The State Of Online Casino Industry in Japan – The most popular online casino Vera and John

Online gambling has seen exponential growth all over the world. Ever since the imposition of physical lockdowns and social distancing, the online gambling sector has become very popular even among people living in Japan, where most gambling forms are prohibited.

According to the country’s law, a person caught gambling shall be subjected to a fine or a petty fine of not more than 500,000 Yen. There are blanket laws in place that ban almost all types of physical gambling. 

Even though gambling is illegal and there are no legal casinos in Japan, gambling is still a popular entertainment form. It is legal in Japan to place bets on sports such as Horse racing, bicycle racing, motorbike racing, soccer, and powerboat racing. It is legal to place bets on National lotteries too. 

However, as far as online gambling is concerned, there are no laws in place legalizing online gambling sites. Hence online gambling in Japan falls into the legal grey area.

Currently, there are no major cases or records available to the public regarding people being prosecuted for betting or playing games on online casinos in Japan. Online gambling and online casinos in Japan are not covered under the Casino Acts, and as a result, there are no clear-cut regulations imposed on them. 

However, claims of online gambling being legalized in Japan have been dismissed by the government, stating that online gambling is illegal and there will be crackdowns and punishment on such activities. 

Japan has been witnessing an increase in its usage of offshore gaming portals ever since the pandemic. The Japanese have always been familiar with gambling despite their restrictive laws. Pachinko, a mix between a slot machine and a pinball machine, is a form of gambling that is very popular in Japan. A Pachinko player’s main aim is to try and control the pinball machine and try to save their steel ball for the longest time. 

A pachinko machine can process up to 100 balls per minute, and the game ends when the player loses all their steel balls or decides to end the game and exchange the steel balls for a prize. There are many Pachinko parlors all across Japan and are extremely eye-catching, inviting, and easy to access. You can exchange your winnings at the Pachinko parlors to get items such as cigarettes, electronic gadgets, groceries, silver, and gold. You could also win money indirectly as you could always choose to sell the prizes that you have won.

The Popularity Of Vera And John In Japan

Vera and John is an online casino company that is extremely popular in Japan. According to a study, it was the most popular casino platform in Japan, also because of easy Vera and John withdrawal. The casino site recorded a 119-fold jump in its monthly visits from Japan from 6,48,000 visits in 2018 to an astonishing number of 77.51 million in the year 2019

Some say that Vera and John was the reason for the growth of the online gaming community in Japan. The online casino platform was one of the first companies to enter the Japanese market who has managed to gain the attention of the Japanese players and their loyalty. 

One of the many reasons Vera and John became such a hit among Japanese players is its top-class language support, quality graphics, easy navigation, and diverse and wide range of online casino games. Vera and John have hundreds of online slot games, live casino games, and table games which are easily accessible on PCs, tablets, and mobile phones.

Are you wondering how to withdraw at Vera and John? The online casino platform offers its users easy transaction facilities where players can easily and quickly withdraw their winnings. They offer a wide range of withdrawal and deposit methods such as credit card and debit card payments, e-wallets, cheques, international wire transfers, and bank transfers. Apart from this, the company frequently runs several campaigns which specifically target Japanese players. This has helped them create a strong following of players from Japan. One could say that Vera and John have paved the way for other online gambling platforms to start and flourish in Japan.

Online Gambling In Japan

Since most forms of gambling are illegal, there are no physical casinos available to people residing in Japan. Everyone can’t travel to gambling destinations such as Macau to gamble. Hence, Japan’s online gambling sector has continuously managed to attract many players by providing them with a host of online games to bet on. 

Various online betting platforms now use marketing tricks such as displaying messages in Japanese to attract customers from Japan. Betting sites such as Bet365, Vegas Casino, Sloto’cash Casino, LeoVegas, and Bitstars casino encourage and welcome Japan’s players to use their betting platforms. The widespread advertisements of online gaming websites, ease of registration, and transactions have made it extremely easy for overseas players to register and play on online gaming portals.

Even though online gambling and most forms of gambling are illegal in Japan, awareness regarding the illegality of gambling is extremely low among people. According to a survey conducted on 1000 Japanese people by a group from Tokyo called the International Casino Institute, in December 2020, only 41% of the participants knew that online gambling was illegal and betting online was a criminal offense. 18% thought it was legal to gamble online, whereas the other 41 percent said it fell into the gray zone. 

Restrictions may be in place to stop people from most forms of gambling. However, the Japanese have always indulged in different forms of games similar to gambling to keep themselves entertained. Pachinko, Mahjong, Toto, and the lotteries are extremely famous and popular in Japan. They are classified as amusements and are regulated under separate laws. Betting on Horse racing, Bicycle racing, and various other motorsports are legal in Japan so even if online gambling and physical casinos are not available for you, you always have plenty of other legal options to place your bets on if you are from Japan.

JOHN 5 to Kick Off NBA Season with Live Music Performance from Tyla Yaweh and Tommy Lee on ESPN House’s Virtual Fan Experience This Saturday

ESPN’s NBA Digital Pregame Show Hoop Streams Returns with Five Episodes as the NBA Season Resumes

Hoop Streams Presented by Google Featuring Host Cassidy Hubbarth with NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins and Amin Elhassan Tips Off Friday Leading into ESPN’s First NBA Seeding Game

To celebrate the restart of the NBA season, ESPN House returns with a virtual fan experience for the tip-off of the NBA on ESPN. The experience will be anchored by a live musical performance from rapper and songwriter Tyla Yaweh with special guests Tommy Lee and John 5. The performance will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the ESPN app on Saturday, August 1 at 5:10 p.m. ET prior to Hoop Streams. ESPN House will also feature content from The Undefeated on ESPN.com surrounding social justice efforts. 

“I have a long time friendship with Tommy Lee and we have worked on some really great music together,” JOHN 5 says. “I really love how the remix turned out and loved working with new friends Tyla and Post Malone. I love this song and I’m proud to be a part of this.” 

Tyla Yaweh – the Orlando-raised, LA-based genre-bending star – launched his career with 2019’s critically acclaimed project Heart Full of Rage, which boasted equal parts trap, hip hop and rock. Along the way, the project, which included the break-out song “High Right Now,” and subsequent singles like “I Think I Luv Her” ft. YG and “Understand Me,” helped him amass over 351 million streams, He has collaborated with names like Wiz KhalifaFrench MontanaSki Mask The Slump GodJuice WRLD and PnB Rock. Tyla also joined Post MaloneSwae Lee and Jaden Smith on the 2019-2020 Runaway Tour across multiple continents and made rousing appearances at festivals such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Firefly, Life Is Beautiful, Rolling Loud, Reading and Leeds and more. 

Aptly titled RAGER BØY, his upcoming debut studio album encapsulates the world in which Tyla Yaweh resides. With “Tommy Lee” as the lead single, the stage is set for star-studded features (including Post Malone on “Tommy Lee,” Tommy Lee himself on a remix, and DaBaby on the newly-released anthem “Stuntin’ On You”), new vibes and uncharted territory, musically. Tommy Lee’s new album, ANDRO, will be released on October 16, 2020. 

Hoop StreamsESPN’s digital NBA pregame show, returns for five episodes between Friday, July 31 and Monday, August 3 – as the NBA season resumes. Cassidy Hubbarth will host Hoop Streams presented by Google on July 31 from 6-6:30 p.m. ET at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios, with analyst and NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins and fellow analyst Amin Elhassan appearing remotely. Hoop Streams presented by Google will lead into ESPN’s first NBA Seeding Game telecast as the Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks at 6:30 p.m. ET. All editions of Hoop Streams are available on ESPN’s Twitter and YouTube platforms and via the ESPN App

The trio of HubbarthPerkins and Elhassan will return for Hoop Streams pregame shows on Saturday, August 1, at 8 p.m. ET and again on Monday, August 3, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Each edition of Hoop Streams will include special guest appearances, commentary on topical NBA news items, and a preview of the upcoming games on ESPN platforms. 

In addition, the Hoop Streams team of Christine WilliamsonOmar Raja and Gary Striewski will lead shows on Saturday, August 1, at 5:30 p.m. ET and on Monday, August 3, at 6 p.m. ET. Raja will participate from the NBA Florida Campus and the Walt Disney World Resort, while Williamson and Striewski will be located at ESPN’s Bristol Conn. studios. These shows will feature on-site updates from Raja and viral video content. For ESPN and ABC’s NBA Restart schedule, visit ESPN Press Room

Hoop Streams schedule July 31-August 3
Date
Fri, July 31

Sat, Aug. 1

Sat, Aug. 1

Mon, Aug. 3

Mon, Aug. 3
Time (ET)6-6:30 p.m.

5:30-6 p.m.

8-8:30 p.m.

6-6:30 p.m.

8:30-9 p.m.
CommentatorsCassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan
Christine Williamson, Omar Raja, Gary Striewski
Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan
Christine Williamson, Omar Raja, Gary Striewski
Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan

Lamb of God’s John Campbell Discusses the Bands New Self Titled Album “Lamb of God”

John Campbell is the bassist for the Grammy nominated heavy metal group Lamb of God. On June 19th the Richmond, VA based band will release their 8th studio album titled “Lamb of God”. This release is the follow up to the highly acclaimed 2015 album “VII: Sturm und Drang” and is the first to feature Art Cruz on drums. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with John recently about the albums creation, the bands lines up change and what it’s like being in a band during the current world pandemic.

Adam Lawton: The bands previous albums have always contained lyrical themes and topics. Was this the case for the album?

John Campbell: We have always been mildly political and focused on darker, more unpleasant aspects of life. That certainly hasn’t change. I think what has changed is that some of the things we speak about on the record are coming to pass in ways you wouldn’t imagine. It’s an incredibly crazy time when things going on start to match the lyrics of a Lamb of God song.

AL: When you are coming up with lyrics and themes is that a process everyone is involved in?

JC: It is mostly Randy. Mark and Josh our producer have a hand in things as well and I have thrown my two cents in there also. Primarily though that is a Randy exercise.

AL: At what point in the five years since the bands previous album did things start coming together for the new album?

JC: We started quite a while ago actually. During that time we were approached by Slayer to be a part of their final tour. We figured we could put recording off for a summer and then go back to it. The run with Slayer ended up lasting a year and a half. As our part of that was winding down we knew we had to get off the road and focus on writing.

AL: Were you trying to work on the album at all while you were on the road or, is that not something the band typically does?

JC: That’s not something we generally do. I can’t speak for Randy because I know he does a good deal of writing regardless if it’s going to end up as lyrics or not. The same can be said for Mark and Willie as they are always writing riffs. Those guys have studios in their homes where they are tracking pretty frequently. For the most part there is a solid line of when we touring and when we are working on an album.

AL: With this being drummer Art Cruz’s first album with you guys where there any adjustments you had to make to incorporate his style and playing into the bands creative process?

JC: The adjustments I had to make were very minimal. Art being his own person has his own style, taste and licks. His drumming was heavily influenced by Lamb of God so he already spoke the language so to speak. There is an element of fell that comes with playing in a band for a long time and that literally only took a second for us to put together with Art. From a tone stand point there is always an adjustment with each record. I try to play of the other tones of the band and go with what fits in the frequency range. I am not too savvy when it comes to those types of things so I leave a lot of that to Josh Wilbur

AL: Prior to going in to the studio were there any reservations about recording with a new drummer given that it was going to be the first time working with Art in the studio?

JC: We actually met Art seven or eight years ago when he was playing in the band Wings of Plague. We got to know him as a person and became friends with him during that time. ON that tour he would actually come out and I think play the song “Black Label” with us to end the show. When it came time that we needed a fill in Art was available and willing. He just nailed it and after touring with him for awhile and the situation calling for it, it was a no brainer that he be in the band in every way possible. 

AL: This was not your first time working with producer Josh Wilbur correct?

JC: Correct. I would have to look on the internet to see how long we have been working with him (Laughs) I want to say that he first started working with us on “Sacrament”. That was in 2006 and we have been working with him ever since.

AL: Do you ever worry that working with the same producer over a long period of time will cause a certain level of complacency?

JC: No, not at all! Josh Wilbur is an amazing person professionally and as a human. He is incredibly creative and very aware of things like this. He goes in to an album to try and create the best possible piece of art he can. Josh is great with suggestions and helping us along in the process. He understands the band and all of our personalities very well and that’s a god send.

AL: The pandemic has caused multiple problems around the word and within the music industry both from a release stand point and touring. How are you guys planning to work with that given you won’t be able to do the things bands traditionally do to support a new record?

JC: We are trying to make sure that everything we do or plan on doing is within the safety of the public and ourselves. We are all in this together. I am certainly not crying about releasing an album during a pandemic. This is just a very crazy time that the world is going through. Things are day by day and I really hope people will take that time to focus more on love and positivity instead of attaching to hate and negativity. We do have some things in the works for promoting the album but I don’t want to say anything just yet and jinx them. (Laughs) We are working on some things though.

Be sure to check out our review of “Lamb of God” here

JOHN 5 and the Creatures kick off second leg of Invasion Tour 2019

Tour kicks of October 30th with Support from Jared James Nichols and Reverend Jack.

John 5’s New Full-Length Album, “Invasion”, Available Now!

JOHN 5 and the Creatures is set to kick off the second leg of the Invasion Tour 2019 this week in Battle Creek, MI. Jared James Nichols, who supported JOHN 5 on the first leg of the Invasion Tour earlier this year, has once again been tapped to open along with additional support from Reverend Jack.

I’m excited to get back out on the road with The Creatures and play music from the new album,”JOHN 5 says. “The response to the first leg of the Invasion Tour earlier this year was amazing and I can’t wait to hit even more cities. Jared James Nichols was phenomenal last time around and we are happy to have him join us again.”

Released this summer, JOHN 5‘s highly-anticipated Invasion album received rave reviews all around. Fans were able to get a taste of the album throughout the first half of the year via a series of videos released each month. JOHN 5 kicked off the year with the debut video clip from Invasion, the campy animated “Zoinks!”, followed by three equally eccentric videos for “Midnight Mass,” “I Am John 5” and “Crank It – Living with Ghosts.” A new video for the track “I Want It All” was unveiled along with the release of the album last week. Invasion was produced and mixed by Barry Pointer (Richie SamboraJoe PerrySteve VaiJackson Browne). JOHN 5 will start 2020 with yet another tour, this time taking JOHN 5 and the Creatures on The Verdict Tour alongside Queensryche.

In addition to praise for the Invasion album, JOHN 5 has been making news for his unlikely appearance on HGTV’s “A Very Brady Renovation.” Susan Olsen, the actress known for her portrayal of the beloved pig-tailed Cindy Brady recently posted a picture of her with JOHN 5 and Cindy’s beloved Kitty Carryall doll. 

“So there are photos that my friends and I have been sitting on because we don’t (and mustn’t) blow the reveals,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “But at last I can share! Cindy has a little brother now. John Brady, welcome to the family!”

Read about meeting and check out the groovy photos of JOHN 5 with Greg, Marcia, Peter, Bobby and Cindy Brady at https://variety.com/2019/music/news/brady-bunch-house-renovation-rob-zombie-guitarist-superfan-1203362443/ and https://loudwire.com/john-5-at-renovated-brady-bunch-home/.

Not long after his adoption by the Bradys, JOHN 5 took to the seas for Megadeth‘s MegaCruise, where the newly-christened “Bad Brady” lived up his name. Before leaving port in San Diego, police arrived at the boat on a noise complaint, threatening to lock up the ship’s captain if JOHN 5 did not stop playing.

Rather than disappoint fans, JOHN 5 and The Creatures moved the concert below deck and finished their set. Read more details on the event in Consequence of Soundhttps://consequenceofsound.net/2019/10/john-5-megacruise-noise-ordinance/

Tickets for the Invasion Tour and special VIP Packages are available for all shows through the JOHN 5 webstore

JOHN 5 and The Creatures tour dates:Invasion Tour w/Jared James Nichols and Reverend Jack

10/30 – Music Factory @ Battle Creek, MI

10/31 – Cleveland, OH @ The Winchester 

11/1 – Detroit, MI @ Token Lounge

11/2 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s

11/3 – Ringle, WI @ Q&Z Expo Center

11/5 – Kansasville, WI @ 1175

11/6 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club

11/7 – Des Moines, IA @ Lefty’s

11/8 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Underground

11/9 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck

11/11 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar

11/12 – Memphis, TN @ Growlers

11/14 – Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Old Bar

11/15 – New Orleans, LA @ The Parish at the House of Blues

11/16 – Miramar Beach, FL @ Village Door Music Hall

11/17 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East

11/18 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend

11/20 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger

11/21 – Annapolis, MD @ Ram’s Head on Stage

11/22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge

11/23 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club

11/24 – Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall

About JOHN 5: JOHN 5 has worked with a varied range of artists, performing as guitarist for some of the biggest headlining rock bands in the world such as Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, as well as playing session with Paul StanleyRod StewartLynyrd Skynyrd and more. Slash has called JOHN 5“one of the most mind-blowing guitarists around” and Rob Zombie has dubbed him “a fucking shredder”JOHN 5 has released seven solo albums to date, as well as a remix album, and has written music for the likes of Motley Crue, Steve Perry, Ricky Martin and others.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures is:

John 5 – guitars

Ian Ross – bass

Logan Miles Nix – drums

Skillet’s John Cooper talks about the bands debut graphic novel “Eden”

John Cooper is the vocalist/bassist for the Platinum selling rock group Skillet. The band recently partnered with Z2 Comics to release their first graphic novel titled “Eden”. Media Mikes caught up with John and the band at New York Comic Con to discuss the creation of the book, its similarities to the group’s music and if there will be books to come in the future.    

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the bands new comic “Eden”?

John Cooper: I love comics and they are something I grew up with. I have always looked at Skillet as sort of a theatrical band. When I say theatrical I am meaning more from an operatic feel than that of a visual feel like Kiss or Alice Cooper. I had always envisioned doing a comic book as I see us all as characters. I had sort of put it off because if it’s not done right it can become terribly cheesy. On social media I am always posting about comics and I ended up getting a call from Z2 Comics asking if I would be interested in doing a graphic novel. I told them yes and that I had some story ideas but I wasn’t sure where to begin. They said that’s ok as they had some ideas of their own. I wanted to do something that was more science fiction as opposed to hero driven. I was looking for something with a post-apocalyptic feel but with a message of hope. That’s something you don’t see a lot. The book has sci-fi and super-natural elements mixed in with some religious undertones. In my view I think all great science-fiction have religious elements. When I say “religious” I’m not necessarily meaning Christianity but just religious. Films like “Dune”, “Blade Runner” and “Battlestar Galactica” are solid examples of that.

AL: How much collaboration went into the book?

JC: I brought the theme of a dying world filled with people all having the same dream which is leading them to paradise. I worked with some really great writers who helped me put together all the different ideas I had. Sadly the idea of the glowing eyes was not my idea but one I really liked as it was sort of an homage to “Dune” which is one of my all time favorite books.

Ian Lawton: What did the rest of the band think about the comic?

JC: The band loves the comic. At first I think they weren’t too sure what to expect. My wife Corey knew what I was going for as she knows me really well. I think it’s hard for people to understand what’s in your head when you are creating something. Once the book was done I think they were a little shocked as to how good it was and how emotional it is.

AL: Did the writing for “Eden” happen at the same time you were writing the band’s latest album “Victorious”?   

JC: Yes, I was writing for both things at the same time. It was a very crazy and busy two years. While these two things were going on I also released a side project EP titled “Fight the Fury” along with our drummer Jen’s side project “Ledger”. All of these things were basically written and released in two and half years. Writing for the comic was making me really want to write music so all of these things had me firing on all pistons. Each project worked off of one another.

IM: Was writing the book similar to writing music?

JC: I didn’t notice this until after the book was done and I had read it. I know that may sound sort of silly but, sometimes when you are writing you don’t always notice things others might as you are just going with what is coming out. After I read the book I felt as thou it was very similar to our music. The book is a little dark but it is meaningful. That’s what people say about Skillet songs and I think “Eden” has that same feel.

IM: Can you tell us about the special hardcover edition that will be available?

JC: That’s something that I am still waiting to see myself. I have seen parts of what are going to be in it and I am very excited for the finished version to be available. It’s going to have this really cool axe on it which is my weapon in the book. With this beard I sort of feel like a lumberjack and thought that an axe would be a perfect weapon as opposed to some of the other more futuristic weapons you see in the book.

AL: Is this just a one off book or are there plans to do others?

JC: The band is going to be out on the road until mid December so that’s going to have me tied up for a few months. We have started to talk a little about the possibility of more books but nothing is definite. I think it would be great to do a second one.

To order a copy “Eden” click here and to order Skillets latest album “Victorious” click here   

A review of John Summerson’s “The Classical Language of Architecture”

“The Classical Language of Architecture” by John Summerson was first published in 1966. In this book, the author dwells upon the detailed grammatical workings of architectural language. The reason why classical architecture was chosen as a basis for the detailed analysis is very simple: it is that kind of “language” the grammatical rules of which are understandable to the majority of people interested in the field of architecture.

When you take a look at an example of classical architecture in Italy, it becomes obvious that the so-called ‘Latin architecture’ has existed for a very long time. Those buildings are large and wide. As soon as you start conducting an academic study on the history of classical architecture, you realize that it’s language is rather simple. Yet, this style was considered to be the common language of Western architecture until recent times. These days, creativity and diversity are more significant than the desire to adhere to a set of rules. The importance of unique approach is highlighted in almost every architecture essay.

The purpose of this book is not only to help students dwell upon the language of classical architecture in their architecture essay writing assignments, but also to explain what the grammatical workings of this language are. If you are aiming to get one of the well-paid architecture jobs, reading this book is a must. No essay about architect will tell you more about the rules that are applied in classical architecture that this book. The author mentions ancient Greece and ancient Rome as the places where the development of classical architecture began. However, he is more interested in the ways in which the style has developed during the period of Renaissance.

Before this book was published, it existed in the form of a series of six scripts that were created for BBC Radio. The writing style of John Summerson is not only informative, but also very entertaining. Yet, his main goal of the book remains the same: to provide readers with a clear understanding of what classical architecture is; to explain its impact on the development of architectural design and to present the so-called set of grammatical rules that make up a classical building. The author pays a lot of attention to the way in which classical architectural ideas have progressed over time. Such aspects as proportion and fenestration of facade are discussed in detail. At the end of the book, John Summerson sums up his thoughts on classical architecture saying that this architectural style is all about achieving visible harmony among all parts.

Apart from that, John Summerson dwells upon architectural deviations during the Baroque period and explains the relationship between classical and modern architecture. This book will be particularly useful to architecture students, especially freshmen and sophomores who are currently studying such discipline as the history of architecture. They often find it hard to write a proper conclusion architecture essay, so this book may help them do it better. What is more, mentioning this book will look good on the references page of an essay about architecture. The more useful resources a student has access to, the less often they will have to type something like do my architecture paper into Google search. If the topic of your paper is classical architecture and you do not know how to write a conclusion architecture essay, reading this book may help you come up with a couple of ideas. In general, the whole point of the conclusion architecture essay part is to summarize everything you have already mentioned in previous paragraphs. If you have conducted a research study, your conclusion architecture essay paragraph should contain the results. All in all, “The Classical Language of Architecture” by John Summeson will come in handy to every student who has decided to major in architecture.

CD Review: “Invasion” John 5 and the Creatures

“Invasion”

John 5 and the Creatures

Producer:  Barry Pointer

Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross, Drummer Logan Miles Nix) are back with a brand new studio album titled “Invasion”. The fourth studio release from the Los Angeles based trio features 10 tracks produced by Barry Pointer which plunge listeners head first into the twisted, musical mind of guitar virtuoso/front-man John 5.

Just when you thought guitarist John 5 had taken his unique mixture of “Hee-Haw” infused shred as far as it could possibly go the former Marilyn Manson/K.D.Lang/Rod Stewart guitarist flips the switch to show listeners that all previous accounts were just the catalyst to “Invasion”. From the eerie opening sound-scape “Invasion” to the robotic “I Am John 5” and the quirky “Zoinks” listener’s senses are put through the wringer before being pushed even further with the twang-tastic, “Howdy” and the pedal steel laden “Cactus Flower” both of which showcase 5’s strong country influences. On the back end of the album are tracks like “I Want It All” and “I Like The Funk” both of which are doused with enough funky textures and tones that they will have the one and only George Clinton scratching his head.

You don’t have to be a guitar player to enjoy the music contained on “Invasion”. From over the top molten distortion to funkified wah worbles and sparkly cleans the latest offering from John 5 and the Creatures is a hodge-podge of musical influences which explode out of your speakers with reckless abandonment. Despite “Invasion” not being the most cohesive collection of songs from the group the album does give listeners a wide pallet to choose from making it worth checking out.

Track Listing:

1.) Invasion

2.) I Am John 5

3.) Midnight Mass

4.) Zoinks!

5.) Howdy

6.) Crank It/Living With Ghosts

7.) Cactus Flower

8.) I Want It All

9.) I Like The Funk

10.) Constant Sorrow

Interview with “Georgie” Producer and Co-writer John Campopiano

When he’s not busy doing his daytime job for the television program “Frontline,” filmmaker John Campopiano allows himself to indulge his love for horror films.  In 2017, Campopiano co-wrote and co-directed the acclaimed documentary “Unearthed and Untold:  The Path to Pet Sematary.”  He just released the short film “Georgie,” which he produced and co-wrote with the film’s director, Ryan /Grulich.  Next up is his next full length documentary, “Pennywise:  The Story of ‘IT’”   While gearing up for his next project, John found some spare time to talk with me about his work, past, present and future.

MIKE SMITH:  Where did you come up with the idea for “Georgie?”

JOHN CAMPOPIANO:  We were in post-production on a documentary about the mini-series “IT.”  We interviewed the cast and crew and one of the cast members, Tony Dakota, who played Georgie Dembrough in the mini-series was one of the last actors to find for an interview.  I found him in the Pacific Northwest.  By this time our production budget was depleted so I was looking for a free-lancer to get this interview with Tony.  I met Ryan Grulich, who is based in Seattle and he shot the interview for us.  One of the questions we had asked Tony was if he would ever want to get back in show business.  He had been a child actor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Besides “IT” he had also been in “Who ‘s Harry Crumb?” with John Candy and had also done some episodes of “McGyver.”  (NOTE:  T.V. fans may also remember Dakota for his eight episode arc as Clavo on the very popular “21 Jump Street”),   He had been out of the spotlight for some time and had stopped acting around 1993.  So when he was asked if he wanted to get back into acting he said “yes” but wasn’t sure how to do it.  He had had a rough upbringing and some personal problems which had kept him away from acting.  But when he expressed an interest a light bulb went off.  I said to Ryan, “what if we wrote a short film for Tony?  It could be a win/win.”  We would write a short film that would allow him to reprise his role as Georgie, which would put some money in his pocket.  And we would give him a positive and creative outlet that could hopefully open some doors for him.  And that’s how “Georgie” started.

MS:  I know from doing the “Jaws 2” book that trying to find actors that haven’t acted in 30 years is not very easy.  Did you have the same problems with some of the lesser known members of the cast?

JC:  Oh yes.  Even though Tony is billed a Tony Dakota, Dakota was not his birth name.  Since he stopped acting he has been living his life under his real last name.  He was almost like a ghost who had vanished from the public eye.  Also, he hadn’t acted in almost a quarter of a century.  It made it challenging for sure. 

Tony Dakota returns as the title character in “Georgie”

MS:  Thank God for the internet!!

JC:  (laughs):  I know, right?

MS:  Ironically, last week on our Podcast we kind of previewed “Georgie” and talked some about the “IT” documentary and my co-host informed me that Stephen King will allow student filmmakers to license any of his works that have not been sold to Hollywood for $1.00 for a student film.  Did you contact him about “Georgie” and, if so, has he seen it?

JC:  I think it’s cool that he does that, especially for somebody who has had his level of success.  We did not approach him about “Georgie” ahead of time.  Obviously we’re dealing with intellectual property that belongs to him and Warner Brothers.  But on the same side of that, we are not monetizing this.  It’s a short film, which really don’t have much of an afterlife in terms of monetization.  We’re giving Georgie a fresh story and kind of a new spin on the character.  We will definitely be sending it to him and hoping he watches it.

MS:  Can you talk a little about the ‘IT” documentary?

JS:  I had done a documentary with Justin White about the film “Pet Sematary” that took us about four and a half years to complete.  That got us a little bit of attention from other filmmakers who were doing similar documentary films…retrospectives about other films.  I’ve been a die-hard “IT” fan, both the book and the mini-series, forever.  Justin was not interested in doing another documentary.  Given the scope of the mini-series I knew it wasn’t something I could do alone.  So I started writing articles as I was interviewing the cast and crew.  A producer in the U.K. named Gary Smart, who runs Dead Mouse Productions, saw the articles and had the idea about doing the documentary about “IT.”  He reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come on-board and co-write it or produce it with him.  That was 2017.  We launched a successful Indiegogo campaign, raised the money and spent three weeks in Los Angeles shooting cast and crew interviews.  Now we’re in the final stages of post-production.  We dropped an extended trailer back in February of this year and it’s done very well.  It received almost 500,000 views on YouTube in the first week.  It was also very serendipitous.  We had announced a street date before the theatrical version of “IT” was released.  People had been talking about remaking “Pet Sematary” and “IT” for years but it wasn’t until the past few years that those projects became reality.  We got very lucky in terms of the timing.  The mini-series was beloved by its fans but the new movie really introduced the story to new generations.  It revitalized the franchise, which worked in our favor.  I think in total we’ve interviewed about forty members of the cast and crew.  It’s going to be a pretty robust documentary that I think people are going to be excited about.  The plan is to release it before the end of 2019. 

MS:  Do you have any projects planned after the documentary is completed?

JC:  I’m working with Gary Smart again on a bio-pic about Robert Englund.  That was Gary’s idea.  He approached me and said he wanted to do a film about Robert’s life and career.  He’s such a legendary character actor.  Not just for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films but all of the other projects that he’s been a part of.    Gary asked if I wanted to come on board as a producer and I said, “sure.”  We launched an Indiegogo campaign last weekend to help raise funds to make it happen.  The plan is to go out to L.A. later this summer to get the interviews and then get working on that one.  I’m not writing that one, which is nice because it’s less work for me but I’ll be doing a lot of archive research for Gary and helping produce the interviews.  I’m also working with “Georgie” director Ryan Grulich again.  We wrote a new short film based on my story, dealing with something I went through as a kid.  We have a finished script for that.  It’s my attempt at an “Are You Afraid of the Dark” episode or something from “Goosebumps.”  I’ve been interested for a long time in horror movies for kids.  In my opinion I think it’s a sub-genre that we are seeing less and less of.  I feel that the 80s and the 90s were a ripe period for content like that.  I want to make a short film that is spooky and scary and has an original monster in it but one that is geared very much towards a teenage audience.  We’re looking right now for talent to attach to the project and then we’ll raise some funds and hopefully start shooting it next year. 

On a personal note, John and I both had an amazing friend named Lou Pisano.  Lou co-wrote the “Jaws 2” book with me and was really looking forward to the release of “Georgie.”  John told me, “It’s kind of bittersweet.  Lou was so excited about this project.  I think he would have loved it.  The only disappointing thing is that he isn’t here with us to see it.”

To view the extended trailer for “Pennywise:  The Story of ‘IT’” click HERE.

To contribute to the Indiegogo campaign for “ICON: The Robert Englund Story” click HERE.  

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “John Wick: Chapter 3”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Lionsgate to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new Keanu Reeve's action film "John Wick:  Chapter 3 - Parabellum."   

The film will be screened on Tuesday, May 14th at the Screenland Armor Theatre in North Kansas City and will begin at 7:00 pm

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE. The first (50) people to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve giveaway. Once the (50) allotted passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended. Good luck!

John Wick 3: Parabellum opens nationwide on Friday, May 17th.


John Wick 3: Parabellum
Screenland Armor Theatre, North Kansas City, MO
Tuesday, May 14th - 7:00 pm


Facebook:                                https://www.facebook.com/johnwickmovieTTwitter:                                   https://twitter.com/johnwickmovie
Instagram:                               http://www.instagram.com/johnwickmovie                                      
Hashtag:                                  #JohnWick3  

John 5 and the Creatures Release “Zoinks!” and Details on Album

JOHN 5 AND THE CREATURES Release “Zoinks!” Music Video + Upcoming Album and Music Video Details

Watch Video + Stream/Download the Track Here

New Full-Length Album, Invasion, Coming Summer 2019 + More Music Videos!

Upcoming North American Tour Begins February 22, 2019 in Anaheim, CA

JOHN 5 and The Creatures – comprised of world-renowned guitarist JOHN 5, bassist Ian Ross and drummer Logan Miles Nix – released a brand new music video for the new track “Zoinks!” January 1! The full video – featuring an innovative blend of classic 2D hand drawn animation, 3D computer generated imagery and a live action performance – clocks in at just over eight minutes. In the tradition of Scooby Doo and Groovie Goolies, the video is written and directed by Disney animator Brett Boggs (Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph), with live footage shot by Matt Zane. Watch the full video and download/stream the track here: http://smarturl.it/zoinksJ5Creatures

As previously announced, the video features a cameo from Nikki Sixx voice acting as himself, as well as additional voice acting from Susan Olsen (known for her role as Cindy Brady on The Brady Bunch), and Fred Coury. Coury also is credited for scoring the video alongside JOHN 5.

Just like 2017’s Season of the Witch, Invasion – produced and mixed by Barry Pointer and scheduled for release during the summer of 2019 – will be entirely released via a series of music videos. Now that “Zoinks!” has been unleashed to the world,JOHN 5 is announcing the release dates for his next two music videos.

JOHN 5 adds that his new album will feature a very special guest. He says, “My new album will be out this coming summer, and will feature a very secret, special guest that I will reveal in the coming weeks. Up first, on February 1, we’ll release the next music video for the track “Crank It”. Then, on March 1, we’ll release the video sequel to “Zoinks!”, for the track entitled “I Am John 5”. This video, like “Zoinks!”, will also be animated and directed by Brett Boggs.”

JOHN 5 adds that the “Crank It” video is directed by Israel Perez and produced by Nicole Hatley, with art direction by Cody Varona. Wardrobe and masks are provided by Forgotten Saints LA, with additional masks by Scott Blake.

Stay tuned for more details on the new music videos and new album, coming soon.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures will kick off the second leg of their North American Invasion Tour on February 22, 2019 in Anaheim, CA. The tour will feature support from blues-rock guitarist Jared James Nichols. Tickets and VIP packages are available now via www.john-5.com/store.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures Invasion tour dates:
2/22 – Anaheim, CA @ The Parish at House of Blues
2/23 – Las Vegas, NV @ Count’s Vamp’d
2/24 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
2/26 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
2/28 – Albuquerque, MN @ Launch Pad
3/1 – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s
3/2 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
3/3 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
3/5 – Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live
3/6 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/7 – Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
3/9 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi
3/10 – Akron, OH @ Empire Concert Club
3/12 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
3/13 – New York, NY @ Iridium
3/14 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Loft at The Chance
3/15 – Teaneck, NJ @ Debonair Music Hall
3/16 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s
3/17 – Lebanon, NH @ Lebanon Opera House
3/18 – New Bedford, MA @ Vault at Greasy Luck
3/20 – Quebec City, QC @ L’Anti Bar & Spectacles
3/21 – Montreal, QC @ Piranha Bar
3/22 – Ottawa, ON @ The Brass Monkey
3/23 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
3/24 – London, ON @ Rum Runners
3/26 – Thunder Bay, ON @ Crocks
3/27 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramids
3/28 – Regina, SK @ The Exchange
3/29 – Calgary, AB @ Dickens
3/30 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite
3/31 – Vancouver, BC @The Rickshaw Theatre
4/2 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Cafe
4/3 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
4/5 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Whisky

About JOHN 5:
JOHN 5 has worked with a varied range of artists, performing as guitarist for some of the biggest headlining rock bands in the world such as Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, as well as playing session with Paul Stanley, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. Slash has called JOHN 5, “one of the most mind-blowing guitarists around” and Rob Zombie has dubbed him “a fucking shredder”. JOHN 5 has released seven solo albums to date, as well as a remix album, and has written music for the likes of Avril Lavigne, Garbage, Ricky Martin and others. Season Of The Witch followshis previous solo work, Careful With That Axe, which debuted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart upon release in 2014.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures is:
JOHN 5 – guitars
Ian Ross – bass
Logan Miles Nix – drums

JOHN 5 online:
www.john-5.com
www.facebook.com/John5official
www.twitter.com/john5guitarist
www.instagram.com/john5official

Concert Review: John 5 and The Creatures “It’s Alive” Tour 2018

“It’s Alive” Tour 2018
John 5 and The Creatures

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
The Lost Horizon, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Lovers and the broken hearted gathered in Syracuse, NY for an unforgettable night of haunting guitar tones and blistering solos courtesy of guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures. The Rob Zombie guitarist is currently out on the road in support of his latest solo release “It’s Alive”. Only a true virtuoso such as John 5 could turn a quiet love filled Valentine’s Day into the loudest Halloween themed shred-fest the month of February had ever seen.

As the final notes of the opening act rang out the inflatable Halloween decorations rose up from the depths of the intimate Lost Horizon stage. Shortly thereafter master of ceremonies John 5 appeared with a colored flashing LED grin flanked by his band misfits. The trio kicked of the show with “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” which set a face melting pace for the evening. The makeup adorned 5 danced around the stage with various incarnations of his trusted telecaster which only further mesmerized the slack jawed onlookers. Creatures, bass player Ian Ross and drummer Rodger Carter, kept pace as the band followed up with rippers like “This Is My Rifle,” “Season of the Witch,” and “Guitars Tits and Monsters.” As the night wore on the charismatic leader John 5 even dedicated “Behind the Nut Love” to the Valentine’s Day crowd and even offered free lap dances to all in attendance. Easily the most captivating moment of the night was when 5 donned his laser guitar for a medley of hard rock and heavy metal classics which included snippets of “Enter Sandman” and “Thunder kiss 65” to name just a few.

Just when the place was about to burst at the seams, John 5 and Company closed out the night with an encore performance of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The crowd was overjoyed and as the guitarist took his final bow of the evening and appeared confident that he had made the traditionally lovey-dovey holiday into his very own spooktacular shredathon. The “It’s Alive” Tour runs through April so I highly recommend checking it out.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures to Release “It’s Alive!” Live Album in January

JOHN 5 and The Creatures to Release “It’s Alive!” Live Album in January
Physical Pre-Orders Coming Soon | Available Digitally via www.john-5.com
“It’s Alive!” U.S. Tour to Begin February 1 in Orlando, FL | VIP Packages Available

JOHN 5 and The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross and drummer Logan Miles Nix) are set to release a brand new live album, It’s Alive!, in January. Becoming available on Thursday, January 25, 2018, It’s Alive! is the first album released by the world-renowned guitarist to be featured on vinyl. A stunning 24-page, full color tour book covering the JOHN 5 and The Creatures tour journeys so far will also be available for separate purchase.

Pre-orders are available now at www.john-5.com/store, with more options coming soon. Fans can check back to www.john-5.com for updates.

JOHN 5 says about the recording of It’s Alive!, “I remember pulling up to a beautiful venue that we played in Sellersville, Pennsylvania and before we were unloading the equipment, the soundman said, ‘Hey guys, would you like to record the show?’ We said, ‘sure that would be amazing!’ I always wanted to have a really great recording of the show. We were a few weeks into the show so we were really well rehearsed, so I said, ‘Alright guys, let’s not jump around. Let’s just really try to get a great performance because we only have one shot – no other shows if we mess up!’ So, we explained to the crowd that we would be recording. You can hear that on the recording of the album, which makes it very magical. It came out amazingly! That’s the magic of live albums to me – capturing the performance.”

It’s Alive! track listing:
1. Guitars, Tits and Monsters
2. Flight of The Vulcan Kelly
3. Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers In Hell, CA
4. Here’s to the Crazy Ones
5. This is my Rifle
6. Jiffy Jam
7. Hall Haw
8. Season Of The Witch
9. The Nightmare Unravels
10. Portrait of Sydney Sloan
11. Triple D
12. Black Grass Plague
13. Behind The Nut Love
14. Making Monsters
15. Beat It
16. Now Fear This
17. Medley

JOHN 5 adds, “I’m so proud of it that I wanted to put it out and also tour it like bands used to tour live albums back in the 70s. I thought that was so cool! I’ve put out a lot of records, so I thought – goddammit, I’m going to do it!”

JOHN 5 and The Creatures will begin an extensive tour of the United States in February for a first leg, and will pick back up in late March for a second. The tour will start in Orlando, FL on February 1 and come to an end in Tacoma, WA on April 21. Tickets will become available very soon, and VIP packages will be available exclusively at www.john-5.com/store. See below for a full listing of dates.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures It’s Alive! tour dates:
2/1 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
2/2 – Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
2/3 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
2/5 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
2/6 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
2/7 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
2/8 – Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
2/9 – College Park, MD @ Milkboy
2/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
2/11 – Stanhope, NJ @ Stanhope Theater
2/12 – New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
2/13 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
2/14 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
2/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock
2/16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland
2/17 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge
2/18 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
2/20 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
2/21 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
2/22 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
2/23 – Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
2/24 – Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds
3/29 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
3/30 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/31 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
4/2 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
4/3 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
4/4 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
4/5 – San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
4/7 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d
4/8 – Fullerton, CA @ SlideBar
4/11 – Ventura, CA @ Discovery
4/12 – San Jose, CA @ Ritz
4/13 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/14 – Fresno, CA @ Full Circle Brewery
4/15 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlows
4/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
4/18 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
4/19 – Bend, OR @ Volacanic Pub
4/20 – Portland, OR @ Hard Rock PDX
4/21 – Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome – Tacoma Guitar Festival

World-Renowned Guitarist JOHN 5 Releases New Album “Season of The Witch”, Kicks off solo tour in support.

World-Renowned Guitarist JOHN 5 Releases New Album “Season of The Witch”, Kicks off solo tour in support.

“Season Of The Witch”, the brand new full-length instrumental solo album from world-renowned guitarist JOHN 5, is out now and can be ordered via iTunes, Amazon and John-5.com, or streamed via Spotify.

In celebration of the album’s release, JOHN 5 and The Creatures are kicked off their U.S. tour in Fife, WA on March 3rd. The tour will hit roughly 35 cities (with more potentially TBA), coming to an end in Chicago, IL on April 16. Tickets and VIP are available now – visit http://www.john-5.com/main/tour for more information.

JOHN 5 and the Creatures “SEASON OF THE WITCH” Confirmed Tour Dates:
3/3 – Fife, WA @ Louie G’s
3/4 – Everett, WA @ Tony V’s Garage
3/5 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
3/9 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub
3/10 – San Jose, CA @ The Ritz
3/11 – Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55
3/12 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
3/16 – Fullerton, CA @ The Slidebar Rock-n-Roll Cafe
3/17 – West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
3/18 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill
3/19 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
3/20 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
3/22 – Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
3/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Bar & Live Music
3/24 – Tyler, TX @ Clicks Live
3/25 – Houston, TX @ Scout’s Bar
3/26 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/29 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings
3/30 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighbourhood Theatre
3/31 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
4/1 – Wilmington, NC @ Calico
4/2 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
4/3 – Richmond, VA @ Capitol Ale House
4/5 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East – Downstairs
4/6 – Derry, NH @ New Tupelo Music Hall
4/7 – Queens, NY @ Blackthorn 51
4/8 – Boonsboro, MD @ The Stage House
4/9 – Falls Church, VA @ The State Theatre
4/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
4/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh
4/12 – Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Ballroom
4/13 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
4/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
4/15 – Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
4/16 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies

JOHN 5 online:
www.john-5.com
www.facebook.com/John5official
www.twitter.com/john5guitarist
www.instagram.com/john5official

Film Review: “John Wick: Chapter 2”

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common and Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Chad Stahleski
Rated: R
Running Time: 122 minutes
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Did the first “John Wick” need a sequel? No. Does “John Wick: Chapter 2” need a sequel? Yes. I didn’t know I needed “Chapter 2” in my life, but I’m glad I got it and now I want more. “Chapter 2” is more of the same from the first installment and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing.

Picking right up where the previous movie ended, John Wick (Reeves), also known as “The Boogeyman,” is finishing off the lingering threats and hitmen who did him wrong from the first installment. But instead of easing back into a low-key and somber retirement, with a new dog in tow, he’s greeted by an old acquaintance, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). D’Antonio recruits Wick to help him take over a seat of power in the criminal underworld. Wick isn’t so sure, but Santino uses an old blood oath and three missiles to Wick’s home to sway him.

All the potential consequences and paths of this blood oath, as pointed out to Wick multiple times throughout, are Wick’s death. Luckily for Wick, and the audience, he’s the one who spends entire runtime dishing out death. Before the story even contemplates getting too muddled in specifics and new characters, “Chapter 2” takes a deep breath and once again stops itself from becoming too literal. Just like the original, character introductions are more about the person’s individual quirks, skills and ticks, than their actual name or purpose. And “Chapter 2” keeps the video games tropes around as everything is still paid through magical golden tokens and Wick’s gun is stuck on auto-aim.

This helps keep everything flowing as this sequel is about 30 minutes longer, but rarely dull. While “John Wick” was more about the man behind the blood hungry myth, the sequel appears to be more about Wick diving deeper into the world around him, including the Continental, the criminal safe haven, hangout and safe zone from the first film. The Continental is still shrouded in mystery, but the little depth that is revealed implies it’s a lot more than just a U.N. for gangbangers. It may be the actual cogs of society and government.

What made the original so good is that it never bogged itself down in realism despite the backdrop being New York City. Instead it collects visual actualities to prop up this notion that this alternative reality is percolating beneath the surface. “Chapter 2” expands this alternate reality by dropping visual indications on how all these backstabbing swindlers and emotionless assassins have managed to govern themselves. Murder is their business and they’re serious about it. The rules in this violent fantasy world are simple, habitual, rehashed for clarity, and never biased towards any of the heroes and villain.

“Chapter 2” also further establishes previous canon while building on fresh canon without having any of the new nuances become superficial. The violence is a lot more over-the-top, but played straight-faced for laughs. The killings are more gruesome, but never repugnant. Like much of the visually stunning set-pieces, like a room of rotating mirrors bathed in laser light, the violence is aesthetically pleasing. That’s because it’s visually relayed that Wick doesn’t love or sink his teeth into this line of work anymore, but does it as a necessity for survival.

The same crew from the first is back for more, providing an enjoyable and realistic continuation of a seemingly one-off story about a retired assassin out for revenge. He’s no longer out for revenge, but struggling with the underworld that wants him to be addicted to the rush and thrill of being a hired gun. Wick’s world is noir, retro, and techno all in one cohesive ball. The John Wick franchise is not only a great addition to the action-film catalogue, but a much needed renaissance for the CGI-heavy genre.

4K Ultra HD Review “John Wick”

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
Director: Chad Stahelski
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
4K Ultra HD: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“John Wick” was easily one of the best films of 2014. It is fresh, raw and not afraid to give you the middle finger. Keanu Reeves is beyond badass in this movie…simply beyond. It is just an insane movie and has become the start of a fantastic new franchise. This new combo pack includes a 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD + UltraViolet copy. Let me just say that if I wanted to show off my 4K TV and player with movie. I have a new flagship Blu-ray to demonstrate the features, no questions. This is a must purchase.

Official Premise: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, “John Wick” (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the “assassin genre.”

“John Wick” is one of the movies that I would highly recommend this is worth the upgrade to 4K UHD. The 2160p transfer in 2.40:1 looks outstanding. There is a huge increase in detail for this film obviously due to the higher resolution. When I compared the Blu-ray to this, I was literally blown away. This release contains the same Dolby Atmos track that was included on the Blu-ray release, and it is still as amazing. Wall-shaking! The 4K Ultra HD disc comes with the same set of special features as the previous Blu-ray release. There is an audio commentary track, six featurettes and a trailer.

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