Film Review: “The Secret Life of Pets 2”

  • THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2
  • Starring the voices of: Kevin Hart, Patton Oswalt
  • Directed by:  Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val
  • Rated:  PG
  • Running time:  1 hr 26 mins
  • Universal

If you are a pet owner, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen, and loved, “The Secret Life of Pets.”  It was uncanny how the creators captured the little idiosyncrasies that had many in the audience, myself including, thinking “that’s exactly what my dog/cat/bird/ferret, etc does.  And that insight carries over into the second chapter in the adventures of Max (Oswalt) and his furry and feathered friends.

Things are going well for Max.  His owner attends to his every need and all is right with the world.  Until the day she meets a gentleman.  Nothing wrong with that.  But as things progress, as they do in life, Max soon finds himself having to deal with a new person in his life…a baby.  At first he is wary of the new arrival, but as the boy grows, they form a bond that, anyone who had a dog as a child will know, can’t be broken.  Which makes Max frantic.  Where he used to enjoy going for walks, he now feels the streets, and the things encountered (steam grates, flocks of pigeons) are hazards for the boy.  This causes him to develop a nervous tic which sadly leads him to be encased in, what both my wife and I (and the film) call the cone of shame.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Snowball the bunny (Hart) is also enjoying life.  His owner likes to dress him up as a superhero and he takes to the idea, proclaiming his prowess to his pet friends.  He is quick to jump – do you see what I did there – into action when he is asked by his Shih Tzu friend Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) to help save a tiger being held by a cruel circus worker.  What’s a bunny to do?

Cleverly written and fast paced, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” is the ideal early summer film.  The characters and their traits are spot on and the voice actors do their best to inflect some of their own personalities into the characters.  Oswalt, replacing original Max voicer Louis C.K., is well cast.  Of course, he was outstanding as the voice of Renny in “Ratatouille,” so this should come as no surprise.  Hart once again is the frantic Snowball and I’m happy to see he is no longer homicidal (my one big problem with the first film).  Other actors lending their voice include Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Nick Kroll, Ellie Kemper and Pete Holmes.  Even Harrison Ford shows up, marking his animated film debut.  But as great as they all are, the vocal star here is Lake Bell, who seems to inhabit the character of Chloe, a cat like no other and yet like every cat we’ve ever encountered!

My only fault with the film is the same one I had with the first.  Though obviously geared for kids (and the parents that accompany them), there are some scary moments here, including one (thankfully off camera) of the tiger being disciplined with a whip.  There is also a pretty intense pack of wolves that made at least one child near me at the screening hide her face in her mother’s side.  So parents with very young children, be warned.

All in all, though, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” is a welcome treat to begin the early days of summer.

Author Darren Paltrowitz Discusses His NEW Book “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling: Full Contact Life Lessons”.

Darren Paltrowitz is writer/interviewer with 20+ years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager and over the years working with artists like OK Go, They Might Be Giants and Tracy Bonham. Darren’s writing has appeared in countless publications including the NEW York Daily News, L.A. Times and Guitar World. Darren’s latest project is titled “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling: Full Contact Life Lessons”.  Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Darren recently about the book and how the idea to draw inspiration from professional wrestling came about.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Professional Wrestling?

Darren Paltrowitz: I have been trying to really figure that out lately. I think it goes back to watching “WWF Wrestling Challenge” or one of those late 80’s early 90’s weekend shows. The first Wrestle mania that I fully remember was WrestleMania 7. From there I got into WCW. Sadly I wasn’t much in wrestling during the “Monday Night Wars” as music took over at that time. I didn’t love WCW when it was good! (Laughs) Thankfully with the internet I can now go back and watch everything I missed.

AL: How did the idea for the book all come together?

DP: I had gotten a press release about a book from my future co-author D.X. Ferris. It was actually a release about the four books he had coming out. One of those was titled “Good Advice From Good Fellas”. I ended up interviewing him about the book and during that interview he mentioned Diamond Dallas Page. We stayed in touch after the interview and I pitched the idea of a wrestling book. He sent me an email of a paper he wrote back in college which took advice from wrestling and the film “Goodfellas”. This was back in November. Prior to that we had nothing so that is why the book includes a lot of current wrestlers and wrestling information. We wrote this very quickly with the goal of having it ready for WrestleMania in April. D.X. put in a ton of long hours at the end with final touches and we did it!

AL: What was the research process like for the book and, how did you go about selecting which material made it into the book?

DP: That was sort of a mix of factors. One of those factors was D.X. telling me I had to put in some of his hometown Pittsburgh guys like Bruno Sammartino and Kurt Angle. We really had to think about people who along with wrestling talent also showed good business acumen and that were not plagued by scandal. We also thought about who had great quotes. Some of the book’s material came from my own personal interviews with people like Mark Henry. Now that I have been talking about the book for a bit I regret not including people like Al Snow and MJF. This arguably the greatest time in history to be a wrestling fan! There is infinite content out there. In fact there is so much that you cannot watch it all.

AL: Did any of the wrestlers who are featured in the book know beforehand that they were going to be included?

DP: We reached out to a lot of the wrestling promotions asking for material and we received responses from all but one. There were other times where I would have to go through independent reps. We also had a guy in the Ohio area that was able to provide us with some photo material. Initially things were moving slow as people didn’t believe we were doing this thing. One by one we started getting books out to some of the wrestlers and it’s been going great. It continues to be a step by step process.

AL: Did you have any goals for releasing the book?

DP: My first major goal with this project was finishing the book and getting it out. Once that was done it was a major relief. A lot of people say they are going to write a book but never do. Now that the book is out I want it to be the one book that is for people who don’t read “self help” books. I wanted people to realize that a lot of the advice in the book is applicable no matter what your level of exposure to pro wrestling is or was. One other thing I want people to take away from the book is for them to see just how smart and successful the majority of pro wrestlers are. They are no longer failed football players or body builders. These are people who are branding experts who can also act and write their own material. If you want to be successful you have to learn from other successful people. I hope a lot of that comes across in this book.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on?

DP: I have been doing interviews with entertainers and the likes ever since I was in high school. I realized that I should do something with all these interviews. About a year ago I started a pod cast called “The Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz”. It’s a bi-weekly cast that includes clips from various interviews I have done. Last week’s episode featured Adam Duritz from Counting Crows talking about his bar mitzvah, Guitarist Susan Tedeschi and Kaley Cuoco from the “Big Bang Theory”. I am into all kinds of things so that’s what I showcase on the cast.

It doesn’t matter if you are fan of wrestling or just someone wanting a fresh approach to the self help genre “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling: Full Contact Life Lessons” has something for everyone. It’s even got some great photos which accent the wit and wisdom of an often overlooked industry. To Order visit: https://www.amazon.com/Darren-Paltrowitz/e/B07Q4QN8B8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_2

For more info on Darren Paltrowitz you can visit his official website here: http://www.paltrowitz.com/home.html

4 Tips To Renting A Party Bus For A Celebration Of Life Service

Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Do you have someone special you want to celebrate? It may be a friend or relative who has just completed their studies or is getting married or has a birthday party. Whatever the occasion may be, a party bus will crown the event for you. If you have a group of people with you, you’ll need to rent one.

To guide you further, here are 4 tips to renting a party bus for a celebration of life service:

1.    Know The Number Of People You’ll Be Carrying In It

The purpose of the party bus will be to carry people and so you want to rent one that has enough capacity to hold everyone you plan to have on board. It is important that you know the number of people you intend to carry in the party bus to avoid any inconveniences.

You don’t want to hire a 50 seater bus and yet you’ll be carrying 20 people since the renting cost will be higher or hire a 33 seater bus yet you have a group of 50 people with you. Determine the right capacity before hiring the party bus.

2.    Know The Cost

The cost of hiring a party bus will cut across several areas. The company renting you the bus will most likely charge you on an hourly basis. It’s important therefore to know the total time span you’ll have the bus with you.

Other charges that you may incur include gratuity to the party bus driver, taxes, and other costs such as fuel or parking fees at your target destination depending on the terms of the agreement.

Defining these costs earlier in advance will help you raise the money to rent the bus more so if you are sharing the cost with the people who you’ll be going with to the celebration of life service.

3.    Know Your Destination

You’ll definitely be driving off on the party bus to a specified destination or several destinations. It is advisable that you map out these destinations earlier in advance and discuss them with the rental company.

They’ll be able to advise you on which bus best suits your needs in terms of flexibility moving around, comfort, safety, and speed in getting to the various destinations. It also helps the rental company to prepare the bus driver in advance on the routes which will be more convenient to use.

4.    Comfort And Entertainment

Your main purpose for renting the party bus is to celebrate a life. As such, entertainment is a necessity to crown the whole agenda of the day. You’ll want to rent a bus with good looks to start with. The bus should have some class and glamor with comfortable seats and enough room for everyone to pump up and have some fun.

Music is a must-have. You want a bus with a good music system. Satellite television is also a plus to have on the bus for those who would want to watch, say, a game. Entertainment also comes with refreshments such as drinks and snacks. You can organize for these with the rental company.

Conclusion

There you have it. These four tips will guide you as you seek to rent a good party bus. If you’re not sure which rental company to approach, here’s one with the best party bus rentals.  

Book Review: “The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities” By: Wayne Kramer

“The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities”
Author: Wayne Kramer
Da Capo
Hardcover: 311 pages

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities” is the story of legendary guitarist Wayne Kramer. From his childhood in Detroit where he found inspiration from the likes Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones to his pursuit of “avant rock” with his group the MC5. Released via Da Capo Press “The Hard Stuff” is a 311 page biography recounting a life of rock and roll excess to prison confinement making all stops in between and any there-after.

As gritty as the ground breaking groups music “The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities” is a brutally honest, in-depth look at M5 founding member Wayne Kramer’s life. Told by the man himself Kramer recounts his upbringing in a home with an abusive stepfather and how he channeled his inner frustrations about the world around him into some of the MC5’s most notable material. Though I found the chapters recounting his time with the band the following chapters after the group disbanding was where my attention was really held. Kramer painstakingly tells of his time in prison after a drug bust and the years after in which he struggled with addiction up through reconnecting with his biological father.

“The Hard Stuff” is a roller coaster ride of emotion that keeps the reader interested and turning the pages. Not many people (if any) have had a life like Wayne Kramer and this book makes that abundantly clear. You don’t need to be a fan of Kramer’s music to enjoy this book as the author speaks his truth and does not shy away from darker periods of his life or difficult subject matter. For those hoping to catch the MC5 on the 50th anniversary tour this is the perfect foundation to help connect or reconnect with one of rock music’s most influential artists/groups.

Against Me! Cover “People Who Died” for “Songs That Saved My Life” Compilation

LISTEN TO AGAINST ME! COVER “PEOPLE WHO DIED” (ORIGINALLY
MADE FAMOUS BY THE JIM CARROLL BAND) FROM SONGS THAT SAVED MY LIFE
HOPELESS RECORDS ALONG WITH THEIR NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION SUB CITY
ANNOUNCE, ON WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY, A NEW PROJECT TO
BENEFIT MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS

COMPILATION ALBUM TO BE RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 9 THROUGH HOPELESS RECORDS

ALBUM NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
WWW.SONGSTHATSAVEDMYLIFE.COM

STREAM THE SONG NOW ON PEOPLE.COM

Fans can stream Against Me!’s cover of “People Who Died” (originally made famous by The Jim Carroll Band) now on People Magazine. The song is taken from Songs That Saved My Life, a brand centered around music that has played a pivotal role in the lives of artists and fans and that benefits mental health and suicide prevention charities. The compilation will be released on November 9 through Hopeless Records and includes covers from bands like Neck Deep, Against Me!, Taking Back Sunday, Dan Campbell and Ace Enders, Movements, The Maine, Dance Gavin Dance, and more. Full track listing can be found below.

“Choosing to cover a song that is filled with death to be featured on a compilation dedicated to the thought that music can save your life seemed completely fitting to me,” says Against Me! vocalist and guitarist Laura Jane Grace. “I’ve always thought music was about taking all the sadness, pain, fear and trouble that you have weighing on you and turning it into something empowering, celebratory and life-affirming.”

Listen to the song HERE.

Songs That Saved My Life looks to engage current artists with cover versions of those songs and share those stories with the world. This project benefits a variety of mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Currently, this project benefits Crisis Text Line, Hope For The Day, The Trevor Project, and To Write Love On Her Arms.

Last month, the Songs That Saved My Life grant was announced. The $10,000 grant will be awarded to a fan or band partnering with a non-profit organization related to mental health awareness and/or suicide prevention. Applications are open now and due on October 12th. To apply, visit songsthatsavedmylife.com/grant.

Songs That Saved My Life Track Listing:
1. Neck Deep – Torn (originally made famous by Natalie Imbruglia)
2. Movements – Losing My Religion (originally made famous by R.E.M.)
3. Stand Atlantic – Your Graduation (originally made famous by Modern Baseball)
4. Dance Gavin Dance – Semi Charmed Life (originally made famous by Third Eye Blind)
5. Against Me! – People Who Died (originally made famous by The Jim Carroll Band)
6. Taking Back Sunday – Bullet With Butterfly Wings (originally made famous by Smashing Pumpkins)
7. Dream State – Crawling (originally made famous by Linkin Park)
8. As It Is – Such Great Heights (originally made famous by The Postal Service)
9. Oceans Ate Alaska – Shape of my Heart (originally made famous by Sting)
10. Too Close To Touch – Let It Be (originally made famous by The Beatles)
11. Dan Campbell & Ace Enders – Broom People (originally made famous by The Mountain Goats)
12. The Maine – Transatlanticism (originally made famous by Death Cab For Cutie)

Songs That Saved My Life is now available for pre-order at www.songsthatsavedmylife.com.

When fans pre-order digitally through iTunes, they will receive and instant grat download of Neck Deep’s cover of “Torn”. It is also now available to stream through Apple Music and Spotify. Fans can watch the music video for Neck Deep’s cover of “Torn” here: http://smarturl.it/TornVideo

Sub City, the 501(c)(3) non-profit arm of Hopeless, donates funds and raises awareness for various non-profit organizations by connecting artists, fans and causes they are passionate about. Sub City has raised over 2.5 million dollars for more than 50 non-profit organizations including Living the Dream, It Gets Better Project, A Place Called Home, DoSomething.org, and New Directions for Youth.

Learn more about the benefiting organizations from Songs That Saved My Life:

Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 support for people in crisis via text. We support people across a range of crises from anxiety and depression, to self-harm and suicide, and lots of crises in between, to help them get from a hot moment to a cool calm.

Text HOME to 741741

For more information visit: https://www.crisistextline.org

Hope For The Day
Hope for the Day achieves proactive suicide prevention by providing outreach and mental health education through self-expression platforms. It’s ok not to be ok, have hope.

For more information visit: https://www.hftd.org

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. The mission of The Trevor Project is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning young people.

For more information visit: https://www.thetrevorproject.org

To Write Love On Her Arms
To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

For more information visit: https://twloha.com

Film Review -“Life Itself”

LIFE ITSELF
Starring:  Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde and Antonio Banderas
Directed by:  Dan Fogelman
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hr 58 mins
Amazon Studios

If only all movies could begin like “Life Itself.”  A single camera shot but one that is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson in all his glory!  You can’t help but laugh during the first five minutes of this film.  Which is a good thing, because you’re probably going to be crying for the other113 minutes!

We meet Will (Isaac) and Abby (Wilde) in the middle of what seems to be an incredible relationship.  Living happily together with their dog (a dog with the greatest name ever used in film), it seems like their life together will be perfect for all time.  That is until fate steps in.

A well written but slowly paced film, the “Life Itself” poster tells us the movie is written and directed by the man who created the popular television show “This is Us.”  I haven’t watched it but my wife does religiously and, judging from the amount of Kleenex she goes through each week, I assume it’s a weep-fest.  This movie certainly is.  The film jumps around in time, showing the audience how Will and Abby met, their life together and their all too soon separation.  In between the vignettes you get to spend time with Will’s parents, played by Jean Smart and Mandy Patinkin.  It is their relationship with their granddaughter that makes up the second act of the film.  Act three is the longest – and the most drawn out.  It deals with characters who are peripheral to other two stories, though we are not at first sure how.  It takes place in Spain, where a wealthy land owner (Banderas) falls in love with the wife of one of his workers.  The various extended scenes not only begin to drag, they are delivered in Spanish, which means it’s going to be a long night reading subtitles!

As I mentioned, the film is well written.  I can see why it found itself on the 2016 list of the best unmade screenplays in Hollywood.  There are a few laughs, among them Isaac comparing the vocal stylings of Bob Dylan to the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Of course it’s even funnier to laugh if you know that Isaac is also a recurring character in the “Star Wars” film series.  And the rest of the cast are equally endearing.  The ending comes across as a little too far-fetched but still pretty well thought out.  But be warned, make sure you bring your Kleenex with you, because “Life Itself” makes “Manchester by the Sea” look like the second coming of “Airplane!”

Win Passes to the Kansas City screening of “Life Itself”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Amazon Studios to give (40) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Life Itself.”

The film will be shown on Wednesday, September 19th at the B&B Overland Park 16 Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (40) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (40) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.  Good Luck!

 

Life Of Agony Announce “Rise of the Underground Tour 2018”

LIFE OF AGONY Announce “Rise of the Underground Tour 2018”

New York’s LIFE OF AGONY has announced dates for a headlining trek called “Rise of the Underground Tour 2018” spanning the USA and Europe. The shows will begin with two sold-out, hometown warm-up gigs April 18th & 19th at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, and conclude November 2nd as headliners of The Sound of Revolution Festival in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Full list of dates are below.

“With 2018 marking the 25th anniversary of our debut album, we are just so incredibly grateful to our fans for sticking with us all these years and wanted to do something really special for them. We’re breaking out some old fan favorites that we’ve never played before live and hitting cities we haven’t been to in over a decade,” says bassist Alan Robert. “You really can’t beat the crazy energy of a packed, sweaty, tiny club, like we used to play back in the day, so we decided to include some very intimate rooms on this tour, along with the bigger venues, to feel that deep emotional connection again with our die-hard fans. It’s gonna be insane.”

Joining Rise of the Underground Tour 2018 as main support during the September US dates will be Silvertomb, the new band featuring Johnny Kelly and Kenny Hickey from Type O Negative. More support acts to be announced soon.

LIFE OF AGONY emerged from the New York music scene in the early ’90s with one of the most distinctive sounds in its genre. Best known for its 1993 metal/crossover debut River Runs Red, the band instantly built a cult following. For over two decades, the group toured relentlessly all over the world, sharing stages with the biggest names in rock, including Metallica, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Foo Fighters, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. After the much-praised Ugly (1995), LIFE OF AGONY opted for a highly energetic alternative rock approach on Soul Searching Sun (1997) and Broken Valley (2005) – the latter produced by Greg Fidelman (Slipknot, Metallica). Last year, the group released their 5th studio album A Place Where There’s No More Pain (2017) to critical acclaim, debuting at #24 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Album Chart. LIFE OF AGONY has sold over one million albums to date.

LIFE OF AGONY: RISE OF THE UNDERGROUND TOUR 2018 (USA):
4/18: Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus (SOLD OUT)
4/19: Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus (SOLD OUT)
4/21: Worcester, MA @ New England Metal & Hardcore Fest, Palladium
5/16: Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go-Go
5/18: Anaheim, CA @ Parish at House of Blues
5/19: Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
5/20: Phoenix, CA @ Club Red
5/22: San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
7/13: Mansfield, OH @ INKcarceration Festival
9/14: Baltimore, MD @Soundstage
9/15: Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
9/16: Teaneck, NJ @ Debonair Music Hall
9/19: Ft. Wayne, IN @ Piere’s
9/21: Joliet, IL @ The Forge
9/22: Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
9/23: Pittsburgh, PA @ The Rex
9/25: Buffalo, NY @ Ironworks
9/29: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

LIFE OF AGONY: RISE OF THE UNDERGROUND TOUR 2018 (Europe):
6/15: Nickelsdorf, Austria @ Nova Rock Festival
6/16: Gräfenhainichen, Germany @ With Full Force Festival
6/17: Kiel, Germany @ Kieler Woche Festival
10/12: Papenburg, Germany @ Kesselschmiede
10/13: Dusseldorf, Germany @ Zakk
10/14: Leeuwarden, Netherlands @ Nueshoorn
10/16: Aschaffenburg, Germany @ Colos-saal
10/18: Mallorca, Spain @ Full Metal Holiday Festival
10/21: Salzburg, Austria @ Rockhouse
10/23: Budapest, Hungary @ A38
10/24: Zagreb, Croatia @ Culture Factory
10/26: Ljubljana, Slovenia @ Kino Siska
10/27: Pinarella Di Cervia, Italy @ Rock Planet
10/28: Munich, Germany @ Technikum
10/30: Sint-Niklaas, Belgium @ De Casino
10/31: Leige, Belgium @ Reflektor
11/02: Eindhoven, Netherlands @ The Sound of Revolution Festival

For More Info Visit:
www.lifeofagony.com
www.facebook.com/lifeofagonyfamiglia

Book Review: “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” by Scott Ian

“Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life”
Author: Scott Ian
Da Capo
Hardcover: 243 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Anthrax guitarist and co-founder Scott Ian has seen his share of dive hotels, dirty tour buses and decrepit green rooms. “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” is a collection of his craziest stories recounting Ian’s life on the road as a touring musician. Along the way the guitarist shares his experiences and encounters with celebrities like Kirk Hammett, Dimebag Darrell, David Lee Roth and Steven Spielberg to name just a few.

As the follow up to his autobiography “I’m The Man” guitarist Scott Ian takes readers even further into the depths of the heavy metal underworld. Unlike Ian’s first book which was a more biography than tell all where “Access All Areas” is the total opposite recounting in detail some of the writers more interesting encounters. Very rarely do you get to hear let alone read in published form stories like those shared by the veteran guitarist. From his experiences as a Pro Poker player playing alongside Kiss’s Ace Frehley and ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill to a confrontational meeting with REM front man Michael Stipe. Easily my favorite excert from the book was that where Ian sets the record straight about his guest appearance on “Married with Children” which was to include a story line featuring Christina Applegate.

Over the course of “Access All Areas” 243 pages readers are treated to a bevy of laughable stories that have not been shared before. As I made my way through the book I just kept thinking that even having one or two of these experiences in a life time would be enough for most people but to be able to compile enough for a book was mind blowing. Scott Ian has certainly to this point lived quiet an interesting life full of off the wall experiences which he has candidly detailed in this book. You don’t have to be a fan of heavy metal to enjoy this book as there are plenty of other colorful characters outside of the music world that you will surely recognize making “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” a great pickup for any and all.

Blu-ray Review “Life on the Line”

Actors: John Travolta, Kate Bosworth, Devon Sawa, Gil Bellows, Julie Benz
Directors: David Hackl
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

“Life on the Line” is the latest film starring John Travolta and surprisingly packs a solid supporting cast including Kate Bosworth, Devon Sawa and Sharon Stone. Besides the fact that Travolta looks terrifying on the cover with his facial hair and strange hairline. I am still a fan at heart! This film definitely has problems but it also has some decent action-packed moments. So I will call it a toss up for everyone and a maybe for us Travolta fans.

Official Premise: As a huge electrical storm sweeps towards Texas, lineman Beau (John Travolta) is haunted by memories of his brother’s death by lightning years earlier. Bailey (Kate Bosworth), the niece he helped raise, has a secret she needs to share with her boyfriend Duncan. But he and Beau’s brave team are racing to replace miles of power cables before the tempest strikes. Also starring Sharon Stone, Life on the Line is a tribute to the heroes who risk it all to keep us safe.

“Life on the Line” is being released as a combo pack with Blu-ray and Digital HD included here. The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. Both looks and sounds great especially when the action kicks in. The special features aren’t great though. There is a “Life on the Line” Music Video by Fiona Culley featuring Darius Rucker and some Behind the Scenes with Cast/Crew Interviews included.

 

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Blu-ray 3D/4K Ultra HD Review “The Secret Life of Pets”

Actors: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper
Directors: Chris Renaud
Rated: PG
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 5 out of 5 stars
3D: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

From the moment I saw the first teaser for “The Secret Life of Pets“, I knew that Illumination Entertainment had another hit on there hands. The characters are amazing and the film is filled with laughs from beginning to end. It has jokes for kids and parents as well. In fact, my family (no lie) quote this film AT LEAST once a day since the first time that we have seen it. It packs a really solid voice cast including Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart and many others. I hope that they have some sort of plans to follow up with this series because they really have a winner here! Can’t wait to see what Illumination, home of the Minions, does next!

Official Premise: Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debut that finally answers the question: what do your pets do when you’re not home? When their owners leave for the day, pets from the building gossip with their friends, satisfy their sweet tooths, and throw outrageous parties. But when a pampered terrier (C.K.) and his unruly new “roommate” from the pound (Stonestreet) get lost in the urban jungle of New York City, they must put aside their differences to survive the epic journey back home.

Universal released this film in in various formats i.e. Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and 4K Ultra HD. The animation and colors are so vivid and vibrant and this film looks extraordinary with it’s 4K transfer. I was blown away with this presentation. The 3D presentation on this film was also top notch. As we are whizzing through the streets of New York as well as close up encounters with fellow characters like Viper, the effects are spot on! If you can watch this film in either of those formats, I highly recommend it for sure! The audio tracks also are epic with a revolutionary Dolby Atmos track as well as wall shaking Dolby TrueHD 7.1. Universal delivered for sure with A/V presentation here for sure!

The special features are all short and sweet and worth checking out if you enjoyed this flick. Kids can enjoy as well. There are three mini-movies included. One we saw before the film in theaters “Minion Mowers”, which is hysterical. There are also two new ones set within the world of “The Secret Life of Pets”. First is NormanTV, which features the gerbil from the film crawling through the buildings vents. The last one is an animated musical tale of the hot dog brand that Max and Duke end up at. These are a great addition to the film itself and are also available if the film is redeem digitally as well, so that’s a nice bonus.

Next up, we have “The Humans That Brought You Pets” which feature interviews with Producers Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, Directors Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud, and Writer Brian Lynch. “Animals Can Talk: Meet the Actors” are speed chats with the cast talking about their roles. “All About the Pets” features cast joking on set with animal trainer Molly O’Neill. “Hairstylist to the Dogs” features Duke’s voice actor Eric Stonestreet talking grooming with Stylist Jess Rona. “How to Make an Animated film” and “Anatomy of a Scene” go behind-the-scenes. Lastly there is a nice collection of “The Best of Snowball” and some sing-alongs and trailers.

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Need a Holiday gift idea for the Rockstar in your life? Check out Pluginz “Jack Rack”

PLUGINZ ‘Jack Rack’ Now Available via Guitar Center & Musician’s Friend –

The Hottest Music Accessory of 2016!

Take it from Reputable Industry Leaders such as Marshall Amplification and Metal Blade Records + Artists such as Dillinger Escape Plan, Of Mice & Men, Warrant, Atreyu and More…

www.thejackrack.com

Pluginz recently introduced their newest product – the latest musician’s must-have – the “Jack Rack”! Already making a name for itself, this unique, eye-catching wall-mounted keychain holder is the best way to “Hang Your Keys like a Rockstar”. Now, Pluginz is pleased to announce that in addition to their online store at www.thejackrack.com, you can now purchase your very own “Jack Rack” online via top musical gear retailers Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend.

Not only can you buy your own “Jack Rack” via Pluginz, you customize them for your business or brand, too. Artists and reputable companies in the music industry are already creating their own custom Pluginz “Jack Rack” designs after witnessing the personalized nature of the product – allowing them to further promote their brands with a fun and functional twist. To find out more on how to customize your very own “Jack Rack”, email Pluginz at: contact@pluginzkeychains.com.

Pluginz was founded in early 2015 by Mike Stricklin. Stricklin soon partnered up with Rockworld Merchandise owners Dan Jacobs of the band Atreyu, and his brother Joe Jacobs. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $10,000, Pluginz started making a buzz within the music industry. Soon after, the “Jack Rack” went viral on the front page of Reddit, as well as breaking records for post likes, comments, and shares on pages such as Guitar World, Revolver Magazine, Shut up And Take My Money, Celestion Speakers, 100.3 the Sound FM, Alt 98.7, OC Weekly and many more.

Take it from those who have used the “Jack Rack” and branded their own:

Josh Bernstein
Alternative Press
“There are many inventions in the world that I wish I came up with, such as the iPhone, the electric car and most recently, the cronut. But, when I saw the “Jack Rack” by Pluginz, I was truly humbled. I can’t think of a more highly coveted item by both music players and music fans alike. I know how I will be stuffing my stockings this winter!”

David Peterson
Shut Up and Take My Money
“Pluginz has single-handedly revolutionized the wall mounted key holder industry.”

Rick Zeiler
Coldcock Whiskey
“Dan’s been a longtime friend and business colleague of mine. He presented me with a COLDCOCK Whiskey “Jack Rack” and I was floored at the detail and quality that went into it, so much so we welcomed him using our trademark. Pluginz, the company Dan created, makes an instant impact and is a conversation starter, love them!”

Read more about the Pluginz “Jack Rack” via http://www.jackrack.com, and stay tuned for more news coming soon!

Book Review “Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived ‘Forever’: The Legend of a WWE Hero”

Author: Jon Robinson
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: September 8, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I like to think that I drew up in the heyday of the wrestling. I remember the wrestling greats of that time including Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramone, The Undertaker and my personal all time favorite the Ultimate Warrior. This guy was a absolute nut case when it ran out to the ring! I remember seeing him live at an event probably in 1991 or 1992 and going insane when he came out. His energy was like nothing I had ever seen and probably still unmatched today. He went up against legends like Hulk Hogan in matches like the epic battle of Wrestlemania VI. I vividly remember watching this pay-per-view event in my living room with all my friends at the time as a kid. Times like this are unforgettable. Unfortunately, the legend is no longer with us…but thanks to the WWE, his legend will live in forever. “Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived ‘Forever’: The Legend of a WWE Hero” is an amazing tribute to one of the best wrestlers in the business. Triple H kicks off the book with a great introduction. Even with all the feuds in the business, I enjoyed getting reading this opening. Dana Warrior also gives a heartfelt foreword to the this book giving us an inside look at the Warrior outside of the ring. This book is a must own for any wrestling fan!

Official Premise: With signature moves like the Warrior Splash, epic battles against Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Macho Man Randy Savage, and The Undertaker, and impassioned speeches that struck fear into his opponents and inspired warriors across the nation, the late Ultimate Warrior became one of the most revered figures in WWE history. Here, for the first time, the complete legend of The Ultimate Warrior is told in full, from his humble beginnings as a self-proclaimed “small, insecure kid who wasn’t into any sports” to his rise to WWE fame as the most powerful force in the universe. Through both action and candid photographs, personal ephemera, including original Warrior art and detailed journal entries, insider stories and exclusive interviews with WWE legends, and intimate accounts from the Warrior family, this unique biography brings the legacy of The Ultimate Warrior to life like never before. Relive the Warrior’s most intense matches and rivalries, and get to know the man behind the face paint in this one-of-a-kind volume. Filled with intense action and little-known details, Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever is a celebration of the Superstar who left an inimitable mark on WWE and redefined sports entertainment for generations.

Insight Editions always delivers the most informative and books on the market. They are also innovate with their releases. If you were a fan of the Ultimate Warrior you will recall his ribbons from his wrists. Well this book has ribbons included as a clever way to hold your page (see image). This book is jam packed with information about the former wrestler, his career and his life. I really enjoyed this book since it wasn’t just a flashy biography. It was also has a very intimate feel to it as well. The images in the book are absolutely gorgeous and easily transport me back to my favorite days of wrestling. In fact it makes me want to go back and re-watch old Wrestlemania events! This is a book that I can look through for years to come. There is so much included in this that you would need to go slowly through with a fine comb to absorb everything. Even though the Warrior is no longer with us, it is books like this that are going to carry on his name and keep him in the spotlight that he deserves. I will proudly be displaying this book prominently on my coffee tables for months to come.

Photo provided by Insight Editions. © 2015 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Book Review “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”

“Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”
Author: Marky Ramone w/ Rich Herschlag
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Touchstone

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When punk rock reared its spiky head in the early seventies, Marc Bell had the best seat in the house. From his early days with one of America’s first metal bands Dust to CBGB’s staples Wayne County and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Marc was there. In 1978 Marc Bell joined The Ramones becoming Marky Ramone and that’s where the real story begins. “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone” is an honest look inside the world of a punk icon.

Over the course of the books 400 plus pages Marc/Marky takes us on a journey like no other. From his early years growing up on the mean streets of New York City to his countless adventures around the globe with The Ramones it’s all here. Sure there have been several other books from Ramones members recounting their times with the band but for me those stories took more of a back seat as Marky’s tales of getting his first record deal to performing with the transsexual Wayne County during the early seventies when even the mention of transsexual behavior was something that was just not done, were the ones that grabbed my attention and made this book really stand out. T hough I questioned some of the books editing its 15 pages of color photos and the books straight forward approach makes this a must have for not just Ramones fans but for fans of music in general.

Book Review “Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance”

“Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance”
Author: Tom Bryant
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance” is the story of how a band defied stereotypes and championed uncomfortable subjects. Through unorthodox vocals and stage performances My Chemical Romance helped address often controversial topics head on. Journalist Tom Bryant recounts how the bands personal experiences resulted in some of their biggest hits. Bryant looks at the bands growing success over its four albums and the bands subsequent breakup in 2013. The book delves in to each member’s personal history leaving no stone unturned.

Over the books 384 pages Bryant chronicles the band’s various struggles with addiction, media exposure and issues between the group’s members. With a lot of these stories being told for the first time there was certainly a lot of info included that peaks the reader’s interest to further delve in to the following chapters. The biggest thing that kept weighing on my mind while reading this book was the fact that these stories were being told from an outside source and compiled from a number of unpublished interviews. Now I am certainly not discrediting the authors work however I think the book would have had a more personal feel if it was told via the band members directly and not via an onlooker.

Very seldom do I find biographies of this nature to be as telling as they could be when the actual players are not directly involved. However fan’s of the band will want to check the book out as it does give a fresh look on the events surrounding the groups break up. The book also includes some interesting black and white photos of the band which are worth checking out on their own.

 

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