Blu-Ray Review “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Director: Michael Schultz
Rating: PG
Shout! Factory
Run Time: 113 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles groundbreaking album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Shout! Factory will release the film of the same name on Blu-Ray. Sit back and let the evening go with the 1978 musical spectacular featuring stunning reinterpretations of over twenty classic Beatles songs. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is a magical, musical tour through some of the greatest songs ever written, and an astounding time capsule of the late 70’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen or heard.

Classic 70’s presented in stunning hi-definition audio and sound. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is brimming over with everything from the bi-gone era. Starring Peter Frampton and The Bee Gee’s the film follows the story of Billy Shears (Peter Frampton) and his friends the Henderson’s (The Bee Gees) as they leave their small town in hopes of stardom. Along the way the group run into a variety of unique characters and themes pulled from the iconic Beatles album that spurred hits songs like “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamond” to name just a few. Also included are some cool performances by Aerosmith, Earth, Wind and Fire and the late great George Burns. The film definitely serves as a time capsule as you don’t see productions as quirky as this happing today but that’s what makes this film so appealing.

Included in the Special Features section of the Blu-Ray is an audio commentary by Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball, Picture Galleries and the film’s original theatrical trailer. Though I found this portion of the release to be lacking the film provided just enough campy moments to make it enjoyable. The film looks and sounds great which for me is the most important part so if you’re a fan of the Beatles album and some of the other great performers featured here you’re going to be in for a treat with the latest release from Shout! Factory

Film Review: “IT”

Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis and Bill Skarsgard
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Rated: R
Running time: 2 hrs 15 mins
New Line Cinema

Why do I hate clowns?

Could it be because one Saturday night, while eating dinner alone at a Pizza Hut, the evening entertainment was a clown? Asking if there was “anything else” she could do for me, I told the waitress to “keep the clown away from me.” She must have said something to Bozo because, before I could finish my salad, this red-nosed freak stood next to my table and announced, very loudly, “Hey everybody….this guy doesn’t like clowns.” He then led the kids in the restaurant in booing me. Hell, who am I kidding, he got the parents to boo me too. When I left I told the waitress that I had left her a nice tip but that I had seen the clown take it off the table!

Could it be that quiet afternoon in 1991 when I was visited at the theatre I managed by three clowns, all in full regalia, who warned me that if I played the movie “Shakes the Clown” there “could be trouble?” I told them I could handle trouble, I just didn’t want any “drive by pie-ings.” They stared blankly at me.

Or it’s possible it’s because a woman I dated and gave almost five years of my life to liked clowns immensely and then ripped my heart out. Works for me. This hatred (read “fear”) of clowns led me to completely ignore the 1990 television production of “IT.” However, I did watch it recently to prepare me for the movie, thinking if I know what’s going to happen I won’t react to the new film. Wrong!

As summer begins in the town of Derry, Maine school ends. The town is dotted with all kinds of kids, but not enough that no one notices when one turns up missing. We quickly meet Bill Denbrough (Lieberher) and his little brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott). Bill has made Georgie a paper boat to sail in the rain-swollen gutters outside. In order to make sure the boat will not sink, Bill sends Georgie to the cellar to get some wax to seal it. The cellar is a dark, foreboding place and Georgie hurries down and back in a flash. Pleased with himself, he soon finds himself chasing the boat down along the curb and watching it slide down into a storm drain. The boat is lost. Or is it? Georgie is surprised to be stared at by a pair of blood-shot eyes, attached to the white face of a friendly clown. Well, more like a non-friendly clown. One that likes to eat children!

Based on the popular novel by the master of horror himself, Stephen King, “IT” is a terrifying journey through childhood, one that doesn’t let the occasional “lost kid” go by unnoticed! A group of kids that calls themselves the Losers Club notice a lot. They are led by Bill, a slight boy with a stutter. The other members include Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the fat kid; Beverly Marsh (Lillis), the girl with the bad reputation; Richie (Finn Wolfhard), the smart aleck; Mike (Chosen Jacobs), whose only apparent malady in this town is that he is black; Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), the Jewish kid and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), the sickly one. Together these youngsters battle their childhood fears, a couple of JD thugs and a horrifying clown named Pennywise (Skarsgard) as they investigate the morbid history of Derry.

Why is this movie so damn scary? The cast. The filmmakers have assembled an amazing cast of young actors that perfectly fit each role. Each is pitch-perfect in his/her portrayal and you can’t help but see the film (and the horror in if) through their eyes. And Skarsgard is a revelation! With minimal dialogue and eyes that dart wildly, his Pennywise is up there with Hannibal Lecter and Heath Ledger’s Joker in the movie villain Hall of Fame. A warning to those who only remember the television production: this is a violent film. Very dark for a King adaptation, though I’ve been warned that the novel, which I may or may not attempt to read, is even darker. And that’s no joke!

Blu-ray Review: “Hype!” Collectors Edition

“Hype!” Collector’s Edition
Director: Doug Pray
Rating: Not Rated
Shout Factory!
Run Time: 83 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

Revisit the documentary that dropped viewers into the Pacific Northwest in the early ‘90s and showcased a vibrant underground music scene which eventually exploded into the global “grunge” media frenzy. “Hype!” follows the music from local bands playing for their friends, to Sub Pop Record’s brilliant exploitation of “the Seattle Sound,” to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hitting #1 on the charts. 20 years after the films initial release “Hype!” returns for its first ever release on DVD and BluRay and included with the film are a new series of interviews, audio commentary and vintage performances which give fans of the film something extra to enjoy.

Around 20 years ago the world was first exposed the music phenomenon that would eventually be dubbed “grunge”. “Hype!” captures the story of the genres early roots and formation through a variety of interviews with bands like MonoMen, Melvins, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam along with many others who help solidify the sound of an era. The first thing that jumped out for me was how great the film looked as the audio and video look fresh while still retaining the grittiest of the original format. Where the release really shined for me was in the special features section which includes a retrospective segment titled “Hype! 20 Years After” which features new interviews with a number of the bands and people featured in the original film. There are also some cool vintage interviews and performances that really brought back memories of growing up during this time.

If you have never seen “Hype!” now is your chance as you will get to see not only the original film but a ton of extra footage which was really adds to the release. Though the film echoes the sentiments of a scene that is now far removed it serves a near perfect time piece of what things were like just prior to invention of the internet and digital media.

CD Review: Motorhead “Under Cover”

“Under Cover”
Motorhead
Motorhead Music
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Despite the departure of founding member/front man Lemmy Kilmister in 2015 the legacy of the “Worlds Loudest Band” still remains. “Under Cover” the latest postmortem release from Motorhead Music is an 11 track collection of some of the bands best covers recorded between 1992 and 2015. “Under Cover” is signature Motorhead through and through with the same loud, raucous, raging rock ‘n’ roll sound that was synonymous with the band over the course of its 40 year existence.

Sure there are lots of cover albums out there but, is there a covers album done completely by Motorhead? Not until now! Taken from recordings made during the latter half of the bands career “Under Cover” is a gritty, grimy beast made up of some of rocks most notable songs performed the only way Motorhead knew how. Loud! From Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” to the unreleased version of David Bowies “Heroes” and a take no prisoners version of Metallica’s “Whiplash”. Over the course of 11 tracks listeners get an album that not only showcases Motorhead’s versatility and musicianship but listeners will also enjoy how the band added their own style while not straying too far from the originality of each track.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Motorhead fan or not as the group’s latest release is the kind of album you can throw on at a party and please just about everyone. At the core of “Under Cover” is a solid selection of songs that you can tell just by listening that the band really enjoyed. Go one louder with this release! Your ears will thank you.

Track Listing:
1.) Breaking the Law
2.) God Save the Queen
3.) Heroes
4.) Starstruck
5.) Cat Scratch Fever
6.) Jumpin’ Jack Flash
7.) Sympathy for the Devil
8.) Hellraiser
9.) Rockaway Beach
10.) Shoot’Em Down
11.) Whiplash

DVD Review “Killing Hasselhoff”

Actors: Ken Jeong, David Hasselhoff, Jim Jefferies, Rhys Darby, Jon Lovitz
Directors: Darren Grant
Rated: R
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: August 29, 2017
Run Time: 81 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

With a tagline like “Don’t Hassel the Hoff”, you know what your in store for with your picking up “Killing Hasselhoff”. David Hasselhoff has sunken into a very sweet spot in Hollywood. He has been playing off the camp sort of like Chuck Norris and his book of facts. Hasselhoff has been popping up everywhere like the new “Baywatch” remake and even “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2”. The film is what it is. If you love Hasselhoff then this is for you if not then I would steer clear.

Official Premise: Ken Jeong (The Hangover) and David Hasselhoff (Baywatch) star in the most hilarious and outrageous comedy of the year. When a struggling nightclub owner (Jeong) fails to pay back a loan shark, he decides the only way to get the money is to kill his pick in an annual “Who Will Die This Year” celebrity death pool: David Hasselhoff. But the task is not so easy – especially when your target is The Hoff.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has delivered “Killing Hasselhoff” on DVD only, no Blu-ray. There is no Digital HD copy included and only a few deleted scenes for special features…but this DVD is also very cheap under $10, so I guess it balances out. Seriously though, how much does it cost them to include a digital copy these days?

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 “All Eyez On Me”

Actors: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Dominic L. Santana, Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan
Directors: Benny Boom
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
DVD Release Date: September 5, 2017
Run Time: 140 minutes

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

Cashing in on the success of “Straight Outta Compton”, we get “All Eyez on Me” which focuses on the life of Tupac Shakur but fails to hit the same level that “Compton” achieved. When the film came out I read a review saying that this was a “Wikipedia biopic” that doesn’t give any new life or deliver anything interesting outside of what we know about the late rapper. Worth check out if you are a hardcore fan but overall it is way too long and even though Demetrius Shipp Jr. is a bizarre spitting image of Tupac, it didn’t blow me away.

Official Premise: Newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. stars as the legendary Tupac Shakur in this powerful, true, and untold story of the rapper, actor, poet, and activist – from his early days in New York City to his evolution into a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his untimely death at the age of twenty-five.

“All Eyez on Me” also features a “The Walking Dead” reunion with current star Lauren Cohan and Danai Gurira. Lionsgate is releasing this film as a combo pack with Blu-ray + Digital HD copy included. The 1080p transfer is solid and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers with the musical background of the film. Special features on this include three featurettes that are short but deliver some solid info as well as a few deleted scenes and Demetrius Shipp, Jr’s audition tape.

CD Review: Brendon Small’s “Galaktikon II: Become The Storm”

“Galaktikon II: Become The Storm”
Brendon Small
Megaforce Records
Producer: Brendon Small/Ulrich Wild
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Dethklok mastermind Brendon Small returns with part two of his interstellar space saga titled “Galaktikon II: Become the Storm”. Continuing on with the space-age themes of 2012’s original “Galaktikon” album, “Become the Storm” is a heavier, darker and more brutal sound. In addition to Brendon Small and Grammy-nominated producer/engineer Ulrich Wild “Galaktikon II: Become The Storm” features the distinct rhythmic powers of drum legend Gene Hoglan and bassist extraordinaire Bryan Beller. With uncapped time and creativity on their side, the aforementioned artists have created a heavy metal opus that Dethklok fanatics will covet and newcomers will add to the top of their playlists.

After a five year wait fans of Dethklok creator Brendon Small have something new to fill their ear holes. “Galaktikon II: Become the Storm” instantly pickups up where the albums predecessor left off. From the thunderous attack of the opening track “Some Days Are For Dying” to the hauntingly eerie “The Ocean Galaktik” which features Small’s departure from his signature gritty growls to an almost crooning like style which certainly adds to the tracks uniqueness. Closing out the album were probably my two favourite tracks from the release. “Could This Be The End” is a blending of heavy metal styles which almost sums up the creators musical range in one singular track and the instrumental “Rebuilding A Planet” which is very much in the progressive style of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani but with Small’s own unique approach making for a really enjoyable listen.

“Galaktikon II: Become the Storm” is a fitting follow-up to its predecessor. The album contains ample amounts of signature Small and his assembled crew of musicians as they traverse deeper into the “Galaktikon” universe. You never know where the next track will take you as it twists and turns over the fictional universe which makes for an exciting listen defiantly worth checking out.

Track Listing:
1.) Some Days Are For Dying
2.) Icarus Six Sixty Six
3.) The Agenda
4.) The Ocean Galaktik
5.) My Name Is Murder
6.) Become The Storm
7.) Nightmare
8.) Could This Be The End
9.) To Kill A God
10.) Exitus
11.) Rebuilding A Planet

CD Review: “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”

“Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”
Silver Lining
4 Discs
Runtime: 271 minutes

Our score:  CD 2.5 out of 5 stars
BluRay/DVD 3.5 our of 5 stars

The ultimate heavy metal event-in-a-box is now available for fans to enjoy in the comfort of their very own home. “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” is a collection of some of the best performances from the 2016 Wacken Open Air festival held in Germany each yr. The double disc CD and DVD/BluRay features music from over 30 artists including Arch Enemy, Saxon and Bullet for My Valentine all packaged nicely in multi fold digipack.

No need for lengthy international travel or standing in a soggy bog along the European country side as “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” allows you to enjoy a majority of the Wacken Open Air festival from the safety and dryness of your own couch or recliner. Get comfortable as with a runtime of over four hours you are definitely in for a long haul especially if you plan to check it out from start to finish. If you want to skip around a little I highly recommend checking out the performances from Eluveitie, Bullet for My Valentine and Dio Disciples as they were easily my favorite. I also enjoyed the video version of this package a little more as it included in most cases a couple songs from each artist.

Invite a few friends over crack open some drinks and thrown on either the DVD/BluRay or the included audio versions of the release. Though a majority of the performances contained on the set are from European acts I wasn’t too familiar with there is still plenty of other material from bands I had heard before. Though I enjoyed seeing bands like Steel Panther and Saxon I think I had more fun checking out the bands who I hadn’t heard of because those performances were fresh and new to me. It’s always great to be exposed to new music and that’s certainly what “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” does. I do feel though that if you are a more casual metal fan there might not be enough familiarity included to warrant purchasing the cumbersome four disc set however, If you are a dedicated, die hard metal head that has yearned for the Wacken experience but couldn’t make the trip then this release is certainly for you as it gets you as close as you can be without actually being there.

BluRay/DVD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Profaner- Killing On Command
3.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
4.) Auan- Pjaning Heillar Bjodar
5.) Saxon- Battering Ram
6.) Saxon- Heavy Metal Thunder
7.) Zombies Ate My Girlfriend- Appropriate Hate Crimes
8.) Vader- Triumph of Death
9.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
10.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
11.) Therapy? Screamager
12.) Michael Monroe- 78
13.) Orden Ogan- F.E.V.E.R.
14.) Orden Ogan- The Things We Believe In
15.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
16.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
17.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
18.) Equilibrium- But Im Auge
19.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
20.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
21.) Axel Rudi Pell- Game Of Sins
22.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
23.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
24.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
25.) Lemmy- Born To Lose, Live To Win

Bluray/DVD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Torfrock- Trunkenbold
2.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
3.) Eluveitie- Tegernako
4.) Eluveitie- Havoc
5.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
6.) Bullet For My Valentine- Waking The Demon
7.) Tarja- No Bitter End
8.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
9.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
10.) Unisonic- Unisonic
11.) Caliban- Paralyzed
12.) While She Sleeps- Four Walls
13.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
14.) Myrkur- Jeg er Guden, I er tjenerne
15.) Borknagar- Colossus
16.) Borknagar- Winter Thrice
17.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
18.) Therion- Sons Of The Sun
19.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
20.) Steel Panther- Asian Hooker
21.) Steel Panther- Community Property
22.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
23.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
24.) Buffalo Summer- Money
25.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
26.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
27.) Budderside- Pain
28.) Dio Disciples- The Last In Line
29.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

CD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
3.) Saxon- Battering Ram
4.) Vader- Triumph Of Death
5.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
6.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
7.) Theraphy?- Screamager
8.) Michael Monroe- 78
9.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
10.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
11.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
12.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
13.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
14.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
15.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
16.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
17.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
18.) Eluveitie- Havoc

CD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
2.) Tarja- No Bitter End
3.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
4.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
5.) Unisonic- Unisonic
6.) Caliban- Paralyzed
7.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
8.) Borknagar- Colossus
9.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
10.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
11.) Steel Panther- Community Property
12.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
13.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
14.) Buffalo Summer- Money
15.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
16.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
17.) Budderside- Pain
18.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

Book Review: “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” by Mick Wall

“Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses”
Author: Mick Wall
Lesser Gods
Hardcover: 432 pages

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guns N’ Roses exploded during the 80’s glam metal scene and boldly redefined rock ’n’ roll for a new era. Mick Wall met Guns N’ Roses when the band members lived together in Los Angeles and became a part of their inner circle. Thanks to Wall’s longtime friendship and connections with Guns N’ Roses, he conducted exclusive interviews with all the original members and, for the first time, their original managers, who were in the trenches with Guns N’ Roses (from 1986 to 2004). They share all-new revelations about the band’s rock-star debauchery in the studio, on tour and behind the scenes. “Last of the Giants” is a celebration of Guns N’ Roses: the last of the extraordinary, excessive, not-giving-a-shit rock stars.

Imagine you are a fly on the wall during some of the most pivotal and monumental moments during Guns N’ Roses career. Arguably one of the most legendary rock and roll band in the last 3 decades “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” is the account of that such fly (Mick Wall). Told through third person accounts and candid interviews with members and associates pass and present “Last of the Giants” is brimming over with behind the scenes stories and fresh interviews which shine new light on the bands fame and persona. Probably my favorite part of the book was amidst the chapters were 28 pages of full color photos highlighting the band at various points. These photos are not the same old reprints we have seen time and time again but new fresh photos that helped accentuate the text before and after each section.

“Last of the Giants” gives readers the inside track via behind the scenes firsthand accounts and through newly conducted interviews with those directly involved in some of the most important moments of the bands career. You get all the details and more in the latest offering from Mick Wall. I think I would have been more in to the book if this was an official release from the band however after reading this book you may understand why something of that nature hasn’t come to fruition. That aside no matter how intense of a G N’R fan you might be “Last of the Giants” is worth checking out.

Film Review “A Ghost Story”

Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
Director: David Lowery
Distributed by: A24
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 92 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

A24 has been releasing some very interesting films recently including this year alone with “Free Fire” and “It Comes At Night”. With a title like “A Ghost Story”, it definitely grabbed my interested…unfortunately not for long. Don’t get me wrong this is definitely a film that will stay with you for a bit. I can’t say that I hated it overall but damn was I bored at some points. I have a feeling this might be a film to benefit from multiple viewings but I don’t think that I could make it through a second time here. I mean there is a pie eating scene that lasts five minutes and I understand why its there but it is painful to get through….pretty much like the whole film.

Official Premise: Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. [A24]

The cast for “A Ghost Story” includes recent Oscar Winner Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. Funnily enough reuniting together again along with the director of this film after all working together on 2013’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”. Performances are good from Mara and the loss is definitely depicted well, almost too well. Please make sure you realize though, this is not a scary horror film at all. I see the aspect of horror but it is not the same. Deep is a word, I would use to describe the message in this film, much deeper than I usually like. So if you are interested in a different kind of ghost movie that has few words, very long scenes with sometimes little happening but leaves you thinking a bit afterwards you might then be interested in this.

Concert Review: Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects, The Maine

Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects, The Maine, The Social Animals
Saturday, July 29th, 2017
Tags Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

Dashboard Confessional brought their summer tour to the rolling hills of Big Flats, NY on July 21st for a night of nostalgia that had the mostly millennial crowd on its feet for a majority of the evening. Also on the bill was Oklahoma hit makers All American Rejects, The Maine and new comers The Social Animals. Though the nights unseasonably frigid temperatures had people packing on a few extra layers each of the bands on the bill did their best to keep everyone up and moving.

Opening up the night were The Social Animals who performed a handful of songs of their debut EP “Formative Years” as well as unique version of the Prince hit “When Does Cry” which earned the young band a warm Upstate NY welcome in the way of applause and cheer. The Maine would take the stage next kicking the night’s energy up a notch as vocalist worked the audience like a true professional and at one point during the set brought up a young concert goer to help sing one of the bands songs which the crowd loved. All American Rejects would follow with a hit filled set that included “Dirty Little Secret”, “Swing, Swing” and “Gives You Hell” which was interspersed with semi comedic segues courtesy of front man Tyson Ritter. Thankfully the bands performance was a touch better than Ritter’s jokes as those on hand seemed to prefer the band stick to what it knows best. Closing out the night was the Chris Carrabba fronted Dashboard Confessional a band which wasted no time at all getting their set going with the well know track “Vindicated” which paved the way for other notable tracks such as the crowd requested “Saints and Sailors”, “Ghost of a Good Thing” and “Screaming Infidelities” before the set was closed out with the always popular “Hands Down”. The band looked good and sounded better making for a solid ending to a night of good music.

With this tour package running through mid August there is still time to catch one of the remaining shows as its one half nostalgia and one half new as all the bands on the bill do a great job of playing the songs that made them who they are while infusing just enough new material to peak interest in the bands upcoming releases. If your one of the lucky “select” shows where The Social Animals are on the bill I highly recommend getting to the venue early to catch their set as you won’t be disappointed.

All American Rejects (Partial) Set List:
Dirty Little Secret
My Paper Heart
Swing, Swing
It Ends Tonight
Sweat
Move Along
Give You Hell

Dashboard Confessional (Partial)Set list:
Vindicated
Saints and Sailors
The Good Fight
Ghost of a Good Thing
Heart Beat Here
Screaming Infidelities
Hands Down

Book Review: America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” by Corey Taylor

America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”
Author: Corey Taylor
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 256 pages

Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars

In America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”, Slipknot/Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor directs his signature combination of humor and outrage at today’s America, sparing no one along the way. Taylor doesn’t shy away from thorny issues as he draws a brutally honest portrait of his country, outlining the good, the bad, the unflattering and the patriotic. Whether it’s politics or social media, race or pop culture, religion or reality TV, “America 51” digs deep into the roots of contemporary America.

The 4th book from singer turned best-selling author Corey Taylor titled America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” is easily the brashest in your face collection of rants from the out spoken front-man. Having struggled my way through Taylor’s last two literary offerings l was a touch apprehensive about subjecting myself to another 256 pages of rambling. However being a long time fan of both Slipknot and Stone Sour I was willing to still give this book a shot. Within the first several chapters I could see that this book was going to be just like the others as Taylor becomes so wrapped up in his thoughts that he quickly loses site of the actual. I found this to very distracting and despite Taylor’s off the wall comedic jabs at society and his take on the current political climate there were just too many thoughts going on at one time causing the book to come off as very unorganized and poorly edited.

If you liked Corey’s previous three books then there is no doubt in my mind that “America 51” will fit right in with your collection as by now you have become a custom to the author’s chaotic style. However, if you are looking for this to be your first exposure to Corey Taylor outside of his music then you may want to hold up and check out some of his earlier works first.

Film Review “Atomic Blonde”

Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy
Distributed by: Focus Features
Running time: 115 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I first heard about “Atomic Blonde”, I read the quote describing it as “John Wick” with a girl! And I said, “Sure, kickass!” Charlize Theron is nothing short of amazing and extremely bad-ass, continuing from her roles in “The Fate of the Furious” and “Mad Max: Fury Road”. She is just incredible. I did quite enjoy the 80’s music and the Germany setting during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately this film doesn’t succeed like “John Wick” and has some great moments of action, but never goes all-in.

Official Premise: Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on an impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to retrieve a priceless dossier from within the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through a deadly game of spies.

There was something about “John Wick” to me that just had that “their are no rules” feeling and this one felt much more by the book. I did read that Charlize Theron did most of the action herself and trained very hard for the role, so I really give her credit and I would love to be able to say that I liked it more.  There were some great standout scenes, one feeling like it was a one-shot room to room shootout. Very cool scene. Ending had some cool twists and turns, which is expected with a CIA/spy movie. Could this be a new franchise? It’s possible, I’m sure…I will hold out for a Atomic Blonde/John Wick crossover!

Concert Review: 2017 “K-Rockathon”

“K-Rockathon”
Korn, Stone Sour, Skillet, Yelawolf, Ded, Red Sun Rising
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
Lakeview Amphitheater, Syracuse, NY

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The sprawling Lakeview Amphitheater was filled nearly to capacity on July 19th for the return of K-Rock’s annual “K-Rockathon”. After a one year hiatus and moving to a new venue the concert was back as promised delivering a stellar, somewhat diverse bill featuring the likes of Yelawolf, Stone Sour and Korn which the Syracuse crowd went crazy for.

Kicking of the main bill of the show was upcoming rock act Red Sun Rising who put on a brief but spot on set which helped get the crowd going and excited for the acts to come. Ded would hit the stage next and sadly did nothing for me. The band’s sound was nothing new nor, was the white contact lenses some of the bands member donned. Thankfully their set was brief as it came off very flat. Shady Records artist Yelawolf would take the stage next flanked by a giant riser that looked like the front of a classic Chevrolet complete with working lights and smoke. Together with DJ Klever the duo had the crowd on their fit from beginning to end. Being the only hip-hop artist on an all rock bill can certainly make you the underdog however that was definitely not the case here as fans seemed to be really into the performance. Skillet would follow with an energetic set which had fans singing to a few of their more well known songs including “Feel Invincible”, “Hero” and the always popular “Monster”. The band looked great and sounded even better and those on hand showed their appreciation in giant waves of applause and cheers. Stone Sour was up next and wasted no time getting their set under way. Front-man Cory Taylor worked the crowd like the season pro he is while his fellow band mates put forth stellar performances as they shredded through songs like “Made of Scars”, “Tired” and the chart topping “Song #3”. At several points during the set Taylor either made his way out into the crowd or doused those in close proximity with showers of confetti via a giant cannon like shooter. It was hard to tell who was having more fun the band or those watching the band as the energy during the set was definitely at a high. Closing out the night were veteran metalers Korn. After making a couple trips around the venue and seeing all the various Korn apparel that was being worn you could clearly tell who people were there to see. As soon as the band hit the stage basked in blue and white light it was on. The 5 piece band from Bakersfield, California were straightforward in their approach and wasted no time between songs as they gave the Syracuse crowd exactly what they came for. Hits such as “Falling Away From Me”, “Got The Life” and “Freak On A Leash” seemed to grab the biggest applause while deeper tracks such “Shoots And Ladders”, “Twist” and “Make Me Bad” satisfied longtime Korn fans.

It was great to see K-Rock fulfill their promise with the return of this year’s “K-Rockathon”. When an annual concert that has been around for 20 years decides to take a year off you sometimes question will it ever come back? Thankfully it did and the hometown crowd definitely showed their appreciation by coming out in droves on a Wednesday night to fill the expansive new venue. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.

Stone Sour Set List:
1.) Taipei Person/ Allah Tea
2.) Made of Scars
3.) Say You’ll Haunt Me
4.) 30/30-150
5.) Tired
6.) Do Me A Favor
7.) Song #3
8.) Through Glass
9.) Absolute Zero
10.) Fabuless

Korn Set list:
1.) Rotting In Vain
2.) Falling Away From Me
3.) Did My Time
4.) Here To Say
5.) Clown
6.) Shoots And Ladders
7.) Twist
8.) Got The Life
9.) Coming Undone
10.) Insane
11.) Make Me Bad
12.) 4 U
13.) Blind
14.) It’s On
15.) Freak On A Leash