Making Deposits at Online Casinos  

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, making purchases online has never been easier. Many payment options are not only reliable but also fast and easily accessible, making online banking the norm for everyday purchases. Almost anything can be purchased online as long as you have the required banking accounts and funds. Online casinos have needed to ensure the safety and security of player’s money, as it is an industry that deals with millions of dollars’ worth of funds on a daily basis. Legitimate gambling sites like Roxy Palace Online Casino accept a variety of reliable and trusted banking solutions, including credit and debit cards, e-wallets, prepaid card services, Bitcoin and more. In this article, we cover possible deposit options you may have at online casinos to help you decide the best one to suit your needs.

Credit/Debit Cards

Using a credit or debit card to fund your account at online casinos is probably one of the most popular methods as almost anybody using Internet banking has access to either a debit or credit card, or both. MasterCard, Maestro, Visa and American Express are probably the most popular cards out there as it is very fast and completely safe, as long as you are playing at a safe and legitimate online casino. Making a deposit with Visa or MasterCard is simple, as you just have to supply the casino with your billing address, card number, expiration date and CVV code. While these payment methods are generally safe, the drawback is that you may not be able to withdraw from these accounts and you will probably have to set up an additional payment method like PayPal or Neteller to cash out and there may also be a waiting period, which is standard when making withdrawals. Overall, credit and debit payments are the most popular options for a reason and allow you to transfer massive amounts of money without having to pay excessive fees.

E-wallets

E-wallets are extremely popular at online casinos thanks to high processing speeds and low fees. The online casino will usually receive your funds immediately once transacted, which means you can start playing instantly without having to wait around. That being said, e-wallets like Neteller and PayPal are very fussy about online casinos and gambling as well as accepting funds from certain countries with strict gambling laws. If you are playing from a country where online gambling is illegal, the chances are that this deposit method won’t work. Additionally, some casinos may offer a bonus to players who choose to make a deposit using an e-wallet, so it is a good idea to check with your online casino to see if they offer this bonus.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are similar to debit and credit cards but are a bit more discreet regarding privacy. Most online casinos that accept debit and credit cards will also accept prepaid cards, so all you have to do is get a card, load it with funds and start playing at your favorite online casino. These cards can be reloaded locally and online. Not all online casinos accept prepaid cards or only accept certain cards available on the market, so make sure your online casino accepts your prepaid card before making a commitment to the site. Additionally, make sure that your card has been cleared for international and online transactions, as certain domestic-only prepaid cards are not allowed at online casinos.

Cash Transfer Services

Money orders are another popular choice for online gamblers, particularly American players. The best thing about making a payment via the Western Union or MoneyGram is that it is extremely reliable and safe. Sending money via money order is a little more complicated than the other methods and requires you to first register your credit card before contacting the casino’s support staff and requesting the payment information. Once you have made the transaction (which includes a few more steps), you must send the Money Transfer Control Number to the casino, and they must confirm the transaction. Remember that these methods usually require a fee, so it is best to only use cash transfer services for bigger amounts. If you prefer, you may visit your local financial institution to make a cash transfer, eliminating the need to create an online account or using your credit card to fund it.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is an open-source digital currency that is slowly becoming more and more available in the online gambling market. The currency was introduced in 2009 and offers completely anonymous banking. This currency is not controlled by the government or any financial institutions. Bitcoin started out being kind of gimmicky but has become a global phenomenon with a total market capitalization exceeding $10 billion at the end of 2013. Trading your bitcoins for traditional currency is simple and requires you to visit one of the numerous bitcoin exchange sites on the Internet, although the exchange rates are not fixed and are constantly changing. While the majority of online casinos doesn’t accept bitcoin, the industry is slowly warming up to the idea of bitcoins, with more online casinos accepting it as a payment option.

Book Review “You’re Making Me Hate You” by Corey Taylor

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left”
Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left” or “You’re Making Me Hate You” for short is the third book from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. The book is a no punches pulled critique of the strange world in which we find ourselves as documented by the one and only Mr. Taylor himself.

Never one to shy away from his opinions or thoughts Corey Taylor delivers and honest and in your face account of daily occurrences that well as the title suggests makes him hate you. The first few chapters are fun and fairly enjoyable to read however as the book progresses I quickly lost interest as the chapters became predictable and somewhat repetitive. At times Taylor seems to ramble off on side topics which may or may not directly relate to the chapters unique title and no matter how much was or wasn’t related to the initial topic the stories lost my interest.

Fan’s of Taylor’s will surely want to check out the book if not just to have but to also take a little peek into the writers interesting thoughts however if you are looking for some sort of tell all behind the scenes like Taylor’s previous works then you may want to skip this one

“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel” Book on the Way!

This past Friday, the first official teaser image and title of the upcoming book detailing the making of the 1978 film “Jaws 2” was released.

“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel” will not only be an in depth look at the making of one of the first successful sequels in Hollywood history but will also examine the effects that sequels have had on the industry.

The book will be written by Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith, two long time “Jaws” fans who still have vivid memories about the first time they saw “Jaws 2.” Pisano is the producer/director of a successful series of “JawsFEST” themed fan films which have been recognized internationally. Smith is a long time film critic and co-founder of the popular entertainment web site Media Mikes.com.

After three years of extensive research the pair have managed to speak with almost every living major contributor to the film, among them directors John Hancock and Jeannot Szwarc, screenwriters Dorothy Tristan and Carl Gottlieb, Production Designer/Associate Producer Joe Alves, Universal Studios former chairman Sidney Sheinberg and cast members Lorraine Gary, Jeffrey Kramer, Joseph Mascolo and all (17) of the young actors who played what the authors collectively call “the Amity Kids!” The book will also talk to crew members, extras and will even have conversations with several of the young actors who were originally cast in the film then replaced, including a seven-year-old Ricky Schroder.

The book will feature many of the over 300 never-before-seen photos the authors have collected from cast, crew and observers.

The book will be published by Bear Manor Media.

Follow the book’s progress on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jaws2book

Book Review ”The Art and Making of Hercules”

Author: Linda Sunshine
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is at the top of his game right now. He has taken over franchises like “Fast & Furious”, “G.I. Joe” and even “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and is still on fire. “Hercules” though doesn’t really look like a great next choice for him. Especially after this January’s very weak “Hercules” entry, people do not really seem to be craving for much more of the legendary hero. If you are unlike me and are looking forward to this film, there are more than 200 photos and drawings in this illustrated companion to this live-action adventure tentpole film

Film Premise: Fate has not been kind to Hercules. The legendary hero-warrior has endured the twelve harsh labors and the loss of his family, and he is now a world-weary mercenary with a loyal band of fighters, all seeking redemption for past misdeeds. In this new adventure, he agrees to help the King of Thrace build an army to fight a tyrannical warlord, then finds himself tested once more when he discovers unexpected treachery and betrayal. But for good to triumph and justice to prevail, Hercules must face the sins of his past—and embrace the hero he once was.

The film itself is quite a large scale film, it was all shot on location in Budapest with actual locations, sets, kingdoms, battles, weapons, warriors etc from the world centuries ago. So this book does go into some of the details of those challenges dealing with the sets, costumes, battle sequences. There storyboards, concept art, commentaries from the cast and crew, and even a few extracts from graphic novel and comic book script. In case you didn’t know this is being based on a graphic novel (I didn’t). So there is definitely some good info here, I just read a lot of art of/making of books and this is definitely not my favorite.

Steven Awalt talks about his book “Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career”

Here’s a trick question for you? Where did film director Steven Spielberg go when he wanted some information about…Steven Spielberg? The answer was an amazing web site known to fans all over the word as SpielbergFilms.com. Created and maintained by Steven Awalt, the site lasted for seven years, only closing down because of Awalt’s various projects. One of those projects, the well reviewed book “Steven Spielberg and DUEL: The Making of a Film Career,” will be released on March 26.

With a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies from DePaul University, Awalt is more than qualified to discuss the most successful filmmaker of his generation. While awaiting the release of his book, Awalt took the time to speak with me about everything Spielberg.

Mike Smith: What is it about Steven Spielberg that made you follow his career so carefully that you created a web site dedicated to his work?
Steven Awalt: He and George Lucas were really the first two “filmmakers” I knew when I was growing up. Of course, when I was younger I was a big fan of the Disney films but when “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” came out it really knocked me on my young butt. The scope of it was just amazing for a little boy. And then as I got older and looked at his films, I think it was his sense of humanity that really appealed to me. I don’t think he gets enough credit for his work with characters. Going back to “Close Encounters,” people focus on the spaceships and the aliens but, at the center of that film, you have a very emotional story about a family falling apart. Even in “Jaws,” you had the Brody family and, of course, the dynamic between the three men. “Duel” is really a great portrait of a man losing his mind. It’s all about paranoia.

MS: Do you remember the first Spielberg film you ever saw in a theatre?
SA: It was “Close Encounters.” I had just turned five, so he caught me at a very young age. Between that and “Star Wars” from earlier in the summer, it was the perfect age to be.

MS: I was sixteen. Trust me, it was a great summer to be sixteen as well!
SA: (laughs) I wish to God I had been older. You got to experience “Jaws.” I first saw it when it aired on television (November 1979). The funny thing was that it didn’t at first stick with me…not like “Close Encounters” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” because it scared the hell out of me! Now it’s one of my favorite films but back when I was younger…I wish I had born in the same generation as yours because it must have been really great to be there.

MS: Of all the films that Steven Spielberg is known for, why did you choose to highlight “Duel?”
SA: Originally I had wanted to write about “Close Encounters” because it’s such an important film to me. I had been deeply researching it for years while I ran the old SpielbergFilms web site. At the time someone else had just come out with a very strong book about the film, independently written, and I was so upset because someone else had gone after it. I still plan to get to that “Close Encounters” book but when I thought about it, I realized that Steven’s work before “Jaws,” namely “Duel” and “Sugarland Express,” hadn’t really gotten their due. I thought it was fertile ground and I hope I’ve been able to start what I hope will be a series of books about his work. “Duel” and “Sugarland” are great films but they really kind of got buried by the success of “Jaws,” “Raiders,” E.T.” ….everything.

MS: Do you have a favorite Spielberg film?
SA: I definitely have a favorite. And, like most people, my favorite film is different then what I consider his best film. His best film is actually too hard a question, but my favorite film of his, from a personal perspective, is “E.T.” That film came along in my life…when I needed it most. It probably sounds funny to say that about a movie but I’m sure, at the same time, many fans can relate to that. I had a pretty rough childhood. My father was an alcoholic…he just wasn’t there for me. He died when I was a kid. So the film really spoke to me. A lonely young boy who misses his father…again, it’s the heart of the film that makes it so beautiful. Even to this day it’s a very important film in my life. And it comes from a very personal space in Steven because of the divorce of his parents. The scene in the garage where Elliot and Michael are looking for things for E.T. to build his communicator with…finding their dad’s old shirt and smelling the cologne on it…that’s the one thing I love about his work so much, that it’s so relatable.

MS: I’m paraphrasing this comment from the late director Sydney Pollack, who in 1984 told TIME magazine that he felt Spielberg would never win an Oscar until his films “grow up.” I actually met Pollack at a retro screening of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” and asked him about his comments. He maintained to me that Spielberg needed to focus more on adult material. Do you think that he intentionally changed the kind of films he was doing because of that thinking? (NOTE: Spielberg’s next film after “E.T.” was the critically acclaimed, very grown up “The Color Purple.” The film received a total of eleven Academy Award nominations though, surprisingly, not one for Spielberg’s direction. This film, and 1977’s “The Turning Point,” share the record for most Academy Award nominations without a single win. Ironically, the winner of the Best Director Oscar that year was Sydney Pollack).
SA: Only Steven himself could answer that question accurately. But I think that, having started out making films in his early 20’s, Steven grew up with his films. I would imagine he was looking for different kinds of entertainment…not entertainment, per se’, but different kinds of stories about human beings. “The Color Purple” is an interesting film. I’m not a huge fan of it, but it’s definitely a turning point. To me the film that signals a new Spielberg on the screen isn’t “The Color Purple,” it’s “Empire of the Sun.” A certain weight comes with the film that I don’t think “The Color Purple” has. To me “Empire of the Sun” is a signpost for people who were so surprised by “Schindler’s List” and the films that followed. I really think you can start to see that in “Empire of the Sun,” which he made when he was in his late 30’s. So I imagine it was just a normal maturing. I guess the only person who can really answer that question is Steven.

MS: You’ve hinted that you’re working on a book going behind the scenes of “Sugarland Express.” Is it going to be in the same vein as this one?
SA: Absolutely. I like to think of it as a continuation of the “Duel” book. To me I’m writing one big book, but this one will have a different approach. It’s obviously a different story but it will show the expansion of Steven’s talent and his growth as a filmmaker.

MS: Are you hoping to maybe one day be able to document all of his films?
SA: I’m hoping to at least get through Steven’s films from the 1970s at least, because that’s my favorite period. I’d like to write about a lot of filmmakers from that era. I’m a big fan of George Romero. I’d love to write about Martin Scorsese. Brian DePalma would be fun to write on as well. But yes, I hope to at least cover the 1970s and his four masterpieces from that era.

Book Review “Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Career” by Steven Awalt

Author: Steven Awalt
Hardcover/354 Pages
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers
Publishing date: March 26, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

On November 22, 1963, while playing golf with a friend, author Richard Matheson learned of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Upset by the news, the duo quit playing and headed home. As they began driving through a narrow pass they heard the sound of a large truck coming up behind them at great speed. The truck continued to bear down on them as they accelerated. No matter how fast they went, the truck seemed to be coming faster. After several terrifying minutes the road finally widened and they pulled over as the truck hurtled down the road past them. Sounds like the makings of a great story, doesn’t it?

“Steven Spielberg and ‘Duel’: The Making of a Career” IS that great story. It’s an in-depth look into the workings of a young 24 year old director who went on to become, arguably, the most successful filmmaker of all time. The book details Spielberg’s early days, from his Super 8 home movies (at age 17 he created a two hour and twenty minute science fiction film entitled “Firelight” that he “premiered” at a local theatre) through his college days at CSU Long Beach and his initial work as a contract director for Universal, where he began hi s professional career directing such television programs as “Night Gallery” and “Columbo.” Impressed with his work the studio gives Spielberg a chance to direct a film to be featured as a “Movie of the Weekend,” based on a short story by Richard Matheson that recently appeared in “Playboy” magazine. The name of the story: “Duel.”

Author Steven Awalt is no stranger to the career of Steven Spielberg, having created and run the extremely popular web site SpielbergFilms.com . It is through this web site that Awalt shared his admiration for all things Spielberg. Here he takes that admiration and shares it with the reader. In an incredibly precise step by step process he guides the reader through the process of making a major motion picture (buoyed by its success and critical acclaim, Universal later released “Duel” in theatres both in the states and internationally). Thanks to recent, in depth interviews with many people involved in the production, including Matheson, Universal executive Sid Sheinberg, composer Billy Goldenberg and, most importantly, Spielberg himself, the book puts you on the set and involves you in almost every aspect of the production. It is because of this attention to detail that Awalt has created one of the best “making of” books in recent years.

Tony Lee Moral talks about his book “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie”

A filmmaker himself, author Tony Lee Moral is best known for his books about the legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock. In 2002 he released “Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Marnie'” and followed it up a decade later with “The Making of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds'” His next book is also about the master of suspense, “Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass.”

With the growing popularity of Alfred Hitchcock, 33 years after his death, Mr. Moral has released a revised edition of his first book. He recently took the time to answer some questions about the influence and genius of Alfred Hitchcock.

Mike Smith: You’ve written three books on Alfred Hitchcock. What is it about him as a filmmaker that makes him your favorite subject?
Tony Lee Moral: Hitchcock for me is the definitive film maker, and his career and films span the history of cinema. His films have been a huge part of my life, ever since I saw my first Hitchcock film (I Confess) at the age of 10. I took part in the 1999 Alfred Hitchcock Centennial celebrations and have interviewed many scriptwriters, producers, actors who worked with Hitch. The more I watch his films, the more I become fascinated by the man behind the camera, as there is so much to learn from his life.

MS: Why do you think that, more than three decades after his passing, people are still interested in his films?
TLM: I think Hitchcock was a great storyteller and that will never go out of fashion. He was a master entertainer who put the audience first and always wanted to take them on a roller coaster ride. “Psycho” is probably the best example of that, as watching it is like a trip to the Horror-Fun House.

MS: Do you have a favorite Hitchcock film?
TLM: That is very difficult to choose, I’d say “Marnie” because of the characters and psychology. “Vertigo” is a very close second. And after that I’d choose “North by Northwest” or “The Birds.”

MS: As a filmmaker yourself, have you ever caught yourself intentionally cribbing a shot from Hitchcock’s work?
TLM: Absolutely, I’m very influenced by Hitchcock’s film grammar, from Long Shots to Big Close Ups for emotional impact. For my “Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass” book, I really studied his use of film and my respect for him as a master film maker deepens. He was a true director who understood the medium of cinema and was a great teacher who influenced many other directors.

MS: What did you think of the film “Hitchcock?” Did you think Anthony Hopkins captured Mr. Hitchcock’s aura?
TLM: I liked it, but have only seen it once in the cinema, which isn’t a good sign. I thought it was light hearted and not mean spirited. I admire Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as actors, but there were dramatic licenses taken in the film which I didn’t agree with. Overall, if it brought Hitchcock to a new, fresh young audience then that’s a good thing.

MS: What is your next project (either written or film)?
TLM: My next project, which I’m currently writing, is a book about Alfred Hitchcock’s reputation, especially since his death and the recent biographies that have followed it. It’s going to be very revealing and I’m really digging deep for this one, though it won’t be published for several years. I’m speaking to people who haven’t spoken out before about Hitchcock, and I’m hoping that this book will change the way we view Hitchcock and his movies in years to come.

Book Review “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie – Revised Edition”

Written by: Tony Lee Moral
Hardcover: 283 pages
Release date: 2013
Rowman and Littlefield

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

It has been more than three decades since the great director Alfred Hitchcock died (April 29, 1980 to be precise). In that time his legend has grown to almost mythic status. Last year the master filmmaker was the subject of not one but two films: HBO’s “The Girl” and the feature film “Hitchcock,” which centered around the director, played by Anthony Hopkins, during the filming of “Psycho.” In 2002 author Tony Lee Moral released a book dealing with the director and his project after “The Birds,” the psychological thriller “Marnie.” This year Mr. Moral released a revised edition of the book and it is among the most in-depth and interesting “behind the scenes” books ever.

After the double-barreled success of “Psycho” and “The Birds,” Hitchcock set his sights on Winston Graham’s upcoming novel, “Marnie.” He envisioned it as a comeback vehicle for Grace Kelly, who had retired a few years earlier after marrying Prince Ranier of Monaco. However, the publicity surrounding Kelly’s comeback, plus the disapproval of the people of Monaco that their Princess would be playing such a character (Marnie is a thief) resulted in Kelly leaving the project.

In the fall of 1961, while watching “The Today Show” on television one morning, Hitchcock spotted a pretty blonde in a commercial for “Sego” and asked to meet with her. That actress was Tippi Hedren, who Hitchcock soon signed to a contract and cast in “The Birds.” Hitchcock often compared Hedren to Kelly in interviews and when Kelly became unavailable he offered the lead in “Marnie” to her. The rest is film history.

“Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Marnie'” is packed with the kind of inside information that film fans love. From the studios’ reservations about casting Sean Connery, who they were only familiar with from his appearances as James Bond to tidbits of Hitchcock’s directing shorthand (to add drama to a moment Hitchcock would tell his actors to give him “Dogs Feet” – – – Pawses (Pauses). It is inside info like this that gives the book life, so much so that you feel you are personally involved in the production.

An entertaining read from start to finish, I highly recommend “Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Marnie'” to any film fan curious in the art of motion picture making.

Blu-ray Review “Pink Floyd: Classic Albums – The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon”

Actors: Pink Floyd
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Run Time: 92 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ever since I was a kid, I have been a huge fan of Pink Floyd, starting with “Dark Side of the Moon” (thanks Dad). After listening to this album over and over and over, I never got tired of it and still never have. “Dark Side” is one of those records that just gets better every time, I can’t explain it but if you are a Floyd fan that you will know what I am talking about. “Classic Albums – The Making Of Dark Side Of The Moon” was originally released in 2003 and covers the making of this amazing album. It features great interview with with band members including Roger Waters, Richard Wright, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason. But more than that there are also great and very insightful interviews with engineer Alan Parsons, the late designer Storm Thorgerson, and tons of others. After 40 years, “Dark Side” is still one of the best selling albums in history and will continue to shine on.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is behind this Blu-ray release to be honest it just feel a little lazy. This is the first in there new SD (Standard Definition) Blu-ray releases. So basically this is just an upscaled versions of the original DVD. So it is cool to have it on Blu-ray but it is not really worth the upgrade if you already own the DVD’s. Along with “The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon”, they are also giving this treatment to the following Blu-ray “Bee Gees: One Night Only”, “Scorpions: Moment of Glory”, “The Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile”, so be wary of these as well. In terms of audio, the uncompressed LPCM 2.0 track works but I would have love to see this given a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

Since this was originally shot for television, it runs 50 minutes. But there is an additional 40 minutes of bonus Features included on this Blu-ray. There are extra portions on “Brain Damage”, which features a complete solo acoustic performance by Roger Waters, which is amazing. “Money” features Roger Waters and Alan Parsons discuss the song and weaved in-between is David Gilmour playing guitar and Roger Waters playing bass. “Us And Them” features the late Richard Wright talking about the song and playing solo piano. “Breathe” features a complete solo acoustic performance by David Gilmour. “Time” features Waters discusses the track and showing demo footage. Lastly “Gilmour’s Guitars” focuses on track tracks including “Breathe”, “The Great Gig In The Sky” and “Us And Them”.

Book Review “The Making of Hitchcock’s The Birds”

Author: Tony Lee Moral
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Oldcastle Books
Release Date: September 1, 2013

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When you think of great suspense horror films, you can’t help but immediately think of Alfred Hitchcock. The guy has such an eye for making films.  He was meticulous about his shots and has inspired a countless number people since with this style. “The Birds” was Hitchcock’s next film after “Psycho” and I am sure that the anticipation surrounding it was very high.  I saw this film first when I was a child and it scared the living daylights out of me.  Watching it as an adult, it is still very effective as it was then.  This new behind-the-scenes book is planning perfectly to coincide with the film’s 50th anniversary this year and it is also the first book-length look into the making of this production.  I had the privilege of speaking with the film’s star Tippi Hedren earlier this year, read here, and she reflected on this film and it’s reign over popular culture. The recent HBO film, “This Girl”, read our review here, also focused on the topic of the making of “The Birds” as well. Highly recommend. This book is a must for any fast of Hitchcock’s work and a very in depth look into the making of this amazing and rather timeless film.

Official Premise: Featuring new interviews with stars Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and Veronica Cartwright, as well as sketches and storyboards from Hitchcock’s A-list technical team, Robert Boyle, Albert Whitlock, and Harold Michelson, the book charts every aspect of the film’s production all set against the tumultuous backdrop of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and JFK’s presidency. Using unpublished material from the Alfred Hitchcock Collection, Evan Hunter’s files, Peggy Robertson’s papers, and Robert Boyle’s artwork, this is the ultimate guide to Hitchcock’s most ambitious film. This book analyzes the film’s modernist underpinnings, from art director Robert Boyle’s initial sketches influenced by Munch’s The Scream, to the groundbreaking electronic score by pioneering German composers Remi Gassmann and Oskar Sala. There is also a time line detailing the film’s production to its release at MOMA in New York, and the 1963 Cannes Film Festival.

The book is authored by Tony Lee Moral, who is a documentary filmmaker, a writer, and the author of “Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass” and “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie”. So I think that he is the right person for this job.  He has a vast understanding of Hitchcock and a real passion in his words. You can tell when you are reading this book that there is a certain admiration behind the words.  The only thing that I would have wanted more from this book would have been more photos.  I am sure that there are tons of great behind-the-scenes photos from this production. Don’t get me wrong there is a nice middle section with some very crispy color and black and white shots. I am just a visual guy and a big fan of the art of books.  I would have like to have seen the photos spread out throughout book and posted in areas where they were relative to the book’s narrative. Overall though, I enjoy this quite a bit and look forward to passing it to a friend to enjoy as well. Now if you excuse me, I have to go watch “The Birds” again on Blu-ray. I have a sudden urge to enjoy this masterpiece of cinema for some strange reason.

Loren Hoskins & Kevin Hendrickson talks about making music for Disney Junior's "Jake and the Never Land Pirates"

Loren Hoskins & Kevin Hendrickson are the musical duo responsible for the fun pirate rock on Disney Junior’s “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”. Besides the music, the duo are also characters in the show, Sharkey and Bones, Captain Hook’s henchmen. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the Loren and Kevin about their work on the show.

Mike Gencarelli: You guys are no stranger to pirate-rock. How do you feel you have changed from Captain Bogg and Salty to The Never Land Pirate Band?
Loren Hoskins: We inherited a universe. It was one we knew fairly well with it being Never Land. We got to play all these iconic characters in a number of different situations. On top of that we got to really test the fabric of pirate rock. We were able to write song for a number of different shows. I feel like this has broadened our outlook a little bit and given us more toys to play with.
Kevin Hendrickson: I think it has also given us a lot more songs to write. We used to write about 10 songs a year but now I think we write about 10 times that amount. This is more of a full time job now.

MG: With music being a very integral part of the show do you ever feel any pressure related to writing the music?
LH: I don’t know about pressure but I suppose I do now that you brought it up [laughs]. What blew our minds when we got started with this is that we were just offered an opportunity to try and write a theme song. To have it snowball in to working on the underscore and a bunch of other little songs which then led to us being both animated and live action characters has been a real gift. I am probably more excited about things than anxious.
KH: I have a little bit different take as I do feel a certain amount of pressure but it’s exciting. The scripts and writers are really great so from the beginning I felt a lot of pressure to really up the game and write great songs. In a way it’s been a positive thing to be surrounded by such a great team.
LH: I agree with that. We were stepping in a new world as we had never done an underscore before. We had to learn a whole new vocabulary. We had to learn a new way to tell a story and we wanted to reward everyone’s faith in us.

MG: What would you say is your favorite song to perform with the group?
LH: We did a performance run at Walt Disney World that was 30 shows in 10 days. It was incredible. There were 700 people or more showing up to see us perform for each of the 3 shows. We closed each set with the song “Never Land Pirate Band”. The kids know that song very well. So to perform that live and see kids at their first rock concert jumping around and singing along is a great feeling.

MG: Loren, you voice Sharky as well as Sandy the Starfish; how do you feel about going from singing to voicing characters on the show?
LH: When I was a kid I didn’t want to be pirate when I grew up. I wanted to be Mel Blanc and be able to do all those amazing voices. So to do voices on the show is a total blessing for me. It is something I really love.

MG: What can we expect to see during season 3 of the show?
KH: There are going to be some fun spring themed episodes as well as one titled “Tiki Tree Luau”.
LH: That is going to be a great episode. These episodes are just so great as the characters are doing some really funny stuff. In one episode titled, “Captain Who?”, Captain Hook forgets who he is, which is just a great story line.

MG: Does it blow your mind how popular your character have become, even including puppet versions in “Disney Junior Live” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
KH: Absolutely! Everyday is just stunning and it has yet to wear off. To hear our music in the parks and see it on television and then knowing that’s it’s going out all over the world is thrilling.
LH: When we got the chance to meet the puppeteers at Disney we were both equally excited to meet each other. It was really cool to be behind the scenes of a big Disney show.

MG: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and entertaining children?
KH: Every time we get the opportunity to perform live in front of an audience and share our music is something that has really struck me. It’s a great privileged to be able to do that.

MG: Are there any plans to do more live shows in the parks?
LH: We haven’t heard anything yet. We never know as there is always some grand adventure being planned. Right now we are really focusing on season 3. We have been recording lots of songs for the new end sequences and focusing on a new round of pirate rock.

MG: Speaking of new music, will we be seeing a new album in the near future?
LH: I sure hope so! (Laughs) They have a beautiful way of rolling things out that runs tandem with the new episodes. We have heard of lots of cool things that will be happening in the near future. We don’t know when but there should be a new album soon.

Book Review “The Making of Life of Pi: A Film, a Journey”

Author: Jean-Christophe Castelli
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: October 30, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have been a fan of Yann Martel’s international bestseller “Life of Pi”, since it’s release back in 2001.  It is a very ambitious story to turn into a film.  This release is the film’s journey from the pages of the book to the big screen.  It is part scrapbook, part travel guide and part production diary.  When I did my initial flip-through of the book, I couldn’t help but stop many times throughout.  To me that usually means that I am going to love the book.  It was very accurate, since I couldn’t put this wonderful graphic illustrated collection of “The Making of Life of Pi” down until I read it page-to-page.

There are many intimate interviews for the cast/crew, as well 275 photographs and illustrations including storyboards, sketches and artwork, thanks to photographer Mary Ellen Mark and artist Alexis Rockman. This book should have been called “a visual journey” because that is what it really felt like to be.  Whether it was marked-up screenplays or personal notes, this really told the story of how  Oscar-winning director Ang Lee brought Yann Martel’s international bestseller to life.  If you are viewing this book using the enhanced eBook, you get to experience the special features and also get a look inside the fifty-page fully illustrated “survival guide” that shipwreck survivor Steven Callahan created for Pi refers to during his journey.

“The Making of Life of Pi” is the ultimate guide to the making of the film from pre-production through final cut. The film is such a large scale and you get to experience the how this, like I said, ambitious film was turned over to the big screen. We get to meet the unknown sixteen-year-old actor Suraj Sharma, who is taking the lead role of Pi.  We find out how he got the role and even did his own stunts. You also get to see that there was a massive wave tank that was built just for the for the film.  You even get to meet the film’s co-star, or should I say co-stars.  King, Themis, Minh, and Jonas are the four Bengal tigers used in the film.  Lastly we get to see how the heavy amounts of visual effects were used and blended to create this wonderful journey, all while shooting in 3D.

The book is authored by Jean-Christophe Castelli, who has a long working relationship with Ang Lee.  He started working with him way back for cultural research on “The Ice Storm” (1997) and then followed by the story development of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000).  There is a wonderful foreword from “Life of Pi” author Yann Martel.  This is a great sign, which means that the author endorses the film and believes in it. There is also an introduction from the film’s director Ang Lee.  I have been a big fan of his work in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but not some much recently but this film looks to change that very soon. Thanks to this book, I will be first in line now to see “The Life of Pi” in theaters.

SIGNED Book Giveaway for Gerald Scarfe’s “The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall” [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Gerald Scarfe is a satirical political cartoonist and is known best for working with the band Pink Floyd on two of their albums “The Wall” and “Wish You Were Here”. He also created the animation used in the film “Pink Floyd: The Wall” and worked with Roger Water on his new tour of “The Wall”. Media Mikes got the chance to chat with Gerald about his work and reflect on its impact with fans. Read the interview here!

To accompany our recent interview with Gerald, he was kind enough to send us TWO SIGNED copies of his book “The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall”. If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite Pink Floyd song. This giveaway will be open until Friday October 26th at Noon, Eastern Time, open to readers WORLDWIDE. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

Book Review “The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania”

Author: Tracey Miller-Zarneke
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: September 25, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I am huge fan of the classic Universal monsters and films like Rankin/Bass’ “Mad Monster Party”. “Hotel Transylvania” feels like a 2012 new take on classic horror monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, Werewolf, and the Invisible Man. The film is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (who also delivers a great foreword), creator of “Samurai Jack” and executive producer and director of “Star Wars: Clone Wars” animated series, so you know you are getting quality. “The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania” is a very fun and very informative look into the film and its production. Titan Books scores again for sure. When I honestly see that they are doing an Art/Making of book, I get psyched because they never you let down. This book also got me 100% more excited to see this film now. Fans of classics monsters, definitely check this out!

The film features the classic monsters but in more modern settings like Dracula owns a monsters-only hotel. I think that is a fun twist and should please both kids and parents alike. This book not only covers the beautiful art of this animated CG film but also dives deep into the production. There are over 400 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital art. It is nice to also include the digital aspect of the film since it really gives an insight into how much work went into this film. I am just a huge fan of concept art, I don’t know what it is but I love seeing the artists different conceptual designs. Besides all art there is also numerous interviews with filmmakers and crew chatting about the creating this film.

This book is authored by Tracey Miller-Zarneke, who has credited roles on the feature films “Meet the Robinsons”, “Chicken Little” and “The Emperor’s New Groove”. So this lady actually knows animation very well. If you still need more proof, Tracey has also written a bunch of other amazing “art of” books including “The Art and Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”, “The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2” and “The Art of How to Train Your Dragon”. The book is very well presented and just looks amazing. The colors are very sharp and really pop off the pages. If their goal for this book was to really deliver us the world behind the film, “Hotel Transylvania”, (which I am sure it was) then they did their job very well. Highly recommended!

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

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

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

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

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

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