Film Review: “Love, Simon”

LOVE, SIMON
Starring:  Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner
Directed by:  Greg Berlanti
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hrs 49 mins
20th Century Fox

 

Meet Simon (Robinson).  Like most high school seniors he keeps himself busy, hanging out with his friends, going to parties and getting ready to graduate.  But Simon has a secret.  He’s gay.

A coming of age story with a twist, “Love, Simon” is the story of a young man at the crossroads of his life.  Citing an unusual series of dreams about Daniel Radcliffe in his early teens as the turning point in his sexuality, Simon comes across an online post by a young man who calls himself Blue.  Blue is also gay and longs to come out but does not have the courage.  Simon emails Blue and explains that he, too, is in the same boat.  He signs his note “Jacques,” and the two begin a series of conversations that grow both bolder and emotional as they go on.  However, a fellow student named Martin (Logan Miller) comes across the missives and informs Simon that he knows his secret.  He also blackmails him, trying to arrange a hook-up with one of Simon’s female friends.  If Simon doesn’t help him, he’ll spill the beans.  Sadly the kid is beyond unlikable and soon, after an embarrassing attempt at wooing his intended, he outs Simon to the school.  What a dick!

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this film.  I commend it for being one of the few mainstream films to deal with gay issues in a matter of fact way.  “Love, Simon” is simply a love story about a young man with a crush that happens to be another young man.  But the film also sends up the typical Hollywood stereotypes I didn’t expect.

Part of Simon’s fear stems from the fact that there is already a gay student in his class (Clark Moore).  Sadly, this young man is a sassy, well-groomed confidant of the school’s snobby girls, dishing out fashion advice and one-liners.  Sadly, the typical “gay” character from Central Casting, the same people that brought you Lamar from “Revenge of the Nerds.”  I have several gay friends.  None of them is, if stereotypes are to be believed, “obvious.” It’s a shame this is the only way Hollywood can find to portray an openly gay character.  To me it’s a double shame because the film’s director, Greg Berlanti, is gay and should know better.

Between being outed and then bullied, nobody is held accountable.  The most believable character in the film is Natasha Rothwell, who plays Ms. Albright, the school drama teacher (the school is putting on a production of “Cabaret,” which, though I’ve learned has been put on in high schools, doesn’t strike me as a show to be performed by teenagers).  When two boys bully Simon in the lunchroom, it is Ms. Albright that confronts them and assures them that this action will not be tolerated.  So it’s disheartening to see the two boys a few moments later being excused for their actions by offering Simon a mumbled “sorry.” And Martin, who for some reason is playing the Emcee (badly) in the production of “Cabaret,” continues to be the class clown, again not facing any consequences for his actions.   By the time Simon’s friends, all with petty slights, deserted him I lost all faith in the film or its message.

Which is a shame, because Nick Robinson does a great job trying to balance all of the inner feelings Simon must deal with.  He can only smile and nod when his father, commenting on the latest contestant on “The Bachelor,” says “look at him…you know he’s gay.”  He knows his father means no harm but still just the way he says “gay” is enough to keep Simon in the closet.

I’ve heard this film described as a “John Hughes” – type film.  Barely.  Though Hughes did spend a lot of his time writing about teenagers, their problems and how they dealt with them, his characters were a hell of a lot more believable.

Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “Love, Simon”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at 20th Century Fox to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film, “Love, Simon,” in Kansas City.

 

The film, starring Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford, will be screened on Wednesday, March 14, at the B&B Shawnee Theatre in Shawnee, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 pm.

 

All you have to do to receive your pass for (2) is to click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all passes have been claimed the giveaway is over.  Good luck!

A New Way to Play: Why Canadians Love Casino Games

Insurance?

Insurance?” (CC BY 2.0) by banspy

Canadians love to gamble. In fact, they love it so much that’s it’s one of the hottest forms of entertainment across the country right now. According to Statista, Canadian casinos raked in more than $6 billion over a 12-month period in 2016, which is up more than $500 million compared to 2006, according to statcan.gc.ca. Much of the recent rise in gaming activity has been down to growth of online casinos.

With virtual platforms offering easy access to traditional games such as roulette and blackjack, more Canadians have had the opportunity to dip their toes in the gaming waters. In fact, to increase participation further, many of the major operators actually offer free-play games. Identical to the real thing but without the cost, these games have served as a great introductory tool which has then given more people the impetus to play some casino classics.

As more Canadians take to the Internet or their local casinos to play the odds, we thought we’d take a look at some of their favoured games and features.

A Little Extra Something

6/365 I'm All in !!!!

6/365 I’m All in !!!!” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by RTD Photography

Everyone loves something for nothing and that becomes clear when you look through the roster of Canadian casinos out there. For example, at casinobonusonline.ca, a casino review site, you’ll notice that the top ranked sites have more than $4,000 in free (or bonus as it’s called) cash available.

In contrast to live casinos, online sites actively reward new players with a bonus and this review site’s top six is a prime example of that. Indeed, if you look at the top of the shop, 888casino, the site’s reviewers have found that you can claim as much as $2,388 in bonus cash. Deals like this not only show how Canadians want something more when they ante up, but they want variety and depth so they can find a deal that suits their needs.

Slots Are a Money Spinner

Winning Slot

Winning Slot” (CC BY 2.0) by cletch

When it comes to games, Canadians appear to have an affinity for slots. Look through the lobby of any leading operators, from All Slots and Spin Palace to 888 and beyond, slots are the most numerous games. Although each site will have a different line-up, it’s not uncommon to see in excess of 100 games inside a single lobby. One of the reasons these games are appealing is their themes. Much like pinball machines like Stern’s Spiderman offering, slots take stories and icons from popular culture, from movies to video games, as we’ve discussed on mediamikes.com before, and turn them into a high-octane game.

In terms of specifics, progressive jackpot slots are the most popular variant. From Mega Moolah to Leprechaun’s Luck, these games take a small percentage from each player’s bet, put it into a communal pot and then pay out a prize when someone hits the magic combination. The result of this system is jackpots that often top $1 million. Unsurprisingly, being able to stake a few dollars and win a life-changing sum is hugely appealing and that’s why these games are now popular with Canadian players.

Cross-Channel Entertainment

Sport bets

Sport bets” (CC BY 2.0) by tjschloss

As much as casino games are great, too much of anything can become tedious. To counter this, many of the top Canadian online casinos offer something on top of their table games. For example, online-casinogames.ca notes that its top ranked sites offer a wide variety of betting options. From classic casino games like blackjack and roulette to live dealer tables (games with real people on the screen), dice games and “number based games” are all available in the online arena.

Having some sort of diversity is crucial because every player is different. Indeed, to ensure the casino industry remains a mainstream endeavour, operators have to cover as many bases as possible. Much like social gaming developer Zynga.com has everything from Words with Friends to poker to cover a broad spectrum, the top Canadian online casinos will offer the widest variety of betting options as possible.

Casino gaming isn’t a niche activity anymore. Thanks to the online world’s bonuses, variety and accessibility, everyone of legal age is now finding some fun in the casino arena.

 

Rumer Willis discusses her upcoming “Over the Love” tour.

 (Photo Credit: Tyler Shields)

Rumer Willis may be the daughter of Hollywood heavy weights Bruce Willis and Demi Moore however her own career is nothing to be ashamed of having appeared not only in a number of television series and films but she also enjoyed a successful stint on Broadway as well. Rumer’s latest project has her singing front in center on her debut music tour which is being called the “Over the Love” Tour. Media Mikes had the opportunity to talk with Rumer recently about the upcoming tour and her foray in to music.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on your relationship with music and your decision to start performing live?

Rumer Willis: I have been singing since I was very young. I think I spent quite a bit of time coming up with the best way for me to outlet my music. There have been actors and children of successful parents who have tried to come out and do an album after they have been successful at something else. I always wanted to make sure that when I did do that that I did things right. I didn’t try to put something out there just to have something out. I wanted to make sure that how I present myself is truly what I want to share with people. I feel what we are about to do really represents myself.

AL: What can you tell us about your upcoming debut tour?

RW: I got the idea after performing at a place called the Café Carlisle. A friend of mine mentioned that I should think about doing a full tour as he thought it could totally work. I had never really thought that something like that was possible with me carrying the whole thing. When we started looking more in to the idea and things started to come together we got more and more excited. I never thought I could do music like this or that there was an audience for it. Each show should be really great as it won’t just be me up there singing. I plan to talk a little bit about the songs and explain a little bit about what they mean to me.

AL: How did you go about putting your band together and also selecting the songs for the show?

RW: The band is made up of people I have done shows with before and they are all friends of mine. The songs I selected are more cabaret and jazz type songs. Those are where my normal musical interests are. Even on a daily basis I listen to those types of music. I think there is something to be said about music that really captures emotion. All the songs I picked make me feel something when I hear them and hopefully I can deliver the same response to the people in the audience.

AL: How has performing in a band setup compared to you performing on Broadway?

RW: On Broadway along with the singing there is also a lot about acting as well so it’s a package. There are a lot of things to look at during a Broadway show. Everything is moving very fast and is very colorful. When you are doing a show with a band it’s just you. You have to be more vulnerable and be able to connect with the audience. It’s almost like you are having a conversation.

AL: Overall what has been your transition like moving from film to music?

RW: For me in a weird way it never felt like I was transitioning from one thing to another. Both music and acting have always both been my passion. Thankfully I never was really forced to choose one or the other. I do think figuring out which projects to be in and auditioning was a lot easier than figuring out how I wanted to put myself out there as a musician.

AL: Are there plans to do more shows after this first initial run?

RW: With this first tour I wanted to make sure I played enough places to where I could give people a good idea as to what I am about. I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew for a first tour so we are going to be figuring out what works and what doesn’t as we go along. My philosophy for this whole thing is not to get too big for my britches. Just because someone says they are a good singer or puts on a good show doesn’t mean they really are or can. You have to prove to people that you are worth their time. At the end of the day I want people to come out and just be able to have a great time.

AL: With a new season of “Dancing With The Stars” just starting and you being a past Mirror Ball champion what are your predictions for this year?

RW: I think that Val and Laurie are a very strong team. I think that Laurie is very talented and they have a really strong chance of winning. I am definatley behind them one hundred percent.

For a list of tour dates be sure to check out http://www.Overthelovetour.comfor a complete listing and info

CD Review: Masked Intruder “Love and Other Crimes”

“Love and Other Crimes”
Masked Intruder
Pure Noise
Tracks: 6
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wisconsin based punk rockers Masked Intruder recently released a new EP titled “Love and Other Crimes”. The six track ep which is being released via Pure Noise is the follow up to the band’s 2012 self titled debut which was released via Red Scare and then re-released by Fat Wreck Chords in 2013.

Despite the band being somewhat mysterious due to their identities being hidden behind brightly colored ski masks one thing is certain, These guys know how to have fun! With six songs clocking in at just under fifteen minutes Masked Intruder’s “Love and Other Crimes” wastes no time getting to the point. Each song is brimming over with Ramones like rhythms and comedic lyrics which instantly make the release a fun listen each and every time. Tracks like the albums guitar fueled opener “Take What I Want” the super catchy “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt” and the tongue and cheek filled “Running from the Cops” are all songs you can listen to time and time again. Even after multiple listens the songs still remain fun and fresh.

Don’t let the bands comedic look and nature fool you as each of the 4 members (Blue, Yellow, Green and Red) show tremendous disciple at their instruments making “Love and Other Crimes” a solid testament to that statement. If you’re a punk rock fan looking for something light and new grab yourself a copy of this release.

Track Listing:
1.) Take What I Want
2.) First Star Tonight
3.) Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt
4.) Running from the Cops
5.) Still Always on My Mind
6.) If Only

Fallen Preview: A Tale of a Century-Old Love

https://pixabay.com/en/heart-love-romance-valentine-700141/

The intersection between movie motifs and the supernatural is one that audiences are often invited to travel across by script writers and directors.

From straight-up thrillers involving antisocial beings from the beyond to heart-warming tales of those on earth finding comfort in those from the spirit world, the use of spirits and all things ethereal has proved hugely popular with movie makers over the years.

Naturally, as we slip further into 2016, that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down thanks to the pending release of Fallen. Not to be confused with the 1998 movie of the same name featuring Denzel Washington as homicide detective John Hobbes, the 2016 version of Fallen is a British, Australian and American hybrid production based on Lauren Kate’s Fallen novels.

The Guidance of Angels

https://pixabay.com/en/angel-singing-choral-christmas-1004111/

Known for her young adult novels, Kate’s Fallen was originally published in 2009 and focuses on the love story between accused murder Lucinda Price and her school mate, Daniel, who it transpires is an angel. Wanting to enliven this idea with some sights and sounds, Nichole Millard turned the story into a screenplay and Scott Hicks (famous for the movie Shine) took charge of the directorial side of things.

Despite being slated for release in 2015, the movie has had its setbacks, but Kate herself has stated that it will hit movie theatres in September 2016. At its core, the movie focuses on the relationship between Price and Daniel who has “loved her for a thousand years”. However, beyond the budding love between the two characters, the movie is also an exploration of how a belief in something beyond the physical world can help change someone’s life.

Among faith healers and psychics, the role of angels in our life is well known. According to popular wisdom, angels are constantly watching over us and if we’re able to channel their power we can fix certain issues in our life. To that end, many people now use angle therapy as a way to communicate with guardian angels such as Archangel Chamuel (peaceful relationships), Archangel Michael (the truth teller) and Archangel Gabriel (overseer of the creative).

A Supernatural Love Triangle

https://pixabay.com/en/angel-guardian-angel-heart-rose-1194462/

This appears to be the concept Kate, and latterly Hicks, has taken to a new level in Fallen. Instead of sitting down and tapping into the spirit world with the help of a therapist, Price has a direct line to her guardian angel. However, as with all tales of love and reform, the path to salvation is never easy and, despite a chance encounter with Daniel, Price also falls for another schoolmate in the form of Cam (also an angel).

This love triangle then becomes a battle between heaven and hell with Price stuck in the middle of two supernatural beings who have loved her for centuries. The overall premise of Fallen is far from unique, but if the production is slick and the acting is on point then it should do well. Indeed, the spirit world motif is one that often does well with audiences when it’s combined with a love story.

Will be a blockbuster? Probably not, but if the spirits are watching over the movie then it should do well enough to satisfy the production company and Fallen’s original author, Lauren Kate.

“Gasper Noe’s LOVE” Available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 5, 2016

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY™ AND DVD ON JANUARY 5, 2016
Los Angeles, CA (November 24, 2015) — Alchemy is proud to announce the home entertainment release of the intense drama, LOVE starring Aomi Muyock, Karl Gussman (Ratter), Klara Kristin. Written and directed by first time feature filmmaker, Gasper Noe, LOVE premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and was an official selection at the Festival De Cannes 2015.  LOVE has a running time of 130 minutes, is not rated and will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD on January 5, 2016.

LOVE is a sexual melodrama about a boy and a girl and another girl. It’s a love story, which celebrates sex in a joyous way.

ABOUT ALCHEMY
Alchemy is the largest independent distributor of film and television content across all platforms and windows in North America. Alchemy develops tailored distribution strategies, from theatrical release to DVD, digital, VOD, and television.  Under CEO Bill Lee’s direction, the company has distributed the work of some of the world’s finest filmmakers including Richard Linklater, Werner Herzog, Gregg Araki, Dito Montiel, John Hillcoat, John Turturro, Lee Daniels, Oren Moverman and James Cameron. The company’s current releases include Ravi and Geeta Patel’s MEET THE PATELS, and Gaspar Noe’s LOVE, with past successes including WELCOME TO ME, FADING GIGOLO, WHAT MAISIE KNEW, RAMPART, and BERNIE. Upcoming releases include Nanni Moretti’s MIA MADRE, Rob Zombie’s 31, Yorgos Lanthimos’s THE LOBSTER, and Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s French horror film EVOLUTION.

Alchemy boasts the independent content industry’s preeminent end-to-end supply chain solution for physical and digital distribution. The company is the industry’s largest physical distributor outside of the major studios and Lionsgate, representing the majority of non-studio content at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Sam’s Club and is the leading independent supplier to digital platforms including iTunes, Netflix and VOD.

Alchemy owns a catalog of more than 1,000 film titles and has deals for the ongoing distribution of film titles and programming for clients including DreamWorks Animation, Magnolia, Microsoft, MPI Media, Music Box Films, nCircle, Phase 4 Films, PBS Distribution, Team Marketing, Well Go USA and Vertical, among many others.

Blu-ray Review “Love & Mercy”

Starring: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald
Director: Bill Pohlad
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Run Time: 111 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The Beach Boys are not one of my favorite bands. Let’s set the story straight here to start. When their music comes on the radio, usually I change the channel. I do though love anything that John Cusack is in. Both the acting from Cusack and Paul Dano are really sharp. Rounding out the cast include also the amazing Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti. Honestly for acting alone this is worth a view. Plus “Pet Sounds” is probably one of the more easier to listen to of the bands album, since it focuses around it’s origin. If you are a hardcore Beach Boys fan, check it out for sure.

Official Premise: Love & Mercy is an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson (portrayed by both John Cusack and Paul Dano), singer and songwriter for The Beach Boys. The film intimately examines the unique journey and ultimate salvation of this musical icon, whose success came at an extraordinary personal cost.

The Blu-ray comes with an Digital HD copy as well. The 1080p transfer is solid even though the film was shot to look old and grainy at certain times on purpose it all worked out. Of course with a film about music, the sound is very important. Well, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers quite well. Between Atticus Ross score and clips of various Beach Boys and Wilson songs they are well represented.

In the special feature department, things are a little less interesting. There is a decent and pretty informative commentary with Bill Pohlad, the Director/Producer and Oren Moverman, the Executive Producer/Co-Writer. “A California Story: Creating the Look of Love & Mercy” looks into recreating the settings and the music for the film. “A Side/B Side: Portraying the Life of Brian Wilson” is solid and runs nearly 30 minutes with some interviews and archival footage of Wilson. Lastly there are a few deleted scenes included.

 

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Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Kids Love & Family Expo is September 12 & 13, 2015 at Museum of Discovery and Science

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – September 3, 2015 – The Museum of Discovery and Science announced today that it will host the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Kids Love & Family Expo for the second year in a row on September 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and September 13, 2015 from noon to 5 p.m. It will be a fun-filled family-themed weekend event produced by Entercom South Florida 101.5 LITE-FM, Magic 102.7, 790 AM The Ticket and the new 104.3 FM The Shark.

The Kids Love & Family Expo is a celebrity-filled extravaganza with everything that KIDS LOVE! With over 75+ interactive activities and exhibits for kids, the Museum of Discovery and Science is already something that KIDS LOVE! And while the kids are having fun, parents will discover the latest and greatest in products and services to make their busy lives healthier, easier, and more enjoyable from more than 50 sponsors & exhibitors!!!

Visitors will get a chance to meet celebrities, such as TV’s Lea Black from the Real Housewives of Miami and Genevieve Goings from Choo-Choo Soul on Disney, Jr. Plus, a special appearance from Kid KJ “Lil’ Monster Truck Jam and Ride”. Take a ride in a real monster truck, watch Kid KJ demonstrate monster truck tricks, and get an up close look at the monster trucks in Kid KJ’s & The Mighty Monsters collection! Don’t forget to bring your camera as there will be appearances from favorite your storybook characters – Madeline, Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog – on the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Storytelling Stage throughout the Kids Love & Family Expo!
Museum President/CEO Kim Cavendish stated, “The Kids Love and Family Expo is truly a treat for the entire family. Costume characters, local exhibitors, dancing and prizes highlight this special two-day event. Plus, visitors will get to explore the hundreds of interactive exhibits that the Museum has to offer. Come one, come all.”

To learn more about the Kids Love and Family Expo, visit: http://tinyurl.com/kidsexpo15
Kids Love and Family Expo 2014 Photos: http://tinyurl.com/kidsandfam

 

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY AND SCIENCE

The mission of the Museum of Discovery and Science is to provide experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs and films. Founded in 1976 as The Discovery Center, the nonprofit facility serves approximately 400,000 visitors annually. Major operational support for the Museum is provided through generous support by Leadership Guild members including: JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Broward Health, Sun Sentinel and Wells Fargo.

The Museum is open seven days a week, 365 days a year with extended IMAX® hours on most evenings. Exhibit only admission prices are $14 adults; $13 seniors; $12 children 2 to 12. Children under 2 are free. The Museum of Discovery and Science is at 401 SW Second Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312. For more information call 954.467.MODS (6637) or www.mods.org

Win Prize Packs from Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles LOVE & Michael Jackson ONE [ENDED]

Media Mikes is teaming up with Cirque de Soleil and giving away some amazing prize packs from their newest shows Michael Jackson One and The Beatles LOVE. If you want to win this great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Cirque de Soleil show. This giveaway will remain open until December 26th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Here is what is included in the five prize packs, including a variation of:
– Michael Jackson One Hats
– Michael Jackson One Souvenir Programs
– The Beatles LOVE T-Shirts
– The Beatles LOVE Hats

This holiday season, head out to Las Vegas and experience two awe-inspiring Cirque du Soleil shows featuring the music from two of the most iconic names in the Music Industry; Michael Jackson ONE and The Beatles LOVE. Log on to cirquedusoleil.com for a special ticket package now.

 

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Film Review “Love is Strange”

Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei and Charlie Tahan
Directed By: Ira Sachs
Rated: R
Running Time: 94 minutes
Sony Pictures Classic

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Today’s a big day for Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina). After spending the past 39 years together, they’re finally getting married. It’s a joyous occasion, accompanied by friends and family, who’ve watched the couple stick it out through thick and thin for nearly four decades. The honeymoon, the real and metaphorical one, is now over and an unexpected snag begins to take hold.

George, a respected teacher and member of the Catholic school he works for, has been fired because of his marriage. With his meager salary and Ben’s pension, they can’t quite make the bills anymore. They now can’t afford their apartment and need to seek a new residence. Because of George’s work, they’ll have to split for the time being. Ben goes to live with his nephew Elliot (Darren Burrows) and his wife Kate (Tomei). George has to move in with a pair of gay policemen who party on the weekends and play Dungeons and Dragons on the weeknights; Far from ideal for both men.

While their current predicament may not seem like the worst thing in the world, their calls and conversation hint at much tougher hurdles in the past that have been overcome. “Love is Strange” teaches that love can become stronger through adversity, but it’s not their love that’s in for a bumpy ride. The real struggle lies within Elliot, Kate and their son Joey (Tahan). They’re a decaying family. Elliot is constantly busy, but one may suspect he’s having an affair. Kate is usually at home attempting to write her latest book, but finding that most of her daily stresses are hampering that. Then there’s Joey, a real enigma. He can tell his parents aren’t on the best of terms and it doesn’t help he’s not on the best of terms with both of them.

There’s so much conflict told visually that many of the problems are never solved or fully developed verbally. It leaves the audience wondering what, if anything, is actually happening. While that’s off putting to some, that’s perfectly fine with me. Speculation is the most fun one can have during a movie and after leaving the theater. Joey seems to resent Ben at first, but…that’s the biggest mystery in the movie. While Kate may believe Ben is the reason things are imploding, the family dynamic appears to have been festering for years. Elliot seems to believe nothing is wrong at all or is too busy to care.

The most telling moment is when Joey has trouble answering a question from Ben. “Have you ever been in love?” Joey immediately takes offense wondering if Ben is implying he’s gay. That can easily be chalked up to a typical teenage homophobic concern that’s rooted in one’s own sexual confusion. But instead it tells me that he hasn’t grown up in the most loving of households. That watching his mom and dad slowly drift apart is taking a personal toll on him and he’s slowly losing grip on everything else.

The ending comes after a traumatic event that has clearly impacted Joey. Tahan is given the arduous task of portraying the only real tearful, emotional moment of all the characters and he’s spot on. It’s not an ensemble cast, but it’s definitely one that has the swagger. Lithgow leads the way perfecting every little word he speaks and every little facial movement. He lives and breathes inside Ben and has never done a more believable job in a role. If he doesn’t get a nomination at this year’s Oscars for his performance, it would be a damn shame.

“Love is Strange” is short and thoughtful. Outside of being a touching film, it’s shot in a very beautiful way. Most times people love to focus on the cold concrete structures of New York, but director Ira Sachs finds the grandeur of nature breaking through the cracks. It’s a bittersweet symphony that displays a different message to different people. It may tell you that life, in essence, is short and that we need to cherish it. Or maybe it’ll tell you that even in the most desolate of circumstances, you can come out in the end a happier person.

Enter to Win “The Beatles Love by Cirque Du Soleil” Exclusive Gift Packs [ENDED]

In order to celebrate the  50th Anniversary of The Beatles coming to America, Media Mikes excited to be able to giving away Five (5) The Beatles LOVE gift packs (check out details below). If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Beatles song. This giveaway will remain open until September 12th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all of our Media Mikes readers worldwide. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Head to Las Vegas and celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America with The Beatles Love by Cirque Du Soleil. LOVE brings the magic of Cirque du Soleil together with the spirit and passion of The Beatles as never before, only at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Book now and enjoy the special anniversary offer with tickets starting at $60. Get your tickets now at Cirquedusoleil.com/LOVE

Prizing: Five (5) The Beatles LOVE gift packs, each containing:
– The Beatles LOVE Collectible Hat
– The Beatles LOVE Reusable Water Bottle
– The Beatles LOVE Pins
– The Beatles LOVE Plastic Bag

Promotion: The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil – 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Coming to America Special Offer
Flight Dates: Aug 25 – Sep 3
Weblink: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/love/tickets/las-vegas.aspx

Book Review “Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row”

“Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row”
Authors: Damien Echols and Lorri Davis
Hardback/ 448 pages
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

Lorri Davis was a single woman, living in New York City, when she was invited by a friend to go to an early screening of a new documentary. What she saw changed her life. Lorri saw alienation, and she saw herself being represented onscreen. Coming from the South she had always felt like she didn’t belong there, and that she did not fit in with those around her. This documentary showed her a teen-age boy who had gone through the same situation: only a hundred times worse. The documentary was “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” and the teen-age boy she identified with was Damien Echols; one of the West Memphis Three.

The story of the West Memphis Three, as told through “Paradise Lost” stuck with Lorri, and haunted her. She became relatively obsessed with Damien, and could not get him out of her head. So, like dozens of others whom viewed the same film, Lorri decided to write to Damien. And so began a love story like no other.

Damien and Lorri started to write each other letters, reaching a point to where they both would write several letters a day. They felt a real connection with each other, and within less than four years they were married. The ceremony being unique in and of itself: a Buddhist ceremony held on Death Row. Lorri Davis would soon quit her job, move to Arkansas, and lead a team of investigators and lawyers to one day bring release and exoneration to her husband. While the release has occurred, the exoneration still has not.

In “West of Memphis”, one of the four documentaries that cover the West Memphis Three case, Lorri mentions her and Damien having written somewhere around 5,000 letters to each other; all between 1996 and 2011 (the latter being the year Damien was released from prison). Lorri also states in the film that she had contemplated burning all of the letters; presumably as a way to start anew and move on. However, she and Damien did no such thing.

“Yours For Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row” is a collection of a very small portion of those letters; as well as present day notes to fill the reader in on the authors’ mindsets. Giving bits of notations to things referenced or alluded to. It truly is a wonderful journey into the minds of two people; two people slowly falling in love, no less. Damien has always been a writer and a poet. Having self-published a memoir in 2005 called “Almost Home”, and an updated version of the same book, with more content, in 2012 entitled “Life After Death”.

“Yours For Eternity” offers a unique perspective on the West Memphis Three case, in as much as it almost has nothing to do with the case itself; but offers a look at the circumstances Damien and Lorri were put in because of the case. Together they don’t spend their time delving into clues and information about who may or may not have committed the crimes; they leave that to the outside world. Within the letters they spend their energy trying to decipher and decode each other. They create a world and a life together using only their words. Damien and Lorri built a friendship, relationship, and a marriage, using the only thing Damien was allowed to have on Death Row: anything made of paper.

This book is a fast and easy read, and it’s rather beautiful. The reader is allowed access to the most intimate of thoughts and feelings and will allow you to view the people involved in this case in a whole new light. Damien Echols and Lorri Davis are currently traveling the United States in support of this book. Go see them if they come to your city.

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Book Review “I Love My Daddy”

Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Emma Dodd
Age Range: 1 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Maybe this book hit home with me more than the average person, but I really love this book. I have a 2 year old daughter and she is my world. When I saw that there is a book called “I Love My Daddy”, I couldn’t request it sooner. The fact that this book features a girl with her daddy only makes it more special to me. My daughter has been talking more and more every day, starting to form sentences etc and one of the things that she says all the time is “I love my daddy” and that is not a lie. She calls me “my daddy”. If you have a young child, this is a must own for sure and don’t worry there is also a “I Love My Mommy” as well for all your amazing mother’s out there as well.

Award-winning and bestselling author, Giles Andreae is also responsible for other great books including “Rumble in the Jungle”, “Giraffes Can’t Dance” and “The Lion Who Wanted to Love”. Besides illustrating “I Love My Mommy” also, Emma Dodd’s work  includes the popular Amazing Baby series as well. Overall, this book is so much fun and features rhyming verses and great illustrations. It is sweet and I have a feeling that this is going to become our new bedtime book for quite a while. I owe Disney/Hyperion a big thanks for reissuing this book because it has made my week reading it and I honestly look forward to tomorrow night!

Blu-ray Review “I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1”

Starring: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, Vivian Vance
Number of discs: 6
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014
Run Time: 907 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“I Love Lucy”, who doesn’t? This 1950’s classic television show is coming to Blu-ray thanks to CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment in this 6-disc Blu-ray release of “Ultimate Season 1”. This season includes the first 35 episodes of the show, which starred the legendary Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley and Vivian Vance. This season includes some of the most beloved episodes includes “The Ballet”, “Pioneer Women” and “The Freezer”. These episodes are still hysterical today and that just proves how amazing this show was going strong still over 60 years later. I am looking forward to the rest of the seasons hopefully season two will come later this year, hint hint!

Official Synopsis: You’ve loved and laughed at Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel for years, but you’ve never seen I Love Lucy like this on glorious high-definition. Coming to Blu-ray in a highly collectible set with special gloss packaging that includes every episode from the first season, each one beautifully restored in high definition, in original night-of-broadcast form with original sponsor openings and closings. The set also includes a number of as yet undetailed special features, many never before released on home video.

These episodes are presented in their original aspect ratio: 1.33:1 and have never looked better. The pilot episode has also been remastered from a newly discovered original 35mm negative. The episodes look extremely crisp and have very sharp black color (since the show is black and white only). The audio comes with a PCM 2.0 mono track that has been cleaned up a bunch and really delivers the comedy aspects very well for this show. Paramount really has been great with restoring older shows to Blu-ray ala “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

Here are a full listing of the episodes includes for season 1. “Pilot”; “The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub”; “Be a Pal”; “The Diet”; “Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her”; “The Quiz Show”; “The Audition”; “The Séance”; “Men Are Messy”; “The Fur Coat”; “Lucy Is Jealous of a Girl Singer”; “Drafted”; “The Adagio”; “The Benefit”; “The Amateur Hour”; “Lucy Plays Cupid”; “Lucy Fakes Illness”; “Lucy Writes a Play”; “Breaking the Lease”; “The Ballet”; “The Young Fans”; “New Neighbors”, “Fred and Ethel Fight”; “The Moustache; “The Gossip”; “Pioneer Women”; “The Marriage License”; “The Kleptomaniac”; “Cuban Pals”; “The Freezer”; “Lucy Does a TV Commercial”; “The Publicity Agent”; “Lucy Gets Ricky on the Radio”; “Lucy’s Schedule”, “Ricky Thinks He’s Getting Bald” and “Ricky Asks for a Raise”

The special features are equally impressive as the season itself. First we have “I Love Lucy: The Very First Show CBS special”, which is a great. There are audio commentary on select episodes by Lucille Ball, Desi Arnes, Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Davis, Bob Carroll, Jr. and others. There are 13 episodes includes with alternate elements, which is a real nice bonus. There are on-set color “home movies” from the season. There are also selected episodes of Lucille Ball’s “My Favorite Husband” radio series. Lastly there are bloopers, guest cast bios, production notes and photo galleries included.