Theatre Review “Waitress” @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – Orlando, FL

Waitress: The Musical
Show dates: Tuesday–Sunday, March 20–25, 2018
Tickets: start at $34.25
Walt Disney Theater at @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

Let me just start my saying that I have never seen or even wanted to see the 2007 film, “Waitress” starring Keri Russell, which this musical version is based on. I wouldn’t have ever even seen the play if it wasn’t for a few of my friends who say the play on Broadway over the last few years and RAVED about it! Suddenly my interest was kicked off and to top it off the musical features music and orchestration by Sara Bareilles. From the opening scene of the “Waitress”, I knew I was hooked.

Here is the official premise of the show: Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

Like I mentioned “Waitress” features original music and lyrics by 5-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles and I really enjoy the music (listening as I type as well). The songs were strong, uplifting and really beautiful. Desi Oakley, who played the lead Jenna, has an outstanding voice. She really blows you away with some of her songs. They have such range and perfectly pitched. Jeremy Morse, who played the role of Ogie, easily stole the show and was extremely funny. He has previously starred in the same role back in 2015 in the American Repertory Theater staging of “Waitress”. Also really dug that there was a live band on the stage in the background throughout most of the show, which blended in so well I forgot they were their sometimes.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts delivered another winning show for me. Being from New York originally and missing Broadway a little, shows like this makes me miss it much less. Here is a little tip since I believe I found the perfect seats for this theatre. We were in Row Q in the Left Orchestra and we had perfect seats, it is at the divide, so no one in front of you and plenty of leg room. Definitely will look for these seats again in the future.

“Waitress” has a lot of heart. It plays to your funny bone the first Act and just kicks you in the stomach for the second Act and delivers a great finish. I believe shows like this are important because they feature strong women and have a positive message of love and the beauty of life. I have to admit one thing that after this show I REALLY wanted me some pie! So make sure to not go hungry because this show will leave your mouth watering.Now if you excuse me I am craving some pie and I need to watch the movie finally!

Film Review “The Last Casino”

Directed by: Pierre Gill
Starring: Charles Martin Smith, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Julian Richings, Albert Chung
Running time: 92 minutes
Distributor: The Movie Network
Original release: June 26, 2004

Film Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When you are binging on gambling related movies recently, I came across a film 2004 Canadian television film called “The Last Casino”, which focuses on card counting. Like the 2008 film “21”, this movie focuses on the ideas from “Bringing Down the House”, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. The film stars Charles Martin Smith, best known for his roles in American Graffiti (1973), Starman (1984) and The Untouchables (1987) and Katharine Isabelle, best knows for her roles as Ginger Fitzgerald in the werewolf horror films Ginger Snaps franchise. Great talent for sure though the film suffers on a TV budget.

Official Premise: A University teacher finds three bright students and decides to teach them how to count cards to make lots of money. As they learn how to play the casinos, things get tricky when the debt owing teacher informs them that their front man wants restitution for loses in about a weeks time. The three students decide to hit all the major casinos in Ontario and Quebec until discovered.

If you are like me and on your phone researching a movie and its details during watching you might want to check out this interview with Semyon Dukach, who was the ring leader of the MIT card counting team which this film is based on. Definitely an interesting read. So I am glad I came across this movie, this is not something that would have been widely available in my area. It’s not perfect but when you are in the mood for some sneaky card counting it will do the trick!

Film Review “21”

Directed by: Robert Luketic
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Liza Lapira, Aaron Yoo, Jacob Pitts
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 123 minutes

Film Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I remember the first time I saw this movie was sitting waiting for a car service to pick up my wife and I to take us to Las Vegas. It wasn’t our first trip by any means, we were regulars back the but that memory has always stayed with me over the last 10 years. Looking back at this film today, I can’t say that it really made its mark on Hollywood but it has become a staple must watch among the fans of gambling movies. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT card counting team as told in “Bringing Down the House”, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend if you dig the genre.

Official Premise: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a brilliant student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, needs some quick cash to pay his tuition bills. He joins a group of students who, under the leadership of unorthodox professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey), use their math skills to win big in Las Vegas. Seduced by a beautiful teammate (Kate Bosworth) and loads of money, Ben learns that the stakes are higher than he ever imagined when he crosses paths with casino enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

You know that after watching this movie, I went ahead and played a whole mess of blackjack and did pretty well if I remember correctly. But either way, this movie is legit, you can tell that these actors were trained in what they were doing and they made it look really real. I have always felt like Jim Sturgess was very underappreciated. He is an amazing actor.  And who doesn’t love Laurence Fishburne?! This guy has turned himself into a name brand from his TV series “blackish” and “Hannibal” to films like this and “The Matrix”. When it comes to “21”, it may be a gamble but it pays off very well. See it!


Film Review: “Love, Simon”

Starring:  Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner
Directed by:  Greg Berlanti
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hrs 49 mins
20th Century Fox


Meet Simon (Robinson).  Like most high school seniors he keeps himself busy, hanging out with his friends, going to parties and getting ready to graduate.  But Simon has a secret.  He’s gay.

A coming of age story with a twist, “Love, Simon” is the story of a young man at the crossroads of his life.  Citing an unusual series of dreams about Daniel Radcliffe in his early teens as the turning point in his sexuality, Simon comes across an online post by a young man who calls himself Blue.  Blue is also gay and longs to come out but does not have the courage.  Simon emails Blue and explains that he, too, is in the same boat.  He signs his note “Jacques,” and the two begin a series of conversations that grow both bolder and emotional as they go on.  However, a fellow student named Martin (Logan Miller) comes across the missives and informs Simon that he knows his secret.  He also blackmails him, trying to arrange a hook-up with one of Simon’s female friends.  If Simon doesn’t help him, he’ll spill the beans.  Sadly the kid is beyond unlikable and soon, after an embarrassing attempt at wooing his intended, he outs Simon to the school.  What a dick!

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this film.  I commend it for being one of the few mainstream films to deal with gay issues in a matter of fact way.  “Love, Simon” is simply a love story about a young man with a crush that happens to be another young man.  But the film also sends up the typical Hollywood stereotypes I didn’t expect.

Part of Simon’s fear stems from the fact that there is already a gay student in his class (Clark Moore).  Sadly, this young man is a sassy, well-groomed confidant of the school’s snobby girls, dishing out fashion advice and one-liners.  Sadly, the typical “gay” character from Central Casting, the same people that brought you Lamar from “Revenge of the Nerds.”  I have several gay friends.  None of them is, if stereotypes are to be believed, “obvious.” It’s a shame this is the only way Hollywood can find to portray an openly gay character.  To me it’s a double shame because the film’s director, Greg Berlanti, is gay and should know better.

Between being outed and then bullied, nobody is held accountable.  The most believable character in the film is Natasha Rothwell, who plays Ms. Albright, the school drama teacher (the school is putting on a production of “Cabaret,” which, though I’ve learned has been put on in high schools, doesn’t strike me as a show to be performed by teenagers).  When two boys bully Simon in the lunchroom, it is Ms. Albright that confronts them and assures them that this action will not be tolerated.  So it’s disheartening to see the two boys a few moments later being excused for their actions by offering Simon a mumbled “sorry.” And Martin, who for some reason is playing the Emcee (badly) in the production of “Cabaret,” continues to be the class clown, again not facing any consequences for his actions.   By the time Simon’s friends, all with petty slights, deserted him I lost all faith in the film or its message.

Which is a shame, because Nick Robinson does a great job trying to balance all of the inner feelings Simon must deal with.  He can only smile and nod when his father, commenting on the latest contestant on “The Bachelor,” says “look at him…you know he’s gay.”  He knows his father means no harm but still just the way he says “gay” is enough to keep Simon in the closet.

I’ve heard this film described as a “John Hughes” – type film.  Barely.  Though Hughes did spend a lot of his time writing about teenagers, their problems and how they dealt with them, his characters were a hell of a lot more believable.

Film Review – “The Death of Stalin”

Starring:  Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, Andrea Risebourough, Rupert Friend and Jason Isaacs
Directed by:  Armando Iannucci
Rated:  R
Running time:  106 mins.

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In the Soviet loop. Armando Iannucci brings his breakneck quips and futile power plays to Stalin’s final days in The Death of Stalin, a darkly hilarious take on a moment in history handled by a collection of top notch actors.

In 1953 Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) sits atop a well oiled oppression machine. He doles out hit lists to his gulags on a daily basis and even among his closest confidants he wields terrifying power. Steve Buscemi’s sycophantic Khrushchev takes personal notes on what jokes bombed in his company so as not to repeat his mistakes. Inconveniently Khrushchev and company find their leader face down and on death’s door in a puddle of his own piss. With no official recourse for succession, the jockeying for power—and chewing of the considerable scenery—begins.

Filling out this Stalin’s cabinet with Buscemi is a dream team lineup of Simon Russell Beale, Michael Palin (my favorite Python!), Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Isaacs. To Iannucci’s credit none of the actors in this film are asked to adopt any sort of Russian or even any shared accent which only adds to the air of chaos in the party and likely is what frees up these actors to stay absolutely focused on the script’s fast and fierce comic timing. Additionally just when you’re getting the rhythm of this first set of yes-men, Andrea Riseborough and Rupert Friend are imported in as Stalin’s wayward offspring to inject even more manic energy into the proceedings. Friend in particular is a revelation as Vasily, a bellowing drunkard who arrives landing insults with surgical precision and more often than not, departs by being wrestled physically from the frame.

I had some hesitation going into this film being pretty much unaware of the specifics of this moment in history and wondered whether that would impact my experience however this turned out not to be the case. The themes of absolute power corrupting absolutely and the pettiness of men are always ripe for political farce especially from the likes of the man behind “Veep” and this spectacular cast.

Film Review “A Wrinkle In Time”

Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine.
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 109 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit I saw “A Wrinkle in Time” with no previous notion that it was a best selling book series. I had no idea what it was about. I knew it had a stellar cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine…and a story of a strong female lead. That was enough for me. This film marks the first film to cost over $100 million to be directed by a woman of color, neAva DuVernay. Now that is an important milestone, unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee that it will be a good movie though. I rarely find myself saying “Damn, I wish this film was longer” but with “A Wrinkle in Time”. I felt like I wanted more. More backstory, more depth with the characters and the magic that they are controlling in the film. Packs a solid heart and delivers beautiful and sometimes trippy visuals but feels rushed and scattered by the end.

Here is Disney’s official one-liner for those who aren’t familiar with the book “From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.”

It’s weird even though Oprah Winfrey has her constant talk show and is everywhere always, I really never really think of her as an actress. She really didn’t do anything special here but I enjoyed her character. Reese Witherspoon personally is not a favorite actress of mine. She is cute in the film and pretty funny, so that was a nice surprise. Mindy Kaling is someone I honestly, can’t stand watching but they used her very well in this film quoting popular quotes of history and culture primarily as her only dialogue. So she ended up being cute and didn’t annoy me as usual. Chris Pine felt like he was channeling his inner Flynn from “TRON”, which is not a bad thing. This guy just rules in anything he does. Storm Reid is easily the winner here. She stole my heart and I really think she has a long career in Hollywood as she grows up. Same goes for Levi Miller. I saw him in “Better Watch Out” last year and I knew he has promise. His character was also well done and very likable.

This film does pack some really solid visuals, my only issue was that it really felt like a green screen. I felt the exact same way about “Oz, the Great and Powerful”. It was kind of a little too CGI for me. Parents be wary, I probably wouldn’t recommend this film for kids under the age of 10 due to content and a few disturbing scenes. I didn’t expect this film to have a dark side like it does but it is intense and definitely adds in a good way for the adults to enjoy but just be weary of the little ones. This is not all pretty colors and rainbows.

So overall,  this isn’t a terrible move by any means. I can’t say that I am disappointed since I had no expectations. But I can definitely say that I have thought about this movie since seeing it and how important of a message it carries despite the fact that it wasn’t perfect. It features a strong female and how she embraces herself in order to save her father. It is a great story overall, I just wish the film didn’t get lost trying to wow so much with the visuals. I would still say that this is worth seeing in theaters at least to catch the whole trippy ride. Just pace yourself for a slow moving, slightly confusing yet heart filled journey.

Film Review: “Gringo”

Starring:  David Oweloyo, Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton
Directed by:  Nash Edgerton
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hrs 50 mins
Amazon Studios

It’s hard for me to go into detail about why I did not enjoy “Gringo” as much as I wanted, or even as I feel I should have.  It’s one of those things you can’t really put a finger on…you just know you didn’t like it.  But I’ll try.

Harold (Oweloyo) is a middle-management employee for a pharmaceutical company.  Things appear to be well on the outside, but inside he is dealing with the fact that his wife is spending him into bankruptcy and rumors that his company is about to be sold.  He approaches his bosses, Richard (Edgerton) and Elaine (an icy Theron) who assure him things are fine.  They also inform him that they will be accompanying him on his upcoming trip to Mexico, where recent inventory reports disclose a shortage of product.  After concluding their business the pair leave Harold in Mexico to wrap things up.  But things go incredibly wrong when Harold is kidnapped.  Or is he?

I wanted to like this movie so much.  I love the cast and director Nash Edgerton, who is Joel’s brother, has done some great short films and music videos.  But it looks like everyone was working on different movies and they were all patched together in editing.  It’s not for lack of trying.  After seeing Oweloyo in such dramatic fare as “Selma,” where he played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, or the outstanding HBO production “Nightengale,” it’s a rare treat to see him tackle comedy.  And tackle it well.  He seems to be having fun and it’s infectious.  Heck, this film may be the first time I’ve ever heard him laugh on screen.  Joel Edgerton and Theron are strictly bad bosses out of central casting, but the effort they put into their characters keeps them interesting.  And while he’s a treat to watch, Sharlto Copley seems to wander in from another film.  Add to this group a drug lord with an almost un-healthy love of the Beatles and a very brief, but impressive, film debut from Paris Jackson (Michael’s daughter) and they do hold your interest.

No, the problem, I think, is that director Edgerton just decided to use everything he shot, giving very little thought to when a scene could be cut so that the payoff doesn’t continue to hit you on the head, long after you’ve been satisfied by it.  Perhaps Joel Edgerton, who wrote and directed the much underrated film “The Gift” should have given his brother some much needed advice.

CD Review: Brian Fallon “Sleepwalkers”

Brian Fallon
Island Records
Producer: Ted Hutt
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Gaslight Anthem front man Brian Fallon is back with a brand new solo album titled “Sleepwalkers”. The twelve track album is being released via Island Records as was produced by Ted Hutt. As the follow up to Fallon’s 2016 solo debut “Painkillers”, “Sleepwalkers” continues on with the front mans raspy, old timey style long time fans have come to love.

Two parts Dylan and two parts Springsteen is how I like to best describe Brian Fallon’s music. “Sleepwalkers” fits that description perfectly as the albums twelve tracks blend the singer/songwriters love of folk and rock into one unique package. Much like Fallon’s previous works “Sleepwalkers” paints a lyrical picture of classic Americana elements as tracks like “Forget Me Not” and “Neptune” talk about lost love and missed opportunity while being sung against robust, upbeat instrumentation while, tracks like “Etta James” and “See You on the Other Side” feature a more scaled back folk like style which nicely showcases Fallon’s vocal style. Probably my favorite track off the album was the Clash esque “Come Wander with Me” which comes complete with a quasi reggae beat, a catchy chorus and, a line taken from the Clash’s song “Bank Robber” acting as the cherry on top of a proverbial music sundae.

“Sleepwalkers” might not be as strong of a release as its predecessor or when compared to some of Fallon’s previous other works however, the album certainly shows progression. As an artist Brian Fallon is not afraid to brave new ground or try things out of his comfort zone and his latest release is a testament to that. If you are looking for a nice mixture of poppy infused rock with classic folk elements then “Sleepwalkers” is the album for you.

Track Listing:
1.) If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven
2.) Forget Me Not
3.) Come Wander with Me
4.) Etta James
5.) Her Majesty’s Service
6.) Proof of Life
7.) Little Nightmares
8.) Sleepwalkers
9.) My Name Is the Night (Color Me Black)
10.) Neptune
11.) Watson
12.) See You on the Other Side

Film Review – Molly’s Game

The twentieth century saw a lot of American Dreams coming true. In the twenty-first century, there are a very few people who could see that happen. The online casino business sounds like routine today, but years back a young female started on a risky mission on a big stake Poker game, exposing herself to some trouble and unwanted attention. Read this exhaustive review by Jackpot Fruity to know more about the movie. Jackpot Fruity brings to you the review of the latest movie based on the Molly Bloom- the Olympic skier and what it meant to the world.

The Artists

The casting seems appropriate, with Jessica Chastain playing the role of Molly Bloom. Some critics say that this is the best role of her career till now. Other actors including Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera have played important roles in a well-defined manner.

 The Poker Story Is for Real

Molly Bloom starts her own gaming initiative in top class hotel suites in Los Angeles and finds some of the richest and most famous celebrities coming to gamble and win at her weekly events. She grows to become a host with taste and standards like a queen. For more than a decade, the fortunes continue in her favour. The table is turned around when tens of FBI officials arrest her during a midnight.

 The Making of Molly’s Game

After Molly Bloom was arrested on charges of illegal gambling in the USA, the right to make the movie was purchased by The Mark Gordon Company. She was approached by the famous Aaron Sorkin to proceed with the screenplay. He has been praised worldwide for his contribution in the making. The dialogue writing is apt and commendable, which makes the characters come alive in a properly detailed manner. Aaron debuted as a Director with this movie only to get acclaims and his work has been well appreciated. The shooting was completed within a few months’ time.

As on January 5, 2018, the movie has released across the USA and is running successfully. The audience is intrigued to know what was happening in the lives of the elite actors, businessmen, sportsmen, etc. and this is drawing them towards the nearest theatre.

 Critics’ Take

The movie is doing well and in the USA alone, it has grossed a business of around $36.5 million. It gets the thrill quotient considering the real incident inspiring it was dramatic itself. Some people do not find it good and say that the female protagonist role could have been carved better. A major objection is raised against the fact that there are only male gamblers in the movie. The creators wish to remain silent at this. The general ratings of people who have watched the movie are good.

Wondering what happens next in the movie? That’s the suspense no one would like to have ended here. Like most movies, Molly’s Game is doing well as it is based on a real incident. The combo of style, luxury and suspense do deserve a watch after all. The harmless bug of the online casino might sting you for squeezing great benefits out of it.

Film Review: “Annihilation”

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac
Directed By: Alex Garland
Rated: R
Running Time: 115 minutes
Paramount Pictures

I really wanted to like this movie. Despite a poor advertising campaign and some unimaginative trailers, I was optimistic that Alex Garland could make some magic out of nothing with “Annihilation.” The man been attached to some great films over the past couple of decades like “28 Days Later,” “Dredd,” and most importantly, “Ex Machina.” Whereas “Ex Machina” was sleek and smart, “Annihilation” is clunky and confusing.

It’s not that “Annihilation” is lacking in interesting concepts, it’s that they’re wrapped around predictable subplots and a ragbag of conflicting tones. The movie begins with an interesting sci-fi premise, an extraterrestrial phenomenon, called the Shimmer by the scientists investigating it, has been slowly enveloping the land around a coastal lighthouse for three years. The government has sent in several teams of soldiers into the Shimmer, only for them to never return. Except for one.

A confused Kane (Isaac) stumbles back into his home, into the loving embrace of his wife, Lena (Portman) who had assumed the worst after he went MIA. She knew nothing of his mission into the Shimmer and his mysterious return only brings her into the fray. In the hopes of learning more about the Shimmer, Lena joins an all-female team, which is heading into the Shimmer. What they encounter, is a bunch of red herrings, glazed over plot points and horror movie tropes.

Throughout “Annihilation,” I kept putting off these nagging issues with the script and structure of the story in the hopes that the ending would provide a worthy payoff to some of my frustration. Without giving away the ending, “Annihilation” seems content on ambiguity, but without any legitimate bread crumbs to lead viewers down one path or another. I have my own theories, but none of them feel as profound as the ones birthed from other sci-fi greats in the past few years like “Blade Runner 2049” or “Under the Skin.”

There’s also the trouble as to what kind of movie “Annihilation” wants to be. It begins as a sci-fi, but has elements of body terror, jump scares and clichés from average horror flicks that are slowly mixed in. A fear of the unknown comes with movies about aliens, but “Annihilation” is bad at developing tension because it forces its characters to have the minds of teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake. We watch this group in the Shimmer split up into groups, avoid taking the high ground in dangerous situations, and camp out for the night near corpses and other macabre scenes.

Even if “Annihilation” is bad, there’s something slightly noble about a bad movie that at least makes you think, and not just about the glaring plot holes. There are a couple of moments that are trying to speak volumes about our relation to nature and humanity’s destructiveness. However there’s no real follow-up to some of these burning ideas and questions that are raised. There’s really nothing left to ponder or chew on when you leave the theater. This might be one of the most disappointing aspects of “Annihilation.” It’s a beautifully shot film that hobbles from the start and then whimpers in its final moments.

Film Review – “Survivor’s Guide to Prison”



Starring:  Danny Trejo, Matthew Cooke and Susan Sarandon

Directed by:  Matthew Cooke

Rated:  Not Rated

Running time:  1 hrs 42 mins

Gravitas Ventures





When I sat down to write this review, I tried to think of a film that, upon its release, found itself on the front page because of the subject matter it covered.  All I could come up with was “The China Syndrome,” which was released in March 1979.  12 days after it opened, events unfolded at Three Mile Island which nearly mirrored the film.  Recently here in Kansas, a man named Lamonte McIntyre was released from prison after serving 19 years for a crime he didn’t commit.  That theme is repeated in filmmaker Matthew Cooke’s latest project, “Survivor’s Guide to Prison.”


The film introduces us to two very different people with one thing in common:  innocence.  Bruce Lisker was a white 17-year old boy when he came home one afternoon to find his mother dying from multiple stab wounds.  He called 911 but when the police arrived they took him into custody “for his protection.”  He would not see freedom again for 26 years.  Reggie Cole was a young black man who was also arrested for murder.  He was lucky.  He only had to fight for 16 years for his freedom.  Both men were the victims of shoddy police work, ineffectual representation and this country’s eagerness to throw people in prison.  And it’s not getting any better.


Narrated by a host of celebrities, among them Trejo, Quincy Jones, Danny Glover, Sarandon, Ice T and director Cooke himself, the film is a step-by-step, by the numbers guide on how to do whatever it takes to keep yourself out of prison.  As they tick through the bullet points – “Be Polite” is first and foremost – it’s almost humorous to see people like Trejo, his face weathered from having spent over a decade himself in prison, offer reminders on how to stay clean.  But the more they speak, the more you realize you’d better pay attention.  It is revealed that with all of the new and various laws being passed constantly, the average American can commit three felonies a day without knowing it.


As we learn more and more about life behind bars, the film also revisits Lisker and Cole, and they’re own struggles.  The true definition of irony comes when, five years into his sentence, Cole kills a man in self-defense.  Because of the circumstances that put him behind bars for murder, an innocent man is NOW a murderer.  Hidden camera and surveillance footage show the brutal way of life that is a constant for those incarcerated.


A sobering look at a life any of us, if enough things work against us, could find ourselves living, “Survivor’s Guide to Prison” is a film that should not be missed.

Product Review “Shady Rays X Series – Blackout Polarized Sunglasses”

I am a true believer in ad placement. I used to work ad placement for my previous company and it is a very important part of a businesses’ success. I recently came across a ad on Facebook for Shady Rays sunglasses. I clicked on the ad to take a look and was very impressed with the product. I reached out to request product to review and feature on the site and let me tell you I am very glad that I did! I am always (and I know I am not alone here) on the hunt for new sunglasses that look good but don’t cost me a mortgage payment. I think I have found them!!!

The Shady Rays X Series – Blackout Polarized Sunglasses are easily one of the most comfortable sunglasses that I have ever worn. They have a real nice sporting looking frame with strong grip made to withstand high speed activity like running, hiking and climbing, water-sports, and more. I am not doing much of that BUT I do have a near 6 year old and I need to be quick when playing outside! These shades are slick looking and get great wrap around coverage so I am not seeing the glasses and then above and below outside the glasses. They fit your face just right and allow you to see without squinting from any angle.

I should also point out that my wife gets not bad but terrible migraines. She got one while we were driving and during this time she needs to block out all sunlight, even closing her eyes don’t help. She threw on these shades while we were driving and she couldn’t get over the relief that she was receiving from the usual pain and discomfort she gets during a typical migraine. She then preceded to wear them and ride out the rest of the migraine and it easily made it much more manageable. This might not be for everyone but I feel like it is worth noting for sure!

These shades comes with HD Polarized black lenses including 100% UV protection, are shatter-resistant and also salt water proof! The last one will be very useful in the pool and ocean! There is also a really kick ass Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty & Free Replacements if Lost or Broken – just pay S+H fee for lost/broken replacements. I mean that is solid. I mean the pricing alone for these are only $45 dollars and they are worth every penny! The X Series are a big hit for sure and I see myself using Shady Rays my new go to for my sunglasses needs!!

Concert Review: John 5 and The Creatures “It’s Alive” Tour 2018

“It’s Alive” Tour 2018
John 5 and The Creatures

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
The Lost Horizon, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Lovers and the broken hearted gathered in Syracuse, NY for an unforgettable night of haunting guitar tones and blistering solos courtesy of guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures. The Rob Zombie guitarist is currently out on the road in support of his latest solo release “It’s Alive”. Only a true virtuoso such as John 5 could turn a quiet love filled Valentine’s Day into the loudest Halloween themed shred-fest the month of February had ever seen.

As the final notes of the opening act rang out the inflatable Halloween decorations rose up from the depths of the intimate Lost Horizon stage. Shortly thereafter master of ceremonies John 5 appeared with a colored flashing LED grin flanked by his band misfits. The trio kicked of the show with “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” which set a face melting pace for the evening. The makeup adorned 5 danced around the stage with various incarnations of his trusted telecaster which only further mesmerized the slack jawed onlookers. Creatures, bass player Ian Ross and drummer Rodger Carter, kept pace as the band followed up with rippers like “This Is My Rifle,” “Season of the Witch,” and “Guitars Tits and Monsters.” As the night wore on the charismatic leader John 5 even dedicated “Behind the Nut Love” to the Valentine’s Day crowd and even offered free lap dances to all in attendance. Easily the most captivating moment of the night was when 5 donned his laser guitar for a medley of hard rock and heavy metal classics which included snippets of “Enter Sandman” and “Thunder kiss 65” to name just a few.

Just when the place was about to burst at the seams, John 5 and Company closed out the night with an encore performance of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The crowd was overjoyed and as the guitarist took his final bow of the evening and appeared confident that he had made the traditionally lovey-dovey holiday into his very own spooktacular shredathon. The “It’s Alive” Tour runs through April so I highly recommend checking it out.

Blu-ray Review “Lady and the Tramp: The Signature Collection”

Actors: Larry Roberts, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Bill Baucom, Stan Freberg
Rated: G
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Run Time: 76 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Lady and the Tramp” was the first Disney animated feature filmed in CinemaScope. It is the sixth title to join the Walt Disney Signature Collection, alongside “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pinocchio,” “Bambi” and “The Lion King.” Walt Disney Signature Collection. This new release included three versions of the film, classic bonus material as well as three all-new features!

Official Premise: As one of the greatest love stories ever told, “Lady and the Tramp” is sure to melt the hearts of generations with its beloved characters, brilliant animation, memorable music and sweet sentiment. The animated treasure tells the story of Lady, a lovingly pampered cocker spaniel, and Tramp, a freewheeling mutt with a heart of gold. Through the Signature Collection edition, viewers can relive the pair’s thrilling adventures, sing along with the film’s unforgettable songs like “Bella Notte,” and swoon over one of the most memorable movie moments of all time—the iconic scene in which Lady and Tramp share a plate of spaghetti and an accidental kiss.

“The Signature Collection” includes the film on Blu-ray, DVD and also Digital HD. The audio and video haven’t changed since the last 2012, “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray release. That being said it is not like it is bad though, that release features a near flawless audio/video features. There are three versions of this film included. There is the original theatrical edition, a Sing-Along mode and a lastly a mode called Inside Walt’s Story Meetings, in which as you watch the film you hear reenactments of Walt’s story sessions with animators and see how their ideas were realized on-screen. This version is probably my favorite included here.

The new special features included are not life changing but are worth checking out still. “Walt & His Dogs” includes archival recordings and photos about the dogs Walt Disney owned and loved over his lifetime. Next up is “Stories from Walt’s Office” which takes us on a tour of Walt’s office suite on the Studio lot. Lastly the fun extra is a DYI called “How to Make a Meatball and Other Fun Facts About “Lady and The Tramp”” with teen chef Amber Kelley and Oh My Disney Show Host.

In the classic bonus features, this release carries over a few extras from previous Diamond Edition and also removes a few while moving most of the Diamond Edition’s extras to digital-only format accessible via sites like Vudu and Movies Anywhere. In the end, the means to re-purchase this relies on how much the digital HD copy and digital extras would be worth to you. I personally think it is worth it for myself. In future releases, I would like to see an attempt to upgrade the video and audio or at least attempt a 4K UHD release.

Film Review “Death House”

Directed by: B. Harrison Smith
Starring: Cody Longo, Cortney Palm, Dee Wallace, Kane Hodder
Production company: Entertainment Factory
Distributed by: Hannover House
Running time: 95 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Before we start, a quick question: are you a horror fan? If so, let me just drop a few names here for you to look over: Kane Hodder, Barbara Crampton, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace, Camille Keaton, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Sid Haig, Adrienne Barbeau, Felissa Rose, Cortney Palm, Sean Whalen, Vernon Wells, Lloyd Kaufman, R. A. Mihailoff, Brinke Stevens, Debbie Rochon, Tony Moran and Gunnar Hansen.

Now if you are a true horror fan you should be losing my mind now! Am I right?These are absolutely legends in the business…and they ALL appear in the film “Death House” from writer/director, H. Harrison Smith. I have been following this film for years now as it was being called The Expendables of Horror! Well after finally getting a chance to see this film, I am happy to say that this film does not disappoint. “Death House” IS the Expendables of Horror! 90 minutes of non-stop genre fun! I found myself glued to ever scene!

Here is the official premise: “During an exclusive tour, a power breakdown inside a secret prison known as the Death House sends two agents fighting through a labyrinth of horrors while being pursued by a ruthless army of roaming inmates. As they fight to escape, the agents push toward the lowest depths of the facility where they learn a supernatural group of evil beings are their only chance for survival”.

“Death House” is based on an original idea from Gunner Hansen (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). Being a hardcore horror fan, this film is a blast. Every scene you will see a new friendly face. The only thing holding this film back is lack of funds, otherwise this is sure to be instead cult classic. “Death House” doesn’t disappoint on the gore and packs some impressive practical effects. It also has humor matched with some solid suspense and a great score. You can tell that writer/director B. Harrison Smith is a horror fan just like us! He injects a fresh new life into the horror genre, while setting up a new franchise in the process. Prequel is in the works already! Read our interview here with writer/director B. Harrison Smith here!

Even though this film is filled with horror icons, the film is led by great new talent like Cody Longo and Cortney Palm, read our interview with her here. Cortney is a great actress and she deserves much more attention in Hollywood. We also had a chance to interview horror icon, Dee Wallace, and you can read it here. She is great in the film as  Dr. Eileen Fletcher.  Kane Hodder also kick some major ass as Sieg.. Hodder also has the new film, Victory Crowley, (aka “Hatchet 4”) this month! He is on fire in 2018!!

If you want to prove your role as a horror fan, you need to support this film and spread the word! “Death House” is breaking the odd and getting a limited theatrical release starting February 23rd in Regal Cinemas and Cinemark theaters across the country. Check their Facebook page to see if it is playing in a theatre by you…and if it is go see it!! You got to give it to the production company behind, “Death House”, Entertainment Factory for being behind this film. You can tell that this is a real labor of love, a lot of hard work went into this film and it deserves recognition. Films like this do not get theatrical release and yet they deserves it.  It’s not perfect but it is fun and made by a horror fan FOR horror fans!