period, it triggered some fond memories of my youth.

The film does have some problems with its pacing, but the energy jumps up when any of the three female leads are on screen. Fanning and Gerwig are both solid, especially since neither one of them were born in the time the film takes place. But it is Bening, one of our most overlooked talents, who shines here. She mines her emotional depths as she tries to find ways to connect with her son while still trying to maintain a lifestyle she has reluctantly become accustomed to. It is one of her finest performances and one I sincerely hope the Academy recognizes this year.

Concert Review: Reel Big Fish “Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour”

“Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour”
Reel Big Fish, Masked Intruder, Stacked Like Pancakes
Monday, November 14th 2016
The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Punk-Ska veterans Reel Big Fish brought the first leg of their “Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour” to Ithaca, NY on November 14th where they performed to a near capacity crowd. The tour which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the bands monumental 1996 release “Turn the Radio Off” also featured Madison, Wisconsin pop-punk band Masked Intruder and Stacked Like Pancakes a 7 piece Ska-Rock band from Baltimore Maryland. All three bands were at the top of their game this evening which was packed with plenty of energy and fun for the college town crowd.

You never know what you are going to get with Monday night show performances. Questions like will the band be into it? Or, what will the crowd be like? Began to flood my mind as I made my way to the small lake side venue for a night of reliving my teenage years. Both of these were answered almost immediately as I could tell by the looks of the parking lot that I was going to be in for something special. Things kicked off promptly at 7pm with Stacked Like Pancakes taking the stage first. The group wasted no time at all launching in to their energetic performance which was a mixture of Ska infused rock which ignited the dance floor almost instantly. The groups 30/40 minute set was highlighted by a spot on big band infused rendition of the classic Blink 182 song “Dammit” which was unlike any other version of that song I have heard. Taking the stage next would be the masked hoodlums known as Masked Intruder. The group who’s sound is reminiscent of early Ramones with a twist seemed to be having some issues with the venues PA system at first as the vocals were getting lost in the overall mix however after a song or two everything came together and the band settled in as they poked fun at the crowd and themselves while delivering their unique high energy brand of punk rock. Having first been made of aware of this band this summer during the Warped tour is was great to be able to catch them again in a smaller setting where they seemed to be at home. Reel Big Fish would follow to close out the night by performing the entire “Turn Off the Radio” album from front to back. They even included the albums hidden track “I’m Cool” complete with a brief break before starting back in to close out the night. Though the group with the exception of front-man Aaron Barrett are different from the band that played on the album the latest incarnation of the Reel Big Fish sounded just as good if not better than the album they were celebrating making for a great overall concert experience.

When a band that has been around as long as Reel Big Fish has it’s great no matter what to be able to still them live. When it really becomes special is when all the bands on the bill bring their A game which was definitely the case in Ithaca, NY on November 14th. I highly recommend catching this tour when it resumes in February. Though it will feature a different lineup I feel pretty confident in saying that it will surely be just as good of a concert experience making a show you won’t want to miss.

Reel Big Fish Setlist:
1.) I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too
2.) The Kids Don’t Like It
3.) Another F.U. Song
4.) Your Guts (I Hate’Em)
5.) Sell Out
6.) Trendy
7.) Join the Club
8.) She Has a Girlfriend Now
9.) Snoop Dogg, Baby
10.) 241
13.) Skatanic
14.) All I Want Is More
15.) Nothin’
16.) Say “Ten”
17.) I’ll Never Be
18.) Alternative, Baby
19.) The Impression That I Get (Mighty Mighty Bosstones Cover)
20.) Beer
Encore:
21.) I’m Cool
22.) Everyone Else Is an Asshole
23.) Where Have You Been
24.) Take On Me (A-Ha Cover)

Disney, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox Announce The Star Wars Digital Movie Collection

/ PR Newswire / — As anticipation builds for the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first new film in the Star Wars Saga in a decade, The Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd., and 20th Century Fox today announced the upcoming release of The Star Wars Digital Movie Collection. For the first time ever, all six epic films in the Saga, from The Phantom Menaceto Return of the Jedi, will be available on Digital HD throughout the galaxy – or at least here on Earth – globally beginning Friday, April 10.

“Since the debut of the first film nearly 40 years ago, Star Wars has become a worldwide phenomenon with legions of fans from every generation,” said Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s only fitting that audiences enjoy this legendary Saga and its many fascinating behind-the-scenes stories on a wide variety of platforms, and we’re very excited to finally bring all six films to Digital HD for the first time.”

“We’re thrilled that fans will be able to enjoy the Star Wars Saga on their digital devices wherever they go,” commented Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “These films broke new ground in technology, design, sound, and visual effects, and we’ve created some very special bonus material which delves into the Saga’s rich history, including new and never-before-released conversations between legendary Star Wars artists – the masters who helped George bring his iconic universe to life.”

With Star Wars: Episodes I-VI available for purchase as a complete digital movie collection and individually, viewers will have the Rebel forces at their beck and call across their favorite devices anywhere – sunbathing at the beach, relaxing in their living room with friends, or waiting to board a flight to Endor (or elsewhere).

Enhancing the movie collection are a host of never-before-seen special features including Star Wars: Discoveries from Inside and insightful Conversations between key contributors from across this celebrated film franchise, plus a curated collection of classic Star Warsextras from each film. These are the droids you’re looking for:

BONUS
*Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer
STAR WARS EPISODE I: The Phantom Menace

  • Conversations: Doug Chiang Looks Back
  • Discoveries From Inside: Models & Miniatures
  • Legacy content includes “The Beginning”; The Podrace: Theatrical Edit; plus eight deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE II: Attack of the Clones

  • Conversations: Sounds In Space
  • Discoveries From Inside: Costumes Revealed
  • Legacy content includes “From Puppets To Pixels: Digital Characters In Episode II”; State Of The Art: The Previsualization Of Episode II; and “Films Are Not Released, They Escape”; plus Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage and six deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE III: Revenge of the Sith

  • Conversations: The Star WarsThat Almost Was
  • Discoveries From Inside: Hologram & Bloopers
  • Legacy content includes documentaries “Within A Minute: The Making Of Episode III”; The Journey Part 1; and The Journey Part 2; plus six deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A New Hope (20th Century Fox)

  • Conversations: Creating A Universe
  • Discoveries From Inside: Weapons & The First Lightsaber
  • Legacy content includes “Anatomy Of A Dewback”; Star WarsLaunch Trailer; plus eight deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • Conversations: The Lost Interviews
  • Discoveries From Inside: Matte Paintings Unveiled
  • Legacy content includes “A Conversation With The Masters” (2010); “Dennis Muren: How Walkers Walk”; “George Lucas On Editing The Empire Strikes Back 1979”; and “George Lucas On The Force: 2010”; plus six deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE VI: Return of the Jedi

  • Conversations: The Effects
  • Discoveries From Inside: The Sounds Of Ben Burtt
  • Legacy content includes “Classic Creatures: Return Of The Jedi”; “Revenge Of The Jedi Teaser Trailer”; Return Of The Jedi Launch Trailer; “It Began TV Spot”; “Climactic Chapter TV Spot”; plus five deleted scenes.

About The Walt Disney Studios
For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world.

Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Disney|Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

About Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company’s activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. STAR WARS © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

About 20th Century Fox
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, 20th Century Fox Film produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of 20th Century Fox Film: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.

Helmet’s Page Hamilton talks about the 20th anniversary of “Betty” and scoring films

Page Hamilton Music (www.pagehamiltonmusic.com)

Page Hamilton is the lead singer and guitarist for the band Helmet. The band is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary of hit album “Betty”. Page has also collaborated on numerous film scores like “Heat” and also recently created an original score for the film “Sons of Liberty”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Page about music, movies and Helmet’s anniversary tour.

Mike Gencarelli: How is it going from playing with Helmet to collaborating on film scores like “Heat” and “Titus” with Elliot Goldenthall?
Page Hamilton: Playing our music live is physically demanding, there’s no coasting with backing tracks or candlelit, acoustic-sit-down sections in the set, and with a 70+ song repertoire remembering lyrics and certain guitar parts can be challenging. Working with Elliott is a whole different kind of challenge. Sometimes he has concrete ideas and colors he describes or sings to me, sometimes there are written parts and other times he wants me to ad-lib. Elliott works with very talented people, there is a lot of trust in the room; it feels like a brilliant family that adopted me to come in and mess up Elliott’s beautiful music. Teese, Joel, Rick, Lawrence etc. are all amazing people to work with. Also Julie Taymor (Elliott’s wife and director extraordinaire) has been there for the movies of hers I’ve worked on: “Titus”, “The Tempest” and “Across the Universe”. I love working with them.

MG: Tell us about what we can expect from your upcoming compilation album of your own film scores?
PH: I chose to do new mixes of about 40 cues from the 1st 3 movies I scored for Mudbrick media in Mobile, Alabama. When we’re doing music for a scene obviously the director has ideas regarding what works and what doesn’t for each scene but he gives me a lot of freedom to experiment. We disagree from time to time so I wanted mixes for my compilation that I dug compositionally, i.e. remove the visual imagery & dialog and make sure the music is still interesting. In many cases I put back parts I had removed for him and even added a few things. I wrote, recorded, programmed & mixed everything so it’s pretty, low-tech and raw with a fair amount of my guitar mess spilling over the rim.

MG: How do did you approach your original score for the film “Sons of Liberty” and how did it compare to your other scores?
PH: I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with Patrick Kirst for several years, we wrote the “Sons of Liberty” score together, though it was mostly a dropbox collaboration between Hollywood (my place) & Venice (his place). He brings a lot of film scoring experience so I bounce music bits off his stubborn German brain & classical music ears and then create sounds that annoy him, sonically, melodically and harmonically. That’s what they get for hiring a noise-metal guitarist.

MG: This year is the 20th anniversary of “Betty”, which was (and still is) a sick album; how can you reflect on this album?
PH: We’re 20 shows into our European “Betty” tour, it’s not an easy album to pull off live but it’s been really fun to perform. I had to work on a variety of guitar and vocal sounds to get the vibe we had on the recording. I remember everyone having an idea about what we should do after the success of “Meantime”, they wanted “Meantime” part ll but it’s not in my nature to rewrite songs. Fortunately my bandmates were on board and contributed in a big way. Either that or they were just humoring me.

MG: Looking back on 1994 in general, why do you think it was such an epic and important year for music?
PH: I’m not sure though part of it has to do with the strong indie rock scene from the previous 10 + years. Labels like Am Rep, Discord, SST, Blast First and Touch & Go had a lot of good bands that could develop without industry interference. When the demand grew, major labels saw money to be made so a bunch of us signed deals to get paid & quit our bartending jobs. We didn’t know any better so we (more or less) continued as if we were still on Am Rep. Maybe this was the case with other indie bands as well? Melvins and The Pixies come to mind.

MG: How did you get involved working with Linkin Park on their new song “All for Nothing”, from their latest album The Hunting Party?
PH: They contacted my manager in NY and asked if I’d do some guest vocal & guitar bits on their new album. I met with the guys and liked them a lot. They played me a bunch of new songs including “All for Nothing”; I couldn’t get that chorus out of my head. I really enjoyed their recording process and had a great time.

MG: You are currently on tour with Helmet across Europe; tell us what we can expect from the tour and any plans for US dates?
PH: We’re playing the “Betty” album beginning to end followed by a second set of material including songs from “Strap it On”, “Meantime”, “Aftertaste”, “Size Matters”, “Monochrome” and “Seeing Eye Dog”. I’ve always wanted to tour without any opening bands so this is it; 30-35 songs a night. We have some east coast US “Betty” dates booked for December.

MG: What else do you have planned for the rest of the year and in store for 2015?
PH: I’ll be in the south of France producing a French band between the Europe & US “Betty” dates. We have a movie lined up for early next year and I plan to finish writing and recording a new Helmet album. I’ll continue to flounder around with my Jazz Wannabes group back east and my good NYC pals M’Lumbo have asked me to sit in for some recording and a few live gigs.

Book Review “The Nightmare Before Christmas: 20th Anniversary Edition”

Author/Illutrator: Tim Burton
Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Disney Press; 20 Anv edition
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is one of my favorite films of all-time. I watch it over and over and never get tired.  Whenever August/September rolls around, I get the major itch to start watching it to get ready for the holiday seasons, including Halloween and Christmas.  I love the fact that it crosses over the holidays since just creates this new genre for itself. This book was released for the film’s 20th anniversary last month, yes I can’t believe either its been 20 years. I remember the first time I saw this film and was simply blown away. Tim Burton has such a unique perspective in this film and really set the scale for future stop-motion animated films. A must have for any fan of the film.

Official Premise: In this beloved picture book that could only come from the visionary mind of author and illustrator Tim Burton, we meet Jack Skellington– a well-intentioned inhabitant of Halloweenland. Jack is bored of “the scaring, the terror, the fright….tired of being something that goes bump in the night”. And so, in an effort to bring to joy to his town, Jack kidnaps Santa and takes his place as the jolly old elf. But instead of bringing joy to the world Jack, who is a little more than a grinning skeleton, brings fear by delivering creepy toys and riding a sleigh carried by skeletal reindeer. Only through a number of things going horribly wrong does Jack learn the true meaning of Christmas.

This 20th Anniversary Edition isn’t just a cash-in from Disney. It contains some updated illustrations from Tim Burton himself, including a new intro. you can tell that this project was such a labor of love for him and still is since he comments that he loved revisiting it. Now when it comes to the artwork in the book, which I loved but I am also a 31 year old man. For kids, it might be a little creepy but then again so is the film. I do not think that I will be sharing this with my 15 month old daughter…just yet but I look forward to introducing to her down the line. The words just rhyme so well and I really have a blast revisiting this timeless classic. Even though it is has been 20 years, I see myself revisiting this book and film, like Burton, for many many years to come!

David Mickey Evans reflects on the 20th Anniversary of “The Sandlot”

Even if I had never seen 1993’s “The Sandlot” I could have quoted it line by line for you. I coached youth baseball for 15 years and it was, by far, the most quoted baseball film on the field. “You’re killing me, Smalls!” “You’re an L7 weenie.” And, of course, “you play ball like a girl!” Nothing like enjoying the good sportsmanship of 13 and 14 year olds. But if you’re going to be a ballplayer you need to talk like a ballplayer. And at one time, writer/director David Mickey Evans was a ballplayer.

Now touring the country in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of “The Sandlot,” Mr. Evans has behind him an impressive resume of filmmaking. I first discovered his work when I took in 1992’s “Radio Flyer.” Inspired by his own turbulent childhood, the film was a moving look at the bond between two brothers dealing with a brutal step-father. (NOTE: I met Adam Baldwin, who played the step-father in the film, this past summer and I told him the same thing I told Mary Tyler Moore when I met her after seeing “Ordinary People” – – -“I HATED you in this film.” He thanked me.) The next year saw the release of his most popular film, “The Sandlot.” Since then he has written and/or directed popular sequels to both “The Sandlot” as well as in the “Beethoven” series. During our pre-interview conversation I discover we both not only played baseball as kids but were huge fans of the popular sports books of the 1960s and 70s written by Matt Christopher. We also talked about the game of baseball and our love for it. That’s where the interview begins.

Mike Smith: I know you’re a big baseball fan. Did you play when you were younger?
David Mickey Evans: Oh yeah. We occasionally played organized Little League but you had to pay money and we were really poor. So most of the time we’d play in park leagues. You’d have the dude that owned the local bar getting you T-shirts…kind of like “The Bad News Bears.” I was really good. I played in quite a few local leagues near Pacoima (California) in the San Fernando Valley. I was on the Cardinals…the Giants…I was on the Indians, which was a big team, when I was about eleven. If memory serves…I wonder if you can find this on the Internet…I think I hit .560.

MS: Was “The Sandlot” inspired by any of your childhood baseball memories?
DME: Here’s the thing. The “A-Ha” moment for me was an incident I remembered from when I was a kid. The kids on the block didn’t like my friends and I. They would beat the crap out of us all the time. There were playing baseball one day and they hit their ball over the fence. They told my little brother to go get it. They said if he did then we could play with them. Of course, they had no intention of that. They just wanted their ball back. And there was a big dog on the other side of the fence named Hercules that went after my brother and bit him…ripped his leg to shreds. It was a bad memory. But one day I was in my car and I thought, “wait a minute…what if these guys were all buddies? What if that ball was worth $3 million?” I’ve got a movie. None of the kids in the film are any kid I knew. All of the kids are an amalgam of EVERY kid I knew. But what I like to say most about the film is this. When Walt Disney finished Disneyland in a year and a day and he’s walking down Main Street U.S.A…and still, today, of all the parks Disneyland is still the best…and he has some dignitaries with him. Now Main Street U.S.A. is modeled after the way Walt Disney remembered growing up in Marceline, Missouri. It wasn’t actually his boyhood home but it was the one he identified with. The dignitaries say to him “Walt, you did it. This is exactly the way it was back then.” Disney tells them that it’s not. It’s the way it should have been. “The Sandlot” is the way I wanted my childhood to have been. That’s not how it was. Luckily God has given writers a time machine…a pencil on paper. (My work phone rings) Is that a flip phone?
MS: Yeah, it’s my work phone.
DME: Where did you get that? (laughs) I didn’t know they still exist!

MS: One of the questions my son asked me to ask you was if any of the boys you played with went on to play professional baseball. Was there a real life Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez?
DME: You know there’s always that kid. I remember one or two kids from grade school…when you get to about third or fourth grade you start recognizing them…they’re just BETTER athletes. Or students. You just start noticing them and you want to be like them. You wish you could kick that kickball as far as they can. And that kind of kid is specifically on whom I built Benny “the Jet.” And here’s something else. The “Jet” nickname didn’t just come because he was fast. When I was a kid I took karate lessons for a little while and I studied with the Urquidez brothers. The most famous of them is Benny. They called him “the Jet” because his hands and feet were so fast. I saw him a few years ago. He’s got to be 60 and he could still clear a bar! He’s an incredibly fit and ridiculously athletic man. (NOTE: Now age 61, Benny “the Jet” Urquidez amassed an incredible professional fighting record of 49-1. He trained Patrick Swayze for his role in “Roadhouse” and can be seen in the film in the scene where the monster truck gets driven through the auto dealership). I always admired him when I was a kid. He was like a super hero to me. That’s why Benny got “the Jet” in the middle of his name.

MS: Are you surprised at the response “The Sandlot” still gets 20 years later? How many memories it triggers in a person. I mean, 20 years before it came out I was the kid riding with my friends over to the next town to play baseball all day. In the neighborhood we’d play all day until our moms called us in for dinner. In 1993 it was my son doing the same thing. And I’m sure 20 years from now my grandson will be doing it.
DME: I don’t know if I’m surprised. Obviously you can’t predict that kind of reaction. You just have to go for it as a filmmaker and if it stands the test of time….what else is there? It still stands the test of time and I’m incredibly grateful for that. That means I did my job. And I’m satisfied that I did my job right. This is also the only one of my films where the studio left me alone…they let me do it the way I wanted to do it. It wasn’t committee filmmaking, it was me. My crew. My cast. But you can never predict that. I wish I could. I would bottle it, I would sell it and you would never see me again (laughs). I had a guy come up to me in Springdale, Arkansas and he had (12) copies of “The Sandlot” on DVD and he asked me to sign them. While I was signing them he’d say, “this one is for me, this one is for my wife, this one is for my kids, this is for my grandkids and this is for my great-grandkids.” Four generations right there. I gave that guy the biggest hug. That was better to me than winning an Oscar. I was in Utah earlier this year at the location where we shot the film. The Utah Film Commission had re-built the backstop, cleaned up the field and made it look exactly like it did on the original field. They could only seat 1300 people for the event and they sold out in 11 minutes! They dedicated a historical marker to me and the film. I’m serious, they can keep the Oscar!

CD Review "Jurassic Park: 20th Anniversary" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

“Jurassic Park: 20th Anniversary”
Original Soundtrack
Composer: John Williams
Label: Universal
Tracks: 20
Running Time: 71 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

With Universal Pictures re-releasing Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” in 3D on April 5, 2013 and word of a greenlit “Jurassic Park 4”, who isn’t thinking about this film. It is not even mentioned or advertised that this is also the film’s 20th anniversary on the promotions of the film. John Williams’ score for “Jurassic Park” was always one of my all-time favorite score…and now it sounds ever better than it ever has. Universal Music Enterprises is behind this digital release with newly remastered music from the film, as well as four bonus tracks. Can it get any better than that? Answer is NO! This score has always sounded amazing but they really amped it up for this new digital release.

The new tracks including “The History Lesson”, “Stalling Around”, “The Coming Storm” and “Hungry Raptor”. They are honestly worth the purchase alone of the CD. They were personally chosen by Williams along with his music editor, Ramiro Belgardt. They went through the master tapes of the film to find new cues that were not released on the original album. How much of a treat is this?. Getting a chance to hear some new Williams compositions from this film is just amazing. The new tracks also feel like they fit right in with the film as well. This is the first time that they are being released for sale. “Jurassic Park” is also part of history since it marks another amazing score from his outstanding 40-year collaboration with Steven Spielberg. I hope he is planning on scoring “Jurassic Park 4”.

Track Listing:
1. Opening Titles
2. Theme From Jurassic Park
3. Incident At Isla Nublar
4. Journey To The Island
5. The Raptor Attack
6. Hatching Baby Raptor
7. Welcome To Jurassic Park
8. My Friend, The Brachiosaurus
9. Dennis Steals The Embryo
10. A Tree For My Bed
11. High-Wire Stunts
12. Remembering Petticoat Lane
13. Jurassic Park Gate
14. Eye To Eye
15. T-Rex Rescue & Finale
16. End Credits
17. The History Lesson
18. Stalling Around
19. The Coming Storm
20. Hungry Raptor

Blu-ray Review "The Sandlot: 20th Anniversary"

Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Karen Allen, Marty York
Director: David Mickey Evans
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

I remember watching “The Sandlot” in theaters when I was a kid and being inspired to play baseball. This year “The Sandlot” is celebration it’s 20th Anniversary. It is very hard to believe that this film has been around for 20 years. “The Sandlot” is one of those films that doesn’t get old and ages very well. Since this is an anniversary release, I was hoping for the anniversary treatment, especially since this film was already released on Blu-ray back in 2011, but was left disappointed with the release…but not the film obviously. In terms of Blu-ray, this is a same release from 2011 with a new slipcase. If you don’t own this yet then it will easily be worth the upgrade from DVD.

The game, the cast and the music. “The Sandlot” has everything a coming-of-age story needs to succeed. This film comes with wonderful performances from its nine terrific young actors and amazing supporting appearances from James Earl Jones (“Field of Dreams”, “Star Wars” series), Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”, “The Ref”) and Karen Allen (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”). I should point out that there is one new thing about this release that differs it from the 2011 Blu-ray this comes with limited edition packaging and 10 collectible cast baseball cards. The cards are fun if you are a fan of the film for sure (but still not worth a double dip in my eyes).

Official Premise: When fifth-grader Scotty Smalls moves to a new town with his folks, he strikes out with the neighborhood kids, because he can’t even throw a baseball until the leader of the local sandlot team shows him the ropes. It’s the beginning of a magical summer of wild adventures, first kisses, hilarious hijinks and fearsome confrontations with the dreaded “beast” that lives behind the left field fence. The Sandlot has major-league laughs for all ages!

“The Sandlot” comes with an amazing 1080p transfer just like the last Blu-ray release. The transfer is sharp and really captures the essence of the baseball field. The film also boasts a very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The dialogue is perfectly balanced and you can little here every swinging bat and scream from the Beast. The disc also includes an English Dolby Digital 2.0 classic track, but the prior is preferred. The special features are where the letdown really kicks in since it is an yet another port of the (lacking) bonus features from past DVD editions. There is a very featurette, which runs just over five minutes. Lastly (yes, already), there is the film’s theatrical trailer and some TV Spots.

In connection with the release, FHE will embark on a partnership with Benny the Jet’s favorite shoe brand PF Flyers, for a special one-of-a-kind promotion. Beginning March 26, a limited run of “The Secret Weapon,” will be made available inside a vintage 1960’s shoe box, along with a $3 SANDLOT coupon inside. The Blu-ray also features a 10% PF Flyer discount coupon inside the packaging. Further information on this exclusive purchase can be found at www.pfflyers.com.

Blu-ray Review "Schindler's List: 20th Anniversary Edition"

Actors: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagalle
Directors: Steven Spielberg
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Run Time: 196 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

“Schindler’s List” is one spectacular film. You can sum up this film that it is – an experience.  It is easily one of Spielberg’s best films. The film was beautifully shot in black-and-white with some amazing cinematography and fantastic performances.  This film was also not afraid to show the horrors of the Holocaust.  This year marks the film’s 20th Anniversary and the first time ever released on high-def Blu-ray.  This limited edition release went through an extensive high-definition restoration from the 35mm film original negative under the supervision of Spielberg himself. Overall, this release is a must for any Spielberg fan and I guarantee you will be left marveling at the wonderful Blu-ray release, just don’t check the special features.

Official Premise: Adapted from the novel by Thomas Keneally, Steven Spielberg’s masterful film tells the incredible true story of the courageous Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson). Initially a member of the Nazi party, the Catholic Schindler risks his career and life, and ultimately goes bankrupt, to employ 1,100 Jews in his crockery factory during the Holocaust. Schindler’s Jewish accountant (Ben Kingsley) serves as his conscience, as Schindler conducts business with an obstinate and cruel Nazi commander (Ralph Fiennes), who viciously kills Jewish prisoners from the balcony of his villa overlooking a prison camp. Filmed entirely in black-and-white on location in Poland, “Schindler’s List” does not downplay the faults of its magnanimous and unlikely hero, but relates a story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of horrific devastation and tragedy.

Universal really went all in with this 20th Anniversary Blu-ray release.  It comes in a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet digital copy.  The package comes within a high quality DigiPack slipcase. With the supervision of Speilberg, they did such a wonderful job restoring this film and delivering it on Blu-ray with a flawless 1080p transfer within its 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The black-and-white really pops on off the screen and looks all around amazing. Besides the video restoration, Spielberg also supervised the film’s audio elements and let me tell you the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track really sounds quite amazing. John Williams beautiful, yet haunting score also benefits from this great track.

The next part where things get a little disappointing. For the first time on Blu-ray and the film’s 20th anniversary, I was hoping for some real stunning extras. Well that is not the case since there is only extra decent included.  There is no new commentary tracks, interviews or retrospectives.  “Voices From the List” is presented only in standard definition and runs just over 75 minutes long.  It is an in-depth look at the production. It is still a wonderful documentary but does not make-up for the major lack of content.  Next up is a brief look at the non-profit organzition with Steve Spielberg in “USC Shoah Foundation Story”. Lastly, there is a promo on the online application for “IWitness”.  I still say buy the Blu-ray for the wonderfully restored film, just be prepared for a major let down in the extras department.

Blu-ray Review “The Muppet Christmas Carol: It’s Not Easy Being Scrooge Special Edition (20th Anniversary)”

Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, David Rudman
Director: Brian Henson
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Run Time: 85 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 4 out of 5 stars

There is no film that I think about Christmas more with that “The Muppet Christmas Carol”.  It is one of my all-time favorites.  The music, the Muppets, the Christmas cheer…couldn’t ask for anything more.  This film has also never looked better on Blu-ray.  Disney really gave this film a really nice 20th anniversary edition release with this “It’s Not Easy Being Scrooge Special Edition”.  Although, this release only included the theatrical version and does not include the extended cut with the song “When Love is Gone”. I am sure this is going to upset many folks but it is what it is.  This does though include a very sharp digitally remastered 1080p transfer with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  I really though this was a nice upgrade for such a wonderful film.  If you are looking to get into the holiday mood, then cuddle up with some hot chocolate and get ready to sing-along with the Muppets.

I am going to turn this review over to Gonzo to give the official premise: “Greetings, holiday movie fans and culture lovers, I am the Great Gonzo.or as I am better known to fans of this classic motion picture-literary legend Charles Dickens. Ready to laugh, cry, sing, frolic, cavort, and enjoy yourself beyond belief!? Well, you’re in luck, because this Great Gonzo’s “From Chickens to Dickens” 20th anniversary edition of The Muppet Christmas Carol is guaranteed to put you in a holiday spirit that will stay with you forever – or at least until your Aunt Edna starts complaining that nobody is eating the fruitcake she brought.again! Available for the first time ever on Blu-ray with high-definition sound and picture, so you can enjoy even more of my blue-ness, not to mention the incredible spectacle of Kermit the Frog as Bob Crachit, Miss Piggy as Emily Crachit, Academy Award-winner Michael Caine as Scrooge, wonderful songs by Academy Award-winner Paul Williams, and, of course, my pal Rizzo the Rat as.well, Rizzo the Rat. A heartwarming and hilarious holiday classic, told as never before by yours truly! Yule love it! Happy Holidays!”

I am a big fan of this special featurets included on this Blu-ray. One of my favorite extras on this Blu-ray is the “Disney Intermission”. This is a brand new bonus feature, which activates when the film is paused and leads into five classic holiday-themed songs performed by the Muppets Chickens and chums. There is an all-new audio commentary with Muppets including Kermit, Rizzo, Gonzo and many more.  Highly recommended. “Frogs, Pigs and Humbug: Unwrapping a New Holiday Classic. A Behind the Scenes Look” is a vintage featurette hosted by director Brian Henson, Gonzo and Rizzo and gives a nice behind-the-scenes into the making of film. There is a funny blooper reel included form the the set.  “Pepe Profiles Gonzo: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Weirdo” is a funny featurette on Pepe the King Prawn. Lastly, Gonzo and Rizzo take the lead in showing us how the holiday is celebrated in “Christmas Around the World” feature.

Blu-ray Review “A League of Their Own: 20th Anniversary”

Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz
Director: Penny Marshall
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Run Time: 128 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

First, let me admit that I am not a big fan of sports films at all.  But there is something about “A League of Their Own” that stands out among the rest. The cast is so phenomenal and their performances are some emotional…and funny as well.  This film has a great blend of comedy and drama. This year “A League of Their Own” is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary and Sony is given this film a nice treatment on Blu-ray. They also timed it just right releasing– just one week before the 2012 World Series of Baseball.  If you are looking for a chance to revisit this film in HD, just a reminder though “There is no crying in baseball”.

Synopsis: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna star in this major league comedy from the team that brought you Big and City Slickers. Hanks stars as Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up ballplayer whose big league days are over. Hired to coach in the All-American Girls Baseball League of 1943 – while the male pros are at war – Dugan finds himself drawn back into the game by the hearts and heroics of his all-girl team. Teammates Madonna, Lori Petty and Rosie O’Donnell round out this all-star roster, with Jon Lovitz adding a scene-stealing cameo

Sony delivered a home run with its Blu-ray presentation.  The video looks sharp and very clear with its 1080p transfer and in its 2.39:1 original aspect ratio.  The film doesn’t look 20 years old as well,  still hard to believe it has been that long.  The DTS-HD Master Audio track sounds amazing as well with the sports scenes and dialogue.  The special features included are impressive as well.  There is a fun commentary with Penny Marshall, Lori Petty, Megan Cavanagh, and Tracy Reiner.  There are fifteen deleted scenes with optional video introductions with Director Penny Marshall. There is an exclusive documentary “called “Nine Memorable Innings”, which  features interviews with the cast and filmmakers. Lastly, there is the music video for Madonna’’s “This Used to Be My Playground” (still have the single cassette).

Trapt gets “Reborn” on November 20th

First Single “Bring It” Slated To Impact Radio October 1st And Double Single Available On iTunes

US Tour Kicks Off On October 24th In Las Vegas

(New York, NY – October 4, 2012) – California rockers Trapt are returning to reclaim their place on the charts with the release of their latest album, Reborn. The latest offering is slated for release on November 20th via Epochal Artist Records and distributed via EMI Label Services. The album will be released in a standard version as well as a deluxe edition which will feature five acoustic songs from Reborn as well as the never before released fan-favorite “Avelyn.” Reborn was produced by Trapt vocalist Chris Taylor Brown and Matt Thorne known for his work with The Eels, The Donnas & Bonnie McKee.

“This record is really a new sound for Trapt,” states vocalist/songwriter Brown. “With Reborn we really wanted to use new sounds and textures as well as experiment with delays, reverbs, synths and many other techniques we have learned over the years or have heard in our influences. Lyrically, this album is as deep and thoughtful as any album that Trapt has done in the past.”

From the opening note of the first single “Bring It” to the album closer “You’re No Angel,” it is clear Trapt is back to pick up where previous hits such as “Headstrong,” “Echo” and “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight?” left off. “Bring It” impacts radio the week of October 1st and was also just released to iTunes in double single format bundled alongside “Love Hate Relationship” and can be purchased at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bring-it-love-hate-relationship/id564725285. A video for the first single was recently shot in Las Vegas and will be released in the next few weeks.

Trapt will also be heading out on tour in support of Reborn. The tour kicks off October 24th in Las Vegas and runs through November 29th wrapping up in Chico, California. The tour will make stops in Colorado Springs, CO, Fargo, ND, Detroit, MI and West Hollywood, CA to name a few along the way.

The track listing for Reborn is:
1. Bring It
2. Love Hate Relationship
3. Experience
4. Eye Of The Storm
5. Livewire
6. Going Under
7. Too Close
8. Strength In Numbers
9. Get Out Of Your Own Way
10. When It Rains
11. You’re No Angel

Trapt is Chris Taylor Brown on vocals, Robb Torres on guitar, Pete Charell on bass and Dylan Thomas Howard on drums.

www.trapt.com

2012 Tour Dates
DATE CITY, STATE VENUE
Oct. 24 Las Vegas, NV Vinyl
Oct. 26 Riverton, WY The Armory
Oct. 27 Wheat Ridge, CO Copperfields
Oct. 29 Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep
Oct. 31 Fargo, ND House Of Rock @ The Hub
Nov. 1 Rochester, MN The Wicked Moose
Nov. 3 Flint, MI The Machine Shop
Nov. 4 Detroit, MI Sound Board @ Motor City Casino
Nov. 7 Joliet, IL Mojoes
Nov. 8 Libertyville, IL Austin’s Saloon
Nov. 9 Fort Wayne, IN Piere’s
Nov. 10 Columbus, OH AlRosa Villa
Nov. 20 West Hollywood, CA Roxy Theatre
Nov. 21 Scottsdale, AZ Pub Rock Live
Nov. 23 San Jose, CA Musik Ink
Nov. 24 Sacramento, CA Ace Of Spades
Nov. 27 Santa Rosa, CA Last Day Saloon
Nov. 28 Modesto, CA Fat Cat
Nov. 29 Chico, CA Senator Theatre
Nov. 30 Reno, NV Knitting Factory

Blu-ray Review “Newsies: 20th Anniversary Edition”

Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Starring: Christian Bale, David Moscow, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall, Max Casella
MPAA Rating: PG
Distributed by: Walt Disney Video
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Running Time: 121 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It is hard to believe that it is already the 20th anniversary of the classic family musical. “Newsies” was a film that I grew up watching, as did my wife (one of her favorites) and it is hard to believe that so much time has passed. The film still holds up and still entertains just like it did 20 years ago. “Newsies” is currently also spreading the news on Broadway nightly and that is one thing I always thought this film would work great on the stage. The dance sequences are absolutely incredible and brilliantly choreographed by Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical”) and features music from the Hollywood legend Alan Menken (“Beauty And The Beast”). It is also crazy to see The Dark Knight and Academy Award winner Christian Bale, so young and not only dancing up-a-storm but also singing. “Santa Fe” is one of my favorites musical tracks ever. Fans of this film need to pick this release up immediately and get ready sing-along!

For a film that shot over 20 years ago before high definition, the 1080p video resolution looks clear and impressive. There is a little grain here and there but overall, I think it is a nice transfer and should satisfy most fans of the film with Disney’s state-of-the-art digital restoration. The audio in this film is key since it is a musical and it sounds great with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The music is blended well with the dialogue and is not overpowered. It is even able to come through nicely with your wife belting every line in your ear during each song.

The special features here include nothing new for its 20th anniversary release but still are decent. There is a 2002 commentary track with Director and Co-Choreographer Kenny Ortega, Producer Michael Finnell, Writers Bob Tzudiker and Noni White and Co-Choreographer Peggy Holmes, overall fun and interesting. “Newsies, Newsies, See All About It” is a featurette hosted by Max Cassella, Aaron Lohr and Arvie Lowe Jr. featuring interviews, rehearsal and on-set footage. “Newsies: The Inside Story” is another featurette continuing where the last left off with interviews on production design, costume, cinematography. “The Strike! The True Story” looks at historical context and background from the events that inspired the film. “Storyboard-to-Screen Comparison” is a nice feature with side-by-side view available with optional Commentary by Production Designer William Sandell. Lastly there are two trailers available as well and a sing-along feature in the subtitle menu as well.

Blu-ray Review “Unforgiven: 20th Anniversary Edition”

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012
Run Time: 131 minutes

2012 Release: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Unforgiven” celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a newly restored Blu-ray, releases in the Digibook format, which is one of my favorites. I feel that the Blu-ray Book, not only looks cooler than a boring case but also includes some really great information. The commemorative book contains 54 pages of great behind the scene images, script and rare photos. I recently reviewed Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” and I made a comment that I am not the biggest fan of his work, though this film an exception. It is a must purchase for fans of this movie, especially if you don’t own it.

Clint Eastwood delivers a great performance. He won an Oscar for his amazing job directing this Western, it is his best effort to date easily. I also really enjoy Gene Hackman’s role as he is one kick-ass baddie, he also won an Oscar for his role. Morgan Freeman always did a fantastic job as the loyal Ned. The Blu-ray video was definitely an improvement over 2006’s release with a cleaner 2.39:1 original transfer. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio surround track was also impressive especially during the shoot-out scenes.

The special features includes on the release are decent but nothing new from 2006’s Blu-ray release. There is a commentary track from Eastwood’s biographer Richard Schickel, disappointing that Eastwood himself is not on this track though. There are four behind the scenes documentaries covering the making of the film. The first is called “All on Accounta Pullin’ a Trigger”, which features 2002 interviews with Eastwood, Freeman and Hackman. The second is called “Eastwood & Co.: Making Unforgiven”. “Eastwood…A Star” is the next feature is focuses on the film’s actor turned director, my least feature by far. Lastly and also my favorite is “Eastwood on Eastwood” a 108-minute documentary produced and directed by Schickel. Next up where is a classic episode “Duel at Sundown” of the Western show “Maverick” (not HD) and also a trailer is included. Decent features if you don’t own this movie already but nothing special to make you run out to buy if not.

“Unforgiven’ comes to Blu-ray for the first time on February 21!  Celebrate the 20th Anniversary with this new release.  Buy it on Blu-ray™ Book or Download to Own http://bit.ly/zmaba6
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