Blu-ray Review “Hell or High Water”

Actors: Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster, Katy Mixon, Kevin Rankin
Directors: David Mackenzie
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Run Time: 122 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Hell Or High Water” easily has some of the best performances of the year. In fact, this film easily nudged itself in my top films of 2016…YES it is that good. Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster together are GOLD! Bridges is hysterical and steals the show. Foster delivers yet another outstanding performance for the underrated actor, who was also fantastic in “Warcraft” this year. Of course, let’s not forget Chris Pine who once again shows off his acting chops. Lastly, props should go out to Gil Birmingham, who hasn’t gotten enough credit from this film because he was amazing also and put up with Jeff Bridges’ character, which was a challenge. Overall, this is a fun, action packed, slow burn drama that I highly recommend you do not miss!

Official Premise: Toby is a divorced father who’s trying to make a better life for his son. His brother Tanner is an ex-convict with a short temper and a loose trigger finger. Together, they plan a series of heists against the bank that’s about to foreclose on their family ranch. Standing in their way is Marcus, a Texas Ranger who’s only weeks away from retirement. As the siblings plot their final robbery, they must also prepare for a showdown with a crafty lawman who’s not ready to ride off into the sunset.

In the Blu-ray combo pack also comes with a DVD of the film as well as a digital HD copy. The Blu-ray 1080p transfer is gorgeous showing off the beauty of Texas and the DTS-Master Audio 5.1 track nails the score and the music by Nick Cave. There are three decent featurettes included, the first is “Enemies Forever: The Characters of Hell or High Water”, which features the cast dicussing their roles. The next is “Visualizing the Heart of America”, which discusses the shooting locations for the film. Last one “Damaged Heroes: The Performances of Hell or High Water” reviews with the cast/crew about our leads and how they nailed their characters. Also included is the Red Carpet Premiere footage as well as a Filmmaker Q&A that is working checking out for sure.

Death Valley High frontman Reyka Osburn discusses “CVLT [AS FVK]”

Reyka Osburn is the vocalist/guitarist for the California based goth/rock band Death Valley High. The group is set to release their second full length album on November 4th 2016 titled “CVLT [AS FVK]” and Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Reyka about the albums creation, the addition of guitarist Sean Bivins and the group’s plans for 2016/2017.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on the band and how everything came together?

Reyka Osburn: Death Valley High was sort of born out of my previous band Tinfed. Things had sort of begun to get a bit watered down towards the end of it. I wanted to keep doing a project that was going to be darker so eventually Tinfed disbanded and I kept going with the start of Death Valley High. When the band first started I had some people from the previous project on board but when we started playing live was when I started to get new members in the band as I continued to flesh things out. It really just grew from there.

AL: What can you tell us about the band’s new album which has sort of a unique title?

RO: We were looking for something that was us. We were all having sort of a tough time pin pointing where we were at so we thought that by blending the night culture that we love with dance/death rock/goth clubs with the hardcore scene which we also love. “Cvlt [AS Fvk]” was a morphing of several ideas we put together from various ideas.

AL: What has the addition of guitarist Sean Bivins been like for the group?

RO: We had been having Sean come out on tour with us so when it was time to record everything felt very natural. It was great to have Shawn help fill things out while still being able to keep our signature tone but with something a little more. We were able to mix in some more modern tones which were really cool. It was great for us as a band to have all this new stuff put together before going in to record.

AL: How did your partnering with producer Ulrich Wild come about for this record?

RO: Ulrich had approached actually and we just hit it off. He asked what we were looking for which led to us talking about some of his previous work with White Zombie. He told us about how he did those albums and things ended up being a lot of fun. We were able to throw any ideas at him and if it was worthy of keeping he would make it work. Ulrich was willing to give things his best sot to make sure we got what we wanted. I feel you can hear all the work we put into this record and the relationship between the band and Ulrich as well.

AL: How did you go about choosing “Warm Bodies” as the album’s first single?

RO: All the songs are my babies. “Warm Bodies” was one we completed later on in the recording process. We got everything laid out and people started just gravitating towards that song. We started playing the song live to test it out and crowds were definitely in to it so we ran with it. I think there is a bunch of great single worthy tracks on the album which makes me question if this one is the strongest but we have gotten a lot of good feedback thus far with this track.

AL: Have you started to map out any touring plans to support the release?

RO: We have some European things happening along with a few other things which are being scheduled for both this year and next. There are talks of both tours and a few festival dates as well.

For more info on Death Valley High be sure to check out their official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/deathvalleyhigh

DEATH VALLEY HIGH Crafts Industrial for the Masses with New Album “CVLT [AS FVK]”

DEATH VALLEY HIGH Crafts Industrial for the Masses with New Album

CVLT [AS FVK]

Out November 4 via Minus Head Records – Pre-Order Here

Listen to New Single “Warm Bodies” via Alternative Press

Melding New Wave, Goth Pop and Rock-Alternative Influences, CVLT [AS FVK] Fuels Your 90’s Nightmare…

“The new face of Goth Rock” – Outburn Magazine, July 2016

One part Marilyn Manson, another part Deftones and mostly parts all their own, Northern California’s DEATH VALLEY HIGH have crafted true alt-industrial rock for the masses with their new full-length album CVLT [AS FVK], out November 4 via Minus Head Records. The tracks on CVLT [AS FVK] meld traditional goth magic and modern alternative majesty – co-mingling new wave/dance beats, cinematic rock instrumentation and gritty, sensual, macabre-pop hooks.

With one listen it’s clear – with a new movement of industrial on the rise, DEATH VALLEY HIGH stands at the forefront with an offering of the catchiest, most unforgettable songs of their career. Teaming up with producer Ulrich Wild (White Zombie, Deftones), they ignite 12 nocturnal anthems that are impossible to shake and undeniably CVLT [AS FVK].

Pre-order your copy of CVLT [AS FVK] now via Bandcamp. Amazon and iTunes pre-orders are coming soon.

DEATH VALLEY HIGH is wasting no time releasing their first single from CVLT [AS FVK], entitled “Warm Bodies”! Take a listen to this goth-pop earworm, exclusively via Alternative Press, right now: http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/death_valley_high_premiere_new_single

“Warm Bodies” struts along on a creaky synth and deliciously danceable riff. It quickly snaps into an unshakable vampiric declaration, “We need warm bodies.””It doesn’t matter if you’re an animal, a salesman, a preacher or whatever, you need warm bodies,” singer Reyka Osburn explains. “If you look at it from a horror perspective, vampires need warm blood or it tastes rancid. Sex is all about warm bodies. It’s all encompassing. I like that duality.”

The DEATH VALLEY HIGH boys have always incorporated a gothic sensibility, but they fully embrace it on CVLT [AS FVK]. Since the release of 2013’s Positive Euth, DEATH VALLEY HIGH has logged over two years on the road, touring alongside everybody from Mindless Self Indulgence and Crosses to Filter, Orgy and Vampires Everywhere! These experiences left a permanent imprint on the band.

“The tours we’ve done and the fan attention we’ve received made us look inward and ask, ‘What do people respond to about us?’,” Reyka admits. “We could see how the crowd reacted. That definitely had an impact in shaping our next musical evolution. At the same time, we wanted to reinterpret our inspirations and influences in an original way.”

Producer Ulrich Wild originally reached out to the band and the friendship-pairing was instantaneous. The eye-opening process of collaborating with a producer the band was not familiar with prior was an adventure – especially finding the collective voice between the two.

“Ulrich was the perfect producer to capture this time in our musical mutation. He welcomed any Frankenstein ideas we had, and made them work; even if it meant the ideas didn’t come to life the first few times around,” Reyka adds.

He finishes, “We wanted to make an album of songs you feel in your gut and that make you get up and move. This has a take the night back vibe. We’re inviting you to the party.”

Stay tuned for more tracks, videos and beyond coming from DEATH VALLEY HIGH leading up to their November 4 release of CVLT [AS FVK].

Photo by Attic Floc

DEATH VALLEY HIGH online:

www.deathvalleyhigh.com

www.facebook.com/deathvalleyhigh

www.twitter.com/deathvalleyhigh

www.deathvalleyhigh.bandcamp.com

www.minushead.com/bands/death-valley-high

DEATH VALLEY HIGH is:

Reyka Osburn – vocals, guitar

Adam Bannister – drums

Huffy Hafera – bass

Sean Bivins – guitars on CVLT [AS FVK]

Daniel Ka$$hu – full-time guitars (2016-)

Product Review “Coleman: Quickbed Elite Queen Extra High Airbed & 4D CPX Personal Size Led Lantern”

Recently, the family and I decided to take our first camping trip. Thanks to the wonderful people at Coleman. They hooked us up with some amazing products including the Coleman Evanston Screened 8 Tent, which is simply outstanding (read our review here) But one after effect of our camping trip was one hell of a sore back. Getting old definitely sucks. I used to be able to sleep absolutely anywhere and have no effect. My bad was killing me after this trip, so I thought to myself that if we are going to do this again (which we certainly are), I need to get an airbed.

Luckily, Coleman came to the rescue again with their product: Quickbed® Elite Queen Extra High Airbed W/ 4D BIP. Let me tell you, this thing is mega mega comfortable. I know that my next trip to the great outdoors if going to be must more comfortable. This airbed has extra height and along with the 48 internal coils provide fantastic support. Even with the whole family on board, this bed help up very well. It also comes with an Airtight system, which is guaranteed not to leak and the easy-to-use Double Lock valve that allows you very easily inflate and deflate the bed.

Another aspect during our camping trip that we figured out too late that we needed was light. Of course we have our phones but a little more stable light would have been nice. Luckily we were able to find the 4D CPX Personal Size Led Lantern. This lantern is outstanding. You are able to really control the this 360° light with four settings, which shines a strong 190 lumens up to 29 ft. (8.84 m) while it is on its highest setting and 100 lumens on the lowest. There are four positions to choice from including High / Low / Nightlight / Off. This will come in handy after the kids go to sleep and you need a little reading light.

If you are worried about how this bad boy is powered. You have control of that! You can choose whether you want to use four D cell batteries or one CPX 6 rechargeable power cartridge (both sold separately). This lantern will pack a runtime of up to 65 hours on high, which is plenty of time for a nice weekend away. Another bonus is that the Cree XLamp XR-E LED light actually lasts a lifetime and never needs replacing. This is a real treat especially for the price. Also this device runs cool, so there are no risks of burning and lastly it is water and impact-resistant.

Matt Bush talks about film’s “HIGH School” & “Piranha 3DD”

Matt Bush has had a busy year so far in 2012 working on films like “HIGH School” & “Piranha 3DD”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about those films and also what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it working with such a great cast like Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis and Colin Hanks on “HIGH School”?
Matt Bush: These are great guys. These are people I respect. It was great getting to act and have fun with them. It was overall such a great experience. It was an education that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

MG: What was your biggest challenge on this project?
MB: We shot it a couple of years ago, and at the time it was the first film where I had the lead. It was certainly a lot more responsibility. When you are in that role you have to take on more of a leadership role. So I wouldn’t necessilarily call it a challenge but it was new experience and was fun. I am grateful it was my first.

MG: Both being released by Anchor Bay, how was it going from “HIGH School” to “Piranha 3DD”?
MB: [laughs] It was definitely a weird year. I didn’t jump from “HIGH School” to “Piranha 3DD”, I had a few things in between there but they came out the same time. “Piranha 3DD” was a fun time and it certainly doesn’t take itself seriously.

MG: Was the 3D a difficulty at all during shooting?
MB: No, really it wasn’t. You would think so since you have a whole other dimension to worry about. It was just a larger rig with two lenses next to each other. There were certain things you have to keep in mind when shooting. One day wanted to showcase the trident/trash picker as a 3D effect, like it was coming ot the camera. So they asked me to throw it literally at the camer…but don’t hit the camera. [laughs] I didn’t have trident through class during gym class. So I did my best. For the most part it was like a regular shoot.

MG: What else do you have in the cards upcoming?
MB: I got an indie called “The Kitchen”. We just had our premiere at the 2012 Gen Art Film Festival. I am actually very proud of that. I got a film called “Trouble with the Curve”, which is Clint Eastwood’s newest film. I have a small role but it was an amazing experience to work with such a legend. I am really grateful for that.

Be sure to follow Matt on Twitter – @ItsMattBush

 

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Blu-ray Review “HIGH School”

Directed by: John Stalberg, Jr.
Starring: Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Matt Bush, Sean Marquette
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 99 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

As I get further and further away from high school personally. I tend to find high school films less and less amusing. This film lucky point is its impressive cast. Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks all really steal the show in this film. “HIGH School” was on the shelf for a few years prior to getting released, so you know that there had to be a reason for it. If you are looking for a few brainless laughs and nothing much, this is worth at least one watch.

The day after valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush) decides to try smoking weed for the first time his school principal (Michael Chiklis) institutes mandatory drug tests for all students. If Henry fails, he will lose his college scholarship. His other option is to team up with stoner friend Breaux (Sean Marquette) in order to try and beat the system. What is their master plan…try and steal a psycho drug dealer’s stash to get the whole school high. What can go wrong?

This film looks sharp on Blu-ray but nothing special. The 1080p transfer looks sharp and delivers a crisp presentation within its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The audio also packs a strong Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and works well with the film’s music. The special features are lacking a bit though. There is an audio commentary track with executive producer/writer/director John Stalberg, Jr., worth really checking out only if you REALLY liked this movie. Lastly there is a few never-before-seen deleted scenes, which are definitely worth checking out. I could think of a few things they could have cut in place of these.

DVD Review “High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era”

Directed by: Jason Paul Collum
Starring: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer
Distributed by: Breaking Glass Pictures
Release Date: August 28, 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 63 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I am a total fan of B-horror movies & the Scream Queen era of 1980s thru early 90s. I grew up on these films and they are always going to be my favorites. Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer are definitely the original Scream Queen’s. Films like “Return of the Living Dead”, “The Slumber Party Massacre” and “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” were and still are some of my favorite 80’s horror films. They are timeless and only get better with age. This documentary gives some really great insight into birth of the VHS horror days and the original Scream Queens!

You can really tell that this is a real passion project for Jason Paul Collum. Linnea Quigley (“Return of the Living Dead”), Brinke Stevens (“The Slumber Party Massacre”) and Michelle Bauer (“Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers”) really seem to have a great time telling their stories of how they became cult icons of the late 1980s. It also gives insight into what they are doing now as well, so it is a great revisit into their careers. If were were a horror fan and a teenage boy in the late 80’s, then you will know how much these film’s have impacted your life. “High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era” is fun, informative and a real treat for any fan of the genre.

The unrated DVD also comes with some great special features for hardcore horror fans. There are bonus interview footage with Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer, which is definitely worth checking out. There is also fun footage from the Flashback Weekend of Horror convention Q&A. If you caught this film on television on Chiller and censored BTW, you need to see this unrated cut with all the boobs included that made 80’s horror great. Fans of classic 80’s films are going to NEED to pick up this release, no question!

Blu-ray Review “High Fidelity”

Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Touchstone / Disney
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Release Date: August 7, 2012

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

John Cusack has always been one of my favorites. I am not sure what it is but he is just always nails his roles. This film is one of his best roles, easily. When “High Fidelity” was released, it introduced me to some great music, Jack Black and some of the best comedic lines in film. It is very hard to believe that this film is actually 12 years old. It still holds up though and still delivers the laughs. It still ranks in my top 5 of comedies since 2000. Those who previously own this DVD are wondering if this is worth the upgrade to HD. It is definitely worth the jump for sure.  Highly recommended for those who love music, Jack Black and, of course, Cusack.

The film follows Rob Gordon (Cusack), the owner of a fading record store, Championship Vinyl, which does what is says…sells vinyls. He is a walking enclycopedia of music, living and breathing it.   He spends his days battling with two employees Dick and Barry creating their all-time favorite top-five lists throughout music.  When Rob’s long-term girlfriend Laura walks out on him, he examines his previous failed attempts at romance and tries to seek to find what went wrong.

The Blu-ray presentation itself is very well done by Disney! The 1080p transfer comes with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a video codec of AVC/MPEG-4.  Overall it looks very sharp in its HD transfer.  Since music is a very big part of this film, the audio track is very important.  There is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included with 48kHz/24-bit, which is basically perfect with the dialogue and the music.

The special features are good overall but there are no new HD extras included on this release.  First up is some great interviews with Writer/Producer John Cusack split into five different sections. There is also a “Conversations with Director Stephen Frears”, also split into five sections. These both are very informative about the film. There are nine “Deleted Scenes”  that are well worth checking out. I have always loved the scene with Beverly D’Angelo, which is hysterical. Lastly there is the theatrical trailer included.

Book Review “CBGB Was My High School”

Author: G K Stritch
Hardcover: 246 pages
Publisher: Full Court Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“CBGB Was My High School” is a coming of age biography written by G K Stritch. The book is being released via Full Court Press and is more than just your normal biography. Not only does Stritch tell her story of growing up and details the trials and tribulations that come with that but she also incorporates the growth of the NY art/music scene during what I feel is one of the City’s most interesting periods.

This book is a fun and quick read that will have the reader not wanting to put this book down. The growth of places like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s are seamlessly interspersed with Stritch’s own accounts of her times at these places. Stritch’s words paint a picture that makes you feel like you are a fly on the wall taking it all in.

From abusive relationships to meeting a former first lady author G K Stritch covers it all. “CBGB Was My High School” is an honest look at 70’s/80’s New York told from the perspective of someone who was there. Even if biographies aren’t your thing give this book a chance. I don’t think you will regret it.

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FREE Tickets to Orlando FL Screening for “High School” [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!


Anchor Bay is releasing HIGH SCHOOL on June 1st and Media Mikes is proud to give you the opportunity to attend an advance screening in the Orlando FL area. The screening details are: Wednesday, May 30th at Regal Winter Park Village 20 – 7:00pm.

If you would like to attend this screening for this Wednesday’s advance screening of “HIGH SCHOOL”, please print the attached ticket and bring it to the theater to gain admittance.  Even if you have a ticket, we suggest you get there about 60 minutes prior to showtime since seating is not guaranteed as stated.

SYNOPSIS: The day after soon-to-be valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush) takes a hit of the chronic for the first time, his school principal (Michael Chiklis) institutes a zero tolerance drug policy and administers a mandatory drug test for all students. Henry has two options: fail and lose his college scholarship, or team up with his stoner friend Breaux (Sean Marquette) to beat the system. They steal a high powered ganja from law student-turned-drug-dealer Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody) and spike the school’s bake sale brownies, getting the whole school—faculty included—completely stoned out of their minds. But with the student body getting higher and higher with every brownie, and a pissed-off Psycho Ed on their tails for stealing his stash, they must find a way to keep their half-baked plan from going up in smoke.

Directed by John Stalberg, Jr., with story by John Stalberg, Jr. and Eric Linthorst, and screenplay by Eric Linthorst and John Stalberg, Jr. & Stephen Susco, the cast of HIGH SCHOOL also includes Colin Hanks (Orange County, AMC’s “Mad Men”), Adhir Kalyan (CBS’ Rules of Engagement) and Yeardley Smith (Fox’s “The Simpsons”).

Official Site: http://www.highschool-themovie.com/

DVD Review “The High Cost of Living”

Directed by: Deborah Chow
Starring: Zach Braff, Isabelle Blais, Patrick Labbé
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 97 minutes
Distributed by: Tribeca Film

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I do not think I ever saw one episode of “Scrubs”…but nothing against Zach Braff, just never got into it. For some reason this film stuck out to me and I felt that I should see it. It turns out that this film hits very close to home for me with having a pregnant wife currently…you will find out more about that down below. Tribeca Film has really become a reliable and great distributor and have been releasing some great films. This film has a great story and a wonderful cast, who give some really powerful performances.

The story is about a fast-living drug dealer named Henry (Zach Braff) who accidentally hits a pregnant woman, Nathalie (Isabelle Blais) while driving recklessly and flees the scene. Due to guilt Henry, tracks her down, only to find that she lost her child in the hit and run accident. Henry tries to fix things and make things better, even though she doesn’t known the truth about that night. Is Henry able to save Nathalie or is it too late for both of them.

Zach Braff wasn’t good in this film but REALLY good. It was a very powerful role and he nailed it. Isabelle Blais was very intense and delivers the emotional role quite well. The two of them have great chemistry and really make this film, since it is really only about the two of them. The only bonus features on the disc is an interview with Zach Braff, interesting but not outstanding. That is my only complaint with Tribeca Film DVDs is that they do not pack any of their releases with major extras.