Blu-ray Review “First Kill”

Actors: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christiansen, Ty Shelton, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo
Directors: Steven C. Miller
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Run Time: 102 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Director Steven C. Miller has blown up recently taking over the direct-to-video action film world. He has also worked with “First Kill” star Bruce Wills for the third time in the last two years after “Extraction” (2015) and “Marauders” (2016). The film has it moments and I really dig Miller’s style of directing. Willis is always good (even though he feels like he’s sleepwalking in this a bit) but I can’t get into Christiansen. I will let this fall into the low budget action flicks that are not great but also if you accept them for what they are, overall it ends up working.

Official Premise: In order to reconnect with his son, a Wall Street broker takes his family to the cabin where he grew up for a hunting trip. But the trip takes a deadly turn when they become entangled in a heist gone bad that results in the broker’s son Danny, being kidnapped, forcing his father to recover the stolen loot in exchange for Danny’s life.

Lionsgate delivers “First Kill” as a combo pack with a Blu-ray and Digital HD copy included. The film is definitely low budget but the 1080p transfer is still sharp and looks like it was shot on a much bigger scale, due to Miller’s skills. The special features include a solid Director’s Commentary track, which is worth checking out. There are also a featurette for “Behind the Scenes of First Kill” as well as Extended Cast/Crew Interviews and a few
Deleted Scenes included.

Blu-ray Review “Contract to Kill”

Actors: Steven Seagal, Russell Wong, Jemma Dallender
Directors: Keoni Waxman
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Run Time: 90 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit I have a sweet spot for anything with Steven Seagal. “Contract to Kill” though just feels like him collecting a paycheck for really no effort. This film is lazy as is Seagal’s performance. It’s hard to critique him because I am a fan but he just is sleep walking through this film and it really shows. Hopefully his next role (aka cash-in check) will be better. I will still loyally watch, I am sure.

Official Premise: Action star Steven Seagal stars as a government enforcer investigating a terrorist plot that leads him and his team to Istanbul. There, they uncover an extremist plan to use drug-smuggling routes to bring deadly weapons — and leaders — into the U.S. To prevent an attack on America, Harmon must turn these two savage forces against one another before his time — and luck — runs out.

Lionsgate is releasing this film as a Blu-ray and Digital HD combo pack. The A/V on the Blu-ray aren’t anything special. The shaky camera used in the film makes it annoying to watch and keep track of Seagal. Like the film itself, there isn’t much content in the special features department. The other extra included is “The Making of Contract to Kill” featurette, which is a brief look into the production.

Sevendust’s Lajon Witherspoon talks about new album “Kill the Flaw”

Heavy Metal group Sevendust is back with a brand new album titled “Kill the Flaw”. The album which is being released on October 2nd will be the bands 11th studio album and their third since joining Asylum/7Bros. Records. Media Mikes had the chance recently to discuss the new release with the groups lead vocalist Lajon Witherspoon who detailed the bands solid work ethic and its upcoming plans in support of the album.

Adam Lawton: With “Kill the Flaw” being the bands third album in three years do you ever find it hard to keep up with the one album a year pace or is that something that the band has come a custom to over time?
Lajon Witherspoon: For us this is what we were born to do. We were blessed with the energy and the passion to make music so once we all get in a room together things just start to happen. The days of putting out an album and going on to tour in support of that album for a year or two is gone. To remain relevant you have to keep putting out new material in order to keep things fresh. Even if you had an album that had a bunch of hit singles if you are not out there with something new it’s easy to be forget these days.

AL: Like with previous release from the band you guys handled not only the music side of things but also the albums production. Do you find it hard balancing both of those roles in the studio?
LW: With all of us being in this band since day one we look at one another as artists, producers, singers and writers. Because of that it’s easy to have that respect for one another in the studio. It’s never been a big deal for us to work like that. We all know this band like a book and have been together for so long that there are no egos when it comes to this type thing.

AL: What do you find to be the benefits of keeping things internal as opposed to bringing in someone from outside the group and, is this way of working something that has evolved over time for the band?
LW: Sometimes we do feel like we need to bring in someone from the outside to sort of police what is going on but more so lately we like to just be able to go in and see what we can come up with as a band. It’s a friendly affair when we work like this and we are a band throughout the whole process which is something we really enjoy. I think it is something that has evolved over time. You work on different albums in different ways and over time you find you niche in what works and what doesn’t. Me personally I think we work best when we go into a room with no plan and maybe Morgan starts by laying a drum beat down or Clint starts with something on guitar and we just go from there. That’s where the magic starts.

AL: What led you guys to choose the song “Thank You” as the albums lead single?
LW: That was a song that I didn’t really see as the first single but afterwards I am glad it was. When you put out an album you want all the songs to get their due but “Thank You” is an incredible, inspiring song that turned out great. I am super proud to have it as our first single but again I really feel that this album has 9 other singles people need to hear along with this one. These songs are our babies and we want people to hear them all.

AL: The album can be preordered at www.sevendust.com with a couple different bonuses. Can you tell us about some of the things your guys are offering to the fans who pre-order the album?
LW: We try to do different things which we hope will make people feel more a part of what we have going on. We have packages where you can get limited edition t-shirts, signed copies of the album to actually getting to listen to album in the studio with the band.  We try and make things more personal and take away some of the machine like elements.

AL: What type of tour plans do you guys have in place to support the release?
LW: We start rehearsals in about 2 weeks and after that we will be hitting the road with Godsmack. That’s going to be a great time as we haven’t toured with those guys in quite some time. It also has been awhile since we haven’t done a tour where we headlined. It’s going to be great to just go out there each night and rock a 45-50 minute set. When that run wraps up we have another list of shows in the works prior to my new baby being born in December and then after a little break we will be back out there. We are just really excited with everything we have going on and can’t wait for people to hear this new album.

CD Review: Sevendust “Kill the Flaw”

“Kill the Flaw”
Sevendust
Asylum/7Bros. Records
Produced by: Sevendust
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Southern hard rockers Sevendust are back with a brand new album titled “Kill the Flaw”. This will be the bands 11th studio album which coincidentally features 11 new tracks which were not only performed by the band but also produced by the group as well.

Sevendust continue in the tradition of their previous releases with “Kill the Flaw”. The album which will be the group’s third release in the corresponding number of years is spattered with the band signature sound which has been pounding eardrums since the late 90’s. While the album features familiar tones and textures it embellishes on those taking the listener and the band to new levels. Tracks like the albums opener/lead single “Thank You” which perfectly sets the stage for the subsequent track’s it blends the bands melodic yet raw style they are known for while songs like “Letters” with its catchy rhythmic choruses and the acoustic guitar tinged “Chop” both seem destine to be staples in the bands always impressive live show.

“Kill the Flaw” doesn’t reinvent the wheel but instead it capitalizes on the strengths Sevendust are known for. Lead vocalist Lajon Witherspoon sounds stronger than ever as does the rest of the band consisting of Clint Lowery, Morgan Rose, Vince Hornsby and John Connolly. Together on “Kill the Flaw” the band proves that even after 20+ years in the music business you can still remain fresh and consistently put out solid records year after year. The album will be available Oct. 2nd via Asylum/7Bros. Records and is currently available for pre-order through the bands website www.Sevendust.com

Track Listing:
1.) Thank You
2.) Death Dance
3.) Forget
4.) Letters
5.) Cease and Desist
6.) Not Today
7.) Chop
8.) Kill the Flaw
9.) Silly Beast
10.) Peace and Destruction
11.) Torched

Luke Hemsworth discusses new film “Kill Me Three Times”

Now available on Video On Demand and opening Friday April 10th in New York City, “Kill Me Three Times” is an Australian dark comedy thriller from director Kriv Stenders. The film centers around sniper Charlie Wolfe (an amusingly malicious Simon Pegg) who’s being paid to execute a hit on Alice (Alice Braga), the cheating wife of Jack (Callan Mulvey). Little does Wolfe know that Jack is not the only person out for his target and bloody mayhem and blackmail ensues.

Luke Hemsworth takes on the role of Dylan the tough mechanic with whom Alice is carrying on her affair. I got a chance to speak with Luke on a phone call from LA about the film, working in Australia and his recent stint on Saturday Night Live with younger brothers, Chris and Liam.

Lauren Damon: The film is kind of crazy, who first introduced you to the project?
Luke Hemsworth: That’s a good question, I think someone sent the script and said ‘have a read of this, if you like it, let’s talk more about it’. And of course I read it you know in one go—which  is always a good sign—and then I jumped on Skype with Kriv and you know, we were all on the same page and then from that point we went on and did a chemistry reading with Alice Braga and that obviously went pretty well and here we are!

LD: Was Alice already signed on at that point when you did the chemistry read?
LH: She was signed on. She had been signed on for like five years or ten years or something, she was signed on since she was a little kid I think! [Laughs]

LD: How would you describe your character Dylan?
LH: I would describe him as a loyal, humane puppy dog who is forced to deal with revenge and deals with it pretty well!

LD: Was it more appealing for you that Dylan is one of the characters that is decent and can have a happy ending versus everyone else?
LH: Yeah, it’s an added bonus I think. I haven’t even looked at it from that point of view—the journey is you know, that’s the fun part.

LD: Your journey mostly includes scenes with gunfights and you get a car chase. Did you have  fun making that? Had you experienced that before?
LH: Soooo much fun! I’ve experienced a little bit of that, but yeah…it was a complete blast. I got to do some really good, heisty you know, funny stuff. There wasn’t a day on set I didn’t enjoy and think ‘gee I really wanna be here.”

LD: Particularly was it fun having a big standoff with Simon Pegg’s character?
LH: Yeah, I mean it was great. It was really at the start of what we were doing. I think it was one of my first days was the stand off with Simon Pegg. And we kinda hung out and got to know each other, so yeah, it’s just such an interesting dynamic when that happens. And fortunately Simon is like the coolest guy in the world so we got on really well and we had an awesome time.

LD: Contrary to the bloody fights, you’re really in the most beautiful settings, how was it to shoot on these locations and was that an intentional juxtaposition?
LH: Oh for sure, yeah. The locations became a character in a way, so it was very intentional. For me, it was a huge added bonus to work not only as an actor, but also a human being I got to spend time surfing and you know, playing in an area of my native country, which is exceptionally rugged and beautiful with amazingly grounded people.

LD: Are you still based in Australia generally or have you also moved to Hollywood?
LH: I’ve been here for two years now, yeah, I’d moved before this all happened. And of course you when you make the move, then something’s happening back in Australia or somewhere else. So I spent a little bit of time back in Australia.

LD: So you were in LA when you got this part in Australia?
LH:
I was yeah I got taken back two or three times, I did another project called Infini with Shane Abbess, who directed Gabriel, which also drops very soon—comes out in May I think—which is amazing, another amazing Australian kind of phenomenon which I’m sure we’ll be talking about soon.

LD: I noticed up until recently, you have a lot of television credits, does that affect at all how you approach a project? Do you prefer one or the other?
LH: No, I definitely don’t have—I don’t care one or the other, you kind of approach them both the same. Yeah, definitely approach them both the same. There’s a level of you know, pre-production work and research which goes into each character which goes into each and every day. I think that kind of falls away and hopefully you’re left with something which looks presentable [laughs].

LD: Do you foresee pursing more films going forward?
LH: Umm, yes and no, you know I don’t rule out one or the other. I’m about to start shooting West World for HBO so you know that’s TV but it’s…kind of—

LD: Their slogan is ‘it’s not TV, it’s HBO!’
LH: Yeah! It’s the pinnacle of TV. You know it’s Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, Bad Robot are producing so you know it’s a huge project.

LD: If you’re allowed to talk about about that at all, what’s your Westworld role like?
LH: I’m like the head of tech security for the army and it’s the robot part. The human technological side. I can’t give much too away other than that I think.

LD: Thanks! Of course the last time I saw you on US TV, you were on SNL a last month with your brothers, what was that like?
LH: [Laughs] It was great! I mean hilarious. You know a huge kind of notch on the belt for me, definitely. For all of us. Chris did such a wonderful job, incredibly honored to be a part of that process. It was fun.

LD: Is SNL as iconic to Australian viewers as it is here?
LH:  To certain Australians, definitely. Maybe not as much as Americans, but you know I know of it, I definitely hear of  a lot about SNL. Maybe not the same kind of love and mystery that it does here, but definitely a huge honor, absolutely.

Once again, Kill Me Three Times premieres this week at NYC’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema and is still available on VOD. Meanwhile, as Luke said, you can next look for him in Infini, opening on May 8th.

Film Review “Kill the Messenger”

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt
Directed By: Michael Cuesta
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Focus Features

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Kill the Messenger” follows the fallout experienced by reporter Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News of his 1996 article “Dark Alliance.” The article linked the US’s own CIA with rampant dealing of crack cocaine in California for the eventual funding of Nicaraguan contras. Director Michael Cuesta’s version of it, thoroughly from Webb’s point of view, skillfully balances the political thriller with the family life of the reporter.

The first half of the film plays a bit like a television procedural episode with Webb going from source to source in chasing his story. If it’s a little by the numbers in that respect, it does give us the opportunity to enjoy scenes with Andy Garcia in a south American prison and Michael Sheen as DC insider who warns Webb of the dangers of chasing this particular story.

It’s just before Webb publishes his story however, where the film really picks up steam. In an ominous meeting with government suits, it’s hinted that Webb’s family could be ‘affected’ by his work, enraging Webb and spurring him on to complete his article. It’s a thrill to see Renner take the lead here as Webb after the last few years of supporting work in franchises and last year’s American Hustle. He plays him as a passionate family man with a slight sense of humor that he attempts to employ as defense to the very serious people he’s up against. Though he is not without his breaking points. At home he’s given strong support by Rosemarie DeWitt as his wife and Lucas Hedges as his 16 year old son who Webb strives to be as truthful with at home as he is when reporting. Even if his wife would rather he didn’t.

Much of the film after the published story focuses on the ripple effect of exposing the truth whereby the closer Webb gets to it, the more threatening his world becomes and the more viciously personal the media gets with Webb himself. Nathan Johnson’s score subtly increases the tension throughout while Cuesta powerfully weaves in actual archival media to show just how far reaching Dark Alliance’s impact was.

If the film seems a bit one-sided with Webb as the straight up hero, it’s devastating closing title cards will likely send you to seek out more about the story for yourself.

Blu-ray Review “Joy Ride 3: Road Kill”

Actors: Jesse Hutch, Ken Kirzinger, Dean Armstrong, Ben Hollingsworth
Director: Declan O’Brien
Number of discs: 2
Rated: Unrated
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Run Time: 96 minutes

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

Rusty Nail has really become a great icon in the horror world. He is not at the level of Freddy Krueger but he definitely kicks some ass. I am sure this wasn’t planned (I hope) but since the death of Paul Walker (who starred in the first “Joyride”) was only a few months ago, it feels a little odd for this to be coming out right now. After the terrible follow up “Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead”, “Joy Ride 3: Road Kill” is action-packed, entertains and is worth checking out if you enjoy this character and the series.

Official Premise: This third hellish installment in the bloody series finds director Declan O’Brien in the driver’s seat for another deadly detour. The nightmare begins when a group of young street racers take a desolate shortcut on their way to the Road Rally 1000. But a chance encounter with Rusty soon turns deadly as he stalks, taunts, and tortures his next victims with deranged delight. It’s a full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal chill ride packed with killer twists and turns!

Fox is releasing this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy. It is also releasing it with a Limited Edition Killer Packaging. The 1080p transfer and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works for what the film is, which is a low-budget gritty horror sequel. There are some decent special features including some Pre-Vis Sequences. “Road Rage: The Blood, Sweat and Gears of Joy Ride 3” is a look into the production. “Riding Shotgun with Declan: Director’s DIE-aries” is a chat with the director Declan O’Brien. Lastly, we have a featurette “Finding Large Marge” and an audio commentary track.

Blu-ray Review “3 Days to Kill”

Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel, Eriq Ebouaney
Director: McG
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014
Run Time: 117 / 122 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Kevin Costner has been on a hot streak recently with “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Man of Steel” but “3 Days to Kill” cools down his streak quite a bit. The film is produced by Luc Besson but seems to follow the spy-thriller format and doesn’t really deliver anything new. I wouldn’t say this is unwatchable since if you REALLY like Costner you can probably find something that you like about this. I just had trouble making it fully through it. There was a lot of yelling at the screen and eye-rolling happening here. When it comes down to it good action, decent acting, bad story.

Official Premise: Kevin Costner is a dangerous international spy who is determined to give up his high stakes life to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he’s previously kept at arm’s length to keep out of danger. But first, he must complete one last mission- even if it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in ten years, while his wife is out of town.

20th Century Fox has delivered this film as a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy. There is a bonus extended cut included as a Blu-ray exclusive, which runs five minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Nothing ground breaking included in the new cut but still worth checking out over the theatrical. The 1080p transfer presented with an 2.37:1 aspect ratio looks very sharp and worked well with the gorgeous setting of Paris. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also quite impressive especially with the big action sequences.

In terms of special features, there is not a ton of extras included here. “The Making of 3 Days to Kill” is just under 10 minutes long and is the basic behind-the-scenes look into the production. “McG’s Method” is a short profile on the director. “Covert Operation” is a cool feature featuring a real life former CIA agent talking about his work. Lastly there are some theatrical and extended trailers included.

Blu-ray Review “Kill Your Darlings”

Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane Dehaan, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall
Director: John Krokidas
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Run Time: 104 minutes

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

“Kill your Darlings” tells the true story of friendship, love and murder involving three of the greatest poets; Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Boroughs. I know Daniel Radcliffe lives under the shadow of the “Harry Potter” film franchise but he really shines in this film. As does Dane DeHaan (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2 & 3”), who is really taking off and is quickly becoming one of the hottest actors in the business. Ben Foster (“Lone Survivor”) also gives an amazing performance and steals his scenes easily. The rest of the support cast include Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”), Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Spectacular Now”) and Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”). These performances are all outstanding and really deserve attention.

Official Premise: When Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), is accepted at Columbia, he finds stuffy tradition clashing with daringly modern ideas and attitudes embodied by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Lucien is an object of fascination for shy, unsophisticated Allen, and soon he is drawn into Lucien’s hard-drinking, jazz-clubbing circle of friends, including William Burroughs (Ben Foster), the dissolute scion of a wealthy family, and David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), an older hanger-on who clearly resents Allen’s position as Lucien’s new sidekick. A true story of friendship, love and murder, Kill Your Darlings recounts the pivotal year that changed Allen Ginsberg’s life forever and provided the spark for him to start his creative revolution.

Sony Pictures Classics delivered this film as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. I am a little disappointed that there is no Digital HD digital copy included though, which has become the norm recently. The special features included are worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. There is a featurette “On The Red Carpet”, which takes us to Toronto Film Festival with the cast. There is another featurette “In Coversation with Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan”, which chats with the leads. There is a great Q&A session with Director/Co-Writer Krokidas and Co-Writer Austin Bunn. The best though is definitely as well as the commentary track, which featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, John Krokidas and Austin Bunn. Lastly there are never-before-seen deleted scenes.

Film Review “3 Days to Kill”

Starring: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfield and Connie Nielsen
Directed by: McG
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 53 mins
Realitivity Media

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Ethan Renner (Costner) works for the C.I.A. At least he did until he learned, after his last mission, that he has cancer and has three months to live. Forsaking the agency he heads to Paris, where he tries to make peace with the family he basically abandoned five years ago to protect his country. He is in the process of rekindling some semblance of a life with his wife and daughter when he is informed that his country needs him again. And, in return for his help, they will give him an “experimental” drug that will enable him to live. If given that choice, what would you do?

Directed by McG with a story and script co-written by the great Luc Besson, “3 Days to Kill” is a tongue in cheek action flick that takes you a little while to get on board but, once in sync with the film, the ride is terrific. I was worried in the first few minutes when Ethan is part of a “routine” assignment, which including bad guys with code names like WOLF and THE ALBINO…pretty generic. Second worry came when he goes to buy some over the counter medicine for a cold and is given boxes with COUGH SYRUP and SUPER STRENGTH COUGH SYRUP on the packages, giving the impression this is seriously a low budget affair. Then the first building explodes and all is right with the movie world again!

More than an action-thriller, “3 Days to Kill” is also a fun look at how even the toughest guys – the baddest asses on the planet – are capable of an emotional evening with the ladies of their lives. While hoping to reconcile with his wife (Nielsen) and help his teenage daughter (“True Grit’s” Steinfield) get ready for her first prom, he must also deal with the family of squatters that have taken over his apartment (one of the daughters is pregnant and about to pop, teaching his daughter to ride a bike and basically behaving like a dad while exchanging heavy gun fire. In between the life lessons the fun and action are actioned up to just the level you’d expect out of a pairing of McG and Besson. Only Amber Heard, as the main assistant to the C.I.A. director, comes off as too over the top, finding a reason to show up in skin tight clothes to flirt at a moment’s notice. I hope to heck she’s not protecting me. Costner, in his second film this year as a C.I.A. agent, following last month’s “Jack Ryan,” handles the action well and adds some gravity to the parent-out-of-water scenario. Steinfeld is solid, though she really doesn’t have much to do but pout and complain.

James D’Arcy talks about new film “After the Dark” and TV series “Those Who Kill”

James D’Arcy is known best for playing three roles in the 2012 epic sci-fi film “Cloud Atlas”, directed by Tom Tykwer and The Wachowski’s. He also played the role of Norman Bates in “Hitchcock”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with James about his role in his new film “After the Dark” and his new A&E TV series “Those Who Kill”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the film “After the Dark”?
James D’Arcy: I woke up to an email from my agent sending me the script. I read the script completely cold and I had no idea what I was about to read at all. There was the moment in the script when I shoot one of the kids in the head, that is when it really got my interest. I thought this was really an unexpected twist. Then when I finished the script, I thought it was challenging, provocative and intelligent. You have to have a brain to watch the film. I was enthusiastic due that those aspects. Then I received a bunch of photographs of where we would be shooting. When I saw the locations, it made much more sense to me. I couldn’t visualize how it would work until I saw the photographs. I was just blown away. Then met with John Huddles and really liked him. He had a lot of great ideas and it just grew from there.

MG: I was wondering about the shooting locations since they were extremely beautiful.
JD: Yeah, it was incredible. The three places we filmed in Indonesia were the Prambanan Temple, Mount Bromo and Belitung Island. When I saw the island, I thought “Oh my God, that looks like a holiday”. It was beautiful. We did have to work unfortunately as well [laughs]. The other two Prambanan Temple and Mount Bromo, I haven’t never seen any place like them before. I had no idea a place like Prambanan even existed before. For Mount Bromo, we actually shot in an active volcano. It was filming on Mars. It was really worth it since these were just such extraordinary places.

MG: What intrigued you most about your character Mr. Zimit
JD: I really didn’t know if he was a good guy or not. I liked that there was this dubious gray area. I liked that he was smart and very charismatic. You just never quite knew where you where with him. He was constantly pulling the rug out from under your feet. I thought he was very complex and not obvious and I appreciated that enormously as an actor.

MG: You provided narration throughout as a few of the scenarios played out; was this done before or after shooting the film?
JD: You have an advantage over me since I haven’t seen the completed film yet. We didn’t record any narration separation. We shot it as part of the scene. I do remember that I was slaving over this very long speech at one point. We actually shot that and I remember thinking that this was most likely going to be used as a voice over. Some of the dialogue we shot twice, once was in the classroom and once was on location, so we never quite knew where the director was going to make the cut.

MG: Since you haven’t see the film, I am not sure you can relate but I loved the score in the film and we also interviewed the composer, Jonathan Davis and Nicholas O’Toole, I felt like the music was another character in the film.
JD: Yeah, I can’t comment much on that. But I have been in movies, where the music does something and becomes a character itself. It doesn’t just enhance what you are already hearing and seeing, it adds this extra layer. That is when music is best in the movies.
MG: Honestly, “Cloud Atlas” is one of those films for me and I loved how well the score was intertwined into the film.
JD: Yes, that score was quite amazing. Tom Tykwer did a phenomenal job.

MG: What can we expect from your upcoming A&E series “Those Who Kill”?
JD: It stars Chloe Sevigny and myself. We are both very damaged human beings with scores to be settled. We shot the whole thing in Pittsburgh, which is an extraordinary location since it allows a lot really artistic shots. It is a very dark and powerful show. It was great being able to take a character over a few hours as opposed to just one feature film. We had a chance to explore. them. I am very excited for this show.

MG: You’ve done roles like Mr. Zimit in “After the Dark”, Thomas Schaeffer in “Those who Kill” and you played three roles in “Cloud Atlas”; do you seek out specific roles when you approach a project?
JD: I do not think that I have ever actively seeked out a role. But when you read a script, you immediately know the ones you have an affinity with. Often, the ones that I have an affinity for are also the ones I am afraid of. I am not sure if I am able do them, which leads me to then investigate and pursue further.

MG: What else do you have in the cards for 2014?
JD: I am filming a movie right now called “Survivor”. It is stars Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott and myself. We are shooting in London and Bulgaria. It is an action/thriller. It is really good fun and James McTeigue is directing it. He is just wonderful. I also did a film last year called “Let’s Be Cops”, which is a very broad comedy, even though I am not the funny part of it. Because of the way, the film was shot most of the scenes I were in were more serious but I did get to see the funny stuff and it is quite funny indeed. I think that comes out in the Summer.

Kill Devil Hill’s Mark Zavon talks about new album “Revolution Rise”

Mark Zavon is the guitarist for the hard rock group Kill Devil Hill. The group, which also features former Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Heaven and Hell drummer Vinnie Appice and vocalist Dewey Bragg, has just released their second album titled “Revolution Rise” via Century Media Records. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with mark recently about the creation of the new record and what the band has planned for the coming year.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the new Kill Devil Hill album “Revolution Rise”?
Mark Zavon: The new album is just killer! Jeff Pilson co-produced the album with us. That guy was a huge positive influence on the whole process. He is a great songwriter and had a lot of good input. The album turned out great and we are super proud of it.

AL: What do you feel were the biggest changes made on the record compared to the bands previous release?
MZ: We had a lot more time to spend on this new record. The first record we had to do in about a month. Along with the limited time frame we also had a limited budget so we had to try and get things done as quick as we could. Things are both good and bad that way. This time around we had the time to spend getting things together. We also had a couple breaks in there as well as Rex had his book come out and Jeff plays with Foreigner. Getting everybody’s schedules to line up at times was a little difficult. Even though that part of things was a little bit difficult it gave me time to work more on the songs. We were able to put a little more energy into the writing/recording process this time around. I think it turned out a lot better than the first album.

AL: What type of approach do you guys take when it comes time to start working on a new record being that you all don’t live in the same area?
MZ: Every song is different. Sometimes we work together sometimes we work separate and send ideas back and forth to one another. Some of the songs on this new record were written originally for the first album however we had too many tracks so we held on to them. There was definitely a more collaborative approach to writing on this record as everyone was involved and contributed ideas. It was nice having everyone involved this time around as with the first record a bunch of that stuff was written before Rex even joined the band. There was a lot more of a combined effort this time around and we all demoed stuff in different places and then put it all together. We literally came from every angle when putting this album together.

AL: Prior to the albums released you signed to Century Media. What has that partnership been like thus far?
MZ: The thing that we were really missing on the first record was the promotional aspect of things. We were working with a label from Germany who had no real presence here in the States. That was tough as they didn’t really get behind the release all that much. With Century Media things have been much different. We actually started out by going down to their offices and playing a small acoustic set for everyone there. They are located right in Los Angeles, which is local for me. They came to one of our shows at the Roxy and they have been like family. Century Media is the type of label that likes to get behind their artists and promote them. Combining that with the whole family vibe has been a step in the right direction for us. Something like this is what we have all wanted for a long time.

AL: A lyric video for the song “Why” was released recently, Are there any plans to shoot a full production video for any of the songs of this album?
MZ: I think there will be some more lyric videos to come out for the other songs but we also just shot a video for the song “Leave It All Behind”. That should be coming out soon and is going to be really cool. We shot the video at an old missile silo site north of the San Fernando Valley. It was cool and we all had a good time. We actually worked with the director before on our last video and I think it turned out great.

AL: What other plans does the band have in place for the rest of this year leading into 2014?
MZ: We have plans to take the holiday season off and then start back up towards the end of January. There are some plans in the works for the upcoming NAMM show to do some things with our sponsors. From there the plan is to hit it hard and promote this record through out the coming year. The more we play the happier I am.

Cher Announces “Dressed to Kill” Tour Beginning March 22nd in Phoenix

49 City North American Tour Celebrates the Legend’s New “Closer To The Truth” CD

It’s now official. The one and only Cher herself revealed that she will kick off her “Dressed To Kill” 49 city North American Tour beginning in Phoenix on March 22nd with stops in NY, LA, Boston, Las Vegas, and other major markets. Cher shared the happy news with her fans following her performance on the Today Show this morning.

A full list of “Dressed to Kill” tour dates and cities follows this release. The national tour promoter is Marshall Arts USA. For ticket information and to sign up for tour updates please go to Cher.com.

Cher’s previous tour “The Farewell Tour” later dubbed “The Never Can Say Goodbye Tour” was one of the most successful tours ever by a solo artist and played for a record-breaking 325 dates and seen by over 5.5 million people.

American Express® Cardmembers can purchase their tickets to select cities before the general public beginning Monday September 30th, 10am through Thursday, October 3rd, 10pm.

For all online tickets purchased (presale and general public), ticketholders will receive a free copy of Cher’s new album “Closer To The Truth”, out September 24th on Warner Bros Records.

Cher is in New York this week celebrating the album’s release with upcoming appearances on David Letterman (Sept. 24th) and Live! with Kelly & Michael (October 1st). Cher will also be appearing as a mentor with Blake Shelton on NBC’s The Voice airing in October.

CHER ‘DRESSED TO KILL’ TOUR
Sat, March 22 Phoenix, AZ  – US Airways Center
*Mon, March 24 Houston, TX – Toyota Center
*Wed, March 26 Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Fri, March 28 Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
Sat, March 29 Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
Mon, March 31 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Wed, April 2 Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
*Fri, April 4 Washington DC – Verizon Center
Sat, April 5 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun
Mon, April 7 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
Wed, April 9 Boston, MA – TD Garden
Fri, April 11 Indianapolis, IN – Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Sat, April 12 Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena
Wed, April 23 Buffalo, NY – First Niagara Center
Fri, April 25 Montreal, QC – Bell Center
Sat, April 26 Ottawa, ON Canada – Tire Centre
*Mon, April 28 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Wed, April 30 Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena
Fri, May 2 Cleveland, OH – Quicken Loans Arena
Mon, May 5 Charlotte, NC – Times Warner Cable Arena
Wed, May 7 Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena
*Fri, May 9 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
*Sat, May 10 East Rutherford, NJ – Izod Center
*Mon, May 12 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
Wed, May 14 Jacksonville, FL – Veterans Memorial Arena
Fri, May 16 Orlando, FL – Amway Center
Sat, May 17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center
Sun, May 25 Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand
Wed, May 28 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
Fri, May 30 Lincoln, NE – Pinnacle Bank Arena
Sat, May 31 Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
Mon, June 2 Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
Wed, June 4 St. Louis, MO – Scottrade Center
Fri, June 6 Milwaukee, WI – BMO Harris Bradley Center
Sat, June 7 Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena
Mon, June 9 Des Moines, IA – Wells Fargo Arena
Wed, June 11 Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
Fri, June 20 Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
Sat, June 21 Saskatoon, SK – Credit Union Centre
Mon, June 23 Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
Wed, June 25 Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
Fri, June 27 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
*Sat, June 28 Seattle, WA – Key Arena
Mon, June 30 Portland, OR – Moda Center
*Wed, July 2 San Jose, CA – SAP Center at San Jose
Sat, July 5 Ontario, CA – Citizens Business Bank Arena
*Mon, July 7 Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
*Wed, July 9 Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
Fri, July 11 San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center

(*American Express® Cardmembers can purchase tickets before the general public.*)

Pantera's Rex Brown talks about his book "Official Truth" and new album with Kill Devil Hill

Rex Brown is the former bassist for the Grammy nominated, platinum selling heavy metal band Pantera. After the groups break up in 2003 Brown went on to play with groups such as Down and more recently Kill Devil Hill which features Vinny Appice on drums. Browns memoir titled “Official Truth” has just been released and is a gritty in your face tale from the man who lived it. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with Rex recently to discuss his work on the book and to get an update on the second album from Kill Devil Hill.

Adam Lawton: What made now the right time to release this book?
Rex Brown: A friend of mine who runs Bass player magazine in the UK mentioned that he was friends with a guy who writes books and that I should get in to it. At the time it was something I was not interested in at all. I figured I wasn’t dead yet so why write a book now? After thinking about it for awhile I figured it really did make sense to put this out now and then move on down the line. The thing that happened to Dime really fucked me up. I mean he was murdered. This was my best friend who was the best man at my wedding. I lived out of a brown bottle for a long time and doing crazy shit not knowing at the very that that’s not the way to go. I got in touch with my author and started talking about how we wanted to do this thing. I read all of the Rock and Roll books that come out as it’s my passion. That’s what I want to be doing. One thing just led to another and he started writing things down and then submitting them to me. He really had to develop my slang when he put it to print as I don’t line up in ques. I wanted to tell my side of the story, my experiences, and my truths of what went on and it is all true.  My author also brought me the idea of have friends and family write various passages to help fill in some gaps. I have short term memory but my memory of the past is pretty fucking vivid. There’s collaboration and corroborating. It’s all true and that what I wanted the book to about. My author really wanted me to dig and that’s what I did.

AL: What was it difficult looking back on some of these stories and hearing perspectives from other people involved?
RB: When I first read them yes. When I got to know a little more about what they were trying to say no. So it’s a yes and no type answer. My sister is in this book a lot so I called her the other day to tell her that when this thing comes out it’s not a cook book or a kid’s book. I told her she probably wouldn’t want to put this out to all her friends. She is 17 years older than me and didn’t lead the hippy life style like I have. The book is different than most books but it’s real. As real as it is it’s the truth. That was something I had to explain to my 13 year old twins. I told them they may get a little flack over this but not to worry about it because everything is going to be all right. This is just dad’s previous life. What I did then is definitely not what I am doing now. I have come full circle and we all grow and mature.

AL: Being that the book is so truthful are you worried in any way about the backlash it may receive from fans or those mentioned in the book?
RB: I don’t give a fuck! Go write your own book fucking book. This is my truth and my experience. This is the best way I knew how to tell things. I wanted to come honest and clean. I am tight with both Philip and Rita but I don’t talk to Vinnie. You have to read this book as a whole not just take a chapter here or there. You have to go from the very beginning to the very end. The ending tells its own story and there are some really fun parts to this book. I am proud of this book and I wouldn’t have put it out if I wasn’t. Of course somewhere in my mind there is maybe 10% of me that is concerned about some dickhead behind a computer that’s going to blast on me. I am certainly not worried about it though. I was put in the middle of so many situations during the bands career and I never said a word to the press about it. I just did what I had to do to keep things going. It’s now time for me to tell me story. There is always the good, the bad and the ugly and this book is not about ribbing one person more than another. It’s about making a band work and making it go through what we went through. That’s why the book is called “Official Truth”. I could have given you some bullshit book but I didn’t. I gave everyone the fucking truth.

AL: What was the most rewarding part of the writing process for you?
RB: Just telling the truth and being able to open myself up. That was something I had never done before. I am a guy that’s all about the jam and getting up on stage every night. I don’t care about all of the other parts. For me to do something like this and open up took a lot of balls. I am not patting myself on the back or anything like that but this stuff had to come out.

AL: Can you give us a head ups on the second Kill Devil Hill record?
RB: If you like the first album this second one blows it completely away as far as I am concerned. Musically it is more of a collaborative and collective effort between all of us. Everyone is doing their own swing but at the same time from doing so many dates together we know each other really well. I know Vinny like the back of my hand. I watched him every night for 7 months on the Heaven and Hell tour. We have always just been really good friends. He is the baddist mother fucking drummer on the planet. You just don’t screw something like that up. The other two guys in the band Mark Zavon and Dewey Bragg are just as badass as we are but they never made it out of town. Mark is a brilliant writer and a hell of a guitar player. Dewey is on the verge of stardom with the stuff he is coming up with. It is really just amazing. Things have almost come full circle between me and these guys. I took a chance by leaving Down and joining these guys. I could have stayed with Down as Phillip and I had been together for 24 years which is a long time. We don’t talk about each other’s music but we are still great friends. Well I hope so after this book. (Laughs) This stuff in there is all public knowledge anyway. This thing has just given me the hunger to want to play again. I can’t tell you how much stronger my life is. It really couldn’t be better and life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Hopefully people will enjoy the book and the new album when it comes out.

Be sure to check out the Media Mikes review of “Official Truth”, here.

Blu-ray Review “Hard to Kill”

Director: Bruce Malmuth
Starring: Steven Seagal, William Sadler, Frederick Coffin, Kelly LeBrock, Branscombe Richmond
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Running Time: 96 minutes

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

When it comes to the early work of Steven Seagal, it doesn’t get much better. I have always been a fan of this movie and it is a great follow-up for Seagal after “Above the Law”. Also who doesn’t love looking at Kelly LeBrock in 1990 (and I stress 90’s, have you see her recently?). Warner has been releasing it catalog titles recently and this is the latest of the bunch. For hardcore fans of Seagal, I would definitely recommend this title.

What do you need to know about the premise? Honestly, it’s Steven Seagal and he kicks some baddie ass. He plays Detective Mason Storm, who falls into a coma after being shot during a fire-fight that killed his wife Felicia and son Sonny. When he reawakens seven to find that he son is actually alive, he heads out to get revenge with the help of his nurse and his old partner.

The Blu-ray presentation is very impressive. Warner did a rally fine job with the 1080p transfer and definitely looks sharp. The audio track is also impressive with its Dolby Digital 5.1 track, works well with the film’s action. Lastly like all the recently catalog films Warner has not included an special features. Though if you are looking for a straight forward HD release of this film and a low-cost, look no further.