Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection First Time Ever on Blu-ray!

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, A LANDMARK COLLECTION SHOWCASING THE LEGENDARY MONSTERS IN MOTION PICTURE HISTORY

UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: COMPLETE 30-FILM COLLECTION AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY ON AUGUST 28, 2018 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Universal City, California, August 22, 2018 – Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray™ for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection on August 28, 2018, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre with imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror in unforgettable films from the 1930s to late-1950s.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection showcases all the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these films set the standard for a new horror genre and showcase why these landmark movies that defined the horror genre are regarded as some of the most unforgettable ever to be filmed.

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes a 48-page collectible book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photographs and is accompanied by an array of bonus features including behind-the-scenes documentaries, the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce, 13 expert feature commentaries, archival footage, production photographs, theatrical trailers and more. The perfect gift for any scary movie fan, the collection offers an opportunity to experience some of the most memorable horror films of our time.

The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes Dracula(1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942),Invisible Agent (1942), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D version) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

 

BONUS FEATURES:

  • Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries
  • 3D Versions of Creature from the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature
  • 1931 Spanish Version of Dracula
  • Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce
  • 13 Expert Feature Commentaries
  • Archival Footage
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailers

 

Blu-ray Review “Moonlight”

Actors: Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monae, Mahershala Ali
Directors: Barry Jenkins
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Run Time: 111 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

First of all let’s start with a BIG congrats to “Moonlight” for winning Best Picture during the 2017 Oscars and also to Mahershala Ali for winning Best Supporting Actor, in which he deserves for another impressive performance.  This wasn’t a film that I originally rushed out to see and it features some great acting. Personally not my cup of tea and definitely not the best picture of 2016, but worth checking out for the performances.

Official Premise: A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. Anchored by extraordinary performances from a tremendous ensemble cast, Moonlight is profoundly moving portrayal of the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are.

The Blu-ray looks fantastic. I really love the way that this film was shot. The 1080p transfer is presented with a 2.38:1 aspect ratio. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also very effective with the film’s score. The special features are decent and worth checking out if you enjoyed the movie. There is an audio commentary with the film’s director Barry Jenkins. I enjoyed this during a second viewing to get some great insight. There are also three featurettes on the production. The first is “Ensemble of Emotion: The Making of Moonlight”, next is “Poetry Through Collaboration: The Music of Moonlight” and last is
“Cruel Beauty: Filming in Miami”. Overall pretty solid release!

Blu-ray Review “The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)”

Starring: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, Peter Lawford, Lowell Gilmore
Director: Albert Lewin
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Archive Collection
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014
Run Time: 110 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Based on the classic by Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a nice blend of horror/drama with a pinch of supernatural. The film is just a year sort of its 70th anniversary and it still holds up today. Albert Lewin writes and directs with Angela Lansbury and Donna Reed star. I think this is Warner Archive Collection’s best release to date!

Official Premise: George Sanders commands the screen as the acerbic, cynical Lord Henry Wotton whose errant musings unwittingly plunge a soul into a leprotic existence of amoral degradation. Hurd Harfield plays the eponymous Gray whose unchanging, placid beauty is enabled by his cursed portrait that embodies his age and decay.

The 1080p HD presentation is nothing short of pristine. It really showcases Cinematographer Harry Stradling, Sr. use of shadow very well with this black and white film. He went on to also win the Oscar for this cinematography for this picture. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono works perfect for the film. It is clear and sharp and sounds amazing with the score by Herbert Stothart.

The special features are decent as well (even thought they were taken from Warner’s 2008 DVD release). There is a commentary track with Angela Lansbury and Film Historian Steve Haberman, which is very informative and entertaining. Also included is the Oscar-winning short”Stairway to Light”, the Tom and Jerry cartoon, “Quiet Please!”, which also won the Oscar for Best Short Subject, Cartoons, for 1945 and a Theatrical Trailer rounds out the extras.

Book Review “The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy: Location Guide – Hobbiton, the Lonely Mountain and Beyond”

Author: Ian Brodie
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

New Zealand is a country that I would never think that I would ever want to visit…that is until “The Lord of the Rings” and “The HobThe HobbitThe Hobbit” films came along. Since those films have come out, people all over the world have flocked to New Zealand in order to visit the the “real” Middle-earth. “The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy:  Location Guide – Hobbiton, the Lonely Mountain and Beyond” delivers you the locations where the new trilogy was shot around New Zealand from the author of the international bestseller “The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook”. The book also comes with a foreword by Sir Peter Jackson and contributions by Andy Serkis, Jared Connon, and Dan Hennah.

After reading this book, I literally wanted to pack up and plan a trip to New Zealand. The locations in these films are so visually stunning that they literally jump off the pages. Luckily, Harper Design delivered us a beautiful book with extremely crisp and high quality original landscape photography. This book exclusive movie images and location photographs, specialty maps and directions, GPS references, touring information and even helpful Internet addresses. If you are a hardcore “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” and you read this book and do not seriously consider a trip to New Zealand then I might suggest that you might not be as big of a fan as you think. Well if you take the trip or not, this is a must own for any fan certainly.

 

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Vinyl Review “Disney’s TRON: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” 180g Double Vinyl Edition

Disney’s TRON
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Composer: Wendy Carlos
Double LP
180g Virgin Vinyl

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Growing up, one of my favorite films was “TRON”, now 30+ years later…little has changed. The music in the film was always my favorite. I just to listen to the cassette as kid and now I have it digitally on my smartphone. Audio Fidelity is the guys behind the the release of this album on a Double LP  with 180g translucent blue vinyl records. They are the definitely of quality when it comes to music releases. This wonderful music has never sounded better! Crack it up to 11 and enjoy the wonderful sound of “TRON” once again on vinyl!

The score itself for “TRON” an nice blend of electronic along with traditional orchestral music. Kudos to composer Wendy Carlos for her brilliant orchestral recording with symphonic backgrounds by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the UCLA Chorus. She has created some of my favorite scores including “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Shining”. The “TRON” soundtrack also has two additional tracks from the rock band Journey, “Only Solutions” and “1990’s Theme”.

The gatefold jacket inside this new vinyl reissue holds the two 180g translucent blue vinyl records and also includes colorful photos from the popular cult film. Inside there is a fantastic liner notes written by the composer as well Michael Fremer, who also served as the film’s soundtrack supervisor. Fremer also oversaw the new Audio Fidelity mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. So you know it go the attention that it deserved.

Track list: 
SIDE 1
1-Creation Of TRON
2-Only Solutions – Journey
3-We’ve Got Company
4-Wormhole
5-Ring Game And Escape
6-Water, Music, And Tronaction

SIDE 2
1-TRON Scherzo
2-Miracle and Magician
3-Magic Landings
4-Theme From TRON
5-1990’s Theme – Journey
6-Love Theme

SIDE 3
1-Tower Music – Let Us Pray
2-The Light Sailer
3-Sea Of Simulation

SIDE 4
1-A New TRON And The MCP
2-Anthem
3-Ending Titles

CD Review “Snowpiercer” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Snowpiercer
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Composer:Marco Beltrami
Varese Sarabande Records
Tracks: 20
Running Time: 56 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Releasing on July 22nd is Marco Beltrami’s score to the fantastic Joon-Ho Bong film, Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer is the name of the post-apocalyptic train which shelters all remaining life on Earth in a dystopian society arranged from the haves in the front of the train and the haves-nots in the back of the train. Chris Evans’s Curtis leads a rebellion from the back to the front and Beltrami’s score excellently compliments his struggle.

Most of the tracks feature heavy metallic percussive beats that emulate the chugging along of the train as well as the battles along the way. Most notably in the “Blackout Fight” track. Fitting for one of the most exciting sequences of the film. Similarly “Steam Car” manages to maintain this train soundscape while also layering in the steamy atmosphere.

Frequently Beltrami lets up on the action to make way for eerie, sparse piano and orchestral work to accent the more decadent cars of Snowpiercer as in “Sushi”. He also manages to work in the thumping club music of the “Seoul Train”–so different visually in the film–into the forward motion of the rest of the score.

I will admit I enjoyed the action score much more in the context of driving the film, but the haunting piano work it kicks off with and spread throughout is more than enough to recommend giving this a listen on its own. Also, much to my amusement the final track also throws in the charmingly terrifying propaganda anthem from the classroom car (Sample: What happens if the engines stops? We all freeze and DIE!).

Track Listing:
1. This is the End
2. Stomp
3. Preparation
4. Requesting An Upgrade
5. Take the Engine
6. Axe Gang
7. Axe Schlomo
8. Blackout Fight
9. Water Supply
10. Go Ahead
11. Sushi
12. The Seven
13. We Go Forward
14. Steam Car
15. Seoul Train
16. Snow Melt
17. Take My Place
18. Yona Lights
19. This is the Beginning
20. Yona’s Theme

Win a CD for “Maleficent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “Maleficent” in theaters, Media Mikes is excited five (5) copies of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Angelina Jolie film. This giveaway will remain open until June 13th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

All-new soundtrack that includes a new take on the original Disney classic, Once Upon a Dream, performed by Lana Del Rey. Original score composed by 8-time Academy Award nominee, James Newton Howard. The official soundtrack to the Walt Disney Studios film Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie. This visually dazzling live action film explores the origins of one of the most iconic Disney villains: Maleficent, the infamous fairy who curses Princess Aurora in Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty. This ‘origin’ story is told from Maleficent’s perspective, intersecting with the classic in both familiar and unexpected ways. The movie stars Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, and is directed by two-time Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland). The film co-stars Elle Fanning (Super 8) as the Princess Aurora, and features Sharlto Copley (District 9), Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), and Juno Temple (Atonement).

Blu-ray Review “The Zombie Horror Picture Show”

Actors: Rob Zombie
Directors: Rob Zombie
Rated: Unrated
Studio: UMe
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2014
Run Time: 81 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“The Zombie Horror Picture Show” is the first concert film from musician/director Rob Zombie. The 81 minute feature-length concert film was recorded over two nights in Texas and captures Zombie’s elaborate, multi-media production of mind blowing effects, animatronics robots and pyrotechnics combined with Rob’s powerhouse band featuring John 5, Piggy D and Ginger Fish. The film is being released via UMe and is available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.

Finally Rob Zombie has decided to capture not only his power live sound but his over the top visual presentation which fans all around the world have to come to expect and love. “Rob Zombie: The Zombie Horror Picture Show” is a bombastic assault on your senses as the bands takes you on a 81 minute musical journey with songs spanning Zombies 20+ year career. The overall look of the film may be a bit chaotic at times but fans of Rob’s work with White Zombie and his subsequent solo career know what to expect.

The sound of the film is top notch only adding to the appeal as songs like “Superbeast”, “Sick Bubblegum” and the semi acoustic “House of 1,000 Corpses” blast through the speakers with clarity while still retaining that live concert feel. My only complaint is that the special features portion of this release is almost non-existent. Included in this section you do get some pretty cool still photos courtesy of Rob Fenn however with this being Zombies first concert film it would have been cool to include some behind the scenes footage and/or band interviews to help make this the total package.

Track Listing:
1.) Teenage Nosferatu Pussy
2.) Superbeast
3.) Super Charger Heaven
4.) Living Dead Girl
5.) We’re An American Band
6.) More Human Than Human
7.) Sick Bubblegum
8.) Never Gonna Stop
9.) Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga
10.) Meet the Creeper
11.) Angry Red Planet
12.) Mars needs Women
13.) House of 1,000 Corpses
14.) Lords of Salem
15.) Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Super Town
16.) Thunder Kiss ‘65
17.) Dragula

CD Review “Godzilla: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

“Godzilla”
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Composer: Alexandre Desplat
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Tracks 20
Label: WaterTower Music

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

To walk in the footsteps of the giant monster Godzilla, you are going to have to wear some big shoes. Luckily, composer Alexandre Desplat does a great job of filling those big shoes and delivers one of the best scores of year. He is quite familiar with epic score as he handled the last two “Harry Potter” films, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 & 2”. There is something about this score that has me locked in that after listening to for two days now I can’t get enough of it. When you think of an epic action film, you might think about this loud and in your face score but Desplat doesn’t do just that. He delivers some very beautiful music here that is soft and then he also brings the big action feel that is weaved in so well. “Godzilla” is easily one of my most anticipated films of the year and this score just makes me more and more excited to see it.

If you aren’t familiar with the new director Gareth Edwards, that is because he has only directed one film prior to this called “Monsters” in 2010. That film also had one of my favorite scores not just of the year but of all time. He introduced me to one the also first time film composer is Jon Hopkins and now I am a huge fan of his work as well. What I am getting at is that Edwards knows good music and he really picked a winner here teaming up with Desplat. Even though I mentioned this score is quite in parts, there was about a hundred musicians involved with this score and you can really feel the excitement that is generated from their performances on each track. When it comes to the busy summer season, I had a feeling that this score will be number one on my phone for months to come. Just a note, and this doesn’t mean to look down now, be warned that the track listings contain bit of spoilers for the film itself, so I would refrain from checking them out and just enjoy the tunes at least until you have seen the film!

Track Listing:
1. Godzilla!
2. Inside the Mines
3. The Power Plant
4. To Q Zone
5. Back to Janjira
6. Muto Hatch
7. In the Jungle
8. The Wave
9. Airport Attack
10. Missing Spore
11. Vegas Aftermath
12. Ford Rescued
13. Following Godzilla
14. Golden Gate Chaos
15. Let Them Fight
16. Entering the Nest
17. Two Against One
18. Last Shot
19. Godzilla’s Victory
20. Back to the Ocean

 

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CD Review: “Knight of Badassdom: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

“Knight of Badassdom”
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Composer: Bear McCreary
Label: Sparks & Shadows
Run Time: 65 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Knight of Badassdom” is no question of the coolest titles of all time. It is directed by Joe Lynch (“Wrong Turn 2”, “Holliston”) and has been waiting to be released for a few years now. It follows three best friends (Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn and Ryan Kwanten) and LARPers as they take to the woods to reenact a dungeons and dragons-like scenario fresh out of the mythical Middle Ages. It is a nerd’s dream come true. When I heard that Emmy Award®-Winning Composer Bear McCreary (“The Walking Dead”, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) was making original music for the soundtrack, I high-fived the closest person to me out of shear excitement. If that isn’t enough there is still more the album features performances by heavy metal and rock names including Brendon Small (Dethklok), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa), Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo), Ira Ingber (Bob Dylan), Pete Griffin (Three Inches of Blood) and Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa). This album is dripping with amazing talent. It is also quickly becoming one of my favorite albums to listen to.

What I look for in an album is something I can listen to over and over. “Knight of Badassdom” is a good album but it is great after multiple listens. I found myself catching little things that I didn’t catch the first time. This is not only an amazing score to the film but also a pretty kick ass rock/metal album. I really love Dethklok’s music by Brendan Small and you can really here his contribution and influence on this. There are also some really killer solos and rhythm guitars featured on this album. They went above and beyond here with these tracks. There are also featured vocals from Brendan McCreary and Raya Yarbrough on a few tracks. I love composer Bear McCreary because you can tell that he is just such a cool guy. He read the script for this film and was totally behind it. The guy is a Grammy winner and yet he still backs a small film like this by releasing it under his record label, Sparks & Shadows. He is one of the biggest composers in the business right now and I hope he continues to back future projects like this!

Speaking of amazing rhythm guitars, props need to go to Mike Keneally, Pete Griffin, and Joe Travers for rocking that section. Doug Aldrich’s insane guitar solo on “At the Gates” is a highlight on the album. One of the main things, I love about this album is how all over the place it is. From Ira Ingber playing the “down-home slide guitar” to Steve Bartek bringing the horror cues to the playing of Scottish pipes by Eric Rigler (who was featured on the score to “Braveheart”). There is a lot of range in this score and it is very entertaining. I easily left it on for about 8 hours on loop yesterday and it didn’t bore me out at all…and that is the true test to an album for me. Do you feel the urge to skip a track? No? Then you have yourself a really winner for sure! eOne Films is releasing “Knight of Badassdom” with TUGG screenings beginning on January 21st and available digitally and on VOD as of February 11, 2014. The soundtrack is available now everywhere including Amazon and iTunes. Don’t miss this album and be sure to support this film!

 

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CD Review “The Zero Theorem: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

The Zero Theorem
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Composer: George Fenton
Milan Records
Tracks: 26
Running Time: 57 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“The Zero Theorem” is the newest sci-fi extravaganza directed by legendary director Terry Gilliam (“Brazil”, “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas”, “Twelve Monkeys”). I have been following this film for a long time and I was very excited that the score is being released way in advance of the film. In fact the film at the time of writing does not have a US theatrical release date. If you watch the trailer to this film you can tell that is going to be quite the trip, this soundtrack is a perfect compliment to the film. What it succeeds in is making me REALLY want to see this film now. No question, this is already one my favorite scores of 2014.

If you are a fan of Terry Gilliam’s films, like myself, then you will know how important and the music to the film. I still have the “Brazil” score on my phone for many years. Well there is no change here and the score plays a very significant role in “The Zero Theorem”. Acclaimed composer George Fenton really does a wonderful job with this score score. It ranges from combining simple classical moments then mixed with exciting futuristic, electronic tracks. I also really enjoyed the new rendition of “Creep” performed by Karen Souza. I can’t wait to see how it ties into the film itself. I have had this album on loop since receiving it and I do not see that changing for many months to come! Highly recommend checking this out!

Track Listing:
1. The Zero Theorem Main Title -George Fenton
2. Leth on the Street
3. Creep – Karen Souza
4. Remote Central
5. Joby’s Party Part 1
6. Meeting Management
7. Joby’s Party Part 2
8. Joby’s Party Part 3
9. The Mainframe
10. The Entities Won’t Crunch
11. The Nurse
12. Bob and the Clones
13. Bob’s on the Job
14. Enter in Tropical Style
15. Beach Romance
16. Shrink Rom Rap – Bob’s Crunch – Tilda Swinton
17. Inside Your Head
18. A New Bainsley
19. There’ll Be No Call
20. We Can Be Together
21. Bainsley Leaves
22. Bob Collapses
23. Q Loses It
24. Destroying the Mainframe and the Release
25. Qohen Leth
26. 0=100% (Party part 2) (Konstantine Pope Remix)

Book Review “My Neighbor Totoro Picture Book (New Edition)”

Author: Hayao Miyazaki
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: My Neighbor Totoro
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; New edition
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Damn! Has it really been 25 years? I remember watching “My Neighbor Totoro” when I was a kid and now I have been introducing it this year to my 17 month old daughter. In fact, I have a feel that she is going to love this picture book as well as she learns the film and grows up with it like I have. Viz Media is releasing this new edition to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary and they have done a great job here for sure. If you do not already own this book, then this will be a great way to parents to introduce the film to their children and keep the fandom surrounding this film and Studio Ghibli overall going for another generation.

Official Premise: The companion book to the beloved animation classic My Neighbor Totoro, by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki. Featuring artwork taken directly from the movie, this updated edition will allow parents and children to relive Totoro’s magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue. Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds–and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

To be honest the title of the book says it all. We get the entire story of the film within some text and illustration. So you can get the jist of the film as it is perfect laid out. I feel like it is giant comic book but also like a visual journey of the film. The images in the book are basically screenshots from the film and they are presented in very high quality. My daughter already is able to say Totoro or “Torto” as she says it since we have plush dolls and various merchandise all over the house. So watching her sit quietly and flip through this book made me very happy and I am sure that this will be used quite a bit over the years. No brainer if you are a fan of the film and Studio Ghibli. I hope that Viz has future plans for more collaborations with their films.

CD Review: “Gravity” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Composer: Steven Price
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Running Time: 72 minutes
16 Tracks
Label: Watertower Music

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I saw the trailer to “Gravity”, I was just blown away. I knew it was going to be something special. I was really hoping that the score was going to be equally as amazing. I just had a feeling…and I was completely right! Already one of my favorite scores of the year, no question. The score is simple and calm yet packs a certain suspense and will keep you on your toes. Having seen the film already, you are able to visualize the score as it plays out in your head. It sets up the scene very well for the final tracks with are heart-pounding. I left this score on loop and it only gets better with each listen. Highly recommend this score.

Steven is definitely a composer to keep an eye out for. His previous work including 2011’s “Attack the Block” and this summer’s “The World’s End”.  I have to admit, I have not heard those scores but I know that I will be checking them out now for sure. I really like this style on this score and I think it really suits the movie very well.  For me if you are listening to the score and it makes you want to stop what you are doing and watch the movie then it has achieved its purpose. It is mysterious and calm like the dead of space and I really felt those themes in the music. I think that there is going to be a lot of greatness coming from this guy and I can’t wait to see what he does next!

CD Review “The Conjuring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Composer: Joseph Bishara
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Number of Discs: 1
Tracks: 25
Label: La-La Land Records

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I am a huge horror movie buff. It is hands down my favorite genre. When it comes to the music in the horror movies, it really needs to scare the shit out of me in order to be effective. And I have to admit that is not always the case. I was introduced to the work of Joseph Bishara back in 2010 for the score of “Insidious” (also directed by James Wan) and he has quickly become one of my favorite composers. In fact, “Insidious” has one of my all-time favorite horror scores and this one is also not to far behind either. I have to admit, I have yet to see “The Conjuring”, obviously I am highly anticipating it…and now I only want to see it more, thanks to this score. This score is terrifying and guaranteed to make you jump! A must for any horror fan!

What I like most about composer Joseph Bishara is that he really has a knack for creating these solid score which have a very realistic feel yet still extremely far out and creepy at the same time. Some of my favorite tracks are “Witch Perch”, “Maurice” and “Hanging Drop”. They are crazy creepy and definitely will have you turning the lights on at night. The last track on the album is from fellow composer Mark Islam, called “Family Theme”, it is good but to me really doesn’t fit with the scope of the score and feels out of place.  Nonetheless, if you are looking for a great horror score, and I highly recommend listening with a headset, this will send shivers down your spine and have you running out to the theaters to see this film!

Track Listing:
1. The Conjuring
2. Dead Birds
3. Clap Game
4. Witch Perch
5. Maurice
6. Torturing Haunted Planes
7. Taped Occurrences
8. Black Bile
9. She Saw Something
10. Look What She Made Me Do
11. Sleepwalker
12. Wall Searching
13. Hanging Drop
14. Water Corpse Vision
15. You Look Very Pretty
16. Souls Pulled In
17. Witch Comes Through
18. Birds Pulled In
19. Murderous Offering
20. The Soaring Entities
21. Ritual Casting
22. Cellar Tone
23. Annabelle
24. Doll Box
25. Family Theme – Mark Isham

CD Review: “Pacific Rim: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Release Date: June 25, 2013)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: WaterTower Music

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Pacific Rim” is personally my most anticipated movie of the summer, no question.  Giant monsters and giant robots going head to head, sounds totally EPIC! So when it comes to the score for this film, I was looking for that epic feel. Well leave it to Ramin Djawadi to not disappoint.  You might know his work…he does the music for a very small TV series, you never heard of, called “Game of Thrones” ;-). He really knows how to bring the epic action feel to this music.  When I listen to this score, it really gets me pumped up. It also feels very consistent that I can listen to it on loop and it feels like one long track, which I like. Easily one of my favorite scores of the year!

He has become very good at infusing epic action movies with emotion and heart. This film is massive and the score easily lives up to that rank as well.  For the film’s title theme, Djawadi joined forced with Tom Morello (from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave) to add some killer guitar to the track. In fact it he ended up working on five tracks on this score and they also ending up being my favorite tracks on the whole album.  I love his guitar work on the score, which is not very common for an typical orchestral score. If you are considering seeing this film, I highly recommend this score since it will get you totally pumped and ready. Also I would recommend doing what I did and leaving it on loop since it really gets better and better with each listen.

Track List:
1. Pacific Rim (feat. Tom Morello)
2. Gipsy Danger
3. Canceling The Apocalypse
4. Just A Memory
5. 2500 Tons Of Awesome
6. The Shatterdome
7. Mako (feat. Priscilla Ahn)
8. Call Me Newt
9. Jaeger Tech (feat. Tom Morello)
10. To Fight Monsters, We Created Monsters
11. Better Than New
12. We Are The Resistance
13. Double Event
14. Striker Eureka
15. Physical Compatibility
16. Category 5
17. Pentecost
18. Go Big Or Go Extinct (feat. Tom Morello)
19. Hannibal Chau
20. For My Family
21. No Pulse (feat. Tom Morello)
22. Kaiju Groupie
23. Deep Beneath The Pacific
24. The Breach
25. We Need A New Weapon