6 Best Poker and Gambling Movies to Watch

There are countless movies about poker and gambling related storylines. Likewise, casinos have been popular prime locations for making these movies since the very beginnings of a silver screen. In case you are interested in learning some tips and tricks while watching such films, then our selection of carefully selected gambling movies will be of a great interest to you.

1. Rain Man

A selfish businessman called Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise) discovers his father left a fortune to his savant, autistic, brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). After meeting his older brother for the first time, Charlie takes Raymond to Las Vegas with the idea of using his brother’s gift to win big while playing blackjack. “Rain Man” resembles everything from family bonds, mental insight, to even crossing the legal boundaries.

2. The Sting

One of the most stylish movies of all times, “The Sting”, takes place in Chicago, in 1936. A young con man Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) teams up with an old pro Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to revenge for his murdered partner responsible, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). In this finely-crafted story, things don’t go according to plan, so there is some ad hoc improvisation by the undaunted duo.

3. Casino (1995)

Full of violence and tragedy, “Casino” is Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece where Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci are the main characters. The movie is all about greed, dishonesty, power, and a rivalry between the two best friends – a mafia underboss and a casino owner, over a trophy wife and a gambling empire.

4. Two for the Money (2005)

After suffering a career-ending knee injury, a former college football celebrity Brandon (Matthew McConaughey) decides to keep working in the sports gambling business. His knowledge and skills qualify him to choose winners which is how why he catches the eye of one of sports-betting’s consultants Walter (Al Pacino) who takes Brandon under his control. “Two for the Money” is a famous American drama about the world of sports gambling.

5. Casino Royale (2006)

Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) is a shady financier who attends a high-rollers poker tournament in Montenegro, where he tries to recoup his money back in order to stay safe amongst the terrorists. Secret agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is sent on a mission to prevent Le Chiffre from winning the money and escaping. Altogether, “Casino Royale” is a classy casino film which became highly popular among movie lovers.

6. Louis Theroux: Gambling in Vegas (2007)

“Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas” is a TV documentary which is created by Louis Theroux who goes to Las Vegas in order to reveal the world behind the curtains of a casino culture. Among many people, he meets interesting individuals such as high-rollers and a worker who looks after them, and also a retired doctor who tells she has gambled millions of dollars in seven years.

The Conclusion

These are top 6 must-see gambling movies, but If you’d like to see more head over to AskGamblers top 8 gambling movies postCertainly, some of the titles are better than the others, but they all have one thing in common – to keep you entertained and eager to visit the casinos and try your luck.

Shallow Side set to release 6 song EP titled “One” on Jan. 13 w/ Tour kicking of Feb. 1st

Rock is dead, they say? Hogwash. Don’t even bring up such an idea with the four-piece Cullman, Alabama-bred rockers Shallow Side, who have taken it to be their personal holy mission to spread the glory of modern rock & roll as far and as wide as they can to anyone who will listen. “The energy and excitement of rock & roll is missing nowadays, and we need it now more than ever,” believes Shallow Side’s frontman, vocalist Eric Boatright. “Our goal is that we want to revitalize that entire genre and remind the world how rock & roll can be such a strong force in everyone’s lives.”

The proof of Shallow Side’s pure rocking prowess can be found within the deep grooves of their new EP titled ONE, which is being released by Thermal Entertainment on January 13, 2017. ONE is one tight, ass-kicking affair from the get-go, from the wham-bam all-out jam of the opening track “We Roll” to the fist-waving defiance of “Rebel” to the put-up-or-shut-up manifesto of “Fight or Flight” to their all-guns-a-blazing modern-day take on a well-loved rock classic, Styx’s “Renegade.” (Oh, mama!)

Ultimately, Shallow Side is creating new music that fuses the best intentions of classic rock with modern crunch by planting their flag at the intersection of where Shinedown meets Styx and Journey meets Daughtry. One song Shallow Side fans will be grooving along with right from the start is the current single from ONE, “Fight or Flight,” which unifies the ideas set forth with the one-two punch of “Rebel” and “Renegade,” the EP’s initial radio hits songs. “That’s the heaviest song on this EP,” Boatright clarifies. “It tips the hat to the rock & roll market that exists today and also says, ‘If you guys want to run heavy, we’ll run heavy with you. We can do that — and we’re not scared of it, either. We’re very good at it.’”

Shallow Side’s main message is one of unity. “When we first started, rock & roll wasn’t for us,” Boatright concludes. “We wanted to go to a concert, enjoy the music, sing along, and be a part of the overall song and dance. We’re now looking to bridge that gap to bring the family together to where rock & roll was at one point. The mission since we began was to take the wheel and steer it back into a direction where everyone from all walks of life could enjoy a good rock show.”

Considering the band’s all-in philosophy, it appears that ONE is most definitely the best name for this raucous EP. Let’s all join together and revel in having Shallow Side show us the ONE true way to the future of great rock & roll.injuries while touring and it hasn’t slowed us down enough to lose momentum.”

The band just received their highest honor to date being selected Loudwire’s Best New Artist of the Year (past winners included Saint Asonia and Baby Metal).

The new 6 song EP is a prelude to a full length release to come out later this year.

Shallow Side are:

Eric Boatright (Vocals)

Cody Hampton (Bass/Guitar)

Seth Trimble (Guitar/Keyboard)

Heath Fields (Drums)

WEBSITES

http://shallowside.net/

http://www.facebook.com/ShallowSideBand/

http://twitter.com/ShallowSideBand/

http://www.youtube.com/user/shallowsidemusic

UPCOMING TOUR DATES

01-13-17 in Cullman, AL at Cullman Civic Center (CD Release Show & Kick Off)

02-01-17 in Knoxville, TN at The Open Chord

02-02-17 in Johnson City, TN at The Hideaway

02-03-17 in Spartanburg, SC at Ground Zero

02-04-17 in Jasper, AL at Jars 64

02-08-17 in St Louis, MO at The Firebird

02-10-17 in Junction City, KS at The Devils Tail

02-11-17 in Omaha, NE at Shamrocks Pub

02-12-17 in O’Neil, NE at The Chesterfield West

02-13-17 in Sioux Falls, SD at Bigs Bar

02-15-17 in Colorado Springs, CO at Sunshine Studios

02-17-17 in Las Vegas, NV at Radio Contraband Convention (performing awards night – private)

02-19-17 in Scottsdale, AZ at Rock Bar

04-29-17 in Las Vegas, NV at M Resort Spa Casino (Rock Into Spring)

05-27-17 in Madison, WI at Alliant Energy Center (Bratfest)

 

Atticus Shaffer talks about Season 6 of “The Middle”

Photo credit: Vince Trupsin

Atticus Shaffer plays the role of the quirky yet loveable Brick on ABC’s hit sitcom “The Middle”. The series also stars actress Patricia Heaton and actor Neil Flynn and was recently picked up for a seventh season. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Atticus prior to the season 6 finale where he discussed his involvement with the show since its original pilot, his thoughts on the Heck Families changing dynamics and what he does to keep himself busy outside of the show.

Adam Lawton: What has it been like for you having been involved with the show since the original series and now going into the finale of season 6?
Atticus Shaffer: Even though this is the finale of season 6 going back to that first original pilot I have been with the show now around 7 or 8 years. This was one of those projects that from the very start I wanted to work out. I have hoped for the best from the very start. Even after the first pilot didn’t get picked up there was this lingering that it wasn’t over. After sometime a second pilot was put together and we got it that time. There was this energy on set where everyone where we were looking forward to the next episode and subsequently the next season. We always just kept moving forward. Now with season 6 over we are past the point of syndication so we were all thinking that this could potentially be it. To find out we got picked up for another season is a huge blessing. I am really excited not only for what the writers have in store for Brick but for the show as a whole.

AL: Having played the Brick character for so long now what type of things do you do to still challenge yourself as an actor in that role?
AS: You always hear about people getting stuck in a certain character and being unable to break away from that. It’s something that is very true. When you are playing a character eight months out of the year things almost start to become robotic. Some days you might be shooting scenes where you don’t have a lot going on so you’re just sort of going through the motions and then you go home. It’s great when the writers throw me a bone because I completely dedicate myself to what they have done. It’s me just focusing on portraying the character the best I can. Something that I think has helped from the very beginning is my voice over work which I do outside of the show. I love animation and fortunately a lot of those studios are in close proximity to where we shoot “The Middle”. I often will get done working on the series and then go down the street and get to do some voice over work.  For the first three years of the show I was also doing voice work on “Frankenweenie” at the same time. Starting during season two I was also doing “Fish Hooks” as well. I have what I like to call my “pallet cleansers” which keeps me fresh. I have done a lot of cool voice roles which has helped me during my in between times on the series. I just found out recently that I will be doing voice work for one of the main five characters on a new Disney series which will be announced in the near future. It’s a really great opportunity that I am very excited about. I have my live action series family and now I have my voice over series family. It’s really great to be a part of both.

AL: How has Brick in season 6 compared to the Brick we have seen in previous season?
AS: This season Brick has matured quite a lot both emotionally and mentally. Instead of being the eye in the storm character whose very matter of fact he puts more work into things now. It’s cool to be able to see Brick mature and now he of course has a girlfriend. Brick is now finding the people who understand him. While his family still of course understands him he has been able to explain to them more about his thoughts and feelings. But again Brick is also finding social circle to where he can talk about the same types of things outside his home. It’s interesting to see him mature but at the same time he’s still classic Brick.

AL: With Axl and Sue both being out of the house now going into season 7 how do you feel the family dynamics will change in the Heck household?
AS: With both of those characters out of the house I had been thinking of what that would mean for Brick and how the writers would approach things. This can be sort of a blessing and a curse. It certainly can open up the door for a number of different story lines however the family might not be as close of a unit with less people now so that can certain impact things. I think it would be cool if Brick continues to mature and keeps finding people he can relate to which ultimately helps him develop a really tight knit friend group that he can be with when he is not at home.

AL: Are you able to bring these types of ideas to the writers for consideration?
AS: In the very beginning the writers had specific story lines that they wanted the characters to follow. Around season 4 most of those lines had been used and they start looking for different ideas and input. Every year I sit down with the creators of the show and talk about the plans for the character. I like to be aware of what’s going on with Brick so we talk about some of the episodes and then I give my ideas of what I think might be a cool way to go with

things. Most of the time they may not use the ideas but every once in awhile they give me something and I get really excited. It’s one of those things that can be tough but at the same time its fun to see what they come up with.

AL: Where do you feel fans will be left at the close of season 6?
AS: I think it’s one of those thing where if we hadn’t been officially picked up for a 7th season it would be very easy for people to panic thinking we left them on a cliff hanger. From here on out I think the episodes will include everything but the kitchen sink. I think the end of this season will certainly leave people with questions however they can sort of breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there is more to come next season.

Blu-ray Review “Big Hero 6”

Actors: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, Jr. Damon Wayans, Genesis Rodriguez
Directors: Chris Williams Don Hall
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Run Time: 102 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I first saw “Big Hero 6”, I had high expectations from the film since Walt Disney Animation Studios has been really delivering some hits recently with “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph”. After a few viewing though (and quickly becoming one of my daughters favorites) “Big Hero 6” and the lovable Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit) has won me over. This film won the Oscar last night for Best Animated Film and looking back on the year, I couldn’t agree more. I did love “The LEGO Movie” but all around this was the best animated film of the year.  If you haven’t seen this film yet, I highly suggest it since it will definitely will you over! Fist bump!

Official Premise: With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy adventure that introduces Baymax, a lovable, personal companion robot, who forms a special bond with robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to Baymax and his diverse group of friends — adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred — who transform into a band of unlikely heroes. Bring From Walt Disney Animation Studios (“Frozen,” “Wreck-It Ralph”), Disney’s “Big Hero 6” introduces you to a lovable robot who will change your world. Join Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit)home Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” featuring comic-book-style action and hilarious, unforgettable characters — it’s fun for the whole family!

Disney is releasing this film on a Collector’s Edition combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy included. The 1080p transfer is beautiful but Disney is still slacking with neglecting to including a 3D Blu-ray of their films. I wish they would smarten up and start releasing 3D Blu-ray’s again. This film looked amazing in 3D and I would love to watch it in 3D again. Still though, I love the colors in this film, The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is outstanding. The action sounds amazing. Why Hiro and Bayamax are souring through the sky, it was a thing of beauty.

In terms of special features, Disney delivers here. First we have the Oscar Winning Theatrical Short “FEAST”. “The Origin Story of “Big Hero 6”: Hiro’s Journey” is hosted by Jamie Chung, voice of Go Go Tomago and takes us behind the scenes. “Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters” features the film lead animators talking about their creation. There are a few deleted scenes including two alternate openings with intros from Directors Don Hall & Chris Williams. There is also an Easter Egg included called “Big Hero Secrets” which tells you about the film’s secrets.

Nintendo 3DS Video Game Review “Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay”

Release Date: October 23, 2014
E10+ for Everyone 10 and older: Cartoon Violence
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Game Mill Entertainment
Developer: 1st Playable Productions

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Right from the start, “Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay” was off to a bad start. I thought there was something wrong with my 3DS and it turned out the game isn’t presented with 3D effects. I mean come on, there are indie games that are coming out in 3D and a big game like “Big Hero 6” is not. Very disappointing. The game difficulty is extremely easy. The bad guys are no challenge at all, in fact I beat the first boss while checking my email on my phone. You play as each of the five main characters mixed up throughout the game’s 20 levels, which will take the average gamer about an hour or two to beat. The other main issue is that Baymax, who is the best character in the movie is merely background noise. Big miss here for sure.

Official Premise: Following on the heels of their super hero debut, the Big Hero 6 team has targeted a dangerous gangster named Yama and his legion of out of control fighting robots! Take control of the stars of the film in this action packed combat platformer! Send robot’s flying across the screen as Hiro with his electro-mag gauntlets! Zoom through levels at top speed as Go ! Slice and dice as Wasabi with his plasma blades! Smash and burn as Fred in his Kaiju monster super suit!

“Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay” features no spoken dialogue or cut scenes at all along with bland and repetitive sound design. One thing this game does have though to add slightly more game play instead of jump flying through each level is that there is some in-game collectibles. You can collect various hidden items in each level including a cat, a plus symbol consisting of five cubes and the word HERO spelled out. Finding these items will provide health upgrades as well as trophies, art work and more. Unless you are completely obsessed with “Big Hero 6” and need to have everything from the movie, this is a definite pass.

 

Film Review “Big Hero 6”

Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, T.J. Miller,
Daniel Henney, Maya Rudolph
Directed by: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 108 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

For those that do not know “Big Hero 6” is inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, which was released back in 1998. In fact, “Big Hero 6” is the first Disney animated film to feature Marvel Comics characters. They aren’t well-known characters like “The Avengers” but still Marvel characters nonetheless. I have to admit, I was expecting a little more from this film. I enjoyed it overall but I didn’t walk away screaming “WOW!!” like I did with recent past Disney animated films like “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen”. I absolutely loved those films but I only liked “Big Hero 6”.

Official Premise: “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

Let’s start off with the fact that I love Baymax. I love him. He is literally the main star of this film. He steals the show. Other than him, I really wasn’t in love with any of the other characters at all. It all felt a little generic to me. Luckily, the film had a lot of heart to it and it ended up winning me off in the third act. There was some quite intense moments in the film as well that I questioned “is this really a kids film?”. I have a two year old daughter and she has seen “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen” numerous times each and I will NOT be showing her this film for many years. There are also some parts that are downright creepy with the Kabuki-faced villain.

I loved the fictionalized created city, San Fransokyo. It is very bright and quite beautiful especially during the flying scenes. The animation is great and no complaints there at all. Viewing the film in 3D, there are some great epic scale shots for the effect but I wasn’t very blown away with it anyway. There are no in your face gags either. If you want to see it in 3D though, check it out in theaters since Disney doesn’t release 3D Blu-rays anymore. The score is epic by Henry Jackson but nothing too memorable. I don’t really see myself listening to the score after seeing the film unlike “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen”, which are all on my phone still today.

The voice cast is good but not filled with an all-star cast. Hiro is voiced by Ryan Potter, who is only known for the TV series “Supah Ninjas”. His older brother Tadashi is voiced by Daniel Henney (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine). The inflatable nurse robot turned superhero, Baymax, is voiced by Scott Adsit, known best for “30 Rock”. Tadashi’s college friends are voiced by T.J. Miller (“Transformers: Age of Exinction”) , Jamie Chung (“Sucker Punch”), Genesis Rodriguez (“Identity Thief) and Damon Wayans Jr. (“Let’s Be Cops”). Fun fact, co-director Chris Williams, voiced the fan-favorite character Oaken from last year’s “Frozen”.

While “Big Hero 6” is not one of my favorite films of the year, it is still a fun time to be had. Like I said it has a lot of heart and even might be able to get a few tears out of you if you are feeling emotional. The visual effects are great. Baymax is easily one of the coolest and most lovable characters. I liked it but I do not see it being very memorable. In my house, we must watch  “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen” each at least one a month at the least, I do not see many repeat viewings of this film. Be sure to get to the theater early to catch the short film “Feast”, which is nothing short of outstanding and easily outshines the film it precedes.

Book Review “The Art of Big Hero 6”

Author: Jessica Julius
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If there is one movie that I am excited to see this fall it is easily “Big Hero 6”. Walt Disney Animation Studio has been delivering some of the best product recently including “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen” and even wiping the floors with Pixar’s lackluster recent films. “Big Hero 6” looks like yet another winner for Disney. The animation in the film is so colorful and vibrant. The book is a little heavy in character designs and less in the high-tech city of San Fransokyo the film is based in. If you are looking for a great behind-the-scenes look into this film, Chronicle Books has done it again!

Official Premise: Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6 is the story of Hiro Hamada, a brilliant robotics prodigy who must foil a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. This new title in our popular The Art of series, published to coincide with the movie’s U.S. release, features concept art from the film’s creation—including sketches, storyboards, maquette sculpts, colorscripts, and much more—illuminated by quotes and interviews with the film’s creators. Fans will love the behind-the-scenes insights into Disney’s newest action comedy adventure.

The author of the book Jessica Julius is also a creative executive at Walt Disney Animation Studios. She has worked on such films as “Frozen”, “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph”, “The Princess and the Frog”, and “Bolt” aka all of my favorites in the last decade. So if you looking for a good inside look, she is definitely a trusted source for the topic at hand.  John Lasseter gives a great preface to the book. Co-directors of “Big Hero 6”, Chris Williams and Don Hall serve up a fantastic foreword as well. I really enjoyed reading this book and I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy it even more getting to revisit once I have seen the film.

“Boyhood” The Most Critically-acclaimed Film of the Year Debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack January 6, 2015

DIRECTOR RICHARD LINKLATER’S 12-YEAR CINEMATIC MASTERPIECE COMES HOME

The Most Critically-acclaimed Film of the Year Debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack
January 6, 2015

Buy it Four Weeks Early on Digital HD December 9, 2014

 HOLLYWOOD, Calif.  –  Hailed as “a moving 12-year epic that isn’t quite like anything else in the history of cinema” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon), “a breathtaking achievement” (Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post) and “a profound viewing experience” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times), writer/director Richard Linklater’s extraordinary  film BOYHOOD debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD January6, 2015 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  The film arrives four weeks early on Digital HD December 9, 2014.

Filmed over the course of 12 years with the same cast, BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason.  A box office hit from IFC Films that has garnered universal critical acclaim, BOYHOOD achieved a rare 99% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, earned an unprecedented score of 100 on Metacritic and is the first film to receive an A+ score from Entertainment Weekly’s Critical Mass.  The film stars Academy Award® nominee* Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane as Mason.

 The BOYHOOD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a look at the extraordinary work that went into making the film, as well as an in-depth Q&A with Richard Linklater and the cast.

 

The Blu-ray Combo Pack available for purchase includes a Digital Version of the film that can be accessed through UltraViolet™, a way to collect, access and enjoy movies.  With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them—reliably and securely—to a variety of devices.

 

The BOYHOOD Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description with English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles.  The combo pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film as well as the following:

Blu-ray

  • Feature film in high definition
  • The 12 Year Project
  • Q&A with Richard Linklater and the Cast

DVD

  • Feature film in standard definition

 

The BOYHOOD DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English and Spanish subtitles.  The DVD includes the feature film in standard definition.

Blu-ray Review “Duck Dynasty: Season 6”

Starring: Willie Robertson, Jase Robertson, Kay Robertson, Phil Robertson
Studio: Lionsgate
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014
Run Time: 220 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

I know the gang of “Duck Dynasty” are quickly loosing their mainstream hype and mass audience of fans but I still love this show. I can’t get enough of it. I love the cast. They just crack me up. After a hard day at work something you don’t want to watch a intense fact-filling crime drama instead you want to watch something light and fun…and “Duck Dynasty” is definitely that. This season is a hoot just like the first five. I do not think that the appeal has worn off at all (of course I only started watching at season three in the prime of its popularity). Keep them coming A&E, when is season seven coming?

Official Premise: There are goings-on with everyone, from the guys re-branding Duck Commander to the governor of Louisiana giving Willie an award to the return of the dreaded beavers! Watch as the elder Robertsons share their special brand of wisdom with the kids along the way: Phil teaches Bella more than Willie was hoping about nature, Willie and Si insist on helping John Luke with his speech introducing the governor and Jep and Jessica chaperone Lily’s first date. Jase takes Reed frog-hunting the night before his high school graduation-like he did before his own-and Jep and the ladies pull a senior prank by toilet-papering Missy and Jase’s house. Willie also sponsors a radio contest and finds himself competing against Si for a wood chipper. Somehow, it all comes together.

The 1080p transfer and DTS-HD Master Audio tracks are good but nothing special since the show is quite basic. It is still a great step up from cable TV. There is a massive amount of special features here with TEN behind-the-scenes featurettes including “Reinventing Duck Commander”; “Firefighter Academy: Robertson Style”; “The Governor Visits Duck Commander”; “Jep Meets Lily’s First Boyfriend”; “Rolling’ with the Robertsons”; “Willie the Joker”; “Godwin’s Rotten Pickles”; “Mother’s Day 2014”; “Si’s New Hobby: Couponing” and “Willie’s Day at the Dojo”. There are some a bunch of deleted scenes included rounding out the extras.

Book Review “Big Hero 6: Hiro and Tadashi”

Author: Brittany Candau
Illustrated by Jeff Clark, Scott Tilley
Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 23, 2014

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you are digging this superhero take over of Hollywood like myself, then I am sure that you are looking forward to “Big Hero 6” like myself. It is Disney’s answer or as close as we are going to get for a while to an animated superhero. From the studio that has brought us films like “Wreck-It Ralph”, “Tangled” and “Frozen”, I have a feeling that this is going to be extremely epic! Counting down the day.

Official Premise: This beautifully-illustrated picture book timed to release with Big Hero 6, focuses on tech-wiz Hiro and his older brother, Tadashi, as well as their unique styles and tastes in building robots! Readers will get a feel for their fun, compelling relationship, their mutual love for technology, and get to know the characters behind the super team, Big Hero 6!

“Big Hero 6: Hiro and Tadashi” is a great setup to the film and gives you a chance to learn a little bit about the characters as we wait until its release this November. The style of the book really drew me in the cover since it has a certain fuzzy, 8-bit feel to it which I really dug. This is only the first and Disney should be releasing a great deal of books for “Big Hero 6”, so I can’t wait to see what else they have planned for this!

Blu-ray Review “Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 6”

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis
Number of discs: 6
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: June 24, 2014
Run Time: 1175 minutes

Season: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 43.5 out of 5 stars

The sixth season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is easily one of my favorites. Each of the show’s characters have been developed so well by this point. This show was also airing the same time as “Deep Space Nine” but this season was still one of the most strongest of the series. Patrick Stewart really delivered some of his best performances with the following episodes “Chain of Command, Parts 1 and 2”. Also season six includes several well-known recurring characters, most importantly being Montgomery Scott, the Enterprise engineer from the Original Series, who is found alive and adjusting to the twenty-fourth century. This is also the second to last of the seasons, which means that most likely later this year this “Star Trek: The Next Generation” will be available complete on Blu-ray.

Here is the episode list for this season: Time’s Arrow, Part II; Realm of Fear; Man of the People; Relics; Schisms; True-Q; Rascals; A Fistful of Datas; The Quality of Life; Chain of Command, Part I; Chain of Command, Part II; Ship in a Bottle; Aquiel; Face of the Enemy; Tapestry; Birthright, Part I; Birthright, Part II; Starship Mine; Lessons; The Chase; Frame of Mind; Suspicions; Rightful Heir; Second Chances; Timescape and Descent, Part I. Brent Spiner’s dual performance as Data and his father Dr. Noonien Soong in “Birthright” are fantastic. Of course like I said above, the two part episode “Chain of Command” is literally one of the best arcs. Also Riker (Jonathan Frakes) copes with a bizarre identity crisis that pits him against himself in “Second Chances”.

Like the five seasons before this one, Paramount has consistently delivered this series with amazing releases. These episodes are newly remastered within their 1080p transfers.  The visual effects look better and overall the show just feels much sharper.  Since this show was shot on video and the special effects were set in their masters. They really went to town and delivered an impressive release yet again. Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, which is a such a treat for this series. I literally just got a new 7.1 surround sound system and I couldn’t help but turn it up to 11.

The special features are a step up again and deliver some great extras. There is are three audio commentary track included. The first is with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda on “Relics”. Next is an audio commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda on “Tapestry”. Lastly there is an audio commentary with James L. Conway and Jonathan West on “Frame of Mind” . There are a few “Archival Mission Log” over first five discs focusing on “Mission Overview Year Six”, ” Bold New Directions”, “Departmental Briefing Year Six: Production and Dan Curry”, “Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data”, “Select Historical Data” and “Inside Starfleet Archives: Sets and Props”.

There are brand new deleted scenes on the following episodes Time’s Arrow, Part II, Relics, True Q, Ship in a Bottle, Face of the Enemy, Tapestry, Birthright, Part II, The Chase and Rightful Heir. The real star of this release is easily the brand new, three-part documentary “Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation” featuring fascinating interviews with cast and crew. Lastly there are episodic promos on each on the six discs and a new gag reel included.

Blu-ray Review “Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds Are Go / Thunderbird 6”

Created by: Gerry Anderson
Directed by: David Lane
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 182 minutes
MPAA Rating: G
Release Date: May 13, 2014

Films: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

3…2…1…Thunderbirds are Go! I loved watching “Thunderbirds” on TV when I was a kid. I loved the used of puppets (aka Supermarionation) mixed with the sci-fi/action-adventure feel. This show was just so much fun. This is the first time that “Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds Are Go” and “Thunderbird 6” are being released on Blu-ray. This show never really fully crossed over into the US and these films were not a huge hit at the time but since then have developed as cult classics. This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. So if you are a hardcore “Thunderbirds” fan, I would recommend picking this up quickly before it goes out of print. I hope that one day the complete series will also be released stateside, fingers crossed.

Official Premise: Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968) are the cinematic evolution of Gerry Anderson’s hugely popular British TV series, Thunderbirds (1965-66): a mix of puppetry (via the patented Supermarionation process, which allowed synchronization of dialogue with marionette movement), sci-fi futurism, action-adventure, and undeniably fabulous Sixties-era design. Both films weave tales of the adventures of the Tracy Family, a father and five sons who, with the assistance of the glamorous British agent Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, run International Rescue, an elite team who roam the globe—and beyond—in a humanitarian effort to help their fellow men.

Inside the case, there is a booklet with an essay from Twilight Time employee Julie Kirgo. I would have loved to see them replicate MGM’s “International Rescue Edition” DVD box set from 2004, which included cut-outs of the Thunderbird vehicles and magnets. In terms of presentation “Thunderbirds Are Go” is better looking of the two films. It is more crisp and vibrant. “Thunderbird 6” is not bad either but there definitely is some grain seen throughout the print. Each films also comes with two audio tracks. The first is a new remix, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which I feel sound great on both films. The other is the original DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track, which is a little less epic but still a great track.

The majority of special features are recycled are taken from the 2004 DVD box set. Let’s start with “Thunderbirds Are Go”. There is a great audio commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane. There are a few great featurettes, including “History and Appeal”, which looks into the background on “Thunderbirds” and Gerry Anderson. “The Factory of Dolls and Rockets” shows up how the puppets came to life. “Epics in Miniature” looks into the changes made to go from TV to film. “What Does F.A.B. Mean?” talks about the acronym phrase. “Come with Me to the Rushes” is a very brief word from Anderson about the production. There is a Photo Montage and an Original Theatrical Trailer included.

There rest of the extras for this film are new for this Blu-ray and equally impressive. There is another audio commentary track by Film Historians Jeff Bond and Nick Redman, who have great knowledge of the source. “Excitement Is Go: Making Thunderbirds” is a great retrospective documentary talking about the series and the iflms. “Cliff Richard & The Shadows Unseen Test Footage” is black and white recored for the dream sequence. Lastly there is an isolated score includes with an DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track. This is a great track if you love the score like myself and it just sounds amazing, even more so that the during the film itself.

“Thunderbird 6” also includes an audio commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane. “Lady Penelope” talks about creating the character. “Building Better Puppets” looks into the puppets designs for the film. “Tiger Moth” looks into the stunt work and special effects. “A Call from Stanley Kubrick” features Sylvia Anderson talking about getting asked to do special effects for “2001”. “A Television Tribute”features Anderson off-screen talking about a Dudley Moore sketch that spoofed “Thunderbirds”. Lastly there is a Photo Montage and Original Theatrical Trailer. The only new Blu-ray extra for this film is an isolated score track also like “Thunderbirds Are Go” is presented with an DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track.

Blu-ray Review “Robot Chicken: Season 6”

Starring: Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, Jena Malone
Director: Chris McKay
Rated: TV-MA
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013
Run Time: 220 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

Since 2005, “Robot Chicken” has consistently been delivering us with amazing pop-culture parodies in stop-motion animation. When this show first aired, I would not at all thought it would have lasted this long. It is getting better and better though over the years. This Adult Swim sketch comedy series from Seth Green and Matthew Senreich has even won an Annie Award and three Emmy Awards. Season six has been one of the best to date. There hasn’t been word of a seventh season but I am sure that it is not far away from being announced since this show still packs a great punch.

Official Premise: Robot Chicken is back for its Sixth Season of hilariously insane, wackadoodle, totally off the wall stop-motion animation! This season’s 20 brand spankin’ new episodes will flash images across your retinas and flood your brains with an overabundance of mind-melting pop culture spoofery that will most likely cause your head to explode and leave a stain on the couch that will never come out (sorry Mom)!

One thing that “Robot Chicken” is known for is amazing guest stars voicing various characters. Throughout the sixth season, there were some amazing guest stars including Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Chalke, Kat Dennings, Sam Elliott, Ben Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, Lucas Grabeel, Megan Hilty, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Levi, J.B. Smoove, Liev Schreiber, Jon Stewart, Patrick Stewart, Stanley Tucci, Olivia Wilde, and Alex Winter. I just love that this show is able to get such great names and it only makes it more fun trying to pick out who is voicing who while watching.

Like the past seasons for “Robot Chicken”, these episodes are uncut from their original TV airing. The 1080p transfers on these episodes are very impressive. The animation looks great even though it is not meant to be perfect. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track also delivers so well for this series. Also included besides the Blu-ray discs is an HD Digital Ultraviolet copy of the season. I will revisit these episodes quite often via that format, no question.

The special features on this Blu-ray are amazing and worth the purchase of this Blu-ray. There is an extensive episode audio commentaries for each of the 20 episodes.  That’s right there are 20 commentary tracks. Must listen for any fan of the show. There is a great “The Making of Robot Chicken: Season 6” looking into the highlights of these episodes. There are seven amazing featurettes covering all aspects of the season including “They Came to Play”, “Our First Ladies”, “Kirkman on Kirkman”, “My First Time”, “The Dirt on Seth and Matt”, “The Inside Joke” and “Who the F*** is Zeb”.

Those extras would normally be good enough for me and should leave any “Robot Chicken” fan 100% satisifed but wait there is still more. Other great extras include “The Wilson Identity: From People to Puppets”, “The Benefits of Robot Chicken”, “Post-Apolcalyptic Future of Holidays”, “Channel Flips”, “Chicken Nuggets”, Deleted Animatics and Outtakes! Whew! Try saying that in one breath! I really have to commend whoever put this release together because they did it for the fans and really delivered some of the best special features I have ever seen for this show.

Lucas Vidal talks about scoring “Fast & Furious 6”

If you are a fan of film scores, then you are going to want to keep an eye out for Lucas Vidal. At the young age of 28, Lucas is taking over Hollywood with his fantastic talent. Last year, he scored the film “The Raven” with John Cusack and this year he took on the score for one of the biggest films of the year “Fast & Furious 6”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lucas about taking over this franchise and his work on the film.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got attached to score “Fast & Furious 6”?
Lucas Vidal: Universal called me and said they wanted me to meet for the film. So I went for the meeting and sent them a couple of tracks from my other films and they really liked them. So that was how it started. This was going back to last year about eight months ago.

MG: How much time does it take for you to prepare for a film of this scale?
LV: Oh, a lot of time. I had to watch all the previous films, analyze them and also their scores. I had to study the sound of the franchise. It took me about a month at least just to make sure that I was ready.

MG: You became one of the youngest composer to ever score a major studio picture of this scale; how does that feel and does it compare with its own pressures?
LV: There is a little pressure yes, since now people are looking closely at my career. But I am good and I am very happy with it. The most important thing is to stay focused and keep working. The best thing is that I am learning from some really talented people, like the best orchestrators, music editors etc in the business. So that is the best part. Yes,  am young but I am learning a lot in the process.

MG: How was it following great artists like Brian Tyler, David Arnold and BT?
LV: They are all really good composers. I just tried to do my best, while also respecting their work as well. I was very fortunate to be able to be a part of this franchise. I respect them a lot and for me it was like a privilege. It was an honor.

MG: How do you feel that “Fast & Furious 6” differs from the past films in the series?
LV: It is similar to the others, yet still different. This one has a certain European feel to it. There is also a lot of electronic music.

MG: Tell us about your biggest challenge on this score?
LV: I had to also respect the theme song from the past films, as well. So that to me was the biggest challenge. I was doing something new but at the same time respecting the franchise.

MG: What was the timeline on this project from beginning to end?
LV: I think it was at least six months. It was pretty intense. There were five film editors involved, so there was a lot of people working on the film and the picture was constantly changing.

MG: After “Fast & Furious 6”, what do you have planned next?
LV: I am scoring a film called “Mindscape” and I have a project for the Boston Ballet. Then I have about three or four other films coming up as well. So I am going to be busy, man!

Film Review “Fast & Furious 6”

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson
Directed by: Justin Lin
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Universal

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

When we last saw Dom (Diesel), Brian (Walker) and company they had just dragged a bank vault through the streets of Rio de Janero before heading off to a wealthy retirement. The film ended with Agent Hobbs (Johnson) being shown a photo of Dom’s girlfriend Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) thought to be dead, taken recently. Bum! Bum! Bum!

At least a half-hour too long, “Fast and Furious 6” is not fast, which made my backside furious. Both Dom and Brian have settled down (Brian and his woman have just had a baby), declaring the old life over. But they are soon back in business when they are asked to track down another group of fast-drivers who have been targeting military hardware. Hobbs gets Dom to help out by showing him the photograph of Lettie. But things don’t go as planned when he first locates her. Unless he planned on her putting a bullet in him. Darn that amnesia…..some people can’t remember anything.

Packed with action that goes on F O R E V E R, “FF6” seems to have been made with the motto “anything worth doing is worth doing long.” I like cool car chases and epic stunts but not as the only reason to see a film. Of course the “FF” series has really been built on cool car chases and epic stunts, but this time it all seems so formulaic that it downright disappoints.

After this many films the roles have got to be getting boring to the cast. At least that is how they seem here. Even Diesel, who has always made Dom interesting, seems to be walking through the film. Surprisingly only Rodriguez shows any spark – perhaps missing the last film charged her batteries.

A film that’s all flash and no substance, only true fans of the series will truly enjoy it. And stay around for a sneak peak at “FF7.” To me it was the best part of the evening.