CD Review: Steel Panther “Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage

“Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage”

Steel Panther
Open E
Mixing: Jay Ruston
Tracks: 13

Our Score: CD- 4 out of 5 stars
                       DVD- 3 out of 5 stars

The raining kings of spandex metal are back with something a little different this time around. “Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage” is the bands first full length feature film which includes a live 10 song acoustic concert mixed with comedic scenes that show case the bands over the top sexually fueled high jinks. The dual CD/DVD is being released via Open E and features 10 tracks that will have you instantly reaching for the aqua net and eyeliner.

Right of the bat “Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage” was a hit for me. The band wastes no time getting right down to business as the album is a spattering of songs from the bands 3 comedic tinged albums but with an acoustic flavor. Songs like “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World” and “Glory Hole” sound as good if not better than the original records. Despite the fact that acoustic instrumentation can be a bit unforgiving especially in live situations the band does an impressive job with each performance. Combine that with a great mix provided by Jay Ruston and you have an album that’s not only fun to listen to because of the songs tongue and cheek subject matter but also because it’s pleasing to the ears and you get to a hear new track from the band titled “That’s When You Came In”. Yes the album is a bit polished for a live album however, keep in mind that very few live albums are truly live making this a moot point. Along with the audio version of the CD fans get a video version of the show which only adds to the entertainment value of this release. Though I found a couple of spots where the audio seemed to be a touch out of sync the brief skits every few songs were funny enough to where you could look past any short comings. Throw in a couple special appearance of 80’s video vixen Bobbi Brown in the role of Lexxi’s mom and you have yourself a pretty killer package.

Yes some of the sexual innuendos used in “Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage” have started to become a bit tiresome however the catchiness of Steel Panthers songs are what keep me coming back time and time again. For long time fans of the band picking up this release is a given. For those new to the group despite having three studio albums under the bands belt I recommend starting here a working your way backwards as the songs just sound so good played acoustically. For those wanting this for just the video performance be warned that that is all you will get on the DVD there are no behind the scenes or bonus footage here. Knowing the bands comedic nature I would have thought there would have been tons of outtakes and gag reels from this shoot that could have been included but when you are already getting both the audio and video version of the show for the price of one you can’t really complain.

Track Listing:
1.) Show Intro/ Say Yeah!
2.) Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World
3.) Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)
4.) If You Really, Really Love Me
5.) Gloryhole
6.) Bukkake Tears
7.) The Burden of Being Wonderful
8.) Weenie Ride
9.) That’s When You Came In
10.) Michael Don’t Know
11.) Community Property
12.) Grindy and Sexy
13.) Death to All But Metal

 

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Concert Review: “Redeemer of Souls Tour” with Judas Priest & Steel Panther @ Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

“Redeemer of Souls Tour”
Judas Priest, Steel Panther
Wednesday, October 1st 2014
Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

After a 2 year hiatus from the music scene the metal gods themselves Judas Priest are back on the road supporting their latest album release titled “Redeemer of Souls”. The tour kicked off on October 1st in Rochester, NY before a near capacity crowd and though opening night didn’t go as smoothly everyone was hoping for both Priest and opening act Steel Panther were at the top of their games.

As the doors to the vast Main Street Armory opened fans quickly flooded the venue in anticipation of the evening’s events. As the evenings advertised 7:30 start time rolled around and quickly turned in to 7:45, 8:00, 8:15 etc. It wouldn’t be till almost 8:40 that opening act Steel Panther would take the stage. The band which has been taking a lot of heat since it was announced they would be part of the tour initially didn’t win over the Rochester crowd as they took the stage to a sea of boo’s. It was unclear if the late start was the fault of the bands or of the promoter however despite the unpleasant welcome the band shrugged it off and blasted through an 11 song set which touched on each of the bands 4 releases. Vocalist Michael Starr handled his vocal duties like a true veteran and in between songs attempted to regain the crowds trust through the bands normal joking and goofing on one another.  This seemed to work as the band left the stage to cheers and applause the total opposite of how the night began.

After a few minutes a large Judas Priest banner dropped from the rafters signaling that the wait was almost over. After a brief intro the arena was filled with smoke and lights as Rob Halford and company ripped into the song “Dragonaut” which is also the first track off the band newest album. Halford seemed a little unsteady at first and was using a cane however by the end of the first number it appeared as though it was just a prop as he lurked back and forth with ease the rest of the night. The band played a variety of songs from their vast catalog such as “Victim of Changes”, ‘Turbo Lover” and “Love Bites” which hasn’t been in the set since 1986. The band’s sound was tight and well rehearsed with Rob’s signature scream being in top form. The newest member of the band guitarist Richie Faulkner seemed even more comfortable and certainly did his part to elevate the night’s excitement. Before calling it a night the band treated the audience to two encores which were both greeted with deafening roars and devil horns thrown high into the air.

When the night was finally over and the venue was silent it was easy to say that despite a few small setbacks the tours opening night was a success.  Both Priest fans new and old were given everything both bands had and then some as it was a great night of music. If the tour is coming to your area make sure to get your tickets as soon as you can as there are very few bands out there right now who can rival the power and fury of the one and only Judas Priest.

Steel Panther  Set List:
1.) Pussy Whipped
2.) Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World
3.) Asian Hooker
4.) Just Like Tiger Woods
5.) Gold Digging Whore
6.) Girl From Oklahoma
7.) Community Property
8.) Eyes of the Panther
9.) 17 Girls in a Row
10.) Death to All but Metal
11.) Party All Day (Fuck All Night)

Judas Priest Set List:
1.) Battle Cry Intro
2.) Dragonaut
3.) Metal Gods
4.) Devil’s Child
5.) Victim of Changes
6.) Halls of Valhalla
7.) Loves Bites
8.) March of the Damned
9.) Turbo Lover
10.) Redeemer of Souls
11.) Beyond the Realms of Death
12.) Jawbreaker
13.) Breaking the Law
14.) Hell Bent for Leather

Encore:
15.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
Encore 2
16.) Living After Midnight
17.) Defenders of the Faith

CD Review: Steel Panther “All You Can Eat”

“All You Can Eat”
Steel Panther
Open E music
Produced by: Jay Ruston
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

The Sunset Strip’s hottest export, Steel Panther, is back with their third full-length album titled “All You Can Eat”. The album is the first release from the band since starting their own label title Open E Records and features 12 all new original tracks produced by Jay Ruston. With edgy song titles and enough sexual references to overload urbandictionary.com the guys in Steel Panther continue to wave the flag for the glory years of 80’s hair metal.

The latest from Steel Panther may not be the group’s strongest effort to date but there are some killer vintage guitar licks and rhythms that do a good job making up for what the album lacks in substance. Of course if you are at all familiar with the band then you know going in what you are in for. “All You Can Eat” features an edgier sound than what we have heard previously from the spandex clad 4 piece making this attribute one of the more shining moments of my listen. Of course with songs like “Party like Tomorrow is the End of the World” and “Gangbang at the Old Folks Home” you know there are good times to be had blasting these and the other 10 tracks as you role around the subdivision in your vintage Z-28.

“All You Can Eat” is certainly a stepping stone for the band musically however I feel they still have yet to capture the power and appeal of their over the top live performances.

Track Listing:
1.) Pussywhipped
2.) Party like Tomorrow is the End of the World
3.) Gloryhole
4.) Bukkake Tears
5.) Gangbang at the Old Folks Home
6.) Ten Strikes You’re Out
7.) The Burden of Being Wonderful
8.) Fucking my Heart in the Ass
9.) B.V.S.
10.) You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11.) If I Was The King
12.) She’s on the Rag

Steel Panther New Album “All You Can Eat” Slated for Release April 1st on Open E Records via Kobalt Label Services


Band Celebrating New Release By Sending the Famous G
rill ‘Em All Truck Around Los Angeles Today Giving Out Free Burgers: “The Fat Girl” and “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ Cheeseburger”

Pre-order All You Can Eat online January 14th

(January 13th, 2014 – New York, NY) The Sunset Strip’s hottest export, Steel Panther, is back and ready to unleash their third full-length album, All You Can Eat, on the world. The 12-track masterpiece is slated to hit stands April 1st in the United States on Open E Records via Kobalt Label Services (KLS). The album will be available for pre-order on January 14th at http://www.steelpantherrocks.com. From the opening acoustic riff of album opener “Pussywhipped” to final chord hit in the album closer “She’s On The Rag,” it is clear Steel Panther is back and better than ever. Songs like “Gloryhole,” “Gangbang At The Old Folks Home” and “BVS” all showcase Steel Panther’s incredible musicianship and ability to write memorable and sometimes educational songs. The band, comprised of Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitar, Lexxi Foxx on bass and Stix Zadinia on drums, have made a name for themselves as one of the most entertaining acts out today. The debut single “Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World,” was released in November with a star-studded video directed by Rob Riggle that has been viewed over 660,000 times. The explicit video for the song can be seen at http://smarturl.it/sppartyvd. Longtime Steel Panther producer Jay Ruston produced All You Can Eat.

The track listing for All You Can Eat is:

1. Pussywhipped
2. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
3. Gloryhole
4. Bukkake Tears
5. Gangbang At The Old Folks Home
6. Ten Strikes You’re Out
7. The Burden Of Being Wonderful
8. F@#king My Heart In The Ass
9. BVS
10. You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11. If I Was The King
12. She’s On The Rag

Steel Panther has also partnered up with acclaimed LA food truck Grill ‘Em All for a promotion to coincide with the announcement of the release date of All You Can Eat. Grill ‘Em All was the winner of the first season of the Great American Food Truck on the Food Network and is known for their heavy metal themed burgers. The band unveiled the album cover of All You Can Eat on the Grill ‘Em All truck and the truck will roam around Los Angeles giving away “The Fat Girl” and the “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ Cheeseburger” for free to all Steel Panther fans in Los Angeles. Here is the schedule for the locations of Grill ‘Em All today:

11:00AM – 12:00PM – Origami (1816 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026)
1:00PM – 2:00PM – High Fidelity (1956 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027)
3:00PM – 4:00PM – The Record Parlour (6408 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
5:30PM – 7:00PM – The Rainbow (9015 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069)

Steel Panther was, for a long time, rock’s best-kept secret: a cult legend on the LA scene. But in recent years due to the success of their albums (both debuted at #1 on the Billboard Comedy Album Charts), and live shows, the band has enjoyed huge acclaim from fans and peers alike. Steel Panther has been joined on stage by rock and roll icons such as Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Paul Stanley of KISS, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and Green Day to name a few. Steel Panther has also been seen on Dancing With The Stars, Bad Girl’s Club and most recently in a national web campaign for Warner Brothers Pictures hit film, Rock Of Ages.

Blu-ray Review “Man of Steel”

Actors: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane
Directors: Zack Snyder
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Run Time: 143 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

After watching “Superman Returns”, I had a bad taste in my mouth concerning the Superman franchise. I honestly wasn’t too thrilled to find out about this reboot either but then I found out that Zack Snyder (“300”, “Sucker Punch”) was signed on. His vision to his films are so unique and he really brought that to this film. You know that this was a Zack Snyder film and that is a good thing. “Man of Steel” is quite long running nearly 2.5 hours, so there are some pacing issues but it is still one hell of a wild visual ride. Easily one of the most entertaining films I have seen this year.

Henry Cavill delivers the Superman performance we were all hoping for. He made the role his own and didn’t try to replicate past portrayals. Michael Shannon was good but not outstanding as Zod but I liked his back story. Actually one of my favorite parts was the opening scene with Russell Crowe playing Jor-El. I loved the introduction of Krypton. It was mouth dropping and a great way to kick off the film. Highly recommended for any true DC Comics fan and I can’t wait to see what they are doing with the “Batman vs. Superman” film in 2015.

“Man of Steel” comes as a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet copy. Warner Bros delivered a very fine Blu-ray in terms of audio/video presentation. The 1080p transfer is rock solid and looks very sharp. I have to admit, I was a little nervous since I really loved the 3D presentation of this film in theaters. But the film in 2D is still as visual awesome just missing that slight depth. In terms of audio, Warner’s delivered a wall-shaking DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. This film has no shortage of action at all and this track is amped up and kicks some major ass.

Since I still prefer the film in 3D, “Man of Steel” will also be available as a Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and as a 3D Limited Collector’s Edition (which is what I am purchasing). The 3D Collector’s Edition includes a limited release metal “S” glyph with a lucite glass stand. Also hardcore fans should also note that Amazon is also offering an exclusive Action Figure Gift Set, which includes two 1:16 scale figurines of Superman and General Zod taken from DC Collectibles sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios.

In terms of special features, “Man of Steel” delivers one amazing special features along with a few other decent at best extras. “Journey of Discovery: Creating ‘Man of Steel'” is a super intensive feature-length experience which allows you to watch the film with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and more. It is sort of like a visual commentary track but definitely worth checking out and great for replay value. The rest of the extras include “Strong Characters, Legendary Roles”, which is a look into the characters legacy. “All-Out Action” looks into the training actors has to go through in order to get ready for their roles. “Krypton Decoded – Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent Age 13)” looks at the techie tools found in the film. Lastly “Planet Krypton” dives deeper into the lost world.

Official Premise: A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

Man of Steel is available on Blu-Ray 11/12/13 at the WB Shop http://bit.ly/MOSwbshop

Concert Review: The Steel Wheels – Kansas City, Missouri

The Steel Wheels
Record Bar
September 17, 2013
Kansas City, Missouri

The Steel Wheels rolled into Kansas City last week on their way to the Winfield, Kansas Blue Grass Festival. Earlier in the year they completed a leg of their tour by biking to all of their shows, carrying their clothes and their instruments on their bicycles from show to show, often riding upwards of 80 miles and than playing!

The Steel Wheels are a 4-piece string band from Virginia. Their sound could be described as a little bluegrass, a little gospel and very soulful. Their new album, “No More Rain,” is slower with a little gospel feel which is a contrast to their live show, which featured a ton of breakdowns and was very up tempo.

With a stand up bass, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and the occasional banjo, they group has a very old time feel. Using no drums and only one microphone, many of the songs involve the group’s members gathering around the single microphone singing and breaking it down.

These guys were very impressive and extremely talented. Its bands like this that make this job so rewarding. The Steel Wheels aren’t famous; they’re not on the radio and they’re certainly not millionaires. But their music will lift your souls and make you tap your foot and try to sing along with a song you have never heard before.

The current leg of the Steel Wheels’ tour runs through December 2013. If you can catch them live you’ll be glad that you did. If you can’t, check them out on line and spread the word!

Book Review “Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman”

Author: Daniel Wallace
Hardcover: 184 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: June 18, 2013

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I saw “Man of Steel”, I spent the 2.5 hours in awe of what a visual film it was. I love Zack Snyder’s style and I think it was very clear and sharp in this film.  Insight Editions has always been consistent with releasing great Art of and Visual Companion books. This book is a bit of both and continues the excellent trend.  It is pretty awesome and definitely will leave any fan satisfied.  It doesn’t deliver any new or hidden secrets of the film but it does represent the visual aspect quite well. If you are a fan of Superman, this would be highly recommended but be warned be sure to see the film first cause it is chock filled of visual spoilers.

Official Premise: In Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and producer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) have delivered a stunning new vision of Superman that is both fresh and familiar. Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman explores the remarkable creative process behind the movie and showcases the exceptional concept art that shaped its unique visual style. From the stark alien vistas of Krypton to the down-to-earth warmth of Smallville, this book uncovers the intensive world-building process that makes Superman’s universe both thrilling and believable. Also featuring in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, and candid on-set photography, Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman is the ultimate insider’s look at one of the most electrifying movies in recent memory.

“Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman” starts off looking into the “Modern-Day Mythmaking” of the film including a look at the new suit. There is a big section on the film’s casting, which was critical (and successful) aspect of this reboot. Then from there we get to take a trip to Krypton and see the marvels that Snyder gave us that has never been shown before on that planet. Lastly we get to go to Earth and visit Metropolis and Smallville. The only aspect missing that I would have liked to see is chapter on the “Tornado” scene. The author, Daniel Wallace, is a comic book expert and self-labeled geek (like us all). He is no stranger to comics with having authored “DC Comics Year by Year” and “The Marvel Encyclopedia”.  We also get a great foreword by Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”) and an awesome intro by director Zack Snyder.  There was a lot of love given to this project to satisfy fans and it is shown in this book.

 

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Film Review “Man of Steel”

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 23 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Let me get it out in the open. Just like to some fans Sean Connery will always be James Bond to me the late Christopher Reeve will always be Superman. I’ll also admit that I teared up the first time I saw Brandon Routh sporting the cape. That being said I was more than ready to see Henry Cavill take his turn as the Man of Steel. And he doesn’t disappoint.

In the tradition of many recent “new origin” films, “Man of Steel” takes the familiar tale of the last son of Krypton and turns it into an exciting film that, like many of this summer’s movie fare, goes on way too long.

The story begins on the planet Krypton. For centuries the new-born of the planet have been genetically created, with each baby predetermined as to what their career will be (scientist, soldier). Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife, Lara (Ayelet Zurer) have decided to forego science and have just had a naturally conceived baby, who they name Kal-El. Due to the constant mining of the planet’s core, Jor-El continually tries to convince the planets ruling body that the planet will soon be no more. He is rebuffed by the powers that be. As he continues to press his case, Jor-El is interrupted by a visit from General Zod (Shannon, in full Bruce Dern/Christopher Walken mode). Zod is attempting a military coup, which fails. He and his followers are sentenced to 300 cycles in the Phantom Zone. As their punishment is being meted out the planet begins to implode. Despite Lara’s reservations (“he will be a freak”), Jor-El (“he will be a God”) puts his son in a rocket and sends him to the only planet with a yellow star. Earth.

Give credit to Zack Snyder. He willingly took on one of the most iconic characters in popular fiction and added his own touches. Fans will have to forget “Smallville” or the old “Superboy” comics. Here young Clark Kent is pretty much forbidden to use his powers. His adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) have raised him to never reveal what he can do for fear he will be taken away from then. And those powers are sometimes overwhelming. When you have super-hearing you basically hear EVERYTHING that’s happening around you. Clark learns to focus, but it isn’t easy. It also isn’t easy NOT using his powers. Seems like every time Clark turns around someone needs rescuing! After high school he becomes a nomad, wandering the continent and taking odd jobs. However, just like in his hometown of Smallville, Kansas, people need help, meaning that Clark is constantly on the move. A chance meeting with reporter Lois Lane, who is investigating a government project, sets him on the path of action and discovery.

Though the film is packed with action, almost to its detriment, it is the characters that make it interesting. Cavill is solid as Clark/Kal-El (he is only referred to once, in passing, as Superman). It took a brave actor to step into those boots and he acquits himself well. Adams makes Lois a woman of the 21st Century. She’s not smitten by Clark at first…she’s not doomed to be a damsel in distress, which makes her more interesting. Shannon is just plain evil, even outdoing Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor in “Superman Returns.” (speaking of Lex Luthor, keep an eye out for a couple of tanker trucks brightly painted LEX CORP). Like Robert Shaw in “From Russia With Love,” Shannon comes across as a villain who can actually kick the Man of Steel’s butt! The supporting cast does just as well, including Laurence Fishburne as Daily Planet Editor Perry White and Christopher Meloni as a high ranking Air Force officer. Last but not least, Clark’s two dads. Both Crowe and Costner add real emotion to their characters and, with this role and his work in “The Company Men,” Costner continues to make the transition from star to first rate character actor.

The visual effects are strong, with not a budgetary dollar left unspent. As I noted above, the film IS exciting, but there’s just SO MUCH going on that sometimes you lose track. After the third eight-minute sequence (yes I timed it) of Clark and General Zod throwing each other around you might think you stumbled into “Superman II.” The script and story are clever at times. When asked if he means any harm to America he reminds the interrogator that he was raised in Kansas, which made the Kansas-fied audience at the screening cheer. And this is obviously a fantasy film because when Clark tunes in the University of Kansas football game on television KU is winning!

Still, all in all, if you’re having reservations about seeing “Man of Steel” I urge you to put them away. How can you not like a man from Kansas?

 

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Film Review #2 “Man of Steel”

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 23 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Warner Brothers has brought Superman back with the “Man of Steel” and it is better than ever. This movie will definitely revitalize the franchise. They obviously think so being that they already have “Man of Steel 2” in the works.

The movie starts out on Krypton with the birth of Kal-El. His father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) warns the planets elders of the destruction of their world which General Zod (Michael Shannon) interferes with. They did a great job showing more of life on Krypton and its technology. General Zod tried to convince Jor-El to join him but of course Jor-El refuses which leads to a good confrontation and build up.

Kal-El is sent to Earth to survive and give hope to the human race. We are now seeing a mature Kal-El aka Clark Kent living on earth trying to just blend in. Of course he gets pulled into doing some heroics which eventually leads him to look back on his life and the meaning of his existence. The way the mix the story of the young Clark Kent to the man he is in the film is very well done that it did not matter that we knew what was going to happen. Kevin Costner did an excellent job as Jonathan Kent even he didn’t have much screen time. It was just enough and not too much but did lay the ground work for Clark’s upbringing.

Lois Lane (Amy Adams) gets word of a mysterious person who saved people and follows the trail that will eventually lead to the Man Of Steel. I feel that their relationship was quick and didn’t build on it much and could have used more time. Now let’s get to Michael Shannon as General Zod. He did an amazing job and was very scary. You can reason with and see why he is so angry. After all he just wants to preserve the Kryptonian way of life.

Last but not least let’s talk about Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel. He has a very good strong presence about him and showed some good emotion as a being from another planet just trying to blend in with the world. Throughout the movie he is called Clark Kent or Kal-El. They did not call him Superman except for once in the movie.

The fights scenes were great and definitely worthy of the Man of Steel. They were fast, strong, and powerful. The special effects were great and smooth. I was able to see it in 3D and felt that it didn’t add anything to the movie but it didn’t take away from it either. At the end of the movie after the final confrontation my mouth just dropped and didn’t believe what I saw. This is a must see and I do not believe that the Superman fans will be disappointed.

CD Review “Man of Steel: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Limited Deluxe Edition”

Composer: Hans Zimmer
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Limited Edition, Deluxe Edition
Label: WaterTower Music
Running Time: 113 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When you see the name Hans Zimmer, you have to expect an epic and stellar score. The Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning composer is one of the most recognized and respected names in Hollywood. When you think of Superman, you expect an equally epic score. You can thank John Williams for that back in 1978 for the original “Superman” film. Well rest assured since the “Man of Steel” is amazing. When I hear a score and it literally gives me chills when listening to it, that is how I know that I am in love with it. From the moment this starts, I was completely taken back with this score. Easily one of my favorites scores of 2013 so far. Also did I mention that this score almost runs a whopping TWO HOURS!? No joke! If that doesn’t scream epic…nothing does!

This is the first time that he is teaming up with director Zack Snyder. Zimmer is known for his work with directors like Christopher Nolan, Ron Howard and Gore Verbinski. Speaking of two of these directors, Hans is composing the following upcoming films Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger” and Nolan’s “Interstellar”. You also have to give it to Hans Zimmer for taking on a score like this. Since the sound of Superman is so epic and recognizable you want to make sure not to mess it up. But I feel that he did it perfectly.   This score is available in both the standard and deluxe editions.  So why would you you want to upgrade to the deluxe edition? Well one reason… it contains the track “Man of Steel (Hans Original Sketchbook)”, which clocks in at over 28 minutes long. Yes 28 minutes long! This exclusive track is performed solely by Zimmer and is it a fantastic portrayal of how he experimented in order to find the right sound for this score. Easily worth the price of the CD alone!

Believe it or not that is not the only bonus tracks included with the deluxe edition.  There are also an additional seven tracks, including one of my favorites “This is Madness!”.  When a track is called “This is Madness!” you can only expect it to be extremely epic and boy is it! Also the deluxe edition comes in a super cool embossed steel case, and fans will get access to multiple videos showing an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the music. But…wait there is still more…you will also get a chance to download all 24 songs in DTS Headphone: X, which reproduces a cinematic multi-speaker surround sound experience using only the user’s headphones. This is super cool and a must for any fan of film scores. All and all, I will say that this Limited Deluxe Edition is the only way to purchase this score!

Track Listing:
Disc 1:

1. Look to the Stars
2. Oil Rig
3. Sent Here for a Reason
4. DNA
5. Goodbye My Son
6. If You Love These People
7. Krypton’s Last
8. Terraforming
9. Tornado
10. You Die or I Do
11. Launch
12. Ignition
13. I Will Find Him
14. This Is Clark Kent
15. I Have So Many Questions
16. Flight

Disc 2:
1. What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?
2. Man of Steel (Hans’ Original Sketchbook)
3. Are You Listening, Clark?
4. General Zod – Junkie XL
5. You Led Us Here
6. This Is Madness! – Junkie XL
7. Earth
8. Arcade – Junkie XL

 

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Ever Wonder How Does the Man of Steel Shave?

Man of Steel finally hits theaters June 14th, and anticipation is sky high. But the trailer begs the question that has long been debated by Superman enthusiasts: “how does he shave???”

In the trailer, young Clark Kent sports a lumberjack-ian full beard and then reappears as smooth-shaven Superman. How does he do that? If Superman really is the “Man of Steel” and impervious to nearly everything (including any fine-blade razor), what could possibly remove his whiskers of steel? To solve this perplexing mystery, Gillette assembled an esteemed council of Superman fans who have posted their theories on HowDoesHeShave.com and on Gillette’s YouTube channel.

This exclusive group of experts and Superman enthusiasts includes:

  • Kevin Smith – screenwriter/actor and comic book writer/store owner: The Baby Rocket Ship Theory
  • Adam Savage & Jamie Hyneman – hosts and executive producers of the television series “MythBusters”: The Super Fingernail Hair-Pluck Theory and The Large Hadron Collider Worm Hole Theory
  • Bill Nye – iconic TV personality and scientist: The Materials Science Theory
  • Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory actress and real-life neuroscientist: The Enzymatic Follicle Denaturation Theory

Each pundit has created their own distinct video to explain their theory on this age-old question, and it’s up to fans to decide which theory is the most persuasive – only one celebrity theory will be crowned the champion! Fans can visit HowDoesHeShave.com to cast votes and contribute their own theories on Twitter using the hashtag #HowDoesHeShave.

Concert Review: Steel Panther “Spreading the Disease” Tour

“Spreading the Disease Tour”
Steel Panther w/ special guest Hillbilly Herald
Date: Friday, April 19th, 2013
Venue: Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, NY

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

The 80’s were alive and well in Clifton Park on April 19th as the spandex clad Steel Panther brought their own brand of hair metal to the intimate Upstate Concert Hall. The band along with special guest Hillbilly Herald are currently on the road for Steel Panthers first full length tour which is being billed as the “Spreading the Disease Tour” (STD). Both bands proved that this is a legitimate tour and even though Steel Panthers on stage antics and subject matter is anything but serious the group’s performance was top notch.

Elkhart, Indiana’s own Hillbilly Herald would kick off the night with an energetic sound that could be described as AC/DC meets ZZ Top. The bands 45 minute set was a mixture of original material and a few notable covers that  included a unique take on the John Denver classic “Country Road”. The band received a large amount of praise from the near capacity crowd and seemed to be a fitting act for the opening slot. After a brief intermission the house lights would come down and the intro from the bands most recent album “Balls Out” blasted over the PA. Guitarist Satchel would take the stage first launching in to the opening of “Super Sonic Sex Machine”. Lead singer Michael Starr worked the crowd like a pro paying especially close attention to several scantily clad women in the front row. As the night moved on the band treated the crowd to songs off both of their albums such as “Asian Hooker” and “Turn Out the Lights”. In between songs the band would take comedic jabs back and forth at each other while propositioning the women in attendance with sexual explicit banter.

It was great to see the band which has been around since 2000 finally take their show outside of their weekly Los Angeles and Las Vegas shows. The band’s look is straight out of 1985 but the performance is fresh and fun. Though it may not be a show you want to take your children to it’s definitely a night full of great music and laughs. Don’t let the bands look fool you as they are all accomplished musicians who despite their wild/funny personas are serious players who like to go out and have fun while entertaining the crowd. If you have a chance to check out the “Spreading the Disease Tour” make sure to get your tickets early, tease up your hair and throw on your favorite pair of spandex as this is a tour you won’t want to miss.

 Steel Panther Set List:

1.)    Super Sonic Sex Machine

2.)    Tomorrow Night

3.)    Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)

4.)    Asian Hooker

5.)    Just Like Tiger Woods

6.)    Turn Out the Lights

7.)    If You Really Really Love Me

8.)    Guitar Solo

9.)    It Won’t Suck Itself

10.)  Girl From Oklahoma

11.)  Community Property

12.)  Eyes of the Panther

13.)  Death to All but Metal

Encore

14.)  Party All Day (Fuck All Night)

15.)  17 Girls in a Row

 

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DVD Review “Steel Panther: British Invasion”

Directed by: Daniel E Catullo III
Starring: Steel Panther
Guitar Anarchy Studios
Mixing: Jay Ruston
Rated: N/A
Concert Feature: 90 min
Special Features: 60 min

Our Score: Concert- 4 out of 5 stars
Special Features- 5 out of 5 stars

“British Invasion” is the long awaited DVD/Blu-Ray release from the spandex clad band Steel Panther. Release dates for this film go back as far as March of 2010 however the wait is finally over. There are two versions of the film being released in the U.S. on Oct. 22nd with the first being a 2 disc DVD version that will have the concert and special features on two separate discs along with a 16 page color booklet. The Blu-Ray release of the film will feature all of the same material and packaging but contained on a single disc. Shot on location in London, England at the famous Brixton Academy director Daniel E Catullo III (Nickelback, Rush, Godsmack) does a great job capturing all the hairspray filed hijinx as the concert was shot on 16 HD cameras which give the film a really stunning look.

I have been waiting patiently since the first announcements of this DVD were released over 2 years ago so when I finally received the Blu-Ray version of the film for review I couldn’t wait to see what was in store. Satchel, Michael, Lexxi and Stix deliver with every song and cheesy choreographed dance move as they make their way through the 90+ minute set shot during one of their sold out shows at London’s Brixton Academy. Lots of jokes and scantily clad women fill in the empty spaces making this a hysterical watching experience. At times the music does seems a bit too crisp and clean for a live recording however it’s not enough where it distracted my attention. The only other negative I could really find was that because of the film being shot during the highly successful “Feel the Steel” tour the set does not include any songs from the group’s latest release “Balls Out”. However the band does a good job making up for that during the bonus features.

The Special Features portion of the disc was chocked to the brim with over 60 minutes of bonus material. The first is a hysterical 40 minute documentary which takes you behind the scenes of the band known as Steel Panther. Next is a video of the bands performance from this year’s Download Festival which not only features performances of “Just Like Tiger Woods” and “17 Girls in a Row” both off of the “Balls Out” album but a very special guest vocal performance by Corey Taylor of Slipknot on the bands song “Death to All But Metal”. Closing out this portion of the disc are several deleted scenes that even though were obviously staged still managed to garner a number of laughs.

Great laughs and great music is what you find on Steel Panther’s “British Invasion”. So do yourself a favor. Pick up a copy of this film, tuck the little ones away for the night and get prepared to ROCK!!!

Main DVD:
1.) Eyes of a Panther
2.) Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’
3.) Fat Girl
4.) Hair Solo
5.) Party All Day
6.) Hell’s on Fire
7.) Stripper Girl
8.) Asian Hooker
9.) Turn Out the Lights
10.) Girl From Oklahoma
11.) We Want Pussy
12.) Community Property
13.) The Shocker
14.) Death to All But Metal

Bonus Disc:
40 Min. Documentary
Deleted Scenes

Download Festival 2012:
1.) Supersonic Sex Machine
2.) Community Property
3.) Just Like Tiger Woods
4.) 17 Girls in a Row
5.) Death to All But Metal (Feat. Corey Taylor)

Interview about “Real Steel” with Legacy Effects’ John Rosengrant

John Rosengrant is co-owner of Legacy Effects (formerly known as Stan Winston Studios). He had worked with Stan Winston since 1983. He recently created the animatronics robots in the film “Real Steel”. In 2012, Legacy Effects has a bunch of major films in the works including, “The Hunger Games”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Total Recall” and “The Avengers”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask John some questions about his work on the film “Real Steel”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working into the movies and in your particular field?
John Rosengrant: Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to make monsters. I was an art major in college but I really wanted to do this type of special effects. I moved out to California to pursue that dream and Stan Winston hired me on the first Terminator and gave me that opportunity. I worked for Stan for 25 years until his untimely passing. With my three other partners that ran Stan’s shop, we formed Legacy Effects in his honor and to carry on his legacy.

MG: What are the challenges of mixing CGI and animatronics?
JR: I think the challenges are you want to make it seamless. Shawn Levy, the Producers, and the team over at Digital Domain lead by Erik Nash, we all went into this with a team mentality that we are going to help each other and really make it believable, even in shots where it wasn’t going to be practical and was going to be CG. The practical robot gave it great lighting and size reference. In the shots that it was practical, it also helped the performance all around by giving the actors something to react to.

MG: How long does it take to make and prepare animatronics as the ones you see in this movie?
JR: The process took five months. Six weeks of it was designing and sculpting the robots digitally and breaking down all the pieces to be rapid prototypes. Each hero robot consisted of about 300 parts. The remaining time was the actual building of the robots.

MG: Was there any technology you had to force into existence to make the movements work?
JR: As far as new technology, we used what is called our stealth control system. We developed a special hydraulic pump that was very portable and light weight and, coupled with an intuitive control system, enabled us to set the robots up for shooting in about ten minutes.

MG: How different is to work with animatronics than to work with actors?
JR: The challenge with animatronics is to get a believable performance from something that is a machine. And our background, besides being artists and engineers, is that we’re puppeteers and performers too. So we sort of channel that energy to bring the characters to life.

MG: Which was the most complex sequence you had to face while making the movie?
JR: As with many special effects movies there are many. But one that jumps to mind is when they first power-up Atom when he is pulled from the junk yard. We had to cover the hero robot in mud, and make him sit up. There wasn’t as much prep time as one would like to have had but I think the scene turned out terrific. And I’m very proud of it.

MG: Can you explain your job as an Animatronic Supervisor?
JR: It’s building of the animatronic robots by sculpting, molding, engineering, selecting paint finishes, developing control systems and managing the overall performance of them on set.

MG: What are the robots made of?
JR: The panels and shells are made of fiberglass and custom blend of urethane. The mechanical structure inside is a combination of steel and aluminum and there are several of the robots that are machined aluminum parts. The Heroes are a combination of hydraulically powered and rod puppeted.

MG: Which robot was your favorite?
JR: They are all your babies. You put just as much time and energy into all of them. But I think Atom in this case displayed a lot of heart and soul for a robot. So I guess I lean towards Atom.

MG: What was the most challenging character to make?
JR: It was Atom. There are a lot more parts to him than others and more complicated scenes to do with him.

MG: How many people are involved in Atom`s creation?
JR: There was a couple from my team that were really imperative to brining Atom to life. Jason Matthews was the key artist in charge of Atom. Ian Joyner was the key digital sculptor that translated Tom Meyer’s production design artwork into 3D. Of course, there was a team here at Legacy of engineers, mechanics and model makers led by Dave Merritt. Mold makers, artists and painters were also involved in the total execution of Atom.

MG: Who got to keep the robots after the movie?
JR: We keep the robots at Legacy Effects.

MG: In your opinion, what did Stan Winston bring to the business and the art of cinema? What is the essence of his… legacy?
JR: The essence of Stan’s legacy is that he taught me what our job is to create characters. It’s not so much special effects but more so to create a memorable character. Stan was a makeup artist and a fine artist but he originally came to Hollywood to get into acting so I think he really stressed the performance aspect. Whether it was the queen alien or the Terminator, or the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, they always had an attitude and always seemed to be alive.

MG: In what way did your work change since “The Terminator”?
JR: On this movie, we built real robots and on the first Terminator we were pretending to build real robots. Also, the state of the art technology that has allowed us to sculpt robots and their parts digitally and rapid prototype them into the real world has allowed us to do things that were never possible back then

MG: For a person who dreams of wanting to get into your line of work, what advice would you give them?
JR: You have to be artistically rounded. Nowadays that includes knowing digital art programs as well as practical, and art techniques. If you’re coming at this more so from a mechanical side, you need machining skills, welding, and a sense of robots and computer control systems.

MG: What do you think is the future of animation and animatronics?
JR: It has a place because we figured out on “Real Steel” that it provides a fantastic reference for the CG robots and gave the actors something to really play off of and react to. Good acting comes from reacting. By having something real there, the actors can connect to something.

MG: On the Blu-ray, in the feature “Building the Bots,” director Shawn Levy talks about how Steven Spielberg emphasized that the use of practical effects was important to the film’s success. Do you feel as if filmmakers with that sort of insight into practical effects are a dying breed? Also, has Legacy Effects been approached to go back to robots for Spielberg’s upcoming “Robopocalypse”?
JR: Animatronic effects still have a very important place in this type of filmmaking. Some of the young filmmakers don’t have any experience with practical side of visual effects, but once they see what it can bring to their film, I think they embrace it. Spielberg’s “Roboapocalypse”, would be an amazing project to be part of.

MG: What’s a specific example of something you do that’s actually much harder than most people realize?
JR: In this movie we created 27, 8 foot tall robots. Some hero, stunt and background. But there were literally thousands of parts that had to all fit together and look like real metal and had to perform like a real robot. Noisyboy for example, had nearly 2,000 LED lights alone that were programmed with random sayings in Japanese which appeared on his forearm. That’s an example of one small complicated thing that may go unnoticed when you watch the film.

MG: John, any final thoughts on “Real Steel” before we close?
JR: It was a real pleasure to work on this film as it felt like a harmonious team effort from the start. Everybody understood their role, and everyone that is part of the film was treated with great importance. Shawn Levy, the Director, had a great energy that he brought to the film. The producers were very effects savvy. I’ve had a great history working with Producer Josh McLaglen who has worked on epic effects films from Titanic to Avatar and effects producer, Ron Ames was integral in bringing us together and organizing all of the visual effects on the film. My colleagues that I’ve been nominated with were outstanding in their contributions. My team here at Legacy worked tirelessly in creating the robots. I’d like to give a special nod to my right-hand man Jason Matthews who became Atom. Last but not least, thanks to my great mentor, Stan Winston, who gave me a great opportunity in this business.