“Under the Wizard Moon” – A Great Book for Children of All Ages!

Under the Wizard Moon
Author:  Aunt Raini – some illustrations by Nikki D. Caravella
Publisher:  Art Bookbindery
Hardcover – 36 pages
A weaver of dreams.  A talking toad.  And kittens that roam at night.
These are just a few of the magical characters you’ll meet in the new book for children of all ages, “Under the Wizard Moon.”
Full of smartly written poems, and brilliantly illustrated by both the author and PhoenixIllustrations’ Nikki D. Caravella, the stories are fun to read while the brightly colored accompanying illustrations will help describe the story even more.  And while some things may naturally frighten small children, the wordplay used will soon make them friendly and acceptable, an important lesson for children.  Of all ages.
To order a copy of “Under the Wizard Moon,” you can contact her on her Facebook page HERE
Beware the Kitties at Night!

Blu-ray Review “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Actors: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Allison Janney
Director: Tim Burton
Rated: PG-13
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 13, 2016
Run Time: 127 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge life long fan of director Tim Burton…but I have to admit his last one or two films have not done it for me. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” feels like a cheap family friendly version of “X-Men: First Class” and plays way to long. I found myself not caring about the characters at all. I hated the villains Samuel L. Jackson was a joke and was completely wrong for the role. I found myself consistently bored watching this and couldn’t wait for it to be over. So not Burton’s finest for sure but I am still sticking around for what he has planned next.

Official Premise: When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is releasing this film as sa combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy. The 1080p transfer presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 looks sharp here. I first saw this film in 3D and it had no reason to be in 3D at all and was a complete waste, so the standard Blu-ray is much better way to view. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is really nice but I still wasn’t in love with the score as a I have been with previous Burton films.

The special features are not loaded solid but they are decent and worth checking out. “The Peculiar Story” is a solid featurette with interviews with Ransom Riggs, who discusses the film. “The Peculiars” runs over an hour long and is packed with interviews and information on the film. “Hollows and Ex-Hollows” showcases the baddies inthe film. “Map of Days” focuses on the time loop aspect of the film. Lastly there is a music video for “Wish That You Were Here” from Florence + The Machine and a photo gallery included.

Win Passes to 40th Anniversary Screening of “Satan’s Children” in Tampa [ENDED]

Media Mikes would like to give our readers the chance to attend a special 40th Anniversary Screening of the locally made horror film “Satan’s Children” on November 15 at the beautiful and historic Tampa Theatre.

Made in the spring of 1974, and directed by the late Joe Wiezycki, a determined group of local TV crew people filmed “Satan’s Children,” a shocking and exploitive tale of brutal revenge, bizarre unholy rituals, hedonistic hippie culture, weird sex, and the seductive spell of Satanism and devil-cults. In other words: grindhouse heaven! A fantastic acting ensemble cast was assembled, with most coming from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Sadly, the film never received a proper release.

Now, 40 years later, we’re giving the devil his due! Two lucky readers (and a guest) will win passes to attend this fun filled event. Not only will be winners get to attend the special screening, they will be able to meet some of the cast and crew from the film that will also be in attendance.

All you have to do to be eligible is to let us know below what long-ago or obscure horror film you’d like to see on the big screen. Two random entrants will be chosen and notified by email. This contest ends on November 7, 2014. Good luck!

For more information, head to http://tampatheatre.org/movies/satans-children/

Film Review “Men, Women & Children”

Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever
Directed By: Jason Reitman
Rated: R
Running Time: 119 minutes
Paramount Pictures

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Before the lights are dimmed and the movie begins, nearly every single person was looking at a smartphone, whether it is their own or simply sharing with the person next to them. They sat still with their fingers plugging away at a text or simply transfixed by a viral video. Some played mindless games while others, like me, were checking Twitter. It wasn’t always like this. I remember entering a movie theater and having to have a interpersonal conversation while easy movie trivia flashed on the screen. Things are different now, our lives, communication and feelings are all affected by technology and “Men, Women & Children” gives us a blunt look at its influence.

First we meet Don (Adam Sandler) who’s sexually dissatisfied in his marriage and resorts to Internet pornography to service his needs. His wife Helen (DeWitt) is also unhappy, but has yet to find a way to service her needs. Their son is also setting himself up for a life of porn addiction and a fervent discipline for touching himself. The other kids at school are slightly saner. There’s Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia), who gloats about her sexual conquests, and aspires to be a model. Her mom, Joan (Greer), supports these dreams and aspirations in the creepiest way possible, helping her daughter set up an online website to upload risqué photos.

The craziest parent, believe it or not, is the one who stalks her own daughters every cyber movement and reads through page after page of online chat. Patricia (Garner) believes the Internet is a vast, scary, and dangerous place for her daughter, Brandy (Dever), needless to say, is a social outcast at school because her life is under a miscroscope. Oddly enough, she draws the attention of Tim (Elgort). He’s lost meaning in life, recently quitting the football team and finding comfort in his online gaming friends on the massive multiplayer game, Guild Wars. His mom abandoned him and his dad, and as much as he’d like to still talk with her, she blocks on him on social media to prevent his prying eyes from seeing her fabulous new life without them. He doesn’t get much in the way of comfort from his Guild Wars pals who respond to his maternal predicament with “is she DTF?” (I’ll let you look that chat speak up for yourself if you don’t know what it means)

It may seem like a lot to handle (I know trying to explain it was), but Reitman weaves it all smoothly. He manages to give us a contemporary, albeit crude, look at a dysfunctional nuclear family, the overbearing parent, the single parent balancing their own personal despair and their child’s misery, eating disorders, and how these have changed as we’ve evolved from face-to-face talking to texting. It’s not a red flag of danger on where we’re headed, but more of a reminder that we can still be cruel, insensitive and clueless no matter what the means of communication are.

Instead of fixing their marriage and finding that old spark (or Hell, even divorce), Helen turns to online adultery and Don finds an escort through a website. It’s not a condemnation of these websites; married people aren’t the only ones who use these kinds of websites. It’s pointing out how the means to cheat have been filtered through a different way. The old form of peer pressure for students now comes through online help forums and websites pressuring young girls into a particular body image or thought process. Even the classic teen romance bubbles through talking on Tumblr, but the traditional means of affection remain intact. Technology has yet to replace human contact…yet.

“Men, Women & Children” has a bizarre ensemble cast, but I may only be saying that because this is Adam Sandler’s second dramatic role in a career spanning way too many fart jokes. Elgort shows off his range by become a sullen woeful soul, a complete opposite of his charismatic and witty character in “The Fault in Our Stars”. Dever, who I haven’t seen in anything else to my knowledge, is really good here along with Garner who seems borderline psychotic. I would have loved to see more interactions between those two. There’s simply not enough time to go too far into their lives, but I had an feel that this kind of movie could easily be transcribed into television format in today’s golden age of TV dramas.

“Men, Women & Children” is an Instagram snapshot into our digital lives, which runs the risk of being dated within a matter of years. Its social observations are long lasting though. It’s definitely a conversation starter about a topic that needs to be talked about before we fall into the archetypes we seen in this movie. Something tells me it won’t though. As soon as the first line of credits began rolling upwards, people immediately whipped out their smartphones.

There’s simply not enough time to go too far into their lives, but I have a feeling that this kind of movie could easily be transcribed into television format in today’s golden age of TV dramas.

Win Advance Passes to The Kansas City Premiere of Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women and Children” [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with Paramount Pictures to give (50) readers a chance to win a pass for (2) to attend the Kansas City premiere of the new film “Men, Women and Children.”

All you have to do is go to http://l.gofobo.us/M150z27Y and register. On October 12, 2014, (50) random entrants will be selected and notified by email. Good luck!

SCREENING INFORMATION
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Tivoli Cinema
Kansas City, Missouri

Opening Date: Friday, October 17, 2014
Official Website: www.MenWomenChildrenMovie.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MWCmovie
Twitter: @MWCMovie #MWC
Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout-some involving teens, and for language.

Synopsis:
MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Children of the Corn Series”

Directors: James D.R. Hickox, Greg Spence, Ethan Wiley, Kari Skogland
Starring: Terence Knox, Daniel Cerny, Ron Melendez, Paul Scherrer, Naomi Watts
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
MPAA Rating R
Release Date: Nov 29, 2011
Running Time: 341 minutes

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest: 4 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror: 3 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The “Children of the Corn” series is a guilty pleasure.  The films in the franchise were never my favorite horror films but I could never say no to a new sequel.  Over the years there has been a total of eight films in this series, so this Blu-ray is just the tip of the iceberg.  Echo Bridge is behind this release, which they are very well-known for their Miramax Multi-Features.  This release is a great pick-up for horror fans, especially for its extremely low price.  It is also a great place to get all these films in one place and it is a step up from DVD for sure.

“Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest” is one of my favorites and follows a couple who adopts a pair of orphaned brothers, but the boys may not be as sweet an innocent as they seem.  “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering” follows a young medical student who must solve the mystery that plagues the children of a small Midwestern town, starring a young Naomi Watts.  “Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror” follow six college students who take a wrong turn in a deserted rural town to discover that this place hides a murderous cult of evil children. “Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return” follows Hannah Martin, who while looking for parents picks up a dark stranger, who ends up assisting her in completing a sinister prophecy.

Let’s get to the Blu-ray presentation which is actually surprisingly decent.  The video transfer for “Children of the Corn 3, 4 & 6” are only presented in 1080i but honestly look pretty good. “Children of the Corn V” is presented in 1080p.  The picture has solid clarity and the colors are sharp.  It is definitely a step up from the previous DVD transfers.  The audio for all four movies include only an Dolby 2.0 Stereo track. They work though I always prefer 5.1 audio on Blu-ray, since 2.0 just screams DVD quality. Nonetheless, this is still a great purchase if you enjoy the series.

Concert Review “Children of Bodom’s 15th Anniversary Tour” Rochester, NY

“Children of Bodom’s 15th Anniversary Tour”
Children of Bodom, Eluveite, Revocation and Threat Signal
Date: Monday, January 30th 2012
Venue: Water St. Music Hall, Rochester, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

January 30th ad the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY played host to the third show of a 36 date tour which is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Finnish heavy metal group Children of Bodom. Along with Children of Bodom the nights line up featured special guests Eluveite, Revocation and Threat Signal.

Ontario, Canada’s Threat Signal kicked off the show playing a blend of harmony infused metal that did a great job priming the audience. Though their set was brief the band seemed to put everything they had into their performance. Revocation would take the stage next and treated the crowd to what could be described as Mid-Evil Metal. Front man Dave Davidson did a great job of setting the story for each epic song prior to its performance. This only seemed to draw the crowd more into the band’s blend of progressive, mystically tinged music.

The 8 piece Celtic-metal group known as Eluveite would be up next and despite every inch of the stage being filled with band members and instruments Eluveite stole the show. Lead vocalist Chrigel Glanzmann had the crowd in the palm of his hand during the bands 40 min. set. Chrigel and the rest of the band filled the venue with a variety of unique sound normally not heard in the metal genre. The band performed a number of tracks off their 2010 release “Everything Remains (As It Never Was)” album as well as a few new songs off the upcoming “Helvetios” album. After an impressive 40 min. performance the band left the stage to repeated chants of “one more song”.

Children of Bodom closed out the night treating the fans with songs that spanned their 15 year career. Front man Alexi Laiho put on a blinding display of guitar playing only further confirming why he is often considered one of the top metal guitarists of the day. Through most of the set I found Alexi’s vocals hard to hear over the deafening roar of guitar and drums. This could have been attributed to the tour being only on its third show and still having some bugs needing to be worked out or, the band is really just the loud. Over all the bands performance was ok. Personally I would have liked to have heard one or two covers tracks off the bands “Blooddrunk” album.

If you have never seen Children of Bodom before I highly recommend making out to one of the shows on this tour. I recommend getting their early as the entire tour package is really solid. Also you definitely won’t want to miss Eluveite.

Children of Bodom Set List:
1. Shovel Knockout
2. Are You Dead Yet?
3. Not My Funeral
4. Kissing the Shadows
5. Living Dead Beat
6. Round Trip to Hell and Back
7. COB/Deadnight Warrior/Hate Me!
8. SixPounder
9. BloodDrunk
10. Angels Don’t Kill
11. In Your Face
12. HCDR
13. Bodom After Midnight
14. Bodom Beach Terror
15. Downfall