Blu-ray Review “The Dragon Pearl”

Starring: Sam Neill, Li Lin Jin, Louis Corbett, Jordan Chan, Wang Ji, Robert Mammone
Director: Mario Andreacchio
Distributed by: Ketchup Entertainment
Release Date: June 18, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

I have to admit plain and simple, I am a sucker for anything with Samn Neill.  But this is not really a not the Sam Neill show, as he just pops in for a few scenes. This family film is currently a Wal-Mart Exclusive until Aug 20, 2013.  As entertaining as the cover art looks though with the very pretty dragon, it is quite underwhelming.  The dragon special effects do look sharp but they are sparsely used like Sam Neill in the film. Kids might enjoy but parents be warned this is lame and bit of a bore.

Official Premise: Josh (Louis Corbett) and Ling (Li Lin Jin) thought they were in for a boring vacation with each of their parents (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park and Wang Ji) at an archaeological dig in China. It turns into an adventure of a lifetime when they discover a mournful dragon trapped deep inside a mystical temple. According to ancient legend, the dragon is missing its life force, a sacred pearl that is hidden away in a secret chamber. Josh and Ling must battle evil forces (and some very skeptical parents) in their heart-stopping journey to return the magical pearl to its rightful owner.

Ketchup Entertainment is releasing this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Vudu Digital Copy.  The film was shot by award-winning Australian DP, Geoffrey Simpson, so I was very impressed with the 1080p transfer. In fact the locations where the film were shot were the best part of watching this. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks sounds good enough with the occasionally weak action scenes and decent score. Like the film itself, the special feature department is extremely lacking. We only get the film’s trailer here, so don’t expect much in the extra department.

 

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Interview with Pearl Aday

Pearl Aday is the daughter of classic rock singer/ actor Meatloaf. Pearl released her debut album “Little Immaculate White Fox” which featured Pearl’s husband guitarist Scott Ian on guitar in 2010. Pearl has recently released an acoustic version of the album titled “The Swing House Session: Pearl Live & Acoustic”. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Pearl about the new album and her plans for 2012.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the latest album?
Pearl Aday: The album is currently available as a download only. Unfortunately we don’t have physical CD’s right now but you can get it on most online music sites. The album is acoustic versions of my rock album “Little Immaculate White Fox”. We got the guitarist on the album together and recorded for an afternoon at Swing House studios in Hollywood. We played the songs completely live and acoustic. The album was produced live by Jay Ruston who had produced a few tracks on my rock album. It was a lot of fun.

AL: What was the idea behind recording the “Little Immaculate White Fox” tracks acoustically?
PA: We wanted for the people who loved the original recording of the album to have an acoustic version as well. These versions of the songs are quite a bit different and feature a new twist.

AL: The album features one new track but is missing one track can you tell us about that?
PA: “Angel from Montgomery” was not on the original album. That song is actually a cover written by John Prine. We started putting that song in the set when we were touring for the album. That song was a nice mellow dip in the vibe that we would do acoustically each night. The three part harmonies on that song sound really beautiful. We got a lot of great feedback from playing it. The song “Broken White” we chose not to include because that song is much harder and is a real rocker. It seemed too much to transfer that day into an acoustic version.

AL: What do you think was the most difficult part of performing the songs acoustically?
PA: I didn’t think there was anything really difficult about it actually. It was just enjoyable and fun. We all knew the songs so well that it was fun to take them and strip them down. Reworking them in a different way created a different vibe and emotion.

AL: Can you tell us who played on the tracks?
PA: The album is just guitars and vocals. I, Scott Ian, Nalle Colt, Jim Wilson and bassist Marcus Blake are all featured on the album. Jim and Marcus are the two guys that I wrote a bulk of the music with on the original album. I love working with those two.

AL: What are your plans for 2012?
PA: I am working with my agent to set up some acoustic club shows in the Los Angeles area and possibly in the San Francisco area. I won’t be doing a full tour but just some local shows to get out and perform the acoustic album live. We also have a handful of new songs  in the demo stage that we are finishing. We are planning to take those in and record them for another full electric album.  That’s something that I am really looking forward to.

 

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CD Review: Pearl “The Swing House Session: Pearl (Live & Acoustic)”

Pearl
“The Swing House Session: Pearl (Live & Acoustic)”
Producer: Jay Ruston
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Swing House Session: Pearl (Live & Acoustic)” is the latest release from Pearl. The album features 10 acoustic tracks 9 of which were originally featured on Pearl’s 2010 debut release titled “Little Immaculant White Fox”. The 10 tracks on the album were recorded live in one session and feature Pearl, Scott Ian, Jim Wilson, Marcus Blake and Nalle Cole. The session/album was produced by Jay Ruston (The Donnas, Meatloaf).

This album has a really cool laid back vide which I felt was very reminiscent of some of those great mid 60’s era releases. It was almost impossible to tell that this album was created live as the performances are just so seamless. Pearl’s voice is rich and soulful which only adds to the impressive string section compiled for the session. The big stand out track for me was the cover of the classic John Prine song “Angel From Montgomery” while tracks such as “Rock Child” and “Check Out Charlie” also transferred really well into acoustic form. Fans of Pearl’s rock album and fans of acoustic music in general will surely want to take a listen to this album.

Track Listing:
1.) Check Out Charlie
2.) Love Pyre
3.) Rock Child
4.) Worth Defending
5.) Mama
6.) My Heart Isn’t in It
7.) Angel From Montgomery
8.) Nobody
9.) Whore
10.) Anything

Also be sure to check out our interview with Pearl located in the interview portion of the site.

 

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Film Review “Pearl Jam Twenty”

Starring: Pearl Jam
Director: Cameron Crowe
Vinyl Films/Tremolo Productions
MPAA Rating:
Running Time: 1 hr 49 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Pearl Jam 20” directed by Cameron Crowe tells the story of one of rock more outspoken groups Pearl Jam. This documentary follows the band through its inception nearly 20 years ago. Through new interviews and archival footage you get to see and hear firsthand accounts of the trials and tribulations of one the most popular bands to come out of the 90’s grunge era of music.

Pearl Jam is a band I grew up listening to and I was quite intrigued to hear their complete story. The film does a great job leaving no stone unturned starting with Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament’s previous band Mother Love Bone. Gossard and Ament tell the story of how the passing of their singer led to Eddie Veder coming into the fold and forming a new band. There were a lot of great archival clips that I remember reading about or seeing when they initially happened. I found this very reminiscent. The film was very truthful and the expressions of those in the film proved that. Even when the topic of the controversial Ticketmaster incident was discussed no member shied away. In fact each person provided their perspective of those events based on where they are now. On a personal note I really enjoyed the stories and footage related to the Temple of the Dog album which featured both Pearl jam and members of Sound Garden.

Director Cameron Crowe definitely delivered with this film. The interviews were all very candid and again nothing seemed to be cut or left out. Seeing the members of the band in their natural environment during their interviews brought a real independent feel to this film which almost echoes the bands very being. “Pearl Jam 20” is a must see!