Moorman: The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time – a review

Anyone who knows anything about poker and the online version of the game in particular, will need no introduction to Chris Moorman. But, in case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years without access to the internet, here’s a brief introduction.

Moorman is widely recognized as being the most successful online poker player of all time with career earnings to date of over $14 million – and he’s still only 32. His career stats are equally incredible, according to his own website, he’s achieved top 3 finishes in a total of 718 tournaments and won $5.1 million in live tournaments. He’s also received some of the highest accolades in the game having been named the World Series of Poker’s Player of the Year in 2011 and achieving honor of receiving a WSOP bracelet at the 2017 WSOP event in Las Vegas – the poker equivalent of a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Another accolade that he received came in 2016 when he became an official 888poker Ambassador, a role which involves representing one of the biggest online poker sites at tournaments and other events. Another part of the role includes streaming of his games on Twitch for poker fans round the world to see a true expert in action. He was also clearly delighted with the move and was quoted as saying, “888 is doing big things and really is working hard to expand their reach in poker. Things like sponsoring the WSOP and the Super High Roller Bowl have shown they are committed to their growth of the brand and I can’t wait to see what they have coming up in the future”.

Moving into print

As you’d expect, ever since he started showing such a flair for the game publishers started beating a path to his door imploring him to share his knowledge and expertise with a world of poker players eager to get an insight into his winning strategies.

So, in 2014, he published his first book which was called Moorman’s Book of Poker. It took the unusual route of not simply being a book of theory but one in which Moorman applied his knowledge and skill in analysing 80 online tournament hands that were played by his collaborator on the book, a middling-ability online poker player called Byron Jacobs. The idea behind this was to produce a book that would be of real practical use to the average player, far more so than focusing on games played by Moorman itself.

Despite initial reticence by some critics to wholeheartedly praise the book it has gone on to become a classic and an invaluable part of any ambitious online poker player’s library.

So when it was announced early in 2017 that the next book from Moorman was on its way, anticipation began to mount as to what form it would take. Many were hoping for more strategy from the master while others were looking for more insights into what the man is really like and how he has reached his world-beating position today.

The second edition

When the book, Moorman : The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time, was eventually published in August 2017 everyone was delighted by what they found. For strategy-seekers they were more than satisfied with the second, larger, section of the book in which Chris analyses some of his winning hands from tournaments and, for bio-fans, the first third of the book which tells them all they need to know about this undisputed giant of the online game is the section that fascinates the most. And what a life story this is! Especially for someone who has managed to fit so much in to a mere three decades of life.

The fast lane to success

Moorman was born in 1985 in Essex and early on in life he started to show a great ability at cards, in his case bridge. In fact, he even went on to represent England in the game and achieved Master status at the age of just 14. His other great early passion was pool at which he also excelled, leading his team from Essex University to become winners of the national championships in 2004.

It was while at uni where he was taking an economics degree that Moorman first became entranced by the world of online poker – a game which meant that he could exploit both his card playing skills and mathematical acumen to the full. Very soon he began winning significant amounts of money which, to prevent his parents from discovering its true source, he told them that he earned by working in a supermarket. Unsurprisingly, as his wins began to mount up Moorman decided that his time would be better spent playing online than studying for his degree and he dropped out before completing the course.

All this is excitingly chronicled in the book along with a host of other anecdotes that make it a real page turner. For example, there was the time in 2011 when he had just won a 1 million euro prize in a Cannes casino receiving his winnings in cash. In a hurry to make it to another tournament in Italy and with no time to bank it, he stuffed all the notes into a rucksack and spent a day travelling around with a fortune in his hand luggage.

A masterclass in theory

But for the true students of poker it’s the second section of the book that provides the real nuggets of information to digest and enjoy. One by one, Moorman goes through 68 hands that he has played in the past giving a detailed commentary about how and why he played the in the way that he did. To provide an even deeper perspective, other leading players including Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree and Dominik Nitsche (incidentally, another 888poker Ambassador) also comment on the hands providing a true insight into a great poker mind by other equally talented professionals.

It all adds up to over 400 pages of captivating reading for anyone who wants to improve their poker game – and even as a motivational book which underlines the importance of commitment and self-belief for anyone who wants to succeed in any field at all.

The autobiographical section is especially strong in this respect and it would hardly be surprising if it also manged to encourage some readers with no experience of online poker to have a dabble themselves. The tactical section, while for more advanced players, will surely motivate many to approach their play in a new and more confident way.

So while it may be unlikely that we’ll be seeing a serious challenger to Moorman in the online arena any time soon, readers of this book could well find themselves rising a little higher towards the incredible peaks that he has achieved – undoubtedly, a big reward for quite a modest outlay.

Product Review: Prohibited 5th Degree Vaporizer

If the Prohibited 5th Degree looks familiar to you that is because you might have seen it before. VMR Products recently re-branded its V2 Pro Series 7 with a concentrates cartridge instead of a liquid cartridge. The product comes in a ton of new very snazzy colors such as bone (white), jade (teal), struck (purple) and singed (black). I have used the Series 7 in the past and it was always my favorite vaporizer on the market…and trust me I tried them all.

The Prohibited 5th Degree Vaporizer does it all! Out of the box, you can used this multi-function device to either vaporize dry herb or concentrates by simply swampping out the magnetic drop-in cartridges. I honestly love these magnetic connectors cartridges. It makes it so easy to swap out cartridges. The 5th Degree Kit comes stocked with one cartridge for dry herb and one for concentrates and a recessed chamber for cartridges that eliminates the risk of leaks or breaks.

The Dry Herb Cartridge boasts the fact that it features “the fastest heat up time of any vaporizer”. It is fairly quick for sure. The multiple clicking every time to get into the modes is a little annoying I have to admit but I have been using it for a while and it almost feels natural after awhile. The Concentrates Cartridge can used for shatter, wax, oil, and other similar concentrates. The heater featured has a Dual-Quartz and Titanium heater to produce the thickest and smoothest vapor.

Even though I mention that the multiple clicks get annoying but what doesn’t get annoying is the smart technology this devices uses that recognizes each type of cartridge automatically and then heats to optimal vaporizing temperature without guessing. You get three different temperature settings that allow you adjust for yourself.

Dry Herb and Consentrates not enough? You can easily uprade your Prohibited 5th Degree Vaporizer with an optional Dabber and E-Rig Concentrates cartridges. There is no literally no contest with this product. You can compare it to other devices like PAX 3, Firefly 2, DaVinci IQ, Dr. Dabber Boost and Dipper and it comes out on top every time! So the rebranding from the Series 7 may not be drastic besides its cartridge inclusion but it is still no question my go-to vaporizer.

Book Review: “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” by Scott Ian

“Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life”
Author: Scott Ian
Da Capo
Hardcover: 243 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Anthrax guitarist and co-founder Scott Ian has seen his share of dive hotels, dirty tour buses and decrepit green rooms. “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” is a collection of his craziest stories recounting Ian’s life on the road as a touring musician. Along the way the guitarist shares his experiences and encounters with celebrities like Kirk Hammett, Dimebag Darrell, David Lee Roth and Steven Spielberg to name just a few.

As the follow up to his autobiography “I’m The Man” guitarist Scott Ian takes readers even further into the depths of the heavy metal underworld. Unlike Ian’s first book which was a more biography than tell all where “Access All Areas” is the total opposite recounting in detail some of the writers more interesting encounters. Very rarely do you get to hear let alone read in published form stories like those shared by the veteran guitarist. From his experiences as a Pro Poker player playing alongside Kiss’s Ace Frehley and ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill to a confrontational meeting with REM front man Michael Stipe. Easily my favorite excert from the book was that where Ian sets the record straight about his guest appearance on “Married with Children” which was to include a story line featuring Christina Applegate.

Over the course of “Access All Areas” 243 pages readers are treated to a bevy of laughable stories that have not been shared before. As I made my way through the book I just kept thinking that even having one or two of these experiences in a life time would be enough for most people but to be able to compile enough for a book was mind blowing. Scott Ian has certainly to this point lived quiet an interesting life full of off the wall experiences which he has candidly detailed in this book. You don’t have to be a fan of heavy metal to enjoy this book as there are plenty of other colorful characters outside of the music world that you will surely recognize making “Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life” a great pickup for any and all.

Film Review – “The Post”

 

 

 

THE POST
Starring:  Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Bob Odenkirk
Directed by:  Steven Spielberg
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hr 56 mins
20th Century Fox

 

They were called The Pentagon Papers, an analysis of the almost 30-year history of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam which did not paint a rosy picture for a war that would eventually take the lives of nearly 60,000 Americans.  Their impact, not only on how the war was perceived but in how the press was regarded, is the story of Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “The Post.”

Passengers on a government jet observe a young man chatting with current Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). “Who’s that,” someone asks, unaware that the subject of his question will one day set in motion a series of events that, in today’s cycle of “fake news,” will open eyes to the power of the press.  The young man in question is Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys).  Unhappy with what he has observed and been told, the military analyst leaks a series of reports commissioned by the Rand Corporation to the New York Times, which in 1971 begins to publish excerpts.  Outraged by this, President Nixon orders government attorneys to file a suit forcing the paper to stop publishing the papers in the interest of national security.

In Washington D.C., Ben Bradlee (Hanks), editor of The Washington Post, is upset.  Once again, the Times has scooped him.  This is such a common occurrence that Bradlee brandishes a copy of the Times and asks his reporters “anyone else tired of reading the news?”  The Post is owned by Katherine Graham (Streep), a D.C. socialite whose grandfather had owned the Post and who inherited the publisher’s mantle when her husband, Phillip, committed suicide.  She is wary of Bradlee’s plans.  Not only is there a chance that publishing the information will put her in jail – “Wouldn’t you go to prison to stop this war,” Bradlee asks – but she also risks alienating some of her closest friends, including Bob McNamara.  Decisions, decisions.

A film that packs a powerful punch, “The Post” joins “All the President’s Men” and “Spotlight” as films that show the true power of the press in the face of adversity.  Hanks has fun as the tough but compassionate Bradlee and Streep adds another outstanding performance to her already amazing resume’.  The supporting cast is just as strong, with fine turns by Odenkirk, Carrie Coon, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons and Tracy Letts.  Even Richard Milhouse Nixon gets raves as the evil Wizard who thinks he can rule the Emerald City, and this country, anyway he deems fit.  Rather than employ an actor to portray our 37th President, Spielberg uses Nixon’s actual words and voice, through taped telephone conversations, to show what a devious and paranoid man the President was.

Spielberg keeps the story moving and, as with all of his films, the technical aspects are first rate.  And add another magnificent John Williams score to perfectly accompany the story.

Ferdinand Movie Review

 

Ferdinand is a recently released American computer animated 3D film adopted from the kid’s story ‘The Story of Ferdinand’ authored by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawsom. Belonging to the drama, comedy and adventure genre, the film opened to generally positive reviews with praises for its out of the box storyline which has been crafted straight from the animal’s perspective and not on how we imagine them to be.

Star cast- John Cena (as Ferdinand), Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, Gina Rodriguez, Peyton Manning and others.

Director- Carlos Saldanha

Critics Reviews:

Jane Horwitz, of Washington Post, who considered to be one of the top critics has written that- ‘John Cena, who is a wrestler-turned-actor and the one who plays the title role, Ferdinand has found a right balance between sweetness and strength. In addition, Cena also is the convincing center whole film’.

Zeenia Baria from Times of India have the film 3.5 stars out of 5 and write that- ‘Ferdinand is a fun film that manages to put a smile on your face’. She adds that the film also ‘delivers a message that one doesn’t need to do things that others expect him or her to do’.

Story of Ferdinand:

Ferdinand is the story of a kind-hearted bull named Ferdinand. Right from the beginning, Ferdinand (John Cena), likes to smell flowers instead of dreaming and being excited about him fighting it out against a matador.

When his father doesn’t return after going out on a fight against a matador, young Ferdinand escapes from the training camp and gets adopted by a girl loving in a farm. But in little time, the peaceful bull is misinterpreted by the authorities as a fierce monster, who send Ferdinand back to the farm.

The film then shows how Ferdinand with the help of his companions, a calm goat (Lucy) and the hedgehogs makes his way out of the farm and fights against the famous bullfighter, El Primero, before finally getting freedom.

Star Performance:

Out of everyone, ex WWE superstar, John Cena was chosen to lend his voice for the title character, Ferdinand`. Cena was a perfect choice to play the well-built yet kind Ferdinand, whose engaging voice keeps the viewers hooked. John gives a satisfying performance even with all the jokes in the film.

On the other hand, the talented Kate McKinnon delivers her one of the best performance as the quiet, calm and funny goat, Luna who immediately gathers a liking for Ferdinand. Her voice made most of the audience fall for the character.

Other remarkable performance comes from David Tennant, as Angus the bull and Gabriel Iglesias as Cuatro. Others too deliver a convincing performance in total.

Direction and Music Review of Ferdinand:

Directed by the extremely talented Carlos Saldanha known for his excellent works in Ice Age films and also Rio 1 and 2. Although the animation of the movie was not as good as expected but in terms of direction and performances the movie has been praised my most of the critics.

As written on Metacritic, Ferdinand has charming animated visuals, spot on voice talent and nicely paced direction. Out of all the scenes the particular Bull in the China shop scene is extremely delightful.

With its music album being of the pop and Latin pop genre consists of 6 songs in total. Home in particular was loved immensely and has received a nomination in the Best Original Song category at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.

Box Office Collection of Ferdinand movie:

The film was released worldwide on 15th December, 2017, around the holiday period and garnered positive reviews from all.

Until now, Ferdinand has earned more than 125.7 million US Dollars worldwide. With 53.8 million coming from the screening in United States and Canada, while 71.9 million came from other countries.

Trivia and Ratings of the movie:

Trivias-

  • In Sweden on every Christmas Eve a short show on Ferdinand is shown on television. Alon time the show has become very popular and has also become a tradition in most houses.
  • In 1938, Disney released the first short animated show by the name Ferdinand the Bull.
  • Ferdinand is Kate McKinnon’s third film in the animated category. The other two being The Angry Birds and Finding Dory both of which released in 2016.
  • Ferdinand is the longest film ever by Blue Sky.

Ratings-

  • On IMDB, Ferdinand has garnered a favorable rating of 6.8 out of 10 which is based upon votes from 3,670 viewers.
  • On an average the film has received 3.5 stars rating out of 5 whereas it has received 72% positive responses on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • With 10,733 votes the film has a massive 84% rating on Bookmyshow ticket portal. On an average, critics have given the movie a 3.3 star out of 5, while the user rating on Bookmyshow is 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Conclusions:

Despite its flaws, Ferdinand has enough to offer as a holiday watch with sufficient amount of entertainment as it has perfectly mixed drama and comedy elements. The film is definitely a must watch because of its fabulous direction and because of the awesome performances from its casts, especially from John Cena and Kate McKinnon plus if you haven’t seen the movie and looking to book online, then you use the link for ongoing online movie coupon codes at PVR, Ticknet now, etc.

Film Review – “Molly’s Game”

 

 

MOLLY’S GAME

Starring:  Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner

Directed by:  Aaron Sorkin

Rated:  R

Running time:  2 hrs 20 mins

STX Entertainment

 

 

Did you ever have friends over to your house for a night of poker?  This was a regular thing in my life from the mid-1980s through 1995.  Those of us who worked until midnight would get together after work a spend hours eating pizza, drinking Coke out of the little bottles (none of that NEW Coke for us) and playing games like Follow the Queen or Sh*t or Get Off the Pot.  Our highest bet allowed was $5.00.  I mention this only because Molly Bloom did the same thing we did, only her stakes were much higher.

 

Molly (Chastain) was a one time Olympic hopeful whose injuries took her from the ski slopes to a would-be journey to law school.  However, before she can crack the books she takes a job with real estate agent Dean Keith (Jeremy Strong), a bossy type who runs her ragged as his assistant.  One day she is given the phone numbers of (9) people and told to invite them to a high stakes poker game he is hosting.  Molly is put in charge of the buy in money and at the end of the night ends up with $3,000 in tips.  A fast learner, she soon begins to run her own game, rubbing shoulders with some of the most renowned actors, athletes and politicians in California.  When she moves to New York she again hosts games.  Things go well until she is arrested by the FBI for her actions.  What are the odds Molly beats the rap?

 

The first film to be directed by Academy Award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (he also adapted the script from the real Molly Bloom’s book), “Molly’s Game” is a smart tale about how even the slightest mistake can come back to haunt you.  The cast is first-rate, with both Chastain and Elba, who plays Bloom’s attorney, Charles Jaffe, giving award-worthy performances.  The supporting cast is equally strong, including Michael Cera, identified simply as Player X, and Costner, who plays Molly’s hard-pushing father.  The film even serves as a “Dances With Wolves” reunion, with Graham Greene playing the judge who hears Molly’s case.

 

The script is pure Sorkin, which is always a good thing.  His work behind the camera is equally well done.  All in all, “Molly’s Game” is a fine inaugural effort from a budding new filmmaker.

The Foreigner – A Complete Movie Review

Gambling at casinos has been central to the film industry since long. Films well translate the drama and tension that take place within the casino and gaming environment. The occurrences at the casinos are well projected on the silver screen, and it’s quite apparent how film-makers and artists have enjoyed portraying these settings. The UK online casino brings to you a detailed review of one such movie- The Foreigner that has won many hearts.

The Foreigner

“The Foreigner”, starring Jackie Chan, is a revenge thriller against the Director of the Casino Royale. The film is an adaptation of Stephen Leather’s novel. Quan is an aged, lonely Chinese immigrant restaurant owner seeking justice against an organisation called “the Authentic IRA” since his daughter was blown up in an explosion in London. Much of the movie revolves around the illegal dealings of Liam Hennessy, an Irish diplomat played by Pierce Brosnan, who is busy protecting the age-old legacy of British diplomacy. He speaks with an Irish accent, features spotted forehead and indulges himself in long telephonic conversation while drinking Scotch. Like other Bourne style government, he too curses his men on their relatively poor performance as compared to the Authentic IRA team. Martin Campbell’s “The Foreigner” is more of a revenge drama and is lower in the violence quotient than his earlier movies like GoldenEye.

It is an above average film where Chan battles political forces and revives the troubles between Britain and Northern Ireland. It somewhere projects the fear that foreigners themselves live within a country that sees immigrants as a threat. Quan’s character is old and slow and plummets while trying to dish out blows. The ones he lands is mechanical, and his guzzling into action is overridden by his age. Though he does not appear as a hero in every scene, it’s heartening to watch Chan try a rather dynamic role.

Hollywood and casinos

While Hollywood movies have brought out the soul of a casino in several films, unfortunately, most of them have been stuck showing poker games and roulette. Online gaming, on the contrary, offers so many options to people today. With online casinos UK, the movie market has suffered a decline as people find myriad entertaining options online. The global casino and online gambling sector have been growing exponentially. In fact, in 2015, IBIS World estimated its total worth at £285, and continuous growth is expected in this sector as along with UK casinos, more casinos open are estimated to mushroom in China and other Asian countries as well.

Experience the best of the online casinos at Casino Pros

If you are a movie buff and spend adequate time reeling in the fun and thrill around movie casinos, it is time to jump into some real action at Casino Pros. Over the two decades, their quality of delivery concerning gaming has been highly recognized across the world. They are also a one-stop solution for training, equipment supplies, and casino chips as required in casino operations. Online casinos allow you to relive the same feeling that you have experienced while watching your favorite cast betting at the movie casino.

Film Review: “All the Money in the World”

 

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

Starring:  Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg and Christopher Plummer

Directed by:  Ridley Scott

Rated:  PG 13

Running time:  2 hrs 12 mins

Sony Pictures

 

 

J. Paul Getty was a son of a bitch.

 

The first person in the WORLD to accumulate a fortune worth one BILLION dollars, he was a hard-driven man who had no time for family.  So when his assistant announces that the police are on the phone because his grandson has been kidnapped, it’s no surprise when he instructs her to tell them that he is “not available.”  Thanks grandpa!

 

Based on a true story (one I clearly remember from my youth), “All the Money in the World” is a tale that lives up to the old saying that “money can’t buy everything.”  We meet 16 year-old Paul Getty (Charlie Plummer, no relationship to Christopher) as he prowls around the red light area of Rome.  Clearly under-age he is scolded by the women he approaches and walks along the road.  Suddenly a van pulls up and Paul is swept inside and quickly blindfolded.  He is secluded out in the country and his mother Gail (an always great Michelle Williams) is contacted.  The kidnappers want $17 million for Paul’s return.  They are unaware that, like the majority of the Getty heirs, she has no money.  She turns to the boy’s grandfather (Christopher Plummer) for help.  He gives her his answer when he is asked by a reporter how much he would pay to rescue his grandson – “Nothing.”

 

This film has gained some extra notoriety due to the fact that Kevin Spacey had originally been hired to play J. Paul Getty and that, in fact, the film was finished when news of Spacey’s alleged misdeeds was made public.  In an unprecedented move, director Ridley Scott chose to replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer and reshoot every scene that had once featured Spacey.  In six weeks’ time he managed to gather the entire cast and crew and pulled off a cinematic miracle by meeting the film’s original release date.  And what an amazing cast.

 

Williams, who was heartbreaking in last year’s “Manchester by the Sea,” is the tough, no nonsense mother who puts her son first in every decision.  She is cool and collected even when we, the audience, would be inconsolable.  Wahlberg is a former CIA operative who now runs Getty’s personal security.  He does his best, at Getty’s request, to negotiate with the kidnappers but finds little luck.  But the film rightly belongs to Christopher Plummer.  You can still watch the original trailer for “All the Money in the World” on YouTube, and you’ll come away with the feeling that Spacey would have given a strong performance.  But here Plummer is more than strong.  He’s brilliant.  He’s taken a character that the audience should hate and somehow makes his actions seem sensible, no matter how little.  Also, J. Paul Getty was 80 years old when Paul was kidnapped.  Spacey is 58 and required a lot of make-up.  Christopher Plummer is 88 and every year is ingrained on his still handsome face.  He recently received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance here and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is soon followed by his third Academy Award nod (he won an Oscar in 2012).

 

Director Scott keeps the story moving and the technical aspects, from art direction to photography, are well deserving of praise.  This is an amazing piece of filmmaking, made more so by the quirky back story, and is easily one of the best films of the year!

Toy Review: Imaginext DC Super Friends RC Mobile Command Center

DC Super Friends RC Mobile Command Center
Imaginext

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

With the Imaginext DC Super Friends RC Mobile Command Center, young Super Heroes can steer the action from the palms of their hands with the remote control, sending the command center forward and in a backward turn. At the press of the transform button, the Batwing platform rises, revealing the full command center with projectile launcher, jail, and cockpit for Batman. This transforming, crime-fighting machine is the perfect home base for your young Super Hero to create all sorts of action-packed, crime-fighting adventures with their favorite Caped Crusader!

Imaginext continues to really impress me with their DC Super Friends line. One of their newer releases the RC Mobile Command Center is packed with features that will surely enhance your child’s play experience. From the Centers remote control action to its impressive lights and sound and to top it all of a launching Batwing! Imaginext pulled out all the stops on this one. The toy is controlled by a four button remote which has good sized buttons making easy for even younger children to use and when not in use the remote hooks nicely to the back of the center for easy storage. Some other nice details were the fold down sides which house a jail cell and an additional projectile shooter. The cockpit of the vehicle also folds down where there is a seat for the included Batman figure.

Toy Tester Ian w/ the Command Center

Our toy tester Ian really gave the Command Center a good workout as he patrolled up and down the hallway of our house for what seemed like hours pausing only to see who he could land the launching Batwing on. (That thing really launches a good distance) From a parents point of view the toy offers quite a bit. Like all Imaginext toys the Center features a rugged build design that will survive even the roughest play. The only real drawback we could find was that once the toy is off the wheels lock which does not allow users to push the toy around freely. With the toy being a touch on the heavier side this may make moving the center a touch difficult for smaller children. That aside the DC Super Friends Mobile Command Center is a rolling, talking, lighted, launching good time that will certainly put a smile on your young ones face this holiday season.

Toy Review: Imaginext Teen Titan Tower

Teen Titans Tower
Imaginext

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Fans of Cartoon Networks “Teen Titans Go” can now bring the fun of the show into their playrooms with Imaginext’s new “Teen Titans Go” line of figures and play sets. At the center of the series is the Teen Titans Tower a, multi tiered play set which features transforming couch launchers, a movable elevator and a gym area complete with sparring dummy. The Tower is a great addition any growing Imaginext collection or as your first introduction to the Imaginext toy line.

Toy Tester Ian w/ the Teen Titan Tower

Included with the set are three figures (Robin, Mammoth & Silkie) which allow you to jump right in and start playing without the need for additional purchases. This was something our 5 year older tester Ian really liked as the figures are just as much fun as the play sets they accompany. Another cool feature was the couch launchers which are nicely hidden within the third level of the tower. With a turn of the Power pad the couches transform in to projectile launchers complete with pizza shaped missiles ready to defend the tower from whatever Mammoth can throw at it.

Though the Teen Titan Tower might not pack as many features as some of Imaginext’s more elaborate play sets it’s still a fun toy that fans of the television series will want to get their hands on. The colors and details of the set are spot on and the included three characters is a great bonus. With only a few shopping days left until Christmas the Teen Titan Tower is a toy that you can’t go wrong picking up for that special someone on your list.

Toy Review: Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme

DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme
Imaginext

Our Score 4 out of 5 stars

The Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme is the ultimate toy for Batman fans. Your young Super Hero will have a blast defending Gotham from all sorts of diabolical Super-Villain attacks! At over two-feet tall, the Batbot Xtreme towers over enemies and is packed with tons of features such as extendable wings, multiple projectile launchers, a hidden Batcycle, a voice changer, and real punching fists all accessible with turn of a power disk making this a great toy for any age.

Imaginext delivers the goods once again as they continue to build on their already impressive DC Super Friends lines. This time around is the Batbot Xtreme. Direct from the DC Comic series comes this towering toy that based on just size alone is pretty impressive. Coming in at just over two feet tall youngster are eye level with this immensely interactive toy. Our five year old toy tester Ian was immediately in awe of this toy even before we got it out of the box.

With all of the launching abilities this robot offers coupled with the expandable wings complete with punching power you would think that would be enough but, the creators really went the extra distance with this product as you also get a launching bat cycle, an opening chest compartment complete with elevator which can transport figures in to the cockpit of the robot and, to top it all off a voice changer which allows a users voice to be transformed into that of the robot. This feature was one that Ian really loved as not only did it add to the creative play experience it provided a good amount of giggles both for him and mom and dad.

Toy Tester Ian w/ the Batbot Xtreme

Imaginext really hit it out of the park with the Batbot Xtreme. Yes the $99 price tag might seem a bit steep at first glance but, once you really take a look at all the toys features and its rugged construction you can quickly see that this toy is one which will provide hours of fun and enjoyment for many years to come. Ian certainly put the Batbot through its paces and after a weekend of play the only negative we could find is that for smaller children it can be a bit difficult to move because of the size. This resulted in a few calls from the play room to mom and dad for a little help.

Possibly the addition of a few small wheels on the bottom would enhance the play even more and make moving a little easier however, its always nice to get that call for help as my wife and I were quickly recruited in to the play. With the holidays right around the corner Imaginext’s Batbot Xtreme is a near perfect toy to add to your loved ones list this year no matter what age.

Film Review – “Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”

 

STAR WARS – EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI

Starring:  Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and Carrie Fisher

Directed by:  Rian Johnson

Rated:  PG 13

Running time:  2 hrs  32 mins

Walt Disney Pictures

Has it really been 40 years since the world was first introduced to the young dreamer Luke Skywalker?  It has.  Heck, if you don’t count the brief appearances in Episodes III (as a newborn baby) and VII (the last moment of the film), it’s been 34 years since Luke has been on the big screen.  But those numbers are in the past as the Jedi master finally returns in the eighth chapter of the original saga, “The Last Jedi.”

The film begins where “The Force Awakens” left off.  We are there as the galaxy’s newest hero, Rey (Ridley) finally tracks down Skywalker (Hamill) and hands him his old lightsaber.  His reaction is not what she expects.  Meanwhile, the first order, led by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), both of who are under the power of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) have closed in on the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (Fisher, in her final screen role).  As things begin to go from bad to worse, Leia reluctantly begins to trust in the leadership and ideals of ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who in turn butts heads with Vice-Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern).  Can everyone agree on the right path to take or will evil finally win?

With a script by director Johnson, “The Last Jedi” is a mash-up of many different stories, but all with the same main plot line; good versus evil.  As Rey tries her best to convince Luke to return with her to help the Resistance, he gives her many reasons why he should not.  Among them is the guilt he feels over how his one time student, Ben Solo – his nephew – has transformed himself into the evil Kylo Ren.  In another part of the galaxy, we discover Finn (John Boyega) on an adventure of his own, one in which he meets the funny and resourceful Rose (a much welcome Kelly Marie Tran).  Rose is one of the many new faces that dot the screen, along with Dern and a wiley Benicio Del Toro.  But don’t despair, there are a few old faces that pop us as well.

The cast here is strong, with Hamill’s performance quite powerful.  He’s lived with this character for four decades and it’s obvious he’s invested heavily into it emotionally.  Driver, who came off as a little whiny in “The Force Awakens,” is much stronger here, a sign he has gotten comfortable with the character and its place in the story.  Sadly, this is Carrie Fisher’s last performance as Leia Organa, and the film is dedicated to her.  It’s apparent to me that Princess Leia would have been an integral part of Episode IX and I’m curious as to how they will handle her absence.  And if you’re looking for “cute,” not only is fan favorite droid BB-8 back but we also meet a creature known as a Porg, a puffin-like creature that makes the Ewoks from “Return of the Jedi” look like slugs!

To share anymore would necessitate the use of the words SPOILER ALERT and I would rather share less than more.  And with a 2 ½ hour run time, there is plenty I could spill.  But I would rather be dropped into a Sarlac pit then ruin your journey back to the galaxy far, far away.  May the Force be with you!

Blu-ray Review “Speed Racer: The Complete Series – Collector’s Edition”

Actors: Corinne Orr, Peter Fernandez, Jack Curtis
Language: Japanese/English
Subtitles: English
Number of discs: 26
Studio: Funimation
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Run Time: 3450 minutes

Overall Score: 3 out of 5 stars

READY SET, GO! GO! GO! I have always loved “Speed Racer” since I was young kid! The show is also probably one of the first Japanese cartoons at the time that I watched, followed closely second by “Dragon Ball” series. Have the complete series on Blu-ray is totally an awesome thing but having a huge Collector’s Edition is even better. With the show celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this Collector’s Edition will come complete with Speed Racer, Mach Go Go Go, and Mach Go Go Go: Restart in the first-ever official U.S. release of the Japanese audio.

Official Premise: Speed Racer dreams of becoming a professional racer. When meddling crooks keep him from the finish line, he finds a way to make it through. An endearing classic since 1967, Speed Racer has captivated audiences from every corner of the globe. Preserve one of the most beloved racing shows of all time and share it with generations to come.

I have to admit though, I wasn’t all happy with this release. The Collectible Speed Racer Bust comes with Sound Effects, which is cool but honestly you can barely hear it. If you are breathing loud its so slow. I think this is a fail because you could have easily juiced up the sound board a bit. Hopefully mine is just defective and they are all not like this. Second is the price, this product was original retailing for near $300 bucks, which is A LOT! Even for a collectible.

Funimation has delivers the technical specs here. The 1080p transfer is solid for the includes episodes. The aspect ratio is includes is the original 1.33:1, which is going to make fans happy. Also both the English dub and original Japanese tracks come stocked with Dolby TrueHD 2.0 track. This are impressive tracks and since, this is the first time for the US to receive the Japanese audio, it is a real treat for sure!

As mentioned above, this is set includes the complete 1967 Speed Racer Collection and the 1967 Mach Go Go Go Collection on both DVD and Blu-ray. The 1997 Mach Go Go Go Restart Collection is only featured on DVD here. Also included here is a collectible Speed Racer Key Chain and a bonus 2017 Interview with Trixie, voice actor Connie Orr. So overall, I am excited every time I walk in my office and see this bust sticking out on my shelf, so in that sense, I am one happy Speed Racer fan!

CD Review: Power Trip “Nightmare Logic”

“Nightmare Logic”
Power Trip
Southern Lord Recordings
Tracks: 8

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Texas thrash band Power Trip is back with an all new angst filled album titled “Nightmare Logic”. As the follow-up to the band’s debut 2013 album “Manifest Decimation” the 8 track sophomore effort is being released via Southern Lord Recordings and continues on where its predecessor left off as a reincarnated version of the 80’s thrash sound.

Having caught these guys one night opening for Lamb of God I was instantly hooked as the band’s sound and energy commanded your attention as it was straight up thrash ala early Overkill and Anthrax. The group’s latest album “Nightmare Logic” continues on in that vein but with an injection of modern metal flare and accoutrements. Opening up the album is the lurching “Soul Sacrifice” a track which starts of being reminiscent of early Pantera before catapulting you head first in to the thrash sonisphere. The track then gives way for probably my favorite track from the album “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe). An infectious number with a chorus that quickly gets logged in your ear drums and with have you singing the line “Swing of the Axe” over and over again. As the album quickly progresses tracks like “Waiting Around To Die” and “If Not Us Then Who” all leave an undeniable stain on your senses as both songs feature the near perfect amount of vintage thrash DNA.

If you are a fan of the big four of thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax) and want to recapture the energy those bands provided with their earlier albums but, with a fresh/modern spin then the latest offering from Power Trip is sure to do the trick. First time listeners will also appreciate “Nightmare Logic” as the album is chocked full of great guitar riffs, tongue and cheek lyrics and slamming drum beats which offer repeated opportunities for solid head banging.

Track Listing:
1.) Soul Sacrifice
2.) Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
3.) Firing Squad
4.) Nightmare Logic
5.) Waiting Around To Die
6.) Ruination
7.) If Not Us Then Who
8.) Crucifixation