Guitarist Paul Gilbert talks about Great Guitar Escape 3.0

Paul Gilbert is probably best known as the guitarist/co-founder of the rock group Mr. Big a band who dominated the airwaves in 1991 with their acoustic ballad “To Be With You”. After the group broke up in 1996 Gilbert embarked on a solo career while also performing in numerous other side projects and groups. Paul recently announced the 3rd installment of his “Great Guitar Escape” which is set for late July. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Paul recently about the upcoming event and what those who attend can expect.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the recently announced Great Guitar Escape 3.0?

Paul Gilbert: It’s the most fantastic, inspirational and unforgettable guitar event of all time! There will be concerts every night, Seminars every day and lots of opportunities to jam. It’s just going to be great mix of good food, the California coast, and great times with people who love the guitar.

AL: With this being the camps 3rd yr are there things you have planned which weren’t possible during the camps previous 2 sessions?

PG: The first two Great Guitar Escapes were both really great, so I don’t want to make any drastic changes. The biggest difference would be the location. The Cambria Pines Lodge is about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, so it’s an easy drive for people who live in California. But for the last two camps, I had people fly in from South America and Russia, so I know that nothing will hold back guitar players who really want to rock.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s guest counselors and how you went

PG: Andy Timmons and Bruce Bouillet are both incredible guitarists that I’ve spent a lot of time with. Bruce and I played together in the band, Racer X, and Bruce toured in my band when I did Joe Satriani’s G3 tour. He’s a monster player, and a great teacher. Andy is an Ibanez endorser like me, so we’ve played together at a lot of Ibanez events, and of course, Andy was at my last Great Guitar Escape camp. He’s one of my favorite guys in the world to jam with. He’s somehow intimidating and generous at the same time. I’ve met Kiko Loureiro several times over the years, and he’s always been super cool. He can play a lot of different styles, but I’m happy that he’s getting a taste of big gigs with Megadeth. Dave Ellefson, who plays bass with Megadeth, is from my generation of musicians, so he’ll have a head start on the songs that I’ll be playing in the jams. And Bumblefoot has a reputation for being creative and surprising… and still rocking hard, so I’m excited to finally get to jam with him.

AL: Is this camp designed for all level of players or is it geared more towards advanced players?

PG: The GGE is good for anyone who wants to get motivated. You can sit back and enjoy the concerts and seminars, or you can plug in and join the jams. We’re all there, in person, so I like to be flexible enough to work with anything that people are interested in. Also, my idea of “advanced” has really changed over the years. To me, an advanced musician is not necessarily somebody who can play fast or complicated, but just a person who can sound really good. I could talk about this sort of thing for the next 10 hours, so I’d better save it for the camp!

AL: As we start to see more and more interactive camps taking place how do you go about keeping things fresh and making your camp stand out above others?

PG: There are some musicians who are best known for what they do visually. They’ve got the best leather jacket, the most explosions in their stage production, or just an astounding number of consecutive good-hair days. I’ve got legendary musicians at my camp, but they are legendary for the way that they play. And they’re good people. No bodyguards or attitudes. Just a great time being immersed in music, and the guitar.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on outside of Guitar Escape 3.0?

PG: I’ve got a new solo album coming out soon called, “I Can Destroy.” Kevin Shirley produced it, and it turned out great. The opening track is called, “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” and I think I might actually save a few lives, if people heed the message of this song. I’m also nearing my fourth year with my online rock guitar school for Artistworks. I’ve recorded nearly 4000 Video Exchange lessons, and I’m still having a great time, so I’m going to keep going. And later this year, I’ll be going on tour with my solo band to play my new songs, and my favorite songs from my previous albums. Life continues to rock!

For more info on Paul’s Great Guitar Escape 3.0 you can visit http://greatguitarescape.com

Film Review “No Escape”

Starring: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan
Directed by: John Eric Dowdle
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 43 mins
The Weinstein Company

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

What do you do when your business goes under and you have to start over? For Jack Dwyer (Wilson), the answer is to move your wife (Bell) and two young daughters (Claire Geare and Sterling Jerins) to the other side of the world. Asia, we’re told – we never find out what country. When they get to their hotel, after being given a lift by a friendly fellow traveler, they are impressed to see a large banner with Jack’s photo on it, welcoming him and his fellow co-workers. Unfortunately that welcome will only last a few hours.

Brutally violent, “No Escape” keeps you on the edge of your seat as Jack leads his family in an attempt to escape what appears to be an uprising of the local population. A political assassination has triggered a mob mentality and, be it guns, clubs or a handy two-by-four, pretty much no one is safe from some kind of retribution. Wilson is probably the last person you’d expect to see as an action star, but here he lets the situation dictate his actions. He’s as timid of violence as you or I but, when his family is threatened, he slowly becomes like the people he is running from. “I killed somebody,” he almost casually tells his wife, Annie. She can only nod, having also been taken to the brink in the fight to keep her family safe. Bell is also well cast, displaying an inner toughness we haven’t seen in other films. As the mysterious “friendly” fellow traveler, Brosnan is cool as a cucumber, no matter what the situation.

Written by co-director Dowdle with his younger brother, Drew, the film captures both the anger of those causing the disturbance as well as the fear and frustration of the Dwyers. The story moves quickly, and you’re almost as breathless as those on the run when it ends.

Blu-ray Review “Escape from New York: Collector’s Edition”

Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Season Hubley
Director: John Carpenter
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When I thought to myself, “do I really need another edition of Escape from New York on Blu-ray”?, I quickly remember that this was being released from Shout! Factory and they give a lot of love to their releases. This film was previously released in 2010, but this new Collector’s Edition includes a new 2K scan of the inter-positive, struck from the original negative and a butt-load of new special features. This film is still a classic and a blast to watch. Kurt Russell is so iconic as Snake Plissken.

Official Premise: In a world ravaged by crime, the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a walled prison where brutal prisoners roam. But when the US president (Donald Pleasence) crash-lands inside, only one man can bring him back: notorious outlaw and former Special Forces war hero Snake Plissken (Russell). But time is short. In 24 hours, an explosive device implanted in his neck will end Snake’s mission, and his life, unless he succeeds!

The Collector’s Edition of “Escape from New York” includes a nice improvement over the 2010 Blu-ray. with its 1080p transfer presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I was expecting a little more from the new 2K scan but there was a nice improvement in quality from the previous release. I believe the same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which sounds classic score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Also included is a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track but the 5.1 is easily the winner here.

There are special features filled out on both discs. The first one features, a brand new audio commentary with Actress Adrienne Barbeau and Director of Photographer Dean Cundey. This is worth the purchase alone, love these two. There is also an audio commentary track both Director John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell, as well as another with audio commentary with Producer Debra Hill and Production Designer Joe Alves. Each track is amazing in its own way and worth checking out for any fan.

Disc two kicks off with a collection of high-def extras. “Big Challenges in Little Manhattan: The Visual Effects of Escape from New York” looks behind-the-scenes with some interviews with Dennis Skotak, Director of Photography of Special VFX and Robert Skotak, Unit Supervisor and Matte Artist. “Scoring the Escape: A Discussion with Composer Alan Howarth” chats with the composer on creating the sound for the film. “On Set with John Carpenter: The Images of Escape from New York” is a collection of work from Still Photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker.

There are two more interview features, the first is “I Am Taylor: An Interview with Actor Joe Unger” and the second is My Night on Set: An Interview with Filmmaker David DeCoteau. There is a deleted scene for the original Opening Bank Robbery Sequence including optional commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. “Return to Escape from New York Featurette” is a cool vintage EPK with interviews. Lastly there are Theatrical Trailers and Photo Galleries included.

Product Feature: “Escape Goat 2” Indie Box – June 2014


Are you a fan of independent video games? Well then you need to subscribe to IndieBox ASAP. This month is the companies second monthly mystery subscription box. What it does is that it gives collector’s edition treatment to great indie games. This month’s release is “Escape Goat 2”, developed by MagicalTimeBean and published by Double Fine Productions. When you subscribe to IndieBox you get Retro-style Collector’s Edition boxes jam packed with tons of goodies and they are simply delivered to your door – every month for as low as $14.99 a month (+$3 US S&H). IndieBox is the only monthly subscription box that aims to recapture the nostalgia of the traditional video game boxes.

IndieBox not only teams up with indie video game companies to release their comes in a collector’s edition game box, they also feature handpainted artwork with reimagined game cartridges, full color manuals, CD soundtracks, posters, and much more. The June IndieBox includes: Cover Art by Kailyn Boehm, Custom USB Game Cartridge for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux, Steam Key, 24-page Color Manual, Original CD Soundtrack, Additional Bonus Track by Video Game and Chiptune Guitarist Danimal Cannon, 11”x17” Poster, Stained Glass Static Cling Decal, An official CubeeCraft Papercraft of the Goat, Keychain the Mouse Companion and Escape Goat 2 Themed Vinyl IndieBox sticker.

IndieBox is growing very fast and have increased their subscriber count from 150 to 400 over the last month. You know what that means, more subscriber = cooler monthly releases. If you missed signing up for this month release, a copy of the Collector’s Edition of “Escape Goat 2” can still be purchased for a limited time at http://indiebox.myshopify.com while supplies last. Since last month’s game, “Teslagrad”, sold out in 36 hours, IndieBox has created an additional 200 copies of “Escape Goat 2” to help meet the demand. So if you are a fan of indie video games and aren’t subscribes to IndieBox, I highly recommend it for sure!

Blu-ray Review “Escape Plan”

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jim Caviezil
Directors: Mickael Hafstrom
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Summit Inc/Lionsgate
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Run Time: 115 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Escape Plan” is an action fans dream come true bringing legends Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger together in one film. I know they were in “The Expendables” films together but that felt more like a cameo. “Escape Plan” is pure escapism. It is quite intense and definitely action-packed thriller. It also features an impressive supporting cast including Jim Caviezel (TV’s “Person of Interest”), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (“Fire with Fire”), Sam Neill (“Jurassic Park”), Vinnie Jones (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) and Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”). Recommended for sure to all 80’s action fan boys. These action stars are in their 60’s but they still kick-ass.

Official Premise: One of the world’s foremost authorities on structural security agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called “The Tomb.” Deceived and wrongly imprisoned, Ray Breslin (Stallone) must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.

“Escape Plan” is quite the beast of a film. It cost $70 million and it looks quite awesome.  It arrives on Blu-ray as a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD and Digital HD UltraViolet. The 1080p transfer really looks great and the high-tech prison is very polished looking. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works great with the non-stop action and even work up my daughter upstairs (sorry sweetie). When it comes to these action films you cannot help it but amp it up to 11 and test to see what these audio tracks can do.

In terms of special features, the film packs some decent extras. There is an audio commentary with Director Mikael Hafstrom and Co-Writer Miles Chapman. A little technical but still informative. There are three featurettes are included. “Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan” goes behind-the-scenes in the production. “Maximum Security: The Real-Life Tomb” looks into how they built this prison. “Clash of the Titans” looks into bring our two leads together. Lastly there are a few Deleted Scenes included.

David McCallum talks about the 50th Anniversary of “The Great Escape”

Today actor David McCallum is probably best known for his role as Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the long running television series “NCIS.”  If you’re my age you probably remember him best as the smooth secret agent Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  As someone who had, in the 3rd grade, been scolded often by teachers for continually saying “Open Channel D” into his ink pen, it was a great day when I had the chance to speak with Mr. McCallum about the 50th Anniversary of one of the most popular movies of the 1960s, “The Great Escape.”

To help celebrate this event, Mr. McCallum will be appearing at a benefit screening of the film this coming weekend, November 9, in Omaha, Nebraska as part of Bruce Crawford’s on-going classic film salute.  For information on the event head over to http://www.omahafilmevent.com/upcoming.htm

Recently Mr. McCallum took some time to talk to me about “The Great Escape,” why he enjoys voicing video-games and another upcoming 50th Anniversary he looks forward to celebrating.

Mike Smith:  First off, a belated “Happy Birthday!” (Mr. McCallum turned an incredible 80 years old this past September 19).
David McCallum:  (laughs) Thank you.

MS:  How did you get involved with “The Great Escape?”
DM:  Way back then I had an agent in England by the name of Derrick Marr.  I hadn’t been with him long.  I had been doing an awful lot of television…live television, and working in the theater.  He called me and said that I’d gotten a request to meet with the casting director of the film.

MS:  At the time it was probably the biggest film production you’d been involved with.  As a young actor what were your thoughts when you realized you would be working with such international stars as Steve McQueen and James Garner?  Was it overwhelming?
DM:  Well, thankfully, life has never been able to overwhelm me.  I tend to enjoy and take great pleasure in all of the work that I do.  And back then it was no different.  When you’ve decided that your whole life is going to be as an actor, when you get opportunities to do a wonderful thing, like “The Great Escape,” it’s just a colossal pleasure that you look forward to with great anticipation.  And then you start preparing, of course.  You have to learn all about the character…all of the things necessary.  It’s not about just turning up and saying the words.  And the whole thing was such a beautiful experience.  I knew Donald Pleasence.  We had been very good friends for some time.  And you can imagine how it was for the young actors.  Being able to work with all of those people.  I’m not usually star-struck.  I’m fascinated by the number of people I’ve met working in this profession over the years.  That film was a great beginning.

MS:  Both of your parents were very well known and classically trained musicians (his father, David Sr, was the first violinist for the London Philharmonic – his mother, Dorothy, was a cellist).  Were you ever encouraged to make music your profession?
DM:  My father was a professional musician, my mother, who was a cellist, gave it up early to take care of my father.  I played the Oboe from about the age of eight or nine.  I went to the Royal Academy of Music for a short while but then I gave the whole thing up to go on the stage.

MS:  You’ve done a lot of voice work in video games.  Does that take a different kind of preparation as an actor?
DM:  The best thing about that kind of media is that you get to over-act outrageously.  To me that’s the greatest pleasure.

MS:  “NCIS” isn’t your first hit television show.  What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference in working in television between “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and now?
DM:  I think the ability to record sound and the size of the camera and the fact that it’s now digital and not film.  Other than that nothing’s changed.

MS:  Final question, and I understand if you can’t answer it:  next year marks the 50th Anniversary of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  Do you have any involvement in the upcoming “U.N.C.L.E.” film?
DM:  No, right now I have nothing to do with that.  It’s a whole new venture.  But now that you tell me it’s the 50th Anniversary next year I’ll have to set aside a nice bottle of wine and open it.  Maybe I’ll save it until the movie comes out.

A FANS NOTE TO DIRECTOR GUY RITCHIE

Mr. Ritchie:

I hope by the time you read this you will have contacted both Mr. McCallum and Robert Vaughn and found a place for them in your film.  Both men are in great health and acting today.  I don’t care if you have them walk past Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the hallway, you must recognize them.  It is their chemistry that made “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  the show it was.  As Leo G. Carroll has passed away more than 40 years ago I will not lobby for his appearance!

Escape the Fate’s Robert Ortiz talks about new album “Ungrateful”

Robert Ortiz is the drummer for the heavy metal band Escape the Fate who in May of this year released their fourth studio album titled “Ungrateful”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Robert recently to discuss the album and the bands current tour with Five Finger Death Punch.

Adam Lawton: What have things been like for the band since signing with Eleven Seven Music?
Robert Ortiz: Well it’s been interesting. They have really backed us as we have had a rough year sorting out new management and it’s been kind of hard to get all of our visions across. We are now with 10th St. which is kind of like a partner with Eleven Seven. Since joining with them full force, everything has been moving forward and on track. It’s obvious that they are working hard to make sure that all of our art gets out to as many people in as many ways as possible.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands current tour with Five Finger Death Punch?
RO: Well were really fucking stoked on it! Five Finger Death Punch is personally one of my favorite bands out right now. They are really killing it right now and it’s a huge opportunity that they are giving us. So far their fans are definitely connecting with us and it feels like our first tour again. Were having to win new fans over again every night and it’s been just amazing.

AL: Now that the album “Ungrateful” has been out for a bit are there any songs from the album that you really enjoy playing live and if so why?
RO: It’s very weird because there are songs you love to play because of the energy and there are songs you like that are slower but more emotionally involved. The songs off “Ungrateful” are very uncomfortable to play. They are not hard but just awkward. I can’t play them as freely as most our old shit. While I love playing the songs I am thinking a lot while I am playing them. “Fire It Up” is probably my favorite though. It’s the epitome of what I just explained.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working with Patrick Stump and Mick Mars? And will the track you did with Mars ever be available?
RO: The track we did with Mick will most likely not ever see daylight. It’s very rough and we have kind of moved on from where our heads were at during that time. But I can tell you it was fucking amazing working with him. It was crazy to be around such a character. Patrick Stump is a fucking genius. He looks at music in such a different way. Patrick focuses so much on the heart of the song and what it is about. We sat down and figured out exactly what we wanted to say. From there the melodies came very easily. It was just so simple but, coming from guys who love to riff it was such a different approach. He is so fucking good!

AL: Does the band have any other plans for the remainder of 2013?
RO: As far as I see right now tour, tour, tour. We have a very special one coming up early next year that has yet to be announced. I know our diehard fans will lose their when the news is released so be on the lookout for that.

Film Review “Escape from Tomorrow”

Directed by: Randy Moore
Starring: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Annet Mahendru, Danielle Safady and Alison Lees-Taylor
Distributed by: Producers Distribution Agency
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Earlier this year a very unique film premiered at 2013 Sundance Film Festival called “Escape from Tomorrow”. The film made headlines immediately since it was filmed in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot as well as Disneyland completely under the radar without anyone knowing. Everyone believed that Disney would immediately bury the film and let their lawyers loose on the people behind it. Surprising, the film did not disappear into oblivion instead Disney took an similar approach like SeaWorld did with the documentary “Blackfish”, they have just ignored it. Well after watching “Escape from Tomorrow” finally, I wish I would have ignored it as well.

Living in Orlando, FL, I was very curious about “Escape from Tomorrow” especially since I visit Walt Disney World on a weekly basis. I found it fascinating that these people have pulled off filming an entire film without anyone from Disney catching on. The premise for the film does not represent your typical Disney theme either. It follows a middle-aged husband and father that learns that he has lost his job while on vacation in Walt Disney World. While trying to enjoy their last day on vacation, he sets out to the park with his nagging wife (who I wanted to strangle) and snotty kids. He starts to experience very strange visions and encounters, while heading down a path of madness.

The aspect of the film that I did enjoy was that fact that it was shot in black and white, I felt that it added a certain eerie feel. The acting is not very impressive and I wish Roy Abramsohn would have appeared shirtless much less than he did. This had a cool idea and could have had potential but it falls short of delivering anything entertaining. The story has too many holes and doesn’t deliver. I am also not sure if the film was cut heavily since it first premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival because I have seen a 104 minute running time online but the version I saw was only 90 minutes. But honestly, though I do not think I would have been able to watch another 14 minutes added onto this film.

So nearly a year since its debut at Sundance, “Escape from Tomorrow” is now playing in select theaters across the country including the IFC Center in New York. Also like a lot of indie films recently, this is also available to watch VOD via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and many other formats. I will leave it to you to decided whether or not to watch this. Even though I didn’t enjoy the film, I would still strangely recommend it since it does have that certain curiosity about it. But when I think about it further, I just think about flat story and the many missed opportunities.

Faran Tahir talks about roles in “Elysium” and “Escape Plan”

When both you’re mother and father are well known in the theater it’s almost guaranteed that you will follow in their footsteps. Faran Tahir was born in Los Angeles while both of his parents studied acting and directing at UCLA. After completing their studies the family returned to their native Pakistan where they both established prominent careers. His father, Naeem, currently serves as the Director General of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts. Returning the America at age 17, Tahir attended the University of California at Berkley, where he graduated with a BA in Theater. He later earned his Graduate Degree at Harvard.

He made his feature film debut in Disney’s live action telling of “The Jungle Book” and is best known for his roles in “Iron Man” and J.J. Abrams re-boot of “Star Trek.” He also has a recurring role on TNT’s new incarnation of the popular television drama “Dallas.” Later this year he will be seen opposite Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Escape Plan.” This week he stars as the President alongside Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium.” I recently spoke with Mr. Tahir, touching on his new films, his love of science-fiction and working with his parents.

Mike Smith: You’ve done a lot of sci-fi/fantasy genre’ projects: “Lost,” “Star Trek,” “Warehouse 13” and now “Elysium.” Is that something you enjoy? Do you intentionally seek out those projects?
Faran Tahir: I do enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. I think it’s thought provoking. I think it tickles the imagination. And I like the fact that those kind of stories have very high stakes. Part of it is because I come from a theater background. If you’ve done any theater…any Shakespeare or Greek tragedy…the stakes are as high. I like the theatricality of science fiction. Do I seek it out? Yes, I do seek it out but not at the expense of other genre’s or other kinds of stories. I try not to get too complacent. If I do too many bad guys I try to play a good guy. If I do too much science fiction I try to do something else. I try to keep as much of a balance as I possibly can. I have “Elysium,” which is science fiction. I have “Escape Plan,” which is an action movie. I have two independent features coming out. One is an emotional drama about two families losing their children in a mall explosion (“Torn”). I play the father of one of the families. The other is a supernatural thriller (“Sara’s Cell”). So yes, I do like science fiction but I also need to make sure that I don’t get pigeon holed in just that genre.

MS: Can you talk a little bit about your role in “Elysium?”
FT: Sure! Elysium is a space station. A Utopian space station where all good things happen. Cancer is cured. The temperature never goes above 75. All of that good stuff. All of the grunt work to support Elysium happens on Earth. So the people on Earth desire to get up to Elysium while the people on Elysium don’t want the people from Earth coming over. I play the newly elected President of Elysium. My character is a politician. He’s nuanced. He’s very careful about how he deals with issues. He doesn’t want to hurt his base supporters both on Elysium and on Earth. The counter to him is the secretary of defense, played by Jodie Foster. She has a totally different idea on how to deal with these issues. There’s a nice, dynamic tension between these two characters of how they’re going to deal with the issue of the Earth people trying to come in and what are the resolutions to the situation.

MS: Where you a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s previous film, “District 9?”
FT: I’m actually a fan of Neill! You can sense that he’s a very bright guy. What I love about his work, and it’s true for both “District 9” and “Elysium,” is that he takes a hot-button issue and then he just slightly bases it in the fictional zone. But not so far in the fictional zone where you lose connection to it. “District 9” was a statement on apartheid. “Elysium” deals with other hot-button issues, like elitism and immigration. You can swap the words “Elysium” and “Earth” for “Developed Country” and “Under-developed Country.” You can say “the US” and “Mexico” and have the same dynamics. He works with some really great premises and presents them in a really fun way. I feel blessed that I got to work with him because he is really and truly a genius. He doesn’t push…you know exactly what he wants…but he never pushes his vision. He lets the actors get there organically. He trusts that you will get there with his guidance.

MS: A real change of pace role is Frank Ashkani on “Dallas.” Any chance of you coming back next season?
FT: (laughs) Here’s what I have to say about that. The story goes that anything is possible in science-fiction and on soap operas. So we’ll see what happens. (laughs) I could come back as the twin brother of the character…we’ll see. I really don’t know yet.

MS: Both of your parents are well regarded actors and directors in the theater. Have you ever performed with them?
FT: I have, actually. Back home the first television show I did was with my mom, which was kind of interesting. I’ve been directed by my father. And what I loved about it was that, although they were my parents, they were also consummate professionals. They would completely turn that side off and deal with me just as an actor when you were in a scene with them or being directed by them. All of the domestic issues could just wait. And it was a great thing to learn how to leave all of that behind when you’re working on something.

MS: You mentioned “Escape Plan.” Can you give us a quick preview?
FT: “Escape Plan” comes out in October. It’s a prison escape picture. The three of us…Stallone, Schwarzenegger and I…break out of a prison together. It was a lot of fun.

MS: Anything after that and the two independent projects?
FT: No. Right now I’m concentrating on those projects. After that we’ll see.

3D Blu-ray Review “A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape from Paradise”

Voices: Carlos McCullers, Pat Carroll, Cinda Adams, Chris Andrew Ciulla, Dino Andrade, Isabelle Fuhrman and Wesley Johnny
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
DVD Release Date: July 9, 2013
Run Time: 92 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

“A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape from Paradise” is the sequel to the very cute animated “Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage” (aka “A Turtle’s Tale: The Adventures of Sammy”).  The film is not perfect but it was fun.  Same applies for the sequel.  At least Vivendi Entertainment is releasing this combo pack including a DVD, Blu-Ray and (hooray) 3D Blu-Ray. The first film was not released on 3D Blu-ray.  The 3D really adds a nice topping to this film and kids should definitely enjoy it. A lot of great in-your-face moments and family fun to be had here.

When Sammy and Ray find themselves trapped in The Tank, an underwater restaurant/aquarium, they must hatch a plan to escape and reunite with their grandkids Ricky and Ella. But they’ll have to get past Big D and his dopey thugs first. With the help of some unlikely friends, Sammy and Ray find that when you work together anything is possible!

The 1080p transfer is really clear and sharp. The colors are really vibrant and definitely stand out.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds great, especially with the music. Daris Rucker delivers the tunes and they are some fun songs.  There are no additional special features included with this release.  But to be completely honest, I would rather trade a few measly special features to have the 3D Blu-ray option. It is really worth the price of the Blu-ray, no question.

3D Blu-ray Review “Escape from Planet Earth”

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson
Director: Cal Brunker
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Run Time: 90 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
3D: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Escape from Planet Earth” is a movie that came out of nowhere and surprisingly did pretty well.  I couldn’t help but relate it back to past alien CGI animated film “Planet 51″. I wasn’t really drawn in by the trailer but I have to admit, I am a sucker for anything science fiction, animated or not. The film really does have an impressive voice cast including Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Rob Corddry, George Lopez, Craig Robinson, Sofía Vergara and Jane Lynch. I mean there is a really nice wide array of talent here. But when it comes down to it, this is really a kids film and doesn’t really speak to their parents as much as other kids films try to do.  But kids should enjoy it as it is fun, well animated and did I mention it’s in 3D!

Synopsis: The 3D animated family comedy catapults moviegoers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (William Shatner) it’s up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing. As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure hungry son Kip.

This combo pack release is very impressive.  It includes both 2D and 3D presentations of the film, as well as a DVD and UltraViolet digital copy. The 3D on the film is a lot of fun.  There is some great in your face moments and gags that kids will enjoy. The 1080p transfer looks amazing and the colors is very crisp and sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio  5.1 track really works with the action and the original music by composer Aaron Zigman. The special features are good and work checking out if you enjoyed the film.  There is an audio commentary with Director Cal Brunker, which might not keep the attention of kids but parent could enjoy. “The Making of Escape From Planet Earth” is a nice behind-the-scenes look at the film. There is a few Alternate Takes and Deleted Scenes included.  Lastly there are several Music Featurettes for musicians Delta Rae, Owl City and Cody Simpson.

Rich Eisen talks about TNT’s new reality series “The Great Escape”

A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, Rich Eisen is probably best known to sport fans as the face of the NFL Network, which he joined after seven years at ESPN. He has also added his commentary to several of VH1’s various “I Love the….” decade shows and last year appeared in the very funny short “Field of Dreams 2” on Funny or Die. He can also currently be seen (actually heard) as the marathon announcer in the new film “That’s My Boy.” Eisen’s latest project is as host of the new action/reality show “The Great Escape,” which debuts this Sunday evening on TNT. Rich took some time recently to speak with Media Mikes about his love for football, his reality show skills and how he hopes to follow Dan Patrick to “Sandler Stardom!”

Mike Smith: How did you get involved with “The Great Escape?”
Rich Eisen: Charlie Ebersol, who is one of the producers, and his partner, Justin Hochberg…they created the show. They sat me down about a year ago and showed me on his iPhone a demo reel for “The Great Escape” that was constructed by Ron Howard, whose production company he runs with Brian Grazer, Imagine Entertainment, is one of the show’s producers, as well as the creators and producers of “The Amazing Race.” And I decided that if they wanted to bring to life what they just showed me on their iPhone…what was leaping off of that small screen and snapping my lapels back…well, I told them “tell me more!” (laughs) And now here we are, about to show it to the fickle beast that is the American viewing public. I don’t want to jinx it but it’s got everything that appears to appeal to the folks that like to watch this kind of programming. I mean it’s got EVERYTHING in it that will push their buttons. I’m really excited for it.

MS: With NFL training camps starting up next month with your duties on the show interfere in your NFL Network gig?
RE: No. We’ll be done shooting this season’s shows by the end of this month (June). I’m ready for the NFL season. I’ll tell you that. It’s a great thing, too. I’m really involved in two of the greatest reality projects around. “The Great Escape,” obviously. And the NFL. THAT’S 22-26 weeks of drama. Each and every week.

MS: Besides “The Great Escape,” is there a reality show you wouldn’t mind appearing on?
RE: You know I’d really like to try “The Great Escape.” I’d love to see how I’d handle it. I’d choose Warren Sapp (former Tampa Bay Buccaneer great) to do it with me because he’d be able to handle both the physical and the mental challenges. I’d love to do that. That would be a lot of fun. And when folks see this show that’s going to be their general sense…they’re going to want to do this. It’s going to call to them from the television.

MS: I caught your work in the new Adam Sandler film “That’s My Boy” earlier this week. Any plans of following your buddy Dan Patrick into bigger roles on the silver screen?
RS: (laughs) Dan always makes it seem like he’s the gatekeeper but it’s still really Adam Sandler and his producing partner, Jack Garraputo, who call the shots. I’m working my way into the rotation. “That’s My Boy” is a double edged sword because, though I’m involved in the funniest scene in the film, most people don’t hear me because they’re rolling in the aisles! But, that said, I can only aspire to be what Dan is in the Sandler oeuvre’!

All Star Voice Cast Lines Up for Animated Family Feature “Escape from Planet Earth”

Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, James Gandolfini and Craig Robinson Provide The Character Voices In This Fun-Filled Alien Break-Out Tale

NEW YORK, NY August 2, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Rainmaker Entertainment announced today the all-star voice cast for ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH which includes Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, James Gandolfini and Craig Robinson. The 3D animated family comedy is currently in full production.

The announcement was made today by Donna Gigliotti, TWC’s President of Production, and Catherine Winder, President and Executive Producer, Rainmaker Entertainment. Both Gigliotti and Winder serve as producers on the animated feature film.

ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is directed by Cal Brunker, best known for his work on the animated feature films DESPICABLE ME, 9 and HORTON HEARS A WHO! Producers Gigliotti and Winder are joined by Rainmaker’s Luke Carroll as a producer on the film. TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein are executive producers. The film was written by Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen based on an original screenplay by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards.

“ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH has got it all… explosions, romance and a cast of hilarious aliens….what more could you ask for?” said Brunker. “We are having a great time making it which is coming across on the screen. It will ultimately provide a ton of fun for both kids and their parents.”

“We’re excited to have such a talented group of actors bringing this action-packed comedic tale to life,” said Gigliotti. “I’m also very pleased to be working with Catherine and the Rainmaker team. Their outstanding artistry, storytelling and techniques in CGI animation add a new dimension to this film and ensure a fun movie going experience for the entire family.”

Winder added, “A successful animated movie starts with an imaginative story and appealing characters. The addition of such high caliber voice talent is a crucial layer to the mix. With the amazing array of talented artists and creatives from both The Weinstein Company and Rainmaker collaborating on this production, we have all the right ingredients to make ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH a highly entertaining and successful film.”

The 3D animated family comedy ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH catapults movie goers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (James Gandolfini), it’s up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing. As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure hungry son Kip!

A film from The Weinstein Company, ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is produced in association with Rainmaker Entertainment and will be released in the U.S. in 2012.