Film Review: “The French”

  • THE FRENCH
  • Starring: Bjorn Borg
  • Directed by: William Klein
  • Ratied: unrated
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
It was the Spring of 1981. A former Hollywood actor was the new president. The Soviet Union was a threat to world peace. (Some things haven’t changed.) Tennis rackets were predominantly wooden, but the sport itself was alive and thriving in what was truly a golden age. Originally released in 1982, “The French” is a re-released documentary that gives us unfettered access to some of the greatest legends of tennis as they make their way through the French Open tournament. Thanks to filmmaker William Klein, who is now 96 years old, tennis enthusiasts can bask in the nostalgia of watching the likes of Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, and Ivan Lendl during their peak.
Taking placed from May 25th through June 7th, 1981, the 85th French Open was held per tradition on the outdoor clay courts at Roland Garros in Paris. Klein gives us a backstage pass that allows us to watch private interactions between players as they warm up or as they hang out in the locker room. Better than any “Hard Knocks” episode, “The French” is honest without any frills. We get a true sense of the almost happy-go-lucky nature of Yannick Noah compared to the somber, cool, and determined Borg.
This was an age of tennis when there were all sorts of personalities involved, and the game was played in a much purer form rather than today’s version where titanium rackets smash tennis balls at over 100 mph. The film’s pacing barely hits the speed limit, though, as it often drags along with way too many elongated shots of the crowd rather than focusing more on the players. Furthermore, “The French” focuses most of its time on the men while the female greats are left as almost an afterthought with Evert getting the bulk of the screen time.
The film’s biggest highlight is when McEnroe faces off against Lendl in the quarterfinals. Younger generations have no clue about his legendary tirades on the court and McEnroe does not disappoint during his match. Overall, the lone notable fact about the 1981 tournament is that it was Borg’s 11th Grand Slam title and would ultimately be his last.
Overall, “The French” is a neat look into a time capsule, but will be most enjoyed by tennis fanatics with little appeal beyond that.

Win a Blu-Ray copy of “Spider-man: No Way Home.”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to give one random reader a chance to win a Blu-ray copy of one of last year’s biggest box office hits, “Spider-man: No Way Home.”

 

All you have to do is let us know below what upcoming super hero film you are most looking forward to.  Pretty easy.

 

One random entry will be chosen and notified by email.  This giveaway ends at 10:00 pm EST on Sunday, April 24th.

 

GOOD LUCK!

Film Review: “Lotawana”

Starring: Todd Blubaugh and Nicola Collie
Directed by: Trevor Hawkins
Rated: N/R 
Running Time: 97 minutes

Forrest (Blubaugh) is a wanderer. He spends his days tending to his sailboat, which doubles as his house, on a Missouri lake. He goes to land for essentials and to zip around town on his motorcycle. One day he finds another wanderer named Everly (Collie). The two fall for each other immediately and discuss a future that may never happen.

“Lotawana” reminds me a lot of 2016’s “American Honey,” and not just because both had scenes filmed in and around Kansas City, my hometown. Both films show aimless young adults coming into their own as adults even though they don’t want to become adults and do everything in their power to avoid that inevitability. Forrest, who we literally know almost next to nothing about, enjoys a simple life on a Missouri lake daydreaming about journeys around the globe he will never take. Everly, who we know barely a little bit more about, listens to these daydreams and adds to them. Neither of them is following through with those daydreams, but I won’t spoil why.

As “Lotawana” goes through the motions, we learn very little about our characters, picking up hints from the nature surrounding them as well as interactions they have with people who also live on or around the lake. Because of its vague nature, it wouldn’t surprise me if viewers had different theories as to what is happening and why. Personally, I feel like Forrest and Everly represent two ideologies when it comes to youth.

Forrest appears to be a symbol for privilege. We never really learn what he does or how he has money, but it’s clear he has no problem financially maintaining a boat with food. He also seems to be in no hurry to find a career unless that career is an unpaid internship he gives himself on his boat. Everly, who has a rocky relationship with her family, appears to be fleeing trauma she’s not willing to confront yet, if at all. Both find solace in their wanderlust, but both are following it for wrong reasons, meaning that the happiness we see on screen will eventually turn into conflict unless one of them makes the first move by making an adult decision.

Very rarely do I find myself enjoying a film that features no exposition, much less dialogue that reveals the inner workings or backstory of our characters. Most of the time I’d probably find this frustrating, but thanks to some outstanding cinematography and vignettes involving Forrest and Everly’s relationship, “Lotawana” is gorgeous and serendipitous at times. If “Lotawana” is any indication, first-time film director Trevor Hawkins has a bright future ahead.

Film Review: “A Shot Through the Wall”

Starring: Kenny Leu, Ciara Renee and Clifton Davis
Directed by: Aimee Long
Rated: NR
Running Time: 89 minutes
Vertical Entertainment

There are plenty of days where I feel like nuance is missing. I say that because we have so much content at our fingertips now, it’s hard to really dive into the meat of something. We need to get to the next piece of content to devour, so we look at the headline or photo and move on. Without diving too deep into the realm of politics “A Shot Through the Wall” still manages to do a very impressive job of reminding us that not everything is black and white.

Mike Tan (Leu), the son of two Chinese immigrants, is a fresh-faced street cop in New York City. Unfortunately for him, his white and also fresh-faced partner looks for trouble where it isn’t, spotting a few young African-American teens who “should be in school.” One of those teens flees, for reasons we don’t know and soon won’t care about. Tan, just a dozen steps behind the teen, ends up in an apartment complex, unholsters his gun, but accidentally fires off a shot under pressure. That one accidental gunshot enters an apartment, killing an African-American man and setting off a chain of events.

“A Shot Through the Wall” plays with a lot of unfortunate things that happen during officer-involved shootings. We see the immediate outrage from the public, even when all the facts aren’t in yet. We also see the cellphone footage that’s released of Officer Tan attempting to revive the man he accidentally shot. What the cellphone doesn’t capture, is everything that led up to that shooting, as well as everything after. Nonetheless, the cellphone footage captures only one part of the incident which still paints Officer Tan in a negative light. We also see accusations of racism and conspiratorial thinking along the lines of police cover-ups, as well as the threat of vigilantes looking for their own brand of justice. On the flip side, we do see how police attempt to smooth things over, through potential plea deals and PR campaigns. While all of this is interesting, that’s not what makes “A Shot Through the Wall” unique, because we’ve seen this before in other movies.

“A Shot Through the Wall” takes us through the emotional toll this takes on Tan, his family, his African-American fiancée and others. The movie does make a critical mistake in not showing us the emotional pain the actual victims family and friends are going through, but that may also be a creative choice on the end of Aimee Long in her first written and directed film. She’s not shy about showing some unmentionable truths, like the fact that Tan isn’t racist at all, but his parents are. Or the fact that Tan goes back and forth on whether or not to put his relationship on the line by publicly proclaiming, “I have a black girlfriend, so I can’t be a racist who shot an unarmed black man.”

In the end though, and throughout the movie, the audience has to wonder: Is Officer Tan innocent? It’s a tough call and the movie, to it’s credits, opts to let Officer Tan say if he is or isn’t himself before the credits roll. “A Shot Through the Wall” isn’t about red vs. blue, Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter, or any of the usual nonsense that’s associated with officer-involved shootings nowadays. It’s about the pain of it all. For that, I’m grateful I watched “A Shot Through the Wall” because we sometimes need a reminder that we’re all humans on this random spinning globe and the only way to confront pain is head-on.

5 Top Reasons Why Gamblers Choose a Casino Not on GamStop

GamStop is an effective measure against gambling addiction. Players who struggle to control their spending may exclude themselves from the biggest sites. This closes access to UKGC-licensed casinos, but you can access the best games through other sites. Are there any legit reasons to do so?

Actually, quite a few. If you look at non-GamStop operators listed at CasinoWise, you will see that these are trusted platforms packed with first-class entertainment. We have looked at the latest reviews, casino features, and other factors to come up with these five strengths.

1.  Fewer Restrictions

The first reason is obvious. You can easily gain access even if you are on the GamStop list. These platforms are powered by excellent software products. Usually, the sites accept visitors from all parts of the United Kingdom. Any limitations are only moderate. You can resume playing at any time you like, without much effort.

2.  Safety of Transactions

These websites are also licensed, so they are safe and secure. Deposits and withdrawals are accepted through a range of methods. Players appreciate the convenience of payments. Support is also reachable at any time of day or night.

3.  Smooth Gameplay

These casinos are also optimized for mobile use. Their games work on any desktop or portable device, such as a tablet or a smartphone. The sites adapt to smaller screens perfectly. All of your favourite games are easy to play on the go.

4.  Range of Games

These casinos have spectacular collections of top-rated content. You may find all of the games you adore, be it blackjack or video slots. One platform may be packed with hundreds of titles from as many as 80 studios. You are bound to find your favourites and discover other thrilling games.

Usually, the collection is divided into categories: table games, slots, and live dealer options. You may connect to a real croupier and play in real-time. This is the most realistic type of gambling to date. Finally, you may find games that are not usually found at UKGC casinos, such as slots with large jackpots.

5.  Better Bonuses

Like any other gambling sites, these casinos have different rewards and incentives to keep new and existing members inspired. The platforms do not have to comply with tough regulations, so they spend less on extra services, and offer higher bonuses as a result.

As a new member, you may be eligible for free spins, match bonuses, or enticing gifts. These translate into hours of free playtime. Loyalty systems add another layer of rewards like higher bonuses and exclusive games.

Final Words

Casinos outside of GamStop usually have a license from offline jurisdictions. They are safe and secure, just like the restricted sites. You will find hundreds of games, high bonuses, impeccable graphics, and sound effects. Overall, this is a great way to enjoy gambling despite self-exclusion.

Win a Blu-ray Copy of the New Film “Caveat”

 

Media Mikes is giving two random readers a chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the new film “Caveat.”

All you have to do is comment below what film you are most looking forward to seeing this holiday season.  Two random comments will be chosen and they will each receive a Blu-ray copy of the film.  Pretty simple!  This giveaway ends at 10:00 pm EST on Thursday, November 18th.  Good luck!

Written and directed by Damian Mc Carthy in his feature directorial debut, CAVEAT stars Ben Caplan (“Band of Brothers”), Jonathan French (The Anniversary), Leila Sykes (“Missing Something), Inma Pavon (Felicidad) and Conor Dwane (Christmas at Draculas).

SYNOPSIS: In desperate need of money, Isaac accepts a job looking after his landlord’s niece, Olga, for a few days. But there is a catch. He must wear a leather harness and chain that restricts his movements to certain rooms in order to protect Olga’s extremely frail mental state. Once left alone with Isaac, Olga exhibits erratic behavior, while Isaac makes horrific discoveries in the house that trigger a deeply buried, traumatic memory.

Win A Free Blu-ray Copy of “The Water Man”

Media Mikes is offering four of it’s readers the chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the film “The Water Man,” directed by and starring David Oyelowo as well as Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina.

All you need to do is comment “Yes” below. Pretty simple! Four random entries will be chosen and they will receive a Blu-ray copy of the film. This contest ends at 12:00 a.m. (Midnight) on August 29th. Winners chosen will be notified by email. Good luck!

You can watch the trailer HERE.

Fountain City Mini-Con a Welcome Addition to the Midwest

As summer heads into it’s last month, comic fans in Kansas City were treated to an event that was designed for THEM. And they found it this past Saturday at the Fountain City Mini-Con, held at the Lenexa Community Center in Lenexa, Kansas.

Packed wall to wall with dealers and guest artists, a non-stop throng of fans stopped by to talk comics with some of the genre’s best. Non-comic fans were impressed with the variety of dealers represented, providing the opportunity to pick up anything from t-shirts and games to the new NECA JAWS “Quint” figure (guilty).

Artist Aaron Lopresti does a sketch for a fan. You gotta love the shirt!

What I loved seeing the most, and I love seeing this at every show I attend, were the youngsters under 12, many in costumes, that walked the aisles with their folks, hopefully making memories that will last a lifetime. Think I’m kidding. I’m 60 years old and my first con was “Alien Encounters” in Tampa, Florida in 1978. Yes, I was a late bloomer but I’ve more than made up for it!

The Flash took time out from his busy schedule to tour the dealer’s room.

If you’re kicking yourself and thinking, “damn, I missed it,” you’ll be happy to know that there will be another show on Saturday, October 23. If you’re interested in attending, please click HERE.

Mr. Macabre

Largest free-standing White Castle in the world opens it’s doors in Orlando, FL!

Growing up in Long Island, NY, White Castle was a big part of my childhood. In Massapequa, NY stood my local White Castle, which is one of their 360 stores over 13 states. When I moved to Florida in 2010, I have spend the last 11 years craving America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, White Castle. White Castle was founded in 1921 as a family-owned business satisfying cravings and is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary. Well my years of waiting are now over, since the Orlando Castle marks the iconic brand’s return to Florida since operating a Castle in Miami in the 1960s. The Orlando Castle, scheduled to open on May 3rd, is located in southwest Orlando at 11595 Daryl Carter Parkway at The Village at O-Town West, part of the $1 billion O-Town West mixed-use development at the intersection of Palm Parkway and Daryl Carter Parkway off of I-4. The 4,567-square-foot restaurant includes 72 indoors and 56 outdoors seating and 2 Drive Thru lanes. This newest Castle features the iconic tower in a sleek, modern industrial-style architectural design. To provide a memorable experience for customers, hospitality doors will take the place of Drive Thru windows to allow team members to walk out to cars in the Drive Thru lane. After seeing it for myself just know that it is literally better than any “fast food” restaurant that I have ever seen. But as bragging rights for me will lie in the fact that I know have the largest free-standing White Castle in the world right in my backyard.

Having been onsite already to this new location and trying the food, I can say that they definitely have succeeded in bringing quality of White Castle to Florida! I couldn’t have asked for more. The staff was on-point. The kitchen looks like a well-oiled machine. The management seem just as excited as us fans that came. That’s the best part is sharing stories with other White Castle fans. I just hope that this White Castle partners with UBER EATS because I will be using that service very frequently my weekly Crave Cases personal cravings. Seriously though, I going to need to be able to order these sliders daily for sure!

If you want to be one of the first try the new White Castle, the Orlando Castle will be open for take-out, dine-in and drive-through service from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on grand opening day, May 3rd, and then reopen on Tuesday with regular operating hours, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days per week. At some point in the future, White Castle will operate 24 hours per day. Guests can “crave on” with a maximum order of 60 sliders per visit. So calling all White Castle fans!! Let’s prove that bringing White Castle to Orlando was not a mistake and that we want it to stay and grow here in Orlando. See you out there May 3rd!

About White Castle®
White Castle, America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, has been making hot and tasty Sliders as a family-owned business for 100 years. Based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle started serving The Original Slider® in 1921. Today White Castle owns and operates more than 360 restaurants dedicated to satisfying customers’ cravings morning, noon and night and sells its famous fare in retail stores nationwide. The Original Slider, named in 2014 as Time Magazine’s most influential burger of all time, is served alongside a menu of creatively crafted sliders and other mouthwatering food options, including White Castle’s Impossible™ Slider, named by Thrillist in 2019 as the “Best Plant-Based Fast Food Burger.” White Castle’s commitment to maintaining the highest quality products extends to the company owning and operating its own meat processing plants, bakeries and frozen-food processing plants. White Castle is known for its faithful fans, affectionately referred to as Cravers, many of whom compete each year for entry into the Cravers Hall of Fame. The official White Castle app, available at iTunes App Store or Google Play, makes it easy for Cravers to access sweet deals and place pickup orders any time. They can also have their orders delivered using one of White Castle’s delivery partners. For more information on White Castle, visit whitecastle.com.

BLACK VEIL BRIDES TO RELEASE “THE PHANTOM TOMORROW” ON JUNE 4 VIA SUMERIAN RECORDS.

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

WWW.PHANTOMTOMORROW.COM 

New Video For Song “Fields Of Bone” Directed By Andy Biersack 
Can Be Seen Here: https://youtu.be/JR37XyIXqPg

On the heels of their first-ever virtual acoustic radio tour Acoustour and after teasing fans for days on social media, Los Angeles rockers Black Veil Brides have released the full details of their upcoming 6th studio album, The Phantom Tomorrow. The new album is scheduled for release on June 4th via Sumerian Records and is a concept record based on a story idea created by vocalist Andy Biersack. The album is comprised of a dozen tracks and has spawned the current Top 20 Active Rock single “Scarlet Cross.” The cover artwork for The Phantom Tomorrow was created by Eliran Kantor – known for his work with Testament, Hatebreed, Havok and Andy Black to name a few. The Phantom Tomorrow is produced by Erik Ron (Godsmack, Dance Gavin Dance, Bush) and co-produced by guitarist Jake Pitts – is available for pre-order in various bundle configurations here: www.phantomtomorrow.com.   

To coincide with the announcement of The Phantom TomorrowBlack Veil Brides are releasing the next music video from the upcoming album. The video for “Fields Of Bone” marks the directorial debut by vocalist Andy Biersack. Backed by guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinxx, bassist Lonny Eagleton and drummer Christian Coma; the video picks up where the “Scarlet Cross” video (http://smarturl.it/scarletcross)  left off. The main character “The Blackbird” returns to square off against “9,” his adversary depicted throughout the “Fields OF Bone” video. He has been used in the band’s tease posts all week. The video also showcases the new look the band will be utilizing throughout the entire cycle for The Phantom Tomorrow. The video for “Fields Of Bone” can be seen here: https://youtu.be/JR37XyIXqPg

The track listing for The Phantom Tomorrow is:    

1)    The Phantom Tomorrow (introduction)                   

2)    Scarlet Cross                  

3)    Born Again                  

4)    Blackbird                  

5)    Spectres (Interlude)                  

6)    Torch                  

7)    The Wicked One                  

8)    Shadows Rise                  

9)    Fields Of Bone                  

10)  Crimson Sky                  

11)  Kill The Hero                  

12)  Fall Eternal

Photo Credit: Joshua Shultz
L to R: Christian Coma (Drums), Jinxx (Guitars), Andy Biersack (Vocals), Jake Pitts (Guitars), Lonny Eagleton (Bass)

Sonny Vincent and Bobby Liebling Discuss Their New Band The Limit and The Album “Caveman Logic”

The Limit are a newly formed heavy rock band that is set to release their debut album “Caveman Logic” on April 9th. Consisting of Bobby Liebling (Pentagram), Jimmy Recca (ex-The Stooges), Sonny Vincent (Testors), Hugo Conim (Dawnrider) and Joao Pedro (Dawnrider) the bands five members combine their diverse talents to craft a unique sound which is equal parts punk and doom. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Bobby and Sonny about the group’s formation and their new album.

Adam Lawton: How did the group initially come together?

Sonny Vincent: We didn’t know each other really at all. Bobby and I have a mutual friend who was my tour bus driver on a couple of tours. He played Bobby my music and after that he gave me a call. We started talking over the phone and got to know each other pretty well. After awhile we started to get serious and thought we should make an album

Bobby Liebling: After talking for awhile we decided to give Jimmy Recca a call as he was a guy, we both knew. Sonny had worked with Hugo Conim previous and he had just gotten a new drummer (Joao Pedro) that he was going to bring along as well to start recording in Maryland. That ultimately didn’t work out and we ended up traveling to Portugal to make the album.

SV: None of us new each other well. Aside from meeting briefly over the years and talking on the phone that was really it. Now Bobby, Jimmy and I were flying to Portugal to meet these other two guys. It was sort of “Lord of the Flies” at first because Bobby and I are used to running the show in our other projects. Add in Jimmy, Hugo and Joao and everything but the music at first was this weird nightmare. We had a killer engineer and the music turned out better than we had expected.

AL: What was the writing process like?

SV: Bobby and I had written a bunch of songs together. I would have the riffs and song structures and then Bobby would come in with the melody. We had some songs together prior going to Portugal but there were some lyrics that still had to be finished.

BL: We still had to do the arrangements once we got there with the whole band. There was some switching around and extending certain parts we did in order to make them all fit.

SV: I had sent the songs to Jimmy prior to leaving so he could get all his parts down. He actually got a little mad as he had learned the songs the way they were originally sent to him then we ended up changing a bunch of parts, so he had to go back and learn them again but with all the changes.

BL: He was pretty pissed. I do remember that.

AL: Was this how you have worked in your previous projects?

SV: We both approached this in different ways. Sometimes you start with the lyrics and then add the music or its the other way around. I know Bobby has done things differently as well. In fact, he told me about one album where he virtually played everything but drums.

BL: When we go in to do a Pentagram album, I am used to the whole band being there in the same place. We then take a good three to six months to play and plan everything out that way when you get to the studio you can bang out each song pretty quickly. We sort of stumbled our way through things with this project.

SV: I know that was one of the things that was pretty difficult for Bobby being in the past he has always worked in a very methodical way. I don’t do that.

BL: Sonny has worked with a lot of different people where I have worked in a more stabilized environment. Yes, Pentagram has switched members, but we have been together for fifty years so of course you’re going to have some member changes. Not many guys are going to dedicate half a century to a project. Sonny has a much bigger network of people that he has worked with. He has worked more as a solo artist per say where he reaches out to well know players for an album and after that he moves on.

SV: Early on I wanted to have a group with a solid lineup, but something was always happening where members couldn’t stay. I knew I wasn’t going to break up with myself, so I just decided to skip the whole band thing.

BL: I have always been opposite where I am the guy continually waving the Pentagram flag and bringing in new members to keep the band moving.

SV: With us coming from such different styles there was a good amount of stress at the start for sure. We got passed it and we found that we generally did agree on how things should go.

BL: We knew this was for the cause of making each song our child. You then groom that child to have certain traits which each person feels is best for them.

AL: How did you go about choosing the first three singles that have been released?

SV: The first two released were “Black Seas” and “Kitty Gone”. Those were both quite popular and the label asked us to do one for “Death of My Soul”. They felt this song really showed the scope of what we do. For the video I knew a guy in Canada who is a professional film maker. I was originally going to give him some guidance as to what we were looking for but decided not to as I wanted to let him come up with what he thought fit the song. He shot it and sent it back and then I took it to the label and they really liked it, so we were all happy.

BL: We had a lot of artistic freedom when it came to picking songs. However, our label has a staff of nine people who have to arbitrate over decisions and of course not everyone is going to think the same thing.

SV: The singles were a bit difficult especially the first one. Hugo and I worked for about a month on that when I looked at it there was something missing. It just didn’t have the emotion to tie everything together. Even though we had made it ourselves I just wasn’t happy. We ended up sending that to the record company and they had some who worked there that took parts of what we did and mixed it with some new things and that helped a lot. The final version made you feel things as you were watching and that’s what I was going for. With “Kitty Gone” we used the same guy at the label, and we shared ideas and that one turned out much better.

BL: That one is fantastic as far as I am concerned. You can actually watch it and lyrically follow it as if you are watching a film where people are talking to one another. You can really follow it from scene to scene. It has a screenplay type feel.

AL: Prior to COVID-19 were there plans to tour and, if so, are you still planning to do so when possible?

SV: We didn’t put any barriers up against doing things at first. We went in to do the album and while listening to the rough mixes we thought it could be cool to play these for people. When we heard the final mixes, we got really excited. There are offers for the band to perform and we are interested but things are still very uncertain due to COVID-19. We just have to wait and see what is going to happen.

AL: Do you see The Limit as a one-time thing or are you interested in working more together as a group?

SV: We want to do another album. We all know each other more now and at the start of this record there were things that moved in a negative way. We had a thirty-four-hour travel time to Portugal, during that trip Jimmy had lost his wallet at one point and was back tracking his steps trying to find it. He asked Bobby and I to watch his bag. We got talking and accidentally walked away from the bag. We saw Jimmy at a coffee shop, and he asked where his bag was. He of course got mad and thought that we didn’t care about him enough to even watch his bag. That set things off in the wrong direction.

BL: That layover in the London airport was fourteen hours by itself. We were already ten to fifteen hours into the thing prior to this layover and then we had another flight to get to Portugal. It was a pretty rough start to say the least.

For more info on The Limit and their debut album “Caveman Logic” click here.

BAD RELIGION SHARE “EMANCIPATION OF THE MIND”

Preeminent Los Angeles band Bad Religion have just released “Emancipation Of The Mind,” an outtake from the band’s critically acclaimed 2019 album Age Of Unreason. The track’s upbeat messaging calls for reason and open-mindedness as a new administration is welcomed into the White House today. Bad Religion have always advocated for humanism, reason, and individualism, which has never been more essential.

“I think the song really is a celebration of enlightenment values that can be cultivated through enthusiastic learning and open-mindedness,” says co-songwriter and vocalist Greg Graffin. “So often we’re told what to think. But learning how to think (as opposed to learning what to think) is a true feeling of emancipation from the constraints of indoctrination that are so commonplace in our society.”

LISTEN TO “EMANCIPATION OF THE MIND”

ABOUT BAD RELIGION
Bad Religion,
 formed in 1980 in the suburbs of Los Angeles, has become synonymous with intelligent and provocative West Coast punk rock and are considered one of the most influential and important bands in the genre. Bad Religion has continually pushed social boundaries and questioned authority and beliefs armed only with propulsive guitars, charging drumbeats, thoughtful lyrics and an undying will to inspire and provoke anyone who will listen.

The band’s critically acclaimed 17th studio album Age of Unreason offers a fiery and intensely relevant musical response to the times, with songs that address a myriad of socio-political maladies, including conspiracy theories, racist rallies, Trump’s election, the erosion of the middle class, alternative facts and more. There is a stylistic consistency to the band’s iconic and influential sound – hard fast beats, big hooks and rousing choruses, yet each new song remains distinctive, utilizing composition, melody and lyrics to deliver a unique narrative consistent with the band’s longstanding humanist worldview.

Film Review: “Synchronic”

Starring: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan and Katie Aselton
Directed by: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Rated: R
Running Time: 103 minutes
Well Go USA Entertainment

Unfortunately I’ve known too many people who’ve taken hallucinogens and claim that it has altered their perceptions and opened their minds to the world. Having never done hard drugs like DMT, I can’t speak to whether or not they did view some other worldly, but I feel like those who’ve known people who’ve taken drugs like peyote or acid can attest to the fact that habitual use or people who’ve tried multiple times will talk your ear off about how it’s revealed the world around them. There’s even a scientific community that believes hallucinogens had a hand in helping early man evolve into homosapiens. Regardless, what if that other worldly visit was real?

Steve (Mackie) and Dennis (Dornan) are New Orleans paramedics, who’ve dealt with a lot of bizarre overdoses. First off, the drug is unrecognizable and the packaging simply states ‘Synchronic.’ Secondly, some of these overdose crime scenes are unusual. One crime scene in particular left behind a message sprawled on the wall which stated, ‘Time is a lie.’ Dennis, a happily married father, doesn’t stray too much into what’s going on, but Steve wants to pry. That prying is because Steve has a terminal diagnosis, no family, and a lot of one-night stands who offer no comfort.

I won’t reveal too much about the crux of the film, the drug, because I feel like it’s a decent reveal, even though the film really spoon feeds the details so you should be able to realize what’s going on fairly early. While this would sink most films, “Synchronic” thrives because of it’s personal stories, the atmosphere it crafts and being a unique, fun genre blend. It finds a way to be an emotional buddy film, a sprawling sci-fi, and at times, a tense thriller. While I haven’t seen the previous films made by directors Benson and Moorhead, I might have to with how well crafted “Synchronic” is.

“Synchronic” doesn’t reinvent any sci-fi wheel, but it keeps you engaged and manages to pull off a few tricks along the way. Another key ingredient to the film’s entertainment is cleverly explaining everything, without explaining to the point where they create their own plothole. The intricacies of the sci-fi and humans on screen are taken care of so-well, you’re bound to forget and ignore most of the film’s flaws. 

Film Review: “Push”

Directed by: Fredrik Gerten
Rated: NR
Running Time: 92 minutes

With a moratorium on evictions and millions still unemployed in the U.S. because of the pandemic, it seems odd that house prices are at an all-time high and are expected to stay that way through 2021. Most economists would even agree that nothing makes sense this year as COVID-19 continues to rack up an astronomically high body count. But the documentary “Push” points out how something isn’t what it seems. The opportunity for affordable housing in the future is a pipe dream right now. Any remain chance is slowly beating whittled away by global conglomerates that are purchasing, hoarding, and stealing money for their own real estate monopoly aspirations. As if 2020 wasn’t depressing enough…

“Push” opens on a very familiar sight, at least for some, the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. I remember this vividly because it was the last year I had cable before pulling the plug. My cable service gave me the BBC so as soon as I saw American outlets reporting a massive structure fire in London, I flipped on the BBC to see the horror as flames enveloped a low-income residential tower. The BBC was showing clips of people waving, pleading for help from their windows, as well as airing 911 calls. Yet it seemed like the news cycle passed it by in America, especially since terrorism wasn’t the culprit. Instead it should have served as a warning about the woeful ignorance and carelessness of modern day slum lords.

“Push” meticulously lays out the dire situation we are in on a global level. Companies are buying up real-estate willy-nilly, with no regulations to stop them. While the settings are in Europe, every story and situation speaks on a human, global level. In a roundabout way this is contributing to income equality. Historically, buying and owning real estate was a way for poor to middle class residents of all countries to build their own personal wealth. But now real estate costs too much. There’s also forced gentrification (can’t blame Millennials on this one) where companies force people out of their homes or apartment complexes in a neighborhood property grab. At one point, the documentary shows a London suburb and how the majority of it was owned by foreign entities. It then shows how some of that real-estate corporations simply sit on empty properties despite no one to rent to. But these companies find ways to make money even when their property sits empty.

If you think that sounds bad, “Push” has a lot more horrifying scenarios and realities to unveil. The documentary shows you statistics and dramatic imagery that will rattle you to the core. Even if you yourself are a property owner, you won’t believe the things that are happening in sprawling urban areas. Not only are cities being groomed to be inhabited by the super-rich, but there’s an intentional effort to muscle out mom and pop stores or people who work out of their homes. Also if you live out in the country and think you’re safe, just wait until the documentary gets to the part about how these thirsty businesses are salivating over your 401k. 

The email screener for this movie stated, “ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FILMS OF 2020!!!!” First off, I don’t like superlatives because 2020 isn’t over yet and secondly, I don’t like exclamation points. In this instance though, I almost agree. Out of all the political documentaries I’ve watched this year, this one doesn’t just impact us this year, or just impact Americans. This is a documentary that impacts every living person on this planet right now. If you don’t watch “Push,” one day you’re going to wake up and wonder why you’re being priced out of your neighborhood, your home, your apartment, or whatever dwelling you find yourself in. Unfortunately, they’re coming for you, even if you don’t think so.

ACE FREHLEY RELEASES NEW ALBUM ORIGINS VOL. 2 VIA ENTERTAINMENT ONE

FEATURING JOHN 5, LITA FORD, BRUCE KULICK,
ROBIN ZANDER & MORE

Founding KISS guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Ace Frehley released his highly-anticipated second collection of eleven rock ‘n’ roll covers, titled Origins Vol. 2, today via Entertainment One (eOne). The record acts as the sequel to Frehley’s 2016 album Origins Vol. 1 and continues his reflections on a lifetime in music and inspiration.

Frehley is joined by friends on guest appearances, such as Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, former KISS comrade Bruce Kulick, John 5, and Lita Ford. Frehley and company tackle high energy versions of deep cuts and classics by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and other musical touchstones of rock.

No stranger to cover versions throughout his musical history — having recorded, rebranded, and repossessed such notable nuggets as “New York Groove,” “Do Ya” and “I Wanna Go Back” throughout his eight previous studio efforts — this new collection presents a thoughtful and exciting selection of songs that inspired and helped shape the legendary guitarist.

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