Film Review: “The Art of Racing in the Rain”

  • Starring:  Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner
  • Directed by: Simon Curtis
  • Rated:  PG
  • Running time:  1 hr 49 mins
  • 20th Century Fox

There are two kinds of people in this world.  Dog people (guilty) and cat people.  Dog people, please continue reading.

Meet Enzo.  He is an older dog that has lived an amazing life.  And, if you have a couple of hours to spare, he’ll share his story with you.  Enzo (voiced perfectly by Kevin Costner) is chosen as a pup by Denny Swift (Ventimiglia), a race car trainer who aspires to one day drive in Formula One races.  As the years progress, the two are inseparable, sharing adventures both behind the wheel and at home,   Things get complicated when Denny meets Eve (Seyfried) and even more so when they have a daughter, Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong).  Eve’s parents, played by Kathy Baker and Martin Donovan, are well off and not happy with their son-in-law’s profession.  Denny has begun to get some racing gigs, but they take him away from home for prolonged periods.  Things get worse when Eve becomes sick.  Can Enzo save the day?

An entertaining film that’s light on plot points, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is the kind of film Walt Disney would make in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s (think “The Shaggy Dog”), though without such a dramatic backdrop.  Ventimiglia – in the Disney version Denny would be played by Fred MacMurray – does his best with the material he’s given.  I must admit that I’m really only familiar with Ventimiglia as Rocky, Jr. in “Rocky Balboa” and “Creed II.”  I didn’t watch “Heroes” and, though my wife loves the show, I don’t watch “This is Us.”  Considering a lot of his role is playing off of what Enzo is doing, he does a good job portraying a man who loves both his family and the art of going fast.  Seyfried is fine in a very one-dimensional role, making the best out of what she’s been given.  But the true star here is Costner.  He’s always had the kind of voice that you wish your next “Book on Tape” comes with.  It’s his story and he tells it with panache! 

Win Passes to the Kansas City screening of “The Art of Racing in the Rain”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at the Walt Disney Company to give (50) readers and a guest the opportunity to attend the advance screening of the new film “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

The screening will be held on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at the AMC Studio 28 Theatre in Olathe, Kansas. The show will begin at 7:00 pm.

All you have to do to attend is click HERE. The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve giveaway. Once the allotted passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended. Enjoy the show!!


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Knocked Loose Debut New Video for “The Rain”


Critically heralded Kentucky hardcore band Knocked Loose has teamed up with to unveil a new video for their song “The Rain.” The track is featured on the band’s acclaimed, debut album, Laugh Tracks, which is available everywhere now from Pure Noise Records.


“We’re really excited about this one, I think we’re ending the Laugh Tracks cycle on a strong note thanks to Max Moore. Definitely the most fun video to shoot.” – Bryan Garris

MerchNow –
Apple Music –
Spotify –
Amazon –

Knocked Loose’s new video for “The Rain” comes as the band is amidst their final North American tour in support of their groundbreaking 2016 debut album, Laugh Tracks. The band’s tour with Beartooth and Sylar will continue through October and November. Tickets are on sale now!

Follow the band at for more updates.

Knocked Loose 2018 Fall Tour Dates with Beartooth and Sylar:
10/10 – Charleston, SC @ Music Farm
10/11 – Carrboro, NC @ Cats Cradle
10/12 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
10/13 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
10/14 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
10/16 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live
10/17 – Tampa, FL @ Orpheum Theatre
10/18 – Jacksonville, FL @ Nighthawk’s
10/19 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
10/20 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
10/21 – Corpus Christi, TX @ Brewster Street Ice House
10/23 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
10/24 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
10/26 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/27 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Pressroom
10/28 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
10/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco Theater
10/31 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
11/01 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
11/02 – Fresno, CA @ Strummer’s Bar & Grill
11/03 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
11/04 – Berkeley, CA @ The UC Theatre
11/06 – Portland, OR @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
11/07 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
11/09 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
11/10 – Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater
11/11 – Wichita, KS @ Rock Island Live
11/12 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
11/13 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
11/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
11/15 – Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
11/17 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live
12/15 – Buffalo, NY @ Buffalo Riverworks *
* with Every Time I Die (no Beartooth or Sylar)

Kal Penn talks about his latest film “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain”

Kal Penn is known best for his roles in the “Harold and Kumar” film series and TV with “How I Met Your Mother” and “House”. He recently took a break from acting to take a job as the Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement working with President Obama. His latest film “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain”, which is a fictional adaptation of the Union Carbide chemical spill disaster of 1984 was made back in 2009 and finally getting a release on November 7th. Kal recently took some time to chat with Media Mikes to discuss his film and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: What was it about “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain” that made you returning to acting?
Kal Penn: I had a hard time trying to describe the film, while I was shooting it. Friends of mine asked me why I wanted to do this movie and I said that I felt that the script was very powerful. I knew that when I read the script it really appealed to me and it was like nothing I had worked on before. It was a fictional adaptation of something that had actually happened. I sat down with the director and asked him why he wanted to make it? He grew up not too far from where the disaster actually took place. There have been some documentaries about it and some articles and books but no one has ever done a feature length fictional adaption about it. At the time we made it, it was 25 years after the disaster. Plus the fact that Martin Sheen was doing it. So selfishly as an actor I couldn’t say no.

MG: With your position at the White House, when did you do this film?
KP: I took a sabbatical from acting from 2009 to 2011 and had the chance to work in the White House. I knew that I was going to leave during that second year to come back to acting. This movie actually split that time. It was shot in 2009 and it was the last thing I worked on before I went off to the White House. After I came back to acting, I did the last season of “How I Met Your Mother” and I got a call about “Bhopal” and was told that that it was still wrapping up post production. They said that there was a lot of special effects in the last 15 minutes of the film and that I was going to be needed to come in and do some ADR, as they worked on their final edits. As of about six months ago, we knew that there was going to be a release date and they secured distribution.

MG: Tell us about your character Motwani and how you prepared?
KP: I did a bunch of research and read up a lot on the disaster. I spoke with the writer to find out what percentage of the character was fictionalized and adapted and what was real. My character as it turned out was one of the aspects that was largely fictionalized. The way that Ravi (Kumar) wrote the character was a lot broader. So my first question to him was that should I call the journalist that my character was loosely based on and try and talk to him. He told me “No, I want your character to be much broader from the start of the film”. He is this sort of larger than life gossip columnist that no one in town trusts because he keeps writing nonsense because it will sell newspapers. But over the course of the film, he is trying to warn the town of an impending gas leak in this factory and of course, nobody believes him. I thought it was a really layered role and a very well-developed character. So I mostly relied on the writer a lot instead of the historical context.

MG: What was it like shooting on location in India?
KP: It was awesome. I had only shot in India once before and that was for “The Namesake”. This movie we shot in Hyderabad and Mumbai. It is very different to shoot there. Kind of the biggest shocker for me was that actors would work on a couple of movies at the same time. They are shooting Monday and Tuesday on one movie and a second one on Thursday. It is a bit chaotic but in a really cool different way. It was a good learning experience. It also makes it a more dynamic environment when shooting on location.

MG: Do you think/hope that the film will bring more awareness to the event?
KP: My biggest hope going into the movie, even before we shot it, was that we do justice to the events that happened. It is an incredibly complex series of events and there are still people alive today that are living with the effects of what happened. Neither Union Carbide nor Dow Chemical ever actually apologized for what happened. It is also still not cleaned up in fact and the factory is still lying there empty. So if a fictional adaptation can get the conversation started and maybe even helps these people, then yeah I think that is great. But even beyond that, we did a screening in New York and it was interesting to hear people leave the screening that didn’t know that this was based on a true story. It really sparked some great conversations.

MG: You have done a mix of film and TV within genres of comedy and drama; do you have a personal preference?
KP: I love doing both. I hope that I am lucky enough to continue doing both. My fans have been really kind to me and I love them for it. To be able to go and do a stoner movie and then turn around and play a doctor is awesome. That is what I love about being an actor, I really enjoy playing all different kinds of characters. If I can continue to do that then I will be one happy person.

MG: Do you think we will ever see the return of Harold and Kumar?
KP: I would be happy to do as many as they will let me do. I would do “Harold and Kumar 58” when I am 102 years old [laughs]. Kumar is so much cooler than I will ever be in real life.

Event Review “The Rain Room” at The Museum of Modern Art

Rain Room
The Museum of Modern Art
May 12–July 28, 2013

The line stretches through the lot and down the sidewalk, and it’s moving at a snail’s pace. As the hours go by and tempers rise, people begin to question if this is all worth it.

And then you walk inside.

And directly into a dream.

The first thing you sense when you finally enter the darkened space, is the sound. It’s the sound of falling water, and as you turn the corner, you are met with an arresting sight: a darkened room, lit with only a spotlight, and a large block of rain falling from the ceiling. The guard nods at you, and you slowly approach it, your nose now picking up on the smell of water. You tentatively reach a hand into the falling droplets, expecting to be drenched in seconds, and instead feel…nothing. There’s a dry area surrounding your outstretched hand- a type of force field that is keeping it dry. As you make a slow wave, the dry area follows you. You take a deep breath and step fully into the room. Miraculously, no water touches you, and you start to feel a sense of joy and of play. You can control the rain!

Rain Room (2012) is rAndom International’s installation art piece currently on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the MoMA PS1 Exhibition (EXPO 1: New York). It is, in the simplest of terms, a literal room of rain. Hundreds of gallons of water are cycled through the room per minute, and 3D tracking cameras line the space, sensing its occupants and their movements, and repel the water from releasing up above them. It is best to move at a moderate pace- too fast, and the sensors are unable to keep up, and you will get wet. rAndom International’s founders, Stuart Wood, Florian Ortkrass, and Hannes Koch, have been reticent in revealing the specifics of how it all works, allowing it to continue to be a fantasy and mystery to those who experience it.

Perhaps the best thing about Rain Room is the audience interaction component. Every person will experience the room in their own way and will become part of an unexpected show of immersive meteorology, so the room is always changing. It challenges participants to go against their ingrained responses while experientially engaging four senses at the same time. There’s a feeling of romance, delight, and contemplation at being able to literally control the water falling around you.

Rain Room is located in the lot space directly next to the MoMA and is included in the regular ticket price. It is open daily during normal museum hours. Entry is limited to only ten people at a time. The exhibit runs until July 28th.

Blu-ray Review “Singin’ in the Rain: 60th Anniversary – Ultimate Collector’s Edition”

Directors: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Starring: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor,
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Running Time: 103 minutes

Ultimate Collector’s Edition: 5 out of 5 stars
Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

Warner Home Video is really setting the standards high for quality collector’s edition releases. After the recent amazing anniversary editions of “Ben-Hur”, “Casablanca” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, Warner Home Video has out-down themselves again. This is my favorite of all the ultimate collector’s editions. “Singin’ in the Rain” is one of my favorite films of all time and continues to entertain even after 60 years. The film is so timeless and contains such memorable songs, wonderful dance sequences and of course Gene Kelly, who is alone amazing. 10 years ago this was the first film for WHV’s to receive their “Ultra-Resolution” process. But that is not enough for this 60th anniversary Blu-ray debut, “Singin’ in the Rain” has been made to look and sound even better with a complete 4k scan restoration of the Technicolor 3-strip negatives and a new uncompressed DTS-Master audio track. What more can a fan of this film ask for?

So if all that amazing detail above isn’t enough for you and you are asking what makes the “Singin’ in the Rain: 60th Anniversary – Ultimate Collector’s Edition”, so ultimate? Firstly this the first time the film has ever graced the Blu-ray format. This new edition like the past Ultimate Collector’s Editions comes packaged in a beautiful box (11½w x 8h x 3d) with a bunch of amazing goodies. Inside this set included a three disc DigiPak that includes one Blu-ray disc and two DVD’s.  The first DVD is jam packed with bonus features and the second is a copy of the film.  There is a nice hardcover 48-page book spread out with wonderful photographs and production notes from the film. There are three miniature reproductions of the theatrical door panel posters.  But wait there is still more…what is “Singin’ in the Rain” without an umbrella? This release comes with an amazing themed and full-size commemorative inside of a red nylon case.

Let’s get to the special features now.  It just keeps getting better and better with this release.  There is a brand new documentary called “Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation”, which is located on the Blu-ray disc and is even in high definition. It runs just under an hour and is absolutely amazing. The rest of the special features are located on its own DVD with another bunch of vintage features. Starting off there is a wonderful and very jam-packed commentary track with by Stanley Donen, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, and film historian Rudy Behlmer. It is simply wonderful. Next up is “Great Performances: Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM”, which a 1996 PBS documentary about the career of producer/songwriter Arthur Freed. “What a Glorious Feeling: The Making of Singin’ in the Rain” is a 2002 doc hosting by Reynolds, which is a little dated but very informative.

Continuing on, we still have a lot of features including “Excerpts from Features Where Songs Originated”, which focuses on the many of Singin’ in the Rain’s songs that originally debuted in earlier films. Included for example is “All I Do Is Dream of You” from Sadie McKee (1934). Continuing with the music, there is a Jukebox included which you can create, save and listen to an audio/video playlist of Singin’ in the Rain songs. There is an outtake musical number with Debbie Reynolds for “You are My Lucky Star”. We get transported to MGM’s scoring stage for Scoring Sessions from the film, running about 75 minutes. There are also a collection of 12 film clips from earlier films with Freed/Brown songs included. Lastly we get a photo montage of production photographs and a theatrical trailer, which I still stop and watch before going on Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ The Great Movie Ride, never fail.

Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain with the commemorative Blu-ray edition, out July 17th!
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“Singin’ in the Rain”, set in the days of Hollywood’s transition from silent films to “talkies,” continues to this day to provide pure cinematic entertainment. It stars Gene Kelly at the pinnacle of his career and co-stars Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Jean Hagen and Rita Moreno. Written by legendary musical “book” writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Singin’ in the Rain was helmed by legendary directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards ® and has been ranked as one of the Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time by the AFI and Entertainment Weekly, among others.

AFI’s #1 Movie Musical will be offered in a new limited and numbered gift set edition with four hours of bonus content and will be beautifully packaged and ready for new generations of fans to enjoy. The Blu-ray & DVD Pack will be priced at $84.99 SRP. A single disc Blu-ray will also be available for $19.98 SRP and a Two-disc Special Edition DVD for $14.96 SRP.