Film Review #1 – “Bob Marley: One Love”

 

  • BOB MARLEY:  ONE LOVE
  • Starring:  Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, and James Norton
  • Directed by:  Reinaldo Marcus Green
  • Rated:  R
  • Running time:  1 hr 47 mins
  • Paramount

 

As a father I’ve tried to share my love for musicians I grew up listening to to my son.  It’s a family tradition.  My father introduced me to Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley.  I introduced my son to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many others.  But there was one artist I neglected to share with my son, so it was with great pride when, at the age of 14, he asked me if I’d ever heard of Bob Marley?  Of course I had.  He was another favorite.  The pride I felt came from the fact that my son, without my input, was now listening to the music of a man who had passed away three years before he was born.

 

It is a tough time to live in Jamaica.  With two very opposite people trying to take power, the citizens of the Island country are caught between both factions.  Enter Bob Marley (Ben-Adir) a Rastafarian musician who, despite his sometimes political posturing in his music, only wants to bring the people of his country together.  He and his band, the Wailiers, are currently getting ready for a large concert when their rehearsal is interrupted by gunfire.  Marley and his manager are shot, as was Marley’s wife, Rita (Lynch).  But Marley will not be deterred in his quest to share his music and his message of peace with the world.

 

Produced with the approval and input of Marley’s son, Ziggy, “Bob Marley: One Love” takes a look not only at the man, but at the rise of a new music genre’ including the creation of, in my opinion, Marley’s greatest album, “Exodus.”  But don’t take my word for it.  “Rolling Stone” magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time lists “Exodus” at number 71.

 

While the music is important, it is the man we learn about.  As portrayed by Ben-Adir, Bob Marley is a man like every other man.  He has his faults, and the film does not try to hide them from the audience.  He knows what he has to do to get his music heard – mostly traveling constantly – yet sometimes questions the methods of how his popularity is being achieved.  When Rita reminds him, “if you’re going to swim in pollution, you’re going to get polluted,” he realizes that, try as he might, he can’t control everything.

The performances are outstanding, with Mr. Ben-Adir seemingly channeling the spirit of Bob Marley.  From the way he moved to the way he spoke and sang, it is an amazing performance.  Ms. Lynch gives Rita Marley her own voice, playing her as both a loving and supportive wife as well as a no-nonsense woman who is not afraid to speak her mind.  The music, of course, is pure bliss.  Most people can tell you that Bob Marley sang “I Shot the Sherrif,” “Jamming,” and “No Woman No Cry” and the film highlights those songs but you also get a taste of some of Marley’s lesser known songs, all of them enjoyable.

 

Thanks to the hard work of Ziggy Marley, “Bob Marley: One Love” is a loving and inspiring tribute to a man who left this world much too soon.  But his music, and his message, lives on.

 

On a scale of zero to five, I give “Bob Marley: One voice” ★★★★

“Oppenheimer” Earns (13) Nominations for the 96th Annual Academy Awards

 

Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s epic story about the dawn of the Atomic Age, dominated the nominations for the 96th Annual Academy Awards, earning a total of (13) nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Nolan.  Also earning double-digit nominations, Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon, which received (11) and (10) nods respectively.  Both films are also in the running for Best Picture, alongside American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, Barbie, The Holdovers, Maestro, Past Lives and The Zone of Interest

 

The nominations were announced by Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid, who for some reason seemed to think they were leading a pep rally.  Their vocal inflections and over enthusiasm for some nominees were actually pretty annoying. 

 

This year’s acting nominations were a great representation of the talent working today.  Kudos to Jeffrey Wright, who is great in anything he does, earning his first Best Actor nomination for American Fiction.  A surprise non-nominee in this category was Leonardo DiCaprio for Killers of the Flower Moon.  In Leo’s defense, it was a strong season for acting this year so no shame in not making the top five.  His Killers co-star, Lily Gladstone, became the first Native American actor to be nominated for an acting award. 

 

2023’s biggest moneymaker, Barbie, earned (8) nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for Ryan Gosling, Best Supporting Actress for America Ferrera and Best Adapted Screenplay.  Surprisingly, star (and co-producer) Margot Robbie, did not earn a Best Actress nod. 

 

Martin Scorsese, at age 81, became the oldest nominee in the Best Director category, earning his tenth  nomination in this category for Killers of the Flower Moon.  

 

The great John Williams received nomination number (54) when he earned a nod for his original score for Indian Jones and the Dial of Destiny.   

 

 

The 96th Annual Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 10th

 

Below is a complete list of nominees:

Best Picture

“American Fiction”

“Anatomy of a Fall”

“Barbie”

“The Holdovers”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Maestro”

“Oppenheimer”

“Past Lives”

“Poor Things”

“The Zone of Interest”

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, “Maestro”

Colman Domingo, “Rustin”

Paul Giamatti, “The Holdovers”

Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”

Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”

Best Actress

Annette Bening, “Nyad”

Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Sandra Hüller, “Anatomy of a Fall”

Carey Mulligan, “Maestro”

Emma Stone, “Poor Things”

 

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, “American Fiction”

Robert De Niro, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Robert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer”

Ryan Gosling, “Barbie”

Mark Ruffalo, “Poor Things”

 

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt, “Oppenheimer”

Danielle Brooks, “The Color Purple”

America Ferrera, “Barbie”

Jodie Foster, “Nyad”

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

 

Best Director

Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”

Yorgos Lanthimos, “Poor Things”

Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Justine Triet, “Anatomy of a Fall”

 

International Feature Film

“Io Capitano,” Italy

“Perfect Days,” Japan

“Society of the Snow,” Spain

“The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany

“The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom

Animated Feature Film

“The Boy and the Heron”

“Elemental”

“Nimona”

“Robot Dreams”

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Adapted Screenplay

“American Fiction”

“Barbie”

“Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things”

“The Zone of Interest”

Original Screenplay

“Anatomy of a Fall”

“The Holdovers”

“Maestro”

“May December”

“Past Lives”

Visual Effects

“The Creator”

“Godzilla Minus One”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”

“Napoleon”

Original Score

“American Fiction”

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things”

Original Song

“It Never Went Away” from “American Symphony”

“I’m Just Ken” from “Barbie”

“What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie”

“The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot”

“Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People)” from “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Documentary Feature Film

“20 Days in Mariupol”

“Bobi Wine: The People’s President”

“The Eternal Memory”

“Four Daughters”

“To Kill a Tiger”

Cinematography

“El Conde”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Maestro”

“Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things”

Costume Design

“Barbie”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Napoleon”

“Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things”

Animated Short Film

“Letter to a Pig”

“Ninety-Five Senses”

“Our Uniform”

“Pachyderme”

“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko”

Live Action Short Film

“The After”

“Invincible”

“Knight of Fortune”

“Red, White and Blue”

“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

Documentary Short Film

“The ABCs of Book Banning”

“The Barber of Little Rock”

“Island in Between”

“The Last Repair Shop”

“Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó”

Film Editing

“Anatomy of a Fall”

“The Holdovers”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things”

Sound

“The Creator”

“Maestro”

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”

“Oppenheimer”

“The Zone of Interest”

Production Design

“Barbie”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

“Napoleon”

“Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things”

Makeup and Hairstyling

“Golda”

“Maestro”

“Oppenheimer”

Film Review – “Maestro”

 

  • MAESTRO
  • Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan and Matt Bomer
  • Directed by:  Bradley Cooper
  • Rated:  R
  • Running time: 2 hrs 9 mins
  • Netflix

Composer Leonard Bernstein provided the music for some great shows, including the magnificent “West Side Story,” so when I heard that Bradley Cooper was going to follow up his Oscar winning “A Star is Born” with a film about Bernstein I was really excited to see it.  However, for some reason Cooper has chosen to nearly ignore the musical passions of the man to focus on the passions of the heart.  That, in a nutshell, is “Maestro.”

A phone rings, waking Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) out of a sound sleep. The voice on the other end tells him the news he’s been waiting to hear.  With lead conductor Artur Rodziński away, and the guest conductor falling ill, he is to conduct that afternoon’s performance of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.  With no rehearsal.  Confident, Bernstein takes up the baton.  And a legend is born.

 

Oddly paced, but brilliantly acted, “Maestro” is a film that may take a second viewing to fully understand the story director Cooper wanted to tell.  The film follows the decades-long relationship between Bernstein and his actress wife Felicia (Mulligan).  Along the way there are plenty of bumps in the road, the main one being Bernstein’s infidelity with members of both sexes.

 

Along the way we do get brief glimpses of Bernstein’s musical genius – working on “On the Town,” mentoring young musicians, but what made him famous almost seems like an afterthought to Cooper and co-screenwriter Josh Singer.  And for some reason Cooper often uses long, static shots throughout entire scenes when some film editing may have made the scenes more interesting.

On a positive note, the performances are excellent.  Cooper channels Bernstein down to his voice patterns.  Mulligan carries most of the emotional baggage of the film and never delivers a false note.  Hopefully both actors will be remembered when Academy Award nominations are announced.

 

My first date with my now-wife was the film “Wedding Crashers” with a young Bradley Cooper.  He has since become a favorite of my wife and when we first saw the trailer for “Maestro” I jokingly asked if Leonard Bernstein ever took his shirt off.  Apparently he did.  But I have also grown to respect Cooper as both an actor and a filmmaker.  It borders on criminal that he did not receive an Oscar nod for his direction of “A Star is Born.”  I’m not sure if he’ll get in this category this time around but I truly admire the work and research he puts into his films.

 

On a scale of zero to five I giver “Maestro” ★★★½

Film Review: “Migration”

 

  • MIGRATION
  • Starring the voices of:  Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks and Danny DeVito
  • Directed by:  Benjamin Renner and Guylo Homsy
  • Rated:  PG
  • Running time:  1 hr 32 mins
  • Universal

 

When the animation company ILLUMINATION puts out a movie, you expect a well told story with beautifully rendered animation.  With “Migration,” those expectations are not only met, but they are also exceeded.

 

We meet the Mallard family as they leisurely relax in a beautiful, New England Pond.  Father Mack (Nanjiani) and mom Pam (Banks) spend their days watching their youngsters – Dax (Caspar Jennings) and Gwen (Trasi Gazal) – swim contently across the water.   When they are visited by a flock of ducks heading to Jamaica for the winter, they are encouraged to head south with the flock.  Mack is over-protective and prefers the safety and familiarity of the pond.  Yet Pam would like a little adventure in their lives and, with the help of the kids, convinces Mack to take flight.  Accompanied by Uncle Dan (DeVito), they head off to the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Ever since “Despicable Me,” ILLUMINATION has released a string of outstanding films that are funny, family friendly and, most of all, beautiful to watch.  I’m not sure what their secret is, but whatever it is, I hope they don’t change it.  Even mighty PIXAR has had a few duds in their past, making ILLUMINATION, in my opinion, THE leader in film animation.  “Migration” takes the Mallard family on a journey that takes them from big cities to rural countryside, with each location beautifully presented.  Often, it’s like looking at a photograph, so detailed is the animation.

The cast features both familiar names (besides Nanjiani, Banks and DeVito, the vocal talent includes Carol Kane, Keegan Michael Key and Awkwafina) and fresh, bright voices who bring the characters to life.  The script, by Benjamin Renner and Mike White – yes, “School of Rock” and “White Lotus” Mike White – is full of both fun and emotional moments.  Like other ILLUMINATION films, these are characters you want to spend time with and, most importantly, want to succeed.

 

As an added bonus, there is also a short film called “Mooned” which answers the pressing question from “Despicable Me” – What happened to Vector?

 

On a scale of zero to five, I give “Migration” ★★★★

Film Review: “DICKS: The Musical”

  • DICKS: THE MUSICAL
  • Starring:  Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson, Megan Mullally and Nathan Lane
  • Directed by:  Larry Charles
  • Rated:  R
  • Running time:  1 hr 26 mins
  • A24

 

Imagine being young, handsome and, um, well equipped.  You’d sing about it, wouldn’t you?  I know I would!  You’d think you had the world on a string.  Now imagine you just discovered you have a twin.  It could happen.

Craig (Sharp) and Trevor (Jackson) are both living the good life, excelling both professionally and personally.  The one thing neither has, and desires, is a family.  Though they live a few doors apart, they are each unaware of the other until a department merger at their mutual employer pits them against each other to see who the best salesman in the company is.  Noticing that there is a very strong resemblance with each other, the two eventually share enough personal details to discover they are twins, separated by their parents.  One went to live with Dad (Lane) and the other with Mom (Mullally).  Each parent has their own baggage that the lads must work through as they plot to get their folks back together.

Written by stars Sharp and Jackson, the film is directed by long time “Seinfeld” producer Larry Charles, whose directing credits include films like ”Borat” and “The Dictator” as well as multiple episodes of television shows “The Comedians” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”  He knows his way around a punch line and he never allows the film’s humor to hit you over the head.  It’s funny without screaming at you, ”Hey, laugh at this!”

The cast is top shelf, and you can never go wrong when you have Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally in a musical.  I’ve seen them both on stage and that talent transfers easily to the big screen.  Sharp and Jackson are fun to watch.  They have a great chemistry with each other, and both are fine song and dance men. Supporting work by Megan Thee Stallion as the boy’s boss and Bowen Yang as God (yes, God) keep the fun going.  And then, of course, there’s the Sewer Boys!  The songs are well written and the musical numbers are well paced.

A fun, hilarious comedy, “Dicks: The Musical” is best described as “a fun and raucous Parent Trap.”  And that’s a good thing.

 

On a scale of zero to five I give “Dicks: The Musical” ★★★★

 

Kansas City Theater Review: “TINA: The Tina Turner Musical”

 

  • TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL
  • The Music Hall – Kansas City, Missouri
  • December 5, 2023

 

I first fell in love with Tina Turner as a 15 year old boy after seeing her in the film “Tommy.”  I didn’t know I was in love until she rocketed back to stardom in the early 80s.  Then I was hooked.  I went to her shows, bought her albums and tried to devise a way to ask her to marry me.  My crush on her was so powerful that when she sadly passed away earlier this year, friends who I hadn’t heard from in years sent me condolence messages.  Which brings me to this week at the Music Hall in Kansas City where I attended opening night of TINA: The Tina Turner Musical.”

 

Opening with a gospel themed rendition of “Nutbush City Limits,” “TINA” is a nearly three-hour journey into the often tragic life of one of the most powerful voices in rock and roll history.

 

For those unfamiliar with the story, Anna Mae Bullick left her Tennessee home to join her sister Alline in St. Louis.  There she met Ike Turner a musician with a bad temper.  As the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, they toured the country, appearing in concert and on television.  However, behind the scenes, it was a living hell.

Parris Lewis

A show is only as good as its cast, and the cast of “TINA” was amazing.  Every character has a chance to shine, from young Anna Mae to the hard dancing Ikettes.  I apologize her for not naming the young actress who played Anna Mae.  There are two young ladies playing the roll and there was nothing inserted into the “Playbill” to tell me which one it was.  Whoever you are, young lady, you were amazing.

 

It’s a testament to the talents of actor Wildlin Pierrevil that, when he took his curtanin call as Ike Tuner, some in the audience booed him.  Not the performance, mind you, but Ike Turner the man.

 

There are also two actresses playing Tina Turner, and this performance featured Parris Lewis, who seemed to have absorbed Tina Turner into her DNA as she gave one of the best performances I have seen on stage this year.  Brava!!

 

I will warn readers who may hope to influence the younger generation with Tina’s music by taking them to the show, it does get a little dark thematically at times.  It’s well documented that Ike Turner was an SOB, and there are scenes of domestic violence that had the audience cringing.  However, it’s those early scenes that make Tina’s triumphs even sweeter.  She really was, as she sang, Simply the Best!

 

On a scale of zero to five, I give “TINA: The Tina Turner Musical” ★★★★★

 

“TINA: The Tina Turner Musical” runs in Kansas City through December 9th.  For tickets to these or future shows, please click HERE.

 

To check out my interview with actresses Parris Lewis and Ari Groover, please clickHERE.

 

 

Actresses Ari Groover and Parris Lewis Talk About Playing Tina Turner

 

 

How do you go about playing one of the most popular and successful women in rock and roll history night after night?  If you’re portraying the title character in “TINA: The Tina Turner Musical,” you share the spotlight. 

 

Due to the enormous amount of energy, both physically and vocally, expended over the course of nearly three hours and twenty-two songs, two very talented actresses share the role.  While taking a break during their recent stop in St. Louis, both Ari Groover and Parris Lewis took a few minutes out of their busy schedule to speak with Media Mikes.

 

MIKE SMITH:  Can you both tell us how you got the role of Tina Turner?

 

ARI GROOVER:  I was actually fortunate enough to have been in the Broadway company (Ms. Groover played the role of Alline, Tina’s sister and also served as the Understudy for Tina).  Because we were still dealing with the experiences of the Pandemic, I went on quite a bit.  That allowed me to get in a lot of practice playing Tina Turner.  I’m happy to be with the tour doing Tina full time and sharing the journey with Parris, who has a very similar story.

 

PARRIS LEWIS:  My story is very similar to Ari’s.  I didn’t start on Broadway but when the show closed and the tour started, I played Alline Bullock and covered Tina.  I did that eight times a week and covered Tina whenever one of the “Tinas” were out.  So with a whirlwind of a year playing both roles, like Ari I had a lot of experience.  Although we had two “Tinas,” being on tour is hard.    So whenever the young ladies were out, I was on, which was quite often.  It afforded me the opportunity to improve so when the tour opened up for year two I was able to, kind of graciously, walk into it. 

Ari Groover

MS:  I saw Tina Turner many times in concert.  Her last tour started here in Kansas City.  She always put on such an amazing show.  It must be exhausting to play her.  Not only the musical numbers but, I’m sure the show also delves into the issues in her personal life.  Emotionally, it must be a work out every night.

 

PL:  Oh, yeah.

 

AG:  It surely is.

 

MS:  Is that why there are two of you?

 

PL:  Not necessarily physical exhaustion.  More for vocal health.  It’s a beast of a show.  We sing twenty-two, twenty-three songs in the span of three hours.  It takes a toll, the wear and tear, on any artist.  I think they decided that it would be best for the role to be shared.  These were things that were learned before we got the tour.  Touring is harder than sitting still somewhere.  You’re constantly moving and lugging yourself.  It gives the “Tinas” time to recoup, be it energy, physically or vocally.  You get that chance to catch your breath.

 

MS:  Ari, since you did do the show on Broadway, did you ever have the opportunity to meet Tina Turner?

 

AG:  No, I didn’t get a chance to meet her because I joined the show a little bit later.  Tina came to the show on opening night in October 2019 and I didn’t join the show until the first of the year in 2020.  But she did keep in contact with most of her “Tinas” around the globe.  Anybody that played her…she would send beautiful notes and messages.  Though I have not met her, I have MET her.

 

MS:  What led you both to pursue acting?

 

AG:  Great question.

 

PL:  Yeah, great question.

 

PL:  For me it started through music.  I was studying music as a young person, studying voice, whether it was chorale or classical, that was really where my journey began.  Even as a young dancer, taking dance classes, you learn that you have to emote.  It isn’t just a physical thing.  And vocally, you have to be able to tell a story while singing.  Through my transition from high school to college I really began to fall in love with seeking more outside of singing.  I learned that acting really allowed a person to tell a story and show up.  Also, being a young writer, I would write stories and poems and plays of my own. 

Parris Lewis

AG:  I’m very happy that my mom was able to surround me with the arts.  She didn’t shy away from anything so I was exposed to different mediums as a kid.  I’ve always had the “bug.”  The funny thing is I really didn’t see myself performing in musical theater.  Even when I got to college, I didn’t see myself doing musical theater.  I actually went to school for visual arts and illustration because I wanted to do graphic novels or storyboards for animation.  That’s where I thought I was going to go.  Or I thought I’d be a backup dancer because that was one of the big things in Atlanta….music videos.  That’s what I had in mind.  I didn’t really put together that I was good at doing all three things.  Though I had done plays and done musicals, I just really didn’t see myself on the great white way! 

 

MS:  Is there a dream role you’d like to play?  Something you’d drop everything for if they called and said, “would you come play this”

 

PL:  Would I drop everything? (laughs).  I don’t know.  It depends.  It’s not just the role.  There are so many things that come into play.  In theater there are two roles that I’d love to play.  One is an older role and the other is more current.  One is Persephone in “Hadestown.” 

 

AG:  Oh my God, you’d be great in that!

 

PL:  I love that show.  It’s just so beautiful.  I really would love to play Persephone.  I would also drop things to play Aida in “Aida.” 

 

AG:  I get asked this question a lot, but I never know the answer.  Sometimes I don’t know if it’s something that hasn’t been created yet, or if it’s something that I have to create.  I don’t know what is the perfect dream role for me.  I do think it’s something that hasn’t been created yet.  Maybe it’s something that has to come from my mind. 

SCAREFEST 15 is a Rousing Success!

PHOTOS BY JANE JONES CLARK

 

It’s been called one of the best Horror Conventions in the country.  And the 15th Annual Scarefest, which was held in Lexington, Kentucky last month, did not disappoint.

 

An amazing and varied array of celebrity guests, a venue capable of welcoming 20,000 fans without it feeling crowded and some very unusual vendors made the show a blast to attend.  Throw in the amazingly kind citizens of Lexington and you have the makings for a wonderful weekend.

While the show is Horror-centric, featuring true genre’ icons as Kane Hodder and Adriene Barbeau as well as cast reunions from such films as Day of the Dead, Creepshow, Halloween, Sleepaway Camp and Friday the 13th. Also in attendance:  two of the most influential make up artists in the history of film, Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero.

There was another cast reunion that took me 600 miles to attend: the rare quadruple punch of Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Kramer, Jeffrey Voorhees and Susan Backline from the greatest film ever made, JAWS.  Other guests that I enjoyed meeting included Dylan McDermott, Jack Osborne, David Arquette and the always underappreciated Clint Howard. 

One of the highlights for me was the JAWS panel in which Richard Dreyfuss, who had just come from New York City where he had seen the play “The Shark is Broken,” was asked his thoughts on the show and he didn’t hold back.  If you haven’t seen the show, it takes place aboard Quint’s vessel, the ORCA, during the filming of JAWS.  In the show, Dreyfuss is portrayed as, in Dreyfuss’ word to “Vanity Fair” magazine, “a big jerk.”   On a brighter note, my partner in crime Jane and I handed out fliers and t-shirts promoting our JAWS 50 Facebook group, ensuring that each of the JAWS cast members got a shirt.  Susan Backlinie loved hers!  We also met up with several JAWS fans from all over the world that were part of the group and some that soon would be. 

The show was laid out perfectly, with celebrity guests and vendors having ample space to greet their fans or ply their wares.  My pick for “most unusual vendor” was a gentleman who not only had created a card game based on real-life serial killers but was selling shadowboxes containing a photo of where a particular killing had taken place as well as actual dirt from the scene!

 

One final note concerning the Scarefest staff.  I’ve been involved in similar conventions for over 40 years and the staff at Scarefest were among the friendliest I’ve ever come across.  I spent a lot of tome with the JAWS people and the staff was both helpful and courteous to celeb and fan alike.  Also, unlike some conventions where you have to stand back and away from a celebrity table unless you’re purchasing something, the staff here was very cool with allowing fans who just wanted to say hello to their favorite celebrities the opportunity to do so.

 

All in all, it was a great weekend.  One I hope to repeat next year!

 

Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “Merry Little Batman”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Amazon Prime Video to give (25) lucky readers and three guests the chance to be among the first to see the new animated feature “Merry Little Batman.”

 

The screening will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, at the AMC Prairiefire Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas and will start at 11:00 a.m.

 

If you’d like to attend, all you need to do is click HERE.  The first (25) readers to do so will receive a pass for (4) to attend the screening.  Each winning ticket group will also receive a free giant popcorn in a refillable tub to share.

 

This is a first come first serve giveaway.  Once the (25) passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  GOOD LUCK!

 

Merry Little Batman to Stream Globally on Prime Video Beginning December  8

 

  • MERRY LITTLE BATMAN
  • Saturday, December 2nd
  • 11:00 a.m.
  • AMC Prairiefire
  • 5724 W. 136th Terrace
  • Overland Park, KS 66223

Film Review: “Wish”

 

  • WISH
  • Starring the voices of: Arioana DeBose, Chris Pine and Alan Tudyk
  • Directed by:  Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn
  • Rated:  PG
  • Running time:  1 hr 35 mins
  • Walt Disney Pictures

 

An enchanting town where everyone is happy, ruled by a handsome king and his lovely queen.  A cute animal sidekick.  Songs you hum to yourself as you leave the theatre.  Those were the trademarks of Walt Disney Pictures animated features since long before I was a child.  It’s been a long time since I felt those feelings but, thanks to “Wish,” all is right with the animated world again.

 

“Wish” tells the story of Asha (Oscar winner DeBose) and her family who, along with other families, live in the kingdom of Rosas, which is ruled by King Magnifico (a really nasty Chris Pine) and his Queen, Amaya (Angelique Cabral).  The price to live in this beautiful kingdom?  You must make a wish and give it to the king, who will hold onto it until the time he sees fit to grant it.  As Asha’s grandfather approaches his 100th birthday, Asha is confident that his wish will finally be granted.  But first, she has a job interview to attend.

 

From the opening credits to, well, the closing credits, “Wish” is a reminder of how Walt Disney used to create his animated films.  The animation style is almost a throwback to earlier classics as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Sleeping Beauty.”  The vocal talent is top notch and the songs memorable.

DeBose, who won an Oscar for playing Maria in the remake of “West Side Story,” gives Asha not only a voice but a brain.  She is strong willed and family oriented, something that doesn’t sit well with the king who, voice by Pine, can either be syrupy smooth or brutally mean.  I knew Pine could sing (he was in Into the Woods”),  but here he gets the opportunity to really belt.  Both are joined by other familiar voices, including Tudyk, Victor Garber and Evan Peters.

 

The animation is beautifully done and the accompanying musical score, composed by “Frozen”s Dave Metzger propels the story along between songs.

 

After a series of misfires that seriously threatened the House of Mouse, I am proud to report that, with “Wish,” Disney is back!

 

On a scale of zero to five, I give “Wish” ★★★★★

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Saltburn”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Amazon MGM Studios to give (75) readers and three guests the opportunity to see the new film, “Saltburn” at a special screening on Monday, November 20, 2023 at the Screenland Armour Theatre in North Kansas City, Missouri.  The screening will begin at 7:00 pm.

 

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (75) people to do so will receive a pass for (4) to attend the film.

 

As a bonus, everyone who attends will be treated to complimentary drink and popcorn.

This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the allotted number of passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  GOOD LUCK!

 

SALTBURN” premieres in Kansas City theatres on November 21, 2023

 

#SaltburnMovie

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Candy Cane Lane.”

 

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Amazon MGM Studios to give (25) readers and three guests the opportunity to see the new film, “Candy Cane Lane,” starring Eddie Murphy,  at a special screening on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at the Pharaoh Cinema 4 in Independence , Missouri.  The screening will begin at 10:30 am.

 

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (25) people to do so will receive a pass for (4) to attend the film.

 

As a bonus, everyone who attends will be treated to complimentary drink and popcorn. Additionally, everyone will get to decorate a mug and take home a packet of hot chocolate

 

This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the allotted number of passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  GOOD LUCK!

 

CANDY CANE LANE” premieres on Amazon Prime on December 1,, 2023.

 

#CANDYCANELANEMOVIE

Enter to Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Thanksgiving.”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Tri-Star Pictures to give (75) readers and their guests the opportunity to see the new Eli Roth film, “Thanksgiving” at a special screening on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at the Screenland Armour Theatre in North Kansas City, Missouri.  The screening will begin at 7:00 pm.

 

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (75) people to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the film.

 

As a bonus, if your name is John Carver, bring your driver’s license with you.  If you can prove that’s your name you’ll receive a special prize pack!

 

This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the allotted number of passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  GOOD LUCK!

 

THANKSGIVING” opens in theatres everywhere on November 20, 2023.

#ThanksgivingMovie

Win a Free Blu-ray Copy of “Justified: City Primeval” – Season 1

Media Mikes has teamed up with its friends at SONY home video to give one lucky reader the chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the first season of the popular series, “Justified: City Primeval.”

 

All you have to do is let us know below who your favorite television lawman is.  Matt Dillon?  Sam McCloud?  Walker (the Texas Ranger)?  It’s that easy.

 

At the end of the giveaway one random entry will be chosen.  That person will be contacted by email and will receive their Blu-ray.  This giveaway ends at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, November 19, 2023.

 

GOOD LUCK!

Win a Free Blu-ray Copy of Season One of “For All Mankind”

Media Mikes has teamed up with its friends at SONY home video to give one lucky reader the chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the first season of the popular series, “For All Mankind.”

 

All you have to do is let us know below your favorite space-themed television program.  “Star Trek?”  “Lost in Space”  “Battlestar Galactica?”  It’s that easy.

 

At the end of the giveaway one random entry will be chosen.  That person will be contacted by email and will receive their Blu-ray.  This giveaway ends at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, November 19, 2023.

 

GOOD LUCK!