Vanna Announce Final Show

VANNA 2004 — 2017
BAND ANNOUNCES FINAL SHOW… EVER!

VANNA announced their breakup earlier this year and that they would be embarking on a series of “weekend warrior” shows through the summer. The band has just confirmed its final show ever at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts on December 15. Doors are at 5pm and the show is sponsored by Sound Rink,Pure Noise, Union Press, and Shovel Brand.

Joining Vanna for their swan song will be the following bands:

Eighteen Visions
Knocked Loose
Bad Rabbit
Like Pacific
Kublai Khan
Lions Lions
Old Wounds
Sharptooth
Roseveiw

About the last show, frontman Davey Muise said, “We’ve had this day in the back of our minds since we started. None of us could have known that day would be well over a decade later. One thing we always knew though was we want to go out the same way we came in and the same way we’ve always done it — surrounded by love from all the bands, friends, family, and fans we can squeeze into a room. That day has finally come for us.

“We’ve put together one amazing night with incredible bands that we love and believe in. This will be the be-all, end-all party of the year and the perfect way to lay Vanna to rest. Come celebrate the life we’ve lived together all these years. Joy, tears, sweat, and a ton of surprises wait for you all. It’s one last time to let it all out. We’ve been a band called Vanna. Thank you. Goodnight.”

Pre-sale and VIP tickets go on sale on Tuesday, July 18 at this location.
The regular on-sale is set for Friday, July 21.

Tickets are also available at the Palladium Box Office, FYE Music and Video Stores, online at Ticketfly.com or by calling 877-987-6487.

Below is the band’s initial breakup statement, along with the final run of tour dates.

“Our band has always strived to take the negative in our lives and use it to fuel positive change. To foster good in a world that can be so bad. That and to cause the biggest ruckus with our fans while doing so. The relationship we share with you all and with our music has brought us to places we never dreamed of going; countries we never thought we’d step foot on, stages we only dreamed of playing. But the biggest impression left is the overwhelming sense of family that this scene has given us and let us be a part of. It’s helped us become the men we are today and, in a way, is partly responsible for different parts of our lives blossoming.

“After touring for over 10 years, living our lives on the road and on the stage, it’s time for us to go chase those other dreams that may have waited on a shelf. We’ve started families, careers, and new lives, all the while spending our nights sweating in a club or a Warped Tour parking lot with you and those sides of us and our lives need attention as much as Vanna did.

“Words can’t begin to express what you have all done for us. In keeping with always sharing ourselves with you, we now turn to you to share one last time with us. Let’s make this tour a celebration of every moment and memory as well as make a bunch of new ones with some amazing friends and bands.

“Come sing your hearts out and inevitably cry your eyes out with us as we leave a little piece of Vanna on every stage. This isn’t goodbye forever — it’s just a ‘We’ll see you around.’ Our music will be here whenever you need it; we truly love you and we will miss you all. But remember, all good things must come to an end, but all good things can begin again.
—Viva Vanna”

VANNA TOUR DATES:
8/9 — Toronto, ON — The Hard Luck $
8/10 — Pontiac, MI — Pike Room $
8/11 — Chicago, IL — Beat Kitchen $
8/12 — Columbus, OH — Double Happiness $
8/13 — Horseheads, NY — iMatter Fest
8/18 — Houston, TX — White Oak Music Hall %
8/19 — Dallas, TX — Dirty 30 %
8/20 — Austin, TX — Grizzly Hall %
12/15 — Worcester, MA — The Palladium

$ With Phineas, Ghost Key, BackWordz
% With Ghost Key, BackWordz

Blu-ray Review “The Vampire Diaries: The Eighth and Final Season”

Actors: Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, Candice King, Zach Roerig
Producers: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, Leslie Morgenstein, Caroline Dries
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Run Time: 704 minutes

Season: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When Nina Dobrev left “The Vampire Diaries” after season six, I had a feeling this show would die off quick. Well kudos to them for lasting eight seasons. This final season is luckily the last and not the greatest either. I felt like these characters lost me personally after the fifth season when Dobrev was even still in the show. They try and end all open stories well but honestly wasn’t a grand finale. Unfortunately, the worse spin-off, “The Originals” is still going and has been renewed again. Guess New Orleans is cooler.

Official Premise: In Season Eight, we find Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) continuing on their killing spree, both following the commands of a sinister and unnatural force. While Bonnie (Kat Graham), Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice King) are grieving their loss, they team up to investigate who or what may be the cause of their disappearance at the end of season seven. Alaric (Matt Davis) joins the search and continues to look for clues on how they escaped the Armory vault, and Matt’s (Zach Roerig) family history will reveal a deeper connection to Mystic Falls and how he may be able to save the town from destruction.

Warner Brothers delivers this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + UltraViolet digital copy incliuded. “The Vampire Diaries: The Eighth and Final Season” Blu-ray features solid audio and video as it has with the previous seasons as well. The 1080p transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works great with the season and the television series.

The special features are a letdown for sure, especially for the final Blu-ray release. (Unless they are planning a big box set with all eight in the future, I am sure they are). There are three featurettes and some deleted scenes. Included are “Last Days As A Vampire”, “The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours” which is a retrospective special as well as the 2016 Comic-Con Panel. No commentary tracks for the final season.

HIM Announce Bang & Whimper Final Tour 2017

HIM ANNOUNCE BANG & WHIMPER TOUR 2017
LOVE METAL LEGENDS HIT THE ROAD FOR THE LAST TIME

Pre-sale goes live 6/14
General on-sale follows Friday – 10AM Local Time.

Following a long radio silence, Finnish rock giants HIM have announced the Bang & Whimper Tour 2017, closing the final chapter on their 26-year career. Front man Ville Valo offers, “After quarter of a century of Love and Metal intertwined we sincerely feel HIM has run its unnatural course and adieus must be said in order to make way for sights, scents and sounds yet unexplored. We completed the pattern, solved the puzzle and turned the key. Thank you.”

Formed in 1991 by vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko “Linde” Lindström and bassist Mikko “Migé” Paananen, HIM truly stand out as one of the rock world’s most unique acts. Beautifully blending metal, goth and hard rock with deep, thoughtful and moving lyrics, HIM offered the world a new take on the metal genre, which became known as Love Metal (also the title of their fourth album).

Over the course of eight studio albums, HIM captured the hearts and minds of fans across the globe, drawn by their irresistible and inimitable style. Under the banner of their Heartagram logo – a potent symbol encapsulating the juxtaposition of the light and dark, the fierce and forlorn, and the evil and love found in their music – HIM filled venues and crashed charts the world over, collecting numerous awards, gracing countless magazine covers and becoming the first Finnish act to achieve Gold status in the USA.

Now, four years after the release of their last studio album ‘Tears On Tape’, HIM are saying farewell, taking in 14 countries across 35 shows for their final goodbye. Bassist Mige shares, “At the end of 2017 we will be released into the wild. Before this event of great transformation, we would love to offer you one last chance to experience our live performances in His Majesty’s service. It shall not be a weepfest, but a celebration of love metal in all its lovecraftian glory! See you there!” HIM is Ville Valo (vocals), Mige (bass), Linde (guitar), Burton (keyboards), and Kosmo (drums).

A pre-sale goes live on 6/14
General on-sale follows Friday – 10AM Local Time.
Confirmed appearances include:

10/24 Phoenix, AZ The Van Buren
10/25 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
10/26 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
10/28 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
10/29 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
11/02 Houston, TX House of Blues
11/03 Dallas, TX House of Blues
11/05 Orlando, FL House of Blues
11/06 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theatre
11/07 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
11/09 Silver Springs, MD The Fillmore
11/10 Chicago, IL House of Blues
11/11 Detroit, MI The Fillmore
11/13 Toronto, ON Rebel
11/15 Philadelphia, PA The Fillmore
11/16 Worcester, MA The Palladium
11/17 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom

Blu-ray Review “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV”

Director: Takeshi Nozue
Starring: Aaron Paul, Lena Headey, Sean Bean, Jon Campling, Adrian Bouchet, Will Bowden
Rated: PG-13
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 4, 2016
Run Time: 115 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of “Final Fantasy” and its last film “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”. It is a visual marvel that still blows me away each time I watch it.  With “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV”, I found myself just struggling to stay awake while watching. It is slow moving, all over the place and very hard to follow. The story feels like a tangled web and the characters are so similar that I literally had a hard time tracking who was who. I might not be the target audience of this film since I am not really anticipating the new upcoming game “Final Fantasy XV”.  When it comes to  the films technical aspects it is quite impressive. It looks great and when the action kicks in it is epic but it doesn’t kick in enough to make it worth wild.

Official Premise: The magical kingdom of Lucis is home to the sacred Crystal, and the menacing empire of Niflheim is determined to steal it. King Regis of Lucis (Sean Bean) commands an elite force of soldiers called the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king’s magic, Nyx (Aaron Paul) and his fellow soldiers fight to protect Lucis. As the overwhelming military might of the empire bears down, King Regis is faced with an impossible ultimatum – to marry his son, Prince Noctis to Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey), captive of Niflheim, and surrender his lands to the empire’s rule. Although the king concedes, it becomes clear that the empire will stop at nothing to achieve their devious goals, with only the Kingsglaive standing between them and world domination.

Easily best part of this film is its technical merits. The 1080p transfer looks outstanding. The fully digital animated feature just looks beautiful. The fight scenes when they are present are breathtaking. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also a high note delivering its action to an epic level, unfortunately it doesn’t last long. The special features are lacking like the film. There are four short featurettes included. “A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals” has the voice cast discussing the film and their character. “To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process”  looks into the motion capture technology used here. “Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World” focuses on the design and environment (in Japanese with English subtitles). The last is a piece of the films score “Emotive Music: Scoring The Kingsglaive” by John R. Graham.

DVD Review “Castle: The Complete Eight and Final Season”

Actors: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan, Molly Quinn, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever
Number of discs: 5
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
DVD Release Date: August 23, 2016
Run Time: 946 minutes

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

I have been a hardcore “Castle” fan since the very first episode. It is really hard for me to close the book on this series with “The Complete Eight and Final Season”. I feel like this show still had a lot of great life in it. I loved EVERY SINGLE episode and the chemistry between the cast was like no other show I have ever seen. I also fee like even though this season gives the show a fitting ending, I still can’t believe that it is over. I have been a huge Nathan Fillion for years before this show and I can’t wait to see what he is going to do next (other than his upcoming role on “Modern Family”). At least we have these DVD releases to revisit the show forever! (Even though I would have preferred Blu-ray).

Official Premise: Their fiery love affair has kept your pulse pounding week after week for the past eight seasons. Now, the heartfelt final chapter of Rick Castle and Kate Beckett comes to an end as one of the most beloved couples in television history match wits with their ultimate rival in a fight that will define their future. The season begins with a bang as a call from a mysterious stranger puts Beckett on the run and sets off an explosive chain of events. The action heats up when Castle’s daughter, Alexis, joins her father to solve the case of a lifetime. Fresh faces and unforgettable characters from the past join the precinct in a year full of devastating twists and turns. It all leads to the stunning series finale that will keep you on the edge of your seat and close the book on the incredible story of Castle and Beckett.

The DVD includes a collection of special features. There are audio commentaries included on a few of this seasons episodes as well as bloopers and deleted scenes included. “The Great Escape” is a really fun feature that puts the whole cast of the show locked in a room and sets a ticking clock. They have to hone their skills that they have learned from working on the eight seasons of the show to solve mystery and escape! So fun and a great way to see the cast work together on a case on last time! Let’s hope that ABC will eventually release these on Blu-ray or at least a really cool box set collector’s edition.

DVD Review “The League: Final Fantasy”

Cast: Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas
Format: DVD
Rating: Not Rated
Number of Discs: 2
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: TV Series

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

Let’s start with the fact that I am not a fan of football, fantasy football or sports in general, so right off the bat this show didn’t really call out to me. What I can appreciate though is a great cast including Mark Duplass, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, who are some of my favorite comedy actors, as well as Katie Aselton and Jason Mantzoukas. There is a whole lot of talent here that makes this show worth checking out for sure. Unfortunately this is the last season but the show has a great run on FX with seven seasons. Whether you are just finding out about this show or a hardcore fan, it’s worth checking out.

If you aren’t familiar with the show here is a series premise: A partially scripted comedy which follows the lives of six men who belong to a fantasy football league. The men take their contest extremely seriously and often will do anything to gain an advantage or win at any cost. Their obsession with fantasy football bleeds into other activities of their daily lives, affecting their jobs and families. A variety of colorful characters from the local community, from local business owners to a homeless man, get caught up in this zany world of fantasy sports.

Here is a season premise: Huddle up for the final outrageously funny season of the fantasy football comedy that’s always out of bounds. This year, the scheming smack-talkers find themselves embroiled in a string of scandals, kicking off when Pete discovers that his ex-wife Meegan is sleeping with a fellow league member. Next up, Taco flies into the drone zone, Kevin and Pete play chicken with their private parts, Jenny gets slot-shamed and Rafi hooks up with a watermelon. From blind-spot shenanigans to fake-book deflategate, Season Seven hits a highpoint by sinking to new lows.

The first disc includes the following episodes season 7: “Other Draft, The”; “Draft of Innocence, The”; “Blind Spot, The”; “Deflategate”; “Bully, The”; “Beer Mile, The”; and “Trophy Kevin”. There are also some Deleted Scenes included on here as well. Disc 2 includes the following episdoes “Last Temptation of Andre, The”; “Yank Banker, The”; “Block, The”; “Adios y Bienvenidos”; “13 Stages of Grief, The”; and “Great Night of Shiva, The”. Lastly there are also more Deleted Scenes on this disc as well as a Gag Reel, Alt Nation and Taco Tones for fans of the series.

Concert Review “Distant Worlds: Music from FINAL FANTASY”

Distant Worlds: Music from FINAL FANTASY
Mahaffey Theater
Saint Petersburg, FL

I feel that Arnie Roth outdid himself with this show. I’ve seen another show that he produced and I liked this one even better. Every show is a little different. As they have over 300 songs to choose from over the Final Fantasy series, there is always a different selection. Some staples are at every show, though, with things such as the Prelude. You just can’t start a Final Fantasy show without that one.

This is a combination show. There is a live orchestra with a live chorus. The music is performed in time with a pre-recorded video showing clips of various Final Fantasy games. For example, if you’re listening to Final Fantasy VII music, you will see clips from the games as well as from the Advent Children movie. So, there isn’t much else to say about this show, because you just have to go yourself. I wanted them to keep right on playing when it was over. I can’t wait until the show is in town again. Go get your tickets. GO!

Theatre Review: Original Hedwig’s Final Weeks on Broadway

I’ve never been so cold. I’m standing outside a Broadway theatre on a snowy March night, and I’m from Texas. I can’t feel my face.

“Is this ridiculous?” I ask the fellow fan next to me, referring to the rose I’m holding for the show’s star.

“Nope,” she says.

She gets it. We’re Hedheads, and we’re here getting frostbite for the same reason: to see the queen. John Cameron Mitchell, the co-creator and current star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is due to exit the Belasco Theatre stage door any minute.

Diehard fans and critics alike are practically yelling at you to go see this show before his run ends on April 26—and with good reason. Seeing him perform is pure magic, at once vulnerable and sardonic, witty and sexy. He is so genuine and raw on stage that distinguishing new jokes from improvised quips is next to impossible in one viewing. (“You’re seeing the original cast,” referring to Mitchell’s/Hedwig’s knee brace, is my new favorite.) But there’s more to Mitchell’s Hedwig than his brilliantly moving and funny performance and Stephen Trask’s phenomenal music. There’s a reason some fans are crossing continents to see him do this.

I’ve attempted to explain the significance of the queen’s return to people who know nothing about the show: This is different than any other actor playing Hedwig because when you watch the others, you’re watching a performance; when you see Mitchell, you’re seeing Hedwig, the character, in real life. It’s as if the 2001 film was a documentary and now you’re going to a real, live Hedwig and the Angry Inch concert.

For those unfamiliar, the musical is less a traditional play and more a rock concert with monologues in between songs. An overarching theme about the search for one’s missing “other half” is beautifully woven into both the lyrics and Hedwig’s tragicomic backstory. Somewhat paradoxically, watching Mitchell play Hedwig almost undermines the show’s closing message of finding wholeness within oneself, because fans leave feeling like we’ve found our other half—right there, on stage, spitting on us and shouting in German.

The knee brace Mitchell is sporting is starkly apropos, becoming another sad-yet-humorous aspect of Hedwig’s story. Although the sight of it tugs the heartstrings, one of the best things about the brace might be the way it further blurs the line between Mitchell and Hedwig—in a way, she’s realer than she’s ever been.

Basking in the glow of his inimitable performance, I’ve never been happier to freeze my toes off.

John Cameron Mitchell can be seen through April 26th at the Belasco Theatre with Darren Criss scheduled to take over Hedwig on April 29th.

DVD Review “Dallas: The Complete Third and Final Season”

Actors: Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo, Brenda Strong
Producers: Cynthia Cidre, Michael M. Robin, Robert Rovner
Number of discs: 3
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: January 13, 2015
Run Time: 660 minutes

Season: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I never watched “Dallas” during its original run but I was certainly aware of its presence growing up. When “Dallas” came back in 2012, I tuned in from episode 1 and loved every minute of it. When Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing) passed after at the end of 2012, I thought it would be the end of the show. The show continued on and completed out the series with this final third season. I thought this was a solid season even without J.R. I am sad to see this show end but at least it had a nice comeback and delivered three entertaining and exciting seasons.

Official Premise: In season three, Ewing patriarch Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), now the senior member of the family after the death of his older brother, J.R., butts heads with John Ross (Josh Henderson), who is out to prove he can be just as powerful an ally or enemy as his infamous father. Meanwhile, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) is newly single and determined to make a name in the world of natural gas. Elena (Jordana Brewster) is blinded by thoughts of justice for previous wrongs, and Pamela Rebecca Barnes (Julie Gonzalo), the daughter of longtime Ewing rival Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), is now married to John Ross and determined to have a happy ending.

The third and final season of Dallas stars Josh Henderson (90210), Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), Jordana Brewster (The Fast and Furious films), Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars), Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives), Mitch Pileggi (Grey’s Anatomy), Emma Bell (The Walking Dead), Juan Pablo di Pace (Mamma Mia!), Patrick Duffy (Dallas [original series]) and Linda Gray (Dallas [original series]). Recurring guest stars this season include AnnaLynne McCord (90210, Nip/Tuck) and Judith Light (Ugly Betty, Who’s the Boss?).

“Dallas: The Complete Third and Final Season” includes all 15 episodes: 1. The Return; 2. Trust Me; 3. Playing Chicken; 4. Lifting the Veil; 5. D.T.R.; 6. Like Father, Like Son; 7. Like a Bad Penny; 8. Where There’s Smoke; 9. Denial, Anger, Acceptance; 10. Dead Reckoning; 11. Hurt; 12. Victims of Love; 13. Boxed In; 14. Endgame; 15. Brave New World. The only special features included are some deleted scenes. Not a major send off in that department for this legendary series.

Katey Sagal talks about the final season of hit FX series “Sons of Anarchy”

CR: James Minchin/FX

Katey Sagal plays the role of Gemma Teller on the hit FX series “Sons of Anarchy”. With the show now in its final season we see several of the main characters standing at difficult cross roads due to the horrific events that closed out season 6. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with the show matriarch recently to discuss her characters progression, challenges related to the role and what she is going to miss most about working on the show.

Adam Lawton: Over the course of seven seasons Gemma has shown a full range of good and bad. At what point do you think she really crossed the line or do you think that she hasn’t crossed that line?
Katey Sagal: I think what we’re seeing now is her own conscience finally grabbing her. I still think she believes that killing Tara at the end of Season 6 was not premeditated. She really did believe that Tara had turned the entire club in and it was the downfall of her entire existence. At that moment it was just sort of a perfect storm, and not that she doesn’t realize the heinous nature of it, but I do believe that what’s happening now is that in times before, she was able to compartmentalize and almost rationalize. I think this one was just too much for her.

AL: Can you talk about the scenes where Gemma is talking to Tara’s ghost and why you think they’re so important for Gemma?
KS: I think it’s very indicative of her unraveling. They’re super easy to do, because I felt very close to Maggie, who played Tara, and so it’s easy for me, and Gemma felt very close to Tara. I think that they had such an intricate relationship, but also very mother/daughter, so I think that I just can put her there very easily and speak to her. It speaks to Gemma’s own—as the season goes on, her remorseful moments get stronger and start to seep out and the walls start closing in. I think that it keeps her connected. It’s like I keep reiterating it wasn’t intentional what happened so it kind of shows her just continuing to connect.

AL: What has it been like not only playing Gemma over the course of the seven seasons, but also watching her transition from a fans perspective?
KS: It’s fantastic. It was fantastic as an actor and it was super fun to watch and that’s what I love to watch myself all the time. I definitely had my critical moments, but this was something I really wanted. I’ve worked in television for so many years in comedy and I really, really wanted to do more dramatic work because I never even think I’m funny. I always thought I’m supposed to be in a drama, so it’s been very satisfying for me to push myself and go places I haven’t gone. It’s been great. It’s been absolutely great. That’s what you want.

AL: What were some of your high points from the series and, what were some of the challenges?
KS: It’s constantly challenging, which as an actor you only hope for, so I felt every season brought a new set of things that I’ve never done before

CR: Prashant Gupta/FX

and needed exploring, so it was that kind of job where week to week, episode to episode there was always a little something that I felt like this will be great. I guess the overall challenge of it was playing somebody that was so very different from me. Her maternal instincts are similar to mine, but her ways and means of doing things were something very foreign to me. I don’t live in an outlaw world and I don’t carry a gun and I don’t do those things. The high points were numerous, so it’s difficult to zero in on—that’s a hard question. I’m about to re-watch the whole thing.

AL: Have you gone through a little bit of a mourning period now that the show has wrapped?
KS: It’s been interesting, we’ve all sort of known the end was coming, but I don’t think any of us really acknowledged it till the last couple of weeks. We’d have moments on set where people would tear up and we’d say good-bye to one director, but the work really requires you to be pretty much where you are. It’s complicated to keep everything in place in your brain and your character and where you are, so that pulled focused. I think Kurt and I are just—part of us are in denial and we have lots of other stuff in life, so it takes the onus off it. I’m sure at some point we’ll probably crash from it all and we’ll recognize it, but I think overwhelmingly we’re both so grateful that its seven years and it’s been such a great experience, so I don’t know that you get too sad really. Things happen. I think it’s ending at the perfect time, I really do.

AL: What will you miss most about being involved with the show?
KS: I’ll miss so many things. It was a great working environment. I’ll miss the people. That’s what you really connect to and I’ll miss the writing. I’ve been in television a long time and you don’t find great parts that readily and you don’t find great writing that readily. It’s been just a great creative experience to be able to have both of those things, and it’s a colorful bunch of people to work with, so going to work was never boring. I will miss them all terribly.

Nintendo 3DS Review “Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – Curtain Call”

Developer: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Rated: Teen
Release Date: September 16, 2014

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

If you consider yourself a “Final Fantasy”, then you should be very familiar with the music from the franchise. “Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – Curtain Call” is the sequel to the Theatrythm: Final Fantasy” released in 2012. This game builds a lot from the first game. There are new gameplay modes, over 200 songs and 60 playable characters. If you are unfamiliar with the game, it is a tap along rhythm with stylized characters battles and quests. This game is a vast improvement over the first game and is jam-packed with so much content for all “Final Fantasy” fans.

If you enjoy “Final Fantasy” included here are songs and characters from many new releases including “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII” and “Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn” and classic fan favorites such as “Final Fantasy Tactics and “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”. Ever since I played “Final Fantasy” on the original Nintendo NES, I knew that I was in love with this music. Over the years, that love has only grown. Personally, I was growing old with the rhythm tapping games, but this really revamped my interest as this blends the aspects of an RPG so well, making this a blast to play.

The all-new modes include a Versus Mode, where you can go head-to-head along with Quest Mode, where players customize a party of their favorite characters to take across fields and into dungeons for music-based battles against series bosses and Classic Battle Mode from the first game. You can also unlock “Final Fantasy: Gather Rhythmia” to uncover new characters, songs, and collectible cards, which can be used in the all new Collecta Crystarium to power up your characters’ stats.

Thanks to Square Enix for sending us this game since it is was a real blast to check out. I have a feeling that I will be enjoying this game for months to come. The 3D aspect for me was always turned on since it brought a lot of the game itself and made the look great. The only issue I had was the lack of support to us left handed people since it definitely would come much easier to all right handed players. I would like to see where they can take this franchise yet since hopefully this is only the beginning for them.

Film Review “The Final Member”

Starring: Sigurour Hjararson, Pall Arason and Tom Mitchell
Directed By: Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math
Rated: R
Running Time: 75 minutes
Drafthouse Films

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I literally stared at the computer screen for a couple of minutes not typing and thought to myself, “How do I even begin to describe “The Final Member”?” By the way, I know that’s my job smartasses. I could easily make a couple of penis puns or I could switch things up and talk about how this will be the only documentary you will ever see where male genitalia is on full display in all its severed glory. So let’s just give this the ol’ college try.

Miles from the Arctic Circle in an Icelandic town I can’t pronounce, Husavik, sits an incredibly unique museum. It is the Icelandic Phallological Museum, the world’s only penis museum. I’ll just go ahead and let that sink in for a moment…still with me? Good. Its founder, Sigurour Hjararson, has spent just over 40 years collecting ding dongs from all over the world, from every animal and species. Mounted on the walls are towering animals dongs and in jars lined across the store one can view an assortment of male animal genitals. It is truly the showcase of a lifetime of work. It’s just missing one mammal in particular. It is missing the penis of the most self-conscious creature on the planet, the human. Still with me?

You would think in this day and age of traveling skeleton, human body exhibits and people touting the corpse of King Tut, it wouldn’t be that hard to find an unused penis just lying around somewhere. Not only do you have to deal with some hefty legal work, you also got to deal with some massive egos attached to your future specimens. Hjararson has landed a local legend in terms of sexual promiscuity, Pall Arason. He’s an aging man who has nothing, but the memories of his sexual conquests of hundreds of women and the blushing whispers of women saying that he’s well endowed. Although in one of the most awkward documented moments, a plaster cast of his pecker proves futile as he can’t quite maintain an erection.

Size does matter in Iceland too. Anything below the five inch mark is considered useless. Not only is it a common belief that the recommended length is five inches (or 12.7 centimeters for you folks across the big pond), but it is also a well-known piece of folklore that you might as well just lop off your wing dinger if it’s less than those solid five. With people calling into question Pall’s length, that’s when Tom Mitchell enters the fray. His mindset is, “You don’t have to wait until I die, I’ll gladly snip my monster off now and let you have it.” He even gets the stars and stripes tattooed on the head of his manhood so that future museum goers will know that that’s an American penis. “The Final Member” in just the first couple of minutes instantly becomes a fleshy “mine’s bigger” battle.

While there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, “The Final Member” provides a subtle humility to our genital obsessed gentlemen. The idea of mortality is a big theme even though it faintly hovers in the background. Pall is at death’s door and shows signs of worry. Will he actually be remembered as a living, walking, sex-machine? That’s really all he has left. After a couple of moments with Mitchell, you can tell he has a seriously unhealthy relationship with his own penis. He’s borderline obsessive about having his wiener on display. While both of their reasons seem a bit bizarre, that’s how they’ve lived their lives. They’ve spent years being proud of their dangly parts and want to be immortalized in Hjararson’s museum. It’s like a writer wanting his works publish, a filmmaker wanting their work produced or a soldier crying as his name is etched into a memorial wall. Hjararson himself hopes he can complete the museum before he meets his untimely end so that his life wasn’t wasted on collecting the male anatomy.

“The Final Member” is an immensely engaging documentary that really showcases how vain men can be. It’s one of the few movies that I loved, but I don’t know if I can really recommend it to the average person. I can already see the scrunched up faces of disgust as I lay out the purpose of the documentary. I can hear the laughs, but at the same time I can visualize the waning interest. If you don’t mind constantly seeing penises, I would definitely recommend you watch “The Final Member”.

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DVD Review “The Practice: The Final Season”

Actors: James Spader, Steve Harris, Camryn Manheim, Michael Badalucco
Directors: Dennis Smith
Number of discs: 6
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014
Run Time: 960 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, I had never seen David E. Kelley’s Emmy® Award-winning legal drama but I was a HUGE fan of “Boston Legal”, which was this shows spin-off. This eighth and final season of “The Practice” was really awesome and perfectly set up the pass for the equally critically acclaimed spin-off, “Boston Legal”. I am never usually a big fan of law shows but David E. Kelley really knows how to deliver a powerful show.

This season introduced us to not only the debut of Alan Shore, but early appearances from Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra), Catherine Piper (Betty White), Sally Heep (Lake Bell)… and the legendary attorney Denny Crane (William Shatner). The Alan Shore/Denny Crane relationship was something that can never be recreated on TV. Absolute thing of beauty. This final season of “The Practice” is a must-own for fans of “Boston Legal”.

Official Premise: Major upheavals have left Ellenor (Camryn Manheim), Eugene (Steve Harris) and Jimmy (Michael Badalucco) in charge of the firm. In an attempt to rebuild their ranks, Ellenor hires an old friend: the enigmatic and ethically-challenged Alan Shore (James Spader). Shore’s brilliant-yet-highly-unorthodox methods succeed in winning big cases — but will they also threaten the future of the firm?

I know this show has never received a Blu-ray release but I would have loved to see this season get that treatment. Just like I have been holding out buying the complete series of “Boston Legal” until they get released on Blu-ray. There are no additional special features on this release besides the 22 episodes. I would have loved to had some commentary tracks included on these episodes from the cast/crew.

Arnie Roth discusses upcoming concert tour “A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy”

Arnie Roth is a classically trained violinist and composer. He is known well in the video game community for his work as the musical director and conductor on concert tours like “Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy” and many others from the “Final Fantasy” series. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Arnie about the upcoming new concert tour “A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy” and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what we can expect from “A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy” concert?
Arnie Roth: This concert will have almost entirely different music titles from the Distant Worlds concert repertoire. The scores have been drawn from throughout the 25 years of Final Fantasy releases, with the decision made in consultation between myself, Nobuo Uematsu, SQEX, and our AWR Music Productions team. We especially tried to feature many of the most popular scores that we have not performed in the Distant Worlds concerts. Most importantly, this is a chamber music performance, meant to be enjoyed in an intimate setting and a superb acoustically designed space, such as LSO St Lukes. We are fortunate to have superb performers with us for this premiere, including the highly regarded Navarra String Quartet, the wonderful pianist known for his work with the music of Uematsu and Final Fantasy, Benyamin Nuss, and we will also feature Nobuo Uematsu and myself in a live performance of Final Fantasy VI: Dark World.

MG: How it will differ from the “Distant Worlds” tour?
AR: I have mentioned some of the differences above. The most obvious difference is certainly the scale of the event, as Distant Worlds features over 100 musicians on stage with video screens, performed in much larger venues. A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy is an intimate chamber music concert, without video content, featuring exciting new arrangements and repertoire from throughout the Final Fantasy catalogue, presented in a much smaller venue, with 13 musicians.

MG: Do you have any plans to expand the “A New World” concert, perhaps a tour, after London?
AR: We hope to be able to make announcements about this subject very soon.

MG: Any chances you will make it back to Florida in 2014? May I suggest Orlando?
AR: We are in discussions for Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy performances in several locations in Florida. Your suggestion is duly noted!

Michael Beasley talks about the final season of HBO series “Eastbound and Down” and “The Last Vegas”

Michael Beasley has appeared on a number of television series and films ranging from “American Reunion” to “Flight” starring Denzel Washington. Michael currently plays the role of Jimmy Cliff on the final season of the hit HBO series “Eastbound and Down” and also has a role in the upcoming film “Last Vegas” starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Robert Di Nero. Media Mikes spoke with Michael recently about his work on the series and about some of his other upcoming work.

Adam Lawton: How did you first become involved with “Eastbound and Down”?
Michael Beasley: I had auditioned for the show a few different times prior to this season. Those auditions were for different characters though. This time around there was a few different roles that I auditioned for. They weren’t sure the show was going to come back as they were working on a deal with HBO at the time. Over the course of several months they brought me in to audition for a couple different roles and what ultimately happened was that two of the roles were combined in to the character of “Jimmy Cliff”. Being I was already a fan of the show I was very excited to get this role.

AL: What has it been like working with the cast and crew from the show?
MB: It has been amazing! This really was a dream job for me. Danny McBride, Jody Hill and everyone involved with the show treat you like family once you walk on the set. It was like I knew everyone for years. They created this energy that was very easy to work in while on set. They allowed us to really play with the characters was just great. From a comedic stand point just being able to watch Danny and Jody work was incredible. I couldn’t figure out hey they were able to come up with some of the stuff they did.

AL: Being you were allowed to work with the character a bit how much of what we see is you and how much is what you were given in the script?
MB: We work with great scripts. Basically if we feel we can add something that day to the scene they allow us to do that. A lot of the stuff people are seeing right now is improvisation but there is also a lot scripted material in there as well. There is definitely a balance of both.

AL: How has working on this series compared to that of “Magic City”?
MB: It was different in the sense that HBO allowed those guys to really push the envelope as it relates to their artistic work. I loved working on “Magic City” because I love that era. The clothing and fashion is really great. I thought that show was written really well and am kind of upset we weren’t able to do a third season.

AL: What can you tell us about your appearance in the film “Last Vegas”?
MB: I had auditioned for the role of a bouncer and when I first got on set I was making sure that I was minding my p’s and q’s because of who was all there. I didn’t want to mess things up. (Laughs) I made sure I got the scene down real well and I also did some improv as well. The director Jon Turtletaub loved what I did and the energy I had with everyone that he had production contact me about doing some more scenes. I started with just one scene and ended up doing 8 or 9. It was an amazing experience.

AL: For you personally what do you feel is the biggest difference working on features as compared to television sitcoms?
MB: Any set I go to I try and absorb everything. Each time I work I learn more and more about both sides of the camera. I want learn what the actors may need as well as what the directors may need as well. Everything is about team work so I want to be able to help everyone make the best product we can. Each set I am on I can take something from that to the next. I have been able to work with a lot of great people and have been able to take some great skills from those experiences.

AL: Do you have any other projects set to come out that we can be watching for?
MB: I just shot a film title “The Squeeze”. It’s a golf movie schedule to come out sometime in 2014. We did a lot of improv work while we were shooting that it should be really funny. I did a couple episodes of “Single Ladies” on Vh1 that will air in January and you can also see me in the pilot for “Line of Sight”.