Poison, Cheap Trick and Pop Evil Join Forces For “Poison…Nothin’ But A Good Time” Summer Tour

POISON, CHEAP TRICK AND POP EVIL
JOIN FORCES FOR “POISON…NOTHIN’ BUT A GOOD TIME 2018” U.S. SUMMER TOUR
STARTING MAY 18 IN IRVINE, CA
TICKETS ON-SALE STARTING FEBRUARY 9 AND 10

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 6, 2018) — Music fans wanting a little variety with their summer tour package will get that very thing with the “Poison…Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018” tour. Iconic rock band POISON, with all original members, will be joined by CHEAP TRICK and POP EVIL on its trek across the U.S. this summer. The tour is set to launch May 18 in Irvine, CA at Five Points Amphitheatre.

Check out this video to learn more about the “Poison…Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018” tour here:

Produced by Live Nation, tickets for various cities will go on sale starting Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10. Each band will be offering their own exclusive VIP packages and meet & greet opportunities beginning February 6 at 12pm local time. POISON will be offering direct-to-fan access to the best seats in the house via their own exclusive pre-sales at PoisonOfficial.com for access to exclusive content, ticket pre-sales and VIP packages. VIP Packages for CHEAP TRICK will be available for all dates, details for which can be found at www.CheapTrick.com. POP EVIL will also be offering VIP meet & greets at PopEvilVIP.com. For more information about the “Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018” tour, please visit Livenation.com.

The bands are fired up to make the journey across the U.S. together. Bret Michaels, POISON lead singer and noted philanthropist says, “The all original POISON is headlining again this summer. It’s going to be a mega concert and party combined. We will be playing all the hits and bringing high energy rock and roll good times. I promise this will be awesome. My friends CHEAP TRICK and POP EVIL will be joining us as well as some special guests on select dates. Again, I know all the bands with all the hits will be giving 1000%!!! Over the last years, POISON has got to co-headline with some great bands: Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, to name a few, but I promise again, C.C., Bobby, Rikki and myself together will bring NOTHING BUT A GOOD TIME!!!”

“POISON is a just great American Rock and Roll Band,” declares Bob Roux, President of U.S. Concerts, Live Nation. “Along with CHEAP TRICK, this show is going to be Nothing But A Good Time – The Full Tilt Party of the Summer. POISON and CHEAP TRICK always deliver the goods.”

Rick Nielsen, CHEAP TRICK (lead guitar) proclaims, “Another Poison/Cheap Trick Tour!!! It’s always been FUN with these guys!”

While POP EVIL singer Leigh Kakaty concludes, “This summer is going to be an exciting one for POP EVIL, that’s for sure! What a fantastic opportunity to bring our live show across the country on the big stage with such legends like POISON and CHEAP TRICK.”

Check out the “Poison…Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018” tour at any of the following stops.

DATE CITY VENUE

Fri 5/18 Irvine, CA Five Points Amphitheatre
* Sat 5/19 Las Vegas, NV The Joint
* Sun 5/20 Reno, NV Grand Sierra Resort
Tue 5/22 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
Wed 5/23 Denver, CO Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
Fri 5/25 Kansas City, KS Sprint Center
* Sat 5/26 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Thu 5/31 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheatre
* Sat 6/2 Dallas, TX Toyota Pavilion at Irving Music Factory
* Sun 6/3 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
* Tue 6/5 Atlanta, GA Verizon Amphitheatre
Thu 6/7 Indianapolis, IN Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
* Fri 6/8 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
* Sat 6/9 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
* Sun 6/10 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
* Tue 6/12 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
Wed 6/13 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheatre
Thu 6/14 Hartford, CT The Xfinity Theatre
Fri 6/15 Gilford, NH Bank of NH Pavilion
* Sun 6/17 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Tue 6/19 Toronto, ONT. The Budweiser Stage
* Thu 6/21 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach
Fri 6/22 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
* Sat 6/23 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Sun 6/24 Allentown, PA PPL Center

* POISON, CHEAP TRICK, to be announced

Moorman: The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time – a review

Anyone who knows anything about poker and the online version of the game in particular, will need no introduction to Chris Moorman. But, in case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years without access to the internet, here’s a brief introduction.

Moorman is widely recognized as being the most successful online poker player of all time with career earnings to date of over $14 million – and he’s still only 32. His career stats are equally incredible, according to his own website, he’s achieved top 3 finishes in a total of 718 tournaments and won $5.1 million in live tournaments. He’s also received some of the highest accolades in the game having been named the World Series of Poker’s Player of the Year in 2011 and achieving honor of receiving a WSOP bracelet at the 2017 WSOP event in Las Vegas – the poker equivalent of a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Another accolade that he received came in 2016 when he became an official 888poker Ambassador, a role which involves representing one of the biggest online poker sites at tournaments and other events. Another part of the role includes streaming of his games on Twitch for poker fans round the world to see a true expert in action. He was also clearly delighted with the move and was quoted as saying, “888 is doing big things and really is working hard to expand their reach in poker. Things like sponsoring the WSOP and the Super High Roller Bowl have shown they are committed to their growth of the brand and I can’t wait to see what they have coming up in the future”.

Moving into print

As you’d expect, ever since he started showing such a flair for the game publishers started beating a path to his door imploring him to share his knowledge and expertise with a world of poker players eager to get an insight into his winning strategies.

So, in 2014, he published his first book which was called Moorman’s Book of Poker. It took the unusual route of not simply being a book of theory but one in which Moorman applied his knowledge and skill in analysing 80 online tournament hands that were played by his collaborator on the book, a middling-ability online poker player called Byron Jacobs. The idea behind this was to produce a book that would be of real practical use to the average player, far more so than focusing on games played by Moorman itself.

Despite initial reticence by some critics to wholeheartedly praise the book it has gone on to become a classic and an invaluable part of any ambitious online poker player’s library.

So when it was announced early in 2017 that the next book from Moorman was on its way, anticipation began to mount as to what form it would take. Many were hoping for more strategy from the master while others were looking for more insights into what the man is really like and how he has reached his world-beating position today.

The second edition

When the book, Moorman : The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time, was eventually published in August 2017 everyone was delighted by what they found. For strategy-seekers they were more than satisfied with the second, larger, section of the book in which Chris analyses some of his winning hands from tournaments and, for bio-fans, the first third of the book which tells them all they need to know about this undisputed giant of the online game is the section that fascinates the most. And what a life story this is! Especially for someone who has managed to fit so much in to a mere three decades of life.

The fast lane to success

Moorman was born in 1985 in Essex and early on in life he started to show a great ability at cards, in his case bridge. In fact, he even went on to represent England in the game and achieved Master status at the age of just 14. His other great early passion was pool at which he also excelled, leading his team from Essex University to become winners of the national championships in 2004.

It was while at uni where he was taking an economics degree that Moorman first became entranced by the world of online poker – a game which meant that he could exploit both his card playing skills and mathematical acumen to the full. Very soon he began winning significant amounts of money which, to prevent his parents from discovering its true source, he told them that he earned by working in a supermarket. Unsurprisingly, as his wins began to mount up Moorman decided that his time would be better spent playing online than studying for his degree and he dropped out before completing the course.

All this is excitingly chronicled in the book along with a host of other anecdotes that make it a real page turner. For example, there was the time in 2011 when he had just won a 1 million euro prize in a Cannes casino receiving his winnings in cash. In a hurry to make it to another tournament in Italy and with no time to bank it, he stuffed all the notes into a rucksack and spent a day travelling around with a fortune in his hand luggage.

A masterclass in theory

But for the true students of poker it’s the second section of the book that provides the real nuggets of information to digest and enjoy. One by one, Moorman goes through 68 hands that he has played in the past giving a detailed commentary about how and why he played the in the way that he did. To provide an even deeper perspective, other leading players including Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree and Dominik Nitsche (incidentally, another 888poker Ambassador) also comment on the hands providing a true insight into a great poker mind by other equally talented professionals.

It all adds up to over 400 pages of captivating reading for anyone who wants to improve their poker game – and even as a motivational book which underlines the importance of commitment and self-belief for anyone who wants to succeed in any field at all.

The autobiographical section is especially strong in this respect and it would hardly be surprising if it also manged to encourage some readers with no experience of online poker to have a dabble themselves. The tactical section, while for more advanced players, will surely motivate many to approach their play in a new and more confident way.

So while it may be unlikely that we’ll be seeing a serious challenger to Moorman in the online arena any time soon, readers of this book could well find themselves rising a little higher towards the incredible peaks that he has achieved – undoubtedly, a big reward for quite a modest outlay.

Professional Video Gaming Hits the Big Time in China

When it comes to besieging an enemy stronghold with a combination of spells and swords, Ming Kai is a man whose talents eclipses those belonging to the people around him. The 24-year old player is one of the very best in the League of Legends game, which is one of the most popular multiplayer internet-based games in the world.

Kai Trains Every Day

Kai, who moved to Shanghai from the inland city of Wuhan to train alongside his teammates on one of China’s top LoL teams, EDwardGaming, revealed that he trains every day of the week. Generally, he will begin playing at the training centre for the eSports team, located in an office building, at around 14h00 and finish 13 hours later, although he will take breaks for food. As a member for the team for the past four years, Kai has managed to take home almost US$400 000 from the various tournaments he has taken part in, where the way he plays the game is viewed by paying spectators either onsite or online.

eSports Paying More and More

These kinds of eSports are starting to be more profitable for professional players like Kai, and Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding, two of the biggest Internet companies in China, are looking for their piece of the action too.

Tencent owns a majority stake in the League of Legends’ developer, Riot Games, and took over Finland’s Supercell last year, the makers of Clash of Clans, in a deal that totalled US$8.6 billion. Alibaba’s Alisports, meanwhile, is promoting eSports as equal to traditional sports, and are arguing that the games should feature in the Olympics. Perhaps online blackjack players can start a petition to have this king of casino games garner a spot as well?

Big eSports Tournaments Being Organised

Both Tencent and Alibaba are spending a lot of money organising tournaments in which teams like Kai’s face off inside an arena. On the 4th of November, in fact, about 40 000 fans watched the finals of the 2017 LoL World Championship unfold at the Beijing National Stadium, in which a prize pool of US$4.6 million was on the cards. Tickets for this Championship, the first of its kind to be held in China, were priced at between RMB¥280 and RMB¥1280, or US$42 to US$192, and sold out in a matter of minutes.

The Evolution of eSports in China

The PriceWaterhouseCooper advisory firm put the size of the Chinese eSports industry at an estimated US$56 million last year, making it the third largest globally, behind the USA and South Korea. PriceWaterhouseCooper sees this market increasing to around US$182 million by the year 2021. iResearch, an internet research company from China, estimates that the country’s paying eSports audience currently exceeds 170 million people.

Wilson Chow, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Practice Leader for PriceWaterhouseCooper China, has stated that the evolution of eSports is very exciting, especially the staggering speed at which it is occurring in China.

TPF Toys’ Peppy Pups Hit Stores in Time For Holiday Shopping!

Have you ever wanted a stuffed plush dog that actually walked around with you. Well, no lie, no gimmick. That is what the “Peppy Pups” does. It is kid powered dog toy that includes a collar and leash. You walk and the dog walks with you. It is simple and no batteries are needed. This is an awesome idea for a kids toy because it gets them up and on their feet and away from all electronic devices.

Here is some details about what is sure to be one of this holiday season’s hottest toys: “The only cuddly plush that can run, jump, wag its tail and interact with children like a real dog, TPF Toys’ Peppy Pups are brimming with personality and inviting cuddles with its fluffy tail and soft tuft of hair. Peppy Pups feature charming collar and bone tag, and branded paw pads. Eager to move and shake just like a real dog, Peppy Pups spring, bounce, jump, waddle and grove; turning heads as they go — no batteries needed!

Peppy Pups is the soft and cuddly friend your child has been looking for, without the responsibility or commitment of a regular puppy! This walking dog toy has pep and bounce in his step wherever your child decides to walk him, making him a lively, enthusiastic companion. Let your little one use the leash so he can walk-along in the park, on the sidewalk, or even in the house. With a fluffy white tail and a snuggly coat, Peppy Pup will be easy to love and cuddle, just like a real puppy. This little stuffed toy features a silly facial expression, and he can even perform tricks, like flips. Peppy Pup will be your child’s best friend.”

So if you are tired of your kids opening their presents this holiday season and then spending hours putting the toys together or not having the required thousand of batteries they need to operate them, then the Peppy Pups is a great solution for your shopping needs!

Win a copy of Time Life’s “The Wonder Years: The Complete Series”

In preparation for the upcoming “The Wonder Years: The Complete Series” DVD box set re-issue on August 23rd Media Mikes and Time Life would like to give fans of the show a chance to win a copy of the series for their very own. Please leave us a comment below or email us your favorite memory from the show. This give away will remain open until Wednesday, August 31st at 5pm, Eastern Time. One entry per-person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select a winner and notify them via email.

“THE WONDER YEARS: THE COMPLETE SERIES”

For six seasons, The Wonder Years captured the angst of growing up in suburban middle-class America in the late ’60s, as seen through the life and times of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage).
Audiences eagerly followed his evolution as a typical awkward teenager who remembered every moment of his transition from childhood with excruciating detail and remarkable hindsight. From his first kiss with Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) to his friendship with Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) and the ups and downs of the Arnold family, fans shared in laughter, love, and loss, but above all, wonder.

This 22-DVD set contains all 115 episodes from the six seasons of this landmark series that aired from 1988 to 1993. Included in this specially-priced slipcase set are complete show notes with episode synopses, cast member reflections, “Current Events,” and more plus nearly 12 hours of bonus material, as well as an astounding soundtrack of over 300 classic period songs as they were featured in the original broadcasts featuring such artists as: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, and of course, Joe Cocker’s unforgettable theme.

BONUS FEATURES
• Highlights from the first cast reunion in 16 years
• Roundtable discussions with Danica McKellar, Fred Savage, and Josh Saviano
• 6 newly produced featurettes
• Farewell set tour
• One-hour ABC broadcast of the series finale
• Exclusive interviews with the show’s creators and cast including Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, Josh Saviano, Alley Mills, Dan Lauria, Olivia d’Abo, Jason Hervey, and more!

ABOUT THE WONDER YEARS
The Wonder Years debuted in 1988 following ABC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XXII, and the affectionate look at growing up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s in suburban America was unlike anything else on television. It was 1968 — the year of Nixon, space walks, Mod Squad, and Vietnam. Enter Kevin Arnold, a sixth grader at Kennedy Junior High School. Set against the suburban backdrop of Anytown, USA, Kevin sought to minimize his teenage angst while dealing with an older, noogie-happy brother Wayne (Jason Hervey), a rebellious sister, Karen (Olivia d’Abo), distant, workaholic father, Jack (Dan Lauria) and doting housewife mother, Norma (Alley Mills). Add to the mix Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano), his nerdy, allergy-riddled best friend, a potential love interest in winsome girl-next-door Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) and narration by an older, wiser, wittier Kevin (voiced by Daniel Stern) to add perspective to the nostalgia, and you have the perfect recipe for TV greatness.

The contest is now closed and the winner has been emailed.

Blu-ray Review “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season”

Actors: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas, Emile De Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue
Number of discs: 5
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Run Time: 966 minutes

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

“Once Upon a Time” is a show that has been better with each season. With the star of a new season, the series adds so many great characters into this fantasy world. ABC (aka Disney) has an endless number of characters to choose from to continue this series for quite some time. This season has been split into two halves, The Snow Queen, which mixes in the world of “Frozen” and introduces Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff to the show. The second half is the Queens of Darkness, which features a trio of villains including the return of Maleficent, and newcomers Cruella de Vil and Ursula. Other new characters introduced are the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Little Bo Peep, and Poseidon rounded out a very impressive fourth season. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for season five.

Official Premise: Soon after Emma and Hook unwittingly bring Elsa of Arendelle to Storybrooke, they encounter the mysterious Snow Queen, whose relentless obsession with both Emma and Elsa has chilling consequences. Meanwhile, it appears Regina has at last found true love with Robin Hood, but how will she react when her happy ending is thwarted yet again by a maddening twist of fate? Then, a banished Rumplestiltskin enlists the Queens of Darkness (Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella De Vil) in an insidious scheme to rewrite their own stories and corrupt the Savior by turning her newly blissful heart pitch-black.

The Blu-ray presentation is very impressive. All 23 episodes from season 4 look amazing with their 1080p transfer. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround tracks also impressive as well. There are some decent never-before-seen bonus features included. “Defrosting Frozen” looks into the introduction from “Frozen” into the series. “Behind the Magic Tour” features Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin taking us backstage. “Three Who Stayed” focuses on the lasting three residents from Storybrooke. Lastly there are some bloopers, deleted scenes and some fun audio commentaries included rounding out this impressive release.

Blu-ray Review “Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season”

Studio: Cartoon Network
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2015
Run Time: 561 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

“Adventure Time” continues to be one of my favorite shows on Cartoon Network. The show is so inventive and plain out weird as hell. It has creativity slipping out from every scene. The colors are so rich and trippy. There is never an episode that doesn’t make me laugh out of loud yet at the same time a little freaked out. The fifth season is easily one of the best season’s to date as well. I love how the each episode of the show is able to be watched individually yet hardcore fans are able to appreciate the season’s continuity. I can’t get enough of this show…period!

Official Premise: Are you a Jake fan? Great! Because Season 5 has a ridiculous amount of momentous Jake moments!! Like when he became Jake the Dad. That time he tracked down Jake Jr.’s kidnapper (sort of). Who can forget the masterpiece that is his Most Delicious Sandwich?! And he shares these moments with his best bro Finn and friends in a total of 52 episodes, all for you!

Here is a full list of episodes: 1. Finn the Human, 2. Jake the Dog, 3. Five More Short Graybles, 4. Up a Tree, 5. All the Little People, 6. Jake the Dad, 7. Davey, 8. Mystery Dungeon, 9. All Your Fault, 10. Little Dude, 11. Bad Little Boy, 12. Vault of Bones 13. The Great Bird Man, 14. Simon and Marcy, 15. A Glitch Is a Glitch, 16. Puhoy, 17. BMO Lost, 18. Princess Potluck, 19. James Baxter the Horse, 20. Shh!, 21. The Suitor, 22. The Party’s Over, Isla de Señorita, 23. One Last Job, 24. Another Five More Short Graybles, 25. Candy Streets, 26. Wizards Only, Fools

Episodes Continued… 27. Jake Suit, 28. Be More, 29. Sky Witch, 30. Frost & Fire, 31. Too Old, 32. Earth & Water, 33. Time Sandwich, 34. The Vault, 35. Love Games, 36. Dungeon Train, 37. The Box Prince, 38. Red Starved, 39. We Fixed a Truck, 40. Play Date, 41. The Pit, 42. James, 43. Root Beer Guy, 44. Apple Wedding, 45. Blade of Grass, 46. Rattleballs, 47. The Red Throne, 48. Betty, 49. Bad Timing, 50. Lemonhope (1), 51. Lemonhope (2), 52. Billy’s Bucket List

If you are an “Adventure Time” fan then this a set is awesome because it features a whopping 52 episodes as listed above. That adds up to nearly 600 minutes of cartoon genius. The 1080p transfer looks awesome and really impresses on Blu-ray. There are two main downfalls to this Blu-ray though. The first is the audio track, which only boasts a poor Dolby Digital 2.0 track, which is barely DVD quality. The “Adventure Time” Blu-rays have all been the same with this feature and even though it sounds ok, we deserve better. The other is that that the only special feature included though is an exclusive Behind the Scenes featurette, which is cool but I would love some commentary for sure.

Blu-ray Review “Time Lapse”

Actors: Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, George Finn, John Rhys-Davies, Amin Joseph, Jason Spisak, Sharon Maughan, David Figlioli and Judith Drake
Director: Bradley King
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Xlrator
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Run Time: 103 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Since her role in The CW’s “The Flash” TV series, Danielle Panabaker has really hit the spotlight. “Time Lapse” is a really neat sci-fi horror thriller with a cool time travel angle twisted in. The film also has an impressive co-starring cast including: Matt O’Leary, George Finn, John Rhys-Davies, Amin Joseph, Jason Spisak, Sharon Maughan, David Figlioli and Judith Drake. Take a little bit of “The Twilight Zone” mixed with “Memento”. Worth checking out for you time travel junkies.

Official Premise: A science fiction thriller with a mind-bending premise, TIME LAPSE explores the possibilities of time travel via a camera that takes pictures 24 hours into the future. When three friends discover this mysterious machine, they conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop and tear their relationship apart.

The Blu-ray comes with a both solid 1080p transfer and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. You can tell that even though this is an indie, it has some impressive production values. XLrator is known for usually deliver bare bones special features but this release has some decent extras. There is an in-depth look behind-the-scenes into the makinng of “Time Lapse”. There are two commentary tracks from the filmmakers. There is a “Nuts and Bolts” guide to how to make an indie film. Lastly there are some deleted scenes also equipped with filmmaker commentary.

CD Review: Good Riddance “Peace in Our Time”

Good Riddance
“Peace in Our Time”
Fat Wreck Chords
Produced by: Bill Stevenson
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Peace in Our Time” is the 8th studio release from the hardcore/punk band Good Riddance. This is the bands first release since reforming in 2012 and it features 14 brand new tracks produced by Bill Stevenson and is being released via Fat Wreck Chords.

Fans of edgy, pop tined punk rock look no further as Good Riddance are back with their first new album in 9 years. Titled “Peace in Our Time” the album is the first studio work the band has done together since reforming. Though fans may not have enjoyed the group’s time apart the latest offering from the Santa Cruz, CA natives is fresh and catchy while staying true to the bands original sound. Songs like “Contrition” and “Teachable Moments” feature thunderous bass and drum breakdowns which pave the way for vocalist Russ Rankin’s straight forward vocal approach while tracks like “Take It To Heart”, “Dry Season” and “Our Better Nature” blur the lines of the hardcore/punk genres with graceful ease.

From start to finish “Peace in Our Time” held my attention and made me want to get up and move. The album exudes an energy that is infectious and fun with a sound that harkens back to the mid 90’s punk glory days while still feeling fresh and new. Those looking for a punk rock album with a little bit more edge without going too far look no further than the latest from Good Riddance.

Track Listing:
1.) Disputatio
2.) Contrition
3.) Take It To Heart
4.) Half Measures
5.) Grace and Virtue
6.) No Greater Fight
7.) Dry Season
8.) Teachable Moments
9.) Washed Away
10.) Our Better Natures
11.) Shiloh
12.) Running On Fumes
13.) Year Zero
14.) Glory Glory

Film Review “Hot Tub Time Machine 2”

Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke
Directed By: Steve Pink
Rated: R
Running Time: 93 minutes
Paramount Pictures

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Let’s go back to very late 2009. I was still in college and people were using Facebook since there was no Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or other form of social media to fill up our limitless down time. This was when we truly shared every little thing on Facebook because we didn’t yet know or understand the consequences of our oversharing. I remember specifically when the trailer for the first “Hot Tub Time Machine” was released. Every status update ripped into it and I remember thinking, “There’s no way in hell this could be remotely good.” Despite my gut reaction, I still saw and was pleasantly surprised. So rewind to not too long ago to 2014 and seeing a trailer for the sequel and thinking the exact same thing. I am once again wrong, but not by much.

This sequel brings back nearly everyone from the first, except John Cusack, who is jokingly mentioned when his character’s absence is brought up. Craig Robinson is still loveable as Nick, Rob Corddry once again brings back his Danny McBride-like contemptible Lou, and then there’s Clark Duke who plays Jacob. Sorry. He’s still just a character who’s kind of a fourth wheel (technically third wheel now) to the group. Since the first movie, the trio of used their knowledge of the future to augment their life. Nick steals ideas from songs that have not yet been crafted, Lou simply blurts out technological advances before their time and Jacob just follows along the coattails of Lou. Like I said, fourth wheel.

Of course Lou is still a miserable troll who irks everyone who crosses his path. So when someone shoots him at one of his lavish parties, they must use the hot tub time machine to go into the past to find who shot him and why. Of course in this movie, they go into the future, but create an alternate time line so technically it’s still the past…I’ll just avoid the confusion and say that they’re in the future which will result in them finding out what happened in the past. They at least make light of this troublesome plot.

What makes this sequel admirable is it’s ability to find every way to jump the shark while drawing out a filthy laugh from you. “22 Jump Street” set the mark for making a comedy sequel, but “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” manages to point a few things that are worth noting. They manage to point out the stolen sci-fi formulas they’re playing with and the absurdity of them. Also by the movies end, they manage to point out some of the predictable set-ups that today’s comedies have fallen into. When a unnecessary comedy sequel points that out, it might be time for the rest of Hollywood’s comedy writers to take note and change up their comedic ingredients.

I should probably quit heaping praise on this movie because it’s not without it’s flaws. This is still a movie that has to introduce another character to demote Jacob to fourth wheel. The introduction of Adam Scott as the son of John Cusack’s character is welcome, but doesn’t quite fill the hole that Cusack left behind. Cusack provided a reliable straight man while Scott is simply the virgin who gets to pop his party cherry. It’s fun, but not the right component for the group that needs a voice of sanity.

Ultimately the movie is choppy, but clever enough at trying to stay new. It’s unwarranted, but funny enough for a one time viewing for fans of the original. I wish it would have maken light of the fact that it’s a redundant sequel to a bizarre comedy. Maybe when “Hot Tub Time Machine 3” (let’s hope not) rolls around, it’ll realize how much of a cash grab for Paramount Pictures it has become and create the ultimate meta, middle finger.

When It Was Time To Party, We Partied Hard – An Interview With Andrew W.K.

I have been listening to Andrew W.K.’s music since “I Get Wet” was released in 2001. The music has such a positive vibe and energy to it, that I would almost call it “addictive”. Much of the time, people attribute negative connotation to addiction, but I feel in the case of Andrew WK, can you really be faulted by forming a habit for music and messages that bring you up from the darkest places and make you feel alive? Notoriously fan friendly, motivational and a seemingly endless fountain of “life”, Andrew W.K. is someone that I have long waited to meet, and I finally got my chance before his full band performance at the State Theater in St. Petersburg, FL, on January 29th.

Eric Schmitt – When did you decide that your music should take a positive approach in the hard rock and metal genres?
Andrew WK – It’s a great question. Even more so than lyrically or ideologically, the big question for me early on was whether to use major or minor keys. I like all types of music, both major and minor chords, but I was always, in terms of energy, really driven by  chromatic minor music. Like traditional heavy metal, especially very brutal heavy metal. It was very aggressive and I always drew great energy from it’s power. I wanted to do that, but I never felt I could do it as well as the masters. I had this strong feeling, like a pinpoint where I could use this major key, but I didn’t know if people would like it. I had these doubts that it somehow wouldn’t work, or the metal community wouldn’t like it. I remember very clearly coming back from this family trip, where I decided “okay, I’m just going to do it. I’m going to make this music that’s in my head.” I could hear how it sounded, and I just had to believe that I could do it. And it all formed from that, the major key is a cheerful sound, and everything just formed from that cheerful sound.

ES – How have you seen some of the positivity of your music manifest in your fan base and other external areas?
AWK – I never initially thought it would be a positive thing. Music itself makes you feel good. Music of all sorts, even if it’s a sad song, angry song; I don’t think anyone would listen to music to feel physically worse. It has a good feeling – it’s magical really. I feel that any music you put out there has the ability to generate that feeling in people. Certainly, when you can add to that already positive feeling in music, a positive message, or specifically focus on getting motivated and powered up, feeling good about life, then it gets amplified by a billion times! You fuse these two things, cheerful music and positive mindset, and it goes through the roof. So I was really excited and very influenced by people reacting to the music I was putting out early on – finding positivity in it. So I said, “okay, I’m going to commit to this”. A lot of the lyrics aren’t positive in a blatant way, they’re kind of all over the place, so it was really people finding that in it. I definitely wanted to be cheered up myself, so when I saw it was working for other people, it sort of became a team effort. We were using this music and a Party mind-set as a centerpiece to build around.

ES – Describe your mentality when writing music – specifically when piecing together the Wolf, which ventured into more serious territory than “I Get Wet”. For instance, “Never Let Down” is a significantly different song than anything that was on “I Get Wet”.
AWK – Well, there wasn’t a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it. A lot of the songs on the second album, “The Wolf”, were actually written at the same time as the “I Get Wet” songs. Some of them before. I guess I just chose to make the first album, like it will be these types of songs. Then the second album I would open it up to more tempos. But also, I think the first album started this party, then the second album was almost like singing about how that felt. Again, I didn’t intend for it to be that way. A lot of the lyrics and feelings that I got across on the second album were my amazement that any of this was happening, and recognizing it and trying to amplify it. It was “here’s the party starting“, and then “this is what it feels like”.

ES – What factored into you writing the “Party Bible”?
AWK – Being asked, probably first and foremost. Writing a book wasn’t something I planned on, at least right now. But, I had some people that were very supportive. Initially, my book agent, Simon, he said I should make a book. I’ve done writing throughout my work, advice columns and posting stuff, you know? I always liked writing, but a book was a huge undertaking. I, of course, was intimated by the challenges that it implied, but having someone there that believed I could do it was nice. Then several years later, Simon & Schuster actually came through with a book offer. So I started writing it (the Party Bible) and it’s not really an autobiography, more about partying and the stuff we’re talking about now. Hopefully it’ll be done soon, I’ve been writing it for a couple of years. It was definitely harder than I thought it would be.

ES – Do you think we’ll see an “I Get Read” book tour when the “Party Bible” is released?
AWK – (Laughs) That’s a great title for a book tour! Of course, I want to do a book tour and you know, not just do book appearances, but party lectures like I’ve done before, and play some shows. I love touring, so any reason to tour is great. Having the book, of course would be a whole new version of a tour experience.


I had never seen Andrew perform live, and having his full band on hand before trekking down to Miami for ShipRocked 2015 was certainly an added bonus. I’ve always envisioned Andrew WK as the “party guy,” but the interview gave me a glimpse into the intellectual away from the stage. I don’t know if I was still hung up on that aspect, but when the band blasted into “It’s Time to Party,” the State Theater crowd erupted and I was swept up in a tidal wave of emotion and sweaty metal heads. It was the most intense level of fan interaction I have ever seen at a live performance!

Song after song, bodies would fly from every corner of the stage, some being caught by partying revelers, the others falling to the sticky alcohol mess of the floor. But there was no strife, no anger, no machismo – the entire crowd was united under the “Party Banner”. I had never seen anything like it, and I stood my ground 6 feet from the stage so that I could absorb the energy in all its glory.

Sporting 4 guitarists (!), a bassist, drummer and Andrew on keys and vocals, the band was almost militant in it’s musical assault on the crowd. The performance was an unrelenting barrage of good feeling, and the crowd was more than eager to reciprocate. Constantly singing along, invading the stage to dance with band members and raining down applause after each tune! ANYONE that walked into that performance mid-set would have been swept off their feet by the energy – it was that strong! After playing the majority of the “I Get Wet” and “The Wolf” albums, AWK closed the show with the title track from the first album and “Don’t Stop Living In the Red”. It was towards the latter song that my wife, who has never really been a fan of Andrew’s music, was converted. The look in her eyes said it all – She had indeed, Partied Hard!

Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with Paramount Pictures to give (20) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” in Kansas City!

The screening will be held on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at the Screenland Armour Theatre in North Kansas City, Missouri and will start at 7:30 p.m.

All you have to do is go to http://www.gofobo.com/hottubmikes and register. Winners will be randomly selected on Monday, February 16, 2015 and the winners notified by email. Good luck!

“Hot Tub Time Machine 2” stars Rob Corddry, Clark Duke and Craig Robinson. The film opens nationwide on Friday, February 20, 2015.

Official Site: hottubmovie.tumblr.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hottubtimemachine
Twitter: @HotTubMovie #HotTubTimeMachine2
Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence.

Synopsis:
When Lou (Corddry) finds himself in trouble, Nick (Robinson) and Jacob (Duke) fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future. Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past… which is really the present, in the sequel from the same team that brought you the original cult hit.

Blu-ray Review “Time Bandits: The Criterion Collection”

Starring: Michael Palin, Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm
Director: Terry Gilliam
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance)
Studio: Criterion Collection
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Run Time: 116 minutes

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

Terry Gilliam is easily one of the most creative minds ever in film. His have never really been understood and really given the time of day with a mainstream audience but they seem to all become cult classics. “Time Bandits” is one of the best things to come out of 1981, minus myself 😉 This film is one that gets better and better with each viewing and never loses it charm. This latest Blu-ray release is for its addition into the Criterion Collection, which gives us a new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Terry Gilliam. This is the best that I have EVER seen this film. It is a perfect release.

Official Premise: In this fantastic voyage through time and space from Terry Gilliam, a boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery)—but Evil (David Warner) is watching their every move. Featuring a darkly playful script by Gilliam and Monty Python’s Michael Palin (who also appears in the film), Time Bandits is at once a giddy fairy tale, a revisionist history lesson, and a satire on technology gone awry.

Arrow Video recently released a Blu-ray transfer for this film but this is even newer than that edition. Here is the text that is included on leaflet provided with this release: “Supervised by director Terry Gilliam, this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original camera negative. The restoration was overseen by Arrow Video and performed by Deluxe Digital Cinema in London. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI’s DRS. The original soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original 35mm magnetic track.”

Like I said above, this is a flawless transfer. Criterion has been very kind and supportive of Gilliam’s work. I still treasure my 3-disc DVD set of “Brazil” from 1999. This track also comes with a equally flawless LPCM 2.0 surround track. It is definitely much better than the previous 5.1 track that was released in the past. The clarity is easily noticed and the score sounds amazing. The 2K restoration really delivered for both audio and video for “Time Bandits”. This is going to rank as one of the best releases of 2014, no question.

The special features are equally outstanding at the 2K restoration. There is vintage audio commentary track featuring Gilliam, cowriter/actor Michael Palin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner, and Craig Warnock, which was first taken from the DVD release of “Time Bandits” and recorded exclusively for Criterion in 1997.  There is a new piece narrated by film writer David Morgan and featuring production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson “Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits” focuses on creating the film’s numerous historical periods and fantasy worlds.

There is a conversation between Gilliam and film scholar Peter von Bagh which was taken from the Finland’s Midnight Sun Film Festival dating back to 1998. There is an excerpt from a 1981 appearance by actor Shelley Duvall on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow show on NBC, which also features the actress discussing her role in “The Shining” as well. Lastly there is an original trailer and stills gallery included and an illustrated leaflet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt. Even though there is only one new extra on this Blu-ray, I am in love!

All Time Low’s Zack Merrick talks about clothing line “Amerrickan”

Zack Merrick is best known as the bassist for the pop/punk band All Time Low. However in his down time away from the band he designs limited addition clothing for his company Amerrickan. Zack took time out of his busy schedule recently to discuss the clothing line his partnership with Killbrand and gave us an update on All Time Low’s upcoming album.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the new run from Amerrickan?
Zack Merrick: Right now we have pulled everything off of our website because we are trying to push the designs that are on hottopic.com. So anyone wanting to pick up some of our designs can get them directly through Hot Topic.

AL: What was that initially interested you in doing a clothing line?
ZM: It was a great way to keep myself creative while I wasn’t playing music. I started taking photos and Jonny from Killbrand really liked them. We saw that there was a great response so we teamed up together and started Americkan.

AL: Can you tell us a little more about your partnership with Jonny and Kill Brand?
ZM: We have a lot of “joint meetings” and “joint files”. (Laughs) Jonny is like my big brother. He takes care of me and is always looking out for me and worrying about me. He is just as worried about me as my mom is sometimes. Jonny is super easy to work with and it’s really a lot of fun. When I head to California to work on designs with him I usually end up staying on his couch

AL: Most of the line is done as limited edition runs. Can you tell us a little bit about that decision?
ZM: It’s easier for me to make designs and think of things in a limited run. It’s also a unique way of doing things so that only 50-100 fans can get a shirt instead of everyone having the same shirt. This way you don’t over saturate the market.

AL: Can you give us an update on All Time Low and what the band has planned for the coming year?
ZM: I just finished recording my bass tracks the other day. Alex is in the studio currently working on vocals and guitar tracks. As a whole we are all gearing up to start press for the new album along with some doing some new photo shoots. We start touring in February over in UK with You and Me at Six and then we bounce around the planet to Australia then back to the States and so forth. With the new record coming out in 2015 it should be a good year and a long touring run.

 

Book Review “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo”

Author: Chris McDonnell
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Adventure Time” is a show like no other. I remember when I was a kid and “The Simpsons” used to be the show to watch. Now “Adventure Time” has taken that place with today’s kids/teens. This show is such a trip. That is really the only way to describe it. It is colorful, funky and totally out there…but I love it and I also love it’s animation. “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” is a beast of a book running over 350 pages. This page is no joke at all. If you are a fan of this show and want an inside look behind-the-scenes, this is the book you are going to want! FIST PUMP!

Official Premise: Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of Finn the Human’s and Jake the Dog’s adventures in the post-apocalyptic, magical land of Ooo. Packed to the seams with concept art and storyboards, this lavishly illustrated tome offers an all-access pass into the Emmy Award–winning show team’s creative process. The Art of Ooo traces series creator Pendleton Ward’s early influences and work, then reveals how the writers, storyboarders, animators, and voice actors work in tandem to bring this wildly inventive series to life.

When I heard that “Adenture Time” was goign to be getting a companion book from Abrams, I knew that we were going to be in for a real treat. This book includes some great early character sketches, back­ground paintings and rare glimpses into the series’ show bible. It is a real visual guide to this show along with commentary from all the show’s key creative talent throughout. If you are just getting into this show or a fan from day 1, you will not be disappointed by this book, no question.

If you are going to get an author to do a book about a weird animated series, you have to get someone that understand’s weird and strange animation. Chris McDonnell has designed books on amazing and very unique animators like Ralph Bakshi and Bill Plympton and to me that sums up the definition of what is needed here. Plus too this book off with an outstanding introduction by Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”) and you have a guaranteed hit. I hope Abrams have future books planned for this series!