“Back to the Future” 30th Anniversary Trilogy Traveling to Blu-ray™ and DVD on October 20, 2015

THE FUTURE IS NOW!

BACK TO THE FUTURE 30th ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY

Traveling to Blu-ray™ and DVD on October 20, 2015 along with Back to the Future: The Complete Animated Series & Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures

Universal City, California, July 16, 2015 – Great Scott! In 1985 Director Robert Zemeckis, Executive Producer Steven Spielberg and Producer/Screenwriter Bob Gale embarked on a three-part journey through time that broke box-office records worldwide and catapulted Back to the Future into one of the most beloved trilogies in motion picture history.  In 1989, the filmmakers gave us a glimpse of the future in Back to the Future Part II as Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to 2015…or, if our calculations are correct, October 21, 2015, to be exact.  “The Future” has finally arrived.

Now, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates this once-in-a-lifetime date, as well as the 30th Anniversary of the groundbreaking first film, with three new releases debuting on October 20, 2015.  Available on Blu-ray & DVD, the

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy will include all three movies plus a new bonus disc with more two hours of content. Back to the Future: The Complete Animated Series will be released for the first time ever on DVD featuring all 26 episodes from the award-winning series and Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures will include all three movies, the complete animated series, a new bonus disc, a 64-page book and collectible light-up “Flux Capacitor” packaging.  Featuring more than two hours of content, the bonus disc will include all-new original shorts, documentaries, two episodes from the animated series and more.

In addition to the home entertainment release, the Back to the Future celebration continues in theaters when the films go back to the big screen on October 21, 2015.  Check local listings for show times.  Additionally, Universal Music Enterprises is reissuing an all-new 30th Anniversary picture disc vinyl soundtrack, available October 16th in stores and through all digital partners.

About Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy (Blu-ray & DVD)

Experience the future all over again with the Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy! Join Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and a time traveling DeLorean for the adventure of a lifetime as they travel to the past, present and future, setting off a time-shattering chain reaction that disrupts the space time continuum! From filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, this unforgettable collection features hours of bonus features and is an unrivaled trilogy that stands the test of time.

Includes:

  • Back to the Future, Back to the Future Part II, Back to the Future Part III

  • Bonus Disc with More than Two Hours of Content

  • Digital HD with UltraViolet (Blu-ray Exclusive)

  • Collectible Packaging (Blu-ray Exclusive)

Bonus Features:

  • All New Original Shorts:  Including Doc Brown Saves the World!, starring Christopher Lloyd.

  • OUTATIME: Restoring the DeLorean: An inside look at the 2012 restoration of the most iconic car in film history.

  • Looking Back to the Future: A 9-part retrospective documentary from 2009 on the trilogy’s legacy.

  • Back to the Future: The Animated Series: 2 episodes (“Brothers” and “Mac the Black”) from the 1991 series featuring live action segments with Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown.

  • Tales from the Future 6-Part Documentary

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy (Blu-ray & DVD) Bonus Features Continued:

  • The Physics of Back to the Future

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Michael J. Fox Q&A

  • Eight Archival Featurettes

  • Behind the Scenes Footage

  • Music Videos

  • Audio Commentaries

  • Back to the Future: The Ride

About Back to the Future : The Complete Animated Series (DVD)

It’s about time!  The adventures continue with all 26 episodes of the award winning Back to the Future: The Complete Animated Series, in its entirety and uncut! Join Marty McFly and Doc Brown, Doc’s wife Clara, sons Jules and Verne, and dog Einstein for more hilarious escapades as they time travel to Prehistoric Hill Valley, Ancient Rome, Medieval England, the Civil War, the days of the pirates, the far future and beyond.  Featuring live action segments with Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown, science experiments by Bill Nye the Science Guy and the vocal talents of Mary Steenburgen (Clara), Thomas Wilson (Biff) and Dan Castellaneta (Doc), it is family entertainment at its best and a true treasure for all Back to the Future fans!

Bonus Features:

  • Drawn to the Future: New interview with creator/writer Bob Gale and writer John Ludin.

  • Galleries: Rare archival materials featuring character art, DeLorean designs and more.

About Back to the Future : The Complete Adventures (Blu-ray & DVD)

Great Scott! For the first time ever, Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures pairs together the original beloved trilogy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd along with the complete TV series.  Join Marty McFly, Doc Brown and a time traveling DeLorean for the adventure of a lifetime as they travel to the past, present and future, setting off a time-shattering chain reaction that disrupts the space time continuum.

Includes:

  • Back to the Future, Back to the Future Part II, Back to the Future Part III

  • Back to the Future: The Complete Animated Series DVD

  • Bonus Disc with More than 2 Hours of Content

  • Digital HD with UltraViolet (Blu-ray Exclusive)

  • Back to the Future: A Visual History 64-Page Book

  • Light-Up “Flux Capacitor” Packaging

About Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

CD Review: Judas Priest “Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Judas Priest
“Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Columbia/Legacy
Tracks: 31 (3 Discs)

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Judas Priest’s “Defenders of the Faith” album Columbia/Legacy Records has released the “Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition.  The 3 disc release features a combined 31 tracks which lets listeners relive 1984, a year which had the band coming off a long list of successful album releases and continuing on with the Platinum selling “Defenders of the Faith” album. The 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition includes a newly remastered version of the original album, a 2 disc live performance recorded during the subsequent tour, special edition packaging and an 18 page booklet with rare photos from the Defenders tour.

Right of the bat I want to say that if you already have the original version of “Defenders of the Faith” skip this version or go out and track down an original vinyl copy of the album. I found the remastered version of the album to be quite thin with too much emphasis on Rob Halfords vocals. It would have been nice if the newly remastered tracks featured beefed up instrumentation to accompany the metal gods prowess however much of that seemed lost or non-existent. I found the real gem of this release to be the two disc live album which is included as a part of the deluxe edition. Recorded on May 5th, 1984 at the Long Beach Arena the recording captures the band in their element. Not only do you get to hear most of the songs from the Defenders album in a live a setting but you are also treated to classic Priest tracks such as “Electric Eye”, “The Green Manalishi” and of course “Hell Bent for Leather” which includes Halfords signature motorcycle revving. Everything Priest is known for with their live performances is captured on these two discs making it for me the star if the release. Also included is some really cool die-cut packaging and a small booklet with a brief story from the band along with several live photos from the tour.

Though I wasn’t a fan of all the discs from the “Defenders of the Faith” 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition I found the live portion of this release more than made up for it. So if you are looking this album and want something a little extra then the Anniversary edition is the way to go however, if you are just looking for the studio tracks of songs like “Love Bites” and “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” then make your way to the nearest record store and get yourself an original release of the album.

Track Listing:
Disc 1- Defenders of Faith (Remastered)
1.) Freewheel Burning
2.) Jawbreaker
3.) Rock Hard Ride Free
4.) The Sentinel
5.) Love Bites
6.) Eat Me Alive
7.) Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
8.) Night Comes Down
9.) Heavy Duty
10.) Defenders of Faith

Disc 2- Live at the Long Beach Arena 5/5/84
1.) Love Bites
2.) Jawbreaker
3.) Grinder
4.) Metal Gods
5.) Breaking the Law
6.) Sinners
7.) Desert Plains
8.) Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
9.) The Sentinel
10.) Rock Hard Ride Free

Disc 3- Live at the Long Beach Arena 5/5/84
1.) Night Comes Down
2.) The Hellion
3.) Electric Eye
4.) Heavy Duty
5.) Defenders of the Faith
6.) Freewheel Burning
7.) Victim of Changes
8.) The Green Manalishi
9.) Living After Midnight
10.) Hell Bent For Leather
11.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

Blu-ray Review “Silent Night, Deadly Night: 30th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Eric Freeman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Linnea Quigley
Directors: Charles E. Sellier, Jr.
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Run Time: 85 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I can honestly say that I feel old celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the horror cult classic “Silent Night, Deadly Night”. I loved this film growing up as a kid (and nothing as changed today). I mean who doesn’t love the idea of a killer Santa Clause. This is the first time that this film has ever been released on Blu-ray but Anchor Bay sadly gives this film no love at all and it will surely just enrage any true horror fan. Recommended only for the very true avid collectors, otherwise stick with your DVDs.

Official Premise: “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is the heartwarming story of little Billy Chapman who was traumatized by his parents’ Christmas Eve rape and murder, then brutalized by sadistic orphanage nuns. But when a grown-up Billy is forced to dress as jolly St. Nick, he goes on a yuletide rampage to ‘punish then naughty’. Santa Clause is coming to town…and this time he’s got an axe!

So I am happy with the fact that this Blu-ray includes the original unrated version, but I am not thrilled that the transfer feels like nothing better than a DVD upscale. Also the uncut scenes are not cleaned up at all and stick out like a sore thumb. This could have easily been cleaned up in the restoration process. The audio included is not terrible boasting a decent Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track.

Then we get to the special features, which are definitely going to let down again. Firstly, they are missing the original trailer which started all the controversy and protecting about the film. There is a new commentary track from Writer Michael Hickey, Composer Perry Botkin, Editor/2nd Unit director Michael Spence and Co-Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid. It is new but is also quite a bore and almost painful to listen to. Lastly there is the unauthorized interview from director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. and Poster and Stills Gallery included.

There is plenty of effort they could have put into this release but you can tell that it is frankly just lazy. Lame special features, mixed with a poor 1080p transfer, I am left shaking my head with disappointment. When you look at what other companies like Scream Factory, Synapse Films and Grindhouse Releasing are doing with there releases, Anchor Bay is falling into the discount bargain bin category.  This is definitely not a  30th Anniversary Edition quality release.

 

Celebrate “The Karate Kid” 30th Anniversary and Win a T-Shirt [ENDED]

Media Mikes is teaming up with TVStoreOnline.com to giveaway some great official T-shirt’s to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “The Karate Kid”. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite quote from the film. This giveaway will remain open until June 20th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.


If you want to learn true Karate, study with the master! You’ll look great waxing on and off in this officially licensed “Karate Kid” t-shirt. A faded print advertising Mr. Miyagi’s Miyagi-Do Karate features Miyagi himself appears on the front, alongside the dojo’s lotus-flower logo.

Blu-ray Review “Mickey’s Christmas Carol: 30th Anniversary Special Edition”

Directors: Burny Mattinson
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Run Time: 26 minutes

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

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is easily my favorite holiday special of all-time! Yes, I am serious. As a kid, I literally wore out our VHS copy, which we recorded off TV in the early 80’s. It is crazy to believe that this film is celebrating its 30th anniversary but I couldn’t be happier to have this film available in glorious Blu-ray. I have been getting very fed up with the ABC Family hack-job cut that they air each year, which cuts out various classic scenes. This Blu-ray is the complete and uncut special and has never looked better. I am looking to sharing this with my daughter each year with hopes that she can enjoy as much as I have for the last 30 years.

Official Premise: Mickey, Goofy, Donald and all their pals star in a heartwarming retelling of Dickens’ unforgettable holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) is far too greedy to understand that Christmas is a time for kindness and generosity. But with the guidance of some wise ghosts (Goofy and Jiminy Cricket) and a bunch of newfound friends, Scrooge learns to embrace the spirit of the season. Share this wonderful holiday treat with the whole family.

This 30th Anniversary Special Edition gets the treatment from Disney delivering it as a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy. I can’t wait to use the digital copy, during our upcoming holiday vacation and it’s good to have just in case we wear out of the Blu-ray disc. Haven’t grown up with this film on VHS tape, this special has never looked better. 30 years old? Humbug! “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is beautifully digitally restored. The character outlining is so crisp and sharp, as is the colors, which really pop so well.

In terms of special features, the only let down for me is that they didn’t include the fantastic “The Making of Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, which has been available only on Youtube (see below, it is a must watch). Otherwise the Blu-ray includes some fun extras, especially for kiddies. There are five bonus animated shorts, which all equally look amazing in HD. “Yodleberg” is the first (and all-new) Mickey Mouse short, which really aired on Disney Channel this Fall. There are also classic shorts including “The Hockey Champ”. “Pluto’s Christmas Tree”, “The Art of Skiing” and “Corn Chips”.

Also included is one of my favorite new features that Disney has been behind, which is the “Disney Intermission”, in which Mickey invites viewers to sing Christmas Carols with all his pals when the film is paused. This is such a great addition to the release and makes pausing fun. There are three songs to enjoy including “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”, “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells”. I really hope that Disney continues this trend, since it is one of my favorites and added a lot to the Blu-ray. Do not miss this release for sure Disney fans!

Steve Lukather talks about Toto’s 30th Anniversary Tour

Steve Lukather is a multi Grammy award winning guitarist and producer best known for his work with Toto. Outside of Toto, Steve has worked with Michael Jackson, been a member of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band and also released several solo albums with the most recent one “Transition” being released in January of this year. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Steve recently about his latest release as well as the Toto 30th Anniversary tour.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on your most recent solo work titled “Transition”?
Steve Lukather: I have been doing solo albums since 1989. My first solo release was more of a vanity project. I had all of my friends come help me get my sea legs and we had a lot of fun. Each one of these solo albums that I put out has gotten a little more serious. The last three in particular are where I think I found my voice as a solo artist. I really enjoy making over the top records from a production stand point. I am not trying to write the next hit single that will play after Rihanna or Jay-Z. No offense to what those people do as they are great but that’s not my audience. I am making songs that I like and that I think fans of my previous work will like. I love melody with a few twist and turns.

AL: “Transition” is a much darker album than in the past. Was it hard revisiting some of those feelings or places?
SL: It’s a very personal album as I write about what I live. I am the type of guy who writes journals not poetry or something like that. I am trying to write about things that I have lived or seen. I have gone through losing people close to me, drugs, divorce and alcohol. I try and retell those experiences in my own way and learn from those experiences.

AL: You just had signature guitar pickups released from Dimarzio baring the “Transition”
name. Can you tell us about that partnership?
SL: I just fell in love with these pickups. When it was time to come up with a name I figured we could use the album name. It also is like a transition from my old sound to my new sound. Transition is a great world that can mean a lot of different things. I started working with Dimarzio about a year ago and the combination of those pickups and my signature guitar is just great. I have really changed my view on everything from performing live to life in general.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming Toto 35th anniversary tour?
SL: I am looking forward to being back with most of my high school friends to help out another friend and former band mate Mike Porcaro who has ALS. That was the reasoning behind the band initially getting back together. We wanted help him and his family by raising money for his medical expenses. We had such a great time doing it that we decided to do something for the bands anniversary. I’m now back with my high school brothers having a blast. I think the band is sound better than ever. Most of the dates right now are overseas but U.S. dates have begun trickling in. Between those I will also be doing some solo shows as well as some shows with Peter Frampton and then heading back out with Ringo Starr.

AL: What do you enjoy most about being back out on the road with Toto?
SL: Our band’s songs are the soundtrack to people’s lives. Being recognized on shows like “Family Guy” and “South Park” has exposed our music to a whole new generation of fans. We are a classic rock band and that’s a title I will gladly accept. I love that. Even some disgruntled hipster rock critic who gets drunk at a party and know all the lyrics to “Africa” (Laughs)

AL: Are there plans to record any of the shows from the reunion tour?
SL: That is something we are trying to get together. We have to find the right venue to shoot in and we also have to get some litigation out of the way with a few ex-managers. We are just about through that and once we are we would be foolish not to document this. There have been a number of tries in the past all of which have had dramatic stops put to them. One film was in a car accident where the film burnt up, and then there was a nasty law suit over another.

AL: Having played with a number of amazing artists is there one that sticks out as a personal favorite?
SL: Playing with Ringo Starr has been a highlight of my career. I am looking forward to doing that again. I am honored to have Ringo as a friend. I have a really cool life. I have started writing a book and just looking back on my career has been amazing. The book is still a ways from being completed however over my 35/36 year career I am just amazed at what I have accomplished. It has been a great run and I am currently booked up till 2015 without even trying. I am truly blessed. “This is a new world and there is no time to sit around with a thumb up your ass” (Laughs)

Blu-ray Review “National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Beverly D’angelo, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall
Directors: Harold Ramis
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“National Lampoon’s Vacation” was a very important film of the 1980’s. It was a great kick-off for John Hughes, who then went on to making “The Breakfast Club”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day” etc. It was directed by Harold Ramis, who also gave us “Caddyshack”, “Groundhog Day” and of course starred in “Ghostbusters” series. But most importantly this movie introduced us to the Griswold family. I think that is the most important. There is not a year that go by that I do not quote this film or its sequel “Vegas Vacation”. Of course who doesn’t watch “Christmas Vacation” every Holiday! “Vacation” is where it all started and it is celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary with this new release. If you own the last Blu-ray from 2010, I wouldn’t recommend upgrading but if you don’t then this release is a must-own for any fan!

Official Premise: Everything is planned, packed… and about to go hilariously wrong. The Griswolds are going on vacation. In the driver’s seat is Clark Griswold (Chase), an Everyman eager to share the open road and the wonders of family togetherness, and his wife Ellen (D’Angelo). Myriad mishaps, crude kin (Quaid), encounters with a temptress (Christie Brinkley), financial woes, Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) on the roof, one security guard (John Candy) and 2,460 miles later, it’s a wonder the Griswolds are together. There’s never been a family vacation like it. Except maybe yours. And that helps explain why the classic comedy remains so popular and so very funny.

“National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition” includes the same transfer from the 2010 Blu-ray release which is quite impressive. The 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 is quite strong and hold up real well. The color are sharp and the even though the film is screaming 1980’s it still looks sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track included works well with the dialogue and music in the film. I would have loved to seen this beefed up a little though to a 5.1 surround track for this anniversary release.

On the previous 2010 Blu-ray release, the special features were not anything to call home about. Well on this 30th anniversary edition, we are only getting one new featurette called “Inside Story: National Lampoon’s Vacation”. It is a nice 85-minute trip down memory lane with the cast/crew but I would recommend purchasing this Blu-ray just for this one featurette, especially if you owned the prior release. The rest of the extras are the roll-over from the 2010 Blu-ray including a brief introduction to the film with Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, and Matty Simmons. There is a fun audio commentary track with Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, and Matty Simmons. Fans should enjoy this track. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer.

Blu-ray Review “Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition”

Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young
Director: Ridley Scott
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Run Time: 117 minutes

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

“Blade Runner” has been labeled with “The #1 Sci-Fi Film of all time” and it damn well deserves it.  The film is so epic and even though it is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, it looks like it was made yesterday.  This release comes stocked with a 4-Disc Blu-ray/ DVD + Book + UltraViolet Digital Copy Combo Pack.  I am particularly psyched about the streaming digital copy. How does that sound in terms of ass-kicking? What since the film is celebrating its birthday, there should be gifts right?  This one comes packed with goodies, including an all new concept spinner car replica, an action Lenticular and a 72 page art production book with never-before-seen Ridley sketches, poster art and photos. All that is fantastic and should satisfy any fan of the film. This commemorative gift set also includes all 10+ hours of bonus content from the equally amazing 2007 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, as well as all five feature film versions – The Final Cut, ‘92 Director’s Cut, Domestic and International Theatrical versions and the rare Workprint.

Also like the 2007 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, the video includes a really sharp pristine 1080P transferred from the newly minted 4K master. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is simply remarkable for the “Final Cut”.  I have seen this film so many times and yet it still never managed to impress me.  I should also note that the Vangelis’ score is also perfectly showcased on this TrueHD track. The rest of the versions are presented in standard Dolby Digital and the rare Workprint is presented in Dolby 2.0 stereo. If you are looking for the special features from the 2007 edition, look no future. There is over 10+ hours of extras included here as well spread out over the five disc, which seem to cover every aspect of the film’s production that is imaginable from commentaries to featurettes.

The first disc houses the film’s audio commentary tracks. Disc two holds the amazing must-watch documentary, “Dangerous Days” and runs over 3.5 hours itself. Disc three is baren of extra but don’t worry disc four is jam-packed. There are numerous featurettes, including “The Electric Dream: Remember Philip K. Dick”, “Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel Vs. the Film”, Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews, “Signs of the Times: Graphic Design”, “Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling”, “The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth”, “Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art” and “Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard”. There is also some vintage featurettes and screen tests for Rachel & Pris, as well as various deleted and alternate scenes. Lastly the extras are wrapped up on the fourth disc with theatrical trailers. The fifth disc sums up this amazing collection of extras with yet another audio commentary track and a great featurettes “All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cuts”, which covers every possible aspect of the various cuts.

I still have (and cherish) my limited and numbered “Blade Runner”- Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition in the kick-ass briefcase. So this edition doesn’t top that one in terms of coolness but in my eyes but it is still absolutely amazing! I know this maybe be hard to believe but, YES!, it is definitely worth the double-dip. Warner Bros. is also releasing a solo three-disc Blu-ray Book edition.  It will also deliver the five cuts of the film and all special features from the 30th Anniversary set.  Though the Blu-ray Book itself gets chopped down to only thirty-six pages instead of seventy-two pages.  It also cuts out the DVD disc, UV copies and of course the spinner replica and Lenticular hologram. So you decide which one you want but I highly recommend this release is a no-brainer if you are a fan!

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Book Review “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial from Concept to Classic: 30th Anniversary Edition”

Author(s): Steven Spielberg, Melissa Mathison
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Newmarket Press
30th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: October 9, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

This 30th Anniversary Edition included the illustrated story of the film and the filmmakers. As I turn 30 myself this year, it is crazy to believe that this film that I grew up on is doing the same.  “E.T.” is one of Steven Spielberg’s most personal stories to date. This film was also the reason why John Carpenter’s “The Thing” flopped the same year since everyone wants to see aliens in a good light not evil.  This new addition is the only official book on the making of the film and includes an all new introduction from Steven Speilberg.

This book is also illustrated with more than 200 photos and drawings, which look amazing. I really would have loved this book to have been hardcover. It the illustrations aren’t eough this book includes the complete annotated screenplay by Melissa Mathison.  But that is not all either, there are reflections from many of the cast and crew, including designer Carlo Rambaldi and producer Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy chats about the impact of the movie on today’s audience.  There is also a bunch of amazing little known facts and trivia revealed in this book about the film’s production.

I never knew that “E.T.” was a plant…that’s right kiddies, not male or female…a plant.  It is also told that “E.T.” had only 49 lines of speaking. This film is 30 years old and still very relevant today and still holds up. Since this book is timed to match with the Blu-ray release, the October is going to be the month of “E.T.” and having everyone “phone home” and revisit this classic film.  And what better want to accompany the amazing movie, than with this amazing book.  This is a no-brainer for Spielberg fans…unless you have the 20th Anniversary release,  since there is not much new in this edition.

Blu-ray Review “Annie: 30th Anniversary – Sing-Along Edition”

Director: John Huston
Starring: Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking, Aileen Quinn
MPAA Rating: PG
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Running Time: 127 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love little ole’ Annie and her wonderful songs like “Tomorrow,” “Easy Street,” “It’s the Hard-Knock Life”.  This wonderful Blu-ray release from Sony celebrates the film’s 30th Anniversary with its very impressive Sing-Along Edition.  This film was adapted from the smash Tony Award®-winning musical comedy based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip.  It also packs one of the best musical casts including Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Aileen Quinn, Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking and Tim Curry.  I remember the first time I saw this film with my then girlfriend (now wife) many years ago.  This musical still brings a smile to my face and has you singing along with little Annie and her friends. Highly recommended!

SYNOPSIS: The charismatic little orphaned Annie’s (Aileen Quinn) luck changes for the better when billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney) arrives at the orphanage looking to take one of the children for a short time. Annie soon charms the billionaire with her lively warm nature and together they set out to search for Annie’s parents. With the mean head of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) attempting to hinder their plan, Annie’s search will prove to be quite a heartwarming journey.

This 30th Anniversary Blu-ray both looks and sounds amazing.  The 1080p transfer really brings out the color in the film and looks very sharp.  It’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works perfectly with the sounds and sounds just amazing!  This release also comes with an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy.  The special features are not amazing but still good.  Exclusive to the Blu-ray is “Sing-Along with Annie”, which allows fans to sing along to all their favorite songs.  There is also a musical performance of “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” by pop group Play. There is only one production featurette called “My Hollywood Adventure with Aileen Quinn”, short but worth checking out. Lastly, the Blu-ray also includes the original trailers and TV spots from the film.

Book Review “Making Tootsie: Inside the Classic Film with Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack – The 30th Anniversary Edition”

Author: Susan Dworkin
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Newmarket Press; Expanded edition
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love “Tootsie”. It showcases Dustin Hoffman in one of his best roles to date. It was named #2 of the 100 Best Comedies of the Twentieth Century by The American Film Institute (#1 was Some Like It Hot). This book was originally published back in March 1983. This 30th anniversary edition is presented as a film study. Thanks to Newmarket Press, this book is back in both print and e-book editions.

The writer Susan Dworkin was the only journalist Pollack and Columbia Pictures permitted on the set and in the editing room. She is a playwright, award-winning documentary writer, and Ms. magazine contributing editor. She conducted in-depth interviews not only with its director and star but also with the costume designer, the film editors, costars Teri Garr, Bill Murray, and Dabney Coleman, and many others. She really understands and loves this movie and it shows through her work.

This short but sweet trade paperback is a very each read and very informative. There are also 52 beautiful photos from the film and production. This is a must for all fans of this film and lovers of great cinema. So get ready to travel back to 1982 with director Sydney Pollack and actor Dustin Hoffman and the wonderful collaboration that created one of our best enduring classic.

Founder/Owner of Metal Blade Records’ Brian Slagel talks about 30th Anniversary

Brian Slagel is the founder/owner of Metal Blade Records. This year marks the labels 30th anniversary and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Brian about the labels history and what it has planned to celebrate this monumental occasion.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us what initially led you to putting together the first Metal Massacre compilation?
Brian Slagel: I was in Los Angeles and saw so many really great metal bands playing around. At that
time there was no way for them to get heard. I was a huge fan of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in England and its DIY attitude and from there I got the idea to do a compilation of local LA heavy metal bands. I was also working at a record store and I asked the import distributors I bought from if they would buy a compilation if I put one out. They said yes and the album became a reality.

AL: Did the success of that release plant the seed for you in starting Metal Blade Records or was starting/having your own label always something you wanted?
BS: I never intended to start a label. I was working at a record store and also doing a fanzine. After the album was released, I was offered a pressing and distribution deal from one of the importers. That is when it started to become a label.

AL: You gave Metallica their first real exposure with the Metal Massacre release. Was there a specific reason the band did not sign to Metal Blade?
BS: Yes I had no money as did they. So with no money there was no way to record an album. They came to me first, but no money meant it never happened.

AL: What do you feel has been the labels biggest accomplishment in its 30 years of existence?
BS: Probably just being around for 30 years and still going strong. It is a difficult business, but we have been lucky to still be around and doing what we love.

AL: With the 30 year anniversary of the label is their going to be any special edition releases or re-releases from the label?
BS: Yes we are doing special versions, vinyl, picture discs all year long. Also we are doing special sales around the world as well tied into the 30th.

AL: When signing bands to your label are there any specific qualities or characteristics you look for?
BS: There is nothing specific. We always look for bands that sound a bit different and also are willing to work with us. Getting signed these days is the easy part, and then the work really begins. It’s always helpful if the band has something happening before they ever sign with us.

Concert Review “The Toasters 30th Anniversary Tour” Ithaca, NY

“The Toasters 30th Anniversary Tour”
The Toasters, The Rudie Crew, The XSKAVATORS
Date: Friday, February 24th 2012
Venue: The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Toasters 30th Anniversary tour made a stop in the eclectic college town of Ithaca, NY on Feb. 24th where they performed to a diverse crowd sprinkled with punks and old school rude boys. The first group to take the stage was The Rudie Crew who like The Toasters hail from New York, New York. The group performed a 40 minute set playing what could be described as Rasta infused ska music. The group provided an upbeat performance which got the crowd instantly off their checker clad feel. Home town favorites The XSKAVATORS would take the stage next performing their own unique version of early traditional ska.

The Toasters would close out the night providing me with some great flash back moments from the first time I saw the band some 13 years ago. Lead vocalist and guitarist Robert “Bucket” Hingley and his band belted out such classic hits as “2 Tone Army, “Dub 56” and “Weekend in LA”. As the crowd continued to skank their way through the evening the band closed out the night with their classic anthem “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down”. Though the band now features a stripped down 5 piece line up The Toasters still provided their signature big band sound. The only negative from the night came in the way of time. The first group did not take the stage until 10:30pm which was an hour and a half after their scheduled time. After two stage changes and 3 full sets of music the show finally wrapped up at around 2 am making for a very long night.

The Toasters Set List:
1.)    House of Soul
2.)    Two Tone Army
3.)    Shocker
4.)    I’m Running Right Through the World
5.)    East Side Beat
6.)    Run Rudy Run
7.)    Social Security
8.)    Pirate Radio
9.)    Sitting on Top of the World
10.)  Dub 56
11.)  History Book
12.)  Talk is Cheap
13.)  Dog Eat Dog
14.)  Ploughshares Into Guns
15.)  Matt Davis
16.)  One Track Mind
17.)  Weekend in LA
18.)  Decision at Midnight
19.)  Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Concert Review: Queensryche “30th Anniversary” Tour – Orlando, FL

Queensryche
“30th Anniversary” Tour
House of Blues, Orlando, FL
November 12, 2011

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Over the course of their career since forming in 1981, Queensryche have gone from playing large arenas to support huge-selling albums like “Operation: Mindcrime”, “Empire” and “Promised Land” to playing smaller theatres and clubs to promote a roster of spotty and occasionally downright awful releases since the departure of lyricist and guitarist Chris DeGarmo in 1997. Since then, the band has tried various means to attract crowds including a tour in which the set lists were mostly comprised of covers (to support the “Take Cover” album), a massive theatrical stage show that resembled a Broadway musical (the “Operation: Mindcrime II” tour) and even an adults-only cabaret tour that featured go-go dancers, contortionists, drag queens and a dominatrix.  To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Life is like a Queensryche concert.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

So, it was with great trepidation that I walked through the doors of the Orlando stop of their “30th Anniversary” tour – one that, in theory, was also embarked upon to support their most recent studio album “Dedicated to Chaos”. Given that “Chaos” is one of their weakest efforts to date, I very much hoped that the show would be retrospective in nature and cover a variety of their finest songs from the past three decades rather than one that would be dominated by the latest misfire. So, as the houselights dimmed, I crossed my fingers and prayed for the best.

From the now darkened room, two video walls on either side of the stage sprang to life and, underscored by a digitized sea of flames, the covers of every studio album the band had released materialized and faded, the hit albums receiving huge amounts of applause; the misses…well…not so much. After the appearance and disappearance of the “Chaos” cover art, Queensryche blasted into action with the appropriately titled “Get Started”, the opening track from that album. While the song caused me to speculate that the concert might indeed be dominated by the new release, “Started” played quite well live and lead vocalist Geoff Tate immediately established a dominating larger-than-life animated stage presence that would keep the audience in his clutches throughout the entire show. But would it remain “Chaotic”?

Luckily, it didn’t.

Only one other song from “Chaos” was played (“At the Edge”) during which Geoff Tate donned a saxophone and added his own instrumentation to mixed results. The rest of the 19-song set featured the classic songs that fans of the band regard as their greatest – and ones that could easily convert newcomers to do the ‘Ryche thing from there on in.

The show was probably the tightest that I’ve seen the band play since the “Hear in the Now Frontier” tour in 1997, the last that DeGarmo would participate in. Tate’s voice is still in peak form and the core rhythm section since the group’s inception, bassist Eddie Jackson and powerhouse drummer Scott Rockenfield, remains one of the best in the heavy metal genre. Guitarist Michael Wilton has also been a constant, but the post-DeGarmo years have seen him trade licks with three other axemen. The most current, Parker Lundgren, is undeniably the best of the batch and the synergy between the two guitarists rivals that of the band’s banner years.

Because of this, this iteration of the group was able to infuse new life into their staple songs. As could be expected, tracks from “Operation: Mindcrime” and the hugely successful “Empire” dominated the set list. Their 9 other studio albums were represented as well and included classics from early in the band’s career such as “NM 156”, “Screaming in Digital” and even “The Lady Wore Black” and “Queen of the Ryche” from their 1982 self-titled debut EP. The band truly seemed to enjoy this trip down memory lane and their assembled legion of followers reacted with huge enthusiasm as the group dished out mutual favorites.

One can only hope that Queensryche can maintain the level of lucidity and intensity they so readily exhibited at the House of Blues. At their peak, the band brought a level of sophistication and intelligence to heavy metal that hadn’t been seen before and, in so doing, raised the bar so high for the genre that the group itself frequently couldn’t clear it. As Queensryche enters into their fourth decade, the future could be a very bright one for them – as long as they continue to remember how it started.