Soundgarden to Celebrate 35th Anniversary with Album Of The Month Series

Alternative Hard-Rock Pioneers Set To Celebrate Their 35th Anniversary In 2019 With Innovative Album Of The Month Series And Additional Historical Releases, Beginning With Limited-Edition 25th Anniversary 2LP Edition Of Superunknown

Recognized as one of the most influential bands in rock music the world over, the generation-changing, multiplatinum-selling, Grammy® winning Soundgarden will be celebrating their 35th anniversary in 2019 in grand style.

To that end, A&M/UMe kicks off a year-long commemoration of the storied career and ongoing influence of these immortal Seattle hometown icons with the unveiling of an Album of the Month series done in conjunction with The Sound of Vinyl. Each month The Sound of Vinyl will release a different Soundgarden album on limited-edition color vinyl. 

The first entry in this new program debuts in April, honoring the 25th anniversary of Superunknown with a new special edition of the album, pressed on 180-gram translucent red and gold vinyl. For a limited time, fans can pre-order the complete Album of the Month series of LPs as an exclusive bundle, with a discounted price, and an exclusive lithograph designed and signed by Soundgarden’s long time creative director Josh Graham. Details of the album series, along with specialcontent and other interactive features celebrating the 35th anniversary of Soundgarden, can be found at http://soundgarden35.com.

Released in March 8, 1994, Superunknown debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart andhas since been certified as having sold over 5 million copies in the United States alone. Superunknownfeatures such genre-defining and genre-defying hits as the churning anthem “Black Hole Sun,” the foreboding “Fell On Black Days,” the eclectic individuality of “Spoonman,” the optimistic rush of “The Day I Tried To Live,” and the off-kilter crest of “My Wave.”

Buttressed by Chris Cornell’s four-octave vocal range, Kim Thayil’s one-man guitar army, and the unmatchable in-tandem rhythm section of bassist Ben Shepherd and ace drummer Matt Cameron, Soundgarden emerged from the burgeoning Seattle music scene of the late-’80s and early-’90s totrailblaze the way for a movement that continues to resonate across the popular-music spectrum to this very day. Hailed as grunge innovators, Soundgarden’s sound has always reached beyond mere genre labels to redefine rock music for a generation.

Indeed, the deep roots of Soundgarden’s unmistakable sonic stamp can be mapped directly to the sprawling landscape of the Pacific Northwest. It’s an atmospheric feeling once shared quite vividly by the band’s late frontman, singer/guitarist Chris Cornell. “When I think of Soundgarden, I think of a sound, I think of one entity, one organic thing,” Cornell theorized, “but I guess that the exciting part is that it’s always been really varied. The band is dripping with it — that indescribable longing. It’s not about the society, it’s not about the people, it’s not about the city. It’s some other thing.”

Formed in Seattle in 1984, Soundgarden went on to create a series of groundbreaking, best-selling rock albums until initially dissolving in 1997, then later reforming for a period of time in the 2010s. Soundgarden started their career recording for the legendary Sub Pop label, who at the time were known for their own Single Of The Month club, releasing their very first 7-inch single, “Hunted Down,” in June 1987, followed by their debut EP Screaming Life that October. After a brief run on SST, Soundgarden signed to A&M Records and subsequently released four indelibly classic albums between 1989 and 1996 — 1989’s Louder Than Love, 1991’s Badmotorfinger, 1994’s Superunknown, and 1996’s Down On The Upside —with an additional full-lengther, King Animal, having arisen in 2012 after the band reformed.

Further Soundgarden 35 announcements will be forthcoming, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled. With the 30th anniversary of their hard-charging major-label debut Louder Than Love just around the corner, 2019 looks to be another banner year for Soundgarden, who remain one of the most revered bands on the planet. Their undeniable influence and esteemed legacy grow stronger and stronger every day.

Soundgarden SUPERUNKNOWN – 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (2LP)
 

SIDE 01

1. Let Me Drown
2. My Wave
3. Fell On Black Days
4. Mailman

SIDE 02

1. Superunknown
2. Head Down
3. Black Hole Sun

SIDE 03

1. Spoonman
2. Limo Wreck
3. The Day I Tried To Live
4. Kickstand

SIDE 04

1. Fresh Tendrils
2. 4th Of July
3. Half
4. Like Suicide
5. She Likes Surprises

Blu-ray Review “Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis
Directors: John Carpenter
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With Halloween right around the corner, I always make sure to find time to watch one of my favorite horror films of all-time. “Halloween” is something that I feel confident calling the perfect horror film. It is celebrating its 35th anniversary and yet it has never lost a single ounce of its effectiveness. It has also never been really given a great Blu-ray release either.  But I am happy to say that Anchor Bay finally got it right this time and delivered this film in the best condition that I have ever seen it.  In fact, the transfer has been overseen and approved by the film’s original cinematographer, Dean Cundey. So I had a feeling that this was going to be quite awesome and I was not let down. “Halloween: 35th Anniversary” Blu-ray also comes in a super cool DigiBook package with great behind-the-scene black-and-white photos and text. A must own for any fan of this film and a great way to welcome the holiday season.

Official Premise: Halloween stars Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, True Lies) in her debut role. Anyone who’s ever watched a horror film in the last 35 years knows the story of Michael Myers, who as a child, butchered his sister with a kitchen knife. Committed to a mental institution and watched over by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance, Halloween II, IV & V, Fantastic Voyage), he engineers his escape 15 years later, returning to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night to terrorize anyone who gets in his way, including babysitter Laurie Strode (Curtis).

If you recall the original Blu-ray release Halloween”, hardcore fans complains about the transfers color timing and other issues but there is nothing to complain about here. Like I said above, this 1080p transfer is gorgeous and I have been more satisified watching this film then I was the first time I saw it on VHS tape (without my parents knowing over 20 years ago – sorry guys!) If the gorgeous transfer isn’t enough for you Anchor Bay also upgraded the audio track delivering us now with an all-new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track. This 7.1 track is a thing of beauty.  I absolutely love Carpenter’s score for this film and it really works well with it. I wish there was an isolated score track. There is the original Dolby Digital 2.0 included for those purists out there.

In terms of special features, I can’t say that I am disappointed at all since there is a nice collection of goodies.  There is a brand new audio commentary track with Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actor Jamie Lee Curtis, who were reunited for this track.  It is a blast and honestly worth the purchase of the set alone. “The Night She Came Home!!” is another new feature, which runs about an hour and showcases Jamie Lee Curtis’ first (and supposedly only) convention visit last year. The rest of the extras are previously available including the behind-the-scenes look with “On Location: 25 Years Later”. There is a collection of scenes television cut scenes, which are cool to see them included. Lastly there are a trailer, some TV spots and radio spots included.

Blu-ray Review “The Muppet Movie: The Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz
Directors: James Frawley
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love The Muppets! Like many, I grew up watching the Muppets and have already loved their “The Muppet Movie”. Disney is releasing this film for the first time on Blu-ray in it’s Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition (34 years technically). This is the first and probably the best Muppets feature film to date. It stars Kermit and the Gang, Austin Pendleton, Charles Durning, Mel Brooks and Dom DeLuise. It is also jam packed with great cameos including Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Bob Hope, Orson Welles, James Coburn, Elliott Gould, Carol Kane, Madeline Kahn and Cloris Leachman. After nearly 35 years, this film is just as entertaining and a pleasure to revisit with the family. It has great movie and will guarantee a smile be put on your face! Plus with the The Muppets’ new movie, “Muppets Most Wanted” in theatres March 21, 2014, they are hotter than ever!

Official Premise: Celebrate the Nearly 35th Anniversary of the ultimate frogs-to-riches story with the one that started it all: The Muppet Movie. From the very first “plunk!” of Kermit’s banjo playing “The Rainbow Connection” (Oscar nominee, Best Original Song, 1979), to the hysterical road trip that brings the fearless frog together with Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal and most importantly of all, Miss Piggy, join the jam-packed heartwarming hilarity, outrageous antics and big-shot Hollywood cameos.

Disney brings this film on Blu-ray in a nice combo pack with a digital copy included, which can be redeemed to Vudu or Amazon Instant Video. I am very excited that Disney is finally getting away from the physical digital copy discs and jumping on the streaming digital copy bandwagon. “The Muppet Movie” has never looked better, its 1080p transfer is gorgeous. Any fan of this movie should be blown away at how impressive it looks. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also sounds amazing and works very well with the music in the film like “The Rainbow Connection”, very impressive.

The special features included on this release are a must-watch as well. Firstly, there is director “Jim Frawley’s Extended Camera, which includes previously unseen footage. This is a must watch for any fan of the film. “Interactive Disney Intermission, Starring the Muppets” is a great new feature that really encourages extended and numerous bathroom breaks. Disney has actually made pausing the movie cool with great in-between footage that will entertain along with the film. There is featurette included for Pepe Profiles – “Kermit: A Frog’s Life”. There is an all-new Interactive Frog-E-Oke Sing-Along, which is a ton of fun as wel. Lastly there is a Doc Hooper’s Commercial and Original Trailers included. Left me feeling very satisfied here!

Blu-ray Review “Pete’s Dragon: 35th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Mickey Rooney, Jim Dale, Sean Marshall, Helen Reddy
Director: Don Chaffey
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Run Time: 128 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Pete’s Dragon” has always been a favorite of mine (and my wife). Disney’s classic musical adventure has some of the most memorable songs, including the Academy Award® nominated “Candle On The Water” and of course “Brazzle Dazzle Day”. This 1977 film was a nice mix of Disney’s tradition animation blended perfectly with live action. This 35th Anniversary Edition of “Pete’s Dragon” boasts an all-new digital restoration and boy does it look and sound great at 35! I look forward to sharing this film with my daughter and singing along with Pete and his green friend Elliot”

Official Premise: When Pete, an orphan, and his best friend Elliott – an invisible green dragon – wander into the seaside village of Passamaquoddy, the townspeople think he’s behind a slew of hilarious mishaps. But after a daring rescue, they change their tune and believe in Pete’s fire-breathing buddy.

Disney does not disappoint with this release. The new 1080p digital restoration high definition release really looks sharp. The animation in film looks aged a bit but still has a lot of charm. The film is presented in widescreen with an 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Like most of the recent Disney Blu-ray releases, this one includes both a Blu-ray and DVD of the film within.

The special features are good but not overly special. They include only a few extras from the 2009 DVD release (not all included, which is strange). “Brazzle Dazzle Effects: Behind Disney’s Movie Magic” looks into how Elliott was brought into the film. There is a Deleted Storyboard Sequence called “Terminus & Hoagy Hunt Elliott”. Lastly there isn the original song concept for “Boo Bop Bopbop Bop (I Love You, Too)”. I expect a little bit more from the “35th Anniversary Edition”.

Blu-ray Review “Wizards: 35th Anniversary Edition”

Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
Starring: Bob Holt, Steve Gravers and Jesse Welles
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 81 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Ralph Bakshi then you would be excited for this release, if not then you probably have never heard of this film. Bakshi is the director of film’s like “Fritz the Cat”, “The Lord of the Rings (1978)” and “Cool World”. His animation style is so unique and very interesting to watch. This film holds up well over the years and looks decent on Blu-ray. The real draw on this release has to be the Digibook packaging. The release comes with a 24-page full-color digibook. It includes a note from Ralph Bakshi, a short essay on the film, and lots of sketches and concept art. Definitely worth picking up if you are fans of Bakshi and the film.

The film itself follows the battle between Avatar and his evil brother Blackwolf. Avatar is an eccentric but kind sorcerer-ruler of Montagar, which is a magical place inhabited by elves and fairies. Blackwolf has plans to dominates Montagar. But with the help from fairy Elinore, a robot assassin named Peace, and Elfin spy Weehawk, Avatar must save his world from darkness.

The Blu-ray presentation is good but not amazing. The video looks good in 1080p transfer but is not perfect. The color really pop and the animation looks sharp even though its shows a little age. The audio boasts an impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and also includes a English Dolby Digital mono track. Note: this US release does not include the score-only audio track like the UK release unfortunately.

Since this is the 35th Anniversary release, I was hoping for some new special features but there is nothing new and everything is only presented in standard definition. There is a commentary track from Bakshi, which was used on the 2004 DVD release. It is a good commentary track though and very informative. There is a 35 minute making-of feature called “Ralph Bakshi- The Wizard of Animation Featurette”, definitely worth checking out and wish this was in HD. Lastly there is two trailers, TV spot and a photo gallery included.