Olivia Holt talks about Disney Channel Movie “Girl Vs. Monster and Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It”

Olivia Holt plays Kim on Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It”. Olivia is starring in the new Disney Channel Original film “Girl vs. Monster”, which premieres October 12th. Olivia took out some time to chat with Olivia about the film and what we can expect from her relationship with Jack on the season of “Kickin’ It”.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it going from martial arts in “Kickin’ It” to fighting monsters on “Girl vs. Monster”?
Olivia Holt: It was a really great experience. I had such a great time. It was really cool since in “Kickin’ It’ we do martial arts and in “Girl vs. Monster” my character does a bunch of stunts in the movie. So I got to bring a little bit of that athlete activity from the show into the the movie.

MG: Was it a big transition going from TV to feature film?
OH: They were two totally different things though. I always have such a great time with the cast on “Kickin’ It”. On “Girl vs. Monster” everyone in the cast got very close, which was really great as well. It was a little bit challenging though going from going a sitcom to a feature film. It was pretty interesting for me since I never did anything like that before. I met so many great people and had so many fantastic experiences.

MG: Tell us about your character in the film Skylar?
OH: Skylar is such a cool girl. She is confident, fearless and doesn’t care what everyone thinks. She has this great sense of style and is super athletic. What I like about her most though is that any girl can look up to her and want to be like Skylar. For me as well, I want to be like Skylar, she is such a great role model. I was so inspired to play her. In the beginning of the movie, she is fearless and mid-way through she learns fear. She has to learn how to overcome that fear. I think it is cool that the audience gets to watch her transition herself from being fearless to learning to overcome her fears.

MG: Tell us about the music in “Girl vs. Monster”?
OH: It says such amazing music. I had such a wonderful time recording the songs that we had in the movie. All the songs have such a great message. I had such a great time filming them as well. We all had really really fun.

MG: With Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It well into its second season, what would you say as been your highlight working on this show?
OH: This season is has so much heart in it. You really get to see the characters grow up. I think it is really cool that the audience gets to grow up with them. They get to change and learn more about themselves. I like the fact that my character Kim gets to find herself every day. She is a really cool character. She is growing up and learning how to express her feeling for Jack, who is played by Leo Howard.

MG: Anything sneak preview into the rest of the season?
OH: Yeah, there are a couple of episodes left. Towards the end of the season, you do get to see Kim and Jack’s relationship change into expressing their feelings for each other more. I think the audiences are looking forward to them finally admitting they like each other. You get to see how they react and I think it is going to be great. I am probably going to cry [laughs].

MG: You also have two CDs being released this Fall, “Disney Channel Holiday Playlist” and “Make Your Mark: Ultimate Playlist”; tell us about those?
OH: I am super pumped that I get to share my music with everyone. Music is really my passion and I am so inspired by it. Being able to share with everyone music that I love to sing and I am looking forward to that. I just hope everyone enjoys them as much as I did.

Katherine McNamara talks about Disney Channel Movie “Girl Vs. Monster and Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It”

Katherine McNamara is co-starring in Disney Channel Movie of the week “Girl Vs. Monster”, which premieres on October 12th.  Katherine is also a recurring cast member on Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Katherine about her new roles and also what she has planned next like “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” next year.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about making you Disney Channel Movie of the week debut in “Girl Vs. Monster”
Katherine McNamara: I am just so excited for this movie. Being on the Disney Channel has been a dream of mine. It is really thrilling for me, especially on a movie like this. It is your quintessential Halloween movie, in my opinion. There is action, adventure, Halloween spooks and scares, special effects, stunts, a little bit of romance and lots of great music that everyone is going to love. I got to work with such talented and wonderful people on this movie. I just feel so blessed and lucky to be able to work on such a great project.

MG: Give us some background on your character Myra?
KM: She is a really interesting character. I really get to play like three different characters in the movie since she goes through such a wide metamorphosis. The first she is the stereotypic mean high school girl. She is very conniving and narcissistic. She also has this huge rivalry with the main character Skylar Lewis (played by Olivia Holt). The next phase she gets possessed by a monster about half way through. That was really interesting because my character gets a complete makeover both physical and personality-wise. Towards the end of the movie, she realizes the error of her ways, if you will, and becomes a nice person and friend of the Skylar.

MG: What was the highlight of working on this film?
KM: There are so many wonderful things. I think it would have to be the music and the wonderful lifetime friendships I have made. Everyone on the film was just incredible, the cast and crew. We all got very close and spent literally every moment together. We just had the most phenomenal time together. Also music is such a passion of mine and I got to sing on a couple of the songs in the film. It is really wonderful. The music is really so great.

MG: Also tell us about playing Claire on Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It”?
KM: “Kickin’ It” is such a great show. One of my good friends, Dylan Snyder, is one the show. He introduced me to the cast, visit the set and hang out before Claire was even a distant thought in the minds of the writers. Eventually when this audition came up, I was so excited. Getting to work with your friends is better than anything. When I booked the role it was just a guest star but now it is recurring. It is a dream comes true. I love that show.

MG: You are playing Becky Thatcher in “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” next year, tell us about that film?
KM: The Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn story is very near and dear to my heart my whole life. I grew up in Missouri just a few hours from where the stories are set. So getting an opportunity to play such an iconic character is really an honor for me. Also to get to work with great talent like Joel Courtney and Jake T. Austin was just icing on the cake for me. We filmed it in Bulgaria, which is such an amazing and beautiful place. It was my first time out of the US and I loved every minute of it. I learned so much and it was so different. I got another lifelong friendship out of that film. Joel and I are completely inseparably.

MG: You are non-stop working, Flash forward to next summer you have “Contest”, can you tell us about that project?
KM: I just have to say, I feel so blessed being able to work so much. It is something I love doing. I just want to keep working, which is how I will learn and grow. “Contest” was such an amazing film. It is with Danny Flaherty from “Skins” and Kenton Duty from “Shake it Up”. It is about bullying and is a really great story that needs to be heard. Bullying has become such an epidemic and almost like the norm in school and kids to expect it. It is not acceptable. I have been through so much bullying in my life and I don’t think any kid should have to experience that. So, I am hoping that this movie will bring some awareness to this issue and its effects.

Monster Jam® Ticket Offer Gets Buyers in Free to Party in the Pits

ORLANDO, Fla. – September 19, 2012 – Feld Motor Sports has released a special offer for its 2013 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® events at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on Saturday, January 26th, 2013.

For one week only, Monday, September 24 through Sunday, September 30, 2012, fans who purchase any Orlando 2013 show ticket will receive a free Pit Pass with every ticket purchased.

Pit Passes are normally $10 each and are good for admission to the “Party in the Pits,” which takes place 2 to 5 p.m. before the show. The pass takes fans behind the scenes to meet the drivers, obtain autographs, get a close-up view of the monster trucks, see special entertainment, take part in games, and more. A show ticket is required along with a Pit Pass for entry into the pit parties. The January 26th Orlando show starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets start at $15. The free Pit Pass offer will be available for purchase at the Amway Center Box Office, through www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 800-745-3000 (offer not available at Ticketmaster retail outlets) starting Monday, with the offer expiring at midnight Sunday, September 30th. Compete event information is available at www.MonsterJam.com.

The official title of the event is Metro PCS, 1-800-ASK-GARY, Budweiser and Your Southern Ford Dealers present the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam®.


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Blu-ray Review “Mad Monster Party”

Directed by: Jules Bass
Starring: Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Gale Garnett, Phyllis Diller, Ethel Ennis
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Lions Gate
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 94 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 3 out of 5 stars

Lionsgate Home Entertainment is finally bringing one of Rankin/Bass’ classic films “Mad Monster Party” to Blu-ray. This stop-motion animation full-length film is arriving just in time to start getting in the mood for Halloween. The film packs some fun/catchy songs from Maury Laws & Jules Bass and great voice cast including Boris Karloff and Allen Swift. The Blu-ray itself isn’t really much more than an updated port of the 2009 DVD Special Edition release. Nonetheless it is definitely worth the purchase for all stop-motion and Rankin/Bass fans to owe this classic film on Blu-ray.

Premise: “Baron Von Frankenstein has decided to retire as the head of the Worldwide Organization of Monsters. But first, he must inform the other monsters about his plans. How to deliver the news? How else – through a Mad Monster Party! Von Frankenstein’s guests include a who’s who of Halloween favorites, including the Werewolf, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, and more. But who among them is fit to be the new head of the monsters?”

The film is being released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, which is also a great bonus. The video looks fantastic with its 1080p transfer and presented in an full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The film shows its age a little and the colors seems a little muted but nonetheless it very impressive transfer. The Monaural DTS-HD Master Audio track is impressive this film and its fun songs. I look forward to introducing this film to my daughter (now three months old) and share it each Halloween.

The special features are the same as the 2009 Special Edition. There are three Behind-the-scenes featurettes including on this release. My favorite was “Mad Monster Party: Making of a Cult Classic”, which features interviews from Rankin/Bass historian Rick Goldschmidt and Arthur Rankin Jr. “Groovy Ghouls: The Music of Mad Monster Party” is a great but short look at the films music with Maury Laws. The last one is called “It’s Sheer Animagic! Secrets of Stop-Motion Animation”, it is a look into what it takes to work with puppets. Lastly there are two bonus sing-along tracks and a trailer included.

Blu-ray Review “Monster Brawl”

Directed by: Jesse T. Cook
Starring: Dave Foley, Art Hindle, Robert Maillet, Kevin Nash, Jimmy Hart
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed: Image Entertainment
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Running Time: 88 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I wanted this film to be totally kick-ass, soooooo bad. Well it is a great idea that is just really poorly executed. When you mix monsters like Frankenstein, Mummy and Wolfman with WWE stars like Kevin Nash and Jimmy Hart. It should be a run romp but this film gets old after the first 15 minutes. I am big fan of Dave Foley but the jokes just weren’t there. UFC rep Herb Dean was a draw for me but he was killed off too quickly. The best part easily was Lance Henrickson narrating in a “Mortal Kombat”-style…Finish Him!

The film plays like a Pay-Per-View event featuring eight classic monsters who are fighting to the death in an wrestling tournament inside an abandoned and cursed graveyard. The monsters compete with each other find out who is the most feared and powerful monster of all time. Like I said, it got old fast right after the first match. I would have rather preferred a narrative leading up to the event instead of a straight forward match after match.

The Blu-ray looks just ok only sporting a 1080i transfer with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The audio comes through a little better with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The special features on the disc are slim. There is an audio commentary track with writer/director Jessie T. Cook and producers Matt Wiele and John Geddes. There is a brief behind-the-scenes featurette and lastly there are some outtakes included.

Blu-ray Review “Titanoboa: Monster Snake”

Directed by: Martin Kemp
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Smithsonian Channel
Distributed: Inception Media Group
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Running Time: 92 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extra: N/A

When it comes to educational shows dealing with giant prehistoric dinosaurs, count me in immediately. Smithsonian Channel is shaping itself up to produce specials that rival Discovery Channel and “Titanoboa: Monster Snake” is the latest of those.  This special showcases the recently discovered 45+ foot snake that is longer than a bus, eats crocodiles and makes the anaconda looks small.  We can an inside look, traveling back to a time and get a scientific proven look into this enormous serpent. I really enjoyed this special and I thought it was very interesting and well produced.

The show offers some very impressive CG reproductions of this predator from recent scientific discoveries.  It also showcases CG locations, which existed in the Cerrejon Mine in Colombia during that period.  This follows the “a once-in-a-lifetime discovery”, sited by one of the scientists, of this colossal snake which was related to boa constrictors family, which once ruled in the mysterious era after the mass extinction of the dinosaur 60 million years ago.

The video on the Blu-ray is not out of this world since most of it is up-converted from standard definition except for parts that were CG. It is also presented in an 1.78:1 widescreen presentation Overall though Inception Media’s 1080i transfer looks decent and sharp. The audio digital 5.1 track sounds really decent with the score and the sound effects on the disc. Unfortunately there is no special features on this disc at all, which is disappointing. If you have the chance to watch on Smithsonian Channel, catch it there if not this Blu-ray is the best second option.

Book Review “Rankin/Bass’ Mad Monster Party”

Author: Rick Goldschmidt
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Miser Bros Press
Release Date: December 25, 2011

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Rankin/Bass Productions, Rick Goldschmidt is the man you want to go to. He is known best for being the Rankin/Bass Historian and Biographer. You know that when he is writing a book about something it is going to be packed with passion and that an incredible time and effort put into it. “Rankin/Bass’ Mad Monster Party” is no different and is a great homage to the classic 1967 feature film. I grew up watching the work of Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass and it is great to see that someone is keeping their name alive.

The book runs in at 272 amazing pages packed with over 300 images, some that have never been seen before or have been published. Most of the book is black and white but there are over 50 pages of full color pages with amazing photos and artwork from the film. Some of the photos/artwork included are rare concept sketches and storyboards. One feature that I think is amazing is the complete original 1967 shooting script. And what is a Rankin/Bass Production without music? There is also the original sheet music from the title song “Mad Monster Party” written by Jules Bass and Maury Laws. Plus a real treat as to be that a reproduction of the “Mad Monster Party” Dell comic book is included in its entirety.

So if all that is not enough for you then you will look forward to amazing behind the scene interviews from the cast and crew from the film. It is great to get the insight from them about working on the film that is over 40 years old. Of course I can’t forget to mention the amazing foreword by one of the creators himself, Arthur Rankin Jr. It is great to read his praise of the book and the fact that his support it behind it just makes this even better. Overall the book is just such a paper turner and it leaves you hesitant to turn to page to make sure that you absorbed everything before continuing. This is a must buy for fans. I can’t stress that enough…Must buy!