Film Review “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles,
Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, T. J. Miller, Melanie Specht, Victoria Summer, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Running time: 165 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It is that time people…more “Transformers”. Watching this film, I just couldn’t help but think how much Michael Bay like to blow shit up. The film definitely better “Dark of the Moon” but it is just too wicked long. Running in at a very mean 2 hours and 45 minutes, the beginning of this was great, the middle was kind of terrible and the ending saved it for me. I mean who can say no to freaking Dinobots! They only pop up in the end as an accessory to battle but they are still mad cool. Whether you love “Transformers” films are not, I know most critics don’t, but for Bay knows how to give audiences what they want. This film is like I said too long but it is still entertaining and an overall fun time. Either way gear up since this is only the first film in a new trilogy, the fifth and sixth installments are on their way.

The film is a sort of sequel to the last “Transformers”, it picks up four years after the battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons left Chicago in ruins. Due to this there is an all our war and hunt against the Transformers. The humans are hunting them down under the command of Harold Attinger (Grammer). All Transformers have gone into hiding. We meet Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), a struggling investor, who comes across an old truck while looking for a way to make some money to help save his house and send his daughter (Peltz) to college. What he finds is a very injured Optimus Prime. After fixing him, the race is on to reunite with the remaining Autobots and find out the truth behind the hunt on them.

If you are familiar with Michael Bay’s films you should know the story doesn’t always get the most attention. Nonetheless, this is “Transformers” and I just want to see giant aliens fighting other giant aliens. In fact, the fourth time around the Transformers have never looked better. With “Dark of the Moon”, they moved so fast you couldn’t even tell what was going on and who was fighting who half the time. This is much cleaner and they are just bad ass…did I mention already dinobots!? They easily steal the show. Optimus Prime is quite dark in this film much different than the last but never been better. Bumblebee got a clapping applaud when he first hit the screen, definitely a fan favorite. But personally in terms of Transformers, Hound takes the prize for me. John Goodman voiced him and really stole the show and was funny as hell.

With “Age of Extinction”, we get an all-new cast. Mark Wahlberg takes the lead and does a great job. His acting sometimes feels a little iffy but I have to remind you it is a “Transformers” movie. Nicola Peltz plays his daughter, she is definitely a better actress than Megan Fox but I couldn’t get over her spray tan look. Jack Reynor plays her boyfriend and he was a solid newcomer, I can see him getting very big…very quick. We got the chance to interview the Irish actor actually, read here, so keep an eye out for him. Stanley Tucci is a riot as Joshua Joyce and gets a ton of laughs. No question the best new addition to the cast. Kelsey Grammer is also quite the surprise and absolutely bad ass as Harold Attinger.

Besides the action and the dinobots (eek!), there is some other great parts in the film. The band Imagine Dragons have a fantastic song “Battle Cry”, which I immediately downloaded after seeing this film. Michael Bay did a great job of inserting that song into various parts of the film. Steve Jablonsky also delivered an amazing score for this film. In fact, I think it is easily one of my favorite recent action films. It also reminded me a bit of the “TRON Legacy” score as well. So “Age of Extinction” is far from perfect. It is drags major ass in the middle but it is a still a great popcorn flick and will no question take the crown for summer box office.

Enter to Win a Transformers MIMOBOT Designer USB Flash Drives [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” in theaters, Media Mikes is teaming up with Mimoco for an exciting giveaway of three . If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Transformers character that you want to see made into a MIMOBOT! Who knows Mimoco might just listen!! This giveaway will remain open until July 4th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

For 9 million years, Megatron has battled for control over Cybertron and the Universe’s energy supplies. Now he has set his evil mind on seizing control of your data! With steel-colored armor, menacing scowl and piercing eyes, Megatron MIMOBOT® boasts his classic Transformers style and will stop at nothing, least of all the feeble attempts of Optimus Prime, to gain the Universe’s data, and that means your documents, music, pictures and more!

For 9 million years, Optimus Prime has battled Megatron over the Universe’s energy supplies and control of Cybertron. Now Optimus Prime is battling to defend your data! The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime MIMOBOT® stands heroic with his trademark red, white, and blue armor, and matching helmet. He’s travelled across the galaxy with a singular purpose: to protect your data from falling into the greedy clutches of the evil leader of the Decepticons, Megatron. Optimus Prime MIMOBOT, Transform and Roll-out! Learn more here!

Cover your ears! Megatron’s greatest rival for control of the Decepticons is now available in MIMO-form! With his F-15 wings folded behind him, STARSCREAM MIMOBOT captures the Decepticon arrogance and power with a smirk all-knowing, and all-cruel. 64GBs of data storage capacity and AMAZING preloaded digital goodies like vintage 1980’s comic books and episodes of the animated series, make Starscream MIMOBOT ready to shriek his way into your world. Get him before he transforms and takes off!

 

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Win Tickets to an Advance Orlando FL Screening of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” [ENDED]

This is not war, it’s extinction. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” hits theaters on 06.27.14 but you could be one of the first to see it!! Here is that you need to do if you would like to win some tickets to an advance screening in Orlando, FL.

In order to win tickets we need YOU submit a photo of your own homemade Transformer costume, or send proof of why your are the biggest fan. You can submit your to us on our Twitter or Facebook pages using the hashtag #TransformersFan. Only one entry per person, per household. The best ones will be chosen and will win one of the following prizes:

GRAND PRIZE (best entry) will get VIP/GUARANTEED seats for them and a guest
Ten (10) runners will be chosen to win regular tickets for them and a guest

This giveaway will remain open until June 20th

The screening will take place on June 25 at Regal Waterford Lakes – 7:30PM

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is the fourth film in director Michael Bay’s global blockbuster franchise. Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Li Bingbing , Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, T. J. Miller, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor and Titus Welliver star. The film begins after an epic battle that left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history… while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is in theaters 06.27.14

Official site: TransformersMovie.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/transformersmovie
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/transformers

Actor/Director Harold Ramis Dead at the Age of 69

Harold Ramis, whose early career writing jokes for “Playboy” magazine lead him to a career as one of the most successful comedy film writer/directors, passed away today in Chicago.  He was 69.  Cause of death was listed as complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.
 
Chicago born, Ramis began his comedic career as a writer and joke editor for “Playboy.”  At the age of 25 he joined the prestigious Second City Improvosational Comedy Troupe and soon was recruited to move to New York City to write and perform for the popular “National Lampoon Show.”  While there  he worked with such up and coming comedians as John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray.  In 1976, while those three were gaining fame on “Saturday Night Live,” he became head writer for the popular Canadian program “SCTV,” whose cast boasted such comic legends as John Candy, Martin Short and Joe Flaherety.  In 1978 he earned his first Hollywood film credit as co-writer of the enormously popular film “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” which was produced by Ivan Reitman.  He later teamed with Reitman by co-writing the script for “Meatballs.” 
 
In 1980 he got his first shot behind the camera when he was named the director of the classic golf comedy “Caddyshack,” again co-writing the script.  He finally got his chance to appear on camera when he and Murray starred in the military comedy “Stripes,” again co-writing the script and directed by Reitman.  In 1983 he concentrated on directing when he helmed “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” written by John Hughes and starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.  The next year he made movie history when he co-starred again with Murray and Dan Aykroyd in one of the most beloved films of all time, “Ghostbusters.”  Again, he shared co-writing duties, this time with Aykroyd.  Other films he helped write include “Back to School,” “Club Paradise,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Analyze This” (and it’s sequel) and “Groundhog Day.”
 
As an actor he is probably best remembered as Dr. Egon Spengler, the heart of the Ghostbusters.  He often made brief cameo appearances in his own films and was also featured in “Airheads,” “Baby Boom,”  “Knocked Up” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”  His last film was 2009’s “Year One” and he last directed in 2010 with an episode of television’s “The Office.”
 
Ramis is survived by his second wife, Erica, their two children and a child from his first marriage. 
 
R.I.P. Egon

Sid Caesar, Comedy Legend, Dead at Age 91

Sid Caesar, whose live television show in the 1950s had, arguably, the greatest assembly of comedy genius’ ever assembled at one time, died today at his Los Angeles area home after a long illness. He was 91. His weekly 90 minute television program, “Your Show of Shows,” boasted the on-screen talents of Caesar, Imogene Coca, Howard Morris and Carl Reiner. The show’s writers room was filled with a virtual who’s who of comedy legends, including Mel Brooks, Selma Diamond, Neil Simon and Danny Simon. His next show, entitled “Caesar’s Hour,” boasted a staff that included Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen. The show was so beloved that it not only inspired the classic Peter O’Toole comedy “My Favorite Year,” which was produced by Mel Brooks, but Neil Simon’s long running play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.”

Born Isaac Sidney Caesar on September 8, 1922 in Yonkers, New York, Caesar began his professional career as a saxophone player, having studied the instrument at the Julliard School of Music. After graduation he decided to try his luck as a professional musician in New York City but did not fare too well. One thing that went right for him: he met his future wife, Florence, there. They were married in July 1943. After 57 years of marriage Florence passed away in 2010.

After small roles in theatre and film he found his calling in television. In 1949 he and Imogene Coca starred in the variety program “The Admiral Broadway Review.” The show grew so popular that it was broadcast on both NBC and the Dumont Network. In fact, the show became so popular that the sponsor, Admiral Televisions, had to cancel it after 26 weeks because their factory could not keep up with the demand for new television sets. Later in life Casesar would recount how an Admiral executive told him that the company had to decide whether to build a new factory or keep sponsoring the show. They chose the cheaper option. On February 25, 1950, the first episode of “Your Show of Shows” premiered. The show ran through 1954 and was quickly followed by “Caesar’s Hour,” a similar themed show which is best remembered for the first appearance of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s 2000 Year Old Man character. The show ran through 1957. For the rest of the decade Caesar would appear in several television specials.

In the 1960s he made his way to Broadway, starring in the musical “Little Me,” which boasted a script by Neil Simon and choreography by Bob Fosse. His performance, which included eight different characters and thirty-two costume changes, earned him a Tony Award nomination in 1963 for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He lost to Zero Mostel, who earned Broadway immortality with his performance in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” which ironically was co-written by another one of Caesar’s former writers, Larry Gelbart. That same year he and Edie Adams co-starred as a married couple searching for a buried fortune in the film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

He spent the rest of the decade, and most of the 1970s, making occasional television and film appearances. In 1978 he introduced his talents to a new generation when he was hired to replace Harry Reems as Rydell High School’s Coach Calhoun in the film version of the Broadway musical, “Grease.” He later reprised the role in “Grease 2.” Other film appearances include “Silent Movie,” “Airport ‘75” and “History of the World, Part I.” In 1982 he returned to Broadway opposite Carol Channing and Tommy Lee Jones in the show “Four on a Garden.” The next year he hosted “Saturday Night Live” and received a prolonged standing ovation upon his entrance. After the show he was given a plaque naming him an honorary member of the cast. He is the only host to receive that honor.

He kept busy in the 1990s as well, appearing in “Vegas Vacation” and earning the last two of his eleven Emmy Award nominations in 1995 and 1997 for guest appearances on “Mad About You.” In his career he won two Emmy Awards.

 

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Shirley Temple, Beloved Child Star of the Depression Era, Passes Away at Age 85

Shirley Temple Black, who as a young child captivated moviegoers around the world, died yesterday at her Woodside, California home from natural causes. She was 85.

Born on April 23, 1928, Black was placed on the road to stardom by her mother, who enrolled her in dance classes at the age of three. In 1932 a talent scout visited the school and she was signed by a small film studio, Education Pictures, where she appeared in a series of one and two-reel comedies. The studio went bankrupt and in 1934 she signed a contract with Fox Films. As she turned six years old she made her Fox debut in the musical/comedy “Stand Up and Cheer!” In December of that year she became the youngest actor ever to have their name above the title when “Bright Eyes” was released. Including what would become one of her most well-known songs, “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” So popular was her rendition that in a few months of release over a half-million copies of the song’s sheet music had been sold. In February 1935 she was awarded a smaller sized, Juvenile Academy Award for her contributions to the film industry. In March of that year she immortalized her hand prints and signature in cement outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

After Fox Films merged with the 20th Century Studio, producer Darryl F. Zanuck concentrated his attention on Temple and her career. With a contract calling for four pictures a year, the studio had a team of nineteen writers whose sole job was to find and create projects for the young actress. In 1935 the studio released such classic Shirley Temple films as “The Little Colonel,” “Our Little Girl,””Curly Top,” (which included another of her signature songs, “Animal Crackers in My Soup”) and “The Littlest Rebel.” In 1936 the studio released “Captain January,” “Poor Little Rich Girl,” “Stowaway” and “Dimples.” All of these films, most of them made for under $300,000, were huge successes, even more so when you learn that Temple’s annual salary was $50,000.

Convinced that Temple’s talents and popularity would continue to grow as she got older, Zanuck turned down a huge financial offer to lend her to MGM Studios to star as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Unfortunately for Zanuck, several Temple films flopped and, at age twelve, her parents bought out her contract and sent her to boarding school. During breaks from school she continued to work in films but, at the age of 22, she decided to retire. 1950 also saw the end of her five year marriage to actor John Agar. It was Agar’s misfortune to have a fan of Temple’s as the presiding judge. When he began to address the court he was immediately interrupted by the judge who declared, “Don’t you DARE blame your troubles on Shirley Temple!”
Temple was also one of the first movie stars to have a merchandizing contract. By 1941, over $40 million worth of Shirley Temple dolls had been sold. In fact, with all of her marketing and endorsement contracts, she easily doubled her annual film salary each year, earning $200,000 in 1936 alone. Less than two weeks after her divorce from Agar was finalized, Temple married Charles Alden Black, a Naval Intelligence officer, who upon their meeting informed Temple he had never seen any of her films. That must have been the magic potion because the two remained married for 54 years until his death in 2005.

Despite intermittent television appearances, Temple wanted to devote her time to worthy causes. After an unsuccessful try at local politics, she was appointed Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969. Five years later President Gerald R. Ford appointed her United States Ambassador to Ghana. She was later named the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States and was in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and inaugural ball. In 1989 she served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia after being appointed by President George H. W. Bush. Eight decades after her career started she would gladly answer fan mail and sign autographs. Some of today’s young stars should take note on how, with the love and support of family and friends, you can achieve your dreams without hurting yourself or others!

Oscar Winner Hal Needham Passes Away at Age 82

As “Smokey and the Bandit” is easily in my top 10 of all time favorite films I would be remiss if I didn’t remember the film’s creator, Hal Needham. Needham, whose Hollywood career took him from stunt man to director to Academy Award honoree, died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer. He was 82.

A paratrooper during the Korean war, the Arkansas-born Needham relocated to Hollywood after the war where he found work as a stuntman. After being hired to be Richard Boone’s stunt-double on the television western “Have Gun, Will Travel,” Needham quickly worked his way up to becoming one of the most sought after stuntmen in the business. In the 60s he worked in such classic westerns as “How the West Was Won,” “Little Big Man” and “McClintock.” He became Burt Reynold’s stunt-double and the two struck up a friendship that would last a lifetime. When he wasn’t standing in for Reynolds, Needham helped modernize the profession, introducing such safety features as inflatable air bags.

After getting a taste of filmmaking as a second unit director, Needham wrote a script entitled “Smokey and the Bandit” and showed it to his pal, Reynolds. Reynolds liked it so much he used his clout to get it made with Needham behind the camera. Since it’s 1977 debut, “Smokey and the Bandit” has grossed over $300 million worldwide. Needham and Reynolds teamed up again for an inside look at the world of stuntmen with “Hooper.” Other Needham/Reynolds collaborations include “Cannonball Run” and it’s sequel as well as “Stroker Ace.” He also wrote and directed (4) “Bandit”-based television movies.

In 2012 he became the second stuntman, after Yakima Canutt, to receive an honorary Academy Award for his stunt pioneering and film career.

Dir En Grey’s Kaoru talks about US tour and new DVD “Tour 12-13 In Situ Tabula Rasa”

Kaoru is the guitarist for the Japanese rock band Dir En Grey. The group has a new DVD out titled “Tour 12-13 In Situ Tabula Rasa” and in November will be touring the United States for the first time in two years. With the help of Kaoru’s translator Media Mikes was able to talk with him about the bands new DVD, the upcoming tour and the groups plans for a new album.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the bands new concert DVD?
Kaoru: The DVD is really a documentary about the band returning from a hiatus we took due to our singer having some vocal issues. The film covers everything from then up until the last date of our most recent European tour which concluded this past summer.

AL: Having filmed a few other DVD’s how does the new one differ from previous ones the band has been involved in.
Kaoru: We have in the past released a number of live concert DVD’s. The main focus of this one was to show the process of what the band had to go through and what we had to do to overcome our singers vocal problems. There was a period for the band after returning that everything was going well but then our singer was hit with more health problems. We didn’t know what to do as a band and this DVD shows all of that.

AL: What does the band enjoy most about releasing DVD’s as they do require quite a bit of work?
Kaoru: Every show that we do as a band is different. Even though the songs may be the same we still might do something different from night to night. Some of our previous releases are from one night of a tour while others are made up multiple shows edited together. We like to release a lot of different things which is something we as a band just realized.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
Kaoru: We are staring of with some shows in Japan and in November we will be touring the United States. This will be our first time there in quite some time. Having been two years since our last trip to the United States I am sure our fans there are waiting for us and we are all looking forward to meeting everyone again. This band is now at the point where we want to see just how far we take this so now is the time for us to do that. We are currently working on our stage set for the show and we are hoping that we can bring some of what we do at our shows in Japan over to the States. We will definitely be bringing something different for everyone to see.

AL: What do you feel is the biggest challenge when touring outside of your country?
Kaoru: Definitely the language barrier. Not so much when it comes to performing our songs but when it comes to interacting with people on a daily basis. If we all just spoke the same language things would be so much easier. (Laughs) You can actually one instance where we are on stage at a festival in Europe and some trouble occurs and because we don’t speak English this turned into a bigger trouble. We have the textbook knowledge of a lot of different places but we are missing some things due to the language barrier.

AL: Has the band begun talking about starting work on any new material?
Kaoru: We have been talking about starting work on some new songs. Nothing is concrete yet but after this tour concludes we will be starting work on a new album.

CD Review: Queens of the Stone Age “…Like Clockwork”

Queens of the Stone Age
“…Like Clockwork”
Release Date: June 4, 2013)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Matador Records
Running Time: 46 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“…Like Clockwork” is Queens of the Stone Age’s first album since 2007’s “Era Vulgaris”. I was a huge fan of 2002’s “Songs For The Deaf” but I never felt that they really topped that album since. Well “…Like Clockwork” is a great revival for the band and they have never sounded better. Each track is epic and very kick-ass, with each one out doing the next. The drumming role has been split with Joey Castillo tackling tracks 1-3 & 6 and Dave Grohl on 4-5 & 7-9.  This has been the first time that Grohl has returned since “Songs for the Deaf”, so I was super excited about that as well. “…Like Clockwork” also delivered the band their first number one debut on the Billboard 200, making it the highest U.S. chart position to date and their first album to top the charts in the United States. So these guys are on FIRE!

Besides Grohl drumming in, “…Like Clockwork” has tons of great guest appearances line-up, some of which were really surprising. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor lends some vocals on tracks “Kalopsia” and “Fairweather Friends”. Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears pops in on the vocals for “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” and “Smooth Sailing”. Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys appeared with vocals and guitars on “If I Had a Tail”. Brody Dalle, who also appeared on “Lullabies to Paralyze” and “Era Vulgaris”, sings also on the track. Lastly keep an ear out for Elton John, who plays his piano and sings on the track “Fairweather Friends”. So in terms of guest appearances this album easily scores a 5 out of 5 stars.

The album was produced by Joshua Homme and QOTSA, recorded by Mark Rankin with additional engineering by Alain Johannes and Justin Smith, at Josh’s studio, Pink Duck, in Burbank, CA. So I think it is save to that that “…Like Clockwork”, the bands sixth album that they are back and with a vengeance with some of their best material to date. So after debut at the top spot on the charts with more than 90,000 copies sold in the first week. The band, including founder Josh Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, Michael Shuman and Jon Theodore will hit the roads of North American with a huge world tour in support of “…Like Clockwork”. So be sure to show your support and catch them live this summer! I am sure it is going to be epic just like the album!

Track Listing:
1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
2. I Sat By The Ocean
3. The Vampyre Of Time And Memory
4. If I Had A Tail
5. My God Is The Sun
6. Kalopsia
7. Fairweather Friends
8. Smooth Sailing
9. I Appear Missing
10. …Like Clockwork

3D Blu-ray Review “Ice Age: Continental Drift 3D”

Actors: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Aziz Ansari, Joy Behar
Directors: Mike Thurmeier, Steve Martino
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Run Time: 88 minutes

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

When I the last chapter in this “Ice Age” franchise, which was also the first in 3D”, “Age of the Dinosaurs”, I thought the series had jumped the shark.  After a few viewings though, I that film has grown on me.  I was excited right off to see “Continental Drift”.  I thought the story looked cute, the 3D looks sharp and the new characters were fun.  I was right on all-three aspects.  This isn’t anything ground breaking in the story department but perfect for kids.  There are a bunch of great new characters, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, Aziz Ansari and Peter Dinklage.  This installment also introduces music into the film, with original songs and I think it works very well. Overall, I am very satisfied with this film and is perfectly timed for release to make a perfect Christmas gift this holiday season for every kid. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for the fifth installment in the “Ice Age” franchise.

Official Premise: This all-new chapter in the beloved Ice Age franchise reconnects families with herd favourites Manny, Sid, and Diego. Joining familiar friends of the Ice Age world on their latest journey is Sid’s long-lost and side-splittingly funny Granny plus a band of pirates led by the fearsome orangutan Captain Gutt. And no Ice Age film would be complete without celebrated icon Scrat, whose existence revolves around the elusive acorn. Scrat once again returns with his very own exploits; however this time his pursuits result in world-changing consequences.

One of the best aspects of the “Ice Age” franchise has always been its amazing voice cast. Ray Romano is always fun to listen to playing Manny.  Denis Leary plays the tough guy with the big heart, very well as  Diego.  John Leguizamo was born to play Sid with that lovable slur. Queen Latifah joined the cast last year voicing Ellie and is a nice match for Manny. Also Seann William Scott returns voicing Crash and  Simon Pegg as Buck.  Newcomers to the cast include Nicki Minaj voicing Steffie and parents will enjoy the “Shaun of the Dead” reunion as Nick Frost joins the cast with Simon Pegg voicing Flynn.

Fox delivers this release with a wonderful combo pack included the 3D Blu-ray, the standard Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and also Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. You can literally want this film whenever and wherever you are. The 3D presentation really suits this franchise well and looks even better at home in a sharp 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. I think that the depth added in the 3D and really makes the action scenes feel like your on a rollercoaster ride. Besides the 3D, the film is also backs but an incredible DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. There is no aspect of this Blu-ray release that isn’t amped up and ready to blow you away.

The special features are exploding out here with over four hours of extras.  Kids are going to eat up watching the film with the interactive “Party with a Pirate!” mode, very fun.  There is also a sing-along mode as well. I actually really enjoyed the original songs included here! There are many exclusive featurettes included, which gives some fantastic background into the production.  “Through a Pirate’s Spyglass: Voices Ahoy and Capturing the Crew” look into the recording sessions with the cast. “Granny and the Stink of the Sloths”, “Scrat Got Your Tongue?” and “Whale of a Tale: Drifts, Rifts, Beasties and Myths” focus on each of the respective characters and their aspects in the film.   There are two music video for the songs “We Are” and “Chasing the Sun”.  There are also some decent deleted Scenes included. “The Scratist” is an all-new animated short spoof with the lovable Scrat. “Ice Age: The Story So Far” is a seires overview for those who need a refresh on the first three films.  Lastly there are the original theatrical trailers included.

DVD Review “Age of Dragons”

Directed by: Ryan Little
Starring: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier, Larry Bagby, Kepa Kruse
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Arc Entertainment
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Running Time: 92 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

If you are fan of Syfy Original Movies, then you might have caught “Age of Dragons” when it aired a few months ago. Well let’s just say it is not one of the better films to ever have graced its network. The draw for me personally besides the dragons was Danny Glover and Vinnie Jones. The film is a re-imagined version of “Moby-Dick,” the classic Herman Melville novel. I think that is a really cool aspect, except it really wasn’t that entertaining and failed to really do justice to the original story.

Set in a medieval era, follows vengeful captain Ahab (Glover) who is leading the dragon hunters including Ishmael (Corey Sevier), Queequeg (John Kepa Kruse) Stubb (Vinnie Jones) and Starbuck (David Morgan) in order to find and kill the legendary white dragon. Ahab’s developed obsession is due to that the white dragon slaughtered his family when he was a kid and left his body scarred and mauled.

Science fiction fans might get a kick-out of this medieval re-imagining of “Moby Dick”. As with all Syfy Original Movies, the quality of the CG effects are limited but still decent or should I say acceptable for this film. But overall, I thought the story was lacking, slow moving and not extremely entertaining. I would call this a Redbox renter and a one-time watcher. To top it off there are no special features included on this DVD.

Ben Gleib talks about “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, Kevin Smith, “Chelsea Lately”, hanging with Jaleel White and time traveling with Syfy’s “Insane or Inspired?”

Ben Gleib is a comedian who can be seen recently voicing Marshall in “Ice Age: Continental Drift”. He also has his own podcast called “Last Week on Earth” on Kevin Smith’s Smodcast Network. Ben took out some time with Media Mikes to chat about appearing on “Chelsea Lately”, hanging with Jaleel White and time traveling with Syfy while working the show “Insane or Inspired?”

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Marshall in “Ice Age: Continental Drift”?
Ben Gleib: Well I had had an obsession with sloths since early in my life. So I have had to shape my career so that one way or another, I would portray a sloth on the silver screen. Actually that answer is bullshit. I just auditioned and got cast. It was very exciting though. Every kid grows up watching cartoons and you would never imagine that you would become a cartoon yourself. It has certainly ruined my ability to watch cartoons again though since now I know the process that goes into it…but it is worth it to entertain America’s children [pauses]…I only say I want to entertain America’s children so that women will read this and want to have sex with me.

MG: Tell us about your podcast “Last Week on Earth” on Kevin Smith’s Smodcast Network?
BG: I did a TV pilot with Kevin originally. He then asked me to co-host a podcast with him and shortly after he offered me my own show on his network. The idea behind it was that I try and cover every single event that happens the week before on Earth. News, politics, pop culture, science, social trends, technology and just weird shit. Every other week a celebrity guest joins me for it. I am having the time of my life doing it. It is a shit ton of work trying to learn the details of all of theevents on planet Earth each week. But I feel like it is worth it as a gift to all of my listeners. And by gift I mean a gift that no one asked for, and will probably get returned to the store.

MG: What is the prepare time for each episode?
BG: It is a lot of time. I am following the news all week. I’m also pre-writing a lot of concepts for the podcast. Each episode probably takes me between 20-30 hours to prepare. If I don’t end up on “Jeopardy” or at least the dumb version of it “Celebrity Jeopardy” one of these days, my life will be a failure.

MG: Tell us how you ended up appearing as a frequent guest on “Chelsea Lately”?
BG: I knew Chelsea a bit before she had her show just from doing stand-up together. So one day she told me they wanted me on the show and I have been asked back ever since. I have been very fortunate because I really enjoy being on television. Chelsea’s show is best place for comedians to be these days. You go on her show and just riff about everything going on with pop culture that week and it is a lot of fun. Plus it is even easier for me, since if I tell jokes that don’t go over so well, Chelsea just makes fun of me and it gets laughs anyway. So it is a win-win situation and a fail safe.

MG: How did you get involved with Syfy’s “Insane or Inspired?”?
BG: The casting director of that show, Phyllis Coblentz, called me up one day and asked me to be on the show. I agreed to do it and thought it sounded like a fun show to do. We actually just got picked up for another twelve episodes as well. It has been awesome with Syfy because besides being paid to be on their show, they also conduct experiments on you. I can’t say too much more, but my end of this phone call is happening in the 1800’s. I might have already said too much, so let me cover it up and say that my end of the conversation is actually place in the 23rd century. That way it will keep you guessing.

MG: I noticed you wear the same clothes in every episode, do you ever consider personal hygiene?
BG: When you work with Syfy and are a time traveler, you don’t really have time to pack a heavy bag. You just keep the same clothes. Syfy didn’t really know which clips would be in each episode, so they asked us to wear the same clothes each taping. It was a little silly because in the same episode you can see me with long hair and a beard and short hair and clean shaven, all while being in the same clothes. That or it could have been just the longest taping in history or I just have bionic fast growing hair.

MG: Speaking of the SyFy family, you worked with Jaleel White, host of “Total Blackout” in the film “Dumbbells”, tell us about that?
BG: We already shot “Dumbbells” and I didn’t even know that Jaleel White was in the movie until you told me right now. I am very excited to know that now and more excited about my film career since he is in it. I did actually meet Jaleel White once in the past. I was at a bar in Hollywood last year and there was a very attractive girl I was trying to impress and while she went to the bathroom, I felt like my breath could use a little freshening. And like a knight in shining armor, like everyone knows he is, Jaleel White walks into the bar. So I asked him if he could spare a piece, since I saw him chewing and I felt nervous asking Steve Urkel for gum. He put a piece of gum in my hand and closed my fingers around it and said to me “Never forget me man, I hooked you up”. Things did not work out with that girl. But if they did work out, could you have guessed who the best man at the wedding would have been?

MG: Let me guess…Jaleel White?
BG: No, it would have been my best friend Scott. I just got a piece of gum from Jaleel White, that’s really not a big deal.

MG: Being a comedian, who are your all-time favorites comedians?
BG: My favorite comedians of all-time would have to be George Carlin, Chris Rock and George W. Bush. They are definitely three of the funniest people in history.

MG: What do you enjoy most about doing stand-up comedy?
BG: It is the most free medium for a comedian. It is really a privilege to bring comedy to people on any form, whether it be TV or movies. But when it is stand-up, there is literally nobody else that gets to have a say in it. I get to say or do anything I want. It is completely just my unfettered creative output that gets directly to the audience and you get immediate feedback. It is also exhilarating, in the moment, with every second to second and joke to joke you don’t know how it is going to go. So it keeps you on your toes. Also when you are on your toes it is good because you seem taller. Girls enjoy tall guys, and you just hope that they do not look down because girls do not like guys who stand on their tippy toes. They do not find it very manly.

MG: What do I need to do to get you down to the Improv clubs here in Orlando, FL?
BG: All you need to do is find very attractive women who are into somewhat tall comedians who make themselves look like taller ballet dancers, and then I will be there. Because that is the girl I like. The kind of girl I like, and you can quote me on this, is the kind of girl that likes me. But do me a favor though, do not quote me on anything else I said so far.

MG: Well that is going to make this a very short interview then.
BG: Perfect.

Film Review “Ice Age: Continental Drift”

Starring the voices of: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary
Directed by: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour 34 mins
20th Century Fox

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Of all of the popular series of computer animated films that have come along in the past decade plus, I’ve always felt that the “Ice Age” series was often dismissed. Which is a shame because, along with the “Toy Story” films, I’ve always thought that they featured the most consistent story and writing excellence as well as a perfect vocal cast. And I’m happy to say that the fourth chapter, “Continental Drift,” continues that excellence.

The film begins with Scrat once again trying to protect his treasured acorn. Over the past decade Scrat has become a rodent Gollum, doing whatever he can to protect his “precious!” He has also become the ice age’s very own Wiley E. Coyote, suffering devastating consequences no matter how smart he thinks he is. While Scrat is dealing with his problems, our three main characters, Manny (Romano), Sid (Leguizamo) and Diego (Leary) are dealing with theirs. An unexpected visit from Sid’s sloth family leaves an unexpected present behind: Grandma (Wanda Sykes). Even more unexpected are the changes taking place in the world around them. Changes that will send the three friends, and their new addition, on a journey they won’t long forget.

Rendered with the beauty one would expect from Blue Sky Studios, the film is a virtual travelogue of the world of the past. Cloud covered mountains overlook clear, rushing rivers while the flowers bloom so bright you can almost smell them. And that beauty is also a vital part of the story. The film deals with the formation of the continents, a formation that separates our familiar friends from their loved ones. As they try to find their way home they come across a band of animal pirates, commanded by their simian leader, Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). Of course not everyone understands what a baddie the captain is. “Surrender or face my fury,” he demands. “Face your furry what,” asks Sid. Poor Sid.

As usual, the voice actors go above and beyond, breathing believable life into their animated alter egos. In checking back on my reviews of the previous three films, I noticed that I have always continued to praise the work of Ray Romano. And rightly so. He, and his fellow actors, give full and complete performances, which is many times a rarity in animated features. Leary and Leguizamo match Romano line for line. It’s obvious that these actors feel very comfortable in these roles and their familiarity is a plus. Sykes is very funny as Grandma. Like the other actors, she has managed to inject her very distinct personality into the character. Ditto Queen Latifah (Ellie), Jennifer Lopez (Shira the Tiger) and the rest of the vocal cast.

In this day of BIGGER and BETTER, 3D is pretty much standard on films like this. It doesn’t really add much to the story here. In fact, it was much better utilized in the short “Simpsons” cartoon that precedes it. But no matter how you choose to see it, you won’t be disappointed.

Monkees singer Davy Jones dead at age 66.

On February 9, 1964, over 40% of America was tuned into the “Ed Sullivan Show.” There they were treated to an English musical guest that, a few years later, would become one of the biggest teen idols of all time. No, it wasn’t the Beatles (though they were on the show as well). It was 18 year old Davy Jones, who was appearing on the show along with the cast of the musical “Oliver!”

Born on December 30, 1945 in Lancashire, England, Jones began acting at the age of 11 and, in 1961, began appearing in the long running television soap opera “Coronation Street.” That was the first year of the show which is STILL running 51 years later. When his mother passed away he left acting and began training as a jockey. He was 14.

A friend of his trainer recommended Jones to a friend who was looking for young boys to appear in the musical “Oliver!” Jones was hired and soon found himself starring as the Artful Dodger. He later reprised the role when the show came to Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination. Based on his appearance on the Sullivan show Jones was signed to a contract with Screen Gems. A few television appearances followed as did a few independently released singles.

Being under contract proved helpful for Jones when, in 1965, the studio began a search for “Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series.” The studio already had Jones in mind. Musicians from all over came to audition. Among those who didn’t make it: Stephen Stills and Harry Nillson. It’s also been rumored that Charles Manson auditioned but later checking showed he was in prison at the time. Along with Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, Jones became a part of The Monkees, television’s attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Beatles. The show ran for only two seasons (it won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Program in year one) but the band kept recording, in various phases, until 1971. The Monkees sold more then 65 million albums and singles. Jones sang lead on such hits as “Daydream Believer,” “Valerie” and “I Wanna Be Free.”

After the Monkees disbanded Jones continued to act and record. He also reunited with the Monkees for several reunion tours. I saw the band, sans Nesmith, in 1986 and had the good fortune of meeting the band and having several albums signed. I also saw him on stage as Vince Fontaine in a touring production of “Grease.” Younger generations may know Jones from his vocal work on “Spongebob Squarepants” or his appearance in “The Brady Bunch Movie.” In the late 1960s another singer named David Jones decided to change his name to avoid confusion. We know him today as David Bowie.

Jones is survived by his third wife, Jessica, and four daughters.

DVD Review “Dragon Age: Redemption”

Directors: Peter Winther
Starring: Felica Day, Adam Rayner, Doug Jones, Marcia Battise
Rated: Unrated
Distributed by: New Video
Running Time: 90 minutes

Film Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This six-part web series is based on the BioWare video game series of the same name. The series is created by Felicia Day, who is known best for her work on “The Guild” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing A-long Blog”. When it comes to web series, when you have her included it is instant magic. If you are fan of this video game series, you will definitely enjoy getting to see this universe coming alive. You can tell that Felicia Day is a fan of this series herself and does not want to let the fans down. The show is definitely low-budget and it shows a little in it’s production but overall it kicks some major ass.

The series follows Tallis (Day), an Elvish assasin, who gets sent on a mission to capture a Qunari mage named Saarebas (Jones) who is wreaking havoc. along the way she meets up with Cairn (Rayner) and Nyree (Battise) to assist her. Even though this is a web series, like I said it has this way bigger feeling. As the six parts only total about an hour, I was left happy but wanting more…sequel in the cards?! Felicia Day is funny, strong and sexy as Tallis. Props also need to go to Doug Jones who always plays a awesome bad guy, just wish he was in it more.

The special features are really the main reason you are buying this DVD, since the episodes are available online. The extras as up to about 45 minutes and are very entertaining. To start there is a great commentary from the series’ director and producer.  There a a bunch of features including “Bringing the Game to Life”, “Costumes”, “Characters” and “Stunts”, which all focus on various aspects of the series’ production. They are very in depth and give great insight. There are a funny blooper reel included, it is a must watch. Also there are trailers for “Dragon Age II and Origins” games and also DLC. All in all, these extras are definitely worth taking the plunge for this DVD purchase.