CD Review: Power Trip “Nightmare Logic”

“Nightmare Logic”
Power Trip
Southern Lord Recordings
Tracks: 8

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Texas thrash band Power Trip is back with an all new angst filled album titled “Nightmare Logic”. As the follow-up to the band’s debut 2013 album “Manifest Decimation” the 8 track sophomore effort is being released via Southern Lord Recordings and continues on where its predecessor left off as a reincarnated version of the 80’s thrash sound.

Having caught these guys one night opening for Lamb of God I was instantly hooked as the band’s sound and energy commanded your attention as it was straight up thrash ala early Overkill and Anthrax. The group’s latest album “Nightmare Logic” continues on in that vein but with an injection of modern metal flare and accoutrements. Opening up the album is the lurching “Soul Sacrifice” a track which starts of being reminiscent of early Pantera before catapulting you head first in to the thrash sonisphere. The track then gives way for probably my favorite track from the album “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe). An infectious number with a chorus that quickly gets logged in your ear drums and with have you singing the line “Swing of the Axe” over and over again. As the album quickly progresses tracks like “Waiting Around To Die” and “If Not Us Then Who” all leave an undeniable stain on your senses as both songs feature the near perfect amount of vintage thrash DNA.

If you are a fan of the big four of thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax) and want to recapture the energy those bands provided with their earlier albums but, with a fresh/modern spin then the latest offering from Power Trip is sure to do the trick. First time listeners will also appreciate “Nightmare Logic” as the album is chocked full of great guitar riffs, tongue and cheek lyrics and slamming drum beats which offer repeated opportunities for solid head banging.

Track Listing:
1.) Soul Sacrifice
2.) Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
3.) Firing Squad
4.) Nightmare Logic
5.) Waiting Around To Die
6.) Ruination
7.) If Not Us Then Who
8.) Crucifixation

Alex Hirsch talks about recent trip to get inspiration for Disney’s “Gravity Falls”

Photo by Todd Wawrychuk

Alex Hirsch is the creator/executive producer/star of “Gravity Falls”. The show is currently airing its first season on Disney Channel and has already developed a huge fanbase since it started airing. Alex and his creative team recently took a trip to Oregon to gain inspiration and to discover new hidden treasures including a few fun “tourist traps” for upcoming episodes of the show. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Alex and ask him his top five discoveries/hidden gems from his trip and how he may incorporate them in the show.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s chat about why you took a recent trip to Oregon with your crew of “Gravity Falls”?
Alex Hirsch: Our art director, Ian (Worrel), is having a baby and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a second season, which is sort of like having a baby. So we both realized that our lives are basically going to be over soon and that we should do a fun trip with the crew while we still have the time. So we booked a big ‘ole van and got twelve of our “Gravity Falls” artists to pile in. We even went to Party City to get glow sticks, disco lights and did the whole thing up right. We basically went up US Route 101 and spent four days visiting this stretch of road between California and Oregon that is known for having some of the craziest tourist traps on this coast. We just went up to the Southern tip of Oregon and back down hitting every single one of those. We were staying in weird hotels, eating at “Twin Peaks” style diners, taking photos for reference and basically goofing off as much as possible!

MG: Tell us about your top five discoveries/hidden gems from the trip?
AH: I would have to say that the most amazing thing we saw on this trip was called Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA. Everyone knows this due to the lumberjack and the big Babe the Blue Ox on the road. It is huge and can be seen from a mile away and most people think that that is all it is. But in fact, it is just a facade for this great and incredible redwood forest. It looks like the kind of thing that would dwarf even some dinosaurs. It is beautiful, strange and filled with lumberjack lore. There are these bizarre wooden sculptures with the faces of famous lumberjacks carved into them. It sounds like I am promoting it but literally, I want to have my wedding here. It was beautiful. That was probably my absolute favorite place that we visited.

We also visited two tourists traps, so this would be two and three: The Oregon Vortex, at the Southern tip of Oregon and Confusion Hill, at the tip of California. Both of them are of the Mystery Shack mold. Basically they show you a weird slanted shack where a ball will roll uphill and people look like they are growing or shrinking based on where they stand in the shack. Depending who the tour guide is they will tell you it is an unbelievable dimensional spot in the universe where the laws of gravity don’t work…or they say “Yeah, it’s an optical illusion…buy a keychain!” There are different takes on it. I would say that “The Oregon Vortex” is more for people that are hardcore into this stuff and want to believe. Confusion Hill is more for people with a sense of humor and more of Grunkle Stan-type scenario.

The fourth one is It’s a Burl, in Northern California. It was almost like a mirage. I almost don’t believe that it existed. There was this little old dude that wore a newsy baseball cap and drove a golf cart. It was this enormous campus of treehouses and wood carvings that him and his hippie commune had built themselves. It can’t really be described. It can really only been seen. I actually bought, and this is my favorite souvenir, this phone made out of wood. It is a trunk of tree cut in half with buttons coming out of it. It is something that a gnome king would use to wage war on another gnome king. It is sitting on my desk. I haven’t figured out how to use it but it is pretty amazing.

The fifth thing is that we stayed at this place called the Benbow Inn. It is this spooky hotel that looks like it is from “The Shining”. It is out in the middle of the woods. It is huge, very fancy and ornate. It also is said to have a lot of ghost legends. I asked the waiter where we were having dinner to talk to me about the ghosts and he sort of went white and said “You really don’t want to know”. But we had a lot of fun running around taking photos of ourselves re-enacting scenes from “The Shining” in that hotel.

MG: Are you able to tell us how these items from your trip will be incorporated into the show?
AH: I’ll say that it is highly likely that a very large inanimate lumberjack could come to life in the series. After visiting that attraction, it has sort of been haunting my dreams and the things in my nightmares usually make their way into the series. So that is entirely possible. One thing that surprised me greatly was that when we visited Confusion Hill was how many things that we didn’t know have already been put into the show. There were a lot of strange parallels. Grunkle Stan is sort of this old guy that is into Grandpa humor, like the kind of plaques and T-shirts you find at a bait and tackle store. There was this episode, [speaking in Grunkle Stan’s voice] “I’ve got the complaint department here” and he holds up a trash can. Sure enough at Confusion Hill, there was something that said “Press this button” and it was a mouse trap. There was also an episode where he says [speaking in Grunkle Stan’s voice] “Look behind this curtain to see the most terrifying monsters” and it was a mirror. They had they exact attraction at Confusion Hill. I was shocked at how well we managed to psychically pick up on this corny tourist trap humor that really exists. Just being up in those trees and seeing nature, I feel that it really reinvigorated our artists. We got a chance to see how beautiful the Pacific Northwest really is. We will probably explore the woods more as well in future episodes, since we were really inspired by them.

MG: You not only work as creator/executive producer but also voice Grunkle Stan, Soos, Old Man McGucke and various others. What is your biggest challenge?
AH: I would say the top five most challenging and important tasks for me on the show is writing, writing, writing, writing and writing. Then everything else sort of falls underneath that. My primary role is to make sure that the stories and the characters feel like they are from the same voice and each episode has something for the characters and also a piece of magic that we haven’t seen before. Beyond that there are so many things from working with the artists on the design to doing the voices to final mix and directing the actors. It is a huge responsible and a ridiculously difficult job. So it was nice to get to spend four days doing absolutely nothing on this trip. Our crew is really a big group of friends and we all have this great bond. It was just very fun to spend time with friends and we really bonded well. It is sort of this amazing culture that we have created at Disney of young talent like-minded weirdo crazy artists that like to have fun and then work really really hard on something.

MG: Are you surprised with the success and following of this show after only a few episodes into the first season?
AH: That blew me away. I had very humble expectations about what would happen with the series. It is an unusual kind of show and there really isn’t a model for it. Just the fact that it is a half-hour animated comedy in the kids show genre. I mean those do not exist. These kids shows are 11-minutes like “Adventure Time”, “Spongebob” and…you name it. Those are short formed shows. Doing a longer show and one with some continuity, each episode has a little bit left over with a broader story to be told, all those things are huge experiments. I tried them because they were hard and I wasn’t sure if I could do them. But I wanted to try and pull them off because that made it interesting. I have worked on other 11-minute shows and I respect those. But I have seen them already so I wanted to try something new. I have been really just humbled and grateful from the fan response to this show. I get fan letters everyday and I feel like Santa Claus when I come to my office and there is a stack of letters. I have been doing my best to write back to each physical letter that comes to my desk that someone has taken out the time to write. I just got one recently from Japan. People also send me some amazing stuff. I got a few sewed gnomes that someone made by hand. A kid built an actual Mystery Shack and it is the size of a TV. The kid and his father actually drove to the studio and left it for me. I was on vacation at the time and I returned to my desk to see an actual Mystery Shack on my desk. Our fans are just amazing. My theory was that if you fill the show with secrets and hidden stuff and gave people a reason to pay close attention, then they would. My theory turned out to be more right than I had ever imagined. I am very grateful for it.

MG: Well, the first season is amazing and I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.
AH: I appreciate that. I will say that there are four episodes left in this first season. I would say that this series has some mystery, continuity and there is this broader underlying story. They found this mysterious journal…who wrote it? Grunkle Stan has secrets of his own. Gideon is up to something. A lot of those big questions, those series mysteries, will finally be addressed in the final episodes leading to the end of the first season. I think fans are going to be pretty excited to see the answers to those questions and also some of the new questions that arise out of those. So keep watching!

Film Review “The Guilt Trip”

Starring: Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 35 mins
Paramount

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you don’t count the two “Focker” films, in which she has a supporting role, Barbra Streisand hasn’t starred in a movie since 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” Too bad she chose “The Guilt Trip” to end her hiatus.

Andy (Rogen) is an inventor. A scientist by day he has developed an all natural cleaner, gotten FDA approval, and is now about to embark on a cross country trip to peddle his product to various retailers. Before he begins his journey, however, he pays a visit to his mother, Joyce (Streisand). When Joyce confesses a family secret to Andy he decides to ask her along on the road trip. Reluctantly she agrees. And the adventure begins.

Mildly funny in parts (and those parts are so few and far between that I could name them all), “The Guilt Trip” is a step by step formulaic movie…Hollywood 101. You take two people, as different as different can be, put them in the same place and stand back and see what happens. Here it’s almost nothing. As Andy and his mom traverse the country we get a mixed salad of mini-plots, one for each city. Bad weather in Memphis gives us a chance to drop in on Andy’s old girlfriend, now happily married and with child. Texas gives Streisand a chance to eat a five pound steak in order to get a free meal. Earlier on she conveniently has a purse full of coupons, including one for a rental car. Stereotypical character number one – the Jewish mother is always out to save money. As someone who actually has a Jewish mother I can assure you my step-father may disagree. Oh well, at least they cast a real Jewish mother. Stereotypical character number two – the nerdy, schlubby son. Again, if you’re going to cast a schlub you can’t go wrong with Rogen. If the script was better suited to either one’s strengths I may have laughed more.

Even at a little over an hour and a half the film feels padded but it doesn’t really get going until it’s half way through, which is a waste of Streisand, always a gifted comedienne. I hope if she makes us wait another 16 years the film is truly worth the wait!

Complimentary Passes to the Kansas City Advance Screening of “The Guilt Trip” [ENDED]

ALL TICKET HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN EMAILED


If you would like to enter for a chance to win tickets to the following advance screening, please leave a comment below with your FAVORITE ON-SCREEN MOM. Is it the kind Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast?” Maybe the wire coat hanger-hating Joan Crawford in “Mommy Dearest?” The first (40) people to comment will be given a code to obtain a pass for (2) via the GOFOBO site. Winners will be notified on or before Sunday, December 16th. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified via email and will be instructed how to register for their passes. Good luck and hope to see if you at the screening! Screening information is as follows:

Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: AMC Town Center 20, Leawood, Kansas

Official Site: GuiltTripMovie.com
Opening Date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Synopsis:
Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, and who better to accompany him than his overbearing mother Joyce. After deciding to start his adventure with a quick visit at mom’s, Andy is guilted into bringing her along for the ride. Across 3,000 miles of ever-changing landscape, he is constantly aggravated by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought. His mother’s advice might end up being exactly what he needs.

Free Tickets to National Screenings of “The Guilt Trip” [ENDED]

Media Mikes is joining with Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and AMC Theaters to present a special sneak preview of the upcoming holiday comedy “The Guilt Trip,” starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. As a special attraction the screenings will be followed by a Los Angeles based Q & A with Rogen and Streisand.

The screenings are taking place this Sunday, December 2nd, at select AMC theatres in 20 cities across the country:

Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, Boston, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

If you live in one of these cities and would like to attend please visit:

http://www.gofobo.com/rsvp/landing/11245221

for more information and to book your seat. Tickets are limited and a pass does not guarantee a seat.

“THE GUILT TRIP” stars Rogen as Andy Brewster, an inventor about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, and who better to accompany him than his overbearing mother Joyce, played by Barbra Streisand. After deciding to start his adventure with a quick visit at mom’s, Andy is guilted into bringing her along for the ride. Across 3,000 miles of ever-changing landscape, he is constantly aggravated by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought. His mother’s advice might end up being exactly what he needs. “The Guilt Trip” is directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Dan Fogelman and produced by Lorne Michaels, John Goldwyn and Evan Goldberg.

Blu-ray Review “A Trip to the Moon”

Directed by: Georges Méliès
MPAA Rating: G
Distributed by: Flicker Alley
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Running Time: 130 minutes

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

If you think “A Trip to the Moon” seems familiar and can’t put your finger on it, that is because it was featured in Martin Scorsese’s award winning movie, “Hugo”. “Hugo” featured Ben Kingsley playing Georges Méliès, the creator of this 1902 masterpiece “Le Voyage dans La Lune” aka “A Trip to the Moon”.  Thanks to Flicker Alley for releasing this full restored, hand-painted color version to high-def Blu-ray for the first time since it was made 110 years ago.  The Blu-ray comes packaged in a wonderful limited edition, SteelBook case.  It is also being released with its original 1902 colors and a new 2011 documentary called “The Extraordinary Voyage”.

“A Trip to the Moon” was sourced from a once thought lost version of the film and it is also presented with a soundtrack from the French band, AIR.  This restoration looks absolutely fantastic.  The film is only 15 minutes but it is worth watching over and over, I loved watching it in color and also black and white.  The amazing documentary also included on this release, “The Extraordinary Voyage”, runs just over an hour and covers the film’s preservation and history.  It also includes commentary and testimonials from Tom Hanks, Terry Gilliam and Michel Hazanavicus (Oscar winning star of “The Artist”).  The documentary spends a lot of time going through the restoration project of “A Trip to the Moon” and shows how much work really went into it.  It is really interesting watching them talk about the coloring process for the film and the frame by frame restoration. Let me tell you the Blu-ray presentation looks jut fantastic with its 1080p transfer and the audio is so impressive .

The special features on this limited edition release are extremely impressive.  It also contains the restored black and white version from the original 35mm prints and comes backed with three different audio tracks.  There is an orchestral score by Robert Israel with English narration written by Méliès. The second track is produced by Russell Merritt and includes a troupe of voice actors performed in the U.S. in 1903. The last track features beautiful piano music from Frederick Hodges. There is also a exclusive interview with Nicolas Godin and JB Dunckel from the band AIR.  There is also two bonus films from Méliès “The Eclipse” and “The Astronomer’s Dream”.  Lastly rounding out this amazing release is an beautiful 24-page booklet included in the package.

Film Review “Magic Trip”

Directed by: Alex Gibney / Alison Ellwood
Starring, Ken Kesey, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Neal Cassidy, Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In 1964, Ken Kesey, author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” set off on a legendary, LSD filled cross-country road trip on an old psychedelic painted school bus. On the trip they filmed it to make a movie, which never saw the light of day. This film is made up of the original 16mm color footage shot by Ken and the group called ‘the Merry Pranksters’, mixed with interviews. It is really interesting to embarks on this fun drug-infused trip and joining this group travel across country.

The film is documentary about Kesey and the Merry Pranksters during their 1964 cross-country bus trip in a bus to the World’s Fair. Of course they all realize that the trip is more about the journey itself then to the 1964 World’s Fair. Along the way Ken and his group meet up with many different people including the newcomer musicians, The Grateful Dead, author of “On the Road”, Jack Kerouac and LSD defender Timothy Leary.

The music in the film is amazing, especially if you are a fan of the 60’s it will be right up your alley. I really enjoyed the footage of the World’s Fair as well. The film is also well paced, which is key since a group going on a bus trip might get boring after a while. This is film delivers a fun trip.