Film Review “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare”

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto. Landon Liboiron
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 100 minutes

Our Score: 1 out of 5 stars

Blumhouse Productions has been busting out some really solid horror films recently including last year’s “Get Out” and “Split”. “Truth or Dare” is not one of them. I was just telling my wife that I feel like horror is taking the turn again like it did back in 1996 when “Scream” came out and horror became popular mainstream again. I feel like that is happening with the enormous success of films like “IT” and “A Quiet Place”. “Truth or Dare” is bland, boring and not scary at all.

The film stars Lucy Hale from “Pretty Little Liars” and Tyler Posey from “Teen Wolf’. The premise is exactly what you would expect from the film’s title. It features a group of idiotic kids that decide to place “a harmless game” of Truth or Dare only to find out that it is much more deadly! Insert evil laugh here!! Wahhhhaaaa. The friends quickly realize that they can’t tell a lie or refuse the dare as they find themselves deeper in the game than expected. Bored? I am.

As I am writing this I am starting to think that I may be getting too old for these teen slashers. For teens and young adults, this might be your jam because it carries the cheapest scares and packs a “pretty” young cast of kids from various TV shows. Listen, I don’t blame Blumhouse for releasing this movie. It is a smart strategic move. It cost $3.5 million dollars and will easily make 3x that in North American box office alone. Go see “A Quiet Place” instead, it is a movie that requires you to be quiet, patient and wait for a real scare.

Blu-ray Review “The Whole Truth”

Actors: Renée Zellweger, Keanu Reeves, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kenneth Choi, Sean Bridgers
Directors: Courtney Hunt
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I have and always will be a Keanu Reeves fan. I know he is hit and miss with films (and this is a miss) but I still always check out when he has something new. On the other hand, I am not a fan of Renée Zellweger at all. In fact I can’t stand her, so that gave me immediately mixed feelings about this film. I call it a one time watcher. Interested but at the same time bland and definitely something I would not revisit.

Official Premise: Defense attorney Richard Ramsey (Keanu Reeves) takes on a personal case when he swears to his widowed friend, Loretta Lassiter (Renée Zellweger), that he will keep her son Mike (Gabriel Basso) out of prison. Charged with murdering his father, Mike initially confesses to the crime. But as the trial proceeds, chilling evidence about the kind of man that Boone Lassiter (Jim Belushi) really was comes to light. While Ramsay uses the evidence to get his client acquitted, his new colleague Janelle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) tries to dig deeper – and begins to realize that the whole truth is something she alone can uncover.

“The Whole Truth” comes as a Blu-ray combo pack with a digital HD copy included. The Blu-ray A/V merits are nothing special but at the same time nothing to complain about. Just bland and basic like the film itself. There is only one special feature also included, which is an audio commentary by director Courtney Hunt. Skipped around on it but really didn’t interest me enough to watch again.

Film Review “Truth”

Director: James Vanderbilt
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace
Running Time: 121mins.
Sony Pictures Classics

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It sets a high standard to go ahead and give a politically charged film a title like Truth but that’s exactly what James Vanderbilt, making his directorial debut, has done. I expect the film will be targeted by leftover George W Bush supporters as its protagonist says, “for asking the question” once again of GW’s National Guard service time but the fact is he still won out in the 2004 election despite this scandal and that result is not the concern of this film. Instead Vanderbilt delves into the high stakes of questioning extremely powerful people and more than once the dangers of confirmation bias by even the most experienced of journalists. Whatever your politics, this is an often compelling film that is driven by another strong performance from Cate Blanchett.

Based on her own memoir, Truth and Duty, the film tells the story of Mary Mapes (Blanchett) an ex-producer for on CBS’s “60 Minutes” whose career, along with famous newsman Dan Rather (Redford), was ended when they dug into the dodgy military record of President George W. Bush and whether or not strings were pulled to not only keep him out of the Vietnam war, but to also cover for his being AWOL from even his National Guard duties. On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, the story was make or break material whose impact relied on the timeliness at which it could be delivered to the public.
Working from her own memoir, it’s hard for the film to be anything but sympathetic to Mapes and Rather’s side. I don’t think Rather can feel too badly about this chapter of his life being played out large again when Robert Redford is portraying him. That said, Vanderbilt still manages time and again to highlight the flaws in Mapes relentless fight to get this story out. In order to make her deadline to air, she naysays concerns raised by some of the experts her own team has assembled which eventually comes right back around the bite her later. Once the story blows up and is challenged by Bush’s right-wing supporters in the media, the film picks up. More and more tiny technicalities rip apart Mapes’s reporting if not the actual truth about Bush’s service. Vanderbilt even wrings stress out of the nuances of Microsoft Word fonts, quite a feat outside of resumé creation.

Along the way, Cate Blanchett is electric to watch. In the beginning she is secure and untouchable in light of her success in breaking the news of atrocities at Abu Gharib and her close partnership with the iconic Rather. In Blanchett’s Mapes you can see why a network would bow to her command despite some doubts. It’s a performance that only gets more layered as Mapes weathers her attacks. At first keeping her defenses up and then slowly you see her gears start to shift from denials to justification, despair, and eventually to remounting up her full defenses against a harsh inquisition lead by a surprisingly intimidating Dermot Mulroney. Blanchett is capably supported by the likes of Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss (I could have done without Topher Grace shouting a speech in the film’s later acts), but her charisma is only truly matched in the relatively small role Redford plays. Redford avoids impersonation of Dan Rather, but exudes the stoicism of the long-serving anchorman well and serves as a needed calm counterpoint in Mapes’s political storm.

Perhaps what’s most interesting about Truth is to see an internet-powered scandal from over a decade ago and how even in just this short span of time, news has evolved (or devolved? Depends who you ask). Twitter, among other outlets, wasn’t around yet and by that standard, I began to wonder if this story would have died in the ever-shuffling 24 hour news cycle or if it would have simply come to the same end results in days rather than months. And whether Rather could have better ‘survived’ an even more sped up timeline. In a film all about raising questions, I was satisfied to come away with still more.

Truth is on limited release from October 16th and will expand to more theaters later this month.

Andy Wood talks about new album “Caught Between the Truth and a Lie”

Andy Wood has been performing music since a very young age starting out with his grandfather and cousin. Wood spent most of this past year touring with Scott Stapp serving as the bands musical director during the Creed front mans successful solo run. Wood has also appeared on variety of album as a session player and recently released his second solo album titled “Caught Between the Truth and a Lie”. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Andy recently about the new double album release and his first memories of music.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how you got your start in music?
Andy Wood: I grew up playing bluegrass with my grandfather and cousin. We started right around the time I was about 5 years old. I was playing mandolin and my cousin was playing fiddle. As I got older I kept playing music and started getting hired to perform and different places. Once I discovered electric guitar it was all downhill. (Laughs) I started session playing and really working doing various hired gun gigs. I did work with people like Sebastian Bach and list of others. If there was an opening I would jump in there and help out. On the side I was still doing my own music which helped me stay sane. After you work on other people’s material you need an outlet for your own creativity.

AL: You recently worked with Creed front man Scott Stapp can you tell us how that came about?
AW: I was hired while Scott’s solo album was in the mixing process. Tim Pierce played on the album but I was brought on to be the bands musical leader. It’s been a great time being out on the road. I am kind of the go to guy when it comes to the musical arrangement and such. I have to sort of manhandle the decisions when it comes to recreating the album live. If Scott wants to rework a song or something like that I put it all together and bring it to the band. I also will fill in on keyboards or other instruments if needed.

AL: Can you tell us about your new double disc solo album?
AW: The album came from self reflection. I am not just a guitar player or just a mandolin player. I wanted to put together an album that still featured those things but not be jarring to the listener. I put together songs like “The White Tree” which is on the acoustic half of the release and songs like “The Four Horseman” which is on the electric side. The release runs the gambit of Celtic/bluegrass to full on heavy metal. When you look at those two genres there’s not a lot of cohesiveness so I wanted the songs to have a nice transition. The first disc starts out with acoustic tracks and leads in to some more rock type tracks. The second disc starts out with more ballad type rock songs before it really takes off with the heaviest parts of the album. It does slow back down a little with some country type songs which help transition back to the first disc. I wanted the release to make sense no matter which disc the listener started with.

AL: So the idea of doing a double album was something you had always wanted to do?
AW: Absolutely! I wanted to tell the world I more than just what I am normally associated with. I am not just an electric guy or a bluegrass guy. There is a side of me that writes music which is very relaxed and low key. I needed an outlet to where it was ok to show who I am and all the different sides of my musical personality while not alienating my fan base.

AL: With your wide variety of styles was it hard to narrow it down to which ones you wanted to showcase on the new records?
AW: There were some difficult parts but, I went in to the sessions with about 50 fresh ideas. I went in really overloaded with material. To help narrow things down a bit I put a checklist together which the songs would have to match the specific criteria I laid out. There had to be a lot of melodic content because that it’s self is huge. The songs needed that memorable melody rather than something that was just full of guitars licks and flash.

AL: Being a multi-instrumentalist which do you find more comfortable to write on?
AW: I think where ever I am at be it guitar, mandolin, sousaphone or whatever the instrument acts as the translator. I try to be a musician first over anything else and I want to make sure that the melody I come up with will work well no matter what it’s played on. When I am writing the instrument is just an outlet.

AL: Have you thought about putting together a tour to support the release?
AW: With it being towards the end of the year not a whole lot of touring happens throughout the holidays. Once the New Year kicks off in January I will be appearing at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, CA. In February I will be out on the Ship Rocked Cruise which is always a lot of fun. I think we have done four of those so far. The fans that go on those cruises are just so excited for every show. It’s a really great time.

AL: What other plans do you have for the coming year?
AW: I think those phone calls will start to come as the year roles on. A lot of times everyone is so tired from the previous year that they take a few months off to relax and then start back up working again.

Book Review “Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth: 10th Anniversary Edition” by Jenny McCarthy

“Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth” 10th Anniversary
Author: Jenny McCarthy
Paperback: 166 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth” 10th Anniversary edition written by actress and television personality Jenny McCarthy is the former Playboy playmates first venture as an author which originally was released in 2003. The soft cover 10th Anniversary edition of the book is being released via Da Capo Press and features 166 pages jam packed with side splitting stories along with a new introduction by the outspoken author.

Now just because there is a guy reviewing this book doesn’t mean I and other fathers new to the baby game cannot relate to some of the stories contained in the reissue of this book. The cool part about the book is that it doesn’t really matter if you have 1 kid or 10 or if you’re a guy or a girl. McCarthy’s book has a little something for everyone. With the exception of a new introduction this anniversary edition the book doesn’t offer a lot of new material it’s still fun to read or for those who got the book during its initial release re-read some of the graphic yet hysterical stories Jenny chose to share. No matter how embarrassing the topic McCarthy jumps in with both feet. With chapters titles ranging from “Blue Twinkies” to “Husband No-No’s” there is no subject related to pregnancy left unturned. Jenny even pokes fun at the looming presence of “Granny Panties”. Ladies you know what I’m talking about.

Having read a number of these pregnancy themed books around the time of the birth of my son I found most of them to be pretty boring and fairly lopsided. The total opposite can be said for “Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth” as it’s a fun quick read that both you and your significant other can enjoy.

Book Review "Official Truth, 101 Proof The Inside Story of Pantera" by Rex Brown

Author: Rex Brown w/ Mark Eglinton
Hardcover: 259 pages
Publisher: DaCapo
Release Date: March 12th, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Have you ever wanted to hear the real truth about your favorite band from the people who were really there? Sure there have been other books that have tried to bring in elements of truth while skirting around the stuff fans and people on the outside really wanted to know. Well here is your chance to get whole truth and nothing but. Rex Brown former bassist for the Grammy-nominated, platinum selling heavy metal group Pantera has just released “Official Truth, 101 Proof The Inside Story of Pantera”. The memoir is a tell all book that not only tells Rex’s side of things but also incorporates stories from Rex’s friends and family that were present while one of the biggest bands to come out of the 90’s slowly began to break apart at the seams.

Candid, brutally honest, and at times shocking Rex Brown touches on everything and pulls no punches while doing so. Very rarely do you get the true grit out of a memoir however this one is the exception. Not only do you get the inside track on one of the biggest metal acts of all time you get to hear it from multiple sources that were there and can confirm what is being said. I found this book to be a breath of fresh air in a market that is saturated with half hearted  tell all’s that do nothing more than restate the facts the most people already know. Brown’s prologue alone made the book great as it wastes no time delving in to the murder of Pantera guitarist/friend Dimebag Darrell and his feelings related to all the events leading up to and after that awful December evening in Columbus, OH. Nothing is off limits or taboo. From drugs and alcohol to troubles with other band mates Brown tackles these subjects head on and at full speed. Co-Author Mark Eglinton does a remarkable job capturing all of Brown’s emotion and dedication which until now have remained mostly unseen due to Brown’s tendency to shy away from the media.

From start to finish a great read. “Official Truth, 101 Proof The Inside Story of Pantera” is one of those books that you either can’t or don’t want to put down. Each chapter does a great job leading in to the next while keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The book also contains some really great photos from Rex’s personal collection that for me was the icing on the cake. Even if you aren’t a fan of Pantera, Down or Rex’s current group Kill Devil Hill you will want to check this book out as the story alone is one of triumph, tragedy and moving on.

Be sure to check out Media Mikes exclusive interview with Rex Brown, here.

Pantera's Rex Brown talks about his book "Official Truth" and new album with Kill Devil Hill

Rex Brown is the former bassist for the Grammy nominated, platinum selling heavy metal band Pantera. After the groups break up in 2003 Brown went on to play with groups such as Down and more recently Kill Devil Hill which features Vinny Appice on drums. Browns memoir titled “Official Truth” has just been released and is a gritty in your face tale from the man who lived it. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with Rex recently to discuss his work on the book and to get an update on the second album from Kill Devil Hill.

Adam Lawton: What made now the right time to release this book?
Rex Brown: A friend of mine who runs Bass player magazine in the UK mentioned that he was friends with a guy who writes books and that I should get in to it. At the time it was something I was not interested in at all. I figured I wasn’t dead yet so why write a book now? After thinking about it for awhile I figured it really did make sense to put this out now and then move on down the line. The thing that happened to Dime really fucked me up. I mean he was murdered. This was my best friend who was the best man at my wedding. I lived out of a brown bottle for a long time and doing crazy shit not knowing at the very that that’s not the way to go. I got in touch with my author and started talking about how we wanted to do this thing. I read all of the Rock and Roll books that come out as it’s my passion. That’s what I want to be doing. One thing just led to another and he started writing things down and then submitting them to me. He really had to develop my slang when he put it to print as I don’t line up in ques. I wanted to tell my side of the story, my experiences, and my truths of what went on and it is all true.  My author also brought me the idea of have friends and family write various passages to help fill in some gaps. I have short term memory but my memory of the past is pretty fucking vivid. There’s collaboration and corroborating. It’s all true and that what I wanted the book to about. My author really wanted me to dig and that’s what I did.

AL: What was it difficult looking back on some of these stories and hearing perspectives from other people involved?
RB: When I first read them yes. When I got to know a little more about what they were trying to say no. So it’s a yes and no type answer. My sister is in this book a lot so I called her the other day to tell her that when this thing comes out it’s not a cook book or a kid’s book. I told her she probably wouldn’t want to put this out to all her friends. She is 17 years older than me and didn’t lead the hippy life style like I have. The book is different than most books but it’s real. As real as it is it’s the truth. That was something I had to explain to my 13 year old twins. I told them they may get a little flack over this but not to worry about it because everything is going to be all right. This is just dad’s previous life. What I did then is definitely not what I am doing now. I have come full circle and we all grow and mature.

AL: Being that the book is so truthful are you worried in any way about the backlash it may receive from fans or those mentioned in the book?
RB: I don’t give a fuck! Go write your own book fucking book. This is my truth and my experience. This is the best way I knew how to tell things. I wanted to come honest and clean. I am tight with both Philip and Rita but I don’t talk to Vinnie. You have to read this book as a whole not just take a chapter here or there. You have to go from the very beginning to the very end. The ending tells its own story and there are some really fun parts to this book. I am proud of this book and I wouldn’t have put it out if I wasn’t. Of course somewhere in my mind there is maybe 10% of me that is concerned about some dickhead behind a computer that’s going to blast on me. I am certainly not worried about it though. I was put in the middle of so many situations during the bands career and I never said a word to the press about it. I just did what I had to do to keep things going. It’s now time for me to tell me story. There is always the good, the bad and the ugly and this book is not about ribbing one person more than another. It’s about making a band work and making it go through what we went through. That’s why the book is called “Official Truth”. I could have given you some bullshit book but I didn’t. I gave everyone the fucking truth.

AL: What was the most rewarding part of the writing process for you?
RB: Just telling the truth and being able to open myself up. That was something I had never done before. I am a guy that’s all about the jam and getting up on stage every night. I don’t care about all of the other parts. For me to do something like this and open up took a lot of balls. I am not patting myself on the back or anything like that but this stuff had to come out.

AL: Can you give us a head ups on the second Kill Devil Hill record?
RB: If you like the first album this second one blows it completely away as far as I am concerned. Musically it is more of a collaborative and collective effort between all of us. Everyone is doing their own swing but at the same time from doing so many dates together we know each other really well. I know Vinny like the back of my hand. I watched him every night for 7 months on the Heaven and Hell tour. We have always just been really good friends. He is the baddist mother fucking drummer on the planet. You just don’t screw something like that up. The other two guys in the band Mark Zavon and Dewey Bragg are just as badass as we are but they never made it out of town. Mark is a brilliant writer and a hell of a guitar player. Dewey is on the verge of stardom with the stuff he is coming up with. It is really just amazing. Things have almost come full circle between me and these guys. I took a chance by leaving Down and joining these guys. I could have stayed with Down as Phillip and I had been together for 24 years which is a long time. We don’t talk about each other’s music but we are still great friends. Well I hope so after this book. (Laughs) This stuff in there is all public knowledge anyway. This thing has just given me the hunger to want to play again. I can’t tell you how much stronger my life is. It really couldn’t be better and life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Hopefully people will enjoy the book and the new album when it comes out.

Be sure to check out the Media Mikes review of “Official Truth”, here.

Josh Gates chats about Season 5 of Syfy’s “Destination Truth”

Josh Gates is the host of SyFy’s hit show “Destination Truth”. The show is set to premiere Tuesday, July 10, at 8:00 pm with two back-to-back episodes to commence its fifth season. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Josh about “Destination Truth” and what we can expect from season 5.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell, for those of us who don’t know, how you first got involved in the show?
Josh Gates: Sure. I’m like a travel adventure guy I think by birth. I just always loved the idea of travel. I think there’s something in my blood that I’m not a real sit still kind of guy. My mom is from England, my father spent a lot of his career working overseas. And so from a young age I was kind of exposed to travel. And it took me, after college, a little while to figure out how to do that professionally. I was living in Los Angeles, and I would save some money up and I would take a trip, and I would save some money up and I would take a trip. And very coincidentally, as you know, a lot of these things are when it comes to the television world, I knew this producer who was pitching the show to Syfy about a kind of exploration into the unknown kind of format, this Destination Truth show, and they needed a host. I was just returning from Africa and I had just climbed Kilimanjaro. And they met a bunch of people and I walked in and looked really terrible and scruffy and dirty from this trip. And I think that there was this kind of authenticity where they say, “Hey, this is a guy who really loves to travel.” And beyond that, I think they really wanted someone who wasn’t going to just rubber stamp these stories, someone who wasn’t just going to say, “Ghosts are real, Bigfoot’s real.” And so I think the other thing that was a nice marriage between Syfy and I is that I could kind of be a proxy for the viewer and kind of act as a skeptic and approach these stories, you know, with a degree of skepticism. So it was just a good fit. And the rest has been history. And it’s been four or five years of doing a lot of travel and looking into a lot of these really, really amazing stories.

MG: Can you talk about your favorite place you’ve been this season?
JG: This season is great. We went to a bunch of locations we haven’t been to before. So it’s our very first time touching down in places like Sweden, our very first time going tothe Islands of Fiji. So a lot of new locations for me. And I always like that, I’m kind of a shameless competitor, so I always want to go to a new place and check off a new box for a place I’ve never been to before. But for me I think in terms of real highlight locations for me, we went to Guatemala for the first time this year, and one of the things that we try to do on the show is we always want to push ourselves to continue to explore these really iconic historic sites. We’ve been to King Tut’s tomb, we’ve been to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and we had the opportunity to investigate the Mayan ruins of Tikal. It’s the year of the Maya, it’s a big story this year with the Mayan calendar turning over. And so to be able to go down, deep into the jungles of Guatemala and kind of have free run of the ruins of Tikal, this is one of the biggest most significant Mayan cities. It’s one of the largest ruins in the Americas. It’s – you know, there are thousands and thousands of structures there, and these soaring pyramids that, you know, come up through the jungle canopy. It’s just this incredible place. It was a sort of terrifying location and also just this breathtaking beautiful place. And so I’m really excited to showcase our trip to the ruins of Tikal for our viewers. I think it’s really one of our highlight destinations. I also loved our trip to Vietnam. I’m a huge fan of Southeast Asia. I just love that part of the world. And one of the things I really love is when we’re able to spend a whole hour in one place on the show. So for our season premiere, we spend the whole hour doing this really, you know, back country trek into Vietnam. And it’s a great way to showcase a little bit of the cities of Vietnam, and a lot of the places in country that you don’t see, this really deep wilderness. And so I’m really excited about that as well.

MG: This season tell us about your first follow-up investigation and how you got cameraman Evan to return?
JG: Yes, so this season we’re doing our first ever follow-up investigation. We get all sorts of emails and letters and requests from fans to return to a few different locations that we’ve visited on the show before.
People always want us to go back to the Island of the Dolls in Mexico or to Chernobyl — which I’m not going to go back to — or to this haunted forest in Romania. I think the reason that people really were so interested in that story the first time is that my cameraman Evan had this really terrifying experience there. This is a guy who, he’s a real road warrior. He’s worked on all sorts of different types of shows, he’s not a paranormal guy, he doesn’t believe in ghosts, he’s a skeptic. And we went into this forest that’sreputed to be home to this, you know, dark, paranormal energy. And he was basically blown off his feet by something a couple of years ago on the show. And so we got all these requests to go back and to revisit this location. So we wanted to go back but we knew that we really couldn’t go back if we didn’t have Evan with us. And you know, the thing about Evan is he’s kind of a glutton for punishment. And you know, working on Destination Truth it’s like a hard tour of duty, but all of everyone who works on the show wants to come back and do it again. Evan has a family and he has other projects he’s been working on. And so for the past couple of years he hasn’t been on the show. And he always is like, “Man I’ve got to get back out there, I want to come back out and work with you guys again.” And so I called him and I said, “Evan, I have this great opportunity, we’ll fly you out to do one episode of the show. We miss you, we want to see you.” And he’s like, “Oh great, that sounds terrific.” And then I told him where it was and he wasn’t quite as excited. But he agreed to do it, he came back. He was a great sport. And I of course made him go back to the very same place that he was the last time. And you know, you saw the episode, it’s a pretty thrilling night. Another set of really mysterious things happened to him.

MG: Are five seasons, are you still surprised by the different things you find out?
JG: I am. I’m constantly surprised on the show, you know? I’m surprised by a lot of different things. I think that’s really one of the things that makes the show work. I think if the show were only about, “Are you going to catch a monster at the end of the hour,” it wouldn’t work. I think that there are so many surprises that we have every time we go out there. I’m surprised by the people that we meet, I’m surprised that we’ve met so many reasonable, intelligent people who really have been shaken up by experiences and encounters with the unknown. Whether you’re a skeptic or not you meet these people who really have had some sort of legitimate experience. So I’m always amazed by that. And then my curiosity is always peaked because I want to understand what it is that they have experienced. Beyond that, I’m just also continuously amazed by just the sort of general hospitality of people and by the really interesting different cultures that we get to embed ourselves into. So I think that one of the great things about the show is it’s always full of surprises, you know? And sometimes it’s scary, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s a real adventure and you never quite know where it’s going to take you. And that’swhat keeps it interesting.

MG: Can you walk us through the process of how you decide on the stories? Like who pitches it, and do you have a bunch of people doing research, that type of thing?
JG: We take a map of the world and we get a bucket of darts and then we throw – no that’s not how we do it. We, first and foremost we want to go to places that people are experiencing something, currently experiencing something, that they can’t explain. So we don’t want to go somewhere where there’s a legend of a creature that nobody’s seen for 300 years. So we start by looking through newspapers, looking on the Internet, and working with our contacts that we’ve built up around the world to identify stories in the news that are appropriate for the show. So that’s really the first step. And that yields us a lot of our material. It’s just finding places where these stories are reported. The cool thing about these kind of stories is even if they’re really out there, they always get reported. I mean you even open up like your local newspaper here, and you may see on the bottom of page, you know, D7 or whatever that a lake monster was seen by a group of people. These are the stories that always catch our attention. And we always sort of wonder, “Wow, I wonder what’s really going on there?” So those are the stories that around the world. We also I think keep a mind to, as I was talking about earlier, trying to find some locations that are really going to challenge us and push us. So we want to go to ruins and historic sites and heritage sites, places where we want to take the viewer with us. I feel like part of the show is about investigating the unknown for me, and part of the show is about being a virtual travel agency. And I really want to take our viewers to places that are going to really blow their minds. And so bringing them to places like Tikal and bring them to these heritage sites is a really important thing to us. So this season we’re going to be traveling to, “Kazakhstan and Fiji, and Romania, Belize, the Philippines, really different types of destinations.” And that’s the other thing we try to do is put a good collection of places together that gives the viewers different types of experiences. So one week we might be high up in the Himalayas, the next week we might be on a tropical island somewhere. So we kind of jam all that into the hopper and see if we can make sense of it and create a route for ourselves that makes sense, and to find a group of stories that are different and interesting and adventurous.

MG: There’s quite a lot of reality series, probably a lot more now than when Destination Truth first launched, and a lot of competition out there. How do you distinguish yourself from the others out there?
JG: Well look you’re right, there are a lot of different reality shows out there about some of the things that we do, but also there’s just a lot of programming out there in general about everything. So I think you can’t get too caught up in trying to think your way through differentiating yourself from everybody because everybody is naturally different. There’s just so much programming out there that I think you’d drive yourself crazy. One of the things I likeabout Destination Truth a whole lot, is that I don’t see that exact format anywhere else. And it’s a format that has to do with having fun, there’s a lot of comedy in Destination Truth, there’s a lot of hijinks and misadventure. And it’s, as I said earlier, “It’s a very inviting series. We really want the viewer to feel like they’re out there with us.” There’s a lot of paranormal and now this more sort of crypto programming out there that is very earnest and very serious and very kind of moody. I think what we do is find this great combination on Destination Truth of doing a real serious investigation, but showing all the fun that we have getting to these destinations and getting ourselves in these really out of the way places. And I don’t see that anywhere else. And I think that that’s what makes the show unique. I think that it’s the fact that our crew is really front and center, they’re part of the team. My camera operators, audio technicians, medic; they’re part of the crew. And what you’re seeing is a show where we flip that camera around every minute and show you, not just what’s in front of the camera, not just a host driven vehicle, but a team of people who are out there having a real roughshod adventure. And that’s unique. So for my money, that’s what makes Destination Truth stand on its own.

MG: What would you say if someone has never watched the show, what would they need to know in order to pick up and start watching this season?
JG: I think the great thing about “Destination Truth” is that you can kind of turn it on and you’re at the start of a new adventure every week, You don’t need to have been a fan of the show for years to understand it. Every week we are going to pick up on the trail of some mystery around the world and we’re going to invite the viewer to come with us to get on a plane, to fly around the world and to investigate that mystery. The great thing about the show is that we make that a real open invitation. We want the viewer to feel like they’re right there with us. So the way that we film Destination Truth is we just kind of include it all. If there’s flat tires or bad food or rough lodging or kind of zany people that we meet, we throw them up all on screen so that the viewer doesn’t feel like they’re watching a kind of sanitized, produced effort. We want them to feel like they’re out there with us and show them what it’s really like to have this adventure. So it’s a really inclusive show that way and it’s a lot of fun. I think that’s the other thing about the show that’s unique is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The adventure that we go on is often peppered with these really kind of funny experiences and misadventures along the way. And so we always think it’s just a great ride.

Concert Review “Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth Tour”, Buffalo, NY

“A Different Kind of Truth Tour”
Van Halen, Kool & the Gang
Date: Friday, March 9th 2012
Venue: First Niagara Center Buffalo, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Van Halen made a stop at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY on March 9th as part of their “A Different Kind of Truth” tour. The tour is in support of the band’s latest album of the same name and, is the first studio recording to feature original vocalist David Lee Roth since 1984. The unlikely act of Kool & the Gang would kick off the show playing an hour long set that filled the arena with the bands own special blend of R&B. Fans present for the group’s performance seemed a little baffled as to why this style of band was opening for a rock act. This question has plagued the tour since the line ups initial announcement and it will mostly likely be noted as one of the more odd tour line ups.

Van Halen would take the stage after a brief intermission and seemed to catch the crowd off guard as the set was kicked off by Alex Van Halen blasting into the classic Kinks song “You Really got Me” all while the house lights were still up. Within seconds the rest of the band was on stage and the crowd was on their feet. A place they would remain their throughout the rest of the evening. Though the show did not appear to be a sellout fans in attendance were treated to classic Roth era hits such as “Everybody Wants Some!!”, “Dance the Night Away” and “Jump”. The set also featured several new tracks off the bands newly released album. The entire band sounded and looked great. Each member appeared to be in great spirits as there was a lot of interaction between the members. I felt the set list for the night could have featured a few more of the bands hits and, I think everyone in attendance would have really enjoyed Michael Anthony back on bass completing the bands classic original line-up. One could only hope that we see that reunion sooner than later.

Van Halen Set List:
1.) You Really Got Me
2.) Runnin’ With the Devil
3.) She’s the Woman
4.) Romeo Delight
5.) Tattoo
6.) Everybody Wants Some!!
7.) Somebody Get Me a Doctor
8.) China Town
9.) Hear About it Later
10.) Oh, Pretty Woman
11.) Drum Solo
12.) Unchained
13.) The Trouble with Never
14.) Dance the Night Away
15.) I’ll Wait
16.) Hot For Teacher
17.) Women in Love
18.) Girl Gone Bad
19.) Beautiful Girls
20.) Ice Cream Man
21.) Panama
22.) Guitar Solo
23.) Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
24.) Jump

 

Related Content

Trailer for “Madonna: Truth Or Dare” on Blu-ray Released

Go backstage and under the covers with the musical and pop culture icon, Madonna, as Lionsgate debuts Miramax’s Madonna: Truth or Dare on Blu-ray Disc April 3, 2012. See the Queen of Pop as never before – singer, dancer, sex goddess, businesswoman and den mother – in an up close and personal documentary chronicling Madonna’s 1990 “Blond Ambition Tour.” Presented for the first time with a stunning new 1080P High Definition transfer and 5.1 DTS Master Audio, Madonna: Truth or Dare premieres on Blu-ray Disc for the suggested retail price of $14.99, just as Madonna makes her way back into the spotlight. With a Super Bowl half-time performance, a new album, tour and the launch of her “Truth or Dare” lifestyle brand, 2012 is destined to be the year of Madge. Madonna: Truth or Dare will also be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $9.98.

The top-selling female artist of all-time, Madonna has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. Fresh off of her recent Golden Globe win for Best Original Song for her directorial feature film, W.E., Madonna has also previously won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical) for her role as Eva Peron in Evita (1997), been named one of TIME’s “25 Most Powerful Women in the Past Century” and garnered countless other accolades. Madonna: Truth or Dare explores the icon as an artist and a person, from her dressing room to her bedroom.