CD Review: Dropkick Murphys “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”

“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”
Dropkick Murphys
Born & Bred
Producer: Ted Hutt
Tracks: 11

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Everyone’s favorite Bostonian punk band Dropkick Murphys are back with a brand new studio album titled “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”. The album (the bands ninth) is being released via the groups own Born & Bred label and features 11 tracks which were produced by Grammy Award winning producer Ted Hutt.

With a four year lapse since the release of 2013’s “Signed and Sealed in Blood” fans of Dropkick Murphys have had a bit of a wait for new material however with the release of “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” DKM has made up for that lost time. The album opens up with a mostly instrumental track titled “The Lonesome Boatman”. The track which features gang like chanting serves as sort of a rallying call announcing the bands return. I found this to be a fitting way to open the album given the gap between this album and the last. As you make your way through the albums 11 tracks you get a spattering blend of traditional and non-traditional instrumentation mixed with vocalists Ken Casey and Al Barr’s signature Boston snarl. Tracks like the upbeat “Rebels with a Cause” and the rawkus “I Had a Hat” are classic DKM in their subject matter and approach while the 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein show tune “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is given a folk/punk makeover that is new and fresh while still paying homage to the original. Another track worth mentioning is the somber “4-15-13” which is the bands heart-felt tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” is everything fans of Dropkick Murphy’s have come to love about the band and their music. The only negative I really found was as the title suggests the album is a bit short. Clocking in at less than 40 minutes I seemed to be through all 11 tracks before I knew it, the upside is the albums diversity makes it easy to listen to multiple times through without it getting stale or redundant negating its short run time. No matter if you are a long time fan of the boys from Boston or a more casual listener the latest release from Dropkick Murphy’s surely has something you will enjoy.

Track Listing:
1.) The Lonesome Boatman
2.) Rebels with a Cause
3.) Blood
4.) Sandlot
5.) First Class Loser
6.) Paying My Way
7.) I Had a Hat
8.) Kicked to the Curb
9.) You’ll Never Walk Alone
10.) 4-15-13
11.) Until the Next Time

Blu-ray Review “Pain & Gain: Special Collector’s Edition”

Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Ken Jeong
Directors: Michael Bay
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: December 3rd, 2013
Run Time: 129 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I am feeling a little bit of deja vu here, I just reviewing “Pain & Gain” on Blu-ray only a few weeks ago. I was pretty taken back that it was completely bare-bones in terms of special features. So I think Paramount realized they made a mistake and are issuing this Special Collector’s Edition for the holiday season. The only draw for this release is that it includes about an hour of special features and a new (weaker) cover and also leaving out the DVD copy, otherwise it is same release.  Unless you are a die-hard Michael Bay fan and really need these bonus features, I would recommend a pass on this release.

If you want slightly more technical review, here is our review for the film and it’s original bare bones Blu-ray, which was released on August 27, 2013. I am honestly not a fan of double-dipping and the first release was really just a way for them to rush the film out onto Blu-ray fast. Since the draw for this release is the extras, so let’s get cracking on them, as are all bundled under “The A Game: Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain”. This consists of eight featurettes are can be viewed as a big one-hour documentary. The extra looks pretty in-depth behind-the-scenes on the production and also touches on true crime events as well. Since this is labeled as a “Special Collector’s Edition”, I would have wanted a bit more than just an hour of extras and there are still no commentary tracks included.

Here is a break down on the eight featurettes included. “Still a True Story: Ripped from the Headlines” looks into the real crime and being turned into a movie with reporter Pete Collins and the real Ed DuBois. “Back to Basics: Michael Bay’s Vision” is a love fest for Bay with himself and the cast talking about the film. “American Dreamer: Daniel Lugo” features Mark Wahlberg talking about his role. “Passion Player: Paul Doyle” is the same thing for Dwayne Johnson’s character. “Dirty Work: Adrian Doorbal” again does the same thing for Anthony Mackie’s role. “Victimless Crime: Victor Kershaw” looks into Tony Shalhoub’s character as well. “Diamonds in the Rough: Locations” talks about shooting locations in Miami. Lastly “The Real Deal: Law Enforcement” talks about the use of real police officers.

Blu-ray Review “Pain & Gain”

Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Ken Jeong
Directors: Michael Bay
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013
Run Time: 129 minutes

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

This is definitely the year of Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson.  Mark Wahlberg is hot off his hit comedy “Ted” and just scored on “2 Guns” with Denzel Washington. Dwayne Johnson has put thrown into every franchise in Hollywood and come out swinging. The combo of the two together really work well for this film. It is not what you would expect from Michael Bay but it is definitely a fun ride. In fact, it is quite dark and violent which I was not expecting. Packed with a fast pace, this film definitely draws you in and besides the leads it packs an awesome supporting cast. I would recommend this as a renter for sure. Come on you know you will watch anything with The Rock in it just like me!

“Pain and Gain” is based on a true story about a group of personal trainers in 1990’s Miami who are sick of being poor and set out in pursuit of the American Dream. When they decide to mess steel from businessman (Shalhoub). They get complicated and they get caught up in much more than they expected. The film is adapted for the screen by writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely from articles written by journalist Pete Collins. The film also Ed Harris (A History of Violence), Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine), Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids), Ken Jeong (The Hangover) and Bar Paly (The Ruins).

I think this movie didn’t succeed since when people think about Michael Bay, they just think about big movie with tons of explosions. That is not the case here at all. This quite a small film yet I appreciate Bay for trying something different. Paramount delivered this release in a combo back with Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy. As would be expected with a Bay film despite its size, the film look stunning with its 1080p high definition and sounds amazing with its completely amped Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track! But the fun stops there since this Blu-ray comes ABSOLUTELY bare bones in terms of special features. That is a real shock to be honest and disappointing.