Remember the Monsters Debut New Single “Romeo & Juliet”

ARIZONA ROCK BAND REMEMBER THE MONSTERS DEBUT
NEW SINGLE “ROMEO & JULIET” AT NEWNOISEMAGAZINE.COM
New Album, The Pieces Remain, Out March 16th!

January 19, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – Arizona’s next, breakout rock act Remember The Monsters have announced today plans to release their debut, full-length album, The Pieces Remain, on March 16th. Gearing up for the record’s unveiling, the band has partnered with NewNoiseMagazine.com to premiere the record’s first new track, “Romeo & Juliet.”

Stream “Romeo & Juliet” here

Commenting on the new song, the record’s producer Cameron Mizell (Sleeping With Sirens, Danny Worsnop) says, “This song makes me feel all of the feelings all at once, intensely, and when the song is over I feel as if I was just beaten senselessly in a masochistic fashion. It’s fucking bizarre in the best way.”

Remember The Monsters’ vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ashten Banks add’s the song is “my sick and twisted take on a literary classic.”

Blending the wide range and dynamic sounds of their many influences, Remember the Monsters combines the sleazy glam and soaring melodic hooks of Rock N’ Roll (think Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses) with the hard-hitting edge and soulful introspection of their modern contemporaries. Genre defying and passionately driven, the band delivers a listening experience unlike any other.

Fans can also stream “Romeo & Juliet” at the locations below:
Spotify – http://spoti.fi/2FTUGZg
Apple Music – https://apple.co/2Ds3w2A
Google Play – http://bit.ly/2Be5JJb

“Marvel’s HULK: Where Monsters Dwell” premiering Oct. 21 on Digital HD!

This Halloween, Treat Yourself to the Spooky, Action-Packed 
Animated Feature-Length Film
Marvel’s HULK: WHERE MONSTERS DWELL

 

Hulk, Dr. Strange and the Howling Commandoes join forces to defeat Nightmare in this action-packed, feature-length film premiering Oct. 21 on Digital HD!

SYNOPSIS: This All Hallows’ Eve, Nightmare is bent on conquering our waking world by crossing through the Dream Dimension, and converting each dreamer into a monster. Can Dr. Strange, Hulk and the Howling Commandoes hold the line and put an end to his nefarious scheme?
 
“Marvel’s Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell,” the first animated, feature-length film centered on Hulk, premieres on Digital HD on Oct. 21.  In this spooky, action-packed feature, the Green Goliath and Sorcerer Supreme team up with the Howling Commandoes, a supernatural strikeforce, to thwart the villainous plan of Nightmare, the evil, supernatural lord of the Dream Dimension.
 
VOICE CAST: Fred Tatasciore as Hulk; Liam O’Brien as Dr. Strange; Jesse Burch as Bruce Banner; Edward Bosco as Warwolf and Minotaur; Chiara Zanni as Nina Price, Vampire by Night; Mike Vaughn as Zombie Jasper Sitwell; Matthew Waterson as Nightmare; and Michael Robles as Benito
 
WRITERS: Marty Isenberg (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man,” “Ben 10”), Dave McDermott (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “X-Men: The Animated Series”)
 
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Alan Fine, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, Jeph Loeb, and Cort Lane
 
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 21, 2016 
RELEASE FORMATS: Digital HD/SD & On-Demand
 
FEATURE RUN TIME: 70-75 min.
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1
LANGUAGES/SUBTITLES: English
 
SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook: Facebook.com/Marvel
Website: Marvel.com
Twitter: Twitter.com/Marvel
Instagram: Instagram.com/Marvel
 
ABOUT MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT AND MARVEL TELEVISION:
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-five years.  Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. 
 
Marvel Television develops and produces some of the world’s most creative and popular live-action and animated programming for broadcast and cable television networks plus digital platforms including a historic deal with NETFLIX. Its portfolio of self-produced series include Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for ABC, Marvel’s Daredevil, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and Marvel’s Luke Cage for NETFLIX and Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy for Disney XD. Marvel Television’s upcoming projects include Marvel’s Iron Fist and the culminating Marvel’s The Defenders for NETFLIX as well as Marvel’s The Punisher (NETFLIX), Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (Freeform)and Legion (FX). For more information, visit marvel.com.  © 2016 MARVEL
 
ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS:
For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.

Blu-ray Review “Justice League: Gods and Monsters”

Voice Cast: Michael C. Hall, Benjamin Bratt, Tamara Taylor, Paget Brewster, Jason Isaacs, Tahmoh Penikett, C. Thomas Howell, Penny Johnson Jerald, Richard Chamberlain, Josh Keaton, Carl Lumbly
Directors: Sam Liu
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Run Time: 72 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Justice League: Gods and Monsters” features a super cool alternate universe where Superman is the son of Zod. Batman is actually Man-Bat and Wonder Woman is the, God of War,  Princess Bekka. I really enjoyed this latest original movie in the DC animated universe and have always been a fan of DC Comics’ Elseworlds stories. Plus this film sees the return of animation legend Bruce Timm delivering a super cool new view of Justice League. A must see for an DC Comics fan!

Official Premise: “Justice League: Gods & Monsters” features a Superman born of General Zod’s blood, a Batman with a healthy dose of bat in the man, and a Wonder Woman rising from the ranks of the New Gods. This ain’t your daddy’s Justice League. They are as likely the world’s saviors as Earth’s despotic rulers. When a group of famed scientists experience untimely “accidents,” a government task force follows the trail of clues to the Justice League — and into a high stakes game of intrigue, mystery and action that asks the question: How do you serve justice to those above the law?

The voice cast of this film is nothing short of absolute epic and easiest the best accumulation of talent in a DC Animated Universe film.  The voice cast includes Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as Batman, Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order, 24) as Superman, Tamara Taylor (Bones), as Wonder Woman; Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds), as Lois Lane; C. Thomas Howell (E.T., Southland), as Dr. Will Magnus; Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter films, Dig) as Lex Luthor, Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds) as Highfather, and Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) as Steve Trevor.

Warner Bros is delivering this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet. The 1080p transfer is decent and delivers with the CG effects and animation. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds great and no complaints there. “Alternate Realities: Infinite Possibilities” features various executives talking about the DC Comics’ Elseworlds stories. “Calculated Risk: The Making of Gods and Monsters” is a great behind-the-scenes look.

“The New Gods” talks about the film’s character designs and approach to putting the film together. In “From the DC Comics Vault” there are two animated episodes including “Phantoms” from Legion of Super Heroes and “Brave New Metropolis” from Superman: The Animated Series. Lastly there is a super rad sneak peak at the next DCU animated original movie, “Batman: Bad Blood”, which will introduce Batwoman.

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Parker Sawyers talks about role in “Monsters: Dark Continent”

Parker Sawyers is co-starring in the upcoming film “Monsters: Dark Continent”, which is a follow-up to the 2010 film “Monsters”. Parker also appeared this year in the film “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about “Monsters: Dark Continent” with him and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “Monsters: Dark Continent”?
Parker Sawyers: I’ve been acting for nearly three years now and try to hit every meeting I am lucky enough to get. I see it as practice. So, “Monsters: Dark Continent” was another meeting to me. Interestingly, I had a short film to shoot 15 minutes after my meeting time and I was so worried about missing the call time, I don’t really remember what I said or did in the room. Whatever it was worked, thankfully.

MG: Were you familiar with the original film prior?
PS: In preparation for the meeting for Monsters: Dark Continent, I watched the original film, Gareth Edwards’ “Monsters”. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched the two central characters develop a relationship amidst such dire conditions. To me, the original film was about humanity and how even in the face of extreme adversity or in their case an alien invasion we would still find love, fight for one another, and even bicker. Perhaps we’re not much more than that.

MG: Give us some background on your character Shaun Williams?
PS: Shaun is a kid from Detroit. I see him as a multi-talented, cool kid who never got “that break”. He is a sportsman, clever and chilled. Though I now live in London, I’m originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, just a few hours away from Detroit. To play a guy from the Midwest with heaps of heart and a laid back attitude was exciting and refreshing. I think the Midwesterners who watch the film will relate to Shaun and his friends; the hustle, the hunger, the decency, the loyalty.

MG: Tell us about where the film was shot and what was the most challenging aspect?
PS: We shot the film in Amman, Jordan and Detroit, Michigan. The people in Amman are some of the most hospitable and warmest people I’ve ever met. It was my second time being there, the first time was to film “Zero Dark Thirty”. I’m itching to return for a vacation. As for a challenge, I’d say the amount of work that needed to be completed by the end of each day, to stay on schedule. But, we worked hard and Tom Green, the director, never made any of us feel rushed. But, of course, we can read a call sheet and we knew we had a limited amount of time. Ultimately, we made it work. Detroit was cool. Talk about smiling through adversity, the people were wonderfully American and hardworking.

MG: How was it going from low-budget indie to big budget action, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”?
PS: All jobs are the same to me. Whether it’s working with an Oscar winning director or an up and coming talent like Tom Green, I put forth the same amount of effort. I must say though, the Monsters cast was and still is like a family. We stay in touch, attend each other’s birthdays, and cheerlead whenever possible. I’d never had that experience before.

MG: What else do you have on the cards for 2014?
PS: I’m off to Bulgaria in March to film James McTiegue’s spy thriller, “Survivor”. It’s an amazing script and I’m fortunate to be part of the project. Other than that, it’s pilot season, so non-stop meetings as far as the eye can see!

DVD Review “Ben 10: Omniverse – Galactic Monsters”

Created by: Man of Action Studios
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Cartoon Network
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Run Time: 110 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Ben 10: Omniverse” is the fourth installment in the “Ben 10” franchise. “Galactic Monsters” is the setting for the shows fifth season, which just recently completed airing. I have never really watched much of this show in the past…an episode here and there maybe. But this is definitely a solid show with some great action and humor mixed. For those “Ben 10” fans, get ready cause besides the more volumes from this season coming up, this October also brings the new season “The Evil Rooters”.

Official Premise: Sometimes it takes a real monster to defeat a real monster. So Ben is transforming into some awesome monster heroes in the latest DVD release “Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters.” Watch for almost 2 action packed hours as Ben transforms into heroes like Frankenstrike and Whampire as he battles the most vile villains in the galaxy including the evil Lord Transyl on Monster Planet. It’s spooky! It’s kooky! It’s “Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters”.

This volume five DVD comes with the following “Galactic Monsters” Episodes: “Rad Monster Party”; “Charmed, I’m Sure” and “The Vampire Strikes Back”. There are also two bonus episodes including “Something Zombozo This Way Comes” and “Mystery, Incorporeal” from the fifth season as well. I do not know why Cartoon Network  didn’t just included the remaining three episodes to make this a complete season. This is a little bit of a letdown for sure. But don’t worry parents since I doubt that kids will even notice, this is more a concern for the show’s older audience.

DVD Review “Monsters: The Complete Series”

Actors: Tempestt Bledsoe, Lili Taylor, Steve Buscemi, Gina Gershon, Deborah Harry
Executive Produced: Richard P. Rubinstein
Number of discs: 9
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Entertainment One
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Run Time: 1560 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Any horror fan that grew up in the 80’s should remember the series “Monsters”, which used to play in syndication along with “Tales from the Darkside”. This anthology/horror series aired from 1988-91 with 72 half-hour episodes. This show is easily one of my favorites of all-time. No, it may not be the best but it certainly reminds me of my childhood and attributed to my love of horror today. I probably shouldn’t have been watching it at the age I did but I just couldn’t get enough of it. Luckily, thanks to Syfy and Chiller channels, this show was given a second life and has been showing over the last decade. The series has never been released on DVD EVER and thanks to eOne (who are my heroes this month), this series finally gets put out in a fantastic DVD box set.

This series delivered a great blend of horror along with comedy, sci-fi and fantasy. What I love about these episodes the most is that you are able to watch and re-watch them and they never get old. When they were re-airing on Syfy, I used to leave it on loop day after day and I couldn’t get enough. The practical effects in the film are fantastic and look great, of course not to today’s standards, but I remember I used to be quite scared of some of these show’s creations growing up, so I think it was quite effective. The show also was jam packed with an amazing cast of actors whether big stars then and big stars now. If you are reading this eOne, if you can get “Freddy’s Nightmare” complete series on DVD, I will be your best friend forever! This is must have for any horror fan, NO QUESTION!

Season one consists of the following episodes: 1. The Feverman; 2. Holly’s House; 3. New York Honey; 4. The Vampire Hunter; 5. My Zombie Lover; 6. Where’s The Rest Of Me?; 7. The Legacy; 8. Sleeping Dragon; 9. Pool Sharks; 10. Pillow Talk; 11. Rouse Him Not; 12. Fools Gold; 13. Glim-Glim; 14. Parents From Space; 15. The Mother Instinct; 16. Their Divided Self; 17. Taps; 18. The Match Game; 19. Rain Dance; 20. The Cocoon; 21. All In A Day s Work; 22. Satan In The Suburbs; 23. Mannikins Of Horror and 24. La Strega

Season one consists of the following notable talent including David McCallum (“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”),  Marilyn Jones (“Murder, She Wrote”), ‘Little Mike’ Anderson (“Twin Peaks”), Andrea Thompson (“Babylon 5”), Robert Lansing (“Automan”), Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”), Meatloaf (“Fight Club”), Kin Shriner (“General Hospital”), John Diehl (“Stripes”), Mary Woronov (“Death Race 2000”), Alex Cord (“Airwolf”), Jeff Conaway (“Babylon 5”), Frank Gorshin (“Batman”), David L. Lander (“Laverne & Shirley”), Tori Spelling (“Beverly Hills, 90210”), Kent McCord (“Galactica: 1980”), Teri Copley (“We Got It Made”), Billy Drago (“The Untouchables”), Kim Johnson Ulrich (“As the World Turns”), Adrienne Barbeau (“The Fog”), James Morrison (“Space: Above & Beyond”), Eddie Velez (“The A-Team”), Christopher Noth (“Law & Order”), William Prince (“Dallas”), Linda Blair (“The Exorcist”), Rob Morrow (“Northern Exposure”)

Season two consists of the following episodes: 25. The Face; 26. Portrait Of The Artist; 27. A Bond Of Silk; 28. Rerun; 29. Love Hurts; 30. The Farmer’s Daughter; 31. Jar; 32. The Demons; 33. Reaper; 34. The Mandrake Root; 35. Half As Old As Time; 36. Museum Hearts; 37. Habitat; 38. Bed And Boar; 39. Mr. Swlabr; 40. Perchance To Dream; 41. One Wolf’s Family; 42. The Offering; 43. Far Below; 44. Micro Minds; 45. Refugee; 46. The Gift; 47. The Bargain and 48. The Family Man

Second two consists of the following notable talent including Darren McGavin (“A Christmas Story”), Lydia Cornell (“Too Close For Comfort”), Marc McClure (“Superman”), Ren Woods (“Beauty and the Beast”), Soupy Sales (“What’s My Line?”), George Hall (“The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”), Fritz Weaver (“The Martian Chronicles”), Gina Gershon (“Showgirls”), Richard Moll (“Night Court”), Barbara Billingsley, Leif Garrett, Lili Taylor (“Almost Human”), Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), Raphael Sbarge (“Once Upon A Time”), Anne Meara (“ALF”), Jerry Stiller (“The King of Queens”), Amy Stiller (“Zoolander”), Orson Bean (“The Hobbit”), Barry Nelson (“The Shining”), Troy Donahue (“Surfside 6”), Judy Geeson (“Star Maidens”), Phillip Abbott (“The F.B.I.”), Abe Vigoda (“The Godfather”) and Kim Griest (“Manhunter”)

Season three consists of the following episodes: 49. Stressed Environment; 50. Murray’s Monster; 51. Bug House; 52. Cellmates; 53. Outpost; 54. The Hole; 55. Small Blessing; 56. Shave And A Haircut, Two Bites; 57. The Young And The Headless; 58. The Waiting Game; 59. Sin-Sop; 60. A New Woman; 61. Malcolm; 62. Household Gods; 63. The Space-Eaters; 64. The Waiting Room; 65. Leavings; 66. Desirable Alien; 67. A Face For Radio; 68. Werewolf Of Hollywood; 69. Talk Nice To Me; 70. The Moving Finger; 71. Hostile Takeover and 72. The Maker

Finally, season three consists of the following notable talent including Carol Lynley (“The Poseidon Adventure”), Joe Flaherty (“Freaks and Geeks”), Karen Sillas (“Under Suspicion”), Maxwell Caulfield (“Grease 2”), Juliet Mills (“Nanny and the Professor”), Julie Brown (“Earth Girls Are Easy”), Kevin Nealon (“Saturday Night Live), David Spade (“Dickie Roberts”), Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Matt LeBlanc (“Friends”), Linda Thorson (60’s “The Avengers”), Ed Lauter (“B.J. and the Bear”), Farley Granger (“Strangers on a Train”), John Saxon (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”), Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”), Deborah Harry (band member Blondie), Morton Downey, Jr. (“trash TV”), Laura Brannigan (American singer), Richard Belzer (“Homicide: Life on the Street”), David Spielberg (“One Life to Live”), Dennis Christopher (“Breaking Away”) and Pam Grier (“Jackie Brown”).

Having watched these episodes on TV as a kid, WAY before anything called high definition was around and then re-watching them on Syfy and Chiller in the last decade, they have never been delivered in great best condition. Today these episodes on DVD are not stunning but they do the trick and personally, I think the show has never looked better. There are no additional special features included in this set. I figure that they had as much talent as they did in this show, they could have gotten at least a few interviews or commentary tracks on these episodes but nonetheless, at least we have them. The set comes with three cases, each with its own season. There is great cover art for each particular season and there is great images in case the case as well. There is no boring black case here. They aimed to impress and succeed no question.

CD Review: Big Head Todd & The Monsters “Black Beehive”

Big Head Todd & The Monsters
“Black Beehive”
Shout Factory
Producer: Steve Jordan
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

With 25 years in the music business under their belts the members of Big Head Todd and the Monsters have no plans of slowing down. The group’s newest album titled “Black Beehive” hits the shelves a quarter century after the group’s 1989 debut album “Another Mayberry”. Featuring 11 brand new tracks produced by Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Keith Richards) “Black Beehive” see the band strengthening their roots while moving forward at the same time.

Filled with classic blues based instrumentation that blends several other genres such as country, rock and folk music “Black Beehive” is a melting pot of styles and sounds which will appeal to a variety of listeners both young and old. From the down home thump of “Hey Delila” to the dark and gritty rumblings of “We Won’t Go Back” the band covers a lot of musical territory while remaining true to their signature sound. The album features several guest performers including guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks, Long time Howlin’ Wolf band member Eddie Shaw on Saxophone and harmonica along with producer Steve Jordan who all add the proverbial icing on the cake making the almost 3 year gap between this album and the bands previous release “100 Years of Robert Johnson” worth the wait as both acoustic and electric instrumentation coupled with Todd Mohr’s stylistic vocals make this a must have for any BHT fan.

Track Listing:
1.) Hey Delila
2.) Everything About You
3.) Seven State Lines
4.) Josephina
5.) Black Beehive
6.) We Won’t Go Back
7.) Fear, Greed and Ignorance
8.) Hubert’s Dream
9.) I Get Smooth
10.) Travelin’ Light
11.) Forever Bonnie

Blu-ray Review “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”

Actors: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Nathan Fillion, Douglas Smith
Directors: Thor Freudenthal
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Run Time: 106 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” arrived as the next “Harry Potter” but never really gathered much interest. When I heard that they were come with a sequel, I didn’t understand since the first film was not well-received. “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” promised to be much better than the first and it did deliver a more entertaining film for sure. The action is amped up and the visual effects are much better than the first film, plus it co-stars Nathan Fillion which is always great. Still has it problems and feel like a “Harry Potter wanna-be but overall, this film is worth checking out and a vast improvement from “The Lightning Thief”.

Official Premise: The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson — son of the Greek god Poseidon — continue in this heroic, action-packed thrill ride! Out to prove he’s not just a “one-quest wonder,” Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. With time running out, Percy must find and bring home the fabled Golden Fleece, which has the power to save his world…and save us all

Fox delivered “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” as a combo pack release including Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD digital copy. The 1080p transfer is pretty much flawless and really takes advantage of the CGI effects and amazing visuals. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is also perfect and really captures the action so well. If you get nothing else from this film and this Blu-ray, you will be blown away with the audio/video presentation. If possible though, this film is much more enjoyable in 3D, so if you have that option but sure to take that route since the visual effects really shines there.

In terms of special features, “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” delivers some decent extras but nothing outstanding. To start we get a motion comic for the character Tyson, who is Percy’s cyclops half-brother. There are three featurettes included, the first is called “Back to Camp Half-Blood”, which features cast taking about coming back for the sequel. “It’s All in the Eye” and “Deconstructing a Demigod” focus on the visual effects in the film. I was really hoping for more depth on these extras since the film is so visual but these are still worth checking out if you enjoyed the film.

3D Blu-ray Review “Monsters University”

Actors: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Charlie Day, Sean P. Hayes, Dave Foley, Nathan Fillion,Aubrey Plaza.
Directors: Dan Scanlon
Number of discs: 4
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 29, 2013
Run Time: 104 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
3D: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

If you have asked me back in May 2011, I would have said that Pixar could do no wrong. Since then they have released “Cars 2” (which isn’t as bad as people say), “Brave” and now “Monsters University”. “Monsters Inc.” is one of Pixar’s greatest films and introduced us to our favorite characters Mike and Sully. So when I heard that they were making a sequel, I am sure everyone was excited to get to see the boys back in action again with “Monsters University”. I enjoyed the film since I love these characters but it feels like it is missing the charm of the first one and doesn’t deliver anything special. Pixar is taking 2014 off for the first time and not releasing a new film till 2015. Hopefully they are looking to amp it up with “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur”.

Returning for the prequel includes the voices of Billy Crystal (voice of Mike), John Goodman (voice of Sulley) and Steve Buscemi (voice of Randy Boggs). Joining the cast includes great talent including Helen Mirren (voice of Dean Hardscrabble), Nathan Fillion (voice of Johnny Worthington), Alfred Molina (voice of Professor Knight), Joel Murray (voice of Don Carlton), Charlie Day (voice of Art), Sean P. Hayes (voice of Terri Perry), Dave Foley (voice of Terry Perry), John Krasinski (voice of Frank McCay) and Aubrey Plaza (voice of Claire Wheeler). Overall the voice cast is impressive and easily the best part of the film.

Official Premise: Disney Pixar proudly presents the hilarious story of how two mismatched monsters met and became lifelong friends in a movie screaming with laughter and oozing with heart. Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he’s dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. With their dreams temporarily dashed, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.

Monsters University will be available for purchase as a 4-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy. I am happy that Disney has gotten on board now with Ultraviolet digital copies. In terms of deliver Disney delivered a fantastic 1080p transfer presentation. The colors are crisp and overall look really great. The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track also sounds quite stunning and really sounds great. I am a huge fan of 3D usually and I even enjoyed “Monsters Inc.” in the third dimension, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with the 3D on “Monsters University”. There was some added depth but nothing that really scream “Damn this film should be in 3D”. I have a feeling that if my daughter ever wants to watch this film again, it will definitely be in 2D.

In terms of special features, they are very impressive for sure despite my feelings on the film. “Campus Life” is a chat with the production crew at Pixar. “Story School” is a documentary takes us through the production and the new story of Mike and Sulley. “Scare Games” talks about the creation of the film’s competitions. “Welcome to MU” talks us into the world that was created for the film. “Music Appreciation” takes us through Randy Newman’s score (which I really was’t thrilled with). “Scare Tactics” talks about bringing the characters to life. “Color and Light” focuses on setting the tone for the film. “Paths to Pixar – MU Edition” features the crew sharing their own back stories. There are four deleted scenes with an introduction from director Dan Scanlon.

Since I didn’t see this film in theaters, I was very curious about seeing Pixar’s latest show “The Blue Umbrella”. When it comes to shorts, they always deliver but my favorite short from Disney has to be “Paperman”, which debuted in front of “Wreck-It Ralph”. “The Blue Umbrella” follows two umbrellas—one blue, one not—fall that fall eternally in love. It is cute and clever but not one of my favorites. Some additional bonus features include an audio commentary track, some promo materials from the college and theatrical campaigns, a “Flythrough” for the sets and an art gallery.

DVD Review “Monsters vs Aliens: Cloning Around”

Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Dreamworks Video
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013
Run Time: 176 minutes

Our Score: 3 out 5 stars

DreamWorks Animation is known for turned their successfully films franchises into successful animated shows. They did it with “Madagascar”, “Kung Fu Panda”, “How to Train Your Dragon” and even “The Croods” is already on its way to the small screen. “Monsters vs. Aliens” is the latest of the films to be given the TV treatment. I have to admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the film itself. I thought it was good but not the best thing to come out of DreamWorks Animation. I also feel that maybe its time has passed a little. I could have seen this be more appealing a few years ago but with no sequel following the first film, this series is not Dreamworks hottest property. The episodes are still worth watching if you like the film.

Official Premise: Get ready for a world of hilarious monster mischief and alien antics in this all-new animated TV series inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s ginormous hit movie Monsters vs. Aliens. Join team leader Susan, muscle-bound Link, ingenious Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D., and B.O.B., the gelatinous blob, as the residents of the government containment area embark on fun-filled adventures under the not-too-watchful eye of General Monger!

The following episodes are included: “Welcome to Area Fifty-Something”, “It Came…On a Field Trip / Educational Television”, “Danger Wears a Diaper / The Toy From Another World”, “Flipped Out / The Wormhole Has Turned”, “The Bath Effect / The Fruit of All Evil”, “The Two Faces of Dr. Cockroach / The Thing With One Brain”, “Fremeny Mine / Maximum B.O.B.”, “Night of the Living Dog / Attack of the Movie Night”. Like “The Penguins of Madagascar”, the episodes are 11 minutes each, which does works well for the show and keeps it fast pace. This DVD does not come with special features besides the episodes but within those episodes there are nearly three hours of action and comedy. Also included is a digital copy of the episodes and game app collection. There is also a promise of further installments with “Supersonic Joyride” arriving on DVD Spring 2014, so keep an eye out for more.

Film Review “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”

Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario
Directed By: Thor Fredenthal
Rated: PG
Running Time: 106 minutes
20th Century Fox

Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars

*deep breath*

The demigod Percy Jackson (Lerman), the son of Poseidon, is back once again. He continues his training at Camp Half-Blood with his friends, Grover Underwood (Jackson), a satyr, and Annabeth Chase (Daddario), the daughter of Athena. The problem this time arises from the boundary around the camp that protects them. The magic boundary that sprung years ago from the deceased body of Thalia Grace (Paloma Kwiatkowski), the daughter of Zeus, has been poisoned. Now the only chance to restore the boundary and keep Thalia’s spirit alive is the Golden Fleece. But Luke Castellan (Jake Abel), the son of Hermes, also wants the Fleece for his own motivations. He hopes to resurrect an ancient evil and once again attempt to bring destruction to Mount Olympus. Things are even more complicated when Percy discovers he has a half brother, Tyson (Douglas Smith), who is part cyclops and tags along for their journey into the Sea of Monsters.

*exhales*

If you’re a little confused, you may need to watch the first movie or take some Cliff notes with you. However, the Cliff notes are probably a lot more entertaining than this movie. I myself had never seen the first “Percy Jackson” until literally hours before the screening of “Sea of Monsters”. This movie is an improvement upon the first, but that might be because the movie is shorter. We’re once again treated to a barrage of computer animated creatures and uninteresting action sequences. We’re not invested enough to be concerned about a character’s well being. It doesn’t help that there isn’t even the slightest sense of peril. Even when our heroes are fighting from being swallowed whole by a whirlpool sized creature in the middle of the ocean, I found myself fighting a yawn.

It’s been six years since the last “Harry Potter” book and just two since the last movie, but Percy Jackson is still creeping in its shadow. The movie has plenty of similar ideas, but that’s not the problem. Everyone borrows from everyone. I get that. The problem arises when the movie uses quirks as a crutch instead of building up this fantastic new world around its inhabitants. The characters aren’t given room to breathe with an ADHD script and smothering CGI. Instead of character driven scenes and diving into the why’s and how’s of the story, the actors are expected to just “ooh” and “ahh” at the newest monster or helpful item given to them by the Gods. I don’t fault any of the actors. They’ve managed to work well with the hollow script they were handed. I fault the studio for selecting Thor Freudenthal, who directed the forgettable “Hotel for Dogs”, to helm this flick. I fault the studio for thinking Marc Guggenheim, the man who helped pen the disaster-piece “Green Lantern”, would be able to bring life into this series. This shows a huge lack of trust in the books original content and the hope that people will be filling the theater for eye candy and tongue-in-cheek one liners. From what a book fan told me at the screening, the movies even changed major plot points.

Greek mythology and literature in its own respect has lived for thousands of years and still captivates people like any good soap opera. “Sea of Monsters” is automatically forgettable and another abusive adaptation of a beloved book series. However, younger audiences who probably haven’t read the books will eat up this newest adventure. Someone in Hollywood needs to go on a search. Find a screenwriter that truly loves these novels and characters. Someone who can’t wait to get their hands on a copy of the latest “Percy Jackson” book. It wouldn’t even hurt to have a huge input by the book’s author, Rick Riordan. With millions of copies sold and a rabid fan base that’s willing to put up with another poorly adapted movie, I think he knows what he’s doing. Not to sound like the end to a PBS show, but I think it’s time for me to learn more by going to my local library.

Book Review “Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters – The Inner Workings of an Epic Film”

Author: David S. Cohen
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Insight Edition
Release Date: June 18, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Guillermo del Toro is my absolute hero! This guy should be making every single movie in Hollywood.  “Pacific Rim” is any guys dream come true. Giant monsters and giant robots going head-to-head…I need a minute to myself.  Ok, I am back! I seriously can say that this is my most anticipated film of the entire summer.  Yes, I know that action heroes are the hottest thing right now but you cannot put that up against monsters and robots. This book is also one of my favorite companion books from this year. It is part art book, part visual companion.  Best of both worlds!

Official Premise: When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes-a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)-who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

You can also imagine that a $200 million dollar film is going to be backed with some amazing artwork and pre-production planning.   This book contains some really amazing images, all displayed in super high quality.  There is some amazing detailed set photography, along with great commentary from the film’s creative team. I also liked insights into the battle-torn world of 2025 CE depicted in the movie, so it takes you behind the story as well as behind the scenes. One aspect I loved about this book is that it is also very hands on, there are multiple sketches, blueprints and various tabs to enhance this experience. There are also two pull out posters in the back of the book.

David S. Cohen has been writing for Variety for over 10 years and is the author of “The Ballad of Rango: The Art & Making of an Outlaw Film”, which is another great companion book. There is an awesome foreword from director Guillermo del Toro.  He really is so passionate about his films and I loved reading what he had to say about this film. Some of the art in the book might be considered to be a bit of a spoiler since all of the monsters and robots are not show in the trailers but I couldn’t care less, I loved every page of this book and now I just want to see the film more!

Film Review “Monsters University”

Starring the voices of: Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Rated: G
Running time: 1 hr 50 mins
Walt Disney Pictures

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

If you’re a kid over ten you’re certainly familiar with the story of “Monster’s Inc.” Best friends Mike Wazowski (Crystal) and James “Sulley” Sullivan (Goodman) work together to scare human children while they sleep, harvesting their screams to power their home city of Monstropolis. But did you know that, though they are cousins, Mike and Sulley were anything but friends when they were younger. This secret, and others, are revealed when the boys become college men at Monster’s University.

Directed by Dan Scanlon, whose PIXAR association includes stints working on “Cars,” “Brave” and the short film “Mater and the Ghostlights,” “Monster’s University” is a worthy prequel to what is arguably one of PIXAR’s greatest achievements. The story follows Mike and Sulley as they take different paths to what they hope is the same ending. Both want to be “scarers” and Sulley has a leg up because his father was renowned in the field. Big and hairy, Sulley seems to have his future set for him. Smooth and round, not to mention short, Mike knows he has his work cut out for him. While Sulley is recruited by the school’s top fraternities Mike finds himself in the freshmen dorm, rooming with another potential student, one Randy Boggs (Buscemi). After some preliminary scare classes Randy finds himself in a popular fraternity while Mike is left to join the only house that will have him: Oozema Kappa. Here he learns that not every dream has to come true in order to reach your goals.

What made “Monster’s Inc” such a success was the true and genuine bond between Mike and Sulley. As voiced by Crystal and Goodman they were best friends that you know would remain that way forever. Knowing what the future holds for both of them does not distract from the story here. The film lovingly parodies such popular college comedies as “Animal House” and “Revenge of the Nerds.” Crystal and Goodman lead a great vocal cast which includes returning “Monster’s Inc” alum Steve Buscemi. They are joined by Helen Mirren, Sean Hayes, Alfred Molina and Joel Murray. The script, co-written by Scanlon, Daniel Gerson and Robert Baird, is clever without being cute, which is an incredible achievement for a G rated film. And, as always, the visuals are outstanding.

And while I’m speaking of visuals, make sure you get to the theatre early so you can catch an amazing short film called “The Blue Umbrella.”

Complimentary Passes to an Orlando, FL 3D Screening of Disney*Pixar’s “Monsters University” [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

©2013 DISNEY/PIXAR

In Disney Digital 3D™ And RealD 3D June 21

If you would like to enter for a chance to win tickets to the following advance 3D screening below, please leave a comment below with who is your favorite character: Mike or Sulley? Tickets are limited and will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS on Friday June 15th. The winners will be will notified then via email. Good luck and hope to see if you at the screening!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only one entry per person/per household. Must be 13 years or older to enter to win. Limit one-admit two pass per person. Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Supplies limited. Employees of all promotional partner and their agencies are not eligible.

Theater: AMC Downtown Disney
Date: Monday, June 17th, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM
Format: 3D

Disney.com/MonstersU
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Mike Wazowski’s (voice of Billy Crystal) lifelong dreams of becoming a scarer are derailed during his first semester at Monsters University when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (voice of John Goodman), and their out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program.

Book Review “The Art of Monsters University”

Author: Karen Palik
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Book Length: 172 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When it’s comes to “Monsters Inc.”, it stole our hearts and of course laughs (spoilers alert, haha). Over the last decade or so the film continues to entertain and stands as one of Pixar’s most impressive films and we have been waiting to see more adventures with Mike and Sulley. Twelve years later, we are getting a prequel to the animated hit titled “Monsters University”, which follows the duo in school before they were on the scare floor. This book is being released by Chronicle Books, who handles most of the art of books for Disney and Pixar. They were also the publisher behind the art of for “Monsters Inc”. If you were a fan of that book, this is another gem from Chronicle. If you have never seen that book, this one really takes you into this film’s universe and makes you want to rush out and see this new film immediately.

The layout of the book is great and really has that college campus feel. I enjoyed the fact that you also get to see aspects of “Monsters Inc.” that were not shown in the first film. There is tons of great concept art, which I am a big sucker for. All the images are super crisp and high quality. Additionally there are various character profiles, sculptures, storyboards and more. Even though our lovable Mike and Sully are still the main characters, there are tons of new faces and they get some time to shine in this book as well. When I see a movie, I like to have some surprises so I usually won’t go too deep before seeing it but this was a nice introduction to get us ready to meet them. “The Art of Monsters University” also includes some very informative behind-the-scenes interviews with the film’s artists. I like that they get to step away from the drawing board and speak out.

The book is authored by Karen Paik, who works in the development department at Pixar. She has worked on various projects including “Ratatouille”, “Up”, and of course “Monsters University”. If you are questions her work as an author she also authored the wonderful companion book “The Art of Ratatouille”, as well as “To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios”. So she not only brings her inside view from working at Pixar. She was also involved with this film hands on and allows us to get that inside view. There is also a great preface from John Lasseter, the head honcho for Disney*Pixar films, along with Pete Doctor, the director of “Monsters, Inc.”, “Up” and writer of “Monsters University”. The foreword is by Dan Scanlon, the director of Monsters University, also a great ending to a great book. Don’t miss this!