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. I am still looking forward to what happens next in the upcoming sixth season, coming this June! Bring it on!

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.

CD Review: Blake Shelton "Based on a True Story…"

Blake Shelton
“Based on a True Story…”
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Label: Warner Bros.
Tracks: 12
Running Time: 44 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Blake Shelton has been very busy for the last two years.  His last major album was “Red River Blue”, which was easily one of the best of 2011 and last year’s “Cheers, It’s Christmas”, which was also fantastic.  Then there is this little show he is involved with called “The Voice”.  Where does this guy have time to be this busy?  Well “Based on a True Story…” is a fantastic follow-up to “Red River Blue”.  When I found out about the album, I thought it is going to be real hard to top that album. But this album is such a smash hit! Since I received the album it has been a constant loop and I just keep enjoying the songs more and more.  If you love Blake, then you shouldn’t need to even read this, pick this up! If you are new to his music, then this is a great start and also a must have for any country music fan!

“Based On A True Story…” features 12 tracks with each track trumping the next. The first track released as a single, “Sure Be Cool If You Did”, is already a smash hit and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Tracks chart. The great thing about that track is that it is amazing but not even the best track on the album.  So if you love that song, like many do, just think that the best is yet to come.  It is catchy and real draw for the album though. What thing I love about Shelton is that he is country but doesn’t really throw it in your face, if you don’t like the genre there are still some great songs on the album that you would enjoy. I like to say that he has a little bit for everyone on his albums.

My person favorite on the album is “Do You Remember”.  What a beautiful song.  I see this being a very big single for him.  But like I said when you listen to an album like “Based on a True Story…” you literally have the option to release each song as a single that is not always the case. If you like Pistol Annies, who doesn’t, they pop in on the first track “Boys ‘Round Here”.  This song is a great kick off for the album. It has a lot of attitude and gets those toes tapping! Another talent musician to appear on the album is Gwen Sebastian on the track My Eyes”.  Whatever you are doing Blake, keep it up brotha cause it is working well for you!! He should start getting ready to clean up the Grammy awards with this new album for sure! Can’t wait to see what is next!

Track Listing:
1. “Boys ‘Round Here” (featuring Pistol Annies)
2. “Sure Be Cool If You Did”
3. “Do You Remember”
4. “Small Town Big Time”
5. “Country on the Radio”
6. “My Eyes” (featuring Gwen Sebastian)
7. “Doin’ What She Likes”
8. “I Still Got a Finger”
9. “Mine Would Be You”
10. “Lay Low”
11. “Ten Times Crazier”
12. “Grandaddy’s Gun”

Blu-ray Review “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True / Cinderella III: A Twist in Time”

Starring: Jennifer Hale, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, Corey Burton, Holland Taylor, Susanne Blakeslee
Directors: Frank Nissen, John Kafka
Number of discs: 3
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Running Time: 73 / 70 minutes

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

How can you follow up to wonderful and timeless story of “Cinderella”. “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” is a poor excuse for a sequel to one of the best fairy tale stories ever. The animation really is poor and really shows it’s direct-to-video roots. To be honest, I wouldn’t purchase this if it wasn’t in a combo pack. “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time” is a much better follow-up.  It delivers a really nice twist on the classic story and also packs some really fun songs. This film does make this release worth the purchase and I would just take “Cinderella II”, as a bonus feature.  In terms of delivery, “Cinderella II & III” are presented on one Blu-ray disc, while each film is also available on their own individual DVD. Overall, I would recommend this for probably only hardcore Disney fans!

“Cinderella II: Dreams Come True”: As a newly crowned princess, Cinderella quickly learns that life at the Palace – and her royal responsibilities – are more challenging than she had imagined. In three heartwarming tales, Cinderella calls on her animal friends and her Fairy Godmother to help as she brings her own grace and charm to her regal role and discovers that being true to yourself is the best way to make your dreams come true.

“Cinderella III: A Twist In Time”: Princess Cinderella is living a charmingly perfect life until her stepmother gets her hands on Fairy Godmother’s magic wand. With a wicked spell that turns back the clock, she erases the Prince’s memories of the girl he met at the ball and shatters Cinderella’s happily ever after! Jaq and Gus scurry to save the day before time runs out. But was it all really just a dream in Cinderella’s heart, or will true love triumph over all?

Despite being pretty bad, “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” still looks the best it ever has on Blu-ray with its 1080p transfer and its 1.66:1 aspect ratio. “Cinderella III: A Twist In Time” also looks fantastic with its 1080p transfer and its 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Both films also sport a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The special features do not add much to this release. There is a feature called “Becoming a Princess” which is included in a two-part feature. The 1st Edition is with “Cinderella II” and 2nd Edition is with “Cinderella III” and both are new features for this release. They takes you through princess school and the process of being transformed into a Disney Princess. “Musical Magic” looks into the songs in the “Cinderella 2”. Lastly, there is a music video for the song “Put It Together”.

Kristina Anapau talks about her work on Season 5 of “True Blood”

Kristina Anapau has appeared in films like Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”. She also appeared as Maurella in season 5 of HBO’s “True Blood”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask Kristina about her work on “True Blood” and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “True Blood”?
Kristina Anapau: I auditioned for Alan Ball and the True Blood producers. I did the scene once, they said thank you, and I left. It was apparently a ‘Thank you, that was exactly what we were looking for’ because I got the call that I had booked the role just a few hours later. As an actor, you always tend to feel that a quick audition with no discussion or adjustments means that they don’t like you or that you are not right for the role, but it is often times exactly the opposite.

MG: How was it joining an already established cast in season five?
KA: I feel very privileged to have worked with the actors I have worked with thusfar. Chris Bauer is an incredibly generous actor and human being. I learn something new from him every time we work together and with every conversation we have. I adore working with Anna [Paquin], she is tremendously talented and focused. She has a magnetism that pulls you in—she is really beautiful inside and out. The True Blood cast is phenomenal—incredibly talented actors on set and absolutely wonderful people off. It is such a pleasure to come to work.

MG: Tell us about your character Maurella and what do you ejnoy about playing her most?
KA: Maurella is a seductress from the faerie dimension who has a passion for Andy Bellefleur. She is 500 years old, although she only claims to be 300;) She is on her way to becoming an elder of the fairies, and is called in to help Sookie and Jason gain clarity surrounding their parents death . I enjoy everything about Maurella. Being able to shoot balls of light out of my hands, read peoples minds, and orgasmically give birth to quadruplets after a one week gestation period? What’s not to love?

MG: Can we expect you past for season six?
KA: We are a pretty secretive operation…don’t think I can give hints away as to where the storyline may be headed by answering that:)

MG: What other projects do you have upcoming?
KA: I just shot a really great episode of NBC’s Grimm that will be airing on September 10th. Sighting, a film I am very excited about, will be out later in the year. It’s a fantastic project. And early next year another film I am very proud of, BlackJacks, will be released.

Kelly Overton talks about joining Season 5 of “True Blood”

Kelly Overton is currently playing the character of Rikki in season five of HBO’s “True Blood”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kelly about her role in the show and how was it playing a werewolf.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved with working on “True Blood”?
Kelly Overton: I had gotten an audition and was extremely excited as I was a fan of these shows from the start. It was great to have the opportunity to meet Alan Ball and to be able to show him what I could bring to the show. Everything happened really fast.

MG: Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
KO: I play Rikki who is a new werewolf that is a member of the Shreveport pack. When we first meet my character she is not in the best of moods after finding out the pack master is missing.

MG: How was it joining the team going into season 5?
KO: It was amazing. There is a true sense collaboration on the show. It’s a pleasure to be working with everyone. The talent all the way across the board on the show is great.

MG: What has been the roles biggest challenge?
 KO: Probably having to play a supernatural character. Also having to work with real wolves was a bit challenging. I had never worked with animals before. The season really starts off with a bang and the ride has been amazing.

MG: What have you liked most about playing the villain side of your character?
KO: I try not to look at her as a villain. She is werewolf but she is also a person. Rikki has a really good heart and is very loyal to her pack. She is willing to risk everything for the good of the pack.

MG: What other projects do you have in the works?
KO: I am in the process of figuring out what is next for me. It is a very exciting time in my life right now. I can’t say just yet what my next project is. Mainly I am focused on finishing this season of “True Blood” strong.

CD Review: Otherwise “True Love Never Dies”

Otherwise
“True Love Never Dies”
Century Media
Producer: Jay Baumgardner
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“True Love Never Dies” is the debut release from the hard rock band Otherwise. The 5 piece Las Vegas based band consists of Adrian Patrick- Lead Vocals, Ryan Patrick- Guitar/Vocals, Flavio Ivan- Bass/Vocals, Corky Gainsford- Drums/Vocals and Vassilios Metropoulos- Guitar/Vocals. “True Love Never Dies” is being released via Century Media Records and was produced by acclaimed producer Jay Baumgardner (Godsmack, Bush, Papa Roach).

A straight forward rock album is what you get from the debut release from Otherwise. Standard straight forward production allows the 5 piece band be just that. The no frills album gets right to the point. Producer Jay Baumgardner created a solid mix which gives each of the 14 songs an intense musical feel. Tracks such as “Die For You” and “Scream Now” feature catchy sing along choruses while songs like “I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures)” and “Soldiers” feature slightly softer arrangements which showcases the bands diversity.

Though I found the album to be a little generic in its approach it was still an enjoyable listen. Otherwise is not reinventing the hard rock wheel with their debut release but who cares! Each of the 14 songs showcased a band that appears to have a bright future in the ever changing rock world. “True Love Never Dies” is a good foundation and I will be curious to see what is next for Otherwise.

Track Listing:
1.) I
2.) Die For You
3.) Lighthouse
4.) Scream Now
5.) Don’t Be Afraid
6.) Vegas Girl
7.) II
8.) Silence Reigns
9.) I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures)
10.) Crimson
11.) Full Circle
12.) Soldiers
13.) III
14.) Heaven

“True Blood” star Ryan Kwanten’s “Griff the Invisible” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

To celebrate the release of “Griff the Invisible”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway THREE copies of the DVD. If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite superhero and why. This giveaway will be open until Tuesday November 15th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

Ryan Kwanten, of TV’s “True Blood” fame, stars in the charming, quirky and totally unpredictable romantic comedy GRIFF THE INVISIBLE, swooping in on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital this November 15 from Indomina Releasing. Critics have called Kwanten “a pleasure to watch” (Manohla Dargis/The New York Times) and “especially wonderful” (Robert Abele/Los Angeles Times) in the role of Griff, a shy and awkward office worker by day, who finds escape from his ordinary life by assuming the identity of a fantastic superhero each night. Rising star Maeve Dermody, two-time Australian Film Institute nominee for Best Supporting Actress (2009’s Beautiful Kate, 2007’s Black Water) and recent recipient of The Australian International Movie Convention’s Australian Star of the Year Award, co-stars as Kwanten’s equally oddball love interest in a film about how the world can make us invisible, courage can make us incredible, and love can make us invincible.

Synopsis
Griff (Kwanten), a shy and awkward office worker by day, finds escape from his ordinary life by assuming the identity of a fantastic superhero each night. Griff’s secret is jeopardized when he meets Melody (Dermody), a cute but unconventional daydreamer. She quickly becomes fascinated by his idiosyncrasies, which are equal only to her own. In the face of mounting pressure to live in the “real world,” it’s up to Melody to rescue GRIFF THE INVISIBLE for the sake of herself, Griff and their newfound love for each other.

DVD Bonus Material
Behind The Scenes Featurette
Anatomy of a Scene
o Opening Sequence
o Steadicam Shot
o Anyhoo
Deleted Scenes
Appear Calm: Diary of a First Time Director
o Pre-Production
o The Shoot
o Post-Production
Rain Stops Play
Patrick’s Set Tour
Music Video – “Don’t Give Yourself Away” by The Shadow Bureau

 

Related Content

Yuen Woo Ping’s “True Legend” Blu-Ray Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

To celebrate the release of “TRUE LEGEND” and this week’s premirere of season four on ABC, Media Mikes would like to giveaway THREE COPIES of the season on Blu-Ray. If you would like to win one of these prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know ypur favorite kung-fu movie. This giveaway will be open until Monday October 3rd at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

After years of blockbuster success as one of the most distinguished martial arts choreographers in the world, Yuen Woo Ping (lead martial arts choreographer of “The Matrix” Trilogy, “Kill Bill Volumes I and II” and the Academy Award winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) stepped back into the director’s chair, after a 15-year absence, to make True Legend.   By blending his famed, time-honored wuxia style with high-intensity, computer generated sequences, he has managed to create some of the most brilliant and captivating fight scenes ever filmed for the screen.

SYNOPSIS:
Su Can’s (Vincent Zhao) respectable life is obliterated when his vengeful brother, Yuan (Andy On), returns from war armed with the deadly Five Venom Fists.  Weakened but not destroyed, Su Can learns a never-before-seen form of martial arts: the Drunken Fist.  Armed with this new power, he returns home to honor his family through retribution by taking on his brother in a battle to become the ultimate warrior.  Packed with the distinct fighting styles of director Yuen Woo Ping, the film stars martial arts legends Vincent Zhao, Michelle Yeoh, Jay Chou and David Carradine in his final screen performance.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Five Original Featurettes
  • Two Storyboard to Scene Sequences
  • Music Video
  • International Trailer
  • Aspect ratio: 16×9 2.35 Widescreen Version
  • Sound: Manadarin 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Stereo
  • Subtitles:  English, French

Blu-Ray Review “True Legend”

Directed by: Yuen Woo-ping
Starring: Vincent Zhao, Zhou Xun, Jay Chou, Michelle Yeoh, Andy On, David Carradine, Guo Xiaodong, Feng Xiaogang, Cung Le, Gordon Liu, Bryan Leung, Jacky Heung
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 116 minutes

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

I have to say “True Legend” is easily one of the best Kung-Fu movies that I have ever seen. I am huge fan of this genre and I have literally seen hundreds of films. The film is directed by Yuen Woo-ping, in case you don’t known him he did the fight choreography on “The Matrix” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. This is his first returns to directing since 1996. I hope that he doesn’t wait another 17 years before he directs again. Whenever you see his name you automatically expect insane fight scenes but these went WELL above my expectations. If you are a fan of kung-fu movies than this is a must for sure.

Here is the plot for this film, we follow Su Can as he seeks revenge from his evil brother, Yuan for kidnapping his son and sending him and his wife to their supposed death. When Su regains his strength, he returns home to get revenge and redeem his family’s honor. Yuan has since mastered the Five Venom Fist and the two mortal enemies battle the ultimate fight. Epic…right? There is more but I will leave that to you to find out…don’t like spoilers.

Like I mentioned already the fight scenes are a work of genius. I was left sitting with my mouth wide open just staring and even rewinding a few scenes. The cast is not good…it is amazing, ranging from such legends as Vincent Zhao, Jay Chou, Michelle Yeoh, David Carradine (his final screen performance), and Gordon Liu. The Blu-ray presentation was phenomenal, the picture was perfect and the sound was so clear and rocked my 7.1 surround sound. I read that parts of this film were shot in 3D, I would have love to get to experience that since it would probably make this amazing film even better.

The special features are lacking a little bit. Since this film is such a big production I was hoping for a lot of extras. We are given some behind the scenes, storyboards and a QR Code inside to access to more material (cool idea, though). The behind the scenes where good but not as long as I would have liked them to be. The lack of extra does not reduce the fact though of how truly awesome this movie is.