Film Review – “West Side Story”

  • Starring: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler and Rita Moreno
  • Directed by:  Steven Spielberg
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 36 mins
  • Warner Bros


FULL DISCLOSURE:  I worship Steven Spielberg.  He made, in my opinion, the greatest film ever  – JAWS – and has produced so many favorites of mine that if I tried to make a list it would stretch longer than this review.  That beings said, when I learned he was putting his spin on “West Side Story,” a film that won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, SIXTY YEARS AGO.  A film that was based on a show that was nominated for 6 Tony Awards, winning two (surprisingly, “The Music Man” was named Best Musical that year), I was a little confused.  Why, I wondered?  If he wanted to do a musical, why not give “Hamilton” a try?  When the first trailers for the new film were released, I saw nothing in them that made me think “this is going to be amazing.”  Mr. Spielberg, my sincere apologies sir.  This film IS amazing!


Inspired in part by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the film tells the story of New York City in the late 1950s.  Immigrants are flocking to America in one particular neighborhood the local residents are not fond of their new Puerto Rican neighbors.  Two gangs – the Jets (white) and the Sharks (non-white) constantly battle for control of their “turf.”  Their’s is not a pretty neighborhood, with the ancient brownstone apartment buildings scheduled to be demolished to make way for new high-rises. 


When tensions get too high, Riff (Mike Faist) tells the gang that he will challenge Bernardo (David Alvarez) to a rumble at the school dance being held that evening.  Also attending the dance that night are Tony (Elgort), co-founder of the Jets and Riff’s best friend and Maria (Zegler), Bernardo’s sister attending her first dance.  Sounds pretty innocent to me…what could possibly go wrong?


Faithful to the original film while also bringing the story to a new generation, ‘West Side Story” is a masterpiece of film making.  From an outstanding cast to the memorable music to the production design, this is a film to be seen on the biggest screen possible and taken in frame by frame.


Fans of the 1961 film will find the story a little darker than they remember.  Here Tony is on parole, having served a year in prison for almost beating a boy to death in a rumble.  The city is grimy and dusty and, with the exception of at the dance, the gang members wear threadbare and dirty clothes, a far cry from the pressed and pleated pants there wore previously.  Also, as expected, the Sharks and their associates speak a lot of Spanish, sans subtitles, though I found it easy to follow along with the conversations. 

The cast, led by Elgort and Zegler, is out of this world.  Both are fine in the dramatic scenes and have a true chemistry when they get close.  And they both have excellent singing voices.  This can be said about the rest of the cast, with special mention of Mr. Faist, Ariana DuBose, who plays Anita, Bernardo’s girl and the immortal Rita Moreno.  Ms. Moreno won the Supporting Actress Oscar for “West Side Story” sixty-years ago and very well may do it again with her performance here.  The rest of the supporting cast is equally good and I want to put a spotlight on Iris Menas, who plays Anybody’s.  She doesn’t have a lot of screen time but she is the emotional heart of the film when she is on-screen.    


The music is timeless, and even if you’ve never seen the original film you are certainly aware of the many songs the show and film made famous.  Sadly, lyricist Stephen Sondheim passed away a couple of weeks ago but his words will live on forever.  The choreography is well crafted, with the original ideas of Jerome Robbins being folded into a new, more frenetic style.


With a few weeks left in 2021, “West Side Story” is looking to be the best film of the year.

Definitive OZZY OSBOURNE Vinyl Box Set ‘See You On The Other Side’ Out November 29




For the first time in his solo career, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy®-winning singer and songwriter OZZY OSBOURNE will be celebrated with the first-ever definitive vinyl collection of all his original solo material. Due out Friday, November 29 on Sony Legacy, fans can pre-order the box set here. Watch a clip about the set here with special guest star Zakk Wylde. The box set is titled SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE and includes: 

VINYL:173 songs total on 16 albums, each of which is 150-gramhand-pressed multi-colored splatter vinyl, making each pressing unique. Many of the albums are previously unavailableor are currently out of print on vinyl. 

The collection also includes Flippin’ The B Sidea new collection of non-album tracks, which has never been pressed to vinyl. In addition, Black Rain, Down to Earth and Scream have never been pressed in the U.S., while No More Tears was remastered from the original flat analog album masters and is offered as a two-LP set which will allow the album’s songs to be uncompressed for the very first time ever on vinyl. (Full list of albums is below.)

ART: 10 newly designed 24″X36″ posters (including some never-before-seen images) each accompany the 10 studio albums released between 1981-2010. 

AR: Twelve AR (Augmented Reality) experiences will be included throughout the package. Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks.

SIGNED CERTIFICATE: Each collection features an individually numbered vellum certificate of authenticity hand-signed by OZZY. 

If you are a fan of Ozzy, this is definitely a smart choice. You get not only the entire collection but a ton of great bonus content. When you have big box sets like tis you would consider them a gamble but it is a smart bet for sure. I can also see this being a popular purchase come holiday season. Speaking of a gamble, You can visit the SmartBettingGuide for other smart bets and great deals.

“This one’s the most elaborate collection so far,” OZZY says. “It’s very well thought-out and well put together. It’s got everything in there that you possibly could want and some surprises along the way. The sound of a vinyl record is different, and I do believe that vinyl sounds better.”

The full list of vinyl (all of which contain the original track-listings) is as follows: 

Blizzard Of Ozz, 1980
Mr. Crowley (EP), 45 RPM 1980
Diary Of A Madman,1981
Bark At The Moon, 1983
The Ultimate Sin, 1986
Tribute (2 LPs), 1987
No Rest For The Wicked, 1988
Just Say Ozzy (EP), 1990
No More Tears, 1991
Live & Loud (3 LPs), 1993
Ozzmosis (2 LPs), 1995
Down To Earth, 2001
Live At Budokan, (2 LPs) 2002
Black Rain (2 LPs), 2007
Scream (2 LPs), 2010

Bonus features include:

Flippin’ The B Side
(a new collection of non-LP tracks)

Side A
“You Looking At Me Looking At You
Originally from the “Crazy Train” UK 7″ single, released 1980

“One Up The B Side”
Originally from “Bark At The Moon” 7″ single,released 1983

Originally from “Bark At The Moon,” 7″ single,released 1983

Originally a hidden track from the “No Rest For The Wicked” US CD and cassette release, released 1988

“The Liar”
Originally from the “Miracle Man” UK 12″ single, released 1988

“Don’t Blame Me”
Originally from the “Mama I’m Coming Home” UK 7″ single, released 1991

Side B
“Party With The Animals”
Originally from the “Mama I’m Coming Home” US CD single, released 1992

“Living With The Enemy”
Originally from the “Perry Mason” UK CD single, released 1995

“Voodoo Dancer”
Originally from the “I Just Want You” UK CD single, released 1996

“Back On Earth”
Originally from “The Ozzman Cometh” compilation, released 1997

“No Place For Angels”
Originally from the “Gets Me Through” CD single, released 2001

“Walk On Water”
Originally released on “Prince Of Darkness,” released 2005

Flexi Disc, 7″ (45 RPM)
Unreleased version of “See You On The Other Side” (Demo)

Heath Fields of Shallow Side talks about the bands new EP “One”

Voted by as “Best New Artist of the Year” Alabama rockers Shallow Side have just released a brand new six track EP titled “One”. The release not only showcases the group’s unique blend of high energy modern rock but is laying the ground work for the bands full-length release later this year. had the chance to talk with drummer Heath Fields about the release, the bands upcoming tour and their connection to rock legends STYX.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background info on the band such as how the band came together and its members?

Heath Fields: Shallow Side formed in November of 2010. Seth, Eric and I went to school together in a small town outside of Cullman, Alabama. Cody was introduced to the trio at a local rock show and the four of us began writing and touring nationally almost immediately. We still have yet to slow down.

AL: Tell us about the decision to release an EP ahead of your full length release which is slated for later this year?

HF: The writing process is a very tedious one. Coming out of the studio we had a very mixed bag of songs. Ultimately we decided it would be a better to release that material in our EP format for our future endeavors.

AL: Will the tracks which make up the EP also be included on the full length or will that feature a different group of songs?

HF: The full length release will be totally new material separate from the EP “ONE”. We are excited about our freshly released EP, but as you can imagine, we are also looking forward to getting back to the studio in the near future to prep for new material.

AL: How did the bands connection with Styx frontman Tommy Shaw come about?

HF: It started from our respect and appreciation for the band, and the decision to cover one of their classic smash hits, “Renegade”. Through mutual friends and cyber handshakes, we were privileged to introduce our cover of the song to Tommy, and the rest of the band. It is an honor for the guys to have given us the thumbs up and stamp of approval, as it is a band we have always taken inspiration from.

AL: What can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour in Feb and are there any plans to tour past these announced dates?

HF: We will be hitting the road with our friends in Seasons After and Guns Out At Sundown for the “Rebels & Renegades” tour which starts February 1st. We basically live on the road and consider it a luxury when we are home for short periods of time. We are going to be touring for the majority of 2017. All dates and future tour announcements can be found at

Shallow Side set to release 6 song EP titled “One” on Jan. 13 w/ Tour kicking of Feb. 1st

Rock is dead, they say? Hogwash. Don’t even bring up such an idea with the four-piece Cullman, Alabama-bred rockers Shallow Side, who have taken it to be their personal holy mission to spread the glory of modern rock & roll as far and as wide as they can to anyone who will listen. “The energy and excitement of rock & roll is missing nowadays, and we need it now more than ever,” believes Shallow Side’s frontman, vocalist Eric Boatright. “Our goal is that we want to revitalize that entire genre and remind the world how rock & roll can be such a strong force in everyone’s lives.”

The proof of Shallow Side’s pure rocking prowess can be found within the deep grooves of their new EP titled ONE, which is being released by Thermal Entertainment on January 13, 2017. ONE is one tight, ass-kicking affair from the get-go, from the wham-bam all-out jam of the opening track “We Roll” to the fist-waving defiance of “Rebel” to the put-up-or-shut-up manifesto of “Fight or Flight” to their all-guns-a-blazing modern-day take on a well-loved rock classic, Styx’s “Renegade.” (Oh, mama!)

Ultimately, Shallow Side is creating new music that fuses the best intentions of classic rock with modern crunch by planting their flag at the intersection of where Shinedown meets Styx and Journey meets Daughtry. One song Shallow Side fans will be grooving along with right from the start is the current single from ONE, “Fight or Flight,” which unifies the ideas set forth with the one-two punch of “Rebel” and “Renegade,” the EP’s initial radio hits songs. “That’s the heaviest song on this EP,” Boatright clarifies. “It tips the hat to the rock & roll market that exists today and also says, ‘If you guys want to run heavy, we’ll run heavy with you. We can do that — and we’re not scared of it, either. We’re very good at it.’”

Shallow Side’s main message is one of unity. “When we first started, rock & roll wasn’t for us,” Boatright concludes. “We wanted to go to a concert, enjoy the music, sing along, and be a part of the overall song and dance. We’re now looking to bridge that gap to bring the family together to where rock & roll was at one point. The mission since we began was to take the wheel and steer it back into a direction where everyone from all walks of life could enjoy a good rock show.”

Considering the band’s all-in philosophy, it appears that ONE is most definitely the best name for this raucous EP. Let’s all join together and revel in having Shallow Side show us the ONE true way to the future of great rock & roll.injuries while touring and it hasn’t slowed us down enough to lose momentum.”

The band just received their highest honor to date being selected Loudwire’s Best New Artist of the Year (past winners included Saint Asonia and Baby Metal).

The new 6 song EP is a prelude to a full length release to come out later this year.

Shallow Side are:

Eric Boatright (Vocals)

Cody Hampton (Bass/Guitar)

Seth Trimble (Guitar/Keyboard)

Heath Fields (Drums)



01-13-17 in Cullman, AL at Cullman Civic Center (CD Release Show & Kick Off)

02-01-17 in Knoxville, TN at The Open Chord

02-02-17 in Johnson City, TN at The Hideaway

02-03-17 in Spartanburg, SC at Ground Zero

02-04-17 in Jasper, AL at Jars 64

02-08-17 in St Louis, MO at The Firebird

02-10-17 in Junction City, KS at The Devils Tail

02-11-17 in Omaha, NE at Shamrocks Pub

02-12-17 in O’Neil, NE at The Chesterfield West

02-13-17 in Sioux Falls, SD at Bigs Bar

02-15-17 in Colorado Springs, CO at Sunshine Studios

02-17-17 in Las Vegas, NV at Radio Contraband Convention (performing awards night – private)

02-19-17 in Scottsdale, AZ at Rock Bar

04-29-17 in Las Vegas, NV at M Resort Spa Casino (Rock Into Spring)

05-27-17 in Madison, WI at Alliant Energy Center (Bratfest)


DVD Review “Jimi: All Is By My Side”

Actors: Andre Benjamin, Imogen Poots
Director: John Ridley
Rated: R
Studio: XLrator Media
DVD Release Date: January 13, 2015
Run Time: 118 mins

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: .5 out of 5 stars

It had to be tough to make a film about the late, great Jimi Hendrix without the support of his family. Most importantly, this means there will be no “Jimi Hendrix” music in the film. No “Foxy Lady,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Purple Haze.” But I could except that fact, as long as the story entertained. Sadly, “Jimi: All Is By My Side” doesn’t.

The film takes place in a one year period between 1966 and 1967. Hendrix (a well cast Benjamin, who is really the ONLY reason to see this film) is playing in New York City at a small club in front of a crowd of dozens. He’s playing rhythm guitar in a terrible band. In fact, the guitar he’s playing isn’t even his. He borrows it each night. One evening he is seen by Linda Keith (Poots), who at the time is best known as being the girlfriend of Rolling Stone Keith Richards. She see’s the talent behind the shy face and convinces Hendrix to express himself through HIS music. She also gives him one of Richard’s guitars, which I assume she had strung for a left handed guitarist. The relationship is clearly business but others get the wrong idea. Linda introduces Jimi to Chas Chandler (Andrew Buckley), currently the bass player for the Animals and a young man looking to get into management. He convinces Jimi that London is the place to be and offers to bankroll his visit. And here is where the film stops. Dead.

Writer/director Ridley won an Oscar last year for his script of “12 Years a Slave.” Here’s hoping he researched that project better. Twice in the film a television personality claims that the up and coming bands on the British scene are Queen and the Who. Unfortunately, Queen did not form until 1970 so this chick may have been Nostradamus’ daughter. On his first night in England, Jimi meets Kathy Etchingham (Hayley Atwell) and the two become a couple. The rest of the film consists of the following scenes, repeated often: Jimi plays horribly, Linda tells him he’s blowing it, Kathy encourages him. Again and again and again. There are also a lot of shots of Jimi trying to tune his guitar (like Robert Johnson before him, Hendrix would often tune his guitars down to get a certain sound) Every now and then the story throws in a quick cameo (look, it’s Eric Clapton…hey, it’s Paul McCartney). Also, Ridley seems to have just looked at a scrapbook of Hendrix photos and then written scenes around them, so that each scene ends up looking like the original photo. Later scenes, including one of Hendrix viciously beating Kathy with a phone, leaving her scarred and bleeding, never happened. Much is made about Jimi having to play an upcoming concert great so that he can legitimize his recent invite to play at the upcoming Monterey Pop Festival. When that concert happens, with a couple of the Beatles in the audience, Jimi wows the crowd with a cover of “Sgt. Pepper” and the rest is history.

If there is a positive to this film it is the performances, particularly by Benjamin, Poots and Atwell. I was 10 years old when Hendrix died on October 15, 1970, but I’ve heard enough of his music and seen enough clips of him on television to know that Benjamin has nailed the persona and the man behind the music. It’s a performance that, in a better film, should have earned him some award consideration. And the fact that there is NO Hendrix penned music in the film but surely they could have had Benjamin do a version of “Hey Joe” (written in 1962 by Billy Roberts) or “All Along the Watchtower” (written by Bob Dylan and out in 1967) to remind viewers of what a musician Hendrix was, rather than just have him fumbling on a guitar and throwing in the occasional lick. Thankfully, late last year. the Hendrix estate announced they are looking to approve a film that treats Jimi right. And don’t just take my word for it. Upon seeing “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” Kathy Etchingham, who was Hendrix’ inspiration for “Foxy Lady,” “The Wind Cries Mary” and others, called it “absolute nonsense.” And to quote David Huddleston in “Blazing Saddles” — “Who can argue with that?”

The only EXTRA is a short piece on how the music for the film was created.

Win a DVD of the Jimi Hendrix Bio-Pic “Jimi: All Is By My Side” [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed with XLRator Media to offer one lucky reader a chance to win a DVD copy of the film “Jimi: All Is By My Side.”  The film, which stars OutKast’s Andre’ Benjamin as famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix, covers the musician from 1966-1967, the year Hendrix began the jump from backup guitarist (early in his career he and his band opened concerts for the Monkees) to guitar legend.
All you have to do to enter to win is let us know below who, in your opinion, is the greatest guitarist EVER?  Jimi?  Eddie Van Halen?  Chet Atkins? (ok, I know I’m dating myself here!).  Leave you choice below and on January 13, 2015 one random winner will be chosen.  That winner will notified by email.  This contest ends at midnight on Monday, January 12, 2015.  Good luck!
“Jimi: All Is By My Side” will debut on DVD, Blu-ray and Video-on-Demand on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Following hot off the heels of Five Finger Death Punch’s July 2013 release “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”, “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Picks ups where the previous album left off. The album like its predecessor is being released via Prospect Park and was produced by Kevin Churko.

I always have to question a bands decision when they decide to release multiple albums within months of each other. However after my first listen of “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” any preconceived notions I may have had were instantly thrown out the window. From the albums opening track “Here to Die” which goes from zero to sixty right out of the gate I couldn’t wait to hear the other 11 tracks. Vocalist Ivan Moody seems to have tapped in to a channel of aggression which seems to be the catalyst for every track. Songs like “Wrecking Ball” and “Matter of Time” rip through your speakers and assaults whoever maybe in the immediate listening area. Even when the band slows things down with the albums closing track a cover of the classic Animals song “The House of the Rising Sun” the band still maintains the consistency of the previous numbers. Producer Kevin Churko continues to show why he is the best producer for the job as he does a remarkable job captured all the nuances of each members playing while elevating their sound with a really great mix that was music to my ears.

If you already have “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” then “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” is a no brainer. However if you haven’t yet grab either copy I would recommend starting here with Vol. 2 as the album takes you on a rollercoaster ride filled with raw emotion an energy that keeps your attention from start to finish.

Track Listing:
1.) Here to Die
2.) Weight Beneath My Skin
3.) Wrecking Ball
4.) Battle Born
5.) Cradle to the Grave
6.) Matter of Time
7.) The Agony of Regret
8.) Cold
9.) Let This Go
10.) My Heart Lied
11.) A Day In My Life
12.) House of the Rising Sun

Blu-ray Review “Pink Floyd: Classic Albums – The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon”

Actors: Pink Floyd
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Run Time: 92 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ever since I was a kid, I have been a huge fan of Pink Floyd, starting with “Dark Side of the Moon” (thanks Dad). After listening to this album over and over and over, I never got tired of it and still never have. “Dark Side” is one of those records that just gets better every time, I can’t explain it but if you are a Floyd fan that you will know what I am talking about. “Classic Albums – The Making Of Dark Side Of The Moon” was originally released in 2003 and covers the making of this amazing album. It features great interview with with band members including Roger Waters, Richard Wright, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason. But more than that there are also great and very insightful interviews with engineer Alan Parsons, the late designer Storm Thorgerson, and tons of others. After 40 years, “Dark Side” is still one of the best selling albums in history and will continue to shine on.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is behind this Blu-ray release to be honest it just feel a little lazy. This is the first in there new SD (Standard Definition) Blu-ray releases. So basically this is just an upscaled versions of the original DVD. So it is cool to have it on Blu-ray but it is not really worth the upgrade if you already own the DVD’s. Along with “The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon”, they are also giving this treatment to the following Blu-ray “Bee Gees: One Night Only”, “Scorpions: Moment of Glory”, “The Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile”, so be wary of these as well. In terms of audio, the uncompressed LPCM 2.0 track works but I would have love to see this given a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

Since this was originally shot for television, it runs 50 minutes. But there is an additional 40 minutes of bonus Features included on this Blu-ray. There are extra portions on “Brain Damage”, which features a complete solo acoustic performance by Roger Waters, which is amazing. “Money” features Roger Waters and Alan Parsons discuss the song and weaved in-between is David Gilmour playing guitar and Roger Waters playing bass. “Us And Them” features the late Richard Wright talking about the song and playing solo piano. “Breathe” features a complete solo acoustic performance by David Gilmour. “Time” features Waters discusses the track and showing demo footage. Lastly “Gilmour’s Guitars” focuses on track tracks including “Breathe”, “The Great Gig In The Sky” and “Us And Them”.

Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Signed CD Giveaway [ENDED]


Media Mikes has teamed up with SKH Music to giveaway 1 band signed copy and 3 regular copies of Five Finger Death Punch’s latest album “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol.1” If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite FFDP song. This giveaway will remain open until Sept. 6th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Acclaimed hard rock band Five Finger Death Punch’s highly anticipated The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1 (Prospect Park in North America / Eleven Seven in all other territories) has debuted as a global success. The album has achieved career highs for the band, with a mainstream chart debut at #2 in The United States, #3 in Canada, #4 in Germany, alongside impressive entries in other territories across the globe. The lead single “Lift Me Up” (featuring Rob Halford of Judas Priest) is currently #1 on the U.S. Active Rock charts for the third consecutive week. The successful debut exhibits that Five Finger Death Punch is challenging the notion that “Rock is Dead,” as they look poised to deliver a fourth consecutive Gold certified album following the successes of The Way of The Fist (2007), War Is The Answer (2009) and American Capitalist (2011). Cumulative single sales have now exceeded over 4.5 million.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell – Volume 1”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Los Angeles metalers Five Finger Death Punch are back with the first of two new albums titled “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”. The album is the follow up to the bands 2011 release “American Capitalist” which was certified gold in September of 2012. “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” is being released via Prospect Park and features 14 hard rocking songs produced by Kevin Churko.

Prepare to have your fillings knocked loose as the boys in Five Finger Death Punch pull no punches with the first of two new releases slated for 2013. “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Immediately amps things up with probably my favorite song off the album titled “Lift Me Up” which features a stellar guest performance by the Metal God himself Rob Halford. The album takes you on a roller coast ride of emotion as singer Ivan Moody seems to be venting his inner most demons on tracks such as “Burn MF” and “Dot Your Eyes”.

Moody’s vocal presentation combined with the thunderous bottom end of bassist Chris Kael and drummer Jeremy Spencer and the searing tandem guitar attack of Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook the album sounds amazing! Though I’m not a big fan of albums that feature different version of the same song FFDP was able to make it work with the addition of guest vocalists Maria Brink, Jamey Jasta and Max Cavalera. Each guest performer seemed to not only give the track a breath of fresh air but also elevate them to a higher performance level.

Solid from start to finish “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” delivers. If the bands 13 original tracks weren’t enough for you the guys in FFDP take things a step further by throwing in a rocking rendition of the LL Cool J classic “Mama Said Knock You Out”. Whether you are a fan of heavy metal or not the latest release from Five Finger Death Punch is a must have.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

Film Review "Side Effects"

Starring: Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 46 mins
Open Road

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

An empty room. On the floor, a set of bloody footprints. Fade to black.

Martin (Channing Tatum) has just been released from prison where he did time for insider trading. His wife, Emily (Mara), appears to be happy that he’s home though the combination of a husband in prison and an uprooted life has given her an anxiety condition that is out of control. After a car accident Emily meets Dr. Banks (Law), a psychiatrist who feels the accident was anything but. He offers to help Emily, unaware that soon he will be the one needing help.

An old fashioned thriller in every sense of the word, “Side Effects” gives you just enough clues to stay in the game but never reveals enough to get you to drop your guard. The clever script, by Scott Burns, is full of twists and turns that take you from one character to the next, silently scratching your head and wondering who do you believe?

The storyline is helped by a cast just as serious as the material. In his best work since “Cold Mountain,” Jude Law is brilliant. He gives Dr. Banks a heart that one normally doesn’t see in the typical Hollywood shrink. With a wife (Vinessa Shaw) and step-son at home he strives to do what he can for both his family and his patients. Mara continues the great promise she showed in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Emily is sometimes happy, sometimes sad and, sometimes, both at the same time, which is very hard to portray believably on screen. You want to root for her but you take a step back, unsure if you should. Zeta-Jones is well cast as a former doctor of Emily’s while Channing Tatum continues the run of fine performances that started last year.

For a director supposedly mulling retirement, Steven Soderbergh has kept busy. This is his fifth feature film since 2011 and, after roles in the recent “Haywire” and “Magic Mike,” Side Effects” completes a Channing Tatum trilogy! Busy or not, Soderbergh is still at the top of his game, crafting a film that gives you clues that may or not tell all that you need to know.

Tribeca Film Festival Review “Side by Side”

Directed by: Chris Keneally
Producers: Chris Keneally, Keanu Reeves
Featuring: Keanu Reeves, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, James Cameron, George Lucas
Tribeca Film Festival
Running time: 99 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Film lovers may or may not know that as of October 2011 the major manufacturers of cameras for motion pictures–Arri, Panavision, Aaton– stopped making new film cameras. In January of this year Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in the face of insurmountable digital competitors. So is celluloid film dead?

This is the central question up for debate in Side by Side, an in depth documentary produced by Keanu Reeves and directed by Chris Keneally, which takes a look at the digital revolution which has been picking up steam in Hollywood since the turn of the millennium. The doc is making its stateside debut at this week’s Tribeca Film Fest with a planned release in August.

Reeves and Keneally have rounded up an impressive roster of interviewees who fall on all sides of the digital-versus-film argument and come from every step in the production and post-production process. In this corner we have director Christopher Nolan and his cinematographer Wally Pfister maintaining they’ll be the last people shooting on film, and in this corner we have digital proponents such as George Lucas and Robert Rodriguez swearing off celluloid for good. Occupying the middle ground are heavy hitters like David Fincher, David Lynch, Steven Soderbergh and Martin Scorsese (fresh off the digitally-shot “Hugo”).

The documentary itself never takes a side which makes the debate that much more engaging and I found myself shifting allegiance throughout. Additionally, on-screen interviewer Reeves is great at getting honest, candid reactions from his insider interviewees. Furthermore Keneally takes the time to explain the mechanics behind much of the debate’s technical aspects, a step which may cause digital-saavy folk to become a little bored, but it certainly makes the doc more accessible to the average movie goer.

In the end the most startling thing about Side by Side is how rapidly this technological change is occurring. In 1999, for the debut of The Phantom Menace, only four theatres in the country had digital projectors, four years later–in time for Attack of the Clones–there were 150. Statistics like this made me grateful that these filmmakers have been there to record, in whatever form they choose, this massive shift in cinema.

Upcoming TFF Screenings of Side by Side:
Tues. 4/24 – 8:30pm, SVA Theater 2 Beatrice
Thu. 4/26 – 7:00pm, AMC Loews Village 7-2
Fri. 4/27 – 2:30pm, AMC Loews Village 7-3
Sat. 4/28 – 4:00pm, AMC Loews Village 7-2
Sun. 4/29 – 2:30pm, SVA Theater 2 Beatrice

CD Review: The Last Vegas “Other Side EP”

The Last Vegas
“Other Side EP”
Eleven Seven Music
Producer: Johnny K
Tracks: 3

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5stars

“Other Side EP” is the latest release from the band The Last Vegas. Based out of Chicago, IL the band blends a variety of rock sounds both new and old. The EP was produced by Grammy Nominated producer Jonny K who has worked with acts such as Disturbed, 3 Doors Down and, Staind. The EP is being released through Eleven Seven Music and features 3 new tracks available for free through the bands website.

Though the EP only features 3 songs each of those songs are packed with rock and roll goodness. If these 3 tracks are any indication of what’s to come with the bands full length release then we are all going to be in for a treat. The tracks reminded me of old school Gun’s N’ Roses but with a modern spin. “Other Side” was a personal favorite of mine as the track is a great all around rock tune that has a really great groove.

For free you really can’t go wrong downloading this EP. A lot of bands these days are releasing tracks for free and a lot of times there’s a reason they do so. Each of the 3 tracks contained on “The Other Side” are great representations of what the band has to offer.

Track Listing:
1.) Evil Eyes
2.) It Ain’t Easy
3.) Other Side