Film Review: “21 Bridges”

  • 21 BRIDGES
  • Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller
  • Directed by: Brian Kirk
  • Rated: Rated R
  • Running Time: 1 hr 39 mins
  • STX Entertainment 

Perhaps the greatest consequence of watching the crime drama “21 Bridges” is how much it makes you appreciate actual great movies. Some of the words that come to mind while reflecting upon 99 minutes of what were presumably good intentions to make a quality film are predictable, stereotypical and cliched. Despite having a bankable star in the form of Chadwick Bosman (“Black Panther”) in the lead role, Irish-born director Brian Kirk (“Game of Thrones,” “Boardwalk Empire”) fails to make much of an impression with his first foray into feature-length films. 

We meet Andre Davis (Bosman) when he is a little kid attending the funeral of his father, a NYPD officer who is described with such sappy, glowing prose that it is easy to feel like you are being hit over the head with a radioactive mallet. Unsurprisingly, when we fast forward 19 years, we see that Andre has grown up to become a driven NYPD detective with a history of fatally shooting his suspects. Some credit is due to Kirk because at least he tries to provide a glimmer of insight into Det. Andre’s motivations, but it is so fast-paced that neither he nor Bosman are able to turn the lead character into someone that is more than just a cliché cop. 

Kirk does grab our attention for a bit when two military veterans – Ray Jackson (Taylor Kitsch, “John Carter”) and Michael Trujillo (Stephan James, “Race”) – pull a late-night heist that goes completely sideways. It goes so wrong that eight NYPD officers are gunned down. Of course, who is the first person called in to lead the investigation? You guessed it, the most famous detective in all of New York City. Everyone believes he will track down the two thugs and shoot them dead without any questions being asked. However, Det. Andre has some questions of his own as he begins all-night investigation the requires all twenty-one bridges leading into Manhattan to be shut down, thereby preventing the two gunmen’s escape.

 Shockingly, Det. Andre doesn’t like having partners, but he is saddled with narcotics Det. Frankie Burns (a bland Sienna Miller) who often acts as a cheerleader as she roots for their prey to be shot down like dogs. The vice squeezes tighter on the cop killers as they try to figure out both a way out and how they ended up in the situation they are in. (We are left to wonder how they never seem to run out of bullets.) It all leads to a giant conspiracy that is so blatantly obvious that it would cause Sherlock Holmes to turn over in his grave, if such a thing is possible for a fictional character.

 Kirk is consistent as he maintains his swift storytelling from beginning to end, which does occasionally give an artificial sense of suspense. His lone bright spot is Bosman, whose presence is about the only thing that makes “21 Bridges” watchable. Bosman does the best he can with material that should have had a team of writers to rework to prevent it from being something less than satisfactory. Oh, and Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons is in it but his character in the Farmers Insurance commercials is far more multi-dimensional and interesting.

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “21 Bridges”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at STX Entertainment to give (50) readers and a guest the opportunity to be among the first to see the new film “21 Bridges,” starring Chadwick Boseman.

The film will be shown on Wednesday, November 20, at the AMC Town Center Theatre in Leawood, Kansas. The screening will begin at 7:00 pm.

If you want to attend, all you have to do is click HERE. The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve giveaway. Once the allotted passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended. Enjoy the shot!

Enter to Win a Blu-ray of “The Giver” with Jeff Bridges & Meryl Streep [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “The Giver” starring Jeff Bridges & Meryl Streep,  we are happy to be giving a Blu-ray from the film. If you want to win this great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Jeff Brides film. This giveaway will remain open until December 5th 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.

The Giver centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment.  Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community’s memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community’s secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined – a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most.  At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all – a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. The Giver is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal.

CD Review “Jeff Bridges & The Abiders: Live”

Jeff Bridges & The Abiders
Label: Mailboat Records
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Produced/Mixed by: Chris Pelonis
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I saw Jeff Bridges rock out in “Crazy Heart”, I feel in love with his voice and his style of folk music. When he released his self titled album back in 2011, I couldn’t stop listening and honestly, still haven’t today. When I saw that Jeff and his band was touring. The live album was record this past summer at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, NV. I was hoping this album was going to be as great as Jeff’s self-titled album but I was left wanting more.

This album includes live recordings of songs from Bridges’ debut album “Be Here Soon” and self-titled album on Blue Note Records, as well as original music from the film “Crazy Heart”. There are also his take on classics like The Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star”, Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is to Fly,” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” Also included is a new track by songwriter friend, John Goodwin, called “Exception to the Rule.”

The band, Jeff Bridges & The Abiders, consists of Jeff Bridges on vocals, guitar, keyboards, Chris Pelonis on guitar, keyboards, vocals, Bill Flores on pedal steel, guitar, Randy Tico on upright, electric bass, and Tom Lackner on drums, percussion. I heard that Jeff’s daughter Jessie Bridges, who has an amazing voice as well, and that was recorded on the album as well.

The album it is called “Live” and I was hoping for a live recording of a concert but instead we get here a collection of live songs instead. I thought that the transition between the tracks felt really choppy and didn’t flow well. Plus I do love the song “Blue Car” but it is not really a great kick off track. “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do” is easily the most energy on the album with “Fallin’ & Flyin'” is a close second.

I have never seen him and his band live but I heard great things. I hope that he eventually makes it over to the Florida area…if anyone is reading this, PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN! Even though, I wasn’t a huge fan of these live tracks, I am sure that the vibe and live performance of a complete show is much better than this, so if you can get a chance see him live, I would recommend it.

Track Listing:
1. Blue Car
2. I Don’t Know
3. What a Little Bit of Love Can Do
4. Maybe I Missed the Point
5. Exception to the Rule
6. She Lay Her Whip Down
7. Lookin’ Out My Back Door
8. What a Little Bit of Love Can Do
9. Van Gogh In Hollywood
10. To Live Is to Fly
11. Fallin’ & Flyin’
12. Never Let Go
13. So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
14. Somebody Else


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Jessie Bridges talks about music and her latest album “Let it Breathe”

Jessie Bridges is the daughter of actor and musician Jeff Bridges and also a singer/songwriter herself. She has put out two albums to date, the first is an EP and the second is a full-length album called “Let it Breathe”. She recently toured with her father in 2013 and opened for him at the CabFest this year. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jessie about her music and what inspires her.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you found your sound for your music?
Jessie Bridges: My dad taught me how to play the guitar and growing up I used to strum along and play covers. I went through all the puppy love stuff that I was inspired to write and some really cheesy songs came out of that. Back in 2009/2010, I came out with my first EP, which was just four songs that I produced with my two friends. We went to a little house in Vermont, lived there for about two weeks and figured out the songs and how we wanted to develop the sound. It was like a music retreat. My goal for the EP was to have this experience of what it would be like to be in a studio. I feel that it is very well done but with my second and latest album “Let it Breathe”. I was able to locate something in me that felt much more authentic and real. It all happened in Vancouver, Canada. when I was working on a movie with my dad, as his assistant. I ended up falling into this circle of musicians at the time and ended up writing the song “Let it Breathe”. It just kind of developed on its own and I realized that that was the sound that I was going for. Then once “Let it Breathe” was recorded, I had an opportunity to stay in Vancouver. So I extended my trip and recorded the rest of the album.

MG: Can you give us the story behind your song “Heartbreaking Heart”?
JB: Absolutely, it is obviously a really sad song but it also has a very interesting story. As far as my songwriting goes, I don’t have a formula or structure. My songs come to me in all different ways. That song came to me years after my boyfriend and I had broken-up. I had this guitar pick with the word “heartbreaker” on it and so from there I just started playing and it manifested itself. It was also a way for me to work through these old pains and feelings that I wasn’t able to recover from previously. I have to say it is probably one of my favorites of all of them. As sad and emotional as it is, it is one of my favorites.

MG: How did it feel getting to open for your father at CabFest this year?
JB: It was actually really cool. My dad actually went on tour this past summer. We did an eight show stretch and I ended up opening for those shows and then he would ask me to comeback out and sing backup vocals on a few other songs. We have such a blast together and it is so much fun. There is a lot of love on that stage and I think people see it and really support that.

MG: Any new songs/albums planned for 2014?
JB: I do actually. In fact, out of all the interviews that I have ever done you are the only one to ever ask that question [laughs]. This is the deal though, due to the way that the music business is run these days anyone can put anything out. I originally got advice back for “Let it Breathe” album to release it as two seperate EPs and not a full album. But I said “Fuck that” because this album is an 11-song compilation that I put all this work into and I wanted to get it out there. I have been in the studio working on a new song that I am really excited about. It just needed to be mixed, do some background vocals and maybe add a little piano. So what I think my next move will be that once that is done, I am going to release it as a single on iTunes, Soundcloud etc. I think I will release my next few upcoming songs as singles in fact. I find that that way I am able to keep people’s interest more makes them excited as to what is coming next.

MG: Lastly, can you help me convince your father to come out with another album soon [laughs]?
JB: [laughs] Yeah, I think that he is exploring that possibility. I know he hasn’t been in the studio recently to record but he is always buzzing with excitement over music. He loves it so much.

Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy talks about new album “Fortress”

Myles Kennedy is the lead singer/rhythm guitar player for the hard rock band Slash and Alter Bridge. The groups 4 album titled “Fortress” was recently released to rave reviews and the group is currently touring Europe in support of its release. Media Mikes had the chance recently to ask Myles a few questions about the album and what it’s like splitting time between two successful projects.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album?
Myles Kennedy: Mark Tremonti and I started the writing process for “Fortress” last year while we were touring with our various projects. We both agreed to meet in Florida starting in January to begin the arrangement process. Things went pretty quickly from there because we didn’t allow ourselves to over think. With that said we certainly tried to challenge ourselves and venture into new musical territory as much as we could.

AL: What do you feel was the most difficult part of working on this record as compared to the previous 3?
MK: Our fall tour and record release date had already been set so it was challenging knowing we had a finite amount of time to get the record done. Another challenge was not allowing ourselves to utilize the same arrangement approaches we had used in the past. It was very important to push ourselves as a band and continue to evolve.

AL: Does having multiple projects and larger time gaps between releases affect your creative process at all?
MK: It liberates us. I feel like our various projects keep the creative juices flowing all the time and benefit the songs at the end of the day. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer, singer, guitarist and performer in the last few years.

AL: Can you tell us about the “Addicted to Pain” video which was released recently?
MK: We teamed up with Dan Catullo for this video. He directed our live DVDs which we recorded at Wembley Stadium and Amsterdam. We were definitely on the same page regarding the overall vibe and visual concepts which made the process go quickly.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming Alter Bridge tour?
MK: We are currently touring Europe getting the set refined. At this point we are trying to mix up the set-list more than we have in the past. We have a lot of diehard fans that travel all over to see us. Often times they come out and see us more than once on a tour cycle so we are trying to keep them in mind by switching tunes out from the new record in order to keep it interesting. The hard part is when you find a set that has a great flow you have to be careful how much you alter it or the show will suffer. It’s a delicate balance.

AL: Do you have any other projects in the works that you would like to mention?
MK: At this point we are focused on Alter Bridge. I am working with Slash and the guys on new material for the next record and I am sure Mark is chipping away on songs for next Tremonti record as well. We are lucky to have so many musical outlets to keep us busy and it’s definitely something we don’t take for granted.

Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti talks about solo album “All I Was”

Mark Tremonti is best known as the guitarist for the multi platinum selling band Creed and for his work in Alter Bridge. Mark has just released his first solo album titled “All I Was” and Media Mikes was fortunate enough to talk with Mark recently about the decision to put out a solo album and what other plans he has in the works.

Adam Lawton: What was the idea behind wanting to put out a solo release?
Mark Tremonti: Being a songwriter for all these years I have had a lot of ideas that were stockpiled up. When Miles Kennedy who sings for us in Alter Bridge went out on tour with Slash recently I saw a window of time where I could take some of those ideas that didn’t work for my other bands and put them together to create an album out of. “All I Was” is what we came up with.

AL: Are the songs on the album all from previous ideas or was there some new material written as well?
MT: Most of it is stuff that was written. There were really just parts of songs and nothing that was completed. When I got together with the other guys who played on the album is when I started arranging the ideas. A majority of the initial riffs were already written.

AL: How did you go about picking the line up for the band?
MT: Eric the other guitar player was an obvious choice.  He is someone that I have been playing guitar with for years and years. We are best friends and over the years I have probably shown him more ideas for songs than I have with my other two bands. I am very comfortable working with him. Garret our drummer was in a band with Eric called Submersed. I co-produced a record for them years ago and Garret was still living in Orlando so he was an obvious choice to bring in. He is an incredible drummer.

AL: How did you go about creating a unique tone on this album that was different from your previous work?
MT: It was mostly based on my roots. The rhythm parts on this album are based around a speed metal/thrash type style. I tried to mesh the two styles of my influences that being speed metal and melodic 70’s rock. I was in to stuff that my parents exposed me to like Rod Stewart and Journey. I still love that music and wanted to mesh the two.

AL: What was the biggest difference you noticed when stepping up and performing not only the guitar work but also the vocal work as well?
MT: I loved it. I have written a lot of lyrics over the years for my other bands but I never had to write an entire album. It is a whole other process. I have to work out all the guitar lines and solos while also bringing in the lyrics. I spent about a month and a half working on that. The singing part was easy after everything was written. Singing is fun. Once I sang the album the first time I went back in and changed/re-wrote things where I thought the original stuff didn’t fit or sounded off. I sort of went through the vocal process twice just to make sure it was right. All together the album took about 3 months to complete.

AL: What types of tour plans are in place to support the release?
 MT: We have a 2/3 week tour run in the States coming up and then after that we are heading over to Europe where the first handful of shows will be with Slash. After those shows we will continue our own tour where we will hit Amsterdam, Italy and Germany. When I get home from that I will be back out on the road with Creed until I get back with Miles to write the next Alter Bridge record. In February I will be back out with the solo group for a more extensive European tour which will include shows in Australia.

AL: What are you most looking forward to about playing these songs live?
MT: It’s a much different vibe on stage when you are singing and not just playing guitar. It is a great experience to be able to play these songs. This record is a really fun record to play live and we enjoy it. I can’t wait to do it in front of a crowd who know the songs. The first time we played this material was for a couple of CD release shows. People hadn’t heard the songs yet. This time people will be familiar with them.

AL: Is this solo album just a one-time thing or will you be doing another one in the future?
MT: We will definitely do another solo album. As soon as we can find the time we will get it done.


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Interview with Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti

Mark Tremonti is the guitarist for Alter Bridge as well as for the Multi-Platinum selling band Creed. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Mark recently about both of his bands as well as his upcoming solo project release.

Adam Lawton: What’s has it been like touring with the Carnival of Madness tour?
Mark Tremonti: We are three weeks deep into the tour which has five bands on it and it’s been great. Alter Bridge generally plays an hour a night and it’s been a cake walk. Everyone out with us are good people and all help to put on a good rock and roll show!

AL: How did you guys get involved with being on the tour this year?
MT: We had been approached to do the tour last year. We thought it would be a good time and got all the details worked out with everyone and here we are.

AL: Do you have a favorite song the band is playing in the set and why?
MT: “Blackbird”. I think it’s all of ours favorite song that we have ever done. Most of the songs in the set are very loud and high energy. That song is a dynamic change from the rest of the set. It makes us all watch and listen to the crowd.

AL: Do you have a favorite moment from the tour so far?
MT: I think the most fun we have had so far is the show we did at the Kentucky Fair. It was good to just walk around and win all sorts of prizes for my kids and then the show was just real rowdy and fun.

AL: What do you like most about playing live every night?
MT: It’s what we are and it’s something we have been doing for a long time. It’s your release everyday and it’s what all the practice is for.

AL: What was your reaction to receiving the nomination for album of the year from Classic Rock Magazine?
MT: We were really excited. Classic Rock is such a classy magazine and we really respect their opinion. It’s a very big honor for us.

AL: What’s it like balancing both Creed and Alter Bridge?
MT: I am juggling 3 groups right now actually. I do a lot of planning ahead. 2012 is going to be dedicated to mostly Creed stuff. I also will be releasing a solo album as well. Miles will be going out with Slash and we all will meet up for a few months here and there for Alter Bridge touring. I know we will be going to Australia next year and doing some writing for Alter Bridge as well but the majority of 2012 will be Creed stuff.

AL: Have the comparisons between your two groups finally stopped?
MT: I think since the last record people really stopped the comparisons. With the newest record it has been a real non-point. We are pretty much our own band now and I think a new wave of fans are seeing the band for what it is and don’t compare the two as much anymore.

AL: What is the hardest part about writing material for both bands?
MT: I think you are always pushing to do your best. It’s hard to just switch hats and be the best at different sounds. I don’t want to over complicate a Creed song and make it sound like Alter Bridge.  This band is a little more progressive than Creed, so when I am writing for Creed I have to focus strictly on the melody and finger style stuff. It’s hard to sometimes not really dig in.

AL: What else project wise is coming up for you?
MT: I will be putting my solo record out early next year and then probably we will have a new Creed record out the middle of next year around February.

AL: What can we expect from the solo album?
MT: It’s a little heavier than both bands and I sing on the entire album. It’s a different thing that’s fun and heavy but still melody based. I have been a song writer for most of my life and I think I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I want to get all these ideas down on tape that don’t make the other bands records. It’s more streamlined when you can translate the ideas straight from your mind to tape.

AL: Will you be touring at all on your own?
MT: It just depends on how it turns out. If there is a demand for it then yes.

AL: Will it be put out by Wind Up Records?
MT: No it is completely independent. We are going to put it out on Fred 12 and you will be able to go to and download the songs. The idea is to use our grassroots fan base to promote the band and hopefully they will come and spread the word.

Interview with Beau Bridges

Beau Bridges has grown up working in the business with his late father Lloyd Bridges and his brother Jeff Bridges.  Beau is know for his role of Major General Hank Landry in the “Stargate: SG-1 & Atlantis” TV series.  You may know him as Earl’s dad on “My Name is Earl”.  Beau recently appear on the TV series “Brothers & Sisters” and “Franklin and Bash”.  He is set to appear in two films this year, “Rushlights” with his son Jordan and “The Descendants” with George Clooney”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Beau about his roles and what he is currently working on.

Mike Gencarelli: Growing up in a family of actors, tell us about joining the US Coast Guard after college and was acting always in your sights?
Beau Bridges: I did join the coast guard when I was 17 and served in the reserves for eight years.  Probably around the age of 18 or 19, I started thinking about going into acting as a career.  I did a couple of little things when I was really young, most for fun with my dad’s friends.  I started doing guest spots on different television shows and I enjoyed it.  My dad always enjoyed his life as an actor and that was pretty obvious to me.  I think the real turning point for I got into play called “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine”, written by Father Daniel Berrigan towards the last few days of the Vietnam War.  He was a war activist and was one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.  He was a catholic priest and burned drafted files with nine other religions priests and nuns.  I performed that play at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.  It was the first piece I did that actually had a social significance attached to it.  I have been doing comedies since and televisions shows.  I realized the importance of what us actors provide, which is really communicating ideas.  That remains the most exciting part of the business for me.  It was for my father and it is for my brother and also my children, who are into it as well.  It is a conduit for ideas that us as humans need to address and think about.  I also appear in shows that are pure entertainment and that belongs as well.  I think the projects I get the most fun out of are communicating some sort of important living idea.

MG: Tell us about your latest role of Nick Brody in “Brothers & Sisters”?
BB: That was a lot of fun.  I joined them as they arrived into their last season.  They have been so successful and worked so well together so it was like jumping onto a running train.  It was like a well-oiled machine.  I got to work with my good friend Sally Field.  I play her husband in “Norma Rae”, which was one of the idea movies about union, in which she of course won the Academy Award for.  To get to work with Sally was great fun.  I really enjoyed.

MG: You also just aired in an episode of “Franklin & Bash”, tell us about that?
BB: Those are wonderful young actors.  I do not know how the show is doing ratings wise but I really do wish them well.  They have something good.  I have watched the episode and it is really good.  I also just appeared on another show called “White Collar” and that was also very fun.

MG: What did you like most about playing Major General Hank Landry in the “Stargate” spin-off series and films?
BB: Again that was a situation where I joined them for their last three seasons.  Richard Dean Anderson was their first General and then he retired.  When I came in their wasn’t really a character that was created.  I was invited to help create that character for the General and I really enjoyed that process, that is something you do not get to do that often.  What I did was that I researched General’s throughout history.  I kind of took a little bit from all of them…George Washington all the way up to Tommy Franks.  I applied them to Hank Landry.  That was a lot of fun and I like working in the sci-fi genre as well.

MG: Tell us about working with Jason Lee, again after “My Name is Earl” in “Columbus Circle”?
BB: I am know sure when it was coming out but it was good fun working with Jason.  I really love him as an actor.  I did play his father in “Earl” quite a bit.  I remember when I came on set for the first time on that movie, I walked right past him and didn’t recognize him.  Since he got a haircut and shave like in “Earl” [laughs].  The role was quite a departure for him comparing to “Earl”.

MG: Tell us about your upcoming film, “The Descendants” with George Clooney?
BB: We did that in O’ahu, Hawaii.  I just saw the film and it was quite good.  George was really amazing in it.  It was some of his best work.  I really enjoyed it very much.   Also because it was done in O’ahu, Hawaii and I have a house there.  So I was in my backyard.

MG: What can you tell us about working with your son, Jordan, in “Rushlights”?
BB: I just got an email from the director/writer of that email.  He says they are planning for it to be out in about a month or two, but I haven’t seen it yet.  I just did my loop lines and sound work, so I did get to see quite a few of the scenes.  It seems to be coming together really well.  It was fun working with Jordan.  He is now also in “Rizzoli and Isles”.  I really do love working with my kids.

MG: Tell us about the play you did with your daughter Emily?
BB: My daughter Emily is 25 and she and I recently wrote a play that we performed in Los Angeles called “Acting: The First Six Lessons”.  It was adapted from a novel of the same name by Richard Boleslavsky.  Samuel French just published us so we are really happy about that.  We are planning next to probably tour it around and are in the process of putting that together now.