“Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against The Universe” to Premiere Exclusively on Disney+ on Friday, August 28

BURBANK, Calif. (July 2, 2020) — The out-of-this-world animated movie “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” from Disney Television Animation, will premiere exclusively on Disney+ Friday, August 28. The soundtrack, from Walt Disney Records, will be available the same day. 

Executive-produced by the creators/executive producers of the Emmy Award-winning “Phineas and Ferb” series, Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” is an adventure story that tracks stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb as they set out across the galaxy to rescue their older sister Candace, who after being abducted by aliens, finds utopia in a far-off planet, free of pesky little brothers.  

Voice talent reprising their roles from the original series and movie include: Ashley Tisdale as Candace Flynn; Vincent Martella as Phineas Flynn; Caroline Rhea as their mom, Linda; Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Platypus; Alyson Stoner as Isabella; Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet; Bobby Gaylor as Buford; Olivia Olson as Vanessa Doofenshmirtz; Tyler Mann as Carl; and Povenmire and Marsh as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram, respectively. David Errigo Jr. joins the cast as Ferb Fletcher. 

The movie also stars: Ali Wong (“American Housewife”) as Super Super Big Doctor; Wayne Brady (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) as Stapler Fist; Diedrich Bader (“American Housewife”) as Borthos; and Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) as Garnoz.

In addition to Povenmire and Marsh, the talented crew includes: director Bob Bowen (“Family Guy”), composer Danny Jacob (“Phineas and Ferb”) and songwriters Karey Kirkpatrick (“Something Rotten!”), Emanuel Kiriakou (Whitney Houston’s “I Look To You”) and Kate Micucci (“Garfunkel and Oates”).

All four seasons of the original animated series “Phineas and Ferb,” along with the Disney Channel Original Movie “Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension,” are also available to stream on Disney+. Beginning Tuesday, August 25, all episodes will be presented on Disney XD leading up to the movie’s premiere.

In addition to the soundtrack for the new movie, brand extensions for the movie will include cross-category product available at Hot Topic, BoxLunch and Amazon this August.

#DisneyPlus

#PhineasandFerbMovie

#CandaceAgainstTheUniverse

About Disney+

Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. As part of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment, Disney+ is available on most internet-connected devices and offers commercial-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. Alongside unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of film and television entertainment, the service is also the exclusive streaming home for the latest releases from The Walt Disney Studios. Disney+ is available as part of a bundle offer that gives subscribers access to Disney+, Hulu (ad-supported), and ESPN+. Visit DisneyPlus.com to subscribe and/or learn more about the service.

Television/Streaming Review: ESPN 30 for 30 – “Long Gone Summer’

On September 8, 1998 my son Phillip, his friend Bobby and I drove from Kansas City to St. Louis to take in that evening’s Cardinals/Cubs match-up. We witnessed baseball history when J.D. Drew hit his first career home run. I’ve told this story for over two decades.

Most people know Todd MacFarlane as the creator of the popular SPAWN comics and his amazing toys. He is also a huge baseball fan. We learn that as the film begins with McFarlane bidding almost $3 million to purchase a baseball. But not any baseball. This is the ball hit by Mark McGwire for his 70th home run, at the time a new record. The summer of 1998 was a big one for baseball. After the players strike in 1994 caused the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in history, the game began to draw fans back in 1995 when Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2131st consecutive game. But the summer of 1998 is the one that drew fans, old and new, to the game. It was the summer McGwire and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa swung their way into the history books.

“Long Gone Summer” not only chronicles both players assault on Roger Maris’ then-record of 61 home runs in a season, but the effect the challenge had on America. People that had sworn off baseball after the strike left a bitter taste in their mouth began to pay attention to the game again, while people who had never shown interest began to watch. Having been in Camden Yards when Ripken set his milestone I was already a fan so I followed the exploits of McGwire and Sosa daily, ensuring that ESPN’s SPORTCENTER was a must-see every night.

As the film follows McGwire, Sosa and, for a time, Ken Griffey, Jr, it also talks with some baseball fans who are household names, among them Bob Costas and George Will. Also interviewed are Roger Maris’ sons, as well as Cardinal’s broadcasters Jack Buck (though archival footage) and Mike Shannon. The race had a personal feel to Shannon, who had been a Cardinal teammate of Roger Maris in the mid 1960s.

But the big voices here belong to the two players themselves. McGwire explains his lifelong desire to hit the ball far while Sosa talks about the fun he had. What they don’t talk about are the accusations that both were using performance enhancing drugs. In fact, in a show that runs almost 1 3/4 hours, PED’s are not mentioned until the 45 minute mark, when a container of Androstenedione is spotted in McGwire’s locker. He brushes the questions off, noting that Andro is available over the counter. It’s almost another 45 minutes before the subject comes up again.

Of the two players, McGwire comes off the best. He is insightful in looking back at what he describes as both the best, and worst, time of his life. Sosa, speaking perfect English – when he testified before Congress he had to have his attorney read his statement, as he felt his English wasn’t strong -is more concerned with relaying the fun times he had that summer. Archival interviews with both – again with Sosa speaking English like a native – gives a look into the love and respect Big Mac and Slammin’ Sammy had for each other. As the season ends, McGwire finishes with 70 home runs, Sosa with 66. Sosa would hit 63 the next year and Baroid Bonds would hit 73 in 2001. By then, the PED cat was out of the bag and, in the almost 20 years since Bonds, no one has hit 60 home runs in a season.

Given an opportunity to confirm whether or not he juiced, Sosa will only say that “Everybody was doing them.” After years of denial, in 2010 McGwire admitted to using PED’s. His admission and apology seemed sincere to me. So much so that I can tell you that, on September 8, 1998, my son Phillip, his friend Bobby and I drove from Kansas City to St. Louis to take in that evening’s Cardinals/Cubs match-up. We witnessed baseball history when Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run of the season over the left field fence, directly below where we were sitting. No disrespect to J.D. Drew, but this story is more exciting.

“Long Gone Summer” airs this Sunday night at 8:00 pm EST on ESPN and will stream directly afterwards on ESPN+.

Television/Streaming Review: ESPN 30 for 30: BE WATER

I’m old enough to remember watching Bruce Lee as Kato on television’s “The Green Hornet” when it originally aired on ABC. T o me he was just a cool guy who wore a mask and kicked ass. But there was a lot more to Lee, as both an actor and a person, and those remarkable qualities are revealed in the latest ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, BE WATER.

We first meet Lee as he is completing a screen test in 1964. He is quite and soft spoken but, when he is asked to demonstrate some of his martial arts skills, he is a tornado. Even in these few minutes of film, you can see the legend that lie ahead.

Born in San Francisco (his father was a popular Chinese actor and opera performer), Lee’s family returned to Hong Kong shortly after his birth. Like most children, Lee had a mischievous side and his father allowed him to begin acting in films as a child in hopes of curbing his rambunctious attitudes. Finding his idea unsuccessful, his father sends him to Seattle to attend college. It is there that he begins the journey that most fans know. But there is also a lot they don’t and that is revealed here in Lee’s own words. Using archival interviews and quoting his letters, read by his daughter, Shannon, we learn that Lee was a very philosophical man who yearned to bridge the racial prejudice felt in America. He wanted to be able to share and express his culture and was tired of seeing such actors as Mickey Rooney, Marlon Brando and John Wayne portraying Asian characters on screen, usually in ridiculous make up.

Lee’s short-lived small screen stardom begins to fade and he is hopeful for the lead in an upcoming program to be called “Kung Fu.” When he is passed over for the role in favor of David Carradine – we hear the show’s producer proclaim that he could not find an Asian actor he felt could handle the role, he takes his family to Hong Kong,, where he will soon make film history.

BE WATER gets it’s title from a philosophy that Lee often shared in interviews. Water, he notes, is the softest substance on Earth, yet it is strong enough to penetrate rock. It takes the shape of whatever vessel it finds itself in. The film is full of amazing archival footage and the story is told through conversations with not only Lee’s daughter and widow, Linda, but various friends and former students, including Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee died. 10 days later, “Enter the Dragon” was released, making him an international superstar, ironically a term Lee disliked. His impact on pop culture and racial acceptance is still being felt today. With the current situation the nation, and the world, finds itself in, we could use a man like him today.

BE WATER airs this Sunday night at 9:00 pm EST on ESPN. It will stream afterwards on ESPN+. Don’t miss it!

Television/Streaming Review: ESPN 30 for 30 – LANCE

In 2008 I was driving through downtown Kansas City when I was amazed at the sight of a seven-story banner of Lance Armstrong hanging from the building where my wife worked.  I called her and asked about it and she informed me that her company – an investment management firm – had partnered with Armstrong to promote his LIVESTRONG investments.  Hearing this, I asked her “and what happens when it finally comes out that he was a cheater?”  “Hopefully that isn’t true,” she replied.

LANCE, the latest episode in ESPN’s brilliant “30 for 30” documentary series, is a two part look at the rise and the fall of one of the most celebrated athletes in American history.  Episode one begins with Armstrong telling director Marina Zenovich how he knows there are many people that, upon seeing him, just want to scream out “F**k you, Lance,” but seldom do.  He also recounts how, once when a group heading into a restaurant did just that, he called the restaurant, informed the manager that he would pay for their dinner and asked the manager to inform the party that “Lance loves you.”  Unfortunately, Lance also loves himself.

We are introduced to the young man that would go on to “win” seven consecutive Tour de France bicycle races, the most prestigious race in the world.  He played several sports as a kid but didn’t excel in any of them.  He tried swimming and developed a passion.  Entering triathlons introduced him to competitive cycling, which is where he found his calling.  Then, his life was dealt a blow when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  Beating major odds, Armstrong not only survived his ordeal but returned to competitive cycling.  He also returned to a dark secret he had been hiding – taking performance enhancing doses of such banned (in competitive sports) substances as EPO and Andrial.  He admits this rather non-chalantly, falling back often on the old “everyone else was doing it” excuse.

However, in Episode two, which airs this Sunday night on ESPN (and will be available afterwards on ESPN+) the true Armstrong comes through.  Like many athletes, Armstrong was set on winning at any cost, allegedly going so far as to inform the anti-doping agency that a rival cyclist was juicing.  Like many people in denial, Armstrong was like a pit bull in his defense of his reputation.  Whether using his cancer as a sympathy ploy or slandering his accusers (while testifying in an inquiry he calls one woman who filed a deposition alleging his cheating a whore) or using his status and power to destroy other riders, he comes off as a man who still feels that he’s done nothing wrong.

Part two also looks at Armstrong’s effect on those close to him.  His son, who played college football, is asked if he would ever use performance drugs.  His reply – that he only wants to succeed through his own hard work – is heartfelt and honest.  That’s what all athletes want to do.  Asked if he still considers himself relevant, Armstrong declares, “I AM relevant.”  He also refers to former U.S. Postal Service team mate Floyd Landis – who was the rider that finally outed Armstrong’s doping – as a “piece of s**t.”  Other team members relate that Lance was fine with them as long as they kept his secret but, at the slightest hint of disloyalty they were gone.

On the positive side, the film also takes a look at the magnificent work that the Lance Armstrong Foundation and LIVESTRONG have done in support of cancer patients everywhere.  Thanks to Armstrong’s popularity hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for these organizations (I’ll admit that I bought a LIVESTRONG bracelet when they came out).  And this achievement allows Armstrong to ask if the ends justify the means.  Would this money have been raised if not for him?

In the end, you come away with a man who still doesn’t accept responsibility for anything (except his divorce).  He also laments the hardship he endured having to date such celebrities as Cheryl Crow and Kate Hudson.  Wahh!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever run into Lance Armstrong on the street so let me just say here, for the record, “Hey Lance – F**k you!”

Throwback: TNT’s “Snowpiercer” at NYCC

This Sunday TNT is readying for viewers to depart on their massive eponymous train, SNOWPIERCER. Starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, the series is the second adaptation of the 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige after it got the big screen treatment from director Bong Joon Ho in 2013. TNT describes their series as follows: “The world has become a frozen wasteland, and the only survivors are those aboard a perpetually moving train that circles the globe. See how class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival play out on Snowpiercer.”

Cast members below series concept art

Given the expansion from a film to a series, the show promises to take a more in depth look into the characters and divisions that exist in the remnants of humanity aboard the some thousand cars of this monster train. Though some nods to the film–such as a character loosely based on Tilda Swinton’s “Mason”–are to be expected. The cast joined show runner Graeme Manson this past fall on stage at New York Comic Con. You can head over to our Facebook page to check out our full album of panel photos before catching the premiere!

Jennifer Connelly (“Melanie Cavill”) and Daveed Diggs (“Layton Well”)

SNOWPIERCER debuts on 5/17 at 9pm on TNT

STEEL PANTHER TO APPEAR ON TONIGHT’S EPISODE OF TRUTV’s HIT SHOW IMPRACTICAL JOKERS

200th Episode Airs This Evening At 10PM (Check Local Listings)
Band Wraps First Leg Of Successful European Headline Tour In Support of Latest Release Heavy Metal Rules Next Week
On the eve of the most romantic holiday Hallmark has ever created, heavy music’s medically-cleared lovers and partiers Steel Panther are adding another career milestone to their ever-expanding resume. Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx and Stix Zadinia joined up with Q, Murr, Joe and Sal for an appearance on the 200th episode of their hit TV show, Impractical Jokers. Impractical Jokers airs on TruTV and the Steel Panther episode is set to air this evening at 10PM (check local listings).  

“What says good times, rock and roll, and making your buddies look like jerks in front of other people more than Steel Panther and Impractical Jokers getting together in one killer episode????? Well, nothing. Seriously, nothing says it more. This 200th anniversary episode was a blast to film, and we were so excited to be asked to be a part of it!” exclaims Steel Panther.  

Steel Panther is currently in the middle of the first leg of their 2020 year-long world tour in support of their latest release Heavy Metal Rules. The tour has seen the band play to sold out rooms across Europe and the guys were even joined by their friends in Five Finger Death Punch during a show last month in Helsinki. Shows in Canada were recently announced with plans for more dates in the United States and Australia to be announced in the future. Information on all shows can be found at: https://www.steelpantherrocks.com/pages/tour.
Confirmed 2020 World Tour Dates (So Far):
Feb 15: Belfast, UK – Ulster Hall
Feb 16: Dublin, Ireland – Vicar Street
Feb 17: Cork, Ireland – Cyprus Ave
Mar 12: Coquitlam, BC, Canada – Hard Rock Casino 
Mar 13: Coquitlam, BC, Canada – Hard Rock Casino 
Mar 14: Coquitlam, BC, Canada – Hard Rock Casino 
Jun 10-13: Nicklesdorf, Austria – Nova Rock
Jun 13: Krakow, Poland – Studio
Jun 14: Budapest, Hungary – Barba Negra Track
Jun 16: Milan, Italy – Alcatraz
Jun 18-21: Dessel, Belgium – Grasspop Metal Meetin
Jul 1-4: Ballenstedt, Germany – Rockharz festival
Jul 10: Mansfield, OH – Inkcarceration Festival 2020
L to R: Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx, Stix Zadinia (Photo by: David Jackson)

Recently Steel Panther released their latest video, the NSFW clip for the title track “Heavy Metal Rules.” The video picks up right where the video for their hit “Death To All But Metal” leaves off. The video then follows the band on the road to stardom from small clubs to some of the largest festivals in the world filled with copious amounts of beauties, blow, and boobs. The video set new records for the band in terms of engagement until the fun police at YouTube got wind of the video and slowed it down. 

“Heavy Metal Rules,” directed by Frankie Nasso, can be seen here: https://youtu.be/uvubIgC9zi0.

The song comes from their “now available everywhere” latest album, Heavy Metal Rules (https://lnk.to/HeavyMetalRules).  

ABOUT STEEL PANTHER:  

For the uninitiated, Steel Panther was formed in 2000 and is comprised of Michael Starr (lead singer), Satchel (guitarist), Lexxi Foxx (bass) and Stix Zadinia (drums). Hailing from Los Angeles, the epicenter for rock n’ roll in all its debauchery and glamour, Steel Panther has established themselves as the world’s premier party band, melding hard rock virtuosity with parody and criminally good looks. Steel Panther is a global phenomenon with four full-length albums, touring across the world, platinum-level You Tube status and high-profile television appearances such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, Larry King Now, and FOX NFL Sunday. 

Rolling Stone avowed, “There’s a reason Steel Panther have transcended their origins as a cover band playing the Sunset Strip,” while Metal Sucks declared, Steel Panther’s concept is genius…their songwriting is…preposterously snappy – and relatable.”

Connect with Steel Panther: www.steelpantherrocks.com

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO SURPRISE DROPS THE SECOND SEASON OF ACTION-THRILLER TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

The Second Season Of The Amazon Original Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Is Now Available Globally

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN 

Today Amazon Prime Video surprised fans by globally releasing the second season of action-thriller Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski (A Quiet Place), one day early.   The announcement was made via Krasinski’s social channels in which immediately following his posting the series went live on Prime Video.  

In the second season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, after tracking a potentially suspicious shipment of illegal arms in the Venezuelan jungle, CIA Officer Jack Ryan, portrayed by Krasinski, heads down to South America to investigate. As Jack’s investigation threatens to uncover a far-reaching conspiracy, the President of Venezuela launches a counter-attack that hits home for Jack, leading him and his fellow operatives on a global mission spanning the United States, UK, Russia, and Venezuela to unravel the President’s nefarious plot and bring stability to a country on the brink of chaos. 

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season Two, is a co-production of Amazon Studios and Paramount Television and produced by Skydance Television, will premiere exclusively on Prime Video. 

In addition to Krasinski, the second season of the dramatic series also stars  Wendell Pierce (The Wire) as James Greer, Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) as Harriet ‘Harry’ Baumann and Michael Kelly (House of Cards) as Mike November. 

The series is executive produced by Andrew FormBrad FullerMichael Bay, Krasinski and Allyson Seeger, along with Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, who created the series for television. Additionally, Andrew BernsteinVince CalandraDavid GrazianoTom ClancyDavid EllisonDana GoldbergMarcy RossMace NeufeldLindsey SpringerDennie Gordon and Phil Abraham also executive produce the second season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

NYCC 2019: Hulu’s Castle Rock

The cast of Hulu’s Castle Rock at MSG during New York Comic Con

Just in time for Halloween, Hulu is ready to invite viewers back to the not-so-sleepy town of Castle Rock. The fictional Maine location may sound familiar to even casual horror fans, as it features across the many works of Stephen King. To celebrate the launch of season 2, the cast of the anthology series joined fans at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for a screening of the premiere episode at this year’s New York Comic Con.

The highlight of the premiere was the debut of Lizzy Caplan as “Stephen King’s nurse from hell” Annie Wilkes. Wilkes was the star of King’s Misery where she was willing to go to lethal lengths to get her way from James Caan’s stranded author character. Bates famously won an Academy Award for her performance and if you had asked me if I needed to see more background on her character I may have doubted you until this episode. Caplan channels her own unblinking manic energy and manages to make Wilkes’s “cockadoody” vernacular her very own. As a bonus, she has the wonderful Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) as a daughter to play off of in this series.

Lizzy Caplan (“Annie Wilkes”) and Elsie Fisher (“Joy Wilkes”

While I won’t go into spoilers for the show, suffice to say there was at least one jaw dropping scene that made checking the show out in the massive NYCC audience incredibly satisfying.

Head over to our NYCC Facebook album to see even more photos from the panel which also featured Shawshank Redemption alum Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins (“Pop Merrill”)

Castle Rock season 2 is available on Hulu starting October 23rd.

SopranosCon Announced; First-Ever ‘Sopranos’ Themed Convention ‘For The Fans, By The Fans’

Time Immemorial, Famous Signs and Michael Mota present SopranosCon, the first-ever “Sopranos” themed convention, to be held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey on November 23rd and 24th, 2019. 

Visually inspired by the Feast of St. Elezar, SopranosCon presented by East Commerce Solutions, is a fan convention unlike any other. Billing itself as “for the fans, by the fans,” SopranosCon will feature a once-in-a-lifetime reunion of key cast members, including Tony Sirico, Federico Castelluccio, Vincent Pastore, Vincent Curatola, David Proval, and over 30 supporting cast members, with many more special guests to be announced in the coming days.  

“In a nutshell, this is The Sopranos meets New York Comic Con. However, our event is going to be much more than pictures, autographs, and vendors,” said Daniel Trader who runs @TimeImmemorial_, a creative Instagram page that boasts the largest Sopranos fan network on social media with over 225,000 combined dedicated followers.  

Guests of the two-day convention will be able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series by showcasing Italian culture in New Jersey with food, drink, music, comedy, and show-related businesses (such as Holsten’s Ice Cream, a sponsor of the event). There will be fan art galleries, exhibits, Q&A’s, trivia, contests, games, and more.   

“This event will be an experience no true fan will want to miss,” said Joe Fama, owner of Famous Signs and a co-presenter of the event. “We have spent years designing sets, exhibits, and more for this event.  There will certainly be something for everyone.”   

In addition, an accompanying documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary of the hit HBO show will be released after the event.  The as-yet-untitled documentary will focus on three superfans — Michael Mota from Lincoln Rhode Island, Daniel Trader from Baltimore, Maryland and Joe Fama from Long Island, New York — who came together to give every Sopranos fan the opportunity to celebrate history. The documentary will also feature many key cast members telling “their story” and other exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the Con.   

Federico Castelluccio, better known as Furio Guinta on The Sopranos, has been chosen to narrate the documentary.   

“When the first season came out, I was a huge fan myself.  I told my agent that I had to be on the show.  Having the opportunity to be a part of SopranosCon and celebrate with the fans is an amazing opportunity.  I am honored to be a part of this documentary, and I am excited to showcase what a few fans can do when they have a passion for something,” he said, exclusively.   

“I can’t put into words the amount of support we have received for SopranosCon.  People all over the world have reached out to us and are coming to the United States for the first time for our event.  This show touched so many people and has left a mark on their lives forever,” said Michael Mota, founder and CEO of Skyline at Waterplace, and one of the key organizers of the event.  “I have thrown several Soprano themed events but this is something much larger. This is truly for the fans, by the fans.”  

Tickets are on sale now at www.sopranoscon.com. For a limited time, fans can enter the promotional code HipHopGamer to receive 10% off all ticket packages.

BookCon: The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3

The second season of Hulu’s hit series The Handmaid’s Tale left more than a few fans stunned when June (Elisabeth Moss) bucked her chance to escape to freedom in Canada with her baby and instead handed the infant off to Emily (Alexis Bleidel) while turning back into the world that still holds her other child hostage.

This weekend eager Handmaid’s fans finally got to see where June’s unexpected decision has lead the inhabitants of Gilead when showrunner Bruce Miller and actress Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) brought the premiere episode of the third season to New York’s BookCon.

Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) and Handmaid’s Tale showrunner, Bruce Miller

Without going into episode spoilers, I will say what I saw went a long way in explaining why June would make such a tremendous sacrifice in that finale and the acting across the board continues to be top notch. Alexis Bleidel’s Emily in particular had me moved to tears more than once. And the BookCon crowd broke out into applause at least twice.

While the terrifying Aunt Lydia did not appear in the premiere ep, the trailers showed that she will return after Emily very literally stabbed her in back last year. Dowd, who was also nefarious in last year’s horror hit Hereditary, is delightful and warm in person and said of Lydia, “she is doing quite well…she’s very concerned” She also offered some exciting tidbits into where season three might take Aunt Lydia.

Although in the last two seasons we’ve seen almost every protagonist’s backstory, Aunt Lydia has remained a mystery. Apparently that will change in season three. Of this insight, Dowd commented that while it wasn’t exactly what she thought it would be “it’s so true to what might have went wrong.” On that change she added that whatever happened, “her life leaned toward Gilead and [to being] one of the most staunch believers of that group.” And while Dowd clearly loves playing Lydia, she joked about her inner dialogue with the character: “I say I’m disappointed with her and she says to mind my business!”

Dowd complimenting a Handmaid cosplayer in attendance

The Handmaid’s Tale returns weekly to Hulu starting Wednesday June 5th.

GROUNDBREAKING COMEDIAN TOM GREEN SHARES VIDEO FOR ‘I WANNA BE FRIENDS WITH DRAKE’

TAKEN FROM ‘THE TOM GREEN SHOW’ ALBUM 
OUT MAY 17TH ON VINYL ONLY VIA SHIP TO SHORE PHONOCO(DIGITAL VERSION TO BE RELEASED AT A LATER DATE) WATCH ‘I WANNA BE FRIENDS WITH DRAKE’ VIDEO DIRECTED BY TONY CORELLA 

PRE-ORDER ALBUM

ON TOUR NOW!

Photo: Tony Conrad

Tom Green – prankster, provocateur, pundit – has a lot on his mind, and this bracing, inventive album lays it all out. A dazzling pastiche of social and political commentary, autobiography, and general Tom-foolery, it mixes hip-hop, punk-rock, goth-rock, confessional folk, electronica, and signature novelty tunes into a heady stew, spiced with samples from the Green’s TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy routines.

“Thank you for listening to my album. I made this record myself. And I had fun doing it. As a teenager, I became fascinated by rap and electronic music. I spent my summers mowing lawns and working shitty jobs just to scrape up enough money to buy a used drum machine and, eventually, an Akai s-950 sampler and an Atari 520st computer to sequence my beats. I began “digging in the crates” through the vast collection of vinyl at the community radio station where I volunteered. And I started sampling and looping old funk and R&B and jazz breaks from musical legends of the 1970s. I would take the looped beats and bass-lines and drop raps over them in my home studio. Most of my friends would come to my house and have no idea what the hell I was doing. 

Flash forward three decades. I never stopped making music, but a few years ago, I decided to start recording again on a more regular basis. This is my first release on vinyl since 1992. I would like you to know that every sound was carefully considered by me. I funneled the drums or bass or guitar noise through a mess of cables and compressors in my own recording studio that I built in Los Angeles. The album includes some audio clips from my recent stand-up comedy, some from the original “Tom Green Show,” and, of course, some funny songs and some sincere ones. I hope you enjoy it.

Please follow me on social media and at tomgreen.com, and we can discuss this recording together. Your support over the years means everything to me. I am always touring all over the world and will probably be performing in a city near you, so please come see me and say hello! And if you are reading this, YOU ROCK!” – Tom

TRACK LISTING:

SIDE A:

1. The Tom Green Show – Theme Song
2. Acoustic Intro
3. Philly Stand Up
4. Purple Whiskey Bag
5. Live With Dignity
6. You Painted The Car?
7. None Of Your Business
8. Hip Hop Woman
9. Crack Baby Don’t Come Back
10. Daddy Would You Like Some Sausage?
11. Far 2 Young 2 Die
12. Hot Rhymes
13. Cell Phone Addict
14. Away We Go
15. The Salmon Song

SIDE B:

1. Park Bench Old Lady
2. I Wanna Be Friends With Drake
3. The Mustard Inspector
4. It Takes Balls (to rule the world)
5. Testicular Cancer Speech
6. Hey Kids, Feel Your Balls
7. Another Lie
8. Plastic Bag
9. The Bum Bum Song (lonely Swedish) 


Tom Green exploded on MTV with the groundbreaking comedy show “The Tom Green Show.” Before reality TV, YouTube and social media existed, Tom Green’s man-on-the-street pranks changed television forever. He’s graced the cover of Rolling Stone, hosted Saturday Night Live, guest hosted Letterman, and appeared on Oprah, Jay Leno, Kimmel, Fallon, Conan, The Daily Show and more! The success of the Tom Green Show has landed him roles in mainstream Hollywood movies like Road Trip, Freddy Got Fingered, Stealing Harvard, Charlies Angels and more! Now Tom Green’s sold out Stand Up Comedy Tour is getting 5 star reviews worldwide. Don’t miss the insanely hilarious stand up comedy of Tom Green when he comes to your city. His brilliantly cracked view of the world around him makes for non-stop laughter every time.Ship to Shore PhonoCo are a Brooklyn-based boutique record company shining a light on new-to-the-format music, underappreciated classics and undiscovered gems. 

GAME OF THRONES® LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE TO RETURN FOR FALL 2019 NORTH AMERICAN AMPHITHEATER TOUR

Experience the Excitement, Terror, Heartbreak, and History of Emmy® Award-Winning Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi’s Music In A Stunning Outdoor Concert Experience

The 20-City Tour Will Travel Throughout North America, Including Dates In Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles and many more

Tickets On Sale Monday, May 13, 2019 At 10AM Local Time

The critically acclaimed Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will return this fall for a 20-city amphitheater tour, bringing the music of Emmy® Award-winning Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi to stunning new life at outdoor theatres across North America. As we say goodbye to one of the biggest shows and scores in television history, relive the greatest musical pieces and footage from all eight seasons in an immersive outdoor concert experience. Tickets for the tour will be available HERE starting Monday, May 13, 2019, at 10:00am local time and a full list of dates can be found below.

Featuring special appearances by Ramin himself at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in New York City, FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, the tour will stop at notable outdoor venues across North America. Having first conceptualized the tour several years ago, Ramin will be reworking and redeveloping the musical and visual elements of the concert to create a brand new live experience that encompasses fan-favorite pieces from the entirety of Game of Thrones. The tour will include new musical arrangements from the series’ 8th and final season such as the “The Night King” theme, Ramin’s epic 9-minute composition that went viral immediately after debuting on the show. Within days, the track garnered millions of streams across the internet, reached the top 4 most downloaded songs on iTunes and the top 18 most watched videos on YouTube, and dropped the jaws of audiences and critics alike:

“When Game of Thrones Plays Sad Piano Music, It’s Time to Freak Out.” – Vulture

“In a series known for truly cinematic music, this was still a series highlight…Djawadi’s finest on the show.” – Nerdist

“[Ramin] really outdid himself here with the soaring, searching score that gave the episode its own unique flavor while also selling its most emotional beats. It’s a true symphony at times.” – Indiewire

The inaugural run of the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi kicked off in North America in February of 2017 and was praised by audiences and critics alike as a must-see spectacle for fans of the television series. Following the success of the tour, Ramin embarked on a European run during the spring of 2018 before returning back for a second North American tour in the fall of 2018. To date, the show has amassed a total of 75 arena concerts across the globe. The Guardian described the show as “Westeros brought to dazzling life.” Mashable called it “an epic musical journey,” while the New York Times praised it as “a symphonic spectacular.”

The tour, produced and promoted exclusively by Live Nation in partnership with HBO Licensing & Retail, will continue to use innovative music tour production and video technology that will recreate the various realms found throughout Westeros and Essos as well as showcase footage from the series in addition to new imagery created exclusively for the concert.

Ramin has won one Emmy Award® and been nominated for six Emmy® Awards and two GRAMMY® Awards. Versatility has defined his career, from celebrated television scores for Game of ThronesWestworldJack Ryan, and Prison Break to feature films such as A Wrinkle in TimeMountain Between UsSlender ManThe Great WallPacific RimIron Man and Clash of the Titans. Ramin has even composed scores for blockbuster video games including Medal of HonorGears of War 4 and the upcoming Gears of War 5.

GAME OF THRONES® LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE 2019 NORTH AMERICAN DATES

9/5 – Syracuse, NY – St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview

9/6 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage

9/8 – Chicago, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

9/10 – Boston, MA – Xfinity Center

9/11 – Hartford, CT – XFINITY Theatre

9/12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann

9/14 – New York, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

9/15 – Washington, DC – Jiffy Lube Live

9/17 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater

9/18 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park

9/20 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place

9/21 – West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre

9/22 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

9/25 – Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP

9/26 – Dallas, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

9/27 – Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

10/1 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre

10/3 – San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre

10/4 – Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre

10/5 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

 

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Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson on HBO’s “CHERNOBYL”

Chernobyl filmmakers on the red carpet

In April 1986 the most catastrophic man-made incident the planet had ever seen occurred when reactor 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded during what should have been a safety test. The effects of the accident still wreak havoc over the landscape and containing the fallout has become an industry unto itself. It’s a job which will require centuries of human support. Tonight on HBO, Craig Mazin’s five-part miniseries, CHERNOBYL, dives deep into the the accident as it happened and the human cost and bravery it required to ensure that this tragedy did not engulf still millions more.

This past week at the Tribeca Film Festival, Mazin and his talented cast debuted the first two episodes of the series on the accident’s 33rd anniversary. The premiere episode was nothing short of a nightmare as the series delves into, in brutal detail, the accident and the shocking mishandling of both the initial fire and the surrounding population in those crucial first hours and days of fallout. It was a tense first hour and a brilliant setup into the second which saw the introduction of the scientists and politicians who then had to set about handling what was to come. The second episode in particular sees a stellar performance from Stellan Skarsgard as he plays a man coming to grips with his own mortality and entreating fellow countrymen to show selflessness so that millions can be saved. I spoke with Skarsgard, who also offered brief comments on his upcoming work in DUNE, as well as co-star Emily Watson on the red carpet about their own knowledge of the accident as it happened and the timely message this series has to offer in regards to listening to scientists.

“I think it’s a parable for our times. I think you ignore the truth and scientists at your peril. ” – Emily Watson

Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a character created for the show as an entry-point into the role of a collection of European scientists in the fallout of Chernobyl.

Lauren Damon: Your character isn’t one specific person, but represents a collection of people involved with the accident, did you speak to people who experienced this?

Emily Watson: No. It’s sort of in tribute to many of the scientists who worked on the discovery of what happened. So I kind of had a bit of a blank sheet really to make up what I wanted to do. But Craig had written the character as coming from Belarus, which is a place that suffered terribly in the second world war. And she would have been a young child at that time, so that gave me a sense of just finding someone who was very very tough. It made her the perfect person really to go after the truth and find out what happened.

Do you remember when you were first aware of the Chernobyl accident in your life?

Watson: Yeah, I was a student at university and I remember there were students at my college who were on a year out, away in Kiev, and they all had to come home pretty quickly, it was very scary.

Did you have any misconceptions about the event going into this project that the script changed for you?

Watson: Oh my god, when I started reading the script, I had no idea that sort of within a few days–sort of 48 hours after the first explosion–there could have been one that was ten times worse. That would have taken out half of Europe.

In theory you could have been in range of those effects?

Watson: Definitely in range of radiation fallout…But yeah, it could have been much much worse. It was due to the heroism of the people on the ground who contained it and prevented it from being much worse.

What’s the biggest take away you’d like viewers to get from this series?

Watson: I think it’s a parable for our times. I think you ignore the truth and scientists at your peril.

Stellan Skarsgard plays Boris Shcherbina, the Deputy Head of the Soviet Government at the time.

What did you find surprising from hearing about Chernobyl originally in 1986 and then from working on this project?

Stellan Skarsgard: What I knew from ’86 was what you got from news media, which gave you a sort of superficial idea of what actually happened. What we learned through working with this material is I know now what technically went wrong, how the reactor works and what the mistakes they made were.

You also learn about it [was] more grave, the sort of the political system–the impact that had on the accident. When you have a system that is supposed to be perfect, you cannot allow any dissent in terms of somebody criticizing anything you do or any flaws cannot be accepted. And that then means that the truth was suppressed. It was all over the Soviet Union at the time. I mean truth is suppressed also for other reasons in the west now. I mean when you talk about Fukushima that was money that suppressed truth and created disaster there. In Boeing, you sent planes that are not fit for flying because you want to make money. So another way of suppressing truth and science. I think it’s important, an important film because it–not only because it talks about what we’re doing to this planet, the environment, which is really scary, but it also talks about how important it is that we listen to people who know what they’re talking about.

Facts are facts. They are not just individual ideas. Some facts you have to deal with and you have to accept and we have to listen to scientists. I mean 98% of the scientists in the world say that we are heading for a catastrophe in terms of global warming. We cannot ignore that. Do not ignore that.

Tell us about your character

Skarsgard: My character I’m playing Boris Shcherbina who was a minister in the government and who got the responsibility for cleaning up the mess. And he’s a man who spent his entire life working within the system and defending the system and he ends up realizing that this accident is a result of the system. And he has to question the system and he also has to decide whether he should keep on defending the system that is flawed. Or if he should start defending the truth.

Skarsgard’s next film role is in the highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, DUNE, where he’ll play the villainous Baron Harkonnen

Lauren Damon: Have you begun work on DUNE as Baron Harkonnen?

Skarsgard:I haven’t started shooting yet, we’re still doing prosthetics work

That’s what I was wondering! Because the Baron is such a grotesque character but when you were cast I remember looking at a shot of you as Bootstrap Bill [Skarsgard’s heavily barnacled Pirates of the Caribbean role] and thinking ‘This man can handle anything they put on him!’

Skarsgard: [Laughs] That’s very nice of you! Thank you. I will probably spend probably six to eight hours a day in makeup and it will look fantastic.

“I will probably spend probably six to eight hours a day in makeup and it will look fantastic.” -Stellan Skarsgard on his upcoming DUNE role

What are you most excited about in doing that project?

Skarsgard: It’s a great story. It’s a fantastic world and Denis Villeneuve is a director that I’ve always wanted to work with. So I’m really happy, he’s a wonderful man and a great director. So I think–except for the eight hours in makeup–I think I’ll have a fun time.

Chernobyl airs tonight at 9pm on HBO

“CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!” Blindspot’s Heidi Schnappauf Speaks About Stunt Work

Heidi Schnappauf at Sword Class NYC

When Blindspot enters its fourth season this Friday on NBC, it will of course be bringing the action that has garnered the series multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. While last year burst onto the scene with, amongst other things, Jane Doe and Co in a tank, this year’s premiere has taken Jane (Jaimie Alexander) to Tokyo where she engages in some impressive swordplay with a new adversary. Behind Jane’s hardest hits is Alexander’s stunt double, Heidi Schnappauf, who has been with the show from the first season. Speaking with me at New York Comic Con*, Jaimie Alexander said of Heidi: “Just the hits she takes, the body slams…I don’t know how she’s OK. Half the time I’m terrified for her because she does a lot of the heavy lifting in the fights…And she’s just incredible, she’s an incredible lady.”

Besides Blindspot Schnappauf has an impressive credits list that includes Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Broad City and Orange is the New Black. I was lucky enough to speak with Heidi about her action-packed job this past weekend when Warner Brothers sent us along with her and Jaimie to, fittingly, a beginner Kendo sword lesson!

Lauren Damon: How long have you been with the show?

Heidi Schnappauf: I’ve been with the show all the four seasons, however, I came in toward the end of the first season. I think episode twenty. So right at the end kind of filling in for her old double [Ky Furneaux].

LD: What are your favorite types of stunts?

HS: I love to fight. My main background was fighting. This, sword fighting, was not something I grew up with, but definitely something I picked up on the way and trained a little bit. But fighting, which includes all the falling that we do—getting thrown around—I started at such a young age that I got thrown around a lot when I was in karate as a kid, moving into college years. But I really do love all the hard hits and driving. I’ve been doing stunts driving now for about eight years. So yeah, anything where I’m maybe flying through some glass or getting thrown out of a car, I totally dig it! Any of that.

LD: Have you ever had any major injuries?

HS: I’ve had a few. Biggest injury was not on Blindspot, actually it was right before I got on Blindspot. I was recovering from my biggest injury which was I was doing a high fall and there was faulty landing equipment, it was nobody’s fault, just a one in a billion chance I ended up injuring my neck pretty badly. I was out for about ten months from work, which was a really big bummer actually. And the doctor—I was in the ER from that injury and with you know, on morphine and valium and a neck brace and tears coming out of my eyes—the doctor’s like ‘Oh I guess this is gonna put a damper on your career’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, I really know what I’m going to do next time so I don’t hurt myself’ and he’s like ‘Next time?! Are you nuts?!’…I’m like ‘Well, yeah, I’m just bummed that it’s gonna be a while!’ So that was my most devastating injury. Everyone wanted to cut me open, everyone wanted to do surgery, they wanted to replace my disc, or fuse my spine and all this stuff…I kind of basically talked to doctors until I got the answer I wanted and then I found more doctors to support that.

LD: As a viewer, what are some of your favorite films or tv shows for stunts?

HS: Um…Blindspot? [laughs]…Oh, I really like Supergirl, is that WB? I do like Supergirl. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t watch a lot of TV because I work and I sleep and I try to watch Blindspot. But I do, actually, this new season of Iron Fist is probably my favorite bit of action on tv or Netflix…Blacklist, I love Blacklist. They just have such a variety of stunts on that show. And Game of Thrones. Come on, man, you can’t deny that setting like seventy five stunt people on fire is NOT cool. From a DRAGON. It’s insane.

LD: There’s a faction out there that is pushing for a Best Stunts category at the Academy Awards, how do you feel about that?

HS: I think that’s a good idea since like every other category is out there. I mean, I don’t know how you’d delegate that but I think that’s a good start to just recognizing it. I don’t do stunts, obviously, to be recognized. I love it because I get to kind of be the magician of the action world of film and tv. You don’t really want to give your tricks away, you want to make it an illusion…most, some people I know anyway, don’t do it for the glory. It’s not really about that. It’s about making good work. I would love to see it so it’s recognized as an art and as you know, that magical things that happens isn’t actually magic. It’s people that are putting their bodies and their lives on the line to bring everyone a cool product. CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!

Blindspot season 4 premieres Friday October 12th at 8pm on NBC.

*Check out our full chats with Blindspot stars Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton!

Film Review: “Jane Fonda in Five Acts”

 

 

JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS

Starring:  Jane Fonda, Robert Redford and DickCavet

Directed by:  Susan Lacy

Rated:  Not rated

Running time:  2 hrs 13 mins

HBO Films

 

Here is my Jane Fonda story.  In 2005, Ms. Fonda was in Kansas City to promote a book she had written.  I had been able to get my name on the press list in the off chance of getting a few minutes with the Oscar winning actress for a quick interview.  I can’t remember what, but something came up last minute and I was unable to attend.  Imagine my surprise the next morning when my phone began wringing.  It seems that while she was greeting people in line, a former Vietnam War veteran named MICHAEL SMITH spit tobacco juice on her.  Somehow, my name and contact info was discovered on the press list and people assumed it was me.  I received over 1,000 emails, some thanking “me” and others condemning “me.”  I even was invited to address an upcoming Marine Corps reunion in California.  After about two weeks the furor died down, but it was pretty exciting there for a while.

 

It was almost exactly 47 years ago (September 19, 1971) that President Richard Nixon, on one of his many tape recordings, asked an aide, “What in the world is wrong with Jane Fonda?”

The honest answer?  Not a damn thing!

 

“Jane Fonda in Five Acts” takes a look back at the actresses life and career, beginning when she was just known as Henry Fonda’s daughter.  Along with James Stewart, no other actor so embodied the image of the normal American male than Henry Fonda.  He was, according to his daughter, “a national monument.”  But behind that image was a man who could not express emotions unless he was in front of a camera.  Ms. Fonda is shown a photo of the family at a picnic, to which she explains that the image is staged.  The smiles forced and phony.  She can tell by the look in her mother’s face that she is not happy (Ms. Fonda’s mother dealt with many mental issues and would eventually kill herself.  She and her brother, Peter, were told she’d had a heart attack.  It wasn’t until years later, when Ms. Fonda read about it in a movie magazine, did she learn the truth).

 

As a young woman in her early 20s, she makes her way to the home of famed acting teacher Lee Strasberg.  He accepts her into his classes and, after a couple of months, puts her on the stage.  He recognizes her talents and encourages her to pursue them.  She begins to do small parts on television and in film while also modeling.  Tired of always doing the “cheerleader” roles, she heads to France, where she meets director Roger Vadim.  What follows is marriage, a child and a career changing role as the title character in “Barbarella.”

 

Back in America, she accepts a role in what she calls her first “real” movie, Sydney Pollack’s “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?<” earning her first of seven Academy Award nominations. (NOTE:  I didn’t see “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” until the mid 1980s at a tribute to Sydney Pollack.  If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you do).  Just as she is being taken seriously as an actress she does two things:  cuts her hair and visits Vietnam.

Fonda, shown here with Roy Scheider, won her first Academy Award for her role in the film “Klute.”

Depending on the age of the people you speak with, Fonda is either “a great actress” or “Hanoi Jane.”  There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  She was one of the first major celebrities to speak out against the United States’ involvement in Vietnam.  If there is any criticism now it is some of the ways she spoke out.   In the late 1980’s she apologized to the veterans and their families if her actions make things tougher for them.  A chance meeting with former vet and anti-Vietnam activist Ron Kovic gives her the idea for the film “Coming Home,” which would win her her second Oscar.

 

Now married to activist Tom Hayden, she puts together films that speak to her beliefs.  Many people scoffed at “The China Syndrome,” a film that dealt with a fictional melt-down at a nuclear power plant.  However, two weeks after the film opened there was a real incident at Three Mile Island.  Nobody was scoffing then.  In one of the most emotional moments of the documentary, Ms. Fonda talks about the only film she did with her father, “On Golden Pond.”  She recalls how, during a scene in the film, she surprised her father with a slight touch of his arm, causing the actor to cover his eyes to hide the tears welling up in them.  This would be Henry Fonda’s last film and it earned him his first Academy Award.

 

As the years progress we learn more about the actress and her life.  Needing to raise money for an organization she and her husband had founded, she produced her own workout video, which today remains the most popular home video ever made.  We follow her through her divorce from Hayden and her marriage to media mogul Ted Turner.  She speaks highly of all three of her ex-husbands.  We also meet some of her children, who explain that growing up was not all limos and mansions.  However, in the end, you end up with an amazing story of an amazing person.  At age 80, Jane Fonda is still going strong.  Here’s to act number six!
 

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