Album Review: Every Time I Die “Radical”

“Radical”

Every Time I Die
Epitaph
Producer: Will Putney
Tracks: 16

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Buffalo-based hardcore band Every Time I Die have released their ninth studio album titled “Radical”. Produced by Will Putney (Acacia Strain) and released via Epitaph Records “Radical” is the follow up to the bands 2016 release “Low Teens”. Consisting of 16 brand new tracks which could be described as a swampy summoning of southern rock and coarse poetry and clever wordplay.

Chants of LET’S GO BUFFALO! will undoubtably be raining down across the Queen City on October 22nd however not for its football team but instead for its native sons, hardcore legends Every Time I Die and in celebration of the bands newest studio album simply titled “Radical”. Packed with 16 mind melting tracks the band consisting of vocalist Keith Buckley, Guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley, Bassist Steve Micciche and drummer Clayton Holyoak put all their cards on the table and swing for the fences with this new album. Opening “Radical” is the track “Dark Distance” which begins with the wail of a warning siren which then fades into the background as the lyrics “Spare all the ones I love and slay the rest” are belted out via Buckley’s signature rasp only seconds before the rest of the band kicks in with a bombastic break down capable of doing mass damage if played in a confined space. As the album progresses listeners are treated to a unique variety of tones, noises and verbiage that is both frantic and thought provoking. Tracks like the catchy “Post-Boredom”, the hauntingly delightful “Desperate Pleasures” and “Distress Rehearsal” are all in your face, riff heavy bangers while tracks like the laid back, sonic landscape titled “Thing With Feathers” and the sludgy bass heavy “White Void” showcase the band stretching their musical legs while not straying to far from the sounds they are synonymous with.

No matter if you’re an early era ETID fan or you are into the more recent releases “Radical” is the album to unite all fans into one joint faction. Mind boggling guitar riffs and overdriven, grindy bass runs mix perfectly with bombastic drum beats and razor like vocals which will captivate listeners while punishing their senses. Don’t be left out in the cold this fall as “Radical” may not the album you want but it’s the album you NEED!

“Radical” Track Listing
1. Dark Distance
2. Sly
3. Planet Shit
4. Post-Boredom
5. Colossal Wreck
6. Desperate Pleasures
7. All This and War
8. Thing With Feathers
9. Hostile Architecture
10. AWOL
11. The Whip
12. White Void
13. Distress Rehearsal
14. SexSexSex
15. People Verses
16. We Go Together

Nintendo Switch Game Review “Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl”

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

In what feels like a weird (yet delightful) mishmash of Super Smash Bros meets Nicktoons Unite comes Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl which is… pretty self explanatory, actually! For no narrative reason, all your favorite Nicktoons, both new and old, are pitted against each other for some good ol’ fighting. There’s really no build-up to these fights or trajectory of difficulty that I could gather while playing the game, but just a lot of fun to be had from having Spongebob smack Nigel Thornberry off a building. Sometimes simplicity truly goes a long way! 


There isn’t a lot of variety when it comes to the fighting locations and the characters are limited to headliners such as Spongebob, Patrick Star, Aang, Reptar (my personal favorite character to play as) etc – but the game does a good job at utilizing each character as you play as them and giving them unique fighting moves that are specific to their characters. I can’t properly articulate how delightful it is to play as Reptar and shoot fireballs at a character like Danny Phantom or Catdog. 


The game doesn’t try to do anything too visually impressive in terms of scope or even just character designs, but honestly, considering that the game is going for nothing more than a nostalgic, Nickelodeon arcade riff on Super Smash, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, etc. it makes sense to keep everything simplistic and not overextend the concept further than it has to go. 


Even with that being said, and how I think the game is a whole lot of fun within the context of what it is – there is a certain ceiling for this game and it isn’t super high by design. Yes, it is really fun to play as these characters and see these wacky character meetups – but there isn’t much more under the surface to make you wanna pick up your Switch to play it again over something else. Once you’ve finished a majority of the fights, played as a majority of the characters, and unlocked some of the secret extras, it might just have you moving on to the next game instead of playing through for a second or third time.


It all depends on what you’re expecting from your brawl games. If you want nothing more than recognizable characters from your childhood to pit against each other, you’ll have a good time and it’ll be a fun addition to your collection. Just don’t expect anything much more than the general concept you’re being sold.

Film Review “No Time To Die”

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes
Distributed by
United Artists Releasing
Running time: 163 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

James Bond has been played by several different actors and has been on 25+ on-screen adventures in the course of nearly 60 years, but it has never once felt like his story had closure. Most of the time, actors come and go from the role because that’s the idea of the character – that the story and adventure never ends. No Time to Die shakes things up a bit by definitively putting a cap on Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond and delivering a true finale for a full circle, five-film arc.

The film opens pretty soon after Spectre, with Bond enjoying retirement with Madeleine Swan (Lea Seydoux) and trying to keep a low profile. But after a riveting action sequence that pulls them back into the action, the film makes a pretty significant time jump that not only seasons Bond even further but makes the world around him change more than he ever expected. The biggest changes are that of the mantle of 007 being taken up by Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and a new villain arising with Safin (Rami Malek) with ties to both James and Madeleine’s past.

I’ve seen every single James Bond film ever produced and particularly have grown up watching Daniel Craig’s ventures since I was pretty young, so perhaps I’m biased when saying that I think he is the quintessential Bond in my eyes. From the genuine grit behind his action to the way he knows not only what to say but how to say it in the most suave way possible – it just doesn’t get better than him, in my opinion; and Craig gives perhaps his best performance as Bond here in his final outing. Yes, he’s delivering one-liners and punching the baddies like there’s no tomorrow, but there’s sincere emotion and nuance in his performance this time around that makes for what is easily the most emotional James Bond movie to date.

Cary Joji Fukunaga takes over directing duties this time around, and it absolutely shows. You can always count on the 007 franchise to deliver top notch action, but Fukunaga goes the extra mile to adding some truly impressive one-shots in there and matches it with absolutely gorgeous cinematography – perhaps the best looking James Bond film, aside from Skyfall? However, it’s evident that the reason why Fukunaga was the guy for the job is how he blends classical spy elements into the story while also balancing really solid character work and a true send off for Bond.

At 163 minutes, No Time to Die spares no expense when it comes to telling its story with various locations and a vast array of characters. While I greatly enjoyed the film, I do think it would have benefitted from a bit of a tighter edit at the end of the day. My only other real gripe here is that I thought Rami Malek’s villain, Savin, was somehow undercooked by the end despite such a long running time. It’s hard to elaborate on why he’s disappointing without diving into spoilers, but it feels like there’s a lot of setup for him and not a ton of payoff for the actual character and his motives.

Even with those gripes in mind, they really feel miniscule when everything is said and done – because what the film needs to get right, it absolutely nails with immense class and bravado for Craig’s final bow. After years of being delayed, the film does not disappoint in the slightest and somehow feels like both the most genuinely big blockbuster we’ve gotten in almost two-years as well as the most ideal and emotional final chapter you could ask for when it comes to that of James Bond.

Film Review “Candyman (2021)”

Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Tony Todd
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date: August 27, 2021
Running time: 91 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I have been a fan of the original 1992 film “Candyman” since its release on home video likely back in 1993. It was a film that scared me growing up. It was suspenseful and gory and I loved it. When I heard that they were making what turned into the “fourth film” in this franchise, I could have been more excited. Bring on “Get Out”, “Us” writer/director Jordan Peele and I thought we were going to have an instant winner here. The rest of this review could offer some spoilers so if you don’t already know that much about this film, I would steer clear…

Official Premise: For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials. With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini-Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

I must say that I am definitely a Yahya Abdul-Mateen II fan, but here is my rant, if you going to make him Candyman, then make him Candyman. With this new film they hesitated to announce or reveal who was playing the role of Candyman. But when fans found out that original actor Tony Todd, who played the villain in the first three films, was involved that this was going to be an epic sequel. Maybe the film is too smart for me but I was just left saying “What?” when those credits started. I understand what they were trying to achieve with their ending but after hoping to see Todd reprise his role the whole movie, I got to say, I was left very disappointed. With little scares, less gore than the original, I am perfectly content with the first three films.

4K UHD / Blu-Ray Review “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”

Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Running time: 100 minutes

Film – 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-Ray – 4 out of 5 stars

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is the sequel to the 2017 film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which was surprisingly a ton of fun due to its fun action sequences and great chemistry with its cast. While the sequel doesn’t necessarily do anything radically different with the formula and it doesn’t quite hit the same heights of entertainment value as the original, it still remains an entertaining time due to the talent and comradery between everyone involved. 


That being said, one thing the film does consistently well is balancing the comedy with action, and with an action-packed movie like The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard it’s imperative that the picture and sound quality on the 4K Blu-Ray is up to standard. Sometimes the color grading with these things can feel a bit off or even the great surround sound of the theatrical experience doesn’t transfer over properly, but in the case of this film, I actually think this is one of the rare ones that surpasses the theatrical experience and adds greater colors/sounds to the mix.


As I previously stated, this film is action-packed so there’s plenty of moments where explosions go off and the characters are caught in the middle of gunfire. All of these moments pop very nicely and genuinely wowed me at points. But the aspect of the Blu-Ray that I was the most impressed by was the audio. The conversion here is so amazing and dynamic that it gave me a newfound appreciation for the sound design in this movie. From the gunfire to the way the music is stitched into the narrative, it’s wildly impressive and this Blu-Ray just elevates it greatly.


Even though the Blu-Ray surpassed my expectations in terms of presentation, I wouldn’t put this up with some of the finest films I’ve watched on the format like Blade Runner 2049 or 2001: A Space Odyssey – but… obviously it was never going to! The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is genuinely just a ton of fun to watch and played greatly on a rewatch for me, and the quality here genuinely did a lot to elevate the experience. It’s well worth adding to your collection! 

Film Review “The Night House”

Directed by: David Bruckner
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Distributed by: Searchlight Pictures
Release date: August 20, 2021
Running time: 110 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The very first time that I saw the poster for “The Night House”, I knew that I wanted to see it. I knew nothing about the movie besides that Rebecca Hall (“Godzilla vs Kong”) was in it and that it was a horror film. The trailer looks good and suspenseful. The movie unfortunately doesn’t deliver the scares and leaves you pondering at the end. Hall really delivers a solid performance basically holding this entire movie on her shoulders. I was really hoping for some solid scares here but every time something was getting scary I feel like it was pulled back leaving me wanting more.

Official Premise: Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together – but then nightmares come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing – a mystery she’s determined to unravel

I was a fan of the director David Bruckner who is likely know for his segment “Amateur Night” in 2012’s “V/H/S” as well as 2016’s “Southbound”. He definitely has the horror genre down pat but I just feel like this was played too safe. The ending in particular leaves you with far too many questions and there is not enough answers to make it worth the nearly two hour running time. They could have easily cut back at least 20 minutes from the beginning which dragged a bit getting started. The middle was solid but like I said the ending lost me and didn’t deliver.

I see already that many other critics are getting behind this film calling it a moody film that goes deeper into someone coping with a death of a loved one as well as paranoia. I get that and I see it in the film as well but I feel like it was not fully cashed in on. I did enjoy Ben Lovett’s score, which did create the creepy atmosphere. Lastly I know the film is called “The Night House”, so a lot of the film is dark and takes place at night but a few of the “scares” take place in extremely dark lit scenes that they are almost missed due to the darkness of the scene.

Overall, I am not disappointed that I watched it but it is definitely what I like to call a one-timer. I definitely do not see myself watching this movie again. So if you are looking for some light scares (nothing that will force you to sleep with the lights on though) and a good performance by Hall, you may want to check this out. Otherwise wait till it comes to Netflix.

Film Review – “Stillwater”

STILLWATER

Starring: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin

Directed by: Tom McCarthy

Rated: R

Running Time: 2 hrs 19 mins

Focus Features

 Matt Damon delivers a performance worthy of being on his career highlight reel as a father trying to free his daughter from a French prison in the controversial drama, “Stillwater.” Directed by American filmmaker Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight,” “Win Win”), “Stillwater” was shot in in the second half of 2019 and was supposed be released in November 2020, but because of the COVID 19 pandemic, it was delayed until this year when it premiered on July 8th at the Cannes Film Festival where it received a standing ovation.

 A small Oklahoma town has been recently demolished by a devastating tornado. Amidst the cleanup effort is laid-off oil worker Bill Baker (Damon) who is also busy trying to pick up the pieces of his family that has been laid waste by tragedy. For the past four years, Bill’s estranged daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin, “Signs”) has been serving time in a French prison for murdering her roommate. It is a heinous crime she says she did not commit, and Bill is steadfast in his belief in her innocence.

 Despite their troubled past, Bill has been flying to France on a regular basis to visit Abigail in her Marseille prison. When we meet them on this trip, Allison asks Bill to hand deliver a note to her French defense attorney. In it, Allison begs to have her case reopened, but the attorney refuses because the new evidence she presents is hearsay. When Bill has it translated it to him by an English-speaking neighbor, Virginie (Camille Cottin, “Allied”), he learns Allison has zero confidence in him. 

Spurred to investigate on his own to free Allison, Bill enlists the aid of Virginie, a single mother and aspiring actress, to help him with getting around and with translations. However, Bill is a fish out of water and his actions end up putting his life in jeopardy. After taking a step back, Bill settles into a new life in Marseilles that includes living with Virginie and her daughter, which provides a chance to redeem himself as a father figure … that is until a “shocking” opportunity presents itself for him to be a screw-up again. 

It is not shocking that “Stillwater” has been compared to the high-profile case of American student Amanda Knox who in 2007 was arrested in Italy and charged, along with her then boyfriend, of murdering her British roommate. Knox was wrongfully convicted and was not completely exonerated until eight years later. Clearly, the Knox case served as an inspiration to some degree for McCarthy’s film. Knox herself has criticized the film for its quasi depiction of her ordeal. At the very least, “Stillwater” comes across as unimaginative and a little predictable. 

What makes “Stillwater” watchable is the stellar performance by Damon who nails his portrayal of a man with a lot of demons who cannot seem to avoid screwing up. Damon manages to infuse him with a sense of likability even though we should probably be as disgusted with him as Bill’s daughter is. His performance captures the old, male blue-collar mentality of not wearing your emotions on your sleeve, which makes the brief moments of tenderness all the more powerful. 

Overall, if you’re a fan of anything Damon is in, then you will probably enjoy “Stillwater.” If not, then “Stillwater” may not be your cup of tea when it comes to looking for over two hours of cinematic entertainment.

Album Review: Stone Temple Pilots “Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop” Super Deluxe Edition

“Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop” Super Deluxe Edition

Stone Temple Pilots

Rhino

3 Cd’s, 1 LP

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Released originally on March 26, 1996, “Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop” was Stone Temple Pilots third studio release and the follow up to the bands 1994 sophomore release “Purple”. “Tiny Music…” would was a huge success achieving double-platinum status and yielding three #1 hits – “Big Bang Baby,” “Lady Picture Show,” and “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart.” To celebrate these achievements Rhino Records have release a “Super Deluxe Edition” of the album which includes a newly remastered version of the original studio album on both CD and vinyl, plus unreleased early versions of tracks, instrumentals, and alternate takes along with a complete concert recording from 1997 which all come housed in a colorful chromatic gatefold.

Easily one of the biggest bands of the nineties Stone Temple Pilots churned out hit after hit across four different albums, with three of those hits coming specifically from “Tiny Music…”. Given the albums achievements a special re-release was certainly fitting. Housed in a reflective gatefold adorned with the album’s original artwork the releases instantly grab’s the listener even before playing its first note. Upon opening the album, the release is separated into two sections. On the left you have the newly remastered LP of the record along with an oversized version of the liner notes which include lyrics and some great photos of the band from this era. The 180g LP remaster is crisp and pronounced which pairs nicely with the broad instrumentation and sounds on tracks like “Pop’s Love Suicide”, “Lady Picture Show” and the instrumental track “Daisy”.

On the right side of the collection are 3 different colored CD’s. Disc 1 is the remastered CD version of the album which includes all the same qualities of the LP version but in a more portable format.  Disc 2 features previously unreleased, alternate versions of each of the albums 12 tracks including one additional song (“Kretz’s Acoustic Song”). What I really enjoyed about this was that the track listing remained virtually the same as the studio release however, the alternate versions of each song brought a newness to the album that made it fresh while still retaining the structure and feel of the original. Often “previously unreleased” material is kept from the public for a reason and then when it is finally released often it’s done so as sort of an afterthought and it is lacking structure. This was not the case here. Disc 3 was easily my favorite of three as it is home to a previously unreleased live show from Spring break 1997. The band sounds strong and it’s great to hear the “Tiny Music…” songs performed live alongside other classic STP songs like “Crackerman”, “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song”. The only downside here is that I wish they had chosen a different show to include. Don’t get me wrong the one chosen is great however having been fortunate enough to see the band on the “Tiny Music…” tour it would have been great to have been able to relive more of that live show experience especially the mid-show acoustic sets they were doing at the time.

From front to back the “Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop” Super Deluxe Edition is a nicely put together piece for Stone Temple Pilot fans. Even if you already have a copy of the original “Tiny Music…” album the newly re-mastering is certainly worth checking out but, where you will really find interest is the two discs containing brand new unreleased material. This is where the release really shined and the only thing I found lacking in this section was unlike the original album which included the liner notes and photos which accompanied the release in 1997 there was nothing visual to correspond with the studio outtakes and live performance. Had something additional like that been included this set would have been an instant homerun.

TINY MUSIC … SONGS FROM THE VATICAN GIFT SHOP: SUPER DELUXE EDITION

3-CD/1-LP Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album 2021 Remaster

  1. “Press Play”
  2. “Pop’s Love Suicide”
  3. “Tumble In The Rough”
  4. “Big Bang Baby”
  5. “Lady Picture Show”
  6. “And So I Know”
  7. “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart”
  8. “Art School Girl”
  9. “Adhesive”
  10. “Ride The Cliché”
  11. “Daisy”
  12. “Seven Caged Tigers”

Disc Two: Early Versions, Instrumentals, & Alternate Mixes

  1. “Press Play” – Full Length Version *
  2. “Pop’s Love Suicide” – Early Version *
  3. “Tumble In The Rough” – Early Version *
  4. “Big Bang Baby” – Early Version *
  5. “Lady Picture Show” – Early Version *
  6. “And So I Know” – Early Version *
  7. “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart” – Early Version *
  8. “5 Or 4 Times (Art School Girl)” – Early Version *
  9. “Adhesive” – Instrumental *
  10. “Ride The Cliché” – Instrumental *
  11. “Seven Caged Tigers” – Early Version *
  12. “Big Bang Baby” – Alternate Version *
  13. “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart” – Percussion Mix *
  14. “Art School Girl” – Jaw Harp Version *
  15. “Kretz’s Acoustic Song” *

Disc Three: Live at Club La Vela, Panama City Beach, FL (3/14/97)

  1. “Crackerman” *
  2. “Meatplow” *
  3. “Tumble In The Rough” *
  4. “Vasoline” *
  5. “Wicked Garden” *
  6. “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart” *
  7. “Plush” *
  8. “Big Empty” *
  9. “Interstate Love Song” *
  10. “Lady Picture Show” *
  11. “Unglued” *
  12. “Big Bang Baby” *
  13. “Dead & Bloated” *
  14. “Sex Type Thing” *

* previously unreleased

 

Film Review: “Jungle Cruise”

  • JUNGLE CRUISE
  • Starring:  Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Paul Giamatti
  • Directed by:  Jaume Collet-Serra
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 7 mins
  • Disney

The tale is told of the Conquistadors that sailed down the vast and dangerous river in search of the petals of a certain plant.  The petals, called “The Tears of the Moon” were said to cure any ailment and reverse any curse.  But of course, it’s just an old tale.  Right?

Full of fun, with another winning performance by Dwayne Johnson – I think if he met me he and I would be best pals immediately – “Jungle Cruise” is the latest Disney attraction to become a feature film and, I must say, it’s pretty darn entertaining.

We are introduced to the Houghton siblings – brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) is every bit the prim and proper Brit he seems to be while his sister, Lily (Blunt) is the adventurer in the family, having spent a good portion of her adult life searching for the mystical petals.  While looking for a boat to take them down river they meet Frank (Johnson) who is currently doing his best to avoid Nilo (Giamatti), the local bad guy.  If you’ve seen “Roadhouse” think of him as the jungle version of Brad Wesley.  A deal is made and the threesome head into the great unknown.

On the plus side, “Jungle Cruise” makes great use of CGI, creating a jungle, and all of its inhabitants, with amazing realism.  Tigers. Spiders. Monkeys.  You name it, they’re there and they look amazingly real.  The cast is in great form, with Johnson happily spouting puns (we call them “dad jokes” today) whenever he gets the chance.  Also well cast is Jesse Plemons, whose character, a former German army officer, is as obsessed with the petals as Lily is.  He’s a little over the top, but in a good way. 

My only major problem with the film is that it seemed about 30 minutes too long.  You can only battle zombie pirates so long before it gets boring.  If I wanted a three hour tour I’d wait for “Gilligan’s Island – the Movie,” which I’m sure will be in theatres soon!

4K/UltraHD Review: “Super 8”

  • SUPER 8
  • Starring: Kyle Chandler and Elle Fanning
  • Directed by: J,J. Abrams
  • Rated: PG 13
  • Running time: 1 hr 52 mins
  • Paramount

JJ Abrams directs a love letter to Steven Spielberg about kids and a mysterious alien in 2011’s “Super 8.” . It’s “The Goonies” meets “Close Encounters” meets “E.T.” and very entertaining. It’s also an homage to the cinematic 80s tropes and is a heartwarming tale coping with loss and grief.

“Super 8” is celebrating its 10th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than to indulge in the brand new 4K UHD Blu Ray collection. Since the film is only 10 years old, it benefits from the high definition tremendously, as this is the best the film has ever looked on video. It has been encoded in TrueDolby HD sound, giving it a demo-worthy soundtrack that also incorporates some excellent LFE subwoofer activity that’ll drive your neighbors crazy! 

The story is about a small group of teen misfits encountering a misunderstood extra-terrestrial. There’s much to absorb here though. We have a father and son who must live on without mom. We have an alcoholic father raising a daughter. We have a scientist involved in a government cover up. However the camaraderie of the kids seems to make all of these problems a bit lighter. The fact the kids are all budding filmmakers adds even more comedic flavor to the story. Throw in some of the best special effects of the time (Industrial Light & Magic) and you truly have a unique viewing experience. This film reeks of nostalgia and intentionally has a Spielbergian feel to it as well and that’s okay. It is obviously intended as it is a love letter to Steven Spielberg (the kids are perhaps the biggest indication).

“Super 8” is truly super great and highly recommended in the 4K format. .

EXTRAS

  •  Audio Commentary 
  •  The Dream Behind Super 8
  •  The Search for New Faces 
  •  Meet Joel Courtney 
  •  Rediscovering Steel Town 
  •  The Visitor Lives 
  •  The 8mm Revolution 
  •  Scoring Super 8 
  •  Do You Believe in Magic?
  •  Deconstructing the Train Crash 
  •  Deleted Scenes 

Concert Review: Anthrax “40th Anniversary Global Streaming Event”

“40th Anniversary Global Streaming Event”

Anthrax

The Den at 20ft Bear Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Friday, July 16th, 2021

Our score 4 out of 5 stars

Twenty-twenty-one marks Anthrax’s 40th anniversary as a thrash metal band, during this time the band has released 11 studio albums, been awarded multiple Gold and Platinum certifications, garnered six Grammy nominations, and racked up a host of other accolades from the media, music industry, and fans. To commemorate this achievement on July 16th the band along with Danny Wimmer Presents hosted a streaming event titled the “40th Anniversary Global Streaming Event”. The performance was shot recently in Los Angeles, CA at the Den located within 20ft Bear Studios and featured songs from all eras of the bands career along with a few surprises.   

Despite the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still causing logistical nightmares for many touring bands it does not stop the need for recognition and celebration. No truer words have been spoken than when it comes to the 40th anniversary of one of the biggest bands in thrash metal, Anthrax. From the group’s early beginnings in Queens, NY to playing some of the biggest stages in the word as part of the “Big 4” tour and along the way releasing eleven studio albums this is a career that needs to be recognized! To celebrate the occasion Anthrax and Danny Wimmer Presents put together a brand-new show which they dubbed the “40th Anniversary Global Streaming Event”. Clocking in at over 2hrs the band dove deep into their impressive catalog ensuring that all periods of their career were represented. Making it into the set alongside staples like “Caught In a Mosh”, “Madhouse” and “I Am the Law” were lesser performed songs such as a cover of the Discharge song “Protest and Survive” which had not been performed live since 1997 along with “Keep it in the Family” and “Bring the Noise” which both had not been heard live since 2015. “Bring the Noise” was a double bonus as it featured a special guest spot by Public Enemy front-man Chuck D. D’s appearance instantly took me back to my younger years and to the days when MTV actually played music. Man, those were the days! Throughout the evenings stream amidst the top-notch sound and lighting production were brief interviews provided by various musicians and media personalities where they shared their own personal thoughts or experiences with the band. I found this part of the show to be great as it helped showcase the bands reach and impact across a variety of performance genres.

If the initial concert was not enough the main portion of the stream was followed by an additional stream which was made up of rehearsal footage, interviews with the band, a tour of NYC with Scott Ian and three bonus performances. The additional footage clocked in at just over forty-five minutes bringing the entire runtime for this special to nearly 3 hours! One thing I did find to be lacking was the band only performed in its current line up consisting of Joey Belladonna, Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, Scott Ian, Jon Donais. Yes, I know things can get tricky when trying to bring in past members and such however given the nature of the bands retrospective YouTube series which led up to this event recounting the bands history through new interviews with past and current members, I would have thought there could have been room to make this happen for the fans. Maybe this is something we can wish for during the 50th anniversary celebration. If you missed the streams initial debut it is available at until July 25th at anthraxlive.com. Do yourself a favor and check it out. You will not be disappointed.  

Set List:

1.) Fight’Em ‘Til You Can’t

2.) Madhouse

3.) Caught in a Mosh

4.) Metal Thrashing Mad

5.) Got the Time

6.) I Am the Law

7.) Keep It in the Family

8.) Lone Justice

9.) The Devil You Know

10.) Be All, End All

11.) Now It’s Dark

12.) Antisocial

13.) In the End

14.) Medusa

15.) Evil Twin

16.) Indians

17.) A Skeleton in the Closet

18.) Aftershock

19.) Blood Eagle Wings

20.) Bring the Noise

21.) A.I.R.

22.) Among the Living

Encore: (featured in “Behind the Scenes” stream)

23.) Breathing Lightning

24.) Protest and Survive

25.) Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)

CD Review: Motorhead “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” 40th Anniversary Edition

“No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” 40th Anniversary Edition

Motorhead

BMG

4 Discs

Our score 4 out of 5 stars

Continuing on from 2020’s year-long celebration of Motorheads iconic “Ace Of Spades” album comes the undisputed definitive live record of all time: “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith”. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this number one album, it is being presented in a brand new deluxe four CD box set featuring a new remaster of the original album, bonus tracks and the previously unreleased – in its entirety – concert from Newcastle City Hall, March 30, 1981. If that was not enough the set also include the story of the album, previously unseen photos, reproduction poster, ticket, backstage pass and more.

If you are a Motorhead fan, then you undoubtably have crossed paths with “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” at some point during your fandom. From the iconic cover photo featuring the band on stage with a lighted airplane looming overhead to the bombastic nature of tracks like “Ace of Spades”, “Overkill” and, “Motorhead”. It is only fitting that this album was next to get the special “Anniversary” treatment. Packed in a heavy duty black and gold box are the sets four audio discs which include the newly remastered “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” (which sounds great!) the complete Newcastle City Hall (available for first time in its entirety) and a number of unreleased live versions of songs like “Stay Clean”, “Iron Horse” and “Limb From Limb”. A 28-page book complete with a bunch of unseen photos and stories detailing the events leading up to the recording accompanies the discs as well. Now some collections would stop there but not this one as like previous anniversary releases the Motorhead camp take things one louder including a reproduction all access pass, Europe 81’pin, Double sided poster, guitar pick and a Newcastle City Hall ticket which could almost pass for an original. No detail was spared as this is truly a collector’s piece and one fans of live performances will want to add to their collections.

The “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” 40th Anniversary Edition follows in the footsteps of both the “Motorhead 79” and “Ace of Spades” collections as not only does it provide fans with an enjoyable listening experience the added packaging and period correct collectibles provide an added level of immersion which only helps add to the music over all appeal. Though it would have been nice to also have included some video footage from this period the added unreleased audio tracks certainly made up for this small, short coming. Even if you already own a copy of the original do your self a favor and check out the anniversary edition as there will certainly be something in there warranting the purchase of another copy.  

The No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith CD box set contains:

  • The No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith album, remastered from the original master tapes, featuring extra bonus tracks and newly unearthed, previously unreleased sound check recordings.
  • The three full recordings of the concerts that made up No Sleep, never before released in their entirety.
  • The story of No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith told through previously unpublished and new interviews with the people that were on the road at the time.
  • Never before seen photos and rare memorabilia.
  • Double sided, A3 concert posters from 1981.
  • Reproduction USA ’81 tour pass.
  • MOTÖRHEAD ‘England’ plectrum.
  • 1981 European tour badge.
  • Reproduction Newcastle City Hall ticket.
  • Port Vale gig flyer post card.

Track Listing:

Disc 1

1.) Ace of Spades

2.) Stay Clean

3.) Metropolis

4.) The Hammer

5.) Iron Horse

6.) No Class

7.) Overkill

8.) (We Are) The Road Crew

9.) Capricorn

10.) Bomber

11.) Motorhead

12.) Over The Top

13.) Train Kept A-Rollin’

Soundcheck: Newcastle 30th March 1981

14.) Stay Clean

15.) Limb From Limb

16.) Iron Horse

Disc 2: Live at Newcastle City Hall, 30th March 1981

1.) Ace of Spades

2.) Stay Clean

3.) Over The Top

4.) Metropolis

5.) Shoot You In The Back

6.) The Hammer

7.) Jailbait

8.) Leaving Here

9.) Iron Horse

10.) Fire Fire

11.) Capricorn

12.) Too Late Too Late

13.) No Class

14.) (We Are) The Road Crew

15.) Bite The Bullet

16.) The Chase Is Better Than The Catch

17.) Overkill

18.) Bomber

19.) Motorhead

Disc 3: Live at Newcastle City Hall, 29th March 1981

1.) Ace of Spades

2.) Stay Clean

3.) Over The Top

4.) Metropolis

5.) Shoot You In The Back

6.) The Hammer

7.) Jailbait

8.) Leaving Here

9.) Fire Fire

10.) Capricorn

11.) Too Late Too Late

12.) No Class

13.) (We Are) The Road Crew

14.) Bite The Bullet

15.) The Chase Is Better Than The Catch

16.) Overkill

17.) Bomber

18.) Motorhead

Disc 4: Live at Leeds Queens, Hall, 28th March 1981

1.) Ace of Spades

2.) Stay Clean

3.) Over The Top

4.) Metropolis

5.) Shoot You In The Back

6.) The Hammer

7.) Jailbait

8.) Leaving Here

9.) Fire Fire

10.) Capricorn

11.) Too Late Too Late

12.) No Class

13.) (We Are) The Road Crew

14.) Bite The Bullet

15.) The Chase Is Better Than The Catch

16.) Overkill

17.) Bomber

18.) Motorhead

Film Review: “Black Widow” SPOILER FREE!

  • BLACK WIDOW
  • Starring:  Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz
  • Directed by:  Cate Shortland
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 13 mins
  • Disney

The expression is “timing is everything.”  I say this because, while I found “Black Widow” enjoyable, it doesn’t feel as timely to me as other films in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe for those of you who don’t understand fan-speak).

Ohio.  1995.  It’s another sunny day in the local park and Melina (Weisz) is enjoying the time watching her young daughters play.  When they get home mom prepares dinner and they all wait for dad (David Harbour) to get home.  However, the mood changes when dad announces “it’s time.”  On the move again!

Full of non-stop action and some self-depreciating humor, “Black Widow” is an origin story that attempts to inform viewers where Natasha (Johansson) came from and why she defected to the Avengers. 

The majority of the film takes place in 2016, after Theodore Ross (William Hurt) helped the United Nations enforce the Sokovia Accords, which basically made the Avengers outlaws, unable to do their stuff unless requested.  It also requires all “enhanced” people in the United States to not only identify themselves but disclose what their enhancement is.   Currently Ross is on the look for Black Widow and Captain America.  And the hunt is on.

I’m doing my best to make this a SPOILER FREE review, so I won’t be going into too many details.  Suffice it to say that the characters travel literally all over the world, a lot of stuff gets damaged and a lot of people got hurt.  The action scenes are well designed and the script fun.  But still…..

While it’s not the best film in the MCU, it certainly isn’t the worse.  And that’s a good thing.   

Concert Review: Bad Religion “Decades Season 2 2010’s

“Decades Season 2- 2010s”

Bad Religion

Saturday, June 26th, 2021

The Roxy, Hollywood, California/NoCapshows.com

Our score 4.5 out of 5 stars

Bad Religion wrapped up Season 2 of their “Decades” streaming series on June 26th from the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood. Broadcast exclusively via NoCapshows.com the final episode of season 2 followed the same format as the previous three shows which featured sets containing deep cuts and rarely performed songs from each decade of the bands career. Songs from the bands three 2010’s era releases (“The Dissent of Man”, “True North”, “Age of Unreason”) would be the focus of this evenings performance.

Veteran punk purveyors Bad Religion brought a close Season 2 of their “Decades” streaming series on June 26th with an impressive and upbeat 14 song set of 2010’s era BR material. The evenings performance featured the live debut of six different songs along with a handful of other songs some of which have not appeared live since 2010. Kicking of the night was the fast paced, guitar fueled “Past is Dead” from the album “Truth North”. The song set the evenings pace and instantly while show casing the tight knit guitar tandem of Brian Baker and Mike Dimkich. The nights first live debut would follow as the band performed the title track off their most recent studio release “Age of Unreason”. With a song this powerful I cannot believe it never made its way on to the set during the bands last outing pre-covid. Other debuts from the night’s performance included “Hello Cruel World”, “Big Black Dog”, “In Their Heart Is Right”, “Downfall” and “What Tomorrow Brings”. Despite all of these songs being newer to the BR catalog the band really showed their music prowess as each number came off as very well-rehearsed almost as if these songs have been being played day in and day out for years. Closing out the night was the song “Cyanide” from the 2010’s “The Dissent of Man”. Despite the songs ominous title, the performance was very enjoyable as it offered an added level of instrumentation courtesy of Senses Fail’s Gavin Caswell who sat in on pedal steel guitar for this song giving the closing moments of “Decades Season 2” an almost Eagles like sound and feel.

Bad Religion once again delivers with a unique and safe concert experience that fans can enjoy from the safety of their homes. The 60-minute runtime felt like just the right amount time to give viewers a quick break from their normal day and return them feeling good and recharged. No matter if you tuned in just for this show or have caught all the previous performances you really get your money’s worth as the band delivered across every performance. If you missed any of the shows I believe they will be still available to stream through the end of June at Nocapshows.com If you are waiting to see the band live an in-person have no fear as on 6/24 the band announced their rescheduled 40th Anniversary co-headlining tour with Alkaline Trio and special guests War on Women will kick off on October 15th in Riverside California. Very Cool! For more information on the tour head over to badreligion.com

Set List:

1.) Past is Dead

2.) Age of Unreason

3.) Nothing to Dismay

4.) Hello Cruel World

5.) Big Black Dog

6.) In Their Hearts Is Right

7.) The Profane Rights of Man

8.) Won’t Somebody

9.) Downfall

10.) Meeting of the Minds

11.) The Devil in Stitches

12.) Dept. of False Hope

13.) What Tomorrow Brings

14.) Cyanide

Film Review “F9: The Fast Saga”

Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release date: June 25, 2021
Running time: 145 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The Fast & Furious franchise titled The Fast Saga has not run out of gas just yet. “F9” is completely over-the-top, action packed and one hell of a blast to watch. Who knew that this franchise would be going here nine films strong. Listen we all know that these things could never happen in real life but they are fun to watch on the big screen. I recently re-watched this franchise from the beginning and it was really fun to see how this series has evolved from street racing to international spy heists…and it has been so much fun to watch. This latest film gives this franchise a kick right into outer space…literally! Where can this franchise possible go next?

Official Premise: “Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena, the upcoming The Suicide Squad).”

I am personally a big John Cena fan from the WWE and it was awesome getting to see him play the baddie. I felt that the film also gave an extra nod to the ladies of the Fast Saga. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a female only spinoff happen down the line. The visual effects are beyond amazing. There is nothing that looks “too CGI” or anything like that. The Fast Saga is well known for blending actual practical effects with digital effects.

Like I mentioned above, I have no clue where this franchise could go in the future, so the next two films are going to be a big mystery. But from a franchise that started 20 years ago, this week in fact (Happy anniversary), on the streets to literally flying outer space in this film, and while still keeping things fun and existing, I don’t see this franchise having any issues in the future. This movie needs to be seen on a big screen with popcorn and concessions!