GUNS N’ ROSES’ DUFF McKAGAN RELEASES TENDERNESS

ALBUM PRODUCED BY AND FEATURING GRAMMY®WINNER SHOOTER JENNINGS

ON TOUR NOW – PLAYING DC TONIGHT

SEATTLE MARINERS HOSTING “DUFF McKAGAN NIGHT” ON JUNE 17 @ T-MOBILE PARK

McKAGAN TEAMS WITH NON-PROFITS FOR SOCIAL CAUSE CAMPAIGN

Today sees the release of TENDERNESS, the much-anticipated solo album from Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan – click HERE to stream/purchase.

Produced by (and featuring) recent Grammy winner Shooter Jennings, TENDERNESS (UMe) sees McKagan reflecting on his experiences traveling the globe over two and a half years on Guns N’ Roses’  Not In This Lifetime tour.  Encountering heartbreak, anger, fear, confusion and divide on his travels during this tumultuous time in our world history, McKagan channeled a collective hurt into songs of monolithic power. 

On June 17th, the Seattle Mariners will celebrate the release of TENDERNESS by hosting “Duff McKagan Night” at T-Mobile Park. Package options include a ticket to see the game, a ticket to Duff’s June 16th gig at Showbox, a limited edition Mariners/Duff t-shirt, a copy of TENDERNESS and more – click HERE for additional info. McKagan’s Seattle takeover includes an instore at local music shop Easy Street Records on June 18th.

The June 16th Showbox date is part of McKagan’s North American tour, which kicked off last night in Philadelphia and will be followed by a European run that begins August 22 in Poland. All tour dates see Duff backed by Shooter Jennings and his band (see itinerary below). The shows will see McKagan bringing TENDERNESS to life, along with a few surprises.

The album, meanwhile, is getting rave reviews. Here’s what the press is saying:

“McKagan and Jennings have crafted an acoustic-Thunderous masterwork. Urgently and unflinchingly addressing the pressing issues of this bleak political era,
Tenderness is one of the most crucial and topical albums of 2019 — yet its heart-on-leather-sleeve vulnerability also makes it an instant Americana classic.”
– Lyndsey Parker, Yahoo Entertainment

“…a superb set of roots-rock ruminations…with Jennings’ help, [McKagan] crafted a mix of rock and Americana evoking both the Glimmer Twins and the Gutter Twins…”
– Sarah Rodman, Entertainment Weekly

“On Tenderness, Duff McKagan takes a hard look at some of the most important issues facing our country right now, and delivers his message with a musical vibe that’s equal parts Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Lies-era Guns N’ Roses.”
–  Spencer Kaufman, Consequence of Sound

“The record is miles away from the type of hard rock McKagan is known for playing with Guns N’ Roses or Velvet Revolver, or the more gritty and punky sounds he immersed himself in as a teenager in Seattle or with his own 2000s-era solo band, Loaded. Rather, these are intimate, stripped-down compositions, centered around McKagan’s strummed acoustic guitar and raw vocals, that run the gamut from the piano-based title track to the Rolling Stones–like “Chip Away,” a call to strength in the face of social and cultural injustice. Other standouts include the pedal steel–inflected “Last September,” which tells the story of an abusive relationship, and the haunting “Parkland,” which captures the dichotomous feelings of shock and numbness that characterize the American reaction to school shootings and other acts of mass violence. To be sure, these are big-picture songs that focus on topics affecting all people.”
–  Rich Bienstock, Guitar Player

“People are going to herald this as one of the best albums of the year. This is Americana-Duff McKagan. It’s not what you expect.”
– Larry Flick, SiriusXM radio host

“Best Crossover Album” (Best of LA Music Issue)
–  Brett Callwood, LA Weekly

“..A somber, deliberate work…evokes Mark Lanegan-style Americana…”
– Alison Stewart, Chicago Tribune

McKagan has created a campaign that puts the album’s themes into action and he’s inviting fans to join him in an effort to give support to organizations doing great work. Those include Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, 320 Changes Direction, and To Write Love on Her Arms, among others. For more information, please visitpropeller.la/duff.

Photo By: Albert Sanchez

Tour Dates

Friday May 31st – City Winery, Washington, DC 
Saturday June 1st – City Winery, Boston, MA 
Monday June 3rd  – Irving Plaza, New York, NY
Thursday June 6th  – Thalia Hall, Chicago, IL 
Saturday June 8th – Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN 
Monday June 10th  – Historic Scoot Inn, Austin, TX 
Thursday June 13th  – El Rey, Los Angeles, CA 
Friday June 14th – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA 
Saturday June 15th – Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR 
Sunday June 16th – Showbox Presents, Seattle, WA 
Thursday August 22nd  – Stodola, Warsaw POLAND
Friday August 23rd – Astra, Berlin GERMANY
Saturday August 24th – Blue Moon Festival, Amsterdam HOLLAND
Monday August 26th – Gloria, Cologne GERMANY
Tuesday August 27th – Alte Feurwache, Mannheim GERMANY
Thursday August 29th – Islington Assembly Hall, London UK
Saturday August 31st – Electric Picnic Festival, Dublin EIRE
Sunday September 1st – Academy, Manchester UK
Tuesday September 3rd – Le Trabendo, Paris FRANCE
Wednesday September 4th  – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels BELGIUM
Friday September 6th – Dynamo, Zurich SWITZERLAND
Sunday September 8th – Saniera Club, Milan ITALY

2019 Summer Movie Preview

As Memorial Day has come and gone, it’s time once again to take a look at some of the films being offered to us for our air conditioned enjoyment. As always, special thanks to our friends at the Internet Movie Database for some synopsis information. Opening dates shown are subject to change at the whim of the studios.
(*) denotes a film that one of Media Mikes’ critics are especially looking forward to.

MAY 31st

*ROCKETMAN
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell and Bryce Dallas Howard
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher

At first I was shocked when I heard about this film. Harlan Williams playing Elton John??? Then I realized it was a different Rocketman. Following in the footsteps of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” this bio-pic tells the story of one Reginald Dwight, who the world knows as Sir Elton John. Director Fletcher took over for Bryan Singer on “Bohemian Rhapsody” and early reviews say this film is equally good.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
Starring: Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra
Directed by: Michael Dougherty

The big guy is back and he’s bringing his pals with him.

MA
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis
Directed by: Tate Taylor

The Podcast gang spent a lot of time trying to come up with the plot to this one. Give it a listen and let us know if we got it right.

JUNE 7th

DARK PHOENIX
Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender
Directed by: Simon Kinberg

Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world. Though it’s being released by Disney, this was originally a 20th Century Fox property. Now that the MCU is ALMOST one big happy family, I’m curious if the X-men will show up in a future Avengers film.

*LATE NIGHT
Starring: Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow and Emma Thompson
Directed by: Nisha Ganatra

A late night talk show host suspects that she may soon be losing her long-running show. Kaling is always fun to watch and I’ve been in love with Emma Thompson since “The Tall Guy!”

*THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2
Starring the voices of: Kevin Hart and Patton Oswalt
Directed by: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val

Continuing the story of Max and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day. Hopefully in this one, Hart’s Snowball isn’t homicidal.

JUNE 14th

AMERICAN WOMAN
Starring: Sienna Miller, Aaron Paul
Directed by: Jake Scott

A woman raises her young grandson after her daughter goes missing.

*MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson
Directed by: F. Gary Gray

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Sadly, the newbies won’t be trained by agents J or K.

JUNE 21st

CHILD’S PLAY
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Tim Matheson
Directed by: Lars Klevberg

Hollywood again picks the bones of a dead franchise and tries to breathe new life into it. The bad news: Brad Dourif is not the voice of Chucky. The good news: Mark Hamill is.

TOY STORY 4
Starring the voices of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Directed by: Josh Cooley

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy. Disney’s movie about toys dolls is going to kick the crap out the Universal’s movie about a toy doll at the box office.

JUNE 28th

ANNABELLE COMES HOME

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson
Directed by: Gary Dauberman

Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing. But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target-the Warrens’ ten-year-old daughter, Judy, and her friends. The real Lorraine Warren recently passed away, for those of you keeping score at home.

*YESTERDAY

Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James
Directed by: Danny Boyle

A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed. Written by the great Richard Curtis – who also wrote “The Tall Guy,” the movie I first fell in love with Emma Thompson with.

JULY 2nd

*SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
Starring: Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei
Directed by: Jon Watts

Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. I’m guessing the start of Phase 3 of the MCU? Love Holland as Spidey and Batalon’s Ned is one of my favorite movie side-kicks ever.

JULY 12th

*STUBER
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista
Directed by: Michael Dowse

A detective recruits his Uber driver into an unexpected night of adventure. As someone that has driven for Uber I will admit I’m intrigued. The most exciting thing that ever happened to me was a woman breaking up with her boyfriend in the back of my car!

JULY 19th

THE LION KING
Starring the voices of: Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and Beyonce’
Directed by: Jon Favreau

For those of you who have been on Mars for the last 25 years: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery. Favreau worked miracles with his version of “The Jungle Book” and Disney is hoping this is another “Aladdin,” not “Dumbo.”

JULY 26th

*ONCE UPON A TIME IN… HOLLYWOOD
Starring: Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margo Robbie
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

It’s the summer of 1969 and a lot of things are happening in Hollywood. Sex. Drugs. And Charles Manson. As advertised, this is the 9th film directed by Tarantino, who has always said he plans on making 10 and retiring. I challenge you to find a filmmaker that has made as many films as he has without making a dud. Even my favorite director, Steven Spielberg, has made a misstep (I’m looking at YOU, “Hook”).

AUGUST 2nd

FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS and SHAW
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and lots of cars
Directed by: David Leitch

When the eighth film in this franchise came out I joked on our Podcast that the next one would be called “Fine and Furious,” because “fine” rhymes with “nine.” However, to avoid paying me money, Universal has chosen this title. Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity. I’ve only seen the original and part 5. However, the addition of Idris Elba as the villain might pull me into the theatre for this one.

AUGUST 9th

*SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
Starring: Michael Garza and Austin Zajur
Directed by: André Øvredal

A group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives. Podcast co-host Loey Lockerby says that these books scared the hell out of her when she was a kid.

AUGUST 16th

47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED
Starring: John Corbett, Nia Long
Directed by: Johannes Roberts

Four teen girls diving in a ruined underwater city quickly learn they’ve entered the territory of the deadliest shark species in the claustrophobic labyrinth of submerged caves. Why isn’t this being called “48 Meters Down?”

*WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Kristin Wiig and Laurence Fishburne
Directed by: Richard Linklater

A loving mom becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.

AUGUST 30th

In Germany, our movie would be called “De Scheisse”

PLAYMOBIL THE MOVIE
Starring the voices of: Daniel Radcliffe and Kenan Thompson
Directed by: Lino DiSalvo

Animated feature film inspired by the Playmobil brand toys. Are you ****ing kidding me??? PLAYMOBIL THE MOVIE???? A movie about the little toys my grandchildren play with?? Quick, get me Hollywood…I want to make a movie about the game of Jacks! Believe it or not, Daniel Radcliffe was not only Harry Potter but did “Equus” on Broadway. How the mighty have fallen. Look for him to reprise the role of Harry Potter when he leads tours around Universal Orlando.

Look for our movie NEXT summer!

IPTV: Watching TV Without the Hassle of Cable

For years, we’ve enjoyed  entertainment through the use of local and cable TV. We pay for cable subscription amounting to an average70 of $64.41 per month.

But in recent years, the Internet paved the way to another method of television through IPTV. It provides a cheaper alternative where subscriptions charge for less compared to cable TV.

Not sure how it works? Let’s look at this cheaper alternative to watching TV.

1. What Is IPTV and How Does It Work?

Let’s look at these alternatives to cable TV. IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. What this means is that television programming runs through the internet protocol, allowing others to enjoy their favorite shows by using their laptops or mobile device.

Cable or satellite TV works by broadcasting and sending out signals, where receivers would translate the signals into your television screen. There are inherent problems to this approach as you can only watch what was being broadcast.

IPTV uses standard internet connection to deliver content. In order to enjoy content by watching it on a TV set sitting in your living room, you will need either a Smart TV or a receiver box.

2. Types of IPTVs

With watching IPTV, there are about three categories or formats that they provide in programming. Each one has its own set of pros and cons. Let’s look at them.

Video on Demand (VOD)

As the name implies, VOD allows you to watch the video whenever you want it. This is the type of service or format provided by various streaming sites. Anime streaming sites like Crunchyroll, or movie-streaming sites like Netflix make use of this setup.

Simply pick what you want to watch. The service provider starts streaming the data to you through the internet, and then you watch. Imagine enjoying a movie like John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum whenever you want it.

Live IPTV

Compared to VOD, Live IPTV lets you watch shows in real time. For sporting events, this form of IPTV allows viewers to see the action when it happens. It stands as a go-to option for people on the go who want to watch their favorite sport.

Good examples of Live IPTV providers are Fox Sports Go and CBS Sports HQ.

Time-Shifted Media

What happens if you put Live IPTV and VOD together? The result is Time-Shifted Media, where you get the best of both ends of the IPTV spectrum.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can still watch it at a later time. The difference with VOD is in the shelf life of the video in question. After a specific amount of time, it will become unavailable for viewing.

3. Watching TV with IPTV: Worth It?

Compared to cable providers, you can pick what channels to go for with IPTV. You can get a personalized experience with it compared to cable providers.

You can enjoy IPTV for free as there are many Internet TV sites or channels that wouldn’t cost you a penny. Though note that these ones get support by ads.

There are also others that run on a subscription basis, similar to cable TV. Although the usual range hangs between $20 and $120, you receive the content that you subscribed to.

To know that it is really worth every cent, check these services and do your research. Check out every IPTV review and start from there.

Cut the Cable Today!

In the end, it all boils down to costs and meeting the needs. IPTV allows for a personalized setup compared to watching TV via cable. What you will need is a stable internet connection to get everything going for your viewing enjoyment.

Did you enjoy and find this useful? You can also check out our plethora of entertainment news and film reviews today, like this one on a review of Detective Pikachu.

The Best Heist Movies of All Time

The classic heist movie has been a staple genre in Hollywood for decades. A close-knit team of criminals planning to make off with the haul of their lives. Sounds familiar, right?

Yet despite the fact that most modern heist films are all based on this similar premise, that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. There are certainly a few films that stand out from the crowd, not to mention standing the test of time incredibly well. We’ve grouped together three main categories – the bank heist, the casino heist and the gang heist – and selected the most honourable mentions within each. Let’s dive straight in.

The Bank Heist – Reservoir Dogs

A heist movie like no other, it’s easy to forget that Reservoir Dogs was Quentin Tarantino’s first foray into the world of directing. In many ways it set the tone for Tarantino’s reputation as an auteur: unconventional, violent and unique. When you think of the standard heist movie, you think of three main sections: the plan, the execution and the aftermath. Reservoir Dogs almost completely does away with the ‘main’ second section, jumping between the events before and after the heist.

In doing so, we get a completely different take on the characters involved, their motivations and their allegiances. It’s a film where, for the most part, the action takes a back seat to the dialogue. We’re also still hoping for that Vega Brothers movie that’s long been talked about.

The Casino Heist – Ocean’s Eleven

Arguably the film that sparked the entire heist movie trend, Ocean’s Eleven was an immediate sensation upon its release back in 1960. Of course, the younger among us may be more familiar with the 2001 remake, starring the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. The remake stands on its own as a modern classic, transporting us back to the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip. We get a more in-depth look at the way modern casinos operate, specifically the Bellagio, The Mirage and the MGM Grand. It’s hard to find a more thrilling setting than that.

More recently, the legacy of the Ocean’s series has even reached beyond the silver screen into the rapidly evolving world of iGaming, with sites offering a range of heist-inspired games that draw on elements from Ocean’s Eleven, perfect for any film fan looking to get a taste of the casino heist thrill for themselves.

The Gang Heist – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Another debut film from one of the most important British directors of the past few decades, Guy Ritchie. The film helped launch the careers of the likes of Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones, not to mention Ritchie himself. Interesting to think that it might not have been made if it wasn’t for a little help from Tom Cruise.

Loaded with unforgettable characters and a great soundtrack, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels follows the path of a group of young schemers on a mission to repay the £100,000 they lost to an East London card-shark. It’s one of those films that leaves the audience wondering just who will come out on top.

So, there we have it, three top movies from three main genres of heist film. We’d be tempted to say we’ve seen it all, but the evolving nature of the heist movie probably means there’s much more to come.

Kansas City Theater Review: “RENT”

RENT

Music Hall – Kansas City, Missouri

April 29, 2019

The Broadway (and off-Broadway) stage has often been the place where a generation can speak without rebuke.  The 1990’s saw the production of two very important shows that shed light on the, at the time, the little discussed subject of AIDS.  The first show was Tony Kushner’s epic “Angels in America.”  The other?  Jonathan Larson’s “RENT.” 

Opening off-Broadway on January 25, 1996, “RENT” tells the story of a group of struggling artists (filmmaker, musician, performance art) living in the SoHo area of New York City.  Their goal is to present their art to the world without compromising – to not “give into” the man.  This week, the 20th Anniversary Tour is in Kansas City, with moderate success.

To me, the evening, like the show, was in two acts.  The first act, in this writer’s opinion, was slow, which is a word I normally would not apply to a musical where the cast moves non-stop while performing dozens of songs.  I’m not sure if it was opening night jitters, or bus-lag, but several of the characters just didn’t seem to be “into it” during the first act.  The performances were fine…it’s just that many seemed to be a beat behind.

Musically, the show is magnificent.  I’m sure everyone has heard “Seasons of Love” at least once in their life, and this song, which opens Act II, is performed with heart to spare.  Other favorites were “Santa Fe,” “Take Me or Leave Me,” and “La Vie Boheme.”  Highlights in the cast were Lyndie Moe as Maureen and Devinre Adams as Collins, who is my favorite character in the show. 

 Sadly, Jonathan Larson never saw “RENT” performed before a live audience.  On the morning of January 25, 1996, Larson died after two different hospitals mis-diagnosed a heart condition.  With his parent’s consent, the show went on that night.  For his work, Larson posthumously won 3 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. 

“RENT’ continues it’s run in Kansas City through Sunday, May 5th

Bob Marley’s “LEGEND” Turns 35

 The World’s Best-Selling Reggae Album Of All Time Is Anointed With
A Special 35th Anniversary 2LP 180-Gram Vinyl Reissue On June 14

Los Angeles – April 24, 2019 – On June 14, The Marley Family, Island Records and UMe join collective forces to observethe 35th anniversary of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Legend with a double 180-gram vinyl reissue.  Initially released on May 8, 1984, Legend holds the distinction of being the world’s best-selling reggae album of all time with over 15 million copies sold in the United States alone, and over 28 million worldwide. A greatest hits compilation for the ages, Legend is the soundtrack to the remarkable life and recording career of one of reggae music’s most important and influential figures. This iconic collection not only serves as the perfect introduction to the music of Bob Marley, it has also become an essential element of every reggae fan’s permanent collection.

This vinyl-only 35th anniversary reissue comprises the original “BMW1” version of Legend with the addition of two original U.K.-only cassette bonus tracks (“Easy Skanking” and “Punky Reggae Party”). Taken as a whole, the 16 songs thatcomprise Legend have literally defined a genre. Among the album’s instantly recognizable tracks are “Get Up Stand Up,” “One Love / People Get Ready,” “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Three Little Birds,” “Jammin,” and “Exodus.” Other Legend anthems like “No Woman No Cry” and “Is This Love” feature backing vocals from The I Threes, an all-female trio comprised of Marley’s wife Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, and Marcia Griffiths. Mrs. Rita Marley’s own career retrospective, quite aptly dubbed Lioness of Reggae, is being released on limited-edition vinyl by Tuff Gong Worldwide on May 3.

A new visual for “Satisfy My Soul” was recently shot by Pantera as directed by Brian Kazez and produced by Propaganda Films, serving as a conceptual interpretation of the song to show what it means to “feel alright” in Jamaica. This also happens to be the same directorial team that shot a new clip for “Easy Skanking,” which was filmed in Kingston and garnered much acclaim earlier this year for the way it shared an authentic look at a day in the life of Jamaica and the indefatigable, uprising spirit of the people who live, love, and work there the whole year round.

To this day, Bob Marley remains one of popular culture’s most important and influential entertainment icons. His lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations around the world. Marley was the first Jamaican artist to give voice to the struggles of his people and introduce Rastafarian culture to the world at large, and his expansive music catalog has sold millions of albums all across the globe.

Bob Marley’s legacy truly lives on in the artists and generations he has influenced. Today, the spiritual, political, and musical resonance of the man’s work continues to be felt around the world, and Legend is the one true collection that cements his perpetual global legacy.

Preorder and listen to the 35th Anniversary of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Legend here:
bobmarley.com
facebook.com/BobMarley
twitter.com/bobmarley
instagram.com/bobmarley
youtube.com/bobmarley

Bob Marley & The Wailers LEGEND [double 180g vinyl]:
Side A

  1. Is This Love
  2. No Woman No Cry
  3. Could You Be Loved

Side B

  1. Three Little Birds
  2. Buffalo Soldier
  3. Get Up Stand Up
  4. Stir It Up
  5. Easy Skanking

Side C

  1. One Love / People Get Ready
  2. I Shot The Sheriff
  3. Waiting In Vain
  4. Redemption Song

Side D

  1. Satisfy My Soul
  2. Exodus
  3. Jammin’
  4. Punky Reggae Party

ABOUT BOB MARLEY:
Bob Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map, but, as a statesman in his native Jamaica, he famously brought together the country’s warring factions and simultaneously became a symbol of freedom and justice globally. Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th century’s most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley’s lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music. In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 71 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley’s music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide. His iconic collection LEGEND holds the distinction of being the longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine’s Catalog Albums chart and remains the world’s best-selling reggae album. Marley’s accolades include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994) and ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001). Marley was also awarded the UN Peace Medal of the Third World for his efforts in Jamaica. For more information visit: bobmarley.com and facebook.com/bobmarley.

Enhance Your Creativity by Playing Chess Online

Chess is a famous recreational and competitive game played by people of all ages and there are no age barriers to determine the one who should play the game. Also, there are various websites where you can play free chess video games online. For some, you can play chess against the PC by use of an espresso, chess applet or maybe a flash chess program.

Many people talk of the benefits of playing chess; some tend to believe that the game improves analytical thinking while others believe it’s a waste of time. However, playing chess is associated with various benefits.

Some benefits of playing online chess are:

Enrich your life:

Everyone ages with time; therefore, learn to play games that stimulate the mind. This enriches your life as well as gives you a new dimension to your life. By playing online chess, research has also shown that one gets more mature to experience chess to keep the brain cells activated. Sometimes this assists you to reduce the chances of getting mental illnesses.

Stimulate your mind:

Playing stimulating games can lead to staying alert since the game confronts the mind with various problems which require being resolved.

Transforms your thinking pattern:

By playing mentality stimulating games, your pattern of thinking is transformed. Also, by playing online games link sbobet which is compatible with both PC and mobile versions; you get used to looking forward to alternatives to solve issues. The pressure from the game leads to complete focus since no one wants to lose.

Understanding the atmosphere:

Mostly, mentally stimulating games result in an understanding atmosphere as well as the wish to enhance. Every actual chess player needs to improve and learn several mentally stimulating games, versions, and principles. This mindset also applies to real life.

Enhanced concentration:

Chess requires you to concentrate as you play; therefore this leads to enhanced concentration so as to perform well in the game.

Improved visualization:

By playing chess, one could improve their concentration and visualization capabilities.

Increased enthusiasm:

Chess players change the ordinary. True enthusiastic gamers get irritated easily in case they make deadly mistakes. To avoid this, they try as much as possible to avoid mistakes and as well as recalculate options before they make decisions. Since the game requires lots of patience, then any player who lacks such quality is forced to create it to become an excellent player.

Weigh choices:

Chess gives gamers the chance to find alternate solutions as well as think about the pros and cons of various situations.

Concrete evaluation:

Playing chess is an excellent way of teaching you to evaluate situations as the results of making certain decisions. This is applicable to real life situations too; hence your decisions are led by logic and not on impulse.

Think ahead:

Just as in actual life, an individual develops ideas and plans and compares them to ideas that work. Therefore one is able to look at the big picture and not just consider a single option. Also, patterns are as well used in comparison with related circumstances.

There are numerous benefits to playing chess. In addition to the mentioned benefits, there are many emotional benefits acquired by playing chess. As people play, they are able to cope with different experiences which are emotionally useful.

Also mastering the game creates an opportunity for dialogue for players. However, like any other games on link sbobet which is the best link compatible with either your mobile or PC, you will require to spend some time to master it.

20th Annual Planet Comicon Kansas City a Rousing Success!

PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER
The legendary William Shatner

I had just begun my position as Director of Marketing for Dickinson Theatres in early 1999 when I received a phone call from a gentleman named Chris Jackson, who explained to me that he had an idea for a local convention that would continue to grow into something amazing. Wanting to be involved, I sent Chris a lot of promotion posters (I’m thinking THE MATRIX, THE MUMMY, and STAR WARS: EPISODE I were included) to give away. Chris even arranged for one of the guests, actor Kenny Baker – he played R2D2 in the various STAR WARS films, to sign some posters for me to use as a giveaway. And so it began.

This past weekend, Chris’ vision, PLANET COMICON KANSAS CITY, celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary with another convention that cements PCKC as not only the best convention in the Midwest, but one of the best in the country.

“The Exorcist” star Linda Blair

The guest list was a virtual honor role of some of the biggest celebrities in film and television. Such icons as Linda Blair, William Shatner and Henry Winkler made appearances (this was Winkler’s first visit to Kansas /City since early
2010, when he graciously became the first ever interview for Media Mikes).

Mr. Shatner had been at PCKC in the past,but you wouldn’t know it from the legion of fans that lined up to greet him. Other celebrity guests included Oscar-nominee Chris Sarandon, PRINCESS BRIDE co-stars Cary Elwes and Wallace Shawn, “Super-men” Dean Cain and Tom Welling as well as well as WWE Wrestling Hall of Famer Mick Foley.

Chris Sarandon

Graphic art fans were also treated to a bevy of comic and graphic novel artists, and an amazing array of fans dressed as their favorite characters.

Members of the “Spiderverse” took the streetcar to the show
Mr. Henry Winkler

The vendor selection, as in the past, was varied, with tables offering pretty much everything for everyone.

This “League of Their Own” fan was there to see Lori Petty
COSPLAY was the theme of the day

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. I can’t wait to see what Chris Jackson has in store for the next 20 years!

SWORN ENEMY UNVEILS MUSIC VIDEO “COMING UNDONE”

*NEW ROB FLYNN-PRODUCED ALBUM, GAMECHANGER, DUE APRIL 5TH***U.S. TOUR KICKS OFF APRIL 26TH**

Photo Credit: Ms. Dezevil

Metallic hardcore heavyweights SWORN ENEMY return with a vengeance on their venomous new record “Gamechanger,” due out next Friday, April 5. Produced by Robb Flynn (Machine Head) and mixed/mastered by Zack Ohren (Suffocation, Fallujah, Warbringer), the hard-knuckled album expertly fuses metal, thrash and New York hardcore.

On the heels of the well-received first single “Prepare For Payback,” which earlier this month cracked the SiriusXM Liquid Metal Devil’s Dozen request countdown, the band is proud to unveil a second new track, “Coming Undone.”

Available now for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and other digital platforms, the song is also being offered as an instant download with all digital pre-orders of “Gamechanger.” (Physical pre-orders on CD and limited-edition blue splatter vinyl are available at www.m-theoryaudio.com or www.swornenemy.bandcamp.com). 

Check out a music video for “Coming Undone” at https://youtu.be/fYG3ewY_2DE, directed by Bryan Bishop of Digital Thunderdome Productions (https://www.digitalthunderdome.com

“It’s been a while since Sworn Enemy had a chance to film a video and we are pretty stoked the way ‘Coming Undone’ came out,” cites singer Sal Lococco. “Hope you all dig it!” 

SWORN ENEMY will spend much of 2019 touring in support of “Gamechanger,” beginning with a series of record-release shows along the East Coast. From there, the band will join forces with thrash legends Sacred Reich for a number of performances across America. See below for the group’s current itinerary.

Additional dates – including the band’s first shows of the year in Europe – are in the works. SWORN ENEMY was first signed by Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta, who released the group’s first two EPs on his Stillborn Recordings label in 2001 and 2002. He also produced the band’s full-length debut, “As Real As It Gets,” memorably praised by Lambgoat as “music that inspires you to want to beat the living piss out of the next unsuspecting person who walks in the room.”

The album was released by Elektra Records in 2003, a year that saw the band deliver memorable performances on tour with Ozzfest. In the 15 years since, SWORN ENEMY released four additional albums of punishing metallic hardcore and toured with a number of notable acts, including Anthrax, Mastodon, Fear Factory, Sepultura, Suicide Silence, Dying Fetus, Earth Crisis, Madball, Biohazard and Hatebreed. 

SWORN ENEMY live (more dates TBA)

4/26 Brooklyn, NY – The Kingsland

4/27 Falls Church, VA – VFW 9274

4/28 Brockton, MA – Dylan’s

5/4  Denver, CO – Streets *

5/5  Kansas City, MO – Riot Room *

5/17 Mansfield, OH – Belcher’s House of Rock

5/18 Indianapolis, IN – The Citadel *

5/20 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade *

5/22 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues *

5/23 Houston, TX – Scout Bar *

5/24 Dallas, TX – Trees *

5/25 San Antonio, TX – Rock Box *

5/27 Yuma, AZ – Prison Hill

5/28 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick ^

5/29 Oakland, CA – Metro ^

5/31 Los Angeles, CA – Regent Theater #

6/1  Phoenix, AZ – Club Red #

6/2  Albuquerque, NM – Red Velvet Underground

6/5  Memphis, TN – Hi-Tone

6/6  Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge

6/7  Pittsburgh, PA – Black Forge Coffee House 2

6/8  Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts

* w/ Sacred Reich^ w/ Sacred Reich, Excel# w/ Sacred Reich, Vio-Lence, Excel, Yidhra

MASKED INTRUDER RELEASE NEW SONG “PLEASE COME BACK TO ME” Album “III” Out In March.

MASKED INTRUDER RELEASE NEW SONG
“PLEASE COME BACK TO ME”
LISTEN NOW ON ALTPRESS.COM

NEW ALBUM III OUT MARCH 1, 2019
THROUGH PURE NOISE RECORDS

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER AT
WWW.MASKEDINTRUDERBAND.COM

UPCOMING U.S. TOUR WITH THE INTERRUPTERS
KICKS OFF FEBRUARY 27 TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Today, Masked Intruder have released a new song called “Please Come Back To Me”. Fans can listen to it now exclusively on AltPress.com. The song is taken from their upcoming new album III out March 1 through Pure Noise Records.

They previously released the first single and music video for “No Case”, which can be seen here: https://youtu.be/Ro72ES3e3Bo

For the new album, the band – Intruder Blue, Intruder Green, Intruder Red and Intruder Yellow – recruited lead producer/engineer Roger Lima (who also plays bass in Less Than Jake) as well as co-producer Mike Kennerty (who plays guitar in some band called The All-American Rejects) and recorded the album at Lima’s studio, The Moat House in Gainesville, Florida.

“Our songs aren’t just about the feelings and situations that they describe but they’re supposed to hopefully help other people think about and reflect about their own situations,” Intruder Blue summarizes.

Whether it comes to stealing hearts or wallets, Masked Intruder have upped their game on Masked Intruder III and it seems as if even Officer Bradford can’t hold them back, although we’re sure he’ll try.

The band’s most infectious album to date is now available for pre-order at www.maskedintruderband.com.

Track Listing

  1. No Case
  2. Mine All Mine
  3. All of My Love
  4. Just So You Know
  5. I’m Free (At Last)
  6. Please Come Back To Me
  7. B & E
  8. Maybe Even
  9. Not Fair
  10. Stay With Me Tonight
  11. Dream a Little Dream
  12. I’ll Be Back Again Someday

Masked Intruder kick off a nationwide tour with The Interrupters on February 27. Tickets are on sale now and a full list of cities they hit can be found below.

Masked Intruder – Upcoming Tour Dates
w/ The Interrupters

February 27 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
March 1 – Dallas, TX – Trees
March 2 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
March 3 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
March 4 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
March 7 – Destin, FL – Club LA
March 8 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
March 9 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
March 10 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
March 12 – Richmond, VA – The National
March 15 – Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony
March 16 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
March 17 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
March 19 – Quebec, Canada – Imperial Bell
March 20 – Montréal, Canada – Club Soda
March 22 – Toronto, Canada – Danforth Music Hall
March 23 – London, Canada – London Music Hall
March 24 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
March 28 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
March 29 – Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe at Old National Center
March 30 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
April 1 – St. Louis. MO – Delmar Hall
April 2 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
April 3 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
April 5 – Denver, CO – The Ogden Theatre
April 6 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot

Follow Masked Intruder
Website: www.maskedintruderband.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/maskedintruder

Our Critics Pick the Best (and Worst) of 2018

Once again, the time has come for your favorite film critics to choose the films they loved – and hated – from 2018.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let us know below.  Happy New Year!

THE BEST

Michael A. Smith‘s TOP TEN

1.VICE – Like his Oscar winning THE BIG SHORT, writer/director Adam McKay gives a humorous take on the life and times of our 46th Vice President. 

2. BOY ERASED – Stellar performances by Lucas Hedges and Joel Edgerton (who also wrote and directed) in a film dealing with “conversion” training.  Edgerton is beginning to look like he will be one of the best filmmakers of the next generation. 

3. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – The story of Freddie Mercury and his musical group QUEEN.  Some complained that Mercury’s X-rated lifestyle was tamed down too much but Rami Malek’s award worthy performance is the real story here.

4. A STAR IS BORN –  Damn you, Bradley Cooper!  Is there nothing you can’t do?  Cooper stars and directs in the fourth telling of the familiar tale, adding enough twists to make it seem new.  Extra points for casting the amazing Lady Gaga.

 5. BLACKKKLANSMAN –  Easily Spike Lee’s best film since DO THE RIGHT THING, the film’s 1970’s era message is just as important today.

“Risking life and limb for our entertainment”

6. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT – The best of the M:I films, with Tom Cruise once again risking life and limb for our entertainment.

7. CHAPPAQUIDDICK – An early film this year that looks into the fateful accident that derailed the Presidential dreams of Ted Kennedy.

8. BLACK PANTHER – Not a great Marvel Movie…just a GREAT MOVIE.  With FRUITVALE STATION and CREED already on his resumé, director Ryan Coogler has proven to be a voice to be listened to.

 9. HOSTILES – A January release, this is an outstanding period western starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi and, sadly, Scott Wilson in one of his final roles.

 10. CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? – Award worthy performances from stars Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant highlight this true story about an author who had to resolve to forgery to make any money.   

Lauren Damon’s TOP FIVE

1.BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE – I cannot speak highly enough of Drew Goddard’s follow up to one of my Halloween faves, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. Once again Goddard holes up his small cast in a single location that is not quite what it seems and is a joy to explore. And what a cast! While bigger names like Jeff Bridges and Jon Hamm deliver reliably solid performances (the latter chewing all the scenery with a fabulous southern accent), the real revelations are from relative newcomers Cynthia Erivo and Lewis Pullman. The Tony-winning Erivo is the film’s heart as a struggling singer who checks into the El Royale ahead of a nearby gig. When she gets wrapped up in a scheme with Bridges’ character, Goddard uses her powerhouse voice to deliver “You Can’t Hurry Love” in easily my favorite single sequence of the year. Meanwhile Pullman is just barely holding everything together as the hotel’s lone caretaker whose role entails much more than cleaning towels and whose past is bubbling beneath his boyish, twitchy surface. I really just wanted to hug him. Finally, as with CABIN, Goddard goes ahead and subverts Chris Hemsworth’s affable hero persona. This time by casting him as a vile Charles Manson type–this is the 60’s in California after all– whose limited screen time serves merely to concentrate the sinister vibes emanating off his gyrating abs. Everyone is supported by top notch production design, a rocking soundtrack and some gorgeous Seamus McGarvey cinematography. It just really sizzles.

“It’s a crime that Collette isn’t in the major film awards conversations (yet?)” 

2. HEREDITARY – This slow burning descent of one family after the death of their secretive matriarch may be an all time fave viewing experience in a packed theater. Where a lot of modern horror relies on jump scares, Ari Aster held us captive in many scenes by showing the terrors just slightly to the side in the gloom of the frame or holding on the silence after a traumatic event–all while my audience slowly lost its mind. Which was fitting, because we were watching Toni Collette’s character doing roughly the same. It’s a crime that Collette isn’t in the major film awards conversations (yet? C’mon Academy!) because she was so engrossing and almost painful to watch.

3. BLACK PANTHER – Ryan Coogler’s brilliant entry into Marvel was remarkable for so fully realizing a whole new world within a “Universe” we’ve already been living in for the past decade. And unlike some chapters of the MCU, he did it right here on Earth. Wakanda was beautiful and populated by such a well drawn cast of characters, it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite (but it’s Shuri, come on). Meanwhile, unlike some big purple menaces, Erik Kilmonger’s (Michael B Jordan) ‘villainous’ motives were some of the most complex that the franchise has dealt with. So much so that Chadwick Boseman’s T’challa had to face a real crisis of conscience that not many Marvel heroes do!

4. SORRY TO BOTHER YOU – I feel like the less I say about this film, the better new viewers’ experiences will be. Boots Riley’s take on the desolate modern economic landscape just throws a LOT at you with a notable hard turn in the second half that will likely decide where you land on this one. As someone who is rarely surprised at movies today, I was fully on board.

5. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – I knew going in that every outlet in the Disney-Marvel Marketing Machine kept saying “It’s Thanos’s movie, it’s really going to belong to Thanos” but boy, I was not prepared for…Thanos’s movie! Not only did the Russo brothers bring to life a presence worthy of scaring the bejeezus out of ten years of assembled super heroes, but that they let him Do That was a true shocker. It’s hard for me to judge INFINITY WAR fully until I see what goes down in ENDGAME because, to quote THE PRESTIGE, “making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back.” But for now, I sit stunned.

Michael D. Smith’s TOP TEN

1. BLACK PANTHER – The best movie of the year, BLACK PANTHER proves to be one of the two or three best titles in the 10-year Avengers odyssey. Directed by the brilliantly talented young filmmaker Ryan Coogler (CREED, FRUITVALE STATION), this supremely entertaining, comic book epic has a superb cast and an engaging, intelligent story. Its story of a young king who thinks he knows what it takes to be a ruler but is faced with a day of reckoning that turns his views upside down is a potent one. The climax is tragic to the point that it’s Shakespearean and it’s all assisted by one of the most consistently good performances by an entire cast that you will see, especially in an action movie. Michael B. Jordan, who was cheated out of an Oscar nomination for his role in CREED, is a powerful presence in the film as its lead antagonist. BLACK PANTHER has everything you could ever want in not only a superhero movie but in a movie period. 

2. A QUIET PLACE – In terms of creativity and originality, A QUIET PLACE is only rivaled in recent times by last year’s masterpiece “Get Out.” A brief, yet sophisticated sci-fi horror tale brimming with mystery, A QUIET PLACE stars the husband/wife team of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as a couple struggling to keep their family alive in a world taken over by aliens who react to sound. You must pay attention to the little details in this one to spot clues to the backstory, which itself is horrifying. The story has a bit of a Stephen King-like vibe to it as the suspense builds around the impending birth of a new baby. A must-see.

3. FIRST REFORMED –  Ethan Hawke shines in what is arguably writer/director Paul Schrader’s greatest cinematic endeavor. It is a work of art in every sense of the word as Hawke plays the minister of a tiny congregation in an old church in upstate New York. His character is haunted by a past that riddles him with guilt and leads him to drink. When we meet him, he has begun to keep a diary of his tormented thoughts as he tries to mentor those that are just as much pain as he is. Hawke is mesmerizing in the most brilliant performance of his career with strong supporting help from Amanda Seyfried and a nice dramatic turn by Cedric the Entertainer. The ending is haunting to say the least and will leave you and anyone you watch it with debating what it all means. 

“Olivia Colman delivers the best performance by an actress in 2018 and it’s not even close”

4. THE FAVOURITE – With some of the best costume designs you will see in any film, THE FAVOURITE is a wonderful historical drama containing the most splendid, witty dialogue of the year. Set against the backdrop of early 18th century England, two women (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) vie to be the favorite of the increasingly sickly Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). The political intrigue is delightful as Weisz and Stone’s characters will go to any lengths to be the apple of Queen Anne’s eye, thereby having access to tremendous power. Colman delivers the best performance by an actress in 2018 and it’s not even close. She is brilliant in every sense of the word as portrays a woman teetering on insanity after having had 18 pregnancies but no living children. There are ultimately no winners in all of it. Just tragic losers. 

5. LEAVE NO TRACE – While watching the powerful performance delivered by New Zealand-born actress Thomasin McKenzie in the drama LEAVE NO TRACE, it is impossible to not think about what director/writer Debra Granik once pulled out of a relatively unknown young actress named Jennifer Lawrence. It is perhaps an unfair comparison considering that Lawrence received the first of her four Oscar nominations for her role as a tough, teenage Ozarks girl in 2010’s WINTER’S BONE. However, as Tom, McKenzie provides something that is special to watch on the silver screen. Through her eyes alone she projects her character’s tough, determined nature which she also reveals is just a façade masking a 13-year-old girl’s desperation to please a father (Ben Foster) traumatized by war. Foster once again demonstrates how skillful he has become in recent years. Pain leaks out of every pour in Foster’s skin as his character is so consumed by PTSD from combat that he puts Tom in danger every day they are on the run without thinking about what he is doing. Based upon the 2009 book My Abandonment by American novelist Peter Rock, LEAVE NO TRACE, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, is a moving work of genuine sadness that will pull at the heartstrings of anyone who has a heart.

 6. BLACKKKLANSMAN – In what is Spike Lee’s best effort in years, BLACKKKLANSMAN is an engrossing crime drama loosely based upon real events. It tells the tale of new African American, Colorado police officer Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who infiltrates a local branch of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s via the phone. To represent himself in person, he convinces a Jewish detective (Adam Driver) to be his face. While it’s an entertaining piece of work that takes a lot of dramatic license, Lee’s effort tackles racism head-on and reveals its ugliness likes few films do. As such, it’s not without controversy but because of that it accomplishes the goal of making people talk and think about racism in America. 

7. GREEN BOOK – Inspired by a true story, this period drama is a surprisingly complex, emotional work considering its director, Peter Farrelly, is best known for comedic fare like SHALLOW HAL and DUMB AND DUMBER. With GREEN BOOK, Farrelly captures the stark racial divide of 1962 America with an exploration of the relationship between white bar bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and black pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) as they travel across the Midwest and Deep South. Mortensen dazzles with his knack to bring to life every subtle nuance of the characters he plays. This role is no exception as he helps make Tony Lip someone we can truly care about even though in the beginning it’s a little tough to do. Ali, a 2017 Oscar winner for MOONLIGHT, gives Don a vulnerable sophistication while also breathing out a certain degree of naïveté without seeming to break a sweat. It all adds up to GREEN BOOK being the type of rare movie where everyone can feel a little bit happier about the world when the lights go back on. 

8. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? – Like many other people, I grew up on Mr. Rogers so perhaps I’m a little biased, but this documentary feels like a warm and cozy sweater vest. It dispels a lot of myths about the man who wanted nothing more than to work with children. We learn a lot about this kind, gentle soul from those closest to him and it’s refreshing in this age of cynicism and character assassination to discover he was pretty much exactly like he was on the TV.

9. HEREDITARY –  Simply put, this is one of the most messed up movies you will ever see. HEREDITARY is tale of a family being turned upside down when the family matriarch’s death starts a sequence of horrifying events that lead to a supernatural, head-scratching, unsettling climax. Toni Collette is fantastic as the mother of two who becomes increasingly unraveled thanks to a plan set into motion by her recently deceased mother. It goes without saying that a film is automatically creepy when it silently begins with a nondescript obituary on the silver screen. Don’t stay up too late to watch this. Otherwise you will feel the need to keep all the lights on and the covers over your head.

“Rami Malek absolutely commands the screen”

10. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – Some of have criticized this film for not devoting more time to the exploration of the late Freddie Mercury’s private life. However, this rock biography is not titled “The Freddie Mercury Story.” Instead it focuses on the rise of a band with a singer who had a rock voice like none other before or since. While the story is admittedly a little glossy, the core strength of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is the incredible performance by lead Rami Malek who absolutely commands the screen. He masters every movement, every voice inflection, every insecurity, every bit of bravado of the real Mercury. It is a legendary accomplishment and is worth every penny to see.

Jeremy Werner‘s TOP TEN:

“It’s good for the souls of the young and old.”

1. EIGHTH GRADE -Back in August I wrote, “Cringy. Heartfelt. Anxiety inducing. Unflinching. Heartbreaking. Hopeful…Bo Burnham’s debut film seemingly has it all, and it does.” That still rings true after a few rewatches. Four months later, along with dozens and dozens of screeners, EIGHTH GRADE, is still my favorite film of the year because of how raw and emotional it is. It’s good for the souls of the young and old.

2. BLACKKKLANSMAN -Last year, GET OUT made me feel what it’s like to be a black man in a predominantly white situation or setting. This year, BLACKKKLANSMAN made me feel my own white guilt. Both movies are timely and timeless. BLACKKKLANSMAN is a church sermon that needs to be heard by everyone within an earshot. This is easily Spike Lee’s best film since DO THE RIGHT THING if not his magnum opus.

3. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE – Phil Lord and Chris Miller should just have their own animation studio. They were robbed of an Oscar for 2014’s LEGO MOVIE and it’ll be another crime if SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE doesn’t win best animated picture this year. It’s a trippy journey that blurs the line between comic book and cinema. Not only is it the best animated film of the year, it may be the best superhero movie of the year. Sorry Disney.

4. SORRY TO BOTHER YOU -What begins as a satire, quickly becomes a hyper absurd sci-fi that blends commentary on racism and classism, along with jabs at America’s path towards corporatocracy. Boots Riley brings a fresh voice and unique criticism that’s familiar, yet distinct. It’s the kind of film with no middle ground. You’ll either love or hate it.


5. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? -In today’s climate, the world might need another Mr. Rogers, if that’s possible. Without mentioning any names or incidents, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? feels like a pertinent documentary about the impact kindness and compassion has. Even the iciest of hearts will have a tear in their eye by the end credits.

6. VICE -Comedy doesn’t quite the praise it deserves. Ask any actor or creator how hard it is to craft something funny. Now add in a dose of reality and seriousness. Just like in THE BIG SHORT, Adam McKay tackles a difficult subject and makes it palatable for general audiences. VICE is a dark riot, making us laugh and realize the expanding power of the Executive Branch.

7. BOY ERASED -Not only is this a powerful story about sexual identity, but it’s a somber reminder about how one of the America’s most heinous acts, conversion therapy, remains legal. The film does a nuanced job of highlighting the emotional, mental, and sometimes physical cruelty that conversion therapy puts it’s victims through. It’s simply tragic.

8. MANDY– What if heavy metal music became a movie? You’d have MANDY, an 80’s acid nightmare come to life, with the help of a gonzo, smiling Nicolas Cage, covered in blood. This is a midnight film that will surely develop a cult following, or at the very least, a legion of Cheddar Goblin fans.

9. WIDOWS – This is Steve McQueen’s most mainstream film, yet it’s still visually intellectual like his previous films. McQueen is a master behind the camera and weaves a caper that’s not only rich with heavy material and social themes, but engaging from beginning to end.

10. THE FAVOURITE – THE FAVOURITE  is devilishly funny and cynical. It’s the kind of movie that could delight those who loathe period piece dramas, like myself. The humor and dialogue crackle for two hours as the film’s three leading ladies find new, humorous ways to stab each other in the back.

HONORABLE MENTIONS : SUSPIRIA, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE, FIRST REFORMED, ISLE OF DOGS, ROMA, BLOCKERS, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, LOVE,SIMON, CRAZY RICH ASIANS, MOM AND DAD

AND…THE WORST

Jeremy Werner: 

1. JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM -The bigger the budget, the more it should be looked down upon. This movie cost nearly $200 million and it stunk like one big pile of dino crap. Just think how many good, small budget films could have been made instead, but that wouldn’t have raked in over a billion dollars, now would it?

“Like one big pile of dino crap”

2. BOOK CLUB -Not only do they still make crap like this, but they release in theaters and trick good actors and actresses to star in it. This is pure drivel. Keep this crap off the silver screen and keep it on the Lifetime Network.

3. WELCOME TO MARWEN -The more I think about it, the more this film makes me mad. It’s a steaming crap that’s beneath the actors in it, it soils Zemeckis’ good name and unfortunately mishandles a true story. Unlike most train wrecks, you can look away from this one.

4. SUPER TROOPERS 2 -Careful what you wish for. Fans of the original should have looked towards other fanbases who asked for a sequel, like GHOSTBUSTERS, THE HANGOVER, etc. and got a big pile of crap instead. This movie is an unfunny dumpster fire that should offer a refund to it’s IndieGoGo supporters.

5. TERMINAL – Didn’t hear about this one? Good. To reiterate my favorite word in this list, it’s crap. This is the kind of film I could easily placed at the top, but it’s not as deserving as my scorn as the other films noted above because it quietly came and went without ruffling too many feathers. Still though. This one is crap. Don’t even bother looking it up out of curiosity.

Michael A. Smith:

1.LIFE ITSELF – As I say on our Podcast, I’ve never been so happy to see someone hit by a bus.  THIS IS US plots work in small doses, but on the big screen, they suck!

2. THE MEG – If my 230 pound body can’t swim by people without attracting notice, then a 50 foot shark sure as hell shouldn’t be able to.

 3. OCEANS 8 – Boooooooooooorrrrrrrrrring!

4. LOVE, SIMON – What could have been a film that delivered a great message takes the easy way out by making everything peachy too easily.

5. GRINGO – I had so many high hopes for this film.  Sadly, Nash Edgerton did not get any of the film making skills his brother Joel inherited.  

Stage Review: “The Book of Mormon” – Kansas City

Review by Phillip Smith

“The Book of Mormon”  Music Hall – Kansas City, Missouri – December 27, 2018

Making it’s third trip through Kansas City, the question has to be “Does ‘The Book of Mormon’ hold up?  Thank you, Heavenly Father, because the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Winner of nine Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Musical, “Book of Mormon” is the brain-child of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who conceived the production with “Avenue Q” composer Robert Lopez.

The show tells the story of two young missionaries, Elder’s Price (Kevin Clay) and Cunningham (Jacob Ben-Shmuel) , who are sent to Uganda to introduce Jesus Christ to the natives.  Of course, things don’t go the way they should, with results that can only be expected from the team that gave us “South Park” and “Team America.”

The production was well staged and the cast enthusiastic.  As was the audience, who erupted into applause when it was noted that “the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri,” which is also where Kansas City is located.  

Almost a decade after it premiered, “The Book of Mormon” continues to be one of the best musicals running, and easily one of the best musicals of this century.  

Remembering Stan Lee

Essay by Bear Wolf

I Guess One Man Really Can Make a Difference

Those of you who know me, truly know me, know that mychildhood was quite difficult to say the least. My therapist and I are currently working on my displaced attachment issues and late developing connections to people. Because of that childhood and these issues, my formative  years have been skewed a bit from you ‘normal’ humans.

I had almost no positive male role models in my life. I was surrounded by evil men who did evil things with only a 5-foot-tall,  mostly lonely and depressed single mother as a shield. She did what she thought was her best, and I thank her for that and will always know the true meaning of courage as I saw her take on the role of the human shield to protect her children. But as a result of a brutal mixture of all of the above, there was a Thanos-snapping-half-of-all-existence-away sized void in my life.

Comic books were my savior (and KISS to be honest, but that’s for another rant). I learned how to be a man from Batman, Spider-Man,the Hulk AND Bruce Banner, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Daredevil, Mike Grell’s Green Arrow. I also learned that evil often hid behind masks (thank you Scooby Doo), but I saw the epic struggle between good and evil, between human nature and human spirit, and I chose Good Human Spirit. I may be more of the Wolvie anti-hero type, but I know true evil when I see it and I will always fight against it, regardless of how it is made to look by others (see 1980’s Green Arrow to fully understand, thank you again, Mike Grell).  As I grew older, Black Panther and Black Lightning taught me about true injustice in the system of perpetual racism, government greed and the people who directly or indirectly perpetuate it by ‘just doing their jobs.’  I learned what true intense depth of real internal/ external true love was from The Crow.  Unfortunately the movie never captured that very important aspect of the story.

I did not learn that from a father, or an uncle or grandfather or father figure at all (to be fair I never truly knew my grandfather until it was much later; had I truly known him growing up, no other hero could have possibly compared, but again, that’s for another rant).  I did not even learn that from a man who essentially became my god-father because he chose to reach out to a young man eating bologna by himself for Christmas dinner. Don Howard taught me what true kindness and family are.

I learned how to reach for the best human spirit has to offer mostly from what Stan Lee created. Stan Lee and his legacy is my father figure (in my teen years Mike Grell took that role over).  Not Stan Lee’s creations…no, this is much much bigger than that.  Stan Lee (with a beautiful nudge by his amazing wife) set out to create something different, something special.  Much like the best science fiction writers, he took the fantastic to a place that made us take a good hard look at our humanity and what we should be, what we’re doing compared to where we should be.  Since then, the entire genre of comic books was launched into the realm of the iconic.  Mythic heroes, angels, gods, superheroes…not just pretty stories for children to love, but these are life’s lessons that we should all be paying far more close attention to, especially considering our modern world.  So those I have mentioned not named or directly created by Stan Lee are included in this legacy, whether DC & other comic companies want to admit it or not.

In fact, at this very moment, hearing and responding to the news, I am watching Captain America: Winter Soldier. Why? Because I have been suffering some bitter crippling depression of late and can barely get out of bed. To help me through it, I have been watching all the Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men & Avengers movies, in order. My students and my ASL education can thank Stan Lee’s legacy for my continued participation in life.

I have only ever cried for the passing of a celebrity once before, and that was Jim Henson, maybe not a father figure, but the man who brought magic & manners into my life. I love you like a father, Stan Lee! And I will miss your cameos more than I probably should. I thank you for my moral compass and my childhood, Stan Lee. Without you I may not have had either. Excelsior!!

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Second Act”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at STX Entertainment to give (35) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Second Act” before it opens in Kansas City.

The film will be shown on Tuesday, December 18th at the B&B Overland Park Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (35) to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (35) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.

Good luck!

Film Review: “Mary Queen of Scots”

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, Joe Allwyn, Jack Lowden
Directed by: Josie Rourke
Rated: R
Running Time: 124 minutes
Focus Features

By many accounts Mary Queen of Scots had a tragic life. The monarch was widowed at eighteen and eventually beheaded decades later only after nineteen years in captivity in England. She can easily be seen as a victim of the machinations of the men who surrounded her. The film version of her life however, from lauded stage director Josie Rourke and scripted by “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon, would not have you simplify it as such. Instead, the film Mary Queen of Scots, presents an intimate portrayal of a passionate young woman navigating the troubled political waters of both Scotland and England. Although at times it can be hard to keep track of everyone in play, Rourke delivers a strong, richly designed film lead by a confident Saoirse Ronan.

Rourke’s take on Mary benefits heavily by opening up its scope to include the simultaneously eventful reign of Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). From the opening of the film, we know both that Mary’s very existence threatened Elizabeth’s claim to her throne and that Mary would be condemned to die by that same cousin. Yet, with this is mind, the film never quite pits them against each other. Instead Rourke is able to take a more modern look at how each of them faced no-win choices when being challenged by contemporaries frowning upon female rulers. Elizabeth for her part is always wary of taking a husband or providing the heir that her privy council demands while Mary is viewed as a harlot for doing exactly that—but the wrong husband. This dichotomy of the spinster and the slut stereotypes is keenly observed by Rourke and never too on the nose.

Among the menfolk in this story is where I found some difficulty keeping up. It’s a little difficult at first to grasp onto which lord or musician giving Meaningful Looks from the shadows will evolve into an actual relationship for these women. They can be a bit of a blur of beards. Often times when they were talked about while off screen, I regretted not doing a quick wikipedia read of Mary to get a handle on which of them really warranted attention. Still, David Tennant as a vicious Scot priest set firmly against Mary is a snarly delight in this crowd. Buoying every performance, it cannot be understated, is some truly beautiful costume design by Alexandra Byrne .

Finally of course though, the film rests heavy upon its titular monarch and even though she shares much of the marketing with Robbie, this is Ronan’s film. She is by turns steely and vulnerable, whether on the battlefield or in the private company of her lifelong handmaidens. Rourke’s film shines when it spends more intimate time with Mary than many period films usually do with their subjects. Meanwhile, Ronan seizes her titular responsibility with relish and infuses Mary with such conviction that I was rooting for her even as I knew she was doomed. 

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