Enter to Win a Blu-ray of “The Theory of Everything” [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “The Theory of Everything”. Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to win one of two (2) Blu-ray’s of the film. If you want to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite biopic. This giveaway will remain open until February 27th 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.

Starring Eddie Redmayne (“Les Misérables”) and Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed. The film is based on the memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (“Man on Wire”).

Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and filmmakers discuss “The Theory Of Everything”

In The Theory of Everything, filmmakers were faced with the daunting task of bringing to the screen the true story of iconic astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Rather than focusing upon his much documented scientific accomplishments however, James Marsh’s film took the unique route of delving into his personal story, specifically into the relationship with Hawking’s first wife, Jane. I was able to sit down with the people behind this touching film during a recent New York press day including actors Eddie Redmayne (who plays Hawking), Felicity Jones (Jane), director James Marsh and writer, Anthony McCarten.

The first step in bringing The Hawking’s story to the screen was taken by writer Anthony McCarten, who like many people first encountered Stephen’s work in 1988 with his book, A Brief History of Time. “I think maybe ten million people bought the book and we all realized this was an extraordinary person” McCarten said, “Not only for the profundity of his ideas but just the nature of the man. This person with this compromised body, almost unable to use a single voluntary muscle. Able only to speak with a computer and yet telling us how the universe began, the nature of time itself…I thought somebody’s going to do an extraordinary movie about this guy at some point, never thinking I’d have any role in it.”

In 2004 however, McCarten came upon Jane Wilde Hawking’s autobiography, Traveling to Infinity—My Life with Stephen, and was inspired by a new perspective on Stephen Hawking’s life. “I don’t know what page it was I reached” he said of Jane’s work, “but it was something to do with the unorthodox love story that was unfolding in this book and I thought if you matched that to an already extraordinary story of Stephen, oh my god, you could do something quite unprecedented here.” McCarten took this inspiration all the way to Jane’s doorstep in Cambridge to offer his services in adapting her story to the screen.  It began the years of work McCarten was to undertake on this screenplay. On working with Jane, McCarten added: “I will always be grateful for the fact that she didn’t turn this nutcase away and she let me come in, made a sandwich for me. We had a little glass of sherry and I presented this triple helix of a movie which is a love story but it’s also a horror story—of the physical decline of Stephen—and finally, it’s a story of physics. And she went as far as to say ‘look, I’ll let you write the script, but no promises’. And so I wrote the script and she liked it, she was reassured, she thought I might have the requisite sensitivity to deal with a delicate story like this. And so she let out a little bit more rope. Never giving me the option to her work, but ‘you can go a little further, let’s see what you do with the next step’. And that went on for eight years. Little more rope, going back to her. We became friends. Her book went out of print and I got it republished so I supported her too.”

Felicity Jones described her research into playing Jane as a “ a full frontal attack on understanding who this woman was” and also took the time to meet with her. “As soon as I met [Jane],” the actress said, “my job became so much easier. She is such an extraordinary woman. And there was something about her instantly that I loved, that she had this combination of something very ladylike—very sort of fifties ideal of what a woman is, she has this way of presenting herself that’s almost quite queenly. The way she moves, the voice she uses. So I worked with a dialect coach, a music and a movement coach to get the physical properties, so to speak, of who this woman was. But at the same time there’s a really core strength to her. There’s a formidable determination to her. And I loved this contrast between this very ladylike exterior but with this toughness underneath.”

Jane also helped Jones with very tangible research for her time with Stephen, Jones remembered “after talking with each other and she showed me photographs of her and Stephen when they first met, she really was very just open, and brought down clothes that she’d loved wearing when they were meeting. And I remember I’d been just talking to Jane for a few hours and then Eddie [Redmayne] came around and I answered the door in Jane’s coat. Already there was an empathy between us. So I think what was important to Jane was to show the less glamorous sides of Stephen Hawking’s life. That their fame is one thing, but there was a whole support structure that was very intricate and complicated. And I was always just a champion of that story for her.”

Beyond the emotional drama of the Hawking’s life, Eddie Redmayne was tasked with the difficult challenge of portraying Stephen’s physical decline after being diagnosed with motor-neuron disease at a very young age. On researching the role, Redmayne said “I went to an ALS clinic in London called The Queens Square Neurology Clinic for every week or two for four months. And with the specialists there… was introduced to people and families suffering from ALS and was invited to some of their homes. So trying to get a real sense of what the disease was but also the emotional ramifications of it on families. Also specifically taking photos of Stephen when he was younger. Because there’s no documentary material really before the eighties. It was trying to work what his specific physical decline had been. So by showing the specialist, she would see photos of…Stephen holding Jane’s hand and go ‘Ok, so by the way he’s holding the hand, you can see his hands have gone by this year…’ So then trying, then with the choreographer, trying to find a way of putting that into my body.”

I asked Eddie what specific changes he made in his performance of the young Hawking pre- and post-diagnosis. “What was interesting was where the disease starts,” Here, the actor got up to offer a physical demonstration, “Like the problem with ALS is often people are diagnosed because you fall. Like and because you’ve got foot drop which often is the first thing to go and your knee compensates by [Redmayne moves his knee forward without his foot landing] you don’t even realize your foot’s gone—so if your foot’s stopped working, your knee will just walk a bit higher and you won’t even realize your foot’s gone. And it’s only when you’re running one day that you’ll catch it and fall. But then you’ll go to ER and most doctor’s will go ‘Oh, you’ve bruised you up…off you go again!’ It takes a really astute doctor to know wait, let me just check you know what’s going on. And so the problem with it, one of the problems with ALS, is no one knows when it starts. So it was a choice I had to make in the film which was I think he has it at the beginning of the film. Like it’s already manifest in him. So things like, I don’t know if you saw, when I was dancing with Jane, that’s the hands had gone. The feet you know, are slightly…so those I tried to introduce that beforehand so there’s a slight feeling in his head throughout those early part that something is slightly awry. But it manifests itself also in a kind of you know that…scientist sort of not uber-dextrous thing. But I wanted to make it sort of more specific to that. But after the diagnosis, he did go into a kind of melancholia, and listen to a lot of Wagner…but I was trying for him even then to be finding the positive. Attempting to anyway. Until Jane comes in and really bolsters him.”

In the advanced stages of Hawking’s disease, and therefore further into the film, only the facial muscles remain for voluntary motion, which required even more concentration from the actor. He discussed his preparation as “A lot of sitting in front of the mirror with an iPad with Stephen on documentaries trying to recreate basically…But the reality is, what I find the sort of irony, all the complication is that everything about film acting is you know, the camera’s here [Eddie frames his face], and you kind of do less…And what’s weird is the bit where he moves the least, is that it was the most physically exhausting and energized. Because it’s not just that you’re sitting there doing nothing. Actually these muscles [again framing his face]…you know you’re [monitoring] your breath, the pace at which you blink happens, how quickly your eyes…so actually it was at the end of those scenes that you come out exhausted. And the interesting thing was trying to take all of the energy of all the usual palette of colors—as human beings—and trying to channel those into those few muscles that you can use. Because when you meet Stephen, even though he can move very little, he has the most expressive and charismatic face I’ve ever met. And that was something that was important to attempt.”

Director James Marsh spoke about how he came to cast Redmayne in the Hawking role: “Eddie was the first person I met. Eddie had just a given physical resemblance to Stephen, he’s the same kind of body shape when Stephen was a young man, same kind of coloring. And that’s not why I cast him, but it was helpful to say well, that’s one thing. Eddie’s a brilliant actor and I think the film proves that. And as a film actor, this is the first time I think he’s really been able to soar and be given the material that can show what he can do. So I met him. He was the first actor and only actor I met, actually. I didn’t meet any other actors. I’d talked with other actors. Once I met Eddie, I knew I wanted him to do it. So it proved…you know I think it was a great choice.” He further praised the young actor for the dedication he showed in portraying Hawking’s physical hardships, adding “Eddie had done so much preparation, it was so internalized, these different stages of disability that he’d mastered by the time that we got to film that I never ever had to wait or give him more time. That was extraordinary that he could do that and that didn’t slow us down. It was just amazing that he just had this available. And he would switch from one to the other and there it was. Incredible, really.”

Of course, bringing the true story of two living people to the screen, we all wondered whether the Hawkings had in fact screened the film or participated at all in the production. As it turns out, Marsh said “on the second day Stephen Hawking and Jane came to set which raises the stakes…even further.” Redmayne recalled the dramatic entrance Hawking made on his visit: “when he came on set which was on about day two, it was a big fireworks part, a big May Ball. And there was this moment—the producers…could afford like three gos at the fireworks so everyone was a bit tense like oh, we gotta get it right. Then on cue, he arrived, his sort of famous silohuette with his nurses. And then uplit by his computer screen. So literally he has this sort of spotlight and on cue the fireworks went off and it was like the greatest entrance!”

While Redmayne only saw Stephen on his way into a screening of the finished project, writer McCarten got the full range of the real people’s reactions: “[Jane] said she was floating on air. Stephen, when the lights came up and nurse wiped a tear from his cheek, and he said ‘Broadly true.’ And Lucy, the daughter when she saw it—and she had like fifty kleenexes lying beside her—said ‘That was my life.’ So I’m confident that it was emotionally authentic. It’s not exactly the way they lived it but we captured…something of how it felt to live that life.”

The Theory of Everything is currently in limited release.

Film Review “The Theory of Everything”

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Harry Lloyd
Directed By: James Marsh
Running Time: 123 Minutes
Focus Features

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

To many people, Stephen Hawking has been so long physically associated with his wheel-chaired silhouette and computerized voice, that just seeing him as a young British student will come as the first of many revelations in The Theory of Everything. James Marsh’s film is remarkable insofar as it not only illuminates the very human story of the iconic astrophysicist, but also explores the unconventional relationship between young Hawking and first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones). It’s a fascinating story that’s additionally buoyed by an outstanding performance from Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.

At 21, Stephen Hawking was just beginning to unlock his theories regarding the universe, when he was given the devastating diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease. The result of the disease would be Hawking’s total loss of his motor skills. He faced the nightmarish reality where his brilliant mind would no longer have a voice. Fortunately at this time, Stephen had begun a relationship with equally brilliant Jane Wilde. Wilde resolutely would not allow Hawking to give into his despair. That we’re still speaking of Hawking in the present tense, this film postulates, is as much down to Jane’s rejection of his two year prognosis as Hawking’s. Crucially, she pushed for the life-saving tracheotomy when doctors advised against it.

As Jane, Jones gives a magnetic performance. She imbues Wilde (later Hawking) with a steely resilience to the obstacles they face while displaying amazing vulnerability and chemistry with Redmayne. Particularly in moments where Stephen is struggling most.

Finally though, Redmayne, who always delivers solid supporting performances, is at last front and center. Physically, he runs the gamut from the first inklings of the disease—subtly playing moments of confusion—to the truly advanced stages where Redmayne must rely solely on harsh facial contortions and the vitality in his eyes. Beyond the uncanny physical resemblance, Redmayne also navigates a vast emotional journey from ambitious student, through the depression of his diagnosis and finally maturing into husband and father. If the film tends to give short-shrift to the scientific accolades Hawking received in his lifetime, it makes it up in spades by examining Hawking’s extraordinary personal relationships with sensitivity and respect.

Blu-ray Review “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Seventh Season”

Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch
Number of discs: 5
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Run Time: 485 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Big Bang Theory” is TV’s most popular comedy. It is going on it’s eight season and shows no signs of fatigue in fact this show is better than ever! This season actually got off to a slightly slow start but really ended up a bunch of the best episodes that this series has ever had to date. This season has amazing guest stars including James Earl Jones, Carrie Fisher and Bob Newhart (one of my favorites). Season five ended with Howard going into space, which was good. Season six ended with Leonard going on a research trip on a boat for months. But season seven has a very real and almost not funny yet absolutely amazing Sheldon revelation that might change the dymanic of the show moving forward. I absolutely love this show and this season is the reason why. Can’t wait for season eight to start…count down the days.

Official Premise: Socially challenged they remain, but the scientific geniuses of The Big Bang Theory always deliver hilarious results. Leonard returns from his North Sea expedition to find that his relationship with Penny involves more beta-testing than he’s ever done in a lab. Howard’s attachment issues with the women in his life in particular and Raj’s social breakthrough with women in general provide more laughs. Bernadette and Amy stand staunchly by the men in their life, even when they’re sitting in marathon role-playing games. Sheldon sees his mom (Laurie Metcalf) in a totally different way, parties with James Earl Jones, establishes a (sort of) bond with his idol Professor Proton (Emmy® winner Bob Newhart) and makes a scientific breakthrough that breaks down before you can say Science Friday.

“The Complete Seventh Season” hits Blu-ray as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet digital copy of the season. The 1080p transfers with their DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround tracks are in line with the previous seasons, which were all exceptional for this show. The special features are also a blast to enjoy after watching the season. Here’s the list of the included special features: String Theory Serenade, James Earl Jones: The Un-Conventional Guest Star, BBTea Time, The Big Bang Theory’s May the 4th, The Big Cendrowski, 2013 Comic-Con Panel, Johnny Galecki Crashes the BBT Writers Panel, and Gag Reel. The only thing missing that would make this perfect would be some commentary tracks.

Own it on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD & Digital HD September 16

 

Related Content

“String Theory” An Unconventional Acoustic Musical Drama Debuts Official Trailer

“STRING THEORY” AN UNCONVENTIONAL ACOUSTIC MUSICAL DRAMA DEBUTS OFFICIAL TRAILER 

The Independent Short Film Directed By Jonathan Pezza Stars Abraham Benrubi, NBC’s “The Voice” Contestant Paulina Cerrilla, And Newcomer Thien Nguyen


LOS ANGELES, CA – The trailer for the independent short film String Theory, a heartfelt musical drama that follows the interwoven lives of three struggling musicians, has now been made public. The highly anticipated short, written and directed by Jonathan Pezza, starsAbraham Benrubi (U-Turn, ER, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), Paulina Cerrilla (NBC’s The Voice, Season 3), newcomer Thien NguyenKee Chan(Mission: Impossible IIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), and Brad Carter (SmashedJustified).

The film, produced by Paper Windows LLC, is an unconventional “acoustic” musical that follows three singer-songwriters in Los Angeles whose lives collide in a 24-hour period.  Aurora (Paulina Cerilla),  a homeless street musician whose belief in herself carries her through her troubled life, Patsy (Abraham Benrubi) a faded ex-rockstar at a crossroads in his life, and the intensely conflicted Yun (Thien Nguyen), who contends with her father (Kee Chan) over his disapproval of her life choices. All three are strangers, unknowingly connected by their love and need for music. String Theory follows each of their stories, until their lives intersect for a brief moment that changes each in a profound way.

All three actors were drawn to the piece because of the story and its musical aspect. “The script itself is written like a song and I found that to be a really unique and special way to tell the story,” says Abraham Benrubi. At the very core of String Theory lies the music, weaving and guiding the paths of the protagonists to each other and the next step of their lives. Director and writer Jonathan Pezzacomposed the four original songs featured in the film: About Home, Breathe, Ballad of a Falling Star, and the title track String Theory, all of which will be available on iTunes. “I believe that great art comes from challenging yourself to do the things that scare and intimidate you most,” states Pezza. “String Theory is not only a beautiful story about the struggle to define oneself, but the music that the film’s three characters sing and play bears forged and tempered pieces of my experiences.”

The interweaving musical storyline called for a special approach to sound recording as well. Each artist was recorded live on location singing to special click tracks that they heard through earpieces, allowing them to harmonize and perfectly sync with one another, despite being filmed and recorded at different times. “Our approach required lots of rehearsals, however the results are beautiful, honest, and in the moment recordings that heighten the emotion of the piece,” says producer Shaela Cook.

The film was funded through Kickstarter and the generous sponsorships from Imagecraft Productions and HotPixel Inc. Imagecraft providedall the production equipment for the film including: the Sony PMW-F55, lenses, video village monitors, a complete 5 ton grip and electric package, sound and communication equipment, and production support equipment. HotPixel provided DIT services and dailies and will be providing all post production services including color grading and visual effects. President of HotPixel, Art Freed and Jason Been, President of Imagecraft, both serve as Executive Producers on the project. “We chose to be a part of this project not only because of our relationship with Jonathan, but because we believe in fostering independent filmmakers with a unique and creative voice,” stated Jason Been.

For more information and for the latest news on String Theoryvisit www.StringTheoryTheMovie.net, on Twitter @StringTheoryMov or on Facebook.com/StringTheoryTheMovie

About Imagecraft Productions | www.ImagecraftProductions.com   
Imagecraft (IC) is a full service rental house providing crew and production equipment rentals to the film and television industries. We offer personal service, expert advice and maintain a full staff of production managers, crew, and equipment technicians. We strive to be best the rental house in the industry by offering state of the art production equipment, exceptional field crews, and 24/7 production support. For more information on Imagecraft visit ImagecraftProductions.com or call 818.954.0187.  IC can also be found onFacebook.com/ImagecraftTV and Twitter @ImagecraftTV.

Blu-ray Review “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Sixth Season”

Actors: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar
Number of discs: 3
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: September 10, 2013

Season: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When season five ended with Leonard going to space, I thought it would make for an interesting season six, but I was wrong.  The first few episodes season six were quite weak, as they seems to have lost direction with that story line. But they really make up for it in the following episodes as the season got some steam, it delivered some of the shows funniest episodes, especially towards the end. Even Raj, who desperately needed some kick, got a great new arc this season and his character will change forever. The only note I have to the writers is to give Penny a new story line cause she is getting a little bland. Nonetheless, I think I can honestly say that this is one of the funniest shows on TV right now and shows no sign of slowing down either. I am counting down the days until season seven starts.

Official Premise: Whether on or above Earth, hilarity is outrageously universal in TV’s most popular comedy featuring four forward-thinking but socially backward geniuses. Fun discoveries multiply: Leonard learns jealousy is bad for a relationship (with Penny) but science is good for seduction (of Penny). Howard finds life in the International Space Station life is no escape from terrestrial turmoil between his mom and his new wife Bernadette. Raj meets someone special who may be a good match, if he can keep her from fleeing mid-date. And then there’s Sheldon. He learns what not to say after facing harassment charges or competing for tenure at work and how Dungeons & Dragons can be the icebreaker his relationship with Amy needs. For those who need laughter with scientific regularity, this 24-episode Season Six set of The Big Bang Theory will rock your cosmos.

“The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Sixth Season” includes a great Blu-ray presentation like all past season releases as well. The 1080p on each of the 24 episodes are sharp and look great, same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which works well with the jokes. Besides the Blu-ray, Warner’s also includes a DVD and an Ultraviolet copy included. In terms of great special features, they are fantastic on this release. “The Big Bang Theory: The Final Comedy Frontier” is a fun featurette, which goes behind-the-scenes with the cast talking about Howard’s space mission. “Houston, We Have A Sit-Com” is a neat live Skype call from the cast to Astronaut Joe Acaba while he circles the earth in the International Space Station. “The Big Bang Theory at Paley Fest 2013” is the panel from the event with cast and executive producers. “Electromagnetism: The Best Relationship Moments in Season 6” is a four-part feature looking into each of the characters from “Leonard & Penny”, “Sheldon & Amy”, “Howard & Bernadette” and “Raj”. Lastly there are some fun deleted scenes and a gag reel included.

DVD Review "The Frankenstein Theory"

Actors: Kris Lemche, Joe Egender, Timothy V. Murphy, Eric Zuckerman
Directors: Andrew Weiner
Rated: Unrated
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 87 minutes

Film: 1 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

When I read “From the makers of The Last Exorcism”, I was interested and yet also hesitant. I liked “The Last Exorcism” but didn’t really love it.  I love the topic of Frankenstein though and I  was loving the idea of a “Blair Witch”/found footage twist on the classic Mary Shelley’s story.  This film though took away 90 minutes of my life that I will never get back.. I couldn’t help relate this back to “The Troll Hunter” with a group of people heading to a strange place to try and find the mystery character. Except “The Troll Hunter” was ace and had some amazing visual effects and delivers some great scares.  The only payoff in “The Frankenstein Theory” is on the box cover.  The rest is waiting 90 minutes and being let down.  I would steer clear of this film by all means and don’t get tricked by its flashy/lenticular box.

The premise for this film is pretty interesting. What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone awry? Professor John Venkenheim takes a documentary film crew to the Arctic Circle in order to prove the theory.  Of course things go array and pretty much nothing happens until the last 5 minutes. The film tries it best to be another “Blair Witch” meets “Jaws” with them hunting down the beast (who almost is not even seen, except on the box cover). They have many moments of “What was that sound?” and they even have a Quint-like U.S.S Indianapolis speech from “Jaws”, which I was laughing at loud at.  There are virtual no scares at all and the ending is actually makes the film even worse since it delivers zero payoff. On top of the terrible film, there is also zero special features included…not even a trailer. Do yourself a favor skip this and rent “The Troll Hunter”, which is basically the same movie for 100% better.

Blu-ray Review “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season”

Created by: Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik
Number of discs: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 552 minutes

Season: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Right from the start whether you have seen this show before or not, you can tell that these show is amazing. I mean do you see the cover art? It  doesn’t get cooler than that.  These guys are nerdy comedy superstars and the cover art definitely reflects that. It is really rare that a show in its fifth season gets better and better with each episode. I always thought that the first few seasons where the funniest but after re-watching this season it is clear and the show’s best is it current episodes. This season also has cameos from Stephen Hawkins and Leonard Nimoy, can you ask for anything more?

The Blu-ray presentation is comparable to the past “Big Bang” Blu-ray releases. The 1080p video is a real treat for the show.  The color pop and overall looks very sharp.  The audio track included work well especially since the show is dialogue based.  You don’t miss a word of their clever smarty-pants dialogue.  This release of the season not only but with the show on Blu-ray but also DVD discs.  Also included is the entire series on Ultraviolet digital streaming, which is SUPER cool to be able to just pop on anytime, anywhere.

You can tell that the show changed a lot this season…in a positive direction. The characters are getting new arc and not only growing but also maturing. I think that the addition of Bernadette and Amy, amazingly played by Melissa Rouch and Mayim Bialik respectively, really compliments a lot more to the original cast with added depth. Mayim Bialik literally steals every single scene she is in and deserves a freaking Emmy…HELLO??!! It is rare that when a season ends that I am literally upset and dying for more, this was the case when this season ended. I actually had to go back to previous seasons and re-watch just to get my “Big Bang” fix.

The special features on this season are also the best of the series to date. There is some really great extras included in this release. “The Big Bang Theory @ 100” showcases the cast and crew as they celebrate the show’s 100th episode. “The Big Bang Theory’s Laws of Reflection” features interviews with the cast as they reflect on their favorite moments from season 5. “Professors of Production” is a behind-the-scenes look at the various section of the show that assist to bring this wonderful show together week after week. Lastly there is a terribly funny “Gag Reel” included.

Blu-ray Review “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season”

Created by: Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Running Time: 558 minutes

Season Two: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The second season of “The Big Bang Theory” really kicked this show into full gear. During the first season, we got to meet and love our science nerds Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard and their neighbor Penny.  When you are watching you don’t even realize that you just finished zipped through 23 episodes without moving from the couch once.  Now that this season has been released, the entire series is finally available on Blu-ray minus the fifth season, which is due in September 2012. Within this season, there are 23 very funny episodes. You can tell that Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady are really getting into a groove with this season and really deliver one of the best seasons.  The cast has really discovered their comfort zone in their characters as well. Fans of the series, should definitely pick this up.

Let’s get to the meat of this release.  Warner’s spared no expenses with this release rounding up a six-disc set consisting of two Blu-ray and four DVDs. So you can watch the series in high-def at home and bring the DVDs to leave at work. The real selling point for me though was the Ultraviolet streaming digital copy included of all 23 episodes.  I really look forward to revisiting this series on the go whenever I want from my iPhone. The 1080p video transfer is similar to the first season and is definitely sharp looking.  The audio included is an DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which is on par with the first season.  The show is all dialogue but is well-balanced and very clear.

The special features on this release though are not as impressive as the season itself. They are also only presented in standard definition.  I was also hoping for some commentary tracks included but they seem to be MIA.  “The Big Bang Theory: Physicist to the Stars”,  runs about 10 minutes and takes a look into the show’s physics consultant Dr. David Saltzberg.  “Testing the Infinite Hilarity Thesis in Relation to the Big Bang Theory” is a basic behind-the-scenes look into season 2. Lastly there is a very funny “Gag Reel” included as well, though not uncensored.

Blu-ray Review “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season”

Created by: Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Running Time: 374 minutes

Season Two: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

.

“Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait…
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!”

If you are a fan of the show, you probably find yourself, like me singing along to this theme song…even when the show is not on. “The Big Bang Theory” is easily my favorite comedy on television…period.  I have to be honest though, I was not always a fan of this show.  I remember dating back to 2007-2008, when friends of mine insisted we watch it and I just kept thinking “A show about science…Yeah right!”  Boy, was I so wrong.  This show is so much more and only has gotten better with each season. Thankfully Warner Bros has finally released this show’s first and second seasons on high-definition Blu-ray. “The Big Bang Theory” started its Blu-ray releases with season 3 back in 2010.  So luckily now we are all caught up, until the upcoming release of season 5 in September 2012.  If you are a fan of the show, this release is very welcomed and does not disappoint.

Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady have really created one of the most unique and funniest shows on television.  It is packed with some great pop culture aspects merged with a very creative use of scientific jargon and rapid-fire dialogue (mostly courtesy of the amazing  Jim Parsons). The first season is the shortest of the series due to the Writers Guild strike of 2007, but it still is able to capture its audience.  Fall 2012 also begins the show’s sixth season and it currently shows no signs of slowing down.  In the first season, we meet Leonard and Sheldon, who are science nerds and also roommates.  When they meet their new neighbor Penny, an aspiring actress/currently waitressing at The Cheescake Factory, Leonard goes on the prowl to get her.  We also get introduced to Leonard and Sheldon’s hilarious duo of friends, Howard, who is a suave nerd and Raj, who cannot speak with women (unless he is drunk).  Overall, this season is a great kick-off to a great series.

This Blu-ray release is much more impressive over seasons 3 and 4. This is a six-disc set consisting of two Blu-ray and 4 DVDs. The real selling point for me though was the Ultraviolet streaming digital copy included of all 17 episodes. When I originally saw the first season of “The Big Bang Theory”, it was not in high definition.  So it was great revisit this show on high-def Blu-ray.  The 1080p transfer is very sharp and colorful, definitely does not disappoint.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also is great but of course isn’t challenged much especially since the show is 99.9% dialogue. The special features though are a bit of a letdown, not some much in what is presented but by what is not included.  “Quantum Mechanics of The Big Bang Theory”, runs just short of 20 minutes and is a retrospective on the origins of the series.  Lorre and Prady and all the principal cast chat about the series. Lastly there is a “Gag Reel” includes, which had me literally crying.

Interview with Theory of a Deadman’s Tyler Connolly

Tyler Connolly is the lead singer for the rock band Theory of a Deadman. The band released their 4th studio album this year titled “The Truth Is…” and have been touring since its release. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Tyler recently about the album and the bands plans for 2012.

Adam Lawton: When the band was first starting out did you find it harder to break into mainstream here in the states being you were from another country?
Tyler Connolly: It was a little harder but I don’t think it had anything to do with the music we were playing. In Canada they have to play a certain percentage of Canadian music on the radio. We had a good record that the stations liked playing and we were able to build a following. I think the hardest part was getting on the tour bus and never being home.

AL: 2011 has been a busy year for the band. Can you tell what’s all been going on?
TC: We have been touring a lot. We have focused on hitting markets that we don’t often go to. We have done 3 U.S. tours on the “The Truth Is…” album which was released in the spring of this year.

AL: You guys have been playing the new songs out now for awhile do you have any favorites off the latest album?
TC: “Gentlemen” is a really fun song to play. We are going to be adding a song to the set titled “Hurricane”. That song is going to be our next single to be released. We enjoy playing live and seeing the different reactions certain songs get. Personally I like playing any of the new material as its fresh.

AL: Can you tell us the story behind having a homeless guy play on the track “What Was I Thinking”?
TC: The guy was just this old sort of dirty dude playing banjo on the street corner. I was walking by and gave the guy some money then went into the studio. When I got inside I told everyone about him and said we should bring him in to play banjo on something. We asked him to come and he asked us how much would he get paid. We ended up paying him I think $800 because of certain union laws. It was really just a random thing.

AL: With the end of the year approaching do you have any favorite albums that have come out this year?
TC: I just picked up the new Mumford and Sons album. I just love all the harmonies on that album. I also have been listening to a lot of The Parlor Mob who made a really great record. The album is called “Dogs” and we have been listening to that quite a bit.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands plans for 2012?
TC: We have 4 shows in the states and then we are doing an 11 show tour across Canada. We don’t get to Canada very often at the most we play there maybe once a year. From there we go back overseas for 3 weeks. After that I think we are doing a headlining tour in the states. That will probably start around March or April.

AL: Are you guys hitting any new places overseas this time?
TC: Yes. We are hitting Norway, Finland and Austria. We have played in Austria before but the other places this will be our first time playing there.

AL: Are there any places the band hasn’t played yet that you would really like to play?
TC: Australia. Everyone I have talked to has said that Australia is a great rock market. It seems like a really great place to go. We also would love to get to Japan.

AL: Can you tell us about the special ticket packages for the upcoming tour?
TC: Artist Arena is putting together some special packages for fans to purchase. The packages offer a little more than just a seat to the show. It seems to be something that is really popular and we have met a lot of people which has been great! I have to look in to if these packages are going to be available at our shows outside of the U.S.

 

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Interview with Theory of a Deadman’s Dean Back

Dean Back is the bassist for Theory of a Deadman. They are currently headlining in this year’s Carnival of Madness tour. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dean before their performance to talk about the band’s latest release and what he likes about being on the road.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the band’s latest album “The Truth Is”?
Dean Back: “The Truth Is” builds off our last album “Scars and Souvenirs” which was an album that took us to that next level and by far has been our most successful record. We wanted to build off that and continue to use some of that humor found on that last album. Tyler has really started to show his lighter side as early on in our career we thought we had to be this serious rock band but we found it’s a lot more fun being funny and just having fun. Songs like “Low Life” and “Bitch Came Back” which are very tongue and cheek songs go over great with the crowd and they seem to have a lot of fun when they hear us play those songs.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off this album?
DB: I think “Gentleman” is one of my favorites. We actually have added that to our live set. I also enjoy “Hurricane” which turned out really well as did “We Were Men”.

AL: You guys have been away from the road for quite some time. Can you tell us about that decision?
DB: We had toured on the last album for 2 years, so it was time to go home and for me to reconnect with my family. We also used that time to kind of prep for the next record. I think it’s good to disappear for a little bit. We had been on the radio for 2 years straight. People were probably a little sick of us. Taking that time allowed us to work on the songs and put out a really strong record.

AL: How did you guys get involved with writing a song for the film “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”?
DB: They asked us to be on the record and if we had any material we could contribute. Any time we can get in front of another audience it’s a great opportunity to spread our fan base. In the past we have done video games as well as WWE events and soundtracks. We did some touring in Europe where we weren’t getting a lot of radio play but we had fans coming up to us telling us that the reason they came out was because they heard us on a video game. It was really awesome. Every time we can spread the music to different genres it’s good for us.

AL: How has it been touring with Carnival of Madness line up this year which includes Alter Bridge?
DB: It has been awesome. We have had past relationships with some of the other bands on the tour, however this was our first time going out with Alter Bridge. We are having a blast the whole crew and everyone are great. It’s like one big family out here. Alter Bridge along with Black Stone Cherry are going to be taking us over to Europe in November for a big arena tour.

AL: Is there a favorite song in the set that you guys are playing each night?
DB: “Hate My Life” is a fun one to play and sing along to. The crowd really gets into it.

AL: Any great tour moments you can share with us?
DB: We had a day off in Chicago, which was really cool. Chicago is a great town. We got to go to the White Sox game which was pretty cool but, every show has been a highlight and having a good time playing live.

AL: Other than the European tour are there any other upcoming plans for the band?
DB: We are going out with 3 Doors Down starting the end of September and running through all of October. We have a great relationship with those guys and it’s been a while since we have toured together.