Patrick Hinds’ Hit Podcast “True Crime Obsessed” Expands Brand With New Series “Obsessed With: Abducted In Plain Sight”

The New Podcast Hosted by ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ Documentary Director Skye Borgman and Co-hosted and Produced by Patrick Hinds to Reveal Never-Before-Heard Information About the Case

Los Angeles – (February 10, 2020) – Patrick Hinds, one of the creative minds behind the hit comedy/true crime podcast True Crime Obsessed, today announces the formation of Obsessed Network and its first production, spin-off podcast series Obsessed With. Obsessed With will commence with the release of the first season titled Obsessed With: Abducted in Plain Sight. Diving deep into one of the most shocking and controversial documentaries in recent years, the new podcast will be hosted the film’s director Skye Borgman and co-hosted and produced by Patrick Hinds, and will feature chilling never-before-heard audio from the film and new interviews with the documentary’s producers and subjects – including Jan Broberg herself, whose story is told in the film. All four episodes of the podcast, which will strike a more serious tone than its predecessor True Crime Obsessed, will be available across major podcast platforms and on ObsessedNetwork.com on March 2nd, 2020.

Over the course of four episodes delivered in a binge, Skye and Patrick will go deeper into the case revealed in Abducted in Plain Sight. In the podcast, Jan Broberg addresses her father’s sexual encounter with her kidnapper, her father’s sexual orientation, and the world’s vitriolic reaction to her parents after the release of the film. The podcast will also include audio recordings of the kidnapper’s audio journals that were recovered by the FBI, the kidnapper’s wife sharing her thoughts on her husband’s more virtuous qualities, and more.

“After audiences around the globe were captivated by the original documentary, they still had many questions,” said podcast host and director of Abducted in Plain Sight, Skye Borgman. “There are so many untold stories I wanted to share. Collaborating with Patrick on Obsessed With: Abducted in Plain Sight provides an opportunity to expand upon the documentary. And, I get to hang out with Patrick Hinds!” 

“I became literally obsessed with Abducted in Plain Sight, so to work with Skye Borgman on the first large-scale project for Obsessed Network outside of our original podcast is thrilling,” said Patrick Hinds, creator of Obsessed Network.  “If you thought the documentary was wild, just wait until you hear the never-before-made-public recordings this podcast will unearth.”

About Obsessed Network:

Obsessed Network, created by Patrick Hinds, comprises a collection of some of the best true crime podcasts on the internet, including “True Crime Obsessed,” the upcoming “Obsessed With” series, and a forthcoming project with journalist Maggie Freleng. Obsessed Network is headquartered in New York City.   

Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle discuss their podcast “True Crime Obsessed” and upcoming tour

You know that feeling you get when hanging out with your best friends? That sense of pure joy that comes from sharing a love of the same things, laughing at anything possible, and being there for each other through even the toughest of times. Well, if you love True Crime as much as I do, let me introduce you to your two new best friends and hosts of the True Crime Obsessed Podcast, Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle.

Since May 2017, this pair of theater kids have been watching True Crime documentaries and recapping them to their audience in a way that can only be described at hilarious. From garbage bells to super-hot husbands to Patrick’s infectious laugh, these two know how to take even the worst documentary and make you feel like you are laughing about it with your best friends.

Recently, Media Mikes had the exciting opportunity to talk with Patrick and Gillian about their podcast and upcoming tour and they did not disappoint.

Channah Zapotoczny: Why you picked the format with you did with the documentaries for your true crime podcast?
Patrick Hinds: You know it’s so funny cause I think about this all the time. When we decided to work together, we sort of work shopped different ideas together of what kind of true crime podcast we wanted to make. We were going to make a three-part podcast every week that was going to dry and straight forward. It would start with an interview segment and then we would talk about something that we have seen, like a TV show or another podcast or something and then the last part would be focused on true crime. So we were doing this pilot episode and when we sat down to do the part when we talk about something, we decided to talk about the documentary “The Imposter”. Gillian and I were relatively new friends at that point. We knew that we really enjoyed each other but I didn’t know that she was like a completely unintentional comedian. So when we started talking about “The Imposter”, the things that stood out to her was like the quirky details or the things that we were really enraging and she has this really funny way of articulating it. So I was laughing hysterically and we had no thought of making a comedy podcast. So when I was listening back to all the different segments and putting it together. I realized that there was nothing else out there in the podcast space with two friends just recapping true crime documentaries and I said I think found our podcast.
Gillian Pensavalle: And even still it has evolved into the madness it is today. In the early episodes, we sound like we are not trying to disturb someone in the next room. In those very early episodes, you can hear Patrick laughing off mic and not really leaning into what/who we are.
Patrick: I wanted to make a nerdy high brow NPR thing, so then we opened up the wine and the bourbon and started making it for real [laughs].
Gillian: Yeah!
Channah: What’s funny is that when I am listening Gillian, you comments are exactly what I am thinking…
Patrick: [laughs] That’s why it works, so many of our listeners say to us that we are having the conversations they wish they were having with their friends when watching these documentaries. It is so funny because a podcast like that should exist but it wasn’t what we meant to make at all.

Channah: So if you could would you go back and change anything?
Patrick & Gillian (together): Nooooooooooo!
Patrick: We were lucky enough that we both of us have been making podcasts long enough to know that the show will become what it is suppose to be. So I am just so glad we have the common sense to let it be what it was clearly meant to be, right?
Gillian: Right, I love the evolution of it. In all of the podcasts that we have worked on or are working on, there is that evolution you can see. Especially for Hamilcast, in the beginning it is not what it is now. It just became that. We just leaned into what it is. We didn’t even think anyone would be listening.
Patrick: That’s true we made this thing just so that we could hang out. We didn’t make it to have it be as successfully as it is.

Channah: How long do your recordings typically take?
Gillian: A long time. Well because, we do a lot in one sitting.
Patrick: We do like five ads per episode. We do a bonus episode every week and then the regular episode. Sometimes twice a month we will do an after party, which is us just hanging out talking about whatever is one our minds or usually “Newsies” the movie [laughs].
Gillian: Yes, most importantly “Newsies” the movie [laughs].
Channah:
That is such a good movie and is one of my favorites.
Patrick: Oh God it is so good… So recording could sometimes take like five hours. We always know that we nailed it though when we are starving, sweating through our clothes and have no voices.
Gillian: We usually start at 5:30pm and go to 10:30pm and by the end of it my eyes are usually half closed. And that is after working all day on top of it.
Patrick: I just realized our last recording day, I worked 17 hours. I was up at 4:15am to watch everything and then we recorded that night till 10:30pm. It was insane.
Gillian: The thing is that when it is 9:30pm and we are recording the last thing, it can’t sound like it’s the last thing. It has to sound like it is the first thing or the only thing.
Patrick: Exactly! Gillian and I don’t get much of a chance to hang out during the week anymore and it is our only hang night. We are never manufacturing that last hour. I feel like the last hour is usually the best because we are so amped at that point.

Channah: So a fun question for you; let’s say someone was going to bring you in to consult on a documentary and you were going to help them make it. What would be your advise to them to make the documentary great?
Patrick: I love the thing these documentaries are doing when they will setup an interview subject and not tell them that the camera is rolling. The interview subject thinks the camera is on when they get asked the first question but it is rolling the whole time and you get people doing ridiculous things like adjusting their genitals or talking to themselves and they always keep it. I am obsessed with it.
Gillian: That is always great.
Patrick: I worked with a director recently and one of the things that that I learned about making a bonkers documentary was that they did all these interviews with all these experts, put them in the film and then went and took them out. Listen if your story is that bonkers and the experts are getting in the way. I say get rid of them. Get rid of them.
Gillian: Just let it become what it will become. “Capturing the Friedmans” is not about the dad and his issues. It was about this circus clown, so then it became about that.
Patrick: In conclusion, give me a strong 90 minutes. Nobody needs longer than 90 minutes. We always talk about this documentary “The Long Shot”
Gillian: 42 minutes!
Patrick: 42 minutes is a dream, you are in and out. You laugh, you cry. It’s perfect.
Gillian: It leaves you wanting more.

Channah: On your show, you were so excited to meet Rabia (Chaudry) and talk with her. Was meeting her everything you hoped for?
Patrick: Rabia and I had a conversation on the phone and we were in love. It was wonderful. The first time I met her was at CrimeCon, our booths were near each other. Because I had that long phone conversation with her, I ran over to her booth and literally knelt down and she looked at me like she was going to call the police. She had absolutely no clue who I was. I just sat there and thought this wasn’t the reaction I expected. After I told her who I was it was great.
Gillian: Then you dragged her over to me…
Patrick: Do you remember how amazing that moment was…
Gillian: That was amazing.
Patrick: We could stop screaming about how amazing she smelled and we just kept hugging her. She was hugging us back. Rabia gives back the energy that you give her. We were so excited to meet her and she was then so excited to meet us.
Gillian: I loved hugging her and smelling her…and that’s not weird [laughs].
Patrick: We are doing two shows with her. Our show in D.C. and Orlando, we are doing with Rabia and Susan (Simpson).

Channah: I will be at the show in Orlando. Are you guys worried about coming to Florida?
Patrick: [laughs] We are afraid that we are going to be met with pitchforks and alligators at the airport. No, I am very much looking forward to going to Florida.
Gillian: A lot of them just lovingly want to change our minds. And our minds aren’t set. We have a very specific job, which is talking about what is in the documentary.
Patrick: It is not our fault that Wrinkles the Clown was from Florida [laughs]

Channah: Speaking about the tour though, I know you are doing three different types of shows. What can we expect from it?
Patrick: Actually, the funny thing is in Florida it’s the only show that we are doing that we have never done before. In Boston, we are doing the show with Lance (Reenstiema), Tim (Pilleri) and Maggie (Freleng) and we are covering “Missing Maura Murray”. The reason we are doing this show again is because we did it in Brooklyn and it was just so great. The pride show in San Francisco and Seattle is just going to be so gay [laughs]. So Florida and D.C. with Rabia and Susan are going to be fun. We warned them they are walking into the lions den.

Channah: Since you will be in Orlando for your show, does that mean you will be coming to CrimeCon 2020?
Patrick: You know, we don’t know yet. We are trying to figure out our schedules, so once we do we will let everyone know.
Channah: If you do attend, is there anyone you wish will be seated next to you?
Patrick: Last year, we were right next to Susan and Rabia, so that is my fav. If Lance, Tim or Maggie are there, we would love to be next to them. Maybe stick us next to someone we’ve never met before, that would be fun.
Gillian: Well there are some parameters…
Patrick: Yeah, we don’t want to be next to Nancy Grace…
Gillian: Or the Cannibal Cop… they are both always at CrimeCon [laughs]

Channah: Patrick, in almost every episode you claim that someone is hot. If you had to rank your top three, who would they be?
Patrick: Let’s start with Ryan Ferguson, that has to be number 1.
Gillian: I approve.
Patrick: I am in the middle of editing episode two right now of “Don’t Fuck with Cats” and I am on the record of saying that John is hot…
Gillian: John Green?
Patrick: Yeah, John Green.
Gillian: Ok I will accept [laughs]. We also have a lot of women that we think are super hot and super smart…
Patrick: Totally…
Gillian: We had someone in “Dirty John”, the super hot smarty pants girl…
Patrick: Laura Richards…
Gillian: Yes, Laura Richards. And so many people in “Holy Hell”. It’s always weird cause when we are recording it’s just like we are hanging out and we forget other people are listening. So when people from the documentary reach out to us and it happens more often then you think, we forget that other people are listening.
Patrick: I really want Deanna (Thompson) from “Don’t Fuck with Cats” to be our friend
Gillian: I love her.

Channah: Is there anything that you wished I asked that I didn’t?
Patrick: Just that TCO has some really super awesome announcements coming out. So just keep an eye out for that!

The Best Gambling Movies Based on True Stories

Gambling is an essential part of pop culture and you can see it in many movies. Even heroes like James Bond are often involved in some action at the casino tables.

Most of the stories in the films are fictional but that’s not always true. There are some gambling movies that are based on true stories. Forget about the modern gamblers who are more likely to use gambling sites, the characters in these movies were involved in “real world” gambling.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

“High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story”

If you are a passionate poker player, you most certainly know who Stu Ungar is. The man won the World Series of Poker’s Main Event three times which is a record. Many believe he is the most talented player in the history of both poker and gin rummy.

That would be enough for a movie but his story adds even more to the legend of Kid Poker. Stu Ungar had a crazy life that involved a lot of booze, drugs, gambling, and parties. He made some bad decisions and died young, but his story will likely live forever.

It’s no surprise that director A.W. Vidmer was inspired to create “High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story” and share the tale of the iconic player.

“21”

This movie is based on the non-fictional book “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” by Ben Mezrich. As the title suggests, it’s about blackjack and a group of MIT students that terrorize the biggest Vegas casinos.

They learn how to count cards and destroy the tables before the gambling operators strike back. It’s a fascinating story that certainly deserved to reach Hollywood.

In fact, there have been other attempts to make a movie based on the same book, but “21” is the most successful.

Part of the reason is the excellent cast that features Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Jim Sturgess. While the film is not 100% accurate from a factual point of view, it’s close enough to the real-life events to make the list.

“Molly’s Game”

One of the more recent entries here is “Molly’s Game”. It was released in 2017 and based on a book of the same name. The story revolves former Olympic hopeful Molly Bloom. An injury ends her ski career early and makes her life a mess.

Molly soon ends up as the person who organizes the biggest underground poker games in LA. She runs into some trouble that forces a move to New York where she quickly builds a name and runs some of the biggest games in the Big Apple.

The story is interesting enough, but throw the FBI and some Russian mobsters in there, and you will understand why Aaron Sorkin wanted to make a movie out of it.

“Owning Mahowny”

The most critically acclaimed movie to make this list is “Owning Mahowny”. It’s a Canadian production that features proven stars like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Minnie Driver.

The former plays the role of Dan Mahowny, an assistant manager of a bank branch with access to customer funds and a strong gambling addiction. This sounds like the perfect combination for a complete disaster.

If you want the whole story, watch the movie as it’s totally worth it. “Owning Mahowny” is a brilliant example of the damage done by gambling addictions and its effects on not only the person involved but everyone around him.

Book Review: “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” by Mick Wall

“Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses”
Author: Mick Wall
Lesser Gods
Hardcover: 432 pages

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guns N’ Roses exploded during the 80’s glam metal scene and boldly redefined rock ’n’ roll for a new era. Mick Wall met Guns N’ Roses when the band members lived together in Los Angeles and became a part of their inner circle. Thanks to Wall’s longtime friendship and connections with Guns N’ Roses, he conducted exclusive interviews with all the original members and, for the first time, their original managers, who were in the trenches with Guns N’ Roses (from 1986 to 2004). They share all-new revelations about the band’s rock-star debauchery in the studio, on tour and behind the scenes. “Last of the Giants” is a celebration of Guns N’ Roses: the last of the extraordinary, excessive, not-giving-a-shit rock stars.

Imagine you are a fly on the wall during some of the most pivotal and monumental moments during Guns N’ Roses career. Arguably one of the most legendary rock and roll band in the last 3 decades “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” is the account of that such fly (Mick Wall). Told through third person accounts and candid interviews with members and associates pass and present “Last of the Giants” is brimming over with behind the scenes stories and fresh interviews which shine new light on the bands fame and persona. Probably my favorite part of the book was amidst the chapters were 28 pages of full color photos highlighting the band at various points. These photos are not the same old reprints we have seen time and time again but new fresh photos that helped accentuate the text before and after each section.

“Last of the Giants” gives readers the inside track via behind the scenes firsthand accounts and through newly conducted interviews with those directly involved in some of the most important moments of the bands career. You get all the details and more in the latest offering from Mick Wall. I think I would have been more in to the book if this was an official release from the band however after reading this book you may understand why something of that nature hasn’t come to fruition. That aside no matter how intense of a G N’R fan you might be “Last of the Giants” is worth checking out.

CD Review: Crystal Lake “True North”

“True North”
Crystal Lake
Artery/Cube Records
Tracks: 10

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Japanese hardcore/metal band Crystal Lake has just released a brand new full length album titled “True North”. The album (the bands 6th full-length) is being released via Artery Record in the United States features 10 tracks which blend and blur a mixture of unique styles and sounds which instantly sets them apart from other bands in the genre.

Being somewhat unfamiliar with Crystal Lake I jumped in blindly as I hit the play button. Right away the band had my intention as the albums opening track “Alpha” teases your senses with underlying synth rhythms before hitting you like a ton of bricks. Vocalist Ryo Kinoshita pushes his voice to the near edge on tracks like “Omega” and “True North” while tracks like “Breathe Deep” and “Metro” showcase the bands diversity and musicianship as they bounce between light melodic verses, aggression fueled choruses and fist pumping breakdowns providing a unique rollercoaster like listening experience. Even if you are not a fan of heavy music there is enough substance in “True North” to make this a worth-while listen.

Despite finding some of the sound structures a little redundant mainly in the way of the albums electronic elements it wasn’t enough to pull my attention away from the core elements of each song. For fans of heavy music looking for something a little different give the latest offering from Crystal Lake a try as you won’t be disappointed.

Track Listing:
1.) Alpha
2.) Omega
3.) Hatred
4.) Metro
5.) True North
6.) Breathe Deep
7.) Black and Blue
8.) Six Feet Under
9.) Walk on Water
10.) Waves

 

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Book Review: Keith Morris’s “My Damage: The Story of a True Punk Rock Survivor”

“My Damage: The Story of a True Punk Rock Survivor”
Author: Keith Morris w/ Jim Ruland
Da Capo Press
Hardcover: 309 pages

Our score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Keith Morris is known the world over as the real deal, a seminal figure in hardcore punk, revered by any fan of the genre. As a co-founding member of Black Flag and as the front man for the seminal west coast punk band Circle Jerks “My Damage” is a memoir that covers not only covers Keith’s forty-year history in music but also his struggles with his health and drug use, told straight through the eyes of someone who shared the stage with just about every major figure in the industry.

From page 1 to page 309 “My Damage” keeps the reader’s attention making this a hard book to put down. Through candid accounts of Black Flag/Circle Jerks front man Keith Morris’s early struggles within the Hermosa Beach community to the reincarnation of “FLAG” close to 40 years later the book covers immense ground in an easy to follow format which for readers who may not be as familiar with Morris’s work is a great feature. The books drive matches that of the author as it moves quickly and is unrelenting in details. No matter how edgy or unsettling the story may be Morris pulls no punches and tells the story as it was from his perspective. No phony names or reader friendly versions here folks.

The sheer realness of “My Damage” makes this book appealing to not only punk rock music fans but to readers looking for a candid takes-no prisoners approach to storytelling. Keith cuts out the unneeded drab and quickly gets to the guts of his life and his experiences in the music business. At times over shadowing those story is his struggles with drugs and alcohol which at several points made me question just how the author is still with us and able to recount his journey in detail he does. “My Damage: The Story of a True Punk Rock Survivor” is a must read for biography and music fans.

 

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Book Review: “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”

“Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”
Author: Bob Mehr
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Hardcover: 520 pages w/ 32 pages of black and white photographs

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Trouble Boys” is the first definitive biography of one of the last great rock ‘n’ rolls bands of the twentieth century: The Replacements. With the participation of the group’s key members including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson- Author Bob Mehr is able to tell the real story. Additionally based on interviews conducted with family, friends, managers and musical colleagues, Mehr paints a deeply intimate portrait of the band. Far more than a conventional band bio, “Trouble Boys” is heartbreakingly tragic, frequently comic and ultimately a triumphant tale.

Right away I was interested in picking up this book and learning more about a band I was fairly late to discover in my music listening exploits. The Replacements were always a band I saw cited as an influence of some of my favorite artists however I had limited knowledge of the actual group aside from guitarist Paul Westerberg. As a cautionary mention before I go too far do yourself a favor and brush up on your Replacements knowledge prior to diving into this book’s immense 520 pages. Time and time again the author sites numerous names, events and locations both big and small all throughout the book and with limited knowledge of the bands career the reader can easily become lost. At several points during my reading I found myself having to go back over sections to find where the book was at as the story of just the band and its members is easily lost amidst miniscule details that were explained in far more detail than they probably needed to be leaving me to seriously question the books editing.

What “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements” lacks in being clear and concise makes up for the shortcoming in content as I stated before the book is very detailed. The addition of 32 pages of photos was also a very cool addition. Hardcore Replacements fans will already have this book on their radar but more casual listeners may also want to take notice as this book will be a welcome addition to any music fans reading library.

 

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Wes Craven, A True Master of Horror, Dies at 76

Wes Craven, the creator of both the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream” film series, passed away today at his home after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

After briefly teaching English at Westminster College, he decided to pursue a career in the film industry, beginning as a sound editor in New York City. He also began working in a film warehouse along-side a former filmmaker turned musician named Harry Chapin. Chapin had been approached by a dentist-friend of the warehouse owner who had $50,000 to invest in a horror film. Chapin, who had earned an Oscar-nomination for his 1968 documentary, “Champions,” was no longer interested in filmmaking so he recommended his co-worker, Wes, for the job. The film became 1972’s “Last House on the Left,” which was the first of many horror films written and directed by Craven. Craven also worked in the early world of pornography, mostly writing and editing films. It is rumored that, under the pseudonym “Abe Snake,” he directed the X-rated film called “The Firecracker Woman,” in which a young Craven also has a small role (clothed).

In 1977 he wrote and directed the brutal “The Hills Have Eyes,” following that up with “Deadly Blessing,” “Swamp Thing” and “The Hills Have Eyes Part II.” In 1984 he wrote and directed a film that would change horror movies forever, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” I was just getting into the theatre business when the film opened and I often filled in at the Town Theatre in Baltimore, which had the honor of being the theatre with the highest grosses during “Elm Street’s’ run. He finished the 80’s out by directing several episodes of “The Twilight Zone” television show and the films “The Serpent and the Rainbow” and “Shocker.”

He began the 90’s with “The People Under the Stairs” then turned to horror/comedy by directing Eddie Murphy in “Vampire in Brooklyn.” In 1996 he hit the horror jackpot again with the film “Scream.” A tongue in cheek look at the various tropes of horror films, the film went on to gross over $100 million and spawn three sequels. Proving he could do more than horror, he directed Meryl Streep to an Oscar nomination in the film “Music of the Heart.” He was currently serving as an Executive Producer on the upcoming “Scream” television show.

On a personal note, I’d like to mention that it was Wes Craven, who I had the good fortune to meet, that inspired me to write a screenplay about the life of one of my personal heroes, Harry Chapin. “If you ever sell it I’ll direct it,” he told me. Sadly, he’ll never have the chance.

Mr. Craven is survived by his third wife, Iya, and his children, Jonathan and Jessica. Jessica’s step-father is Tom Chapin, Harry’s brother.

Blu-ray Review “True Story”

Actors: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones, Ethan Suplee
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2015
Run Time: 99 minutes

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

Honestly, have heard much about the film “True Story” but what a cast it boasts with James Franco, Jonah Hill and Felicity Jones. There is some major talent in here. I am shocked this film didn’t get more play time with the cast alone. Props to both Franco and Hill for taking the drama route. They definitely nail it. Worth checking out for performances alone.

Official Premise: After journalist Michael Finkel (Hill) is fired from The New York Times for embellishing a story, he learns that accused murderer Christian Longo (Franco) has been claiming to be him. Hoping this story will save his career, Finkel begins interviewing Longo in prison. But soon, the men find themselves in an eerie game of cat and mouse.

The special features included on this disc are decent, including over 15 minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Rupert Goold. There are four production featurettes looking behind-the-scenes and into the true story of the film. There is an audio commentary with director Rupert Goold, discussing the film and his first time directing. Lastly there is a gallery and trailer included.

Film Review “True Story”

Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill and Felicity Jones
Directed by: Rupert Goold
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 40 mins
Fox Searchlight

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

In a remote village, two young men are talking to a journalist, explaining to him the horrible conditions they endure at work. The reporter introduces himself as “Mike Finkle – New York Times. Meanwhile, in Mexico, a woman tourist strikes up a conversation with a man she meets at a museum. Surprisingly, he also introduces himself as “Mike Finkle – New York Times.” Whaaaaaaaaaat?

A film with performances much better than its material, “True Story” tells the, presumably, true story of Christian Longo (Franco), a seemingly nice man who may or may not have murdered his family and his relationship with Mike Finkle (Hill) who is, you guessed it, a reporter for the New York Times. Their meeting comes when both are down on their luck. Finkle has been dismissed by the paper for, at the advice of his editor, jazzing up a recent story. Finkle visits Longo in prison to see why he impersonated him, with Longo telling him that he is a longtime admirer of his work. Longo agrees to chat with Finkle about his case, with the reporter figuring that “everybody deserves to have their story told.” Longo agrees to give Finkle an exclusive while Finkle agrees to help Longo write. However, as with most deals made with the devil, things don’t always go as planned.

As stated above, Franco and Hill do well, even though the story does neither of them any favors. I found it incredulous that a reporter with the reputation pointed out in the film as Finkle would lose his job over mis-identifying one of his subjects in his story. It wasn’t like he was Jayson Blair, a real NY Times reporter who plagiarized and fabricated dozens of stories (also made into a much better film called “Shattered Glass”). The more Finkle investigates the more you know Longo’s stories don’t make sense yet Finkle is so set on selling the story as a book that he just disregards any journalistic instinct he may have. The supporting cast is also strong, with Jones scoring as Finkle’s fiancée’.

Dewar’s True Profiles: Giving Back to those who give so Much

Dewar’s, the worlds’ most recognized and awarded Blended Scotch whisky brand, is synonymous with quality and an innate sense of class. True to form, its innovative Live True campaign is set to be reprised after experiencing huge digital success a few years ago, when the brand looked to launch a series of videos profiling special individuals who have impacted positively on the lives of those around them. Whether this impact relates to the local community or locations further afield, the personalities featured in these videos have all pursued their passion and encouraged others to follow suit.

 

 

 

With this in mind it stands to reason that the individuals featured in these videos are extremely successful and diverse in their nature. Take the television personality Sal Masekela, for example, who has earned considerable plaudits for his role as the founder of the charitable organisation Stoked Mentoring. Using actions sports such as surfing and skateboarding as a catalyst for positive change in the outlooks of young people, it embodies the spirit of Dewar’s Live True campaign and the impact that driven individuals can have through innovation, determination and an ability to inspire others.

This is just one of many memorable profiles that the brand have shared, however, each of which tells a unique and touching narrative of how humanity and an interest in the lives of others can impact positively on almost every aspect of modern life.

Sponsored

Book Review “Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance”

“Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance”
Author: Tom Bryant
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance” is the story of how a band defied stereotypes and championed uncomfortable subjects. Through unorthodox vocals and stage performances My Chemical Romance helped address often controversial topics head on. Journalist Tom Bryant recounts how the bands personal experiences resulted in some of their biggest hits. Bryant looks at the bands growing success over its four albums and the bands subsequent breakup in 2013. The book delves in to each member’s personal history leaving no stone unturned.

Over the books 384 pages Bryant chronicles the band’s various struggles with addiction, media exposure and issues between the group’s members. With a lot of these stories being told for the first time there was certainly a lot of info included that peaks the reader’s interest to further delve in to the following chapters. The biggest thing that kept weighing on my mind while reading this book was the fact that these stories were being told from an outside source and compiled from a number of unpublished interviews. Now I am certainly not discrediting the authors work however I think the book would have had a more personal feel if it was told via the band members directly and not via an onlooker.

Very seldom do I find biographies of this nature to be as telling as they could be when the actual players are not directly involved. However fan’s of the band will want to check the book out as it does give a fresh look on the events surrounding the groups break up. The book also includes some interesting black and white photos of the band which are worth checking out on their own.

 

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DVD Review “True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season”

Actors: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Alexander Skarsgård
Creator: Alan Ball
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: HBO Home Video
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014
Run Time: 600 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“True Blood” even though the series has an end in sight, the sixth season shows no signs of slowing down. I personally think it is just as sexy, scary, entertaining as it was in the first season. With Vampire Bill being rebirthed as a powerful ancient deity to Louisiana Governor Truman Burrell declaring open season on all vampires to Sookie Stackhouse finding herself sidelined by a mysterious stranger with a hidden agenda, this season is the most exciting yet. Like I said, the end is near and fans can catch up on this season before the final season makes its HBO debut this summer. This is also the series first season with out creator Alan Ball, who left to work on HBO’s “Banshee”. So fans were worried but I feel that this show has grow so much since the first and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for season seven!

Official Premise: Season six introduces several exciting new story lines that threaten what little sense of normalcy remains in Bon Temps, The Authority is in flames, and True Blood is in short supply. As Bill comes to terms with his newfound powers after emerging reincarnated from a pool of blood, Louisiana’s governor has declared war, replete with novel anti-vamp weapons and a high-tech internment camp established to wipe out the vampire race forever. Meanwhile, Sookie and Jason must steel themselves for an encounter with their parents’ killer: the mysterious and ancient Warlow.

The cast continues to shines as well. Regulars like Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, Nelsan Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll, Kristin Bauer van Straten and Joe Manganiello all really step up there game this season. Also joining them are new cast for season six includeing: Arliss Howard as Louisiana Governor Truman Burrell; Rob Kazinsky as Ben, a stranger with faerie ties; Rutger Hauer as Niall, a faerie grandfather; Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Nicole, a pro-vampire activist; and Amelia Rose Blaire as Truman Burrell’s daughter, Willa. Did I mention I can’t wait till season seven?

This DVD set comes with the full 10-episode season and I am very upset to find out that there is no Ultraviolet digital copy included with this…only Blu-ray. Honestly, that is a real bummer…what does it seriously cost HBO to include this?  There are also less special features on the DVD set than the Blu-ray set. Here only get ten clips of “Inside the Episodes” going behind the scenes on each with the show’s writers. There are five audio commentaries with cast/crew including executive producer Brian Buckner, Stephen Moyer, Carrie Preston, Amelia Rose Blaire and more! Lastly there are previews & recaps included.

TV Review: HBO’s “True Detective” Episodes 1-4

Created by: Nic Pizzolatto
Directed by: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, Tory Kittles
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 60 minutes
Premiered: January 12, 2014

Episode 1: 3 out of 5 stars
Episode 2: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Episode 3: 3 out of 5 stars
Episode 4: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“True Detective” follows two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives as they hunt for a serial killer across seventeen years. The show flips back and forth between 1995 and 2012. There are extended flashbacks used with Det. Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Det. Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) being interviewed separately and are the grounds for the whole story. I liked the fact that “True Detective” takes the approach of a mini-series, which is becoming a popular format after shows like “American Horror Story”.

The show is very dialogue heavy and character driven. It is also edgy and quite provocative. I am a big fan of director Cary Fukunaga (2010’s “Jane Eyre”). I think he has a great vision for this show and he really does great things with this mini-series. Louisiana is also used almost as another character and intertwines well with the characters and the story. The performances are not good but quite amazing. We all know that McConaughey and Harrelson are great actors but these roles are perfect for them and they simply nail it.

The first episode of “True Detective” is spent introducing us to characters of Cohle and Hart. We start with them getting the case for the ritualistic murder of a former prostitute. Their investigation for the case is started and we get the lowdown. The story is well setup here and I liked the characters. I find that I don’t like a show’s characters I usually do not enjoy the show no matter how good. I think though there could have been a little more added to this episode since I was left wanting a little more…but I guess that was the point.

The second episode really get deeper into both McConaughey and Harrelson’s characters. You start to learn a lot about them and some of their secrets. The story starts getting some steam and you are drawn into trying to figure out what is going on and where they are going with this show. This episode also has Alexandra Daddario (“Texas Chainsaw 3D”) and she is quite a sight. After the first episode, I have to admit, I wasn’t really racing to place the next right away. After this one, I immediately had to watch episode three.

Episode three really gives deeper into our characters. We learn more of their flaws and their unique views on the world. There are some interesting details of the investigation revealed in this episode. There is also a bit of tension revealed between the two partners, which gives an interesting dynamic. Hart also experiences some relationship issues (and I am sure it is not the end of it either). There was some decent reveal about the investigation in this episode as they track the killer. Thought it ran a little slow compared to the first two episodes, it was equal with the first episode.

Episode four is packed with tension between Hart and his wife, as well as investigation details. It also goes deeper into Cohle’s issue with drugs and his background. I love the dialogue in this episode, not that it is weaker in earlier episodes but this particular episode is really sharp. I liked seeing the partners team up and work together closely. Another aspect of love about this show is the car drives. They always seem to have these deep conversations while driving and McConaughey leaves you speechless. This was probably my favorite of the four episode to date. Let’s just say shit goes down and it is quite freaking intense!

So I found that I am not completely in love with this show but with these performances and the Louisiana feel, I am hooked. There is something very simple about it that draws you in. It is very slow-moving but I am sure that there is going to be a solid payoff worth waiting for. I am dying to see where they are going to go with the remaining episodes. In fact, I can’t believe we are already half-way through the series but I am in and very anxious to see where we go from here.

Blu-ray Review “True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season”

Actors: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley
Creator: Alan Ball
Number of discs: 7
Rated: Unrated
Studio: HBO Home Video
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 720 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love HBO’s “True Blood”. The show has been going strong for five seasons now. When you start watching its is hard not to completed get sucked in. This season packs some great storylines i.e. Bill and Eric behind bars, Tara getting used to her new life as a vampire, Alcide turning his back on the wolfpack and a vampire civil war on the horizon. There is no shortage of action and drama this season. In fact this season is one of my favorite to date from the show, besides the first. You would think that after five seasons that this show would lose some steam but it only seems to get more interesting and entertaining. Season five also definitely can be considered a game-changer for the show and it was also creator Alan Ball’s final season. Season six has already started and completed last week and it was such a powerhouse of a season. Brian Buckner stood up to replace Ball as the show’s showrunner and continued without missing a beat, which just proves that this show is a force to be reckoned with.

The fifth season sees the return of our favorite True Blood cast members including Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley and Sam Trammell…just to name a few. They are all in fine-form and deliver some of their best performances of the series especially Ryan Kwanten, who has a fantastic arc. This season introduces various new cast members including Scott Foley as Patrick Devins; Christopher Meloni as Roman; Valentina Cervi as Salom; and Lucy Griffiths as Nora. I love the storyline surrounding the Authority and their affects on these characters. Each character their own arc, which works well for the most part, this season and the finale really brings it all together quite well.

HBO has delivered a very impressive DigiPack combo pack release for the fifth season of “True Blood”. Thanks to HBO Select, this release offers buyers the choice of three ways to watch in one set – Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy. The digital copy included is redeemable via iTunes, Vudu or Amazon and of course my favorite, UltraViolet. The 12 episodes are well represented with their 1080p transfers. The show has been given consistently impressive releases thanks to HBO and have continued to look very sharp and impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks also deliver the mood for the show very well. I love composer Nathan Barr’s score for this show and as usual it is well represented here.

The special features are sure to leave diehard “True Blood” fans feeling very satisfied. “True Blood Episode Six: Autopsy” is an in-depth look behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew on that episode. “Authority Confessionals” gives you an inside look at the mysterious institution. There is an enhanced viewing option for the series allowing you to tap in Character Bios, Vampire Histories and fun facts while watching the show. There is a Flashback/Flash Forward option that will allow you to travel back through the show’s timeline and relive pivotal moments or Flash Forward to reveal the significance of a certain scenes. Lastly “True Blood Lines” is a fun guide to tap into secrets from relationships past and present.

Next up, the next batch of special features are available on the Blu-rays but are the only extras available on the DVDs. “Inside the Episodes” is an look into various back stories from each episode this season. There are five audio commentary tracks with cast and crew including creator/executive producer Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Denis O’Hare, Carrie Preston and many more! There are also Previews & Recaps from the series, in case you need to play catch up. Lastly you are able to watch these episodes seamless, so they flow really well together especially if you feel like marathoning it.

Thanks to Connect Your Home for setting us up with this great review. Can’t wait for what HBO has in store for “True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season” and also don’t forget that the show has already been renewed for a seventh season, which is planned for Summer of 2014. Keep it coming guys! This show is amazing!