Blu-ray Review “Before Midnight”

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Director: Richard Linklater
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Run Time: 109 minutes

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

I have been loving the 18 year journey that Richard Linklater has set out with this romantic drama series starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. “Before Midnight” is the third film in the series and is a sequel to “Before Sunrise” (1995) and “Before Sunset” (2004). “Before Midnight”, like the prior two films, is very dialogue heavy and very smartly written. It plays like an emotional rollercoaster and is quite exhausting and yet still very charming as we follow-up with this nearly two decade romantic relationship. I have that this trio has plans to continue this series in the next decade since it only gets better with each installment.

Official Premise: Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) first met in their twenties in “Before Sunrise”; reunited in their thirties in “Before Sunset”; and, now, in director Richard Linklater’s amazing “Before Midnight”, they face the past, present and future: family, romance and love. Now on a writer’s retreat in Greece, the couple looks for a night of passion, but instead their idyllic night turns into a test of their relationship and a discussion of what the future holds for them.

Sony released this film as a Blu-ray combo pack with an Ultraviolet digital copy. Since “Before Midnight” consists of a long scenes of extended dialogue, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sounds good for what it is worth but not really challenged. The 1080p transfer looks great with the film’s location in Greece but there was some major issues with Delpy’s dress throughout the film. It was consistenly giving off some major backlash and it was quite distracting.

In terms of special features, Sony didn’t pack a lot but what they did is very impressive especially for fans of this series. There is a must-listen audio •commentary with all major players including Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater. It truly shows how these films are a real labor of love for these three very talent artists. “Revisiting Jesse & Céline” features Hawke and Delpy chatting about their characters for their third go around with these characters. Lastly there is a solid Q&A discussion with Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater.

 

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Midnight Red’s Thomas Augusto talks music with Media Mikes

Thomas Augusto is a member of the pop group Midnight Red. The group has recently released a new single titled “Hell Yeah” and Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Thomas about the single and the groups plans for the summer.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the formation of the group?
Thomas Augusto: I first met Eric Secharia about 5 or 6 years ago. He at the time was living in California and I was living in Texas. Eric had started to put a group together with Anthony Ladao and they called me to join them. From there we found Colton Rudloff by searching “kid that can sing” on YouTube and, from there we had found Joey Diggs through a mutual producer. That was pretty much the formation of Midnight Red.

AL: What was it like when you all first got together in the same room for the first time?
TA: I think we were all measuring each other up. There was definitely no tension but we were trying to figure out what each other was about. We had actually met Colton and Joey on the exact same day. We took some time to get to know each other but once we were Midnight Red things were effortless.Everything blended together well and it seemed meant to be.

AL: What is the group’s writing process like?
TA:  There is a mixture. Some of the things we write on our own and some of it is written as a group. Anthony is a very talented producer who makes some great beats. We usually will just bring all of our ideas together and go from there.

AL: Can you tell us about the new single “Hell Yeah”?
TA: We recorded “Hell yeah” in Paris with Red One. It was just a blast! It’s a really cool song that we all like. The song fuses several genres in to one. There are some huge pop elements in the song along with dance elements and hip-hop elements. There is a guitar riff in the song that almost reminds me of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

AL: How did the idea for the song come about?
TA: “Hell yeah” was actually created by Red One and his team. We first heard the instrumental portion of the track before it was even done being made. There was a portion of the chorus done but when we heard it we just started exchanging ideas.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands EP?
TA: The EP is currently available on ITunes and was something we put out to help promote us out on the roadduring our tour with New Kids on the Block and The Backstreet Boys. We worked with Red One on that as well and it was a really fun project. We recorded it in Los Angeles and performed a number of the songs while we were out on that tour. The EP gives fan a taste of what they can expect from the full length album.

AL: What are the bands plans for the rest of this year?
TA: The full length album will be out towards the end of this year. We also will be touring and doing a lot of radio promotion.

DVD Review “Midnight in Paris”

Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Run Time: 94 minutes

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I have always been a fan of Woody Allen’s work through his career but have been picky with his work in the last 10 years. I originally wasn’t interested in this film until it became Mr. Allen’s biggest grossing film to date since 86’s “Hannah and Her Sisters”. Let me tell you, I was missing out as this is easily one of the best film of the year. The acting is phenomenal and each player works perfectly off the next. The story is very sweet and light yet fantastical and heavy. Stephane Wrembel’s score accompanies the film very well and takes us on the midnight journey through Paris.

This is a romantic comedy about a young people Gil and Inez (Owen Wilson & Rachel McAdams), who are vacationing in Paris and are engaged to be married…but they are two completely different people. Gil has such a great love for Paris and wants a very simple life like in the 1920’s and Inez is very driven and cares a lot about appearance and status in society. After a night of drinking, Gil ends up getting in a car with strangers and finding himself transported back into a simpler time in time through the streets of Paris. Along his journey he comes in contact with various legends from our past including Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and they help Gil get his life into perspective.

The casting like I mentioned earlier is so rich and full of different types of talent. I really enjoyed Marion Cotillard performance as Adriana. Corey Stoll is also fantastic and funny as Ernest Hemingway. Owen Wilson is definitely the star of this film really breaking out of his recent rut and gives this performance his all. Although the film is so great the special features are not as spectacular as it only includes a brief panel interview, called “Midnight in Cannes” with a few of the cast and runs about five minutes. I would have loved to get some commentary and more behind the scenes from Woody Allen. Despite that, this is a must watch! Do not miss it.

 

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“Midnight in Paris” Becomes Woody Allen’s Highest Grossing Film of All Time in North America

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS BECOMES WOODY ALLEN’S HIGHEST GROSSING FILM OF ALL TIME IN NORTH AMERICA

NEW YORK, NY (JULY 17, 2011) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that MIDNIGHT IN PARIS has become Woody Allen’s highest grossing film of all time in North America.  MIDNIGHT IN PARIS has grossed $41,792,695 to date. This is Allen’s 42nd feature film that he has written and directed and his 4th film with Sony Pictures Classics.

Sony Pictures Classics’ upcoming releases include THE GUARD; HIGHER GROUND; RESTLESS; TAKE SHELTER; THE SKIN I LIVE IN; CARNAGE; and A DANGEROUS METHOD.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992, which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.

Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 27 Academy Awards® (23 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 114 Academy Award® nominations (93 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.