Join the Galaxy’s Finest as Star Wars™: Squadrons Soars Into Homes

Climb into the Cockpit on Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Virtual Reality and PC with Cross-play Support in the Most Immersive STAR WARS™ Starfighter Experience Yet

Digital Soundtrack Featuring Score Composed by Gordy Haab Available Now

Strap in pilots, and prepare for battle! Today, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Motive Studios and Lucasfilm released the highly anticipated immersive, first-person, Star Wars™ space dogfighting experience, Star Wars™: Squadrons. The game features thrilling 5v5 multiplayer starfighter combat along with an original Star Wars story set after the events ofStar Wars: Return of the Jedi™Polygon even says, “Star Wars: Squadrons is every inch the spaceflight simulation that fans have been dreaming of for a generation.” In the authentic new story, players will speed to the frontlines of an escalating conflict experienced from the alternating perspectives of two customizable pilots, one serving the New Republic and the other the Galactic Empire.

Star Wars: Squadrons Available Now (Photo: Business Wire)

Star Wars: Squadrons offers the option to play in thrilling Virtual Reality on PS4 and PC, enabling players to feel every drift, evasion and maneuver as if they were in the cockpit. Mastering the skills and controls to become an ace pilot in the Star Wars universe is no easy feat and players looking to test their abilities and fully embrace the pilot fantasy can tune their difficulty in-game and take full control of their ship with hands on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) support on PC, PlayStation® 4 and Xbox One.

“As a lifelong Star Wars fan, it’s been an incredible journey to bring the space combat experience to life in a way that is true to the legacy of the franchise,” said Ian Frazier, Creative Director, Motive Studios. “It all starts in the cockpit, the center of the action. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with Lucasfilm to hone in on the pilot’s perspective, and match the aesthetic from the films to create an authentic Star Wars gameplay experience that will transport fans into the pilot’s seat. We’re thrilled to bring this experience to players around the world, who can now join together in battles across the galaxy.”

Players can start their adventure in Star Wars:Squadrons and develop their piloting skills in a fulfilling single-player story showcasing daring pilots and rival commanders, flying for freedom with the New Republic or upholding the Galactic Empire’s vision of order. At the heart of the story is Project Starhawk — a starship project critical to the New Republic and one the Empire seeks to eliminate. Across multiple missions in a full campaign, players will report to two leaders: Lindon Javes, commander of the New Republic’s Vanguard Squadron, and Terisa Kerill, commander of the Galactic Empire’s Titan Squadron, whose deep-seated rivalry will fuel many of the encounters throughout the story.

Star Wars:Squadrons features intense 5v5 multiplayer combat in two key modes, Dogfight and Fleet Battles. In Dogfight, players will work with their squadron to execute the best tactics and destroy as many opponents as possible, while in Fleet Battles, players join their squadron in large scale, strategic back-and-forth battles to demolish opposing flagships. Squadrons will also give players the chance to bring their own personality to their starfighters with customization options that are earned solely through gameplay.

“We are always looking to bring new Star Wars stories and experiences to our fans,” said Douglas Reilly, Vice President, Lucasfilm Games. “Star Wars: Squadrons places players at the apex of one of the most uncertain times between the New Republic and Galactic Empire, where the scales of power could be tipped in either direction, and the fate of the galaxy is still unclear. We’re thrilled to give players the opportunity to play their Star Warspilot fantasy and experience this original story.”

As players earn their stripes and progress in the game, they will be able to collect components including Primary Weapons, Auxiliaries, Countermeasures, Hulls, along with Shields and Engines to fine tune the performance of their starfighters, which can be equipped with up to three passive components and four active components. Star Wars:Squadrons features eight iconic New Republic and Imperial starfighters from four starfighter classes: Fighters, Bombers, Interceptors, and Support ships, with a power management system that allows players to divert power to particular subsystems including engines, lasers or shields to outsmart opponents.

After launch players can expect additional online experiences including daily challenges to earn Glory, an in-game currency earned solely through playing, to unlock starfighter and pilot cosmetics, and Operations, which are 8-week cycles bringing their own set of cosmetic rewards to be earned along with new challenges. Players will also earn experience through play, and as they level up, will unlock Requisition points that can be used to unlock ship components to modify their playstyles.

Additionally, the official soundtrack for Star Wars: Squadrons from Walt Disney Records is now available at digital service providers including Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and more. Composed by the masterful Gordy Haab, and recorded with a world-renowned orchestra, the soundtrack includes 26 pieces from the game with a retro, stylized feel reminiscent of the iconic films that launched the Star Warsfranchise decades ago.

Star Wars: Squadrons is now available both digitally and in stores for $39.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation® 4 and PC via the EA Desktop App, Steam and the Epic Games Store, with Virtual Reality (VR) support on PlayStation® 4 and PC. The idea behind the game is not a new one, more and more movies, games, even online slots from famous casinos such as PA online casino, are inspired by Star Wars. EA Play* subscribers can enjoy up to 10 hours of playtime at launch, along with 10% off the purchase of the full game and immediate access to additional in-game perks including cosmetic items like the Interceptor Elegance Helmet and the Ashen Monarch Paint Job Set. EA Play* Pro subscribers will get full access to Star Wars: Squadrons on PC along with all the benefits of EA Play for as long as they subscribe. For more information on Star Wars:Squadrons, please visit:

Follow the EA Star Wars channels on Twitter and Facebook, or visit to stay updated on the latest news.

Film Review “99 Homes”

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern
Directed By: Ramin Bahrani
Rated: R
Running Time: 112 minutes
Broad Green Pictures

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Rick Carver (Shannon) casually stares at the corpse of a man who has just committed suicide. His look of disgust isn’t because of the blood or gore he’s staring at, but how much it’s going to cost to clean it up. Carver is the embodiment of the greedy industrialist stereotype we’ve come to expect in movies, but there’s something more to Carver. He’s covetous in a very threatening way, but once that icy stare of his fades away, there’s an understandably human side to him.

Carver expertise is real estate. He’s found out every backhanded way to make money off the company he represents, the U.S. government, and the people he’s foreclosing on. He’s sadistically smart on how he handles himself in front of people he’s evicting. Everything he says is cold and calculated. Shannon brings an air of hostility to Carver without having to raise his voice. He also knows that what he does makes him hated. So he conceals a firearm, ready and willing to get it out if need be.

The latest person to cross an unfortunate path with Carver is Dennis Nash (Garfield). He’s a home builder by trade, but he’s without any homes to build in the Florida landscape. He lives in his childhood home with his mom, and his only son. Nash is the only legitimate revenue stream since his mom simply cuts hair out of their home. Nash is out of options, legally and financially. That’s when Carver comes knocking. Carver has an answer for all of Nash’s tears and angry outbursts as he has only two minutes to pack up everything and get out.

Nash is a guy who’s made a lot of bad choices and good luck has stayed far away from him. So it’s very ominous when Carver offers Nash some cold hard cash to clean out a home. The hardworking skill that Nash displays impresses Carver. Carver formulates a plan in his head, which “99 Homes” slowly reveals. Carver’s motives are inherently selfish, but reasonable. So Carver offers Nash more and more jobs, and sadly, Nash believes he has finally came across the good fortune that’s alluded him for long Nash’s reasoning for working for the man who kicked him out of his home is clear, he wants to create a comfortable life for his son.

“99 Homes” is the best performance I’ve ever seen from Garfield and it’s equally matched by Shannon, who’s displayed this kind of acting prowess in the past. Shannon and Garfield masterfully display their characters true nature through body language and without uttering a single word. Laura Dern adds to the mix with her performance as Nash’s mom. There aren’t any other standouts in terms of acting in “99 Homes”, but being able to watch Garfield match the performance he did in the “Social Network” is refreshing after the unwanted Spiderman movies.

Writer and director, Ramin Bahrini, provides a riveting story, albeit one that feels a bit stale. I’m not saying that there aren’t people like Carver still lurking around, but this feels like a story that would be more interesting right after the 2008 house marketing crash. What Bahrini does do to keep “99 Homes” from simply being an outlet of social commentary, is pump up an engaging drama with relevant dialogue. While the housing market crash will inevitably be a thing of the past, “99 Homes” finds a more intriguing story in how the incorruptible can be corrupted and how the corrupted are looking for a little virtue to hang their hat on.


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Book Review “Better Homes and Gardens: Year-Round Slow Cooker Recipes”

Author: Better Homes and Gardens
Hardcover: 548 pages
Publisher: Wiley
Release Date: December 10, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

My wife and I recently got a new slow cooker, double the size of our last, so we have been dying to try out some new recipes. When I started looking around at newly released slow cooker recipe books there is no shortage but none of them really stood out like this release from Better Homes and Gardens.  Just the look and feel of the book really drew me in.  It comes in a nice hardcover with a binder feel and tabbed pages.  It is very each to leave open and view on the counter while cooking.  What I also liked about the book is simply the title recipes that you can prepare “year-round”, I think that is key.  They are all also low maintenance and low-fuzz and that is a must for us.  We have little time to prepare dinner and these include the recipe for success.

Another main draw for me is that there are over 500 recipes included throughout.  The sections included in this book are breakfast and bunch, soups and stews, sandwiches, casseroles, meat,  poultry, and desserts.  There is also a section for those looking for even healthier food with “Skinny Slow Cooker”. There is something for everyone here for sure within these delicious recipes. What I also liked about this book is that is for the everyday cooker and actually attempts to help you cook… and cook well.  There are tips and guides in order to make the recipes extra yummy. I like to think that I am decent cook, not as good or creative as my wife, and this really spoke to me and inspired me to cook.

Let’s get to some of the yummy recipes now.  In the casserole section, I turned immediately to the recipe for “New Potato, Broccoli, and Chicken Casserole”.  I couldn’t help but prepare straight away. Let me tell you it was beyond amazing! I am usually not one to try something off the “skinny” menu but I turned to the “Slow-Cooked Beef Fajitas”, I couldn’t say no…and I am sure glad that I didn’t.  I recently tried “Ratatouille” in Disney World and I really liked it but the recipe here to be honest is so much better…sorry Disney. What is a recipe book with out great desserts! I am a big fan of brownies and I couldn’t say no to “Fudge Brownies with Strawberries”.  Let’s just say when I make them again, I will be doubling the recipe, since I couldn’t get enough of these.

What is also very attractive about this book is that it comes packed with hundreds of mouth watering photos, which really left me wanting to run out to my nearest Publix supermarket in order to get more groceries.  I have a feeling that this book is going to get used quite a bit over the next few months.  It is going to take a long time to make over 500 recipes, especially since I do not think that there is one item in this book that I wouldn’t want to eat immediately. Released perfectly timed for the holidays, this will make a nice Christmas gift for anyone! It is also very reasonable priced for the quality of product that you are getting.  I look forward to the next release from Better Homes and Gardens

Dennis Franz talks about going from “NYPD Blue” to designing homes

Dennis Franz is best known for his role as Andy Sipowicz in the long-running series “NYPD Blue”. There is a whole different side that you woulnd’t expect from the former hard-boiled police detective. Joining forces with the Junior League of Santa Barbara, actor Dennis Franz with wife Joanie Franz are creating the first Design House of Santa Barbara set to open just after Labor Day in September. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dennis about designing homes and how he got involved doing this.

Mike Gencarelli: Going from working on TV on “NYPD Blue”, how did you get involved in home design?
Dennis Franz: I am sure Martha Stewart is somehow responsible. I have oddly enough been a fan of hers for as long as I can remember. My wife is also the same way. We have always enjoyed on weekends going to open houses. We have motor scooters that we will jump on and go looking for open houses. We will spend an entire day just going from house to house. It is something we have always really enjoyed. I am sure this has been a big part of my interest in this project. When the cable channels started coming out with shows about house hunting and home improvement that furthered my interest. Towards the end of “NYPD Blue’s” run my wife and I started buying houses and flipping them. We enjoy the design and building process. Isn’t it the next logical step for an actor who plays a cop for 30 years to start building and designing homes?

MG: Why did you choose the area in Santa Barbara, California of Montecito?
DF: We live in Montecito and we just love the area. It is a very beautiful area both weather and scenery wise. It has a very French Riviera look. The town also has a real small town feel to it and there is a lot going on there. We have owned in this area for about 18 years now and after “NYPD Blue” ended we moved out here permanently.

MG: What do you enjoy most about working with your wife on these projects?
DF: My wife has always been very energetic. Before I met her she was a very successful business woman. I knew that she had this drive for whatever it is she is doing. I tend to be on the other side of that spectrum. I enjoy a good day of golf and taking a nap. What I most enjoy though is the artistic and creative collaboration that we have on these projects. We really do enjoy shopping for various design elements. I leave all the supervision and business decisions in my wife’s hands.

MG: Tell us about working with BRAVO! network’s Million Dollar Decorators and your HGTV Special?
DF: My wife has been very instrumental in getting the attention of “Million Dollar Decorators”. Mary McDonald who is on the show is also one of our designers. She has been out several times filming part of an episode. She has done a wonderful job and has been great to get along with. It was really nice to have her involved in this stage of the project. HGTV has also been out filming a bunch of times for a special. I don’t know one that will be airing though. It’s really been my wife who has thought that these shows would be a great source for getting people’s attention.

MG: What do you find to be the hardest challenge when working on a project?
DF: This project is called “The Santa Barbara Design House and Gardens”. When we purchased this property we wanted to get involved with the community on a more philanthropic level. My wife made the offer to the Junior League of Santa Barbara in that all the money from people purchasing tickets to see this property would be donated back to their organization. We also will be having a Grand Opening dinner which will feature celebrities and entertainment. The proceeds from that event will be given to an organization called “Angel Foster Care of Santa Barbara”. The organization finds homes for abandoned or abused infants 2 years of age or under. It is an extremely worthwhile organization. Helping these organizations was more of a priority than the actual building of the house. We wanted to make sure we did everything correctly so that we could help raise funds for both of these great organizations. The dinner is set for Sept. 8th and the house will be on display starting Sept. 13th.  As far as challenges go there are always last minute things that pop up that need to be taken care of. You also are always finding things to add or change as you reach the end of a project.

MG: What do you have planned for your next project?
DF: You should probably ask my wife that question. It’s always a fun ride though to wherever she takes us. More than likely it will be another house in this same area but probably a little smaller. As for another design house I don’t know what the plans are for that. This design house will be for sale after the showings and such.

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