ANDY BLACK RELEASES “THE PROMISE” NEW ALBUM “THE GHOST OF OHIO” ARRIVES APRIL 12

NORTH AMERICAN HEADLINING TOUR KICKS OFF APRIL 7th IN SACRAMENTO

With two weeks to go before the arrival of much-anticipated album THE GHOST OF OHIO (Lava/Republic), singer-songwriter Andy Black has released new track “The Promise” – click HERE to listen and HERE for the lyric video.

“’The Promise’ was inspired by my days spent driving from my neighborhood on the west side of Cincinnati and heading towards the city and into northern Kentucky where I spent almost all of my teenage years in bands, working on a dream,” says Black. “Every day I would use that drive as a chance to plan and think and hope and wish that one day I would be able to make music and tour the world. Over the years that dream has remained, but like all of us as we grow up, often our interests and methods change over time. This song is about trying to remain true to what you wanted the most when you had nothing and keeping that very same passion and drive close to your heart.”

“The Promise” is the third song Black’s released over the course of the past several weeks following lead single “Westwood Road” (which has amassed over 1.5 million YouTube views) and title track “The Ghost Of Ohio” and all three songs are available as instant downloads by clicking HERE to pre-order The Ghost Of Ohio ahead of its April 12th release date.

The Ghost Of Ohio sees Black re-teaming with Grammy nominated producer John Feldmann (Blink-182, Panic! at the Disco), who helmed 2016’s acclaimed debut The Shadow Side.

Black discussed the album during a recent interview with Build – click HERE to watch.

Black, who’s always had a reverence for the magical convergence of sight and sound, created the diverse album to also serve as a soundtrack for its graphic novel counterpart, marrying melancholy themes with upbeat rock and pop to tell the tale of someone who died young and whose spirit inhabits an area for a hundred years looking for ways to connect. The album’s artwork was painted by Eliran Kantor (Iced Earth, Testament).

Black will support the new album with The Ghost of North America Tour, a headlining run that will kick off April 7th at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, CA (see itinerary below).

Don’t miss your chance to experience Andy Black’s The Ghost of North America Tour.

Dates are as follows:

Apr. 07: Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
Apr. 09: Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Apr. 10: Portland, OR – Hawthorne
Apr. 12: Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl
Apr. 13: Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre 
Apr. 14: Phoenix, AZ – The Nile Theatre
Apr. 16: Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
Apr. 17: Denver, CO – The Gothic
Apr. 19: Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey
Apr. 20: San Antonio, TX – The Rock Box
Apr. 22: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
Apr. 23: Orlando, FL – Plaza Live
Apr. 25: Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts 
Apr. 26: Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
Apr. 29: Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
Apr. 30: Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
May 01: New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
May 03: Worcester, MA – The Palladium 
May 04: Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes
May 06: Grand Rapids, MI – Elevation
May 07: Chicago, IL – Metro
May 08: Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater 
May 10: Cleveland, OH – Phantasy Nightclub
May 11: Detroit, MI – The Majestic 
May 13: Toronto, ON – The Opera House 
May 15: Montreal, QC – L’Astral 
May 16: Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts 
May 17: Virginia Beach, VA – Elevation 27

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection First Time Ever on Blu-ray!

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, A LANDMARK COLLECTION SHOWCASING THE LEGENDARY MONSTERS IN MOTION PICTURE HISTORY

UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: COMPLETE 30-FILM COLLECTION AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY ON AUGUST 28, 2018 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Universal City, California, August 22, 2018 – Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray™ for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection on August 28, 2018, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre with imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror in unforgettable films from the 1930s to late-1950s.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection showcases all the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these films set the standard for a new horror genre and showcase why these landmark movies that defined the horror genre are regarded as some of the most unforgettable ever to be filmed.

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes a 48-page collectible book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photographs and is accompanied by an array of bonus features including behind-the-scenes documentaries, the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce, 13 expert feature commentaries, archival footage, production photographs, theatrical trailers and more. The perfect gift for any scary movie fan, the collection offers an opportunity to experience some of the most memorable horror films of our time.

The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes Dracula(1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942),Invisible Agent (1942), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D version) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

 

BONUS FEATURES:

  • Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries
  • 3D Versions of Creature from the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature
  • 1931 Spanish Version of Dracula
  • Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce
  • 13 Expert Feature Commentaries
  • Archival Footage
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailers

 

Concert Review: Ghost “Rats! on the Road”, Syracuse, NY

“Rats! on the Road”
Ghost
Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
Crouse-Hinds Theater, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Grammy award winners Ghost brought their love of theatrics and Lucifer to the city of Syracuse, NY on May 16th as part of their current “Rats! on the Road” tour. The tour which features Ghost with no opening act is an intimate fan pleasing experience that needs to be seen in-person to truly understand the bands power of performance.

The evening was filled with spectacular moments featuring several new songs from the bands upcoming release “Prequelle” including “Rats”, “Spirit “and, “Dance Macabre”. Fan favorite Papa Nihil made an appearance on the song “Miasma” providing a smooth saxophone solo that would have brought Kenny G to tears. The nameless ghouls shined throughout the night, each interacting with one another for some great moments including a stellar and a good ole fashion acoustic sing along to “Jigolo Har Megiddo”. All of the hits were present in the extended 24 song set which was nicely split into two acts complete with an intermission.

Despite all of the drama that unfolded within the band last year, Ghost is still steamrolling forward and staying very true to themselves. The band continues to up their game each time they embark on. If “Rats! On the Road” comes to your town we suggest clearing your schedule and grabbing some tickets.

 

Set List:
1.) Ashes
2.) Rats
3.) Absolution
4.) Ritual
5.) Con Clavi Con Dio
6.) Per Aspera ad Inferi
7.) Devil Church
8.) Cirice
9.) Stand by Him
10.) Miasma
11.) Jigolo Har Megiddo
12.) Pro Memoria
13.) Dues in Absentia
14.) Spirit
15.) From the Pinnacle to the Pit
16.) Faith
17.) Year Zero
18.) He Is
19.) Prime Mover
20.) Mummy Dust
21.) If You Have Ghosts
22.) Dance Macabre
23.) Square Hammer
24.) Monstrance Clock

 

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Enter to Win Free Run-of-Engagement Passes and Soundtrack for “A Ghost Story”

To celebrate the release of A24’s latest film “A Ghost Story”, Media Mikes would like to give three of our fans a chance to win run of engagement passes to see “A Ghost Story” at AMC Theaters in Orlando, FL and also CD’s of the film’s soundtrack as well as a Vinyl LP. If you want to win these great prizes, please leave a comment below or use the contact us page above with your favorite ghost story. This giveaway will remain open until August 6th, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US only and obviously the tickets are only good in Orlando. 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.

WEBSITE: https://aghost.store/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/GhostStoryMovie

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ghoststorymovie

INSTAGRAMhttps://www.instagram.com/ghoststorymovie/

HASHTAG: #AGhostStory

 

A GHOST STORY

Fantasy/Drama

Release:                    July 28, 2017

Starring:                   Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara

Directed By:            David Lowery

Written By:             David Lowery

Produced By:         Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Adam Donaghey

SYNOPSIS

With A Ghost Story, acclaimed director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) returns with a singular exploration of legacy, loss, and the essential human longing for meaning and connection. Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost(Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. An unforgettable meditation on love and grief, A Ghost Story emerges ecstatic and surreal—a wholly-unique experience that lingers long after the credits roll.

Film Review “A Ghost Story”

Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
Director: David Lowery
Distributed by: A24
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 92 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

A24 has been releasing some very interesting films recently including this year alone with “Free Fire” and “It Comes At Night”. With a title like “A Ghost Story”, it definitely grabbed my interested…unfortunately not for long. Don’t get me wrong this is definitely a film that will stay with you for a bit. I can’t say that I hated it overall but damn was I bored at some points. I have a feeling this might be a film to benefit from multiple viewings but I don’t think that I could make it through a second time here. I mean there is a pie eating scene that lasts five minutes and I understand why its there but it is painful to get through….pretty much like the whole film.

Official Premise: Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. [A24]

The cast for “A Ghost Story” includes recent Oscar Winner Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. Funnily enough reuniting together again along with the director of this film after all working together on 2013’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”. Performances are good from Mara and the loss is definitely depicted well, almost too well. Please make sure you realize though, this is not a scary horror film at all. I see the aspect of horror but it is not the same. Deep is a word, I would use to describe the message in this film, much deeper than I usually like. So if you are interested in a different kind of ghost movie that has few words, very long scenes with sometimes little happening but leaves you thinking a bit afterwards you might then be interested in this.

Free Advance Screening for “Ghost in the Shell” in Orlando, FL

Calling Florida moviegoers, below please find the codes for the screenings of “Ghost in the Shell”. If you want to see this film before ANYONE else! Hurry fast and grab tickets below and spread the word to your friends as well! They will go VERY fast! Enjoy and be sure to leave comments below after the film!

MIAMI- March 29 AMC SUNSET PLACE 7:30PM http://www.gofobo.com/GITSMMMia

TAMPA- March 29 AMC VETERANS 7:30PM http://www.gofobo.com/GITSMMTampa

WEST PALM BEACH- March 29 AMC City Place 7:30PM http://www.gofobo.com/GITSMMWPB

ORLANDO- March 30 AMC ALTAMONTE 7:30PM  http://www.gofobo.com/GITSMMOrl

In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.

Director: Rupert Sanders
Writers: Masamune Shirow (based on the comic ‘The Ghost in the Shell’ by), Jamie Moss (screenplay)
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano

GHOST IN THE SHELL Limited Steelbook Packaging with Exclusive Mondo artwork coming to Blu-ray + Digital HD March 14, 2017

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – (December 13, 2016) The groundbreaking anime film Ghost in the Shellarrives on Blu-ray + Digital HD with limited-edition Mondo key art in collectible Steelbook packaging from Anchor Bay Entertainment on March 14, 2017. The groundbreaking anime celebrated the 25thanniversary of the original Manga in 2014. Directed by legendary anime director Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell questions human existence in the fast-paced world of the information age, this award-winning, cyber-tech thriller has established itself as one of the leading Japanese animation films of all time.

A female cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of “The Puppet Master,” a mysterious and threatening computer virus capable of infiltrating human hosts. Together, with her fellow agents from Section 9, they embark on a high-tech race against time to capture the omnipresent entity.  Ghost in the Shell took the world by storm in the mid-90’s, exhibiting a new dimension of anime with unprecedented, mesmerizing cinematic expression. Seamlessly merging traditional animation with the latest computer graphic imagery, this stunning sci-fi spectacle challenged the boundaries of mainstream animation with detailed artistic expression and a uniquely intelligent story line. Veteran director Mamoru Oshii skillfully creates the ultimate anime experience in this futuristic masterpiece based on the groundbreaking comic book by Masamune Shirow.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season 1 and Season 2 previously only available on DVD will be arriving on Blu-ray for the first time on February 21, 2017. Ghost in the Shell  will be available on Blu-ray  from Anchor Bay Entertainment on March 14, 2017 for the suggested retail price of $34.99.

To learn more about the film, please visit www.anchorbayentertainment.com.

ABOUT ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT
Anchor Bay Entertainment, a Lionsgate company, is a leading independent home entertainment company that acquires and releases a wide array of theatrical and home entertainment content, including STARZ Original series, children’s programming, fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports and specialty films on Blu-ray™ and DVD formats. The company has long-term distribution agreements in place for select programming with The Weinstein Company, AMC Networks and RADiUS, among others.

GHOST IN THE SHELL Blu-ray™ + Digital HD
Street Date: March 14, 2017
Pre-book: February 8, 2017
Catalog #: BD64909
UPC: 013132649092
Run Time: 82 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
SRP: $34.99
Format: English: Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1:78:1g
Audio: Subtitles: English, Japanese

CD Review: Ghost “Popestar”

“Popestar’
Ghost
Loma Vista Recordings
Tom Dalgety

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Ghost continues to thumb its nose at metal purists with their latest EP. If you’re hoping for a return to the heavy doom metal that was “Opus Eponymous” you’re going to continue to be severely disappointed in Ghost’s current direction. “Popestar” drops the same day as they begin their new North American tour. The EP may come as a reaction to the newfound attention the gimmicky Satanic band from Sweden got after nabbing a Grammy earlier this year for the single “Cirice”. An appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert before Halloween doesn’t hurt either.

Unlike their last EP, “If You Have Ghost,” “Popestar” comes with a fresh song that’s a suitable follow-up to the mellow progressive rock/metal album “Meliora”. The new song, “Square Hammer,” blasts out of the gate with a cheesy horror organ tune with rock drumming underneath. Once the guitars kick in, there’s an infectious catchiness to all the instruments firing off seamlessly. At no point does “Square Hammer” feel like a chart topping metal song, but a catchy rock tune that could easily sneak into the Top 40 of any pop station. That is if it wasn’t for the allusions to Satan.

The chorus of “Square Hammer” is something that’ll have fans singing and chanting along like they’re at an arena rock concert. The hokeyness of the song, Blue Oyster Cult-like guitar solos, almost mask that this song is about fully submitting to the Dark Lord instead of passively giving the thumbs up to Satan. The band has even dropped a music video to accompany the song, featuring an homage to 1920’s Dracula and the inherent cheesiness that the band has been from day one. Asking listeners to give in to Satan has never been so poppy or catchy.

The EP then gives us a breather by sliding into the simplistic, but head bobbing “Nocturnal Me,” originally by Echo & the Bunnymen. The post punk guitars for this song are tuned heavier and make it a moodier. The post-punk music is an easy mold for Ghost to fit into. It’s a song that allows for atmospheric evil to permeate and eat up five minutes very quickly. I can see Trent Reznor hearing this song and kicking himself in the head for never covering it.

The oddest choice for this EP comes next on “I Believe,” originally by Simian Mobile Disco, which is like a contemporary Pet Shop Boys, but without the 80’s charm. “I Believe” may grow on me, but it only features heavy synthesizers, R&B guitar plucking and light drumming. It may serve as a brief segue between the two halves of this EP. The four minutes doesn’t go by fast enough, but on a solid play through of this EP, it feels more like an unnecessary break between the two halves of this EP.

The heaviest the band gets on this EP is covering a Eurythmics song on the next song. They take British pop band’s soul single, “Missionary Man” and crank the guitars and drums to 11. Vocalist Papa Emeritus III keeps the soul vocals intact and the band does their best to turn the blues riffs into breakdowns that melt in between the rhythmic metal chugs. Hearing Papa Emeritus III with a southern twang to his voice is enough to check out this song.

The EP ends on an oddly inspirational sounding track, “Bible” originally by Imperiet, a short-lived Swedish post-punk band that I’ve never heard of and you probably haven’t either. The gospel chorus, sweeping drums, toned down guitars, soft acoustic guitar, and heavenly organs are incredibly misleading. Once you get down to the lyrics of this sucker, you’ll realize how critical it is religion, power, government and humanity’s hypocrisy. It’s a beautiful song that’s haunting and deserves repeated listens with your volume knob all the way to the right on your speakers.

“Popestar” is another solid outing for the band. Ghost is known for “replacing” their lead singer with a new persona for every new album. This EP is certainly a farewell to Papa Emeritus III, which feels fitting with how much this EP feels like a crisp summarization of what made Ghost a hit on the American scene in the past year with the personification of Papa Emeritus III at the helm. Their fearless tackle of pop music with their traditional doom metal sound is highlighted on “Popestar” It’s a wonderful counterbalance between the stingy headbanger crowd and the passive metalhead who dabbles in other genres. The EP title is a reference to the criticisms by some that they musically “sold out” by going for a more mainstream sound, but also a statement that they’re going to continue to push metal into new boundaries with their newfound fame.

Track Listing
1.) Square Hammer
2.) Nocturnal Me (Echo & the Bunnymen cover)
3.) I Believe (Simian Mobile Disco cover)
4.) Missionary Man (Eurythmics cover)
5.) Bible (Imperiet cover)

 

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CD Review: Ghost “Meliora”

Ghost
“Meliora”
Loma Vista Recordings
Produced by: Klas Ahlund
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Meliora” is the latest release from the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost. The album is being released via Loma Vista Recordings and features 10 brand new tracks produced by Klas Ahlund. “Meliora” is the third release from the costume clad group and is the follow up to the bands 2013 release titled “Infestissumam”.

The latest offering from Ghost is certainly their most edgy release yet however the music still does little to live up to the bands dark imagery. With this being the first album to feature the newly anointed Papa Emeritus III signaling a new chapter for the band I had extremely high hopes. After hearing the album’s first single “Cirice” which features thunderous drums and a cool repeating guitar riff ala “Black Album” era Metallica I thought the band was off to a great start. Sadly much like the bands previous efforts there is a lot to sift through before getting to the albums more promising moments. That’s not to say the other tracks are bad musically as they all feature impressive arrangements however, those wanting a more straight forward metal sound might want to skip this. Along with “Cirice” I found the tracks “From the Pinnacle to the Pit”, “Mummy Dust” and  “Majesty” to be more to my liking as they featured simpler arrangements that were easier to digest while tracks like “He Is” and “Dues in Absenthia” feature church like orchestral sounds that left me reaching for the skip button.

Yes Ghost and their latest album “Meliora” is a decent album. Will it appeal to everyone? Probably not. There just seems to be a lot of droning and weighty productions elements which make the listening experience a bit annoying. Fans of the band unique sound will certainly enjoy the album as it is quite a bit beefier however I don’t see the album being strong enough to elevate the band to the next level and pull in an entirely new group of listeners.

Track Listing:
Spirit
From the Pinnacle to the Pit
Cirice
Spoksonat
He Is
Mummy Dust
Majesty
Devil Church
Absolution
Dues in Absentia

Blu-ray Review “Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Borders 1 & 2”

Actors: Christopher R.Sabat, John Swasey, Elizabeth Maxwell
Directors: Zach Bolton
Number of discs: 4
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Funimation
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Run Time: 114 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Ghost in the Shell: Arise” is a new four-part OVA series that serves as a re-imagining of Masamune Shirow’s “Ghost in the Shell”. The OVA series features new character designs and new music by Cornelius. The series of OVAs were split into separate episodes called “Borders”. This release includes the first two titled: “Ghost Pain” and “Ghost Whispers”. Being a fan of “Ghost in the Shell” for years, this is another great series in the franchise. I can’t wait to see the second half.

Official Premise: In this highly anticipated prequel set in the year after the fourth World War, cyborg and hacker Motoko Kusanagi finds herself wrapped up in the investigation of a devastating bombing. But she’s not the only one looking for answers—as she delves deeper into the mystery of who is behind the attack, a specialized team unlike any before begins to take shape.

“Ghost in the Shell: Arise” looks stunning on Blu-ray. The 1080p transfers presented in 1.78:1 is outstanding. The animation is breathtaking and even though the characters looks a little different the series still is so sharp. The colors are so sharp and there is a nice mix of CGI elements. Same goes for the language tracks. There are both Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, it may upset some people that this does not include original cast but I see it as new character designs, new voices. A few new start.

I was really impressed that this release included some solid special features, which are are great like the series and spanned over two discs. “Ghost in the Shell: Arise at the Anime Expo 2013” features interviews with staff and attendees. There is a feature with the robotic quadrapeds in “Logicoma Beat”. There are also a bunch of promotional videos, New Flash(s) and trailers/teasers and textless openings included.

The second disc includes a U.S. Cast and Crew Audio Commentary. “Decode 501File” gives background on the mysterious group. “Border: 1 Ghost Pain Cyberbrain” includes two Q&A from 2013 with cast and I.G. There are also a bunch more of promotional videos, New Flash(s) and trailers/teasers.spots and textless openings/closings included. Overall a lot of promotional material but still great extras.

Blu-ray Review “Ghost in the Shell: 25th Anniversary Edition”

Starring: Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Kouichi Yamadera, Tamio Ohki, Iemasa Kayumi, Yutaka Nakano
Directors: Mamoru Oshii
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Run Time: 82 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 0 out of 5 stars

If you are counting on your fingers wondering if you are going nuts, don’t worry the answer is no. “Ghost in the Shell” did come out in 1995 and it has only been 19 years since its release. This Blu-ray celebrates the the 25th anniversary of the publication of Masamune Shirow’s original manga. If you are scratching your head again wondering how this compares to the 2009 “Ghost in the Shell 2.0” Blu-ray release, you are not alone again, but luckily I will explain. The 2.0 cut was a new version of the film with over 250 reworked scenes, remastered by Mamoru Oshii himself including a new voice cast recording and brand new score from Kenji Kawai. The original theatrical cut has never been released before on Blu-ray, so this is the first time. Honestly though unless you are a hardcore fan, who needs the original cut (which is pretty awesome to have don’t get me wrong), I wouldn’t rush out to pick this up.

Official Premise: Set in the year 2029 and following World Wars III and IV, a Japanese-led Asian block dominates world affairs. The alliance maintains its international supremacy through its elite security force whose cybernetically enhanced operatives tackle an array of hi-tech terrorists and other threats to international security. These augmented agents can “ghost hack” (i.e., download their consciousness) via the now omnipresent internet into other machines and human/machine cross breeds. Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cybernetically augmented female agent, has been tracking a virtual entity known as the Puppet Master with her crack squad of security agents. The shape-shifting Puppet Master, a rogue creation of a rival agency of the security apparatus, has concluded that it is a life form in its own right, “born in sea of information,” and requested political asylum and true physical existence in defiance of its creators.

This 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release includes a HD remaster of the original, unaltered theatrical cut of the film. This version has never been released on Blu-ray before, which is a cool thing but I expected so much more from the “25th Anniversary release” The audio tracks includes are a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for the English track and only a LPCM 2.0 for the Japanese track. If you recall the 2009 Blu-ray we got DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 for both Japanese and English tracks along with LPCM 2.0 as well for each. This Blu-ray just doesn’t cut it for me in comparison. Plus there are ZERO special features included on this release besides a booklet with an interview from Mamoru Oshii and an article on the “The World of Ghost in the Shell” and “The Impact of Ghost in the Shell”, which makes for a nice read but hardly enough to warrant a re-buy.

Theater Review “Ghost: The Musical” Bob Carr Performing Arts Center – Orlando, FL

“Ghost The Musical”
Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
Orlando, FL
May 13-18, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers is probably one of my all-time favorite long songs. I remember watching the film “Ghost” as a kid (probably too young to even get the film) and I fell in love with that song. The film is such a classic and whew knew that it could ever be turned into a Broadway play. Leave it up to the amazing, Bruce Joel Rubin (original writer of “Ghost”), who gave the words to “Ghost: The Musical” and the very fresh pop/rock score delivered by Grammy winner Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Glenn Ballard (writer of Josh Groban’s “Believe” and Alanis Morisstette’s “You Outta Know”). The show is such an experience, that is the only way I am able describe it. It is exhilarating and also at the same time exhausting. They not only capture the essence of the original film but also improve it to make this one of the best plays that I have ever seen on the stage.

We all know the story but just in case you don’t, here is official premise: “‘Ghost: The Musical’ follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death”. What I love the most about this play was that my wife hadn’t seen the film in years and yet she enjoyed it just as much as myself who had just watched the film again to refresh earlier this week.

From the moment the play starts, you are wowed with amazing visuals projected at the stage. You feel like you are being swept through New York City. This video presentation is used throughout the show along with amazing light, smoke and strobe light effects. There is one particular scene that really blew me away, which takes place on a subway car that left me speechless. I have seen many different plays at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center and none of them have ever been like this. I felt like I was literally sitting on Broadway watching this performance. It was so solid and well done that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since and have already looked up tickets for another showing.

Since this show is a musical, I was very interested how they were going to tell the story of “Ghost” through music. Right from the “Overture”, I fell in love with the songs (and even purchased the soundtrack). I loved the spin that they put on “Unchained Melody” and of course it is also cued through the entire show. I cannot get the track “Here Right Now” out of my head. I have had it on repeat. “More” is a tale about the life in NYC really hits home with my having lived and worked there for many years. “Are You a Believer” was a highlight of the show and literally had me rolling in my chair.

Steven Grant Douglas gave life (or after life) to the role of Sam Wheat. He was very strong and easily the best acting performance for the show. Katie Postotnik plays Molly Jenson and this girl can really sing. She nails the song “With You”. I could see her on the stages of Broadway since she really has the chops, so she takes the best singing in the show. Last but certainly not least everyone’s favorite Oda Mae Brown (who won Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar for from the film) is played by Carla R. Stewart. Let me tell you this woman had the audience in tears, laughing that is. She was the perfect comedic relief for this film and was hit for hit with each of the jokes. Put these amazing performance together with a wonderful production and you have a guaranteed hit with “Ghost: The Musical”, do not this miss on the stage!

“Ghost: The Musical” will be at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center from May 13th-18th. If you miss it in Orlando, be sure to check it out on the rest of its US National Tour below:
WORCESTER
HANOVER THEATRE
JUNE 5 – JUNE 8

HARTFORD
BUSHNELL
JUNE 10 – JUNE 15

MINNEAPOLIS
ORPHEUM THEATRE
JUNE 18 – JUNE 23

LOS ANGELES
HOLLYWOOD PANTAGES
JUNE 27 – JULY 13

COSTA MESA
SEGERSTROM CENTER
JULY 29 – AUGUST 10

LAS VEGAS
THE SMITH CENTER
AUGUST 12 – AUGUST 17

Grand Entertainment Inks Deal With Pilgrim Studios for Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters”

Exclusive U.S. DVD Distribution Rights for Season 9 of the #1 Paranormal Show


LOS ANGELES, CA – Grand Entertainment Group (GEG), an independent multi-platform content and distribution company, has obtained exclusive DVD rights from Pilgrim Studios to Season 9 of their hit Syfy original series “Ghost Hunters.” Under the deal brokered by GEG President David Rand, Michael Purleski, Vice President of Legal Affairs for Pilgrim Studios and Executive Producer Alan David. Grand Entertainment Group will produce market and distribute the latest season on DVD throughout the United States.

“Ghost Hunters,” the #1 paranormal reality television series and longest-running series on the Syfy network, is executive produced by Craig Piligian, Mike Nichols, Thomas Thayer and Alan David. “We are very excited to be working with Pilgrim Studios and the ‘Ghost Hunters’ franchise,” states David Rand. “The show has a loyal fan base and past DVD sales have performed well — we anticipate as much success with Season 9.”

In Season 9 of “Ghost Hunters,” Jason Hawes and his team from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) continue conducting chilling investigations across the country.  Locations include Los Angeles’ historic Sowden House, said to be the site where Elizabeth Short — more famously known as “The Black Dahlia” — was brutally murdered; the eerie Peoria Asylum in Bartonville, IL, where an estimated 16,000 people perished under gruesome conditions; and Sylvan Beach Amusement Park on Lake Oneida, NY which, according to its owners and patrons, is a rollercoaster of paranormal activity.

“Ghost Hunters” Season 9 will be available second quarter at major retailers and online distributors.

Pilgrim Studios | www.pilgrimstudios.com

Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios produces a wide variety of unscripted programming for television, including Fast N’ Loud for Discovery; Ghost Hunters and Killer Contact for Syfy; The Ultimate Fighter for FOX Sports 1; Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy for History; Orange County Choppers for CMT; Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s and Raising Whitley for OWN; David Tutera: Unveiled for WEtv; Wicked Tuna for National Geographic Channel, and Swamp Pawn for CMT. In the scripted realm, Pilgrim’s original movies for Lifetime include Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy; Abducted: The Carlina White Story and the crime thriller Stalkers.  Pilgrim’s most recent scripted projects include a pilot for ABC Family and a mini-series for Spike about the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Grand Entertainment (GEG) | www.GrandEntertainmentGroup.com

Grand Entertainment Group (GEG), launched in early 2012, as a complete destination for programming.  With the ability to distribute DVD; digital; streaming; television and limited theatricals, Grand Entertainment gives filmmakers and their films the platform they deserve. GEG is a subsidiary of Grand Distribution Group, which produces and distributes diversified products, services, and technologies.  With a line-up of films slated for 2014, GEG is moving forward in a “Grand Way.”  

 

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CD/DVD Review “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (Deluxe Edition)”

Stephen King, John Mellencamp, T Bone Burnett
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Concord Music Group

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” is a very unique release. It comes from the great talented minds of Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett. It was originally a musical stage performance, which was performed in Atlanta in April of 2012. So what is this actually? It is a libretto of the acclaimed Southern Gothic supernatural musical. It is a mix of dialogue tracks, written by King with music by some amazing musicians including Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, Ryan Bingam, Kristofferson and Rosanne Cash…just to name a few. Costello and Kristofferson also take on characters in between the songs, along with Meg Ryan, Samantha Mathis and Matthew McConaughey. Can you believe the talent attached to this! It is very well put together and draws you in just like one of King’s novels.  The music is seamless with the dialogue and together they really create a creepy atmosphere.

Official Premise: Set in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi, the Ghost Brothers’ story centers on two sets of brothers: the ghosts of Jack and Andy, dead in an apparent murder/suicide, and their nephews, the living Frank and Drake, who seem to be headed toward the same downward spiral as their uncles. Joe, younger brother of Jack and Andy, father of Frank and Drake, has decided it’s time to reveal his own terrible secret at the site of the tragedy, before it’s too late.

This deluxe edition comes with a two disc set, one CD and one DVD.  The DVD contains a bunch of great behind the scenes content and features the songs and interviews with Stephen King, John Mellencamp, and Musical Director, T Bone Burnett. The following three featurettes are included “A Look Behind Ghost Brothers of Darkland County”, “Truth In Studio” and “Libretto”. The DVD also comes with a digital copy of the libretto.  There is also a pamphlet included with the set for an MP3 download of just the music. I was also impressive with the fact that this deluxe edition also comes with the complete lyrics and script from the CD tracks…and it looks very sharp as well. I highly recommend this for country music fans and of course the words of the great Stephen King.

Track Listing:
1. Introduction By The Zydeco Cowboy
2. That s Me (Performed by Elvis Costello)
3. Anna and Frank Badmouthing Drake
4. That s Who I Am (Performed by Neko Case)
5. The Ghosts Argue and Fight
6. So Goddam Smart (Performed by Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Sheryl Crow)
7. Monique and Anna Meet
8. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong About Me (Performed by Elvis Costello)
9. Frank and Drake Argue
10. Brotherly Love (Performed by Ryan Bingham, Will Dailey)
11. Monique, Frank, Drake, and Anna Argue
12. How Many Days (Performed by Kris Kristofferson)
13. The Ghosts Talk (Dialog Underscoring: Patrick Fleming)
14. Home Again (Performed by Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Taj Mahal)
15. Monique Comforts Drake
16. You Are Blind (Performed by Ryan Bingham)
17. Joe Begins To Tell His Story
18. Tear This Cabin Down (Performed by Taj Mahal)
19. Joe Continues His Story
20. My Name Is Joe (Performed by Clyde Mulroney)
21. Jenna Expresses Her Feelings
22. Away From This World (Performed by Sheryl Crow)
23. Monique Frustrated With The Boys
24. You Don t Know Me (Performed by Rosanne Cash)
25. Joe Continues As The Ghosts Observe (Dialog Underscoring: Patrick Fleming)
26. And Your Days Are Gone (Performed by Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin)
27. Jack And Andy Fight Over Jenna
28. Jukin (Performed by Sheryl Crow)
29. Jack And Andy Argue And Fight
30. So Goddam Good (Performed by Phil Alvin, Dave Alvin, Sheryl Crow)
31. Joe Talks With His Younger Self
32. What Kind Of Man Am I (Performed by Kris Kristofferson, Phil Alvin, Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Taj Mahal)
33. The Shape Sums Things Up
34. Truth (Performed by John Mellencamp with Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz)
35. Joe Talks With The Bartender

Blu-ray Review “At the Gate of the Ghost”

Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Run Time: 107 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Japanese films that you will know about “Rashomon”. This adapation of that the film really delivers a visual treat. It is also packs a great cast including Ananda Everingham (“Legend of the Tsunami Warrior”), Mario Maurer (“The Love of Siam”), Chermarn Bonnyasak (“The Love of Siam”), Mum Jokmok (“Ong Bak” Franchise, “The Protector”) and Dom Hetrakul (“Bangkok Dangerous”). The story is well paced and the action is mouth dropping. I would highly recommend checking out this film if you are a fan of the genre.

Official Premise: In this adaptation of the Japanese film Rashomon, a young monk leaves town to seek his father’s counsel after being disturbed by the murder trial testimony of the bandit Singh Khan, the wife of the deceased warlord, and a shaman who conjures up the warlord’s spirit. Along the way, he encounters a poor man who testified at the trial, and the two take refuge in an abandoned burial tunnel during a storm. They are met by an old beggar who joins in their lively conversation about the trial. In vivid detail, each story is witnessed on screen as it’s told from the bandit’s, the wife’s and the warlord’s perspectives, all riddled with bias and personal agenda. In the end, the young monk is left to determine what meaning is of true consequence not only in this murder trial, but in choosing to continue on his monastic path.

The Blu-ray presentation is great. The 1080p transfer is very impressive. The colors really pop out and looks very sharp. The action in the film is so well choreographed. The audio option included a Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which really works with the charm of the film and compliments the action sequels very well. The special features are ok but nothing amazing. They include a brief “The Making of a Legendary Story”, “Behind the Scenes” featurette and an International trailer as well.