DVD Review “Outlaw Brothers (1990)”

Actors: Frankie Chan, Ken Boyle, Anthony Carpio
Director: Frankie Chan
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Weinstein Company
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Run Time: 102 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With all the special effects in films these days it is rare to see classic martial arts films. If rare that action films don’t have any CGI. “Outlaw Brothers” definitely scream 1990 action but still is just raw and out-the-top fun. There is classic car stunts and also some fast and furious martial arts. The reason for this is that the legendary Jackie Chan is behind the action direction in this film. It is also directed by Frankie Chan, who is very well respected as well.

“Outlaw Brothers” is an action-packed film follows the exploits of two car thieves, and the butt-kicking female police officer who is on their trail. Add in drug smugglers and choreographed fight scenes with brooms, fans, wrenches, and knives to make this a turbo-charged, high-octane, martial arts action film.

The DVD itself shows a little age in its transfer. It was obviously not restored for this release, but it still looks decent for its age and this isn’t Blu-ray. So a little bit of noise is expect here. The film also includes both a Chinese and English audio tracks. Honestly, I really enjoyed the English track…since it was so bad it was good. There are no special features included besides the film. There is not even a trailer. Would have loved to seen some behind-the-scenes featurettes on the stunts and martial arts. Nonetheless, fans of Chan and classic action films should not miss this.

Vicious Brothers talks about their sequel to “Grave Encounters”

Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz make up the Vicious Brothers.  They are the Writers/Directors of “Grave Encounters” and Writers of “Grave Encounters 2”. The first film has already become a cult classic after a very short time.  “Grave Encounters” is an awesome found-footage horror film and the sequel is twice as good as he first one. Keep an eye out for these guys because they are going to be huge. The guys took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about their sequel and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: Where you guys get the name the Vicious Brothers from?
Stuart Ortiz: When we were close to being done with “Grave Encounters”, we figured we should come up with a directing handle. Since if you have just two dudes names it is too much information for the audience to take in.
Colin Minihan: Dude, just tell him the honest answer. He was coming out of a huge bender…
SO: [laughs]
CM: …and he woke up one morning had the name in his mind and just wouldn’t shut up about it. I just went along with it. [laughs]

MG: Are you surprised with the quick cult status the the first film has achieved?
CM: Yeah it has been really cool to see all the different countries take to it. We are very excited for them to see the sequel?

MG: Why did you step aside on this film and let John Poliquin take over directing?
SO: The main reason was that right when “Grave Encounters 2” became a reality and we were going to move forward. We are also at the same time finishing up another project that is a sort of proof-of-concept trailer that we made for a film we are trying to get off the ground right now. It would have been too much having to go into production on “Grave Encounters 2” and then finishing up the other project. We just didn’t want to be able to commit 100% to it. We have known JP along time. He is a great director and we were friends with him anyway. After one conversation with us, he totally got the material. It really seemed to make sense.

MG: Tell us about the production on “Grave Encounters 2” and how it compares to the first film?
CM: The production definitely differed a fair bit [laughs]. On the first one, Stu and I just were just constantly writing and make “Grave Encounters” almost out of necessity almost with no money. It was literally Stu and I running around a mental institution with the actors. It became a success and allowed us to do the things we wanted to do on the first film but didn’t have the manpower or visual effects budget. I think as a result we really crammed this movie with as much stuff as we could. We stretched this budget way further than we thought we could, while still staying sane and pulling it off. I am definitely glad we didn’t pussy out and make something safe. We really pushed the limit and made JP’s life challenging for sure.

MG: Shooting at the mental institution, any things creepy happen during production?
CM: I definitely below in ghosts and have had a few weird occurrences in my life for sure. I am one of these people that can walk into a house and if I am not paying attention I can pick up a vibe.
SO: Colin has a radar for that shit. Down to the point if we go something I would ask “Yo, you getting a haunted vibe?” He will look around, squint his eyes and say yes or no”. We were just in London a few weeks ago and he was just freaking out the whole time saying “This whole city is haunted man!” [laughs].
CM: As far as the building goes, when there is so much energy and people on set, in order to experience something you really need to be alone and in a quiet place. Otherwise, there is too much distraction.

MG: Tell us about the decision to bring back Lance Preston?
SO: We kept a tight relationship with the actor, Sean Rogerson. We would hang out all the time. Even from the very beginning, after we finished “Grave Encounters”, we knew from the get-go that no matter what we did, Sean was going to be in it.

MG: The ghosts in the film are super creepy, tell us about how they were conceived?
CM: I think when you are writing it you just try and do to a dark place and find out what is going to scare ourselves. We tried to visualize it with some sketches and then just put on the makeup and hoped that when you turn the lights off and hit the night vision that it is as effective as it is in your head.

MG: “Grave Encounters 2” takes a real clever approach to found-footage genre, what were you concerned about most that you wanted to accomplish when writing the sequel?
SO: There was a couple of different things. We didn’t want to retrace our foot steps and it was important for us to do something different. There was so many possibilities especially if you are talking about a found-footage or mockumentary approach. You can go even farther than a convention film. It seemed like a waste just to do the same thing again. First and foremost was just to do something fresh. They Colin came up with this idea to be set in the “real world”, where people know about the movie and there is this conspiracy. That was the #1 priority. The #2 was that one we were in the building was to actually how that the building is a character and has an agenda and purpose of its own.

MG:What do you two have planned next?
SO: We are keeping very tight lipped on it now. But we are waiting on financing to close by the end of the year. We have a sci-fi horror movie called “The Visitors” that Colin and I wrote and will co-direct again. It is a lot different than “Grave Encounters”, it is not found footage in full but does have a little bit of found footage for the most part it is a classically cinematic film. We are hoping to get that started next year.

Marc & Shannon Parker from Parker Brothers Concepts chats about working on Syfy’s “Dream Machines”

Marc & Shannon Parker are the owners of Parker Brothers Concepts, which is located in Melbourne, FL.  They are also the stars on Syfy’s “Dream Machines”.  They have created cars for 50 Cent, WWE’s John Cena and Universal’s recent film “Battleship”.  Media Mikes recently had a chance to visit the shop in our first collaboration with MyGarageShop.com and got a chance to sit down and chat with the guys about the show and their inspiration behind it.

Mike J. Gencarelli: Tell us about the origin of Parker Bros Concepts?
Shannon Parker: It actually happened by accident. We started out just building things just to be building things. To begin with Marc and I talked about just building choppers, just regular bikes. I thought with the economy the way it way, I thought it was a bad idea because there are a lot of chopper builders out there. We only had enough money to build one…
Marc Parker: We didn’t even have enough money to build one [laughs]
SP: We didn’t have quite enough money to build one vehicle. So we talked about it a little bit and I really wanted to do a replica of the Batpod from “The Dark Knight”. I thought if we run out of money or can’t sell it at least I got something I wanted anyway. So we built it and put it out on the internet to get attention to sell it. We put it out there for $100,000 and when we did that it drew all kinds of attention. We weren’t able to sell it right away but it gave us some great attention and a step towards what we should do next. I think the next step we built our Xenon Light Motor Bike. After that we were off and running…

MJG: How did you get involved with SyFy and “Dream Machines”?
MP: Once the Xenon Light Motor Bike hit the internet it started going viral and before we were even done, we got a call from the TV people. At that point we were only in business for a couple of months. A guy named Edwin Zane called us up and asked “How would you like to do a TV show because the stuff you do is really cool?”. The company he was with at the time threw out a couple of numbers to us and at the time went with out gut and didn’t go with it…luckily. Especially now that we know what we know. He left that company and went to another company and pitched us again.
SP: In the meantime, we were getting pitches from other production companies as well but we never felt comfortable. We liked Edwin as a person and felt comfortable with him. Edwin then moved to another production company called Triage, Inc. and we ended up going with him full circle around.
MP: Triage is taking good care of us. It is a good show for them. They are a big enough company that they are able to do what needs to get done but still small enough to where we are important to them. Once we signed up with him then he pitched it to seven-eight networks. Literally the next day, he had four of the networks interested in the show. Syfy stepped up and said the first day “He is a contract we will take it”. No messing around. They are revamping that network right now and our show fits in well with them.

Mike P. Gencarelli: What made you switches from Parker Bros Choppers to Parker Bros Concepts?
SP: It was the show. More than anything, we didn’t want to come across as old school bike builders and that is it.
MP: When we first started, the original idea and name of the business was going to be Parker Bros Concepts but then we thought no one would know what that is. The original thought was choppers sell, the stuff we are building is weird and not sure if it would sell or not. We were probably going to end up building a couple of choppers local and build our way up. Then on the side build the concept and if people like them great and if they don’t we can just keep them. We went with Parker Bros Choppers for the name and then it came around full circle since the stuff we were doing was more important to the TV people. They didn’t want us to look like the Orange County Choppers. We switched it over to concepts.

MJG: What was it like shooting a reality show and working your day to day business?
MP: Oh my God!
SP: It was difficult…
MP: …and a lot different than we thought it was going to be. SP: You think it is just going to be a camera standing there off in the background and shooting but it doesn’t really work that way. There is a lot of interviews. It is a totally different world for us. It was a cool experience but it was pretty difficult to build something when they are asking us to do it over. Sometimes they may not get it the first time or may need a different angle.
MP: Or before you do anything you need to check it first with the showrunner or director and make sure it is something if they want to get on camera or not. Then we need to wait for them to get the cameras ready before we do the work.

MPG: On the show you guys have these ridiculous deadlines. Is that due to the show and now that we know about filming; how does that affect the deadlines?
MP: It kills the deadlines.
SP: Normally you would think the deadline is reality. All of these things were needed for certain events or premieres. It was one of those “have-to” situations. You have to have it done by this time.
MP: In addition all of these projects, like 50 Cent’s car, if 50 came to us normally and said I want this car, wewould say give us a year/year and a half and we will have this car for you. But you can’t build a show around something like that. All of the deadlines came into play since we only have “X” number of months to film “X” number of episodes. So a lot of these we had to cram into a shorter period of time just because of being able to film them.

MPG: Got a funny question, why is the logo on the roof?
MP: It is actually not!
MPG: It’s not? CGI?
MP: On the show they will show the roof two or three times and sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. They spent a lot of money on this helicopter for one day. One of the shotsthey wanted was a building shot. The building looks kind of plain and didn’t really stand out against everything else on the road. They wanted to use the shot since they spent the money on the helicopter and so they CGIed it up there.

MJG: What was your most challenging project to date?
MP: Filming a TV show [laughs].
SP: I don’t know I think John Cena’s car was very difficult. Trying to figure out all the things that go into it. That was was also weird for us beecause we started out with a frame, since normally we don’t. We had a lot of issues…
MP: …trying to work around it. Sometimes starting from scratch makes it a lot easier on you with the crazy designs we are working with. It is hard to take sometime and make it fit into that design. If you just start from scratch, even though there is a lot more hours into it, it makes the design and the build come together a little easier. The most difficult in my mind was the Shredder from “Battleship”. With the Shredder we really got to showcase what we wanted to do. When we started this show, we threw a bunch of really over-the-top project out there at the network. They had us tone it down a bit but not completely insane.
SP: Like the single man sub-marine.
MP: Yeah we wanted to do a one man attack sub-marine and some flying vehicles. But that was personally the hardest but also my favorite build.

MPG: Besides plans for season two of “Dream Machines”; what do you see yours doing years down the line?
MP: Hopefully, we get to execute our plans from the very beginning. We want to be the go-to guys for Hollywood. We want to be the guys to build the vehicles for the movies and TV shows. Whether we are on TV or not, if we are building these things that is what we are into.

Book Review “The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm”

Author(s): Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
Editor: Noel Daniel
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Taschen
Release Date: October 4, 2011

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When you actually take the time and read into the work of the Brothers Grimm, you realize that they have created so many classics. This book consists of the most famous collections of tales from the Brothers Grimm. Included amongst the two dozen stories are classics like “Cinderella”, “Snow White”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Hansel and Gretel”. It always makes me step back and think about how much of an influence the Grimm stories have given us in our history. This all-new translation was specially commissioned for this publication by Taschen.

The most important part about the stories is the accompanied artwork. It is backed by some of the most famous illustrators from the 1850s to the 1950s, including Golden Age legend Kay Nielsen, bestselling author Wanda Gág, Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and 19th century German illustrations from Hermann Vogel, Otto Speckter and Viktor Paul Mohn. The book is also produced on a very impressive hard stock paper, which also compliments the colors in each image.

Another amazing reason to purchase this book is that it also includes fantastic silhouettes pulled from original publications from the 1920s. With my daughter on the way within in a few weeks of writing this review, I look forward to sharing these stories with her after she is born. It is a real treat for both adults and children alike. This collection will also make sure that people will always be able to loose themselves in fairy tales and take a journey in the minds of the Brothers Grimm.

Interview with Big Brother’s Adam Poch

Adam Poch was a contestant on season 13 of the reality television show “Big Brother”. Adam quickly became known to his house mates and viewers of the show for his love of Heavy Metal, Bacon and all things “Beverly Hills 90210”. Adam took a few minutes out of his day to talk with Media Mikes about his experience on the show as well as getting to meet Tori Spelling.

Adam Lawton: Were you familiar with the show prior to auditioning?
Adam Poch: I have been a fan of “Big Brother” since the beginning. Thank God around season 6 of the show I got my first DVR, which turned me from a big fan into a huge fan! I was then able to watch every episode. From there I started getting on all the blogs and watching the live feeds as well as the after dark stuff on Showtime. I really like the concept of the show as well. When I saw Evil Dick on season 8, I realized that they could have a rock and roll type guy on the show.  So I thought about trying out.

AL: Had you auditioned for any previous season of the show?
AP: Yes. I had auditioned prior to season 10, however I bombed my audition terribly. I went in and talked about everything but myself. I was too busy at the time to audition for season 11, so the next time I went in was for season 12. I walked in this time and just gave it to them as to what made me unique. My opening line was “My name is Adam and my three passions are heavy metal, bacon and Beverly Hills, 90210”. You could see everyone in the room kind of look at me a little different. I made it all the way to the finals however they ending up not choosing me but they told me to keep trying.  This year I went back and gave them me again. I had some changes in my life since the previous year such as losing a 100 lbs. and having a girlfriend. I think my confidence definitely showed more and they loved everything that had from the previous year but they loved it even more this year.

AL: Having gone through the audition process a few times what was it like?
AP: They have you jump through hoops and answering questions over and over. There were a couple rounds of interviews with different people. For me there were a lot of sleepless nights waiting for phone calls about whether or not I made it to the next round. Open auditions started in April and it’s not until July that the show starts. For someone who got so close last year, I could taste it and there were lots of nights dreaming about how cool it would be to be on the show.

AL: Did you ever become annoyed with having the cameras around literally all the time?
AP: When you sign up for the show you know going in that the cameras are going to rolling 24-7, you really have no place to hide. I was never annoyed with the cameras but I was annoyed that I could never just get away and have a luxury reward. We had the episode where David Hasselhoff came into the house and four people got to watch the show “Same Name”. I was just praying there would another similar competition to watch a movie or television show. It would have been nice to get out of the game for just a bit,as being in game mode all the time did take a toll on me.

AL: You guys are completely locked out from the outside world correct?
AP: I had no idea about anything going on outside of the house. I remember some of the cast wanting to know what was going on with the Casey Anthony trial. Personally, I wanted to know what was going on with the NFL lockout. I knew I would be getting out of the house in September and a Fall without football just isn’t Fall. I also knew I was missing a lot of great concerts while I was in the house. I really missed an entire summer of new stuff. Being blocked off from society is not always a bad thing but you do miss the connection with people.

AL: What was it like living in an elf suit for a week?
AP: For me it was a good time! People weren’t looking at me as a threat because I was an elf. I was just some goofy guy running around the house making people laugh and drinking syrup. I think the suit came at a good time for me because there were lines starting to be drawn deeper in the sand. No one really thought of me as a threat. I was able to stay under the radar and be entertainment for the house. If anyone in that cast had to get the elf suit, I was glad it was me because I feel I rocked it! I actually still have the suit. I saved it to use later in the game if tension started to get high, but I never did get back out as I was afraid it would make people upset rather than happy.

AL: What do you think was the hardest challenge you participated in?
AP: Probably the food competition from week two. Dominic and I were strapped together in an ant contest. The other guys all got matched up with girls who were pretty easy to carry. Dominic and I are not the smallest people in the house. You put the two of us together in an ant costume crawling over picnic items really tore us up. I have a few scars on my knees from that competition. I’m glad I will never have to do that one again. The ski slope challenge was pretty intense, as well as the first part of the final Head of House competition. We were on the beaters churning butter. I had to stand on this small platform with size 13 feet and about 15 minutes in my legs locked up and I was done. I ended up sitting in the pool for another 10-15 minutes because I just couldn’t move my legs.

AL: Did you guys have an idea as what each competition was going to be ahead of time?
AP: We could hear banging and things like that going on outside but we could never see anything. We had no idea what we were doing until the curtain goes up and we walk outside. We would often speculate what we thought we were going to have to do. At certain times we had a pretty good idea what was going to be coming up but we couldn’t be totally sure until we were out there.

AL: Can you describe the Tori Spelling meeting?
AP: Tori who? [laughs]…..I know that I didn’t win “Big Brother” but Tori Spelling came into the house and knew who Adam Pock was. Tori kissed me on the cheek while I was drinking an appletini! I would have blown through $500,000 so fast but the memories of Tori Spelling kissing me while drinking an appletini in the “Big Brother” house are worth way more than $500,000! It really was a dream come true being on the television show. I figured I would meet Tori one day at a book signing or something, but the fact Tori Spelling knows who I am! was the biggest thrill of the summer for sure. She was just as cute and sweet as I expected her to be. I fell in “love” with her character on the show and I watched her other reality shows and I just couldn’t have expected her to be any sweeter.

AL: Any chance we will see you on the show again?
AP: If people want me back on the show, write to CBS and tell them you want the elf/heavy metal teddy bear back on. Right now, I am back to my day to day life. I am back working at my job and have moved in with my girlfriend. I lost so much in three months that I am trying to catch up on things as much as I can. If I was called to be on the show again I would have to seriously think about it. The show was very draining both physically and mentally but I loved it. If things all worked out at that certain point in time I would probably go back. For right now though I am not knocking on any doors to have me put back in the show anytime soon. I give respect to those people on the show who have done back to back summers. It takes a special person to walk through those doors!

For up to date info on Adam head over to Twitter and follow him @heavymetalteddy