Film Review: “Men In Black: International”

  • Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Liam Neeson
  • Directed by:  F. Gary Gray
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  1 hr 54 mins
  • Columbia

Paris.  Present day.  As a young man prepares to propose to his lady on top of the Eifel Tower they are surprised by the sudden appearance of two mysterious men dressed in black.  They appear curious as to their presence but soon they won’t even remember they were there.  Cue the neurolizer.  FLASH!

An entertaining continuation of the “Men in Black” series, albeit minus Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, “Men In Black: International” introduces us to two new agents – H (Hemsworth) and M (Thompson).  They are assigned to protect a visiting alien dignitary by their superior, High T (Neeson).  However, when things go horribly wrong, they quickly deduce that there is a mole in MIB, one who must be stopped.

I’ve always enjoyed these films.  And I like how they have fun with the time lines.  This time the producers have cast two of the most popular young actors working today and both Hemsworth and Thompson handle their assignments well.  Thompson’s M has dreamed of “What’s out there?” since she was a little girl.  She impresses MIB chief O (Emma Thompson) by doing the impossible – infiltrating MIB headquarters.  This bold move gets her hired – probationary – and her exuberance is felt in the audience.  Hemsworth is the hot-shot H, dealing with emotional issues (his alien girlfriend just dumped him) and slacking off in his job.  They are joined by Pawnie, a six inch chess piece voiced hilariously by Kumall Nanjiani.  The trio team up to save the day, or at least destroy a lot of stuff trying.

Like the other films, the two best things going are the chemistry between the leads and the amazing creature effects.  Seven-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker designed the original trilogy’s creatures and the new group who worked on this film carry on the great tradition.  The direction, with Mr. Gray replacing trilogy director Barry Sonnenfeld, is brisk and keeps the story moving.  If you’ve even wondered “What’s out there?” this film may not have the answers.  But it will give you an enjoyable two hours to contemplate. 

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Men In Black: International”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Sony Pictures to give (25) random readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the summer’s most anticipated films, “Men In Black: International.”

The film starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson, will screen on Tuesday, June 11th at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE. (25) random entries will be selected and each will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. Good luck!

“Men In Black: International” opens nationwide on Friday, June 14th!




*Disclaimer: Limit one entry per person. Void where prohibited. Screening is overbooked to ensure a full house. Seating is limited to theatre capacity and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Receiving a screening pass does not guarantee seating.  Theatre is not responsible for overbooking.

Win Tickets to Advance Screening in Florida for “What Men What”

Paramount Pictures is releasing the new film “What Men What”, starring Taraji P. Henson and which opens wide on February 8th.  We will be holding an advance screening of the film in various theaters in Florida and are giving away tickets! Click below to get tickets, first come first serve! Good luck and like always leave a comment here after you’ve seen the film!

AMC Sunset Place

Regal Waterford Lakes

AMC Westshore

Regal Avenues



Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a successful sports agent who’s constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. When Ali is passed up for a well-deserved promotion, she questions what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world… until she gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts! With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar, but the lengths she has to go to will put her relationship with her best friends and a potential new love interest (Aldis Hodge) to the test. WHAT MEN WANT is the latest comedy from director Adam Shankman (HAIRSPRAY) and producers Will Packer and James Lopez (GIRLS TRIP), co-starring Tracy Morgan, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Josh Brener, Tamala Jones, Phoebe Robinson, Max Greenfield, Jason Jones, Brian Bosworth, Chris Witaske and Erykah Badu.

Of Mice & Men + SiriusXM Premiere Cover of Pink Floyd’s “Money”

Premiere Cover of Pink Floyd’s “Money”

New Album “DEFY” Out January 19

Winter 2018 Headline Tour With BLESSTHEFALL, CANE HILL, & FIRE FROM THE GODS Kicks Off On January 31

Of Mice & Men —vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley, guitarist Alan Ashby, drummer Valentino Arteaga, and guitarist Phil Manansala— have shared another new track from their forthcoming and much anticipated album “Defy”, out January 19 through Rise Records. The song “Money,” which is a Pink Floyd cover, premiered via SiriusXM’s Octane earlier this week and is now available at all DSPs.

Listen to “Money” here.

The band will embark on a headline tour, which kicks off on January 31 in Berkeley, California, with Blessthefall, Cane Hill, Fire From the Gods, and Mscw in tow. The trek runs through March 7 in San Diego. All tour dates are below. Tickets and VIP packages are available here.

Defy was produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Three Days Grace, Skillet, The All-American Rejects) and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, Rise Against).

Of Mice & Men released the explosive and unforgettable new tracks “Warzone” and “Defy,” which followed the previous one-two punch of the singles “Unbreakable” and “Back to Me.”

With Blessthefall, Cane Hill, Fire From the Gods
1/31 — Berkeley, CA — The UC Theatre*
2/1 — Santa Cruz, CA — Catalyst*
2/2 — Portland, OR — Wonder Ballroom*
2/3 — Seattle, WA — El Corazon*
2/4 — Boise, ID — Knitting Factory*
2/5 — Salt Lake City, UT — Complex*
2/6 — Denver, CO — Summit Music Hall*
2/8 — Minneapolis, MN — Music Hall MPLS*
2/9 — St. Louis, MO — Ready Room
2/11 — Chicago, IL — House of Blues
2/12 — Detroit, MI — Crofoot
2/13 — Toronto, ON — Opera House
2/14 — Montreal, QC — Corona Theatre
2/16 — Boston, MA — Paradise Rock Club
2/17 — New York City, NY — Gramercy Theatre
2/18 — Asbury Park, NJ — Stone Pony
2/19 — Philadelphia, PA — Trocadero
2/20 — Charlotte, NC — Underground
2/21 — Atlanta, GA — Masquerade Heaven
2/23 — Orlando, FL — Beacham
2/24 — Destin, FL — Club L.A.
2/25 — New Orleans, LA — House of Blues
2/27 — Houston, TX — White Oak
2/28 — Dallas, TX — Canton Hall
3/1 — Albuquerque, NM — Sunshine
3/4 — Vegas, NV — Vinyl @ Hard Rock Live
3/5 — Flagstaff, AZ — Orpheum
3/6 — Phoenix, AZ — Nile Theatre
3/7 — San Diego, CA — SOMA
*No Cane Hill

1. Defy
2. Instincts
3. Back to Me
4. Sunflower
5. Unbreakable
6. Vertigo
7. Money
8. How Will You Live
9. On The Inside
10. Warzone
11. Forever YDG’n
12. If We Were Ghosts

Film Review “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

Directed by: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Geoffrey Rush
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Release date: May 26, 2017
Running time: 129 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me! Honestly, I expect very little from this latest (and claimed final…yeah, right!) adventure in the series. But “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a fun ride. I have been a fan of each of the films in this franchise. They are not perfect by any standards but they are entertaining for sure. Even though everyone loves Captain Jake Sparrow, my favorite part of these films have been the baddies…and in this film Captain Salazar steals the show. I would honestly recommend seeing this film just to watch Javier Bardem’s performance. He is an amazing bad guy. Everything from his flowing hair to his weezing as he speaks is just amazing! Even though claim as a the final adventures, this franchise still has steam left in it and I am on board for sure!

Official Premise: Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

I’ve read some reviews saying that “Dead Men Tell No Tales” tries to tell too much story and no character but I loved the back story that Salazar provides to the franchise and how it ties in with Jack Sparrow’s origin. The worst part of the film is no question the inclusion of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters. There combined five seconds on screen is surely laughable and worth nothing. Johnny Depp seemed a little tired in the role and just rolling with the punches but people love Jack Sparrow and he delivers some great laughs. There is even a nice little cameo from The Beatles’ Paul McCartney as Sparrow’s Uncle.

The visual effects are solid in this fifth entry. The zombie sharks were a bit of a let down and wasn’t the spectacle that I was hoping for, visually cool but they really didn’t do much. Co-director’s Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg took the film in a good direction and I enjoyed their spin on this franchise. I am curious to see where this franchise goes next after this film (which is sure to make another billion dollars for Disney). I just hope that they don’t pick up with the same old Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner love story again, been there done that. This is definitely a solid kick off though for this Summer and makes this film the first popcorn flick to catch. So grab some snacks, sit down and enjoy the ride!

Blu-ray Review “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage”

Actors: Nicolas Cage, Matt Lanter, Thomas Jane, Tom Sizemore
Directors: Mario Van Peebles
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Run Time: 131 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

Whenever I think about the story of the USS Indianapolis, I go straight to Quint’s legendary speech from the 1975 film “Jaws”. It is a scary and grim story of courage and strength. Unfortunately, in short, this film neither captures that courage of strength at all and quite bores you with this adaption. There is definitely a cast of character who show up in this film including Nicolas Cage, Matt Lanter, James Remar, Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane. But no talent can spare us from the slow motion scenes to the cheap CGI.

Official Premise: Based on a true story of survival and bravery, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage stars Cage as the captain of the USS Indianapolis, a boat tasked with a top-secret mission at the end of World War II. With remarkable production value, the film tells the harrowing tale of real life American heroes shipwrecked in shark infested waters in the waning days of World War II.

The Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack for “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” has no major issue with it’s technical merits. The 1080p does what it can with the film’s cheap production value and use of digital effects. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track works with the action but didn’t overly wow me either. The only special feature included is a featurette focusing around “The Making of USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage”.


Related Content
  • Blu-ray Review “Deepwater Horizon”
  • Blu-ray Review “Jason Bourne”
  • Blu-ray Review “Unfinished Business”
  • Blu-ray Review “Focus”
  • Film Review “Men, Women & Children”

    Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever
    Directed By: Jason Reitman
    Rated: R
    Running Time: 119 minutes
    Paramount Pictures

    Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Before the lights are dimmed and the movie begins, nearly every single person was looking at a smartphone, whether it is their own or simply sharing with the person next to them. They sat still with their fingers plugging away at a text or simply transfixed by a viral video. Some played mindless games while others, like me, were checking Twitter. It wasn’t always like this. I remember entering a movie theater and having to have a interpersonal conversation while easy movie trivia flashed on the screen. Things are different now, our lives, communication and feelings are all affected by technology and “Men, Women & Children” gives us a blunt look at its influence.

    First we meet Don (Adam Sandler) who’s sexually dissatisfied in his marriage and resorts to Internet pornography to service his needs. His wife Helen (DeWitt) is also unhappy, but has yet to find a way to service her needs. Their son is also setting himself up for a life of porn addiction and a fervent discipline for touching himself. The other kids at school are slightly saner. There’s Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia), who gloats about her sexual conquests, and aspires to be a model. Her mom, Joan (Greer), supports these dreams and aspirations in the creepiest way possible, helping her daughter set up an online website to upload risqué photos.

    The craziest parent, believe it or not, is the one who stalks her own daughters every cyber movement and reads through page after page of online chat. Patricia (Garner) believes the Internet is a vast, scary, and dangerous place for her daughter, Brandy (Dever), needless to say, is a social outcast at school because her life is under a miscroscope. Oddly enough, she draws the attention of Tim (Elgort). He’s lost meaning in life, recently quitting the football team and finding comfort in his online gaming friends on the massive multiplayer game, Guild Wars. His mom abandoned him and his dad, and as much as he’d like to still talk with her, she blocks on him on social media to prevent his prying eyes from seeing her fabulous new life without them. He doesn’t get much in the way of comfort from his Guild Wars pals who respond to his maternal predicament with “is she DTF?” (I’ll let you look that chat speak up for yourself if you don’t know what it means)

    It may seem like a lot to handle (I know trying to explain it was), but Reitman weaves it all smoothly. He manages to give us a contemporary, albeit crude, look at a dysfunctional nuclear family, the overbearing parent, the single parent balancing their own personal despair and their child’s misery, eating disorders, and how these have changed as we’ve evolved from face-to-face talking to texting. It’s not a red flag of danger on where we’re headed, but more of a reminder that we can still be cruel, insensitive and clueless no matter what the means of communication are.

    Instead of fixing their marriage and finding that old spark (or Hell, even divorce), Helen turns to online adultery and Don finds an escort through a website. It’s not a condemnation of these websites; married people aren’t the only ones who use these kinds of websites. It’s pointing out how the means to cheat have been filtered through a different way. The old form of peer pressure for students now comes through online help forums and websites pressuring young girls into a particular body image or thought process. Even the classic teen romance bubbles through talking on Tumblr, but the traditional means of affection remain intact. Technology has yet to replace human contact…yet.

    “Men, Women & Children” has a bizarre ensemble cast, but I may only be saying that because this is Adam Sandler’s second dramatic role in a career spanning way too many fart jokes. Elgort shows off his range by become a sullen woeful soul, a complete opposite of his charismatic and witty character in “The Fault in Our Stars”. Dever, who I haven’t seen in anything else to my knowledge, is really good here along with Garner who seems borderline psychotic. I would have loved to see more interactions between those two. There’s simply not enough time to go too far into their lives, but I had an feel that this kind of movie could easily be transcribed into television format in today’s golden age of TV dramas.

    “Men, Women & Children” is an Instagram snapshot into our digital lives, which runs the risk of being dated within a matter of years. Its social observations are long lasting though. It’s definitely a conversation starter about a topic that needs to be talked about before we fall into the archetypes we seen in this movie. Something tells me it won’t though. As soon as the first line of credits began rolling upwards, people immediately whipped out their smartphones.

    There’s simply not enough time to go too far into their lives, but I have a feeling that this kind of movie could easily be transcribed into television format in today’s golden age of TV dramas.

    Win Advance Passes to The Kansas City Premiere of Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women and Children” [ENDED]

    Media Mikes has teamed up with Paramount Pictures to give (50) readers a chance to win a pass for (2) to attend the Kansas City premiere of the new film “Men, Women and Children.”

    All you have to do is go to and register. On October 12, 2014, (50) random entrants will be selected and notified by email. Good luck!

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    7:30 p.m.
    Tivoli Cinema
    Kansas City, Missouri

    Opening Date: Friday, October 17, 2014
    Official Website:
    Twitter: @MWCMovie #MWC
    Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout-some involving teens, and for language.

    MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives.


    Related Content

    Blu-ray Review “The Monuments Men”

    Starring: Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin
    Director: George Clooney
    Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
    DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014
    Run Time: 118 minutes

    Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

    When I saw that George Clooney was directing a film starring himself along with Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Jean Dujardin…I knew it would be a winner. The film was pushed back into February this year which did set off a few alarms but it all paid off. Like always Cate Blanchett, who just won the Best Actress award for “Blue Jasmine”, is alone is worth the price of film alone. Matt Damon is great in lead of this amazing group of actors. George is George, charming as always. The last year or two has been really kind to John Goodman (“Argo”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”) and same goes to Bill Murphy (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”). To be honest, this is probably not a film I will watch over and over but I was easily won over with the cast and it’s makes it worth checking out.

    Official Premise: Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, “The Monuments Men” centers around an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. In a seemingly impossible mission, the Monuments Men, as they were called, find themselves risking their lives in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1,000 years of culture.

    Sony Pictures is delivering this film as a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy. The 1080p transfer is quite stunning. They really used some amazing locations to recreate parts of Europe. The cinematography is very well done. The transfer was also mastered in 4K for maximum picture and expanded color, so this is a real bonus here. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works well to suite the aspect of war surrounding the war. The special features are a little light with no commentary tracks but still decent. “George Clooney’s Mission” and “Marshaling the Cast” are all-new featurettes that go behind-the-scenes into the making of the film. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is “The Real Monuments Men” which looks into the real heroes. “A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men” is a look into the characters brought to life. Lastly there are some Deleted Scenes included.


    Related Content

    Film Review “The Monuments Men”

    Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray
    Directed by: George Clooney
    Rated: PG 13
    Running time: 1 hour 58 mins

    Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

    In a review written about George Clooney’s directorial debut, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” the critic noted that Clooney’s work behind the camera signaled the introduction of a major filmmaking talent. Nine Academy Award nominations and two Oscar wins later, that critic proved to be right. And though I don’t like blowing my own horn I should point out here that the critic was me. A decade later, Clooney continues to impress me with his latest film, the World War II drama “Monuments Men.”

    Ghent, Belgium. Despite the protests of the protective clergy, a group of Nazis is in the process of stealing the historically valuable Ghent Altarpiece. Twelve painted panels with a value to Christians that can’t be measured in money. Unfortunately, all over Europe, wherever the Nazis have gained a foothold, this story is repeated thousands and thousands of times. From large galleries to the collections from the private sector, Hitler has decreed that any and all valuable art be confiscated. His plan is to open a museum in his hometown where he can display these items. Enter Frank Stokes (Clooney), an art historian who has pressured President Roosevelt into allowing him to form a band of likeminded men in the hopes of saving history. “We need to know if the Statue of David is still standing…if the Mona Lisa is still smiling.”

    Based on a true story, “The Monuments Men” tells the story of Stokes’ team and the missions they underwent to ensure that past civilizations, long gone but still remembered because of their artifacts, would not be destroyed. Though the team is made up of fellow art historians and curators, they first must endure military basic training because they must travel as part of the military. The group includes James Granger (Damon), curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, his English counterpart, Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) and French historian Jean Claude Clermont (“The Artist” Oscar winner Jean Dujardin). They are joined by three American scholars, played by John Goodman, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray. The three provide some comic relief but also some of the film’s most dramatic scenes. All are perfectly cast as is Cate Blanchett, who plays a French art curator who stands accused of helping the Nazi’s steal that country’s artifacts. As the war begins to wind down the men learn that the Russian army, in an attempt to recoup some of its monetary losses, is also looking for the stolen art with the intentions of keeping it.

    Credit Clooney, the director for surrounding Clooney, the actor, with a top rate cast. Each actor is a perfect complement to the others, with no one overshadowing the other. Damon is solid, as are the rest of the actors. If I had to single out a group it would be the three scholars. All have done incredible supporting work in the past and they continue that trait here. They know why they’ve been chosen and they know what is at stake. All three bring a touch of realism to the moments depicted, with Murray making himself an early name to consider for next year’s Oscars. Technically the film is well made, with great affection and attention to detail while composer Alexandre Desplat’s score sets the perfect mood.

    DVD Review "Men at Work: The Complete First Season"

    Created by: Breckin Meyer
    Starring: Danny Masterson, Michael Cassidy, Adam Busch, James Lesure
    Number of discs: 2
    Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
    DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013

    Series: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

    “Men at Work” is one of the newest gems that has come out of TBS last year. TBS’ tag line is “Very Funny” and this show is the reason why they have that tagline. The series was created by Breckin Meyer (“TV’s “Franklin & Bash”) and stars Danny Masterson, Michael Cassidy, Adam Busch and James Lesure. We had the privilege of interview the whole cast, click on their names about for each one. The show is a simple comedy but there is tons of wit and creativity spewing out of it.  The jokes are laugh-out-loud and memorable. The show ended its July 2012 and yet it is March 2013 and I am still quoting it. “BOOM! That is a truth bomb!” The other thing I respect about this show is that creator Breckin Meyer was on the set every day, according to the guys busting his ass and making sure that the show was as good as it could be.  Check this DVD out for sure and get ready to have fun.

    Official Synopsis: Man up with the guys from TBS’ original series MEN AT WORK – the bold new sitcom following four friends navigating their ways through work, friendship and women. Danny Masterson (TV’s “That ‘70s Show”), Michael Cassidy (TV’s “The OC”), Adam Busch (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Meredith Hagner (TV’s “Royal Pains”) and James Lesure (TV’s “Las Vegas”) star in this edgy series’ freshman season, which introduces Milo just as he breaks up with his longtime girlfriend. But rest assured his three closest buddies are right there to help him get back in the game, and no matter what mischief ensues, these friends have each other’s backs.

    The only bad thing about this show is that it is only 10 episodes.  With all the shitty shows on TV that gets 26 episodes a season, I would have loved to had more but at least with this show…every single episode is gold. The show is about relationships and the guys just get into nothing but trouble.  Some of the crazy shit they do is get into include a “devil’s threesome” (watch the show to find out), fight over a toilet bowl and only speak in song titles during work meetings.  That is only the tip of the iceberg here.  The DVD contains the 10 episodes from the first season and also a bunch of very funny deleted scenes and outtakes, which are a must see for fans of the show. I would have loved to seen some commentary tracks from the cast but either way. I am still left very satisfied here. I am literally counting down the days and can’t wait for season two, which airs on TBS on April 4, 2013.  So be sure to be tuned and spread the word about this great show!


    Related Content

    Blu-ray Review "The Men Who Built America"

    Directed by: Patrick Reams, Ruán Magan
    Actors: Justin Morck, Eric Rolland, Adam Jonas Segaller, Alex Falberg, Michael Chmiel
    Rated: Unrated
    Studio: A&E Home Video
    Release Date: January 22, 2013
    Run Time: 360 minutes

    Series: 4 out of 5 stars
    Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

    This mini-series original aired on History as an eight-hour, four-part miniseries. The series focuses on Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford and how they…take a guess…built America. This series is arriving on a 3-disc Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. This series is nice blend of dramatic recreation with plenty of learning factor as well. History really delivers a very entertaining series here and even though it is eight hours, I literally almost had to watch this series in one sitting. It keep you completely enthralled and actually has great reply value. This is a must for History buffs.

    Official Premise: The Men Who Built America™ tells the story of those that played a significant role in the shaping of this country. From Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Ford, the epic mini-series looks at how these individuals took a nation decaying from the Civil War into the greatest economic and technological superpower the world has ever seen. The Men Who Built America™ is the story of a nation at its crossroads and of the people who catapulted it to prosperity.

    The first episode is called “A New War Begins” follows Cornelius Vanderbilt as takes over the railroad empire. It also shows the rise of John D. Rockefeller and as he founds Standard Oil. The second, “Bloody Battles”, focuses on Andrew Carnegie as his builds his steel empire and his struggles between Henry Frick. The third, “Changing the Game”, follows J.P. Morgan as his goes forward with the direct current electric light of Thomas Edison and faces competition from George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. The last episode is called “When One Ends, Another Begins” and it focuses around Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan as they team up to help elect William McKinley as US President. Of course due to assassination it falls to Theodore Roosevelt. Morgan buys out Carnegie Steel. Henry Ford founds the Model T and starts his own business, Ford Motor Company.

    History is known for consistently delivering many impressive Blu-ray presentations. The 1080p transfer really looks sharp and really shows the amount of scale that this series brings forward. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 also works really well. The special features are actually quite impressive for a mini-series. Normally a show like this would not come with any additional footage but this series does not skimp out. There are seven featurettes included on this release including “From Richer to Richer”, “The American Dream”, “Monopoly”, “Competitive Nature”, “The Every Man”, “The Rise of Cornelius Vanderbilt” and “Traits of a Titan”. If you are a fan of this series when it aired on History last Fall, I would highly recommend this Blu-ray just for the extras.


    Related Content

    3D Blu-ray Review “Men in Black 3”

    Actors: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
    Directors: Barry Sonnenfeld
    Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
    Release Date: November 30, 2012
    Run Time: 106 minutes

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

    “Men in Black” is a fun series.  The first film was very unique in its time.  The second was a bit messy but still tons of fun.  The third film takes the series into a nice direction.  I am not sure if there will be a fourth film but it is much welcomed.   The film seems a little over-budgeted to me but is a hell of a ride and very entertaining.  The 3D on the Blu-ray is good but not stunning.  You can tell that this was converted into 3D for the money. There is a nice about a depth added due to the added third-dimension, there is just no WOW factor from it. The film still works though with or without it though. Josh Brolin is a nice addition to the cast and gives a spot on performances for K (aka Tommy Lee Jones).  I also think this film has real replay value and I look forward to watching it again soon (which is rare with most films I watch).

    Official Premise: In “Men in Black 3”, Agents J [Will Smith] and K [Tommy Lee Jones] are back… in time. Agent J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when Agent K’s life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that Agent K never told him – secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K [Josh Brolin] to save his partner, the agency and the future of humankind.

    Sony Home Entertainment’s release comes in a three-disc combo pack. There is a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and a DVD included, as well as a Ultraviolet Digital Copy. The 1080p transfer is sharp and impressive, whether you are watching in 3D or 2D. I still will most likely revisit this again in 3D, even though it wasn’t perfect. I liked the depth given to the film and I thin kit is worth it just for that. The real star of this release though is the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround audio track. It works perfectly with the film’s action and Elfman’s score. My surround sound really needed a nap after this extreme workout.

    “Men in Black 3” also marks the debut use of “The Movie Touch”, which is an interactive bonus for those with an iPad. It goes well beyond the concept of a second-screen app. It allows you to watch the movie on their iPad while also navigating numerous bonus behind-the-scenes videos, photos, fun facts, soundtrack music info, multi-angle explorations, an interactive timeline, actor profiles, exclusive content and more. The Movie Touch App is available free from the App Store, here. This is going to be a very cool feature with possibilities going forward with future titles like “Total Recall” and I look forward to see what’s next.

    Sony has been really embracing the Blu-ray 3D format. They actually include some 3D special features again after “The Amazing Spider-Man”. They are not show-stopper but still 3D extra nonetheless. “The Case of Boris the Animal: The 3D Models of MIB 3” is an interactive feature that allows you to interact with a 3D display and may learn more the film’s goodies like the Particle Randomizer, the Class 2 Jet Pack, the Archanan Time Jumper, Boris’ Motorcycle, and the Monocycles. There is also a ever-to-short look with Visual Effects Supervisor Corey Turner on “Converting to 3D”. I wish this was much longer but still cool. Lastly there is a 3D trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man”.

    The rest of the special features are on the 2D Blu-ray disc. “Spot the Alien Game” is a cute but not amazing FPS using your remote. Kids might enjoy this more than adults. “Partners in Time: The Making of MIB 3” is a decent length behind-the-scenes feature with cast and crew chatting about everything from production to visual effects. “The Evolution of Cool: MIB 1960’s vs. Today” is nice feature on bringing the series back and its travels through time. “Keeping it Surreal: The Visual FX of MIB 3” focuses solely on the film’s special effects and creature designs. “Scene Investigations” is a detailed focus on specific scenes, including Lunar Prison Escape, Showdown at Mr. Wu’s, J’s Time Jump, and The Motorcycle Chase. Animation Supervisor Spencer Cook and VFX Supervisors Ken Ralston and Jay Redd takes us through “Progression Reels” with a commentary voice over on the design and digital effects. Lastly, there is a very funny gag reel and music video for “Back in Time” by Pitbull included.


    Related Content

    Blu-ray Review “Mad Men: Season Five”

    Starring: Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Aaron Staton, Christina Hendricks
    Director: Matthew Weiner
    Rated: Unrated
    Studio: Lionsgate
    Release Date: October 16, 2012
    Run Time: 611 minutes

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

    I have watched “Mad Men” on and off since the first season. Season five is probably the best of the most recent seasons. It comes packed with all the drama, lust, deception and…of course adultery. Jon Hamm is brillant in this series but I am not a big fan of the emotionless January Jones. Of course Christina Hendricks has here favorable traits as well. The series also shows no signs of slowing down since it just received seventeen nominations for the 2012 Emmy Awards Ceremony.  This should keep you busy till season six returns in mid 2013.

    Official Synopsis: Season Five of MAD MEN, four-time Emmy® winner for Outstanding Drama Series and winner of three consecutive Golden Globes®, plunges into the seductive and intriguing world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Jon Hamm and the rest of the award-winning cast continue to mesmerize as they adapt to changing times and social revolution. Lust is back. Adultery is back. Deception is back. MAD MEN is back.

    Lionsgate has delivered a nice three-disc Blu-ray set, which presents all thirteen episodes from season five.  They are presented in its original 1.78:1 broadcast aspect ratio with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks.  The video also looks clear and sharp. From watching this show on television where the picture is only 720p and worse if you Tivo it, it is a real upgrade and makes the period just look so much sharper.

    The special features are very impressive as well. There is an amazing 26 commentary tracks with Matthew Weiner and the cast and crew. “Mad Men Say the Darndest Things” look at the best one-liners from the series. “The Uniform Time Act of 1966” is a pictorial timeline that explores the history of Daylight Savings Time. “What Shall I Love If Not the Enigma?” is a look into the life and work of metaphysical artist Giorgio de Chirico. “The Party of the Century” features author Deborah Davis and legendary bandleader Peter Duchin, as we get a glimpse inside Truman Capote’s infamous Black & White Masquerade Ball. “Scoring Mad Men: Inside a Session” is a feature on composer David Carbonarra, orchestrator Geoff Stradling and sound engineer Jim Hill as they hit the recording studio. “Newsweek Magazine Digital Gallery” is collection of Newsweek Magazine covers with news stories from around the world in 1966.


    Related Content

    Michael Cassidy reflects on the first season of TBS’ “Men at Work”

    Michael Cassidy recently co-starred as Tyler in TBS’ hit new comedy series “Men at Work”.  The show is already in production for it’s second season.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Michael about the first season and what he enjoyed most.

    Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what you enjoyed most about playing Tyler in “Men at Work”?
    Michael Cassidy: Getting to see some of Tyler’s specific preferences was really fun. When we did the pilot I didn’t know that he was going to have his own thing. The toilet episode was a lot of fun as were some of the more recent episodes. All the things that Tyler has going on are just so much fun to watch come out. Everyone on the show has enjoys making fun of me and the character.

    MG: How was it working in front of a studio audience?
    MC: That was definitely a favorite of mine as an actor. We have such great audiences and I don’t know if you can really have a bad audience in that type of set up. Things have been great. I did theater in the past so this was comfortable for me. It was familiar without being boring. To work on a show all week and then perform it in front of a live audience all the while not knowing how it will be received is very rewarding. It’s phenomenal.

    MG: What has been a highlight for you from season 1?
    MC: My two favorite episodes where the toilet episode, where Milo moves in with Tyler and also the last episode of the season. We shot so much for that last show in front of an audience. A

    lot of times there are scenes that need to be pre-shot as they just can’t be done in front of a crowd. We were able to shoot so much in front of the audience on that last episode and it was all very well received. We were shocked how well the song title being played in front of the audience went over. The audience was dying on that stuff.

    MG: In the episode “Decath-Lynn”, how did you not die laughing with the meeting song titles?
    MC: We rehearse the scenes for about a week. By the time we are in front of the audience our professionalism takes over and we start wondering how the scene will play. Throwing something out and waiting for the audience to react is just so fun. Sometimes you do get new stuff that hasn’t been rehearsed. That stuff tends to go off like a grenade. We will hold it together while the audience laughs and then we just crack up. That’s really my favorite part of the whole deal.

    MG: Were there any guest stars from this season that you were really excited to work with?
    MC: I couldn’t wait to work with JK Simmons as I wanted to ask him about working with the Cohen brothers. I also loved working with Billy Baldwin. He had never done multi-camera stuff in front of an audience before so he was super stoked to be there. He was really great to talk with and once he got in front of the audience he just blew up.

    MG: How does your work on this show compare to some of your previous work?
    MC: This show is a different demographic. It’s definitely a male skewing show. I have never done a show like this. The other shows I have done were slightly more favoring women. I am sort of playing more of an adult on this show. I am a young professional. It’s nice playing a character that has a job. (Laughs)

    MG: When does production start on season 2?
    MC: We are currently in production already. We don’t know when it’s going to air but what we have heard is it will be sometime in 2013. For now I guess we will shoot a bunch of episodes and just wait and see.