Film Review: “Black Widow” SPOILER FREE!

  • BLACK WIDOW
  • Starring:  Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz
  • Directed by:  Cate Shortland
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 13 mins
  • Disney

The expression is “timing is everything.”  I say this because, while I found “Black Widow” enjoyable, it doesn’t feel as timely to me as other films in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe for those of you who don’t understand fan-speak).

Ohio.  1995.  It’s another sunny day in the local park and Melina (Weisz) is enjoying the time watching her young daughters play.  When they get home mom prepares dinner and they all wait for dad (David Harbour) to get home.  However, the mood changes when dad announces “it’s time.”  On the move again!

Full of non-stop action and some self-depreciating humor, “Black Widow” is an origin story that attempts to inform viewers where Natasha (Johansson) came from and why she defected to the Avengers. 

The majority of the film takes place in 2016, after Theodore Ross (William Hurt) helped the United Nations enforce the Sokovia Accords, which basically made the Avengers outlaws, unable to do their stuff unless requested.  It also requires all “enhanced” people in the United States to not only identify themselves but disclose what their enhancement is.   Currently Ross is on the look for Black Widow and Captain America.  And the hunt is on.

I’m doing my best to make this a SPOILER FREE review, so I won’t be going into too many details.  Suffice it to say that the characters travel literally all over the world, a lot of stuff gets damaged and a lot of people got hurt.  The action scenes are well designed and the script fun.  But still…..

While it’s not the best film in the MCU, it certainly isn’t the worse.  And that’s a good thing.   

METALLICA ANNOUNCE THE BLACK ALBUM REMASTERED AND BLACKLIST ALBUM

THE BLACK ALBUM REMASTERED

THE METALLICA BLACKLIST ALBUM FEATURING 53 ARTISTS

Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of The Black Album Your Way September 10th

The Metallica Blacklist Album Pre-Orders Receive Instant Gratification Tracks “Nothing Else Matters” by Miley Cyrus (feat. WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo, Chad Smith) and “Enter Sandman” by Juanes

The Black Album Pre-Orders Receive Instant Gratification Tracks “Enter Sandman (Remastered)”, “Enter Sandman (Live at Tushino Airfield)” and “Enter Sandman (July 12th, 1990 Demo)”

100% Of The Metallica Blacklist Sales To Benefit 52 Charities

Watch the Trailer HERE

Metallica marks the 30th anniversary of its self-titled fifth album — a/k/a The Black Album — with two landmark releases, both out September 10th on the band’s own Blackened Recordings:

The Black Album is one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed records of all time. Its 1991 release not only gave Metallica its first #1 album in no fewer than 10 countries, including a 4-week run at #1 in the U.S., its unrelenting series of singles — “Enter Sandman”, “The Unforgiven”, “Nothing Else Matters”, “Wherever I May Roam”, and “Sad But True” — fueled the band’s rise to stadium headlining, radio and MTV dominating household name status. The album’s reception from the press was similarly charged, building over the years from the top 10 of the 1991 Village Voice Pazz & Jop national critics poll to becoming a constant presence in the likes of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. The album’s impact and relevance continue to grow—as proven by one indisputable fact: The Black Album remains unchallenged as the best-selling album in the history of Nielsen Soundscan, outselling every release in every genre over the past 30 years.

To commemorate its 30th anniversary, the GRAMMY-winning, 16x platinum-certified Black Album is receiving its definitive re-release.  Remastered for ultimate sound quality, The Black Album remaster will be available in multiple configurations including 180 gram Double Vinyl LP, Standard CD and 3 CD Expanded Edition, digital, and Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set (containing the album remastered on 180G 2LP, a picture disc, three live LPs, 14 CDs (containing rough mixes, demos, interviews, live shows), 6 DVDs (containing outtakes, behind the scenes, official videos, live shows), a 120-page hardcover book, four tour laminates, three lithos, three guitar picks, a Metallica lanyard, a folder with lyric sheets, and a download card).

Much more than a mere tribute album, The Metallica Blacklist celebrates the enduring influence of this musical milestone with one of the most ambitious projects ever conceived by the Metallica team: An unprecedented 50+ artists spanning an unbelievably vast range of genres, generations, cultures, continents and more, each contributing a unique interpretation of their favorite Black Album cut.

The Metallica Blacklist offers up new dimensions of the record whose gravitational pull first drew the mainstream to Metallica—and provides new insights into the universal and timeless appeal that kept it there: the boundary-smashing influence these 12 songs have had on fans and musicians of all stripes. The Metallica Blacklist’s 53 tracks find singer songwriters, country artists, electronic and hip hop artists sharing their love of these songs alongside punk rockers, indie darlings, icons of rock, metal, world music and many, many more… and for 50+ good causes: Profits will be divided evenly between charities of the artist’s choice and Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation.

The Metallica Blacklist is a fitting and limitless homage, one that features bands who’ve shared stages with Metallica alongside artists who are younger than the original album. It’s a truly staggering, at times mystifying assemblage of musicians, dozens of whom have little to nothing in common other than the shared passion for the music that’s united them for this album: 1 Album. 12 Songs. 53 Artists. Unlimited Possibilities.

The Metallica Blacklist will be available in formats including digital, 4 CD and a limited edition 7 LP vinyl pressing. Pre-orders will instantly receive multi-platinum selling recording artist, songwriter, philanthropist and trailblazer Miley Cyrus’ version of “Nothing Else Matters” featuring WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo and Chad Smith, and Colombian-born rock/pop superstar, and winner of 20+ Grammy & Latin Music Grammy Awards  Juanes’ interpretation of “Enter Sandman.”

*All profits from The Metallica Blacklist will be split evenly between the All Within My Hands Foundation and 50+ charities chosen by the artists who play on the album. All Within My Hands was founded by the band in 2017 as a way for the entire Metallica family to give back to communities that have supported the band by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services.

Film Review: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (2)

  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • Starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman
  • Directed by: George C. Wolfe
  • Rating: Rated R
  • Running Time: 1 HR 34 MINS
  • Netflix 

With the 93rd annual Academy Awards just days away, it is a good time to take a look at “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a film unforgivably snubbed in the Best Picture category. Garnering a total of five nominations, “Ma Rainey’s” is a fantastic drama with a brilliant cast punctuated by memorable performances from Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. 

Based upon the 1982 stage play by the late American playwright August Wilson (1945-2005) and wonderfully directed by George C. Wolfe (2005’s “Lackawanna Blues”), “Ma Rainey’s” is set on a hot and steamy July day in 1927 Chicago. Popular Georgia-born blues singer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (Davis) is scheduled to record a song – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” – for a pair of white producers anxious to make a profit off her music. 

Ahead of her much-anticipated arrival, Ma’s band arrives to prepare for the day’s recording session. Her musical quartet is made up of three seasoned veterans (Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman and Michael Potts) and an ambitious trumpet player named Levee Green (Boseman). Levee has a head full of dreams of becoming a star on his own, but his fellow players scoff at his ideas, at least until he tells them in a powerful scene about a disturbing racist experience he had while growing up. 

When Ma (Davis) arrives late there is heavy tension in the air, especially when it comes to her interaction with one of the white producers, Mel (Jonny Coyne, “The Blacklist”). Neither likes the other as Ma does not take any guff from anyone and Mel does not like her because she is black. In the middle is the other producer, Irvin (Jeremy Shamos, “Better Call Saul”) who will do anything to appease her. After many hiccups, the recording session finally begins but it is afterwards when the story’s haunting climax occurs. 

The real Ma Rainey lived from 1886-1939 and is often regarded as the “Mother of the Blues.” The Columbus, Georgia native was a force of nature in life and Davis drives this home with a tour de force performance that dominates the silver screen. It’s almost no wonder that Davis thrives so well on the script since she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2016’s “Fences,” another of Wilson’s works.

 Equally spellbinding to watch is Boseman whose last performance before his untimely passing is one never to be forgotten. His progression from a bravado-filled, star-seeking musician to a broken man seething with rage, pain, and frustration is done with amazing skill. It is arguably the best acting of his brief career and makes his death that much more tragic. 

Overall, “Ma Rainey’s” is an important, transformative work of cinema. How it was ignored in the Best Picture category is a travesty of the highest order.

Film Review: “Ma Rainey’s Black Botom” (1)

  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • Starring:  Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis and Glynn Turman
  • Directed by:  George C. Wolfe
  • Rated:  R
  • Running time:  1 hr 34 mins
  • Netflix

It’s a hot summer day in Chicago in the late 1920s.  In a small, enclosed room a group of musicians gather, waiting to back up a recording session for the tardy Ma Rainey (Davis), forever known as “the Mother of the Blues.”  Among the musicians is Levee (Boseman), a horn player with aspirations of musical fame of his own.  He’s tired of being part of a “jug band” and wants to introduce the musical world to a new style.  But he soon learns that Ma isn’t interested in a new style.  And what Ma says, goes.

Like “Fences” before it, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is a film adaption of an August Wilson play, again produced by Denzel Washington, who also produced, directed and starred in “Fences.”  “Ma Rainey” is directed by the amazing 15-time Tony Award nominee (and three time winner) George C. Wolfe.  Wolfe skillfully opens up the play on screen while keeping the performances front and center.  And what amazing performances they are.

Davis is tough as nails as Ma, a woman a lot smarter than some give her credit for.  She knows that her white producers only want her for her voice = that otherwise they would have nothing to do with her.  So she wields the power her voice gives her by making demands that must be met.  Whether it’s fetching her a Coke or ensuring that her nephew will appear on a record and get paid, she is as strong a Black woman as the times will allow.

The supporting cast of musicians are equally strong, especially when killing time by sharing stories of their musical past.  Turman, Michael Potts and Colman Domingo share their tales with great conviction and, occasionally, humor

As the session producer, Jeremy Shamos is both firm and bendable, depending on whether he’s dealing with his boss or Ma.

God bless Chadwick Boseman.  His star shone brightly with amazing work in films like “42,” “Get on Up” and, of course, “Black Panther.”  He left this world much too soon, but he left us with a performance that will be remembered forever.  Levee is a dreamer, but when his dreams are dismissed, or downright crushed, his jovial smiling face turns into a mask of anger, an anger that needs to be released.  Boseman, like Ms. Davis, has been Oscar nominated for his performance and they both richly deserves to win.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is currently showing on Netflix.” 

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

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

WWW.PHANTOMTOMORROW.COM 

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

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

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

The track listing for The Phantom Tomorrow is:    

1)    The Phantom Tomorrow (introduction)                   

2)    Scarlet Cross                  

3)    Born Again                  

4)    Blackbird                  

5)    Spectres (Interlude)                  

6)    Torch                  

7)    The Wicked One                  

8)    Shadows Rise                  

9)    Fields Of Bone                  

10)  Crimson Sky                  

11)  Kill The Hero                  

12)  Fall Eternal

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

BLACK VEIL BRIDES Announce Their First-Ever Virtual Acoustic Radio Tour “Acoustour”

All Eight Concerts Are Free And Broadcast Online Via Each Local Stations Portal

As the band’s latest single “Scarlet Cross” continues to move up the Active Rock Radio charts (currently in the Top 20 at the format), Los Angeles rockers Black Veil Brides are announcing their first-ever virtual acoustic radio tour. Happening in conjunction with 8 local radios stations, the band will be performing their latest single and other favorites from their catalog. The shows start on March 23rd for WEBN in frontman Andy Biersack’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH and wraps on April 2nd for KCJK in Kansas City, MO. Other markets include Columbus, OH; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Monmouth Ocean, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; and Madison, WI. Each performance will be unique and a different set for each station. All shows are streaming free and local performance information is below: 

TUES 3/23 – WEBN/Cincinnati – 6:30pm EST – https://www.facebook.com/1027webn

WED 3/24 – WRKZ/Columbus – 10am EST – https://www.facebook.com/997theblitz

THU 3/25 – WIYY/Baltimore – 7pm EST – https://www.facebook.com/98online 

FRI 3/26 – WRIF/Detroit – 5pm EST – https://wrif.com/  

MON 3/29 – WRAT/Monmouth Ocean – 7pm EST – https://www.facebook.com/959therat  

TUES 3/30 – KUPD/Phoenix – 8pm PST – https://98kupd.com/  

WED 3/31 – WJJO/Madison – 7pm CST – https://www.facebook.com/941JJO  

FRI 4/2 – KCJK/Kansas City – 8pm CST – https://www.facebook.com/1051THEX  

After a massive social media ramp up, Black Veil Brides released the  video for the track “Scarlet Cross” last November. The video for “Scarlet Cross” was directed by longtime collaborator Patrick Fogarty and based on a concept written by frontman Andy Biersack. The video for “Scarlet Cross” – viewed nearly 5 million times to date – can be seen here: http://smarturl.it/scarletcross. “Scarlet Cross” is also available via all digital partners and comes from the band’s upcoming 2021 concept album The Phantom Tomorrow – the band’s sixth full-length album. The song was produced by Erik Ron (Godsmack, Dance Gavin Dance, Bush) and guitarist Jake Pitts. 

Black Veil Brides are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the upcoming album The Phantom Tomorrow– scheduled for release via Sumerian Records in 2021More information on the latest musical creation from Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton and Christian Coma will be released in April. 

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

Like their band name suggests, Black Veil Brides evoke transcendent visions of an impenetrable hereafter, intermingling with a steely focus on the dark passions and elusive mysteries of the here and now. A romantic fantasy first summoned in a small town by founder Andy Biersack – a creative who was fascinated with death rock, theatricality, and monsters (both real and imagined). It wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles that the unstoppable force the band is currently was finalized. The band (and its members Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton, Christian Coma) Instagram and Twitter accounts command close to 10 million followers between them. Vale, the group’s most recent full-length album, went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart. In the hearts and minds of their fans, Black Veil Brides represents an unwillingness to compromise and a resistance to critics (personal and professional), fueled by the same fire as the group’s own heroes, the iconoclasts whose creative output, once dismissed, is now canonized.

BLACK VEIL BRIDES Founder Andy Biersack Releases Audiobook of His #1 Selling Autobiography “They Don’t Need To Understand Stories Of Hope, Fear, Family, Life And Never Giving In”

Book Written With Longtime Collaborator Ryan J. Downey  Now Available Via Rare Bird Books

Singer, songwriter, actor, podcast host and comic book creator are all descriptions that can be used when talking about Black Veil Brides founder Andy Biersack. Now #1 selling author can also be added to that list with the release of his autobiography They Don’t Need To Understand (Rare Bird Books)The book, co-written by longtime collaborator Ryan J. Downey, is currently the #1 release on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Rock Music. The book also finds itself at #2 in Rock Band Biographies, #20 in Actor & Entertainer Biographies on Amazon, and has 4.7 out of 5 stars with customer reviews. The audiobook – read by Biersack – is now available everywhere audiobooks are sold or fans can go to Audiobooks.com or Audible.com to order.

“I am so thankful for the incredible reception the book has had and it means the world to me to know that my story has resonated with so many people all over the world. This whole experience has been a dream come true,” explains Andy Biersack. 

Before he was the charismatic singer of Black Veil Brides and an accomplished solo artist under the Andy Black moniker, he was Andrew Dennis Biersack, an imaginative and creative kid in Cincinnati, Ohio, struggling with anxiety, fear, loneliness, and the impossible task of fitting in. With his trademark charm, clever wit, and insightful analysis, Biersack tells the story of his childhood and adolescence. The discovery of the artistic passions that would shape his life, and his decision to move to Hollywood after his 18th birthday to make his dreams come true, even when it meant living in his car to make it all a reality. It’s the origin story of one of modern rock’s most exciting young superheroes, from building miniature concerts with KISS action figures in his bedroom to making the RIAA gold-certified single “In the End” and connecting with passionate fans worldwide.

Black Veil Brides are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the upcoming album The Phantom Tomorrow– scheduled for release via Sumerian Records in 2021More information on the latest musical creation from Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton and Christian Coma will be available in the near future. 

About Andy Biersack: Andy Biersack is the singer of Black Veil Brides and performs as a solo artist under the name Andy Black. He’s acted in both film and television, conceived the graphic novel The Ghost of Ohio, and co-created The Andy Show podcast. Andy has appeared on the covers of tastemaker rock music publications like Kerrang!, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and Revolver and shares content with millions of followers across social media. He was the host and head writer of the 2017 Journeys Alternative Press Music Awards. He lives in Southern California with his wife, singer Juliet Simms, and their three pets.

About Ryan J. Downey: Ryan J. Downey worked as writer, producer, reporter, host, and editor for a number of media brands, including MTV News, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel, IFC, Lionsgate, Hearst Media, and MSNBC. He is the founder of Superhero Artist Management, representing rock bands and producers, and PopCurse, in Southern California.

About Black Veil Brides: Like their band name suggests, Black Veil Brides evoke transcendent visions of an impenetrable hereafter, intermingling with a steely focus on the dark passions and elusive mysteries of the here and now. A romantic fantasy first summoned in a small town by founder Andy Biersack – a creative who was fascinated with death rock, theatricality, and monsters (both real and imagined). It wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles that the unstoppable force the band is currently was finalized. The band (and its members Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton, Christian Coma) Instagram and Twitter accounts command close to 10 million followers between them. Vale, the group’s most recent full-length album, went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart. In the hearts and minds of their fans, Black Veil Brides represents an unwillingness to compromise and a resistance to critics (personal and professional), fueled by the same fire as the group’s own heroes, the iconoclasts whose creative output, once dismissed, is now canonized.

BLACK VEIL BRIDES Return With New Single “Scarlet Cross” From The Upcoming 2021 Album The Phantom Tomorrow

Epic Video Directed By Longtime Collaborator Patrick Fogarty Can Be Seen Here: http://smarturl.it/scarletcross

After teasing fans for days on social media, Los Angeles rockers Black Veil Brides are releasing a new single and video for the track “Scarlet Cross.” The song comes from the band’s upcoming 2021 concept album The Phantom Tomorrow – the band’s sixth full-length album. The album tells the story of the antihero character “The Blackbird” and a group of societal outcasts known as simply as “The Phantom Tomorrow.” The first single “Scarlet Cross” – produced by Erik Ron (Godsmack, Dance Gavin Dance, Bush) and guitarist Jake Pitts – is available via all digital partners today. 

The video for “Scarlet Cross” was directed by longtime collaborator Patrick Fogarty and based on a concept written by frontman Andy Biersack. The video was filmed on the Santa Clarita Studios backlot and is the first in a series of videos that will follow the story of the main character “The Blackbird.”. The video opens as a female member of “The Phantom Tomorrow” takes to the streets only to be discovered and followed. As things get dire, the “The Blackbird” arrives only to fade to black. Shot to look like an old school comic book serial, the video ends with the cliffhanger tease leaving the viewer unsure of the fate of the heroine or her attackers. The video for “Scarlet Cross” can be seen here: http://smarturl.it/scarletcross.

Black Veil Brides are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the upcoming album The Phantom Tomorrow– scheduled for release via Sumerian Records in 2021More information on the latest musical creation from Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton and Christian Coma will be available in the near future. 

“We are incredibly excited to share not only this new song ‘Scarlet Cross,’ but also our vision for the world of “The Phantom Tomorrow” and its characters. We are in the final stages of writing for this record and have begun work on our forthcoming “The Phantom Tomorrow” graphic novel. We intend to continue to share elements of the story in the coming months and can’t wait for everyone to see what we have been working on!” 

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

Like their band name suggests, Black Veil Brides evoke transcendent visions of an impenetrable hereafter, intermingling with a steely focus on the dark passions and elusive mysteries of the here and now. A romantic fantasy first summoned in a small town by founder Andy Biersack – a creative who was fascinated with death rock, theatricality, and monsters (both real and imagined). It wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles that the unstoppable force the band is currently was finalized. The band (and its members Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts, Jinxx, Lonny Eagleton, Christian Coma) Instagram and Twitter accounts command close to 10 million followers between them. Vale, the group’s most recent full-length album, went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart. In the hearts and minds of their fans, Black Veil Brides represents an unwillingness to compromise and a resistance to critics (personal and professional), fueled by the same fire as the group’s own heroes, the iconoclasts whose creative output, once dismissed, is now canonized.

VOLBEAT ANNOUNCES HOKUS BONUS RECORD STORE DAY BLACK FRIDAY RELEASE

7th STUDIO ALBUM, REWIND, REPLAY, REBOUND, OUT NOW VIA REPUBLIC RECORDS

Today, Volbeat announces their Record Store Day Black Friday release, Hokus Bonus: a vinyl-only compilation of ‘bonus tracks’ from special and international editions of the band’s previous albums. Limited to 3,000 copies, the LP features brand new cover art from long-time Volbeat illustrator Karsten Sand and will be pressed on “Magician’s Smoke” colored vinyl. Hokus Bonus brings several songs such as “Slaytan,” “Under The Influence,” and “Immortal But Destructable” to the vinyl format for the first time ever, and includes early versions of fan-favorites “Evelyn,” “Black Rose,” and “Die To Live.” The album also marks the first time that the European smash hit single “For Evigt” will be commercially available on vinyl in North America.
 
“We all spend a lot of time in record stores both at home and on tour,” said the band, “and bringing these songs to vinyl, some of them for the first time ever, brings us great joy. We hope our fans are looking forward to Record Store Day Black Friday as much as we are!”
 
Hokus Bonus will be available November 27th at independent record stores participating in Record Store Day. For a full list, visit https://recordstoreday.com/Stores.

Streaming Review: “Welcome to the Blumhouse Presents ‘Black Box'”

  • BLACK BOX
  • Starring: Mamoudou Argue, Amanda Christine, Phylicia Rashad
  • Directed by: Emmanuel Osei-Kuff
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Running time: 1 hr 40 mins
  • Blumhouse Productions


Giving a solid swing into the horror universe as part of the first installment of WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE films streaming on Amazon Prime is Director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour’s “Black Box.”  

When you meet Nolan (Mamoudou Athie) you immediately feel his struggle. He’s a young, widowed father who has lost not only his wife but a majority of crucial memories sustained from the car accident that killed her. It has also seemingly took his “eye” from his successful photography career… which has added just one more stressor to the pile of problems he’s facing in his new life. He routinely forgets to pick up his daughter, Ava (Amanda Christine), from school, traditions they have together and simply struggles to safely and efficiently navigate their daily schedule. 

Becoming emotionally exhausted and worried about the effect it’s having on Ava, Nolan is looking for help to fill in the missing pieces. When Ava’s school threatens to call Protective Services after he forgets to pick her up for a third time, Nolan’s search becomes, simply, an act of desperation.


Reluctantly volunteering to participate in an experimental treatment, Nolan comes to know Dr. Lillian Brooks (Phylicia Rashad). The experiment uses a device they call the Black Box which allows the patient to recapture lost memories by submersing themselves in their own memories of adjacent experiences, hoping they will allow the missing pieces to fill themselves in. The visual process in which you arrive to these adjacent memories will not be unfamiliar to horror fans. Very briefly pulling atmospheric vibes a la Get Out’s The Sunken Place, but to be clear… the similarities end there. Not surprisingly, Nolan’s procedure isn’t without negative side effects and conceptually, I think most adult viewers will have an understood fear of the notion of memory loss, the mechanics involved in medical science should doctors ever want to play around in your brain for who knows what selfish reasons and most of all, imagining the desperation required to make a choice to participate in the above willingly.

Simply put, Black Box feels like a high concept story that might have best been left as an episode of Black Mirror. Or maybe it would’ve faired better expanded into an anthology; Nolan’s story alone doesn’t feel like it properly fills out 100 minutes and simultaneously feels like maybe there’s more behind the lab that viewers would be interested in seeing. Still, the acting is solid, especially from Osei-Kuffour. Atmospherically, this will tick off several boxes if you’re looking for new October horror stories — most notably some amazing physical acting from contortionist Troy James. Remember that with theaters closed, it’s our responsibility as viewers to set the scene and let these films do their job. Phones put away, lights off. Let the quiet and darkness replicate the scares that a movie theater can enhance… for now, at home. 

Win Passes to the Virtual Premiere of “Black Box”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Amazon Original Movies to give (5) random readers and a guest the chance to attend the Virtual World Premiere of BLACK BOX on 10/5, one of the four unsettling films in “WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE”.

The premiere will be held on Monday, October 5th and starts at 8:30pm CST. Doors will “open” at 8:00 pm CST and the event will includes a screening of the film followed by an after party.

 To enter: Post below and tag a friend and we will randomly select five winners plus their guest to receive a code to attend the virtual premiere. All entries must be received by 5:00 pm CST on Friday, October 2nd. Good luck!

 Watch the trailer HERE

 BLACK BOX arrives on Amazon Prime Video on October 6th.

2020 Upcoming Marvel Movie Black Widow Preview and How to Decrypt DVDs

Black Widow (2020)
Release date: November 6, 2020 (USA)
Director: Cate Shortland
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr.
Production Co: Marvel Studios, Zak Productions

Marvel and Black Widow fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow solo movie for years, and they are getting satisfied. Seeing the epic success of DC’s Wonder Woman, Marvel finally decided to add more women-centric films. Black window originally scheduled for hitting on theaters in May 2020 moved its release date to November 6 due to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s a chance the Marvel blockbuster could be delayed again.

The upcoming Black Widow standalone movie is a blast from the past. It sets between the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), telling a prequel story set before Black Widow in Infinity War. In the movie, we know more about the Red Room – a mysterious and creepy school that trains deadly Soviet assassins and spies. Natasha’s former teammates and fellow graduates, Yelena Belova and five-time graduate Melina Vostokoff play major roles in Black Widow.

What to Expect from the Black Widow Film?

  1. Who is the real Black Widow villain? Taskmaster?

It has been confirmed by Marvel that the main antagonist in Black Widow is Taskmaster. He is a villain using artificial intelligence in his mask to help instantly mimic his enemies’ fighting styles. It seems that Taskmaster is in control of the Red Room or works for science-terrorists Advanced Idea Mechanics. Some fans point out that OT Fagbenle is under Taskmaster’s mask and hood.

  1. What happened to Black Widow and Hawkeye in Budapest

Budapest was mentioned several times in the MCU, establishing a history between Black Widow and Hawkeye. What exactly happened in Budapest? Black Widow focusing on the past of Natasha Romanoff sets to answer this age-old question. Natasha and Clint Barton had a mission there. The most mysterious event of Black Widow is going to be revealed.

  1. Who is Black Widows Father

Black Widow’s father is Ivan. Released trailers didn’t reveal who Ivan was. Perhaps Ivan is a member of the Red Room or one of those who trained Natasha. Or Natasha’s parents were killed and she was sent to Read Room right away. It remains unclear whether the Black Widow will give more information about Natasha’s parents.

  1. Is Black Widow alive?

Natasha Romanoff died to retrieve Soul Stone in Avengers: Endgame. However, a new Marvel theory points out that Natasha is still alive. It was Natasha Romanoff’s ‘sister’ Yelena Belova that died in Avengers: Endgame, the new theory suggested. Some fans also believe that Hulk brought Natasha back from the dead and Natasha was stuck on Virmir when the Avengers were fighting Thanos, but the Avengers didn’t realize it. Yelena is introduced into the MCU in the upcoming Black Widow film. The solo Black Widow movie might reveal the truth.

How to Decrypt and Copy Marvel, DC, Disney, Sony DVDs

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Check how to decrypt DVDs from Marvel, DC, Disney, Sony, Lionsgate, etc.

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ZAKK WYLDE CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BLACK SABBTH WITH BLISTERING RECREATION OF SABBATH’S DEBUT ALBUM!

“VERTIGO” COMING OUT THIS SEPTEMBER
ON MAGNETIC EYE RECORDS!

STREAM ZAKK SABBATH’S VERSION OF “BLACK SABBATH” NOW AT ROLLINGSTONE.COMhttps://bit.ly/2NVKF2J 

Early September will see ZAKK SABBATH, the BLACK SABBATH tribute band featuring guitarist/vocalist Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne), bassist Blasko  (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie) and drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig, Queens of the Stone Age), release their spectacular tribute to the Birmingham four, a faithful yet supercharged rendition of BLACK SABBATH’s first album. Vertigo Records issued the iconic debut album on a Friday the 13th in 1970, and the world was never the same. Legendarily recorded in a single day in October 1969, the earth-moving self-titled set closed the book on hippie optimism with its dark magic and ushered in a brand new genre, setting the metal template for decades to come.

Exactly 50 years later, ZAKK SABBATH celebrate the first chapter in the Sabbath catalog with a reverently rendered tribute, simply titled “Vertigo“, which is slated for a release on September 4th, 2020, via Magnetic Eye Records. Faithfully recorded in the spirit of the original, live in the studio and with a film crew documenting the process, the session culminated in a new version of a landmark album that celebrates the greatest heavy metal band of all time and the record that started it all.

“We recorded a live EP and were wondering what we could do next as a cover band, so the 50th album anniversary came just at the right time”, explains Blasko regarding Zakk Sabbath’s decision to go studio. “Compared to ‘Paranoid’, which is almost like a best-of record, the bulk of the material on ‘Black Sabbath’ is deep-cut, really experimental stuff that was never thoroughly explored, so that was a challenge, not to forget that we wanted to meet our own high standards.

Describing the DIY process as “very productive,” the three respectfully added their own flair to make for a slightly different flavor, also revisiting various live renditions and “extending a solo here or slowing things down because that’s what they tended to do on stage.”

Today, ZAKK SABBATH are sharing a first track taken from “Vertigo” exclusively with Rolling Stone Magazine. You can now stream their tribute version of the iconic anthem, Black Sabbath, HERE!

ZAKK SABBATH’s “Vertigo” won’t be available digitally, “to make the release feel authentic to the time when vinyl ruled the earth. It was such a cool time for those of us that grew up during that time. The fan experience with the physical product is irreplaceable with digital and streaming. We wanted to capture that authenticity.”

“Vertigo” will be available as:

  • Digipak CD
  • CD/DVD hardcover book with the album behind-the-scenes-interviews and making-of
  • limited edition yellow vinyl

Tracklisting:
1) Black Sabbath
2) The Wizard
3) Wasp / Behind the Wall of Sleep / N.I.B
4) Wicked World
5) A Bit of Finger / Sleeping Village / Warning

Set to be released on September 4th, the album pre-sale has just started at THIS LOCATION!

For More Info Visit:
www.zakksabbath.com

The Ending of Black Mirror: Nosedive Explained

If you have been playing free penny slots while watching the Nosedive episode of Black Mirror, then you may have missed the story and got confused with its ending.

Today, we will talk about this episode and explain what the ending is all about.

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!

The Story Line

The story follows the life of the leading character named Lacey. She lives in a world where everybody gives every other person a rating between 1 and 5 stars, with five being the highest. They rate each other using their phones in real time. 

Due to this rating, the average rating of an individual determines how other people treat you. Your rating is visible to everybody. A low rating means you cannot even find a job, and a high rating means you can get to spend time with the affluent, and you also get more opportunities for a job and get discounts.

The Dream

Lacey’s score is 4.2.

She wants to live in a bigger house, but she cannot afford it. However, if she can manage to bump up her average rating to at least 4.5, she could get a discount of 20%. 

It is at this point when an old friend of hers invites her to be one of the bridesmaids on her wedding. This friend is rich and is surrounded by “quality people”. Lacey sees this as an opportunity to bump her average rating and agrees to go. If she can “wow” them with her speech, they may give here high ratings.

The Conflict

Lacey’s problem begins on the day she has to leave to go to the wedding. And here is a sequence of what happens:

  • She gets into a fight with her brother, and her brother gives her a low rating.
  • She rushes outside the house and bumps into a neighbor, spilling coffee in the neighbor’s shirt—she gets a low rating.
  • She gets late for her ride, and the driver gives her a low rating for that.
  • At the airport, she misses her flight, gets into a heated argument with the attendant, and gets a low rating.

By the time she gets to the wedding, her rating diminishes into 3.1, and the wedding area only accepts guests with a rating of 3.8 and higher. 

She finds a way to sneak into the wedding, make a speech about hypocrisy and really makes a mess out of the entire situation. The guests rate her badly, and she gets imprisoned. 

The end of the story shows Lacey and another prisoner scream and curse each other, showing us that they are finally free of this rating system. 

Summary

The story is a great tale about how people today seek validation through social media—Facebook, Instagram likes, and all that. The episode tells us how this kind of mindset destroys us from the inside, and how it controls our behavior just to be liked by other people.

The moral of the story is that we should take the red pill—the reality—and be real, with no regard to what other people say about us. It shows that we can live better and more fulfilling lives with higher self-esteem if we just stick to what we really are.

ALTER BRIDGE ANNOUNCE SPRING HEADLINE TOUR WITH SPECIAL GUESTS BLACK STONE CHERRY AND SAINT ASONIA

Photo Credit: Javier Bragado
L to R: Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips, Myles Kennedy, Brian Marshall

WALK THE SKY TOUR 2020 Continues This MayWith More Dates Worldwide To Be Announced

On the heels of their successful winter headline tour that wraps next week, Alter Bridge are announcing a spring run that is set to kickoff this May. The next headline run will include select festival appearances as well as headline shows with special guests Black Stone Cherry and Saint Asonia. The tour kicks off on May 1st in Atlanta and wraps up on May 24th at Rocklahoma in Pryor, OK. The tour will make stops in Huntington, NY; Sayreville, NJ; New Orleans, LA and Houston, TX to name a few. Artist presale begins Wednesday, February 19thfrom 10AM – Thursday, February 20th 10PM local time and the public on sale is Friday, February 21st at 10AM local time. Previously announced festival appearances include Epicenter Festival in Charlotte, NC; Welcome to Rockville in Daytona Beach, FL; Sonic Temple Festival in Columbus, OH and Rocklahoma in Pryor, OK. Ticket information for all shows can be found at: https://alterbridge.com.

The new tour announcement comes on the heels of their recently released second single from Walk The Sky, “Godspeed.” The song has become a fast favorite amongst fans and critics alike and is currently moving up the charts at Active Rock radio. Written in memory of a friend of the band who passed away, “Godspeed” is an uplifting musical memorial for anyone who has lost someone. The lyric video for the song can be seen here: https://youtu.be/UND4qN0baL0

Alter Bridge recently released their latest album Walk The Sky (Napalm Records) to critical acclaim and career milestone chart success. The latest album brought the band comprised of Myles Kennedy on vocals/guitars, Mark Tremonti on guitars/vocals, Brian Marshall on bass and Scott Phillips their first ever #1 on Top Current Albums chart. The band’s newest release found a home at #1 on over a dozen charts around the globe including: Top Current Albums (US), Billboard Top Albums (US), Current Hard Music Albums (US), Current Rock Albums (US), Current Alternative Albums (US), Record Label Independent Current Albums (US), Record Label Independent Current Album Consumption (US), Internet Albums (US), Top Albums – Market Share – ADA (US), Top Albums with TEA (US), Hard Music (Canada), Top Hard Music Albums (Canada), 100 Independent Albums (UK), Rock & Metal Chart (UK), Top 100 Swiss Albums (Switzerland). Walk The Sky entered the official album Charts at #3 in Austria, Scotland and the Swedish Hard Rock Charts, at #4 in the UK and Canada at #5 in Germany, at #7 in Australia and #16 on the US Billboard 200. Walk The Sky is produced by longtime collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette and is available in various configurations at https://smarturl.it/WalkTheSky

Alter Bridge burst onto the music scene in 2004 with the release of their gold-selling debut, One Day Remains. In 2007, the band released Blackbird, the album that elevated the band’s profile worldwide. The epic solo in the title track “Blackbird” was voted “Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time” by Guitarist Magazine. ABIII was released in 2010 and the single “Isolation” gave the band their first #1 single. In 2013, the band reached an elevated creative and critical plateau with Fortress. It bowed at #12 on the Billboard Top 200, moving over 30,000 copies first-week and earning unanimous tastemaker praise. The record garnered perfect scores from Total Guitar and KERRANG! as well as acclaim from BillboardThe GuardianLoudwireUltimate Guitar, and many more. In between sold out tours in Europe and North America, the guys appeared on VH1 and graced the cover of Classic Rock Magazine who labeled Fortress, “The best thing they’ve ever done,” while Eddie Trunk called it, “A top 10 album of the last 10 years.” 2016’s The Last Hero gave the band their first Top 10 album since their debut. Alter Bridge has appeared on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live and their music has been used by the WWE, Major League Baseball and NASCAR to name a few. The band recently released the video and audio of their career highlight, Live At The Royal Albert Hall, featuring Alter Bridge backed by the 52-piece Parallax Orchestra led by conductor Simon Dobson. In December 2019, Guitar World magazine voted Mark Tremonti the Guitarist of the Decade and the latest album Walk The Sky ended up on numerous year end lists signifying Alter Bridge are showing no signs of slowing down. 

For more info visit:www.alterbridge.comwww.facebook.com/alterbridge Twitter: @alterbridge

Walk The Sky Tour 2020 
5-1 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle (No Saint Asonia)
5-2 – Charlotte, NC – Epicenter Festival (AB Only)
5-4 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
5-6 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount
5-7 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom 
5-9 – Daytona Beach, FL – Welcome To Rockville
5-10 – Destin, FL – Club LA (AB Only)
5-12 – Louisville, KY – Palace Theatre
5-13 – Niagara Falls, NY – Rapids Theatre
5-15 – Rama, ONTARIO – Casino Rama
5-16 – Columbus, OH – Sonic Temple Festival
5-18 – New Orleans, LA – The Fillmore
5-20 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
5-21 – Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete Street Pavilion
5-23 – Herrin, IL – Herrinfesta Italiana (AB Only)
5-24 – Pryor, OK – Rocklahoma (AB Only)

PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED
2-18 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
2-20 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
2-21 – Lake Tahoe, NV – Montbleu Resort
2-23 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
2-24 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern
2-26 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
2-27 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory