White Chapel’s Phil Bozeman talks about new album “Our Endless War”

Phil Bozeman is the lead singer for the heavy metal group White Chapel. On April 29th, they will release their 5th full length studio album titled “Our Endless War”. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Phil recently about the creation of the new album which is probably the most diverse record we have heard from the band yet and also about the group’s upcoming headlining tour with Devil Driver.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album?
Phil Bozeman: We have grown as musicians and are chemistry as a band has certainly gotten better. We were very focused on writing the heaviest and best music we could. We are a heavy metal band but we wanted to incorporate as many of our own influences as we could to help make a diverse record.

AL: Did you find it hard to explore those influences and still stick to the sound and style the band is known for?
PB: It was a bit difficult at times to try something different while still keeping the elements that appeal to our fans the same. I think we are able to get away with everything we did as we paid close attention to make sure that things were still fitting our style.

AL: In a recent press release you stated that the band felt held back when working on the previous albums. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what creative process you took this time around?
PB: We have always worked the same way from record to record. We generally start out by just sitting down and discussing everyone’s different ideas. We all want to take chances and do different things however we don’t want to look bad while doing those things. I think that’s where the bands chemistry really shows as we all work together to put out a great product and it is something we are all happy with. As far as being held back goes in the past there had always been time constraints which limited us a bit. We never had disagreements or anything like that but we always seemed to be under a deadline.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
PB: We just finished up a short ten day run as part of the New England Metal Fest. We have a couple shows in Mexico scheduled before we start our headlining tour with Devil Driver. That will take us through the summer.

AL: When you guys are putting together a headlining tour how do you go about choosing which bands will be going out with you?
PB: We always start out by just looking at the bands we like and who we feel would be good to bring out. On a tour like the ones that’s coming up bands submit offers to be considered for a spot and we either accept them or pass.


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Jaleel White talks about new web series “BPOV” (aka Broke People on Vine)

Jaleel White is known best for his role as Steve Urkel in “Family Matters”. But Jaleel has been one biggest guy over the last few years going from “Dancing with the Stars” to hosting his own reality series on Syfy “Total Blackout” to guest starring on “CSI” this past January. His latest gig is a absolutely riot called “BPOV”, which stands for Broke People on Vine. It is a new web series that airs on YouTube weekly. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jaleel about the show. the craze of Vine and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved with Urban Hombre Media?
Jaleel White: I am a partner in the company along with Andres Izquieta, who is the CEO of Five Four Clothing. Five Four is an online based men’s club clothing brand. They put their clothes on everybody. So rather than have me be a brand ambassador for them, Andres reached out to me about branching out into production on the internet. The internet is something that we cannot ignore these days. It is bigger than just tweeting stuff. You need actual content on the internet. But this is a fun company and we are going to have a lot of good things coming up.

MG: I love the title for the show, “BPOV” (aka Broke People on Vine).
JW: Some people have said why call it “BPOV”. I really like the acronym because it is about a point of view of broke people because rich people on Vine ain’t funny [laughs]. Our director whipped up the logo, with a “South Park” version of me, which is cool. It is a great collaboration and we come up with the ideas collectively. So we are just keeping it real and having fun and we are going to keep pumping them out.

MG: So what is it about Vine that has people so hooked?
JW: A lot of my friends and people that I am familiar with are on Vine. I find myself at night just watching Vine on my phone like it is TV show. It is crazy really. After a long day, you are just lying around checking texts and emails and then you skip over to Vine and get stuck there for a half hour. By the time you are done, you aren’t going to watch TV; you are going to do to bed. Sometimes my daughter will come in the room and I will find something that is kid appropriate and we will then sit there and watch the same Vine like 15 times in a row [laughs].

MG: How many times did you have to watch these videos during shooting?
JW: What is really cool about the show is that I actually don’t get to see the Vines beforehand. Even if I like one and submit it for consideration, when the guys put together the top 10 reel I have no idea which ones are in there. If you watch you will see my eyes glance down sometimes because they want me to respond and react in real time. I am watching them for the first time right there. So even if it is one that I submitted, you are still getting an immediate and unknown reaction within the flow of the shot. When we did “Worst Job Interviews” episode and they guy was just hired at Krispy Kreme and does the back flip, that was an honest reaction from me and that was the first time I have ever saw that. We wanted my reaction to be the same reaction that you are viewers will experience. So that makes it fun.

MG: I love how the episodes run three minutes each; quick, tight and effective.
JW: It really channels to people’s attention spans right now. I don’t watch a half hour TV show every night before I go to bed as I would back when I was young kid. I will spend some time on Vine and that is it.

MG: How often can we expect new episodes?
JW: We are looking to keep putting them out, I think every Monday. Then down the line, we are looking to expand and putting them out even more. We will do some year-end stuff as well. It is just one of those things that it out there, it is what I do and I am big fan of Vine. I prefer to cover it then do my own Vines. To get to share these with people is just funnier for me personally. So that is the show man! Check it out and spread the word to your friends!


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DVD Review “White House Down”

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx
Director: Roland Emmerich
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
Run Time: 132 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I love action films as much as the next guy, but I wasn’t super thrilled to rush out and see “White House Down” (as was anyone else it seemed either). I felt the same way about the other White House-under attack film “Olympus Has Fallen” but I thought it was pretty awesome. “White House Down” was fun stupid action fun but nothing too memorable. I should expected that from director Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”, “2012”). All action and no plot. Worth checking out but keep those expectations down and also what woman doesn’t enjoy looking at Channing Tatum.

Official Premise: Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation’s government falling into chaos and time running out, it’s up to Cale to save the president, his daughter, and the country.

When I think of “White House Down”, a $150 million dollar big summer film, I think amazing visual effects and window shattering sound. Well, you really don’t get that with this DVD, so if you do decide to watch this film be sure to do so on Blu-ray. Plus, the special features on this DVD are only half of what is on the Blu-ray, which is another bummer. What we get are four featurettes, which are ok but I can’t help but feel like I am missing out. “A Dynamic Duo” is a chat with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx about teaming up. “Meet the Insiders” looks into the films supporting cast. “Men of Acting” focuses on the stunt training. Lastly “Roland Emmerich – Upping the Ante” features the director talking about his latest film.


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Blu-ray Review “Great White Shark – A Living Legend”

Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Run Time: 50 minutes

Special: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Anything related to shark, count me in.  With Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” right around the corner, “Great White Shark – A Living Legend” arrives at the perfect time. This episode was originally filmed for “Natural World” on BBC. If you can’t get that from the cover art we get to go up close and personal one of our most feared predators in our oceans. I mean who doesn’t love shark.  I am absolutely fascinated and eat up anything I can get on these amazing creatures. My main concern is that this only runs 50-minutes but it is entertaining and there is a bit of knowledge shared here but nothing out of this world.  If would recommend this for hardcore shark fan. Come on in the water!

Official Premise: Get up close and personal with one of the most vicious predators of our oceans, the Great White Shark! We think of great whites as fearsome aquatic killers, but do we know them as well as we think? In this presentation from BBC’s acclaimed Natural History Unit, Mike Rutzen, the world’s foremost great white shark diver, follows great whites as they feed, at proximity never before achieved. Mike’s unique ability to communicate with them using his body language allows him to swim amongst them unscathed. Mike explores why occasionally attack people. He also challenges the view that their feeding is unstructured and frenzied, to prove instead that they obey the subtle rules of a complex form of social hierarchy.

Even though it is short, BBC still delivered a very nice Blu-ray presentation for “Great White Shark: A Living Legend”. The episode looks amazing with its 1080p high definition in 1.78.1 widescreen.  The colors are sharp and the detail is very impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also quite great. Since there is no action in this film, the score and music still delivers  a great surround experience and takes advantage of this track. In the special features department, there is only one extras included, called “Smart Sharks: Swimming With Roboshark”. This 50-minute documentary is narrated by David Attenborough and looks into the life sized mechanical shark designed by Andrew Sneath. This as a good companion to “Great White Shark – A Living Legend”.

Film Review “White House Down”

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Rolland Emmerich
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 131 minutes
Columbia Pictures

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Rolland Emmerich has always been the man behind some of the summer’s biggest and most violent blockbusters. From aliens blowing up world landmarks, Mel Gibson massacring the British and the foaming at the mouth wrath of mother nature, Emmerich has a knack for getting butts in theater seats. He’s now set his sights on destroying and killing every little thing he can get his hands on inside the confines of the President’s home in “White House Down”.

Like any decent action flick, we need the customary character introductions before all hell breaks loose. That’s where we meet President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), who idolizes Abraham Lincoln and is hoping to ink one of the biggest Middle East peace deals. Heading up security and Presidential details is Martin Walker (James Woods), who is reaching retirement and seems less than happy with President Sawyer’s foreign policy. We then meet the character that all the women in the audience were gleefully looking forward to, D.C. police officer John Cale (Channing Tatum). He’s a former soldier who’s still trying to put his life together after his divorce. He’s keeping himself busy as security for the speaker of the house, Eli Ralphelson (Richard Jenkins), but this has put a strain on the relationship with his daughter, Emily (Joey King).

But today he’s got a surprise for his daughter, a pass to tour the White House. Which is very low on a lot of preteen girl’s lists, but Emily’s freakish love of politics makes this surprise seem like an early Christmas gift. Before that though, he has an interview for the Presidential secret service. That’s where the audience watches him get turned down and told “You’re just not secret service material”. Of course everyone knows we’re about to spend the next testosterone fueled hour and a half watching John prove his interviewer wrong. The beginning of the movie really dragged its feet trying to establish every single secondary and background character. Trust me, there are way too many to mention in this review. The secondary characters that get the least amount of screen time are actually the most pleasant and fun to watch. Though she’s the most prominent, as secret service agent Carol Finnerty, Maggie Gyllenhaal just kind of occupies the space she’s given. Luckily though, things pick up when a bomb detonates at the Capitol building. As smoke and flames pour out of the Capitol’s dome, a group of paramilitary mercenaries, led by Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke), take over the White House. They systematically go through every room in the place and kill every form of security with deadly precision.

Action movies like this rest on a very thin line. They can be incredibly silly and boring for the audience or they can be a highly entertaining movie that evokes plenty of emotion. Not necessarily tears, but rounds of laughter, applause and cheers. Since it takes place at the White House, there are plenty of light hearted jabs at politicians and pundits. The politics remain right in the middle so that both the red and blue moviegoers can get some laughs in. As an American, it’s more engrossing to watch a movie like this because we’re watching 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue turn from a beacon of national pride to an arcade style shoot em’ up. One of the best action sequences in the film includes the front lawn of the White House becoming host to a death race. The script, by James Vanderbilt, surprisingly keeps the action from being eye rollingly dull and predictable. But he also manages to keep it ridiculous enough to put a smile on theater goers faces, mine being one of them.

I have to admit, Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum may be one of the more interesting duos to hit the screens in a while. I wouldn’t have suspected it, but the chemistry between the two melds well.. Especially when Jamie Foxx realizes the peaceful commander-in-chief schtick isn’t gonna work and needs to operate a rocket launcher. If you’ve exhausted your other summer movie choices and are looking for a fun, cheesy movie, this is a good filler.

Blu-ray Review “Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics (Little Caesar / The Public Enemy / The Petrified Forest / White Heat)”

Starring: James Cagney, Leslie Howard, Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Virginia Mayo, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Directors: Archie Mayo, William A. Wellman, Mervyn LeRoy, Raoul Walsh
Distributed by: Warner Bros
Release Date: May 21, 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 357 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of stars

Who can help but not love the classic B&W gangster films. The following films make up this “Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics” – “Little Caesar (1931)”, “The Public Enemy (1931)”, “The Petrified Forest (1936)”, “White Heat (1949)”.  These are all great films that I have seen many times and never grow tired watching.  Whenever I think “The Public Enemy”, I am transported to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios on The Great Movie Ride, one of my favorites.  These films are what made gangster films popular and paved the way for today’s films. If you are a looking for a great place to be transported to the origin of the gangster film then look no further than this Blu-ray release.

All of these films are appearing on Blu-ray for the first time ever, as part of Warner Bros. 90th Anniversary celebration.  Each of these films will also be available on May 21st individually on Blu-ray. But this box set collection is quite a think a beauty.  All the film comes in a nice slipcase and includes an additional 32-page book with images and facts about each of the film. The 1080p transfers are very impressive for these classic films the latest dating back to almost 80 years ago. They are all presented with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The audio tracks included are also DTS-HD Master Audio Mono for each film, which work very well. The dialogues are clear and just are held up so well.

“Little Caesar (1931)” Official Premise: The ambitious criminal Rico moves from the country to the big city in the east and joins Sam Vettori’s gang with his friend Joe Massara. Sooner he becomes the leader of the gangsters and known as Little Caesar, and gets closer to the great mobster Pete Montana. In a robbery of a night-club, he kills the Crime Commissioner Alvin McClure and his pal Joe witnesses the murder. When Rico orders Joe to leave his mistress Olga Strassoff, she takes a serious decision.

“The Public Enemy (1931)” Official Premise: Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are best friends and fellow gangsters, their lives frowned upon by Tom’s straight laced brother, Mike, and Matt’s straight laced sister, Molly. From their teen-aged years into young adulthood, Tom and Matt have an increasingly lucrative life, bootlegging during the Prohibition era. But Tom in particular becomes more and more brazen in what he is willing to do, and becomes more obstinate and violent against those who either disagree with him or cross him. When one of their colleagues dies in a freak accident, a rival bootlegging faction senses weakness among Tom and Matt’s gang, which is led by Paddy Ryan. A gang war ensues, resulting in Paddy suggesting that Tom and Matt lay low. But because of Tom’s basic nature, he decides instead to take matters into his own hands.

“The Petrified Forest (1936)” Official Premise: Gabby lives and works at her dads small diner out in the desert. She can’t stand it and wants to go and live with her mother in France. Along comes Alan, a broke man with no will to live, who is traveling to see the pacific, and maybe to drown in it. Meanwhile Duke Mantee a notorious killer and his gang is heading towards the diner where Mantee plan on meeting up with his girl.

“White Heat (1949)” Official Premise: Cody Jarrett is the sadistic leader of a ruthless gang of thieves. Afflicted by terrible headaches and fiercely devoted to his ‘Ma,’ Cody is a volatile, violent, and eccentric leader. Cody’s top henchman wants to lead the gang and attempts to have an ‘accident’ happen to Cody, while he is running the gang from in jail. But Cody is saved by an undercover cop, who thereby befriends him and infiltrates the gang. Finally, the stage is set for Cody’s ultimate betrayal and downfall, during a big heist at a chemical plant.

These “Classics” each come with their own set of extras.  “Little Caesar (1931)” comes with a commentary by film historian Robert Sklar. Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931 with Newsreel, Spencer Tracy Short The Hard Guy, Cartoon Lady Play Your Mandolin and Theatrical Trailers. There is also a featurette “Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero” included. “The Public Enemy (1931)” includes a commentary by film historian Richard B. Jewell. Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931 with Newsreel, Comedy Short The Eyes Have It, Cartoon Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! and Theatrical Trailers.  There is also a featurette “Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public” included.

“The Petrified Forest (1936)” includes a commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax. Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1936 with Newsreel, Musical Short Rhythmitis, Cartoon The Coo Coo Nut Grove and Theatrical Trailers. There is also a featurette “The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert” included and an Audio-Only Bonus: 1/7/1940 Gulf Screen Theater Broadcast. Lastly “White Heat (1949)” includes a commentary by Film Historian Drew Casper. Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1949 with Newsreel, Comedy Short So You Think You’re Not Guilty, Cartoon Homeless Hare and Theatrical Trailers.  There is also a featurette “White Heat: Top of the World” included.

If all that is not enough there is still more.  There is a bonus DVD included with yet another feature-length documentary called “The Public Enemies: The Golden Age of The Gangster Film”.  Even though this is just on DVD, it is still a must-watch if you are a fan of this genre and only makes this release worth every penny.

The “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics” and “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary” are available on Blu-ray 5/21

Blu-ray Review “The Sorcerer and the White Snake”

Starring: Jet Li, Shengyi Huang, Raymond Lam
Director: Siu-Tung Ching
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I see the name Jet Li, I don’t even think twice.  His martial arts films like “Hero” and “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” are absolutely breathtaking.  With a title like “The Sorcerer and the White Snake” it also sounds like it will be a blast but I was left really disappointed.  I don’t think I would ever say this but there is a thing as too much CGI.  The film really relies on this too much and less on the story, which makes it feel very repetitive and boring.  Don’t get me wrong now since the fight choreography is quite visually amazing but it can’t save this otherwise dull film.

Official Premise: Jet Li stars as a sorcerer monk in this epic special effects fantasy film based on the Chinese legend, “Madame White Snake,”. The story centers around a man who falls in love with a thousand-year-old white snake disguised as a woman. Discovering the white snake’s true identity, the sorcerer goes to battle believing that in so doing, he is restoring balance and order between man and the supernatural.

The Blu-ray presentation from Magnolia is good but lacking some depth. The film was originally presented in 3D and this Blu-ray release does not include the 3D version of the film.  I do not think this would have made me LOVE the film but I feel that it definitely would have wowed me a bit more.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track comes with both a Mandarin and English track.  I prefer the original language over the dub. Since the film is 75% action and fighting, the audio track does deliver in that department for sure.

The special features give this release a bit hope.  There are two “Behind the Scenes” featurettes.  The first is focused on the “Fighting, Stunts & Laughs” with Jet Li. It focuses on the many fight sequences and stunt work. The second is “Visual Effects and Production Design”, my favorite, takes us through the look and feel of the effects in the film.  The last one is “Beauties and the Beasts”, looks into the various creatures featured. All three together give a nice round look at the production from all the important parts that I would want to learn more about.  Lastly there is a “AXS TV: A Look at The Sorcerer and the White Snake” and a Theatrical Trailer included.


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Ryan Johnson talks about tagging Great White Sharks and his work with Ocearch

Ryan Johnson grew up in the island nation of New Zealand and has always been drawn to the sea. Having dreamed being a marine biologist, he moved to Southern Africa in 1998, where he began to work with the ocean’s greatest predator—the great white shark. Ryan joined up with the research group Ocearch as their Chief Scientist and was involved with the television series “Shark Wrangers” last year on History. Ryan took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about working with sharks and the importance of tagging them.

Mike Gencarelli: How long have you been working with sharks? What was your draw?
Ryan Johnson: I have been working with sharks since 1998, when I started my M.Sc thesis looking at the impact of white shark cage diving on the behaviour of white sharks, and marine ecology, in the Gansbaai area. My draw was adventure, passion and the chance to learn about an incredibly charismatic animal in my chosen field as a marine biologist.

MG: What drew you to join the Ocearch as Chief Scientist in 2012?
RJ: Ocearch NGO approached me a couple of years prior to them arriving in South Africa. Chris Fischer then suggested his ideas and the research potential that his organization could offer the South Africa scientific community. Being a shark biologist from South Africa, I am mandated to produce knowledge to enable the informed management and conservation of sharks in our region. The most powerful tool currently available to produce this data is satellite telemetry work that enables the description of home ranges, critical habitats, and migratory patterns. This knowledge is essential to empower managers and conservationists to guide their action in an effective manner. As a developing country South Africa does not frequently have sufficient resources to dedicate the required logistics and finances to research that will answer these crucial questions. Ocearch producing these resources for the South African shark academic community to use and fulfill our research mandate was what attracted to the opportunity. In addition, on review, the practical skills of the Ocearch team made them a perfect partner to conduct this research with.

MG: Tell us about Ocearch is planning for Expedition Jacksonville?
RJ: The Ocearch model is to work with local scientists that will carry on the work once the mother vessel and Ocearch has left. As such, I am not involved with the Jacksonville Expedition, nor am I privy to the planning. My focus is to have the data from the South African expedition processed and published.

MG: How many sharks have been tagged by the Ocearch?
RJ: During the South African Expedition, a total of 47 sharks were tagged with various combinations of transmitters consisting of one/some or all of (a) SPOT satellite tags, (b) acoustic transmitters and (c) PAT satellite tags. This included six ragged tooth sharks in addition to the white sharks. Over the years I am unsure of how many sharks in total Ocearch have tagged.

MG: Tell us about why is it important to tag sharks?
RJ: Tracking the movements of sharks enable scientists to identify critical habitats, the home range, migratory pathways, reproduction related movements. With this knowledge you can guide management and conservation plans, essentially you empower people to design plans that will enable the effective conservation of the population. For instance, the Oceach program illustrated a that the population range of white shark stock of South Africa extends extensively into the exclusive economic zone of Mozambique. As white sharks are not protected in Mozambique, our national conservation plan is ineffective in its objective to conserve the population. The knowledge produced provides concrete evidence for South Africa’s legislators to take to Mozambique and use as leverage to ensure that Mozambique’s management of white sharks does not compromise our shared resource.

MG: What have your learned so far from the data collected?
RJ: That white sharks residing in South Africa spend a large percentage of time outside of out EEZ and in waters where they can legally be fished. Thus giving a possible explanation as to why there has been no population level recovery despite 22 years of national protection.

MG: Any close calls with the sharks while performing the internal tagging surgery?
RJ: My only concern is to perform the surgery as quickly and professionally as possible and thereby minimize the stress on the shark. Naturally when sharks have become active on the platform during surgery you can get hit and knocked hard. But following this I need to get back to the surgery, regain my composure and complete it successfully. Afterwards you feel and rub the knocks.

MG: Have you had the opportunity to name any of the sharks?
RJ: I named one shark ‘Princess Fi’ after my wife Fiona Ayerst a well known shark conservationists and underwater photographer. After coming up with such a silly name, I was not given too many more chances.

MG: Can you tell us a little bit about Ocearch Global Shark Tracker – Powered by CAT?
RJ: The Ocearch Global Tracker is one of the most revolutionary communication tools ever used by the scientific community to include and inform the wider public about a research project and the results of the research. Essentially it gives everyone instant access to the movements of the sharks tagged and enables them to mine the data to gain a personal knowledge on the behaviour of great white sharks around the world. This level of communication and inclusion is a massive education tool for the public to see past the white shark as a one dimensional man eater.

MG: Can we expect more episodes of “Shark Wrangers” on History this year?
RJ: I am not sure, Chris Fischer negotiates the television deals and would be best to field this question.

MG: How is was it blending the reality aspect of the show with your work?
RJ: I had a lot of respect for the filming and production crew in how they handled the filming. Sure there were elements of sensationalism and building up tension amongst the crew and scientists, however, when it came to the operation with the shark, the production took a total ‘fly on the wall’ approach and did not interfere at all.

MG: What are you doing when you are not playing with sharks?
RJ: I am following my second passion of producing and filming wildlife documentaries. It gets me outside and into wild places, and that is where I love to be.

Blu-ray Review "White Zombie (1932)"

Actors: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy
Directors: Victor Halperin
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Kino Lorber
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Run Time: 69 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of zombies and shows like “The Walking Dead”, let me introduce you to “White Zombie”.  This is the film that started it all…the first zombie movie. This has influenced so many films over the last 80+ years. For the firs time, this film has been remastered in HD, thanks to Kino Classics! “White Zombie” has been released many times before on DVD and never looked like this at all.  Bela Lugosi, who is best known for playing Dracula, stars in this fan favorite with those mystical eyes of his. If you are a fan of this film, then this is the Blu-ray for you. Personally, this might not be Lugosi’s best film but it is certainly become a cult classic over the years and I recommend it highly on Blu-ray.

Official Premise: Along a desolate road in the Haitian mountains, a carriage bearing Neil Parker and Madeleine Short encounters a funeral in which the body is being buried in the road. Further down the road, the coach stops at the sight of a man of satanic appearance: six human shapes step forth, and the horrified driver shouts ”Zombies!”, signaling the first appearance of the living dead in American cinema. When first released, “White Zombie” occupies a deserved place beside “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” as one of the most eerie and interesting horror films of the 1930’s and remains a horror classic.

Kino’s Blu-ray of “White Zombie” comes with two complete versions of the film.  Both versions have been taken from an original 35mm negative with a few missing scenes taken from a 16mm print. Both are presented in it’s original aspect ratio: 1.37:1. This Blu-ray doesn’t really blow you away with its presentation of this film and for a film that is 80+ years old it shows its age quite a bit.  Same goes for the Linear PCM 2.0 audio track, it is decent but nothing special. The special features are a bit of a let down with quantity not quality.  There is a commentary track with film historian Frank Thompson, worth checking out for some good zombie references.  There is a nice interview with Bela Lugosi, which was filmed during White Zombie’s production. Lastly, there is a trailer from the 1951 re-release.

Betty White reflects on career and new season of "Betty White’s Off Their Rockers"

Betty White is a legendary TV icon, a seven time Emmy award winner and currently starring in NBC’s show “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”. Betty and her posse of senior pranksters returned for season two of this series on NBC on Tuesday January 8th with special guests PSY and Kim Kardashian appearing in bits with Betty in two back-to-back episodes. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Betty about her career and the new season

Mike Smith: You are a cultural icon. What keeps you going in the business?
Betty White: Because why quit something you’re enjoying so much? It’s such fun, and who would ever expect at 91 to still get invited to do shows. I mean, that’s unheard of, so if they don’t want me to do it, don’t ask me, because if they ask me I’ll take it.

MS: When you were first approached about doing this show, it’s “Off Their Rockers” with seniors doing pranks, did you immediately know you wanted to do it?
BW: No, I was not enthused about doing this. First of all, well not so much for the show but because my schedule just didn’t tolerate it, so I thanked them very much and said, no thank you. But they kept coming back, and it was a show that started in Belgium, and it was the most popular comedy show in Europe for a while. So when they invited me to do it, I said that’s very nice, but I just can’t work it in. And they kept coming back, and of course I had the backbone of a jellyfish, so here I am doing it, but I’m having a good time.

MS: What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled, the funniest one?
BW: I’m not a real prankster. I love doing “Off Their Rockers”, because the other people are pranking, but I willmaybe kid my friends and say one thing or tell them something happened that didn’t really happen, but I straighten it out pretty fast. The trouble is you can paint yourself into a corner if you try too many pranks, you know?

MS: Can you reflect about the direction of TV today?
BW: Well, I think TV has changed, but I think the audience has changed more than anything else. The audience has seen every plot. They’ve heard every joke. They keep being a challenge, so the producers and the show people try to top themselves or get unusual and I think every once in a while, just a good old-fashioned straightforward television show, or a situation comedy suddenly hits the spot. It’s almost like something they haven’t seen for a while.

MS: How did you develop the sense of humor that you have and the love of laughter, and your amazing sense of comic timing?
BW: Oh, that was my mother and father. I was an only child, and the – we had the best time together. My dad was a salesman, so he would bring jokes home, but also he’d ask me how things went at school, and I would start telling him, and pretty soon we’d begin to make jokes about it, and it was a love of laughter at home that just was a precious commodity to have with your folks, and Sunday morning breakfast would last two hours sometimes when we all giggled and scratched and talked.

MS: Could you elaborate a little bit on how you think you have achieved the notoriety that you have, and what advice you can give for other women that are starting in the business?
BW: Well, bless your heart, I hope it’s fame, not notoriety, but I’ve been so lucky. I just can’t tell you how lucky to get to this age. Who would ever dream that you’d get to be 91 years old and you’re still working as much as I am? But I think it’s because I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I love this business, and I’ll quit when they ask me to, but as long as they keep asking me to work, I’ll keep saying yes, and it is such a privilege. I think women have come a long way over the years in being you know, coming into their own and roles that they get and in – well, in the whole business, and women executives and all that, but it’s a very lovely position to be in to be taken seriously as well as laughed at.

MS: Can you talk about what it was like to have Ed Asner on the show, and what you did together?
BW: Oh, it was such fun, and Ed and I stay very close. We’ve always adored each other. I don’t think we’ve ever said a nice word to each other, but we adore each other. You know that kind of a friendship. He always yells at me and I yell at him and lovingly. He did the show and when you work that closely together, somehow you fall into a pattern, and it’s as though you saw each other yesterday, even if a little time has gone by.

MS: What are some of the biggest challenges in making the show?
BW: Yes, well, let me answer the question. The challenges are to try to keep it fresh, to try to keep any semblance of freshness going. Well, after this number of years of all the shows and all the jokes and all the scripts, that’s the – a major challenge, so what you do is keep reworking the same old material and try to put a little new slant on it, and then with fresh people in the role, it’s amazing how long you can milk stuff.

MS: What type of attitude do you recommend for longevity?
BW: Oh, honesty. You can fool everybody else maybe that you know, but you can’t fool that camera. That camera will know when you’re faking it every time.


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J. B. Kaufman’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” Two Book Giveaway [ENDED]


To celebrate the release of J. B. Kaufman’s newest books, “The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney’s Classic Animated Film“, Media Mikes is teaming up with the publisher Weldon Owen to giveaway ONE copy of each book. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email indicating your favorite Disney character. This giveaway will remain open until November 30th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to residents of the United States only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first shown to a theatrical audience in December 1937 and brought overwhelming, joyous applause from a house full of hardened film-industry professionals. In subsequent months it would open around the world, happily acclaimed by audiences and critics everywhere as one of the best films of the year, if not the decade.

From today’s perspective, its stature is even greater—named as one of the best movies of all time by the American Film Institute, and still beloved by children and adults around the world, Snow White can be seen as the flowering of an all-too-brief Golden Age of animation as well as a fascinating document of its time.

Such a level of artistic achievement doesn’t happen by accident. Walt Disney and a staff of exceptionally talented artists labored over Snow White for four years, endlessly working and reworking their scenes to achieve an ever higher standard. The result, as we know, was magnificent and game-changing for the Disney Studios and, indeed, for the art of animation itself.

This book is the first to reconstruct that process in exacting detail, with the loving attention it deserves from an internationally noted film scholar. Author J.B. Kaufman spent years researching the film’s history, interviewing participants, and studying the marvelous archival art that appears in these pages. The result is a work that can be appreciated equally as a piece of film history and as a collectable art book, a joy for anyone who loves film, animation, and the magical world that Walt Disney created.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney’s Classic Animated Film: In1933, Walt Disney was a rising star in the world of animation, just beginning to become a household name. Ambitious new ideas emerged from the Disney studio on a regular basis, and the film world waited eagerly to see what the creative young filmmaker would do next. The answer surprised them all: a full-length animated feature film, based on the traditional tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The production took three years and the talents of many of Hollywood’s top artists . . . and, of course, created one of the best-loved classics of all time. This book, based on a ground-breaking exhibition of both familiar and never-before-seen art from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, walks the reader scene by scene through the movie, accompanying the art with behind-the-scenes stories about the film’s production.

The book features over 200 pieces of art, many reproduced from original concept sketches, background paintings, and production cels, as well as alternate character concepts, deleted scenes, and step-by-step process shots.

About the Author: J.B. Kaufman is an author and film historian on the staff of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, and has published extensively on topics including Disney animation and American silent film. He is the author of South of the Border with Disney, and coauthor, with Russell Merritt, of Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney (winner of the Kraszna-Krausz Award and the Society for Animation Studies’ Norman McLaren-Evelyn Lambart Award, and chosen by The New York Timesas a Notable Book of the Year), and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies. He has also been a regular contributor to the Griffith Project at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the distinguished annual silent-film festival in Pordenone, Italy, and speaks frequently on Disney, silent film history, and related topics.

Jaleel White chats about season 2 of Syfy’s “Total Blackout”

Jaleel White has been one busy man on television. He was a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and started hosting Syfy’s new game show “Total Blackout”. Jaleel took out some time to chat with Media Mikes again to discuss the season 2 of Syfy’s “Total Blackout”, which premieres October 30th, and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: So we know the idea behind “Total Blackout” – challenges played in complete darkness, how is season two going to amp it up for viewers?
Jaleel White: I don’t think we are going to disappoint people. We have definitely improved upon last year. It all boils down to money. At the end of the day the more people to like the show, the more money we will get [laughs]. This season, the exotic nature of the show has been amped with the animals. Last year, we had little dogs and stuff like that. That wouldn’t even been be allowed on the idea table this season. So, definitely the exotic nature is one. Second, I have to say the contestants themselves. We got a lot of our first choice contestants. Last year people didn’t realize what the show was since it was new and we got a lot of people backing out at the last minute. But since the show has become a hit, trending on twitter and people like it – now we have the opposite problem. We have too many people that want to be on the show. So there is definitely no any contestant shortage this season.

MG: Last time we spoke you said “contestants get smarter” and were concerned about the screening process; do you feel that was addressed and planned for this season?
JW: I definitely felt like we chose some really great contestants. I am really proud of the people we got this season. There is an episode also where we bring back people have previously lost. So we have that loser’s all-star episode and in fact, it was particularly touching for the contestant that won and their reaction.

MG: Last season was your first go at hosting a game show, what were you personally looking forward to most in this second season?
JW: I said it last year and will probably keep saying it for as long as this show is on, it is really fun to be a part of TV that I feel like the love and the landscape make it that people want to watch the show. I don’t have to beg people to watch this show. It is just awesome for me man!

MG: What is your favorite challenge this season?
JW: It has to be the mouse trap mazes. It is so creative. They also got the most physical reaction out of our contestants. That is my personal favorite this season.

MG: Have they ever considered doing a celebrity, maybe with some Syfy talent, episode of the show?
JW: Well we got some surprises for you this season. I know we are boys but sorry man my lips are sealed. Stay tuned because it is going to be cool.

MG: Have they tried to convince you to get in that dark room yet?
JW: Joe Rogan doesn’t do his show. Why does everyone want me to do my show? [laughs] I am the host, man [laughs]. Well, I don’t know what circumstances would put me in the dark room but I would welcome whatever it would be. Obviously, I would have a far greater advantage from a psychological stand point. I welcome it if it comes along though. I got it, put me in there with Joe Rogan or some other hosts [laughs].

MG: What would be your worst nightmare to encounter in there?
JW: Oh man! An alligator would be up there. Also for me if wouldn’t be a snake…it would be snakes.

Blu-ray Review “Snow White and the Huntsman”

Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Sam Claflin
MPAA Rating: PG-13 / Unrated
Distributed by: Universal Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 127 / 131 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 4 out of 5 stars

When I think of “Snow White and the Huntsman”, I can’t help but compare to “Twilight”, sorry Kristen Stewart. The film is a bit overly ambitious and a little slow moving but it really takes a unique view to the classic story. The visuals are very stunning and really drives the story. If you are going to compare this to the piece-of-crap “Mirror, Mirror”, there is no contest, this one is a real winner. This Blu-ray release includes both the 127-minute theatrical cut and a 131-minute extended edition. The extended version doesn’t make or break the film itself but it does deliver a few decent new scenes. Overall I just loved the dark tone of the film. Looking forward to the Huntsman spin-off with Chris Hemsworth and did I mention that Charlize Theron was absolutely awesome in this role!

The release comes as a two-disc combo pack. There is a Blu-ray disc, as well as a DVD disc. There is also two options for digital copy including an iTunes download or the UltraViolet digital streaming copy. The latter is definitely the route I will be going for sure. The 1080pd video transfer is just simply stunning and really adds so much to the film’s aesthetics, cinematography and visual effects. The real star of the film though is the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. This track literally rumbled my walls in my house and really uses the 7.1 sound to the max.

Like the film, the special features are great and really deliver. There is an audio commentary: Director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and co-editor Neil Smith, which is very heavy on details and focused on production. There is a U-Control, Picture in Picture included with sporadic behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. “Second Screen Experience” allow you to interactive in the film with your tablet or PC using the pocket BLU app. “Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour” is a beautiful look at the film’s Pinewood Studios sets. “A New Legend is Born” includes cast/crew interviews as they discuss the film production and the history behind the story. “Reinventing the Fairy Tale” looks at the incorporation of the Brothers Grimm version of Snow White. “Citizens of the Kingdom” included four typical EPK-style character featurettes including “Fairest of Them All: Snow White,” “Deliciously Evil: Queen Ravenna,” “The Huntsman” and “Motley Crew: The Dwarves.” Lastly, and my favorite, “The Magic of Snow White and the Huntsman” looks into the film’s visual effects and animatics in a lot of detail.

White Chapel’s Phil Bozeman talks about new album

Phil Bozeman is the singer for the heavy metal group White Chapel. The band has just released a new full length album titled “White Chapel”. The group is also set to take part in this summer’s Mayhem Festival. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Phil about the album and what he is most looking forward to with touring this summer.

Adam Lawton: This album is the first to feature drummer Ben Harclerode. What do you feel he has brought to the band since joining?
Phil Bozeman: We went through a little bit of a funk with our previous drummer. We love the guy to death and are still friends with him. There were a stream of events that happened and the cards were just not in Kevin’s favor. He had injured his foot and at the same time started using different drum pedals. Things turned into a big cluster for him and his double bass playing really suffered. That is something you just can’t have so we had to

move on. We had gotten a video from Ben who we call “New Guy”. He was playing one of our older songs and he just nailed it. He flew out to Knoxville to play with us and it was everything we needed. I feel like we have transformed into a completely different band. We have always had fast double bass but not like this. We can write parts now where the double bass just rips. It’s nice to have that option and it’s been a great addition that has changed our band for the better.

AL: This album has a much darker sound and feel to it. Was this something you did on purpose or did this occur naturally?
PB: I wanted our next album to be depressing. I like dark ominous music and I wanted that sort of feel for this album. A lot of the lyrical content is very depressing especially the ending track. I just wanted a different direction.

AL: What type of process do you have when writing your lyrics?
PB: I know a lot of people who write constantly but I write when a song is done. I feel I can give the song better phrasing after I hear it first. I think it’s a lot tougher to write lyrics ahead of time and then try and get them to fit. I will write stuff that’s on my mind but only after I hear a track.

AL: What do you think makes this albumstand out from other similar releases?
PB: I feel like we have just released an album that no one was expecting. This album represents us as a band in general and it really shows our capabilities of writing pretty much whatever we want. There are a lot of bands out there that we have been compared to but I think we have our own sound.

AL: What are you most looking forward to about the bands upcoming tours?
PB: Mayhem Festival definitely! Slipknot is a band I have never seen so getting to see them is going to be great. It sucks that Paul won’t be there but it’s still going to be great. Of course there is never a bad time to see Slayer either.


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White Chapel’s Ben Harclerode & Phil Bozeman talk about new album

Ben Harclerode is the drummer and Phil Bozeman is the singer for the heavy metal group White Chapel. The band has just released a new full length album titled “White Chapel”. The group is also set to take part in this summer’s Mayhem Festival. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Ben & Phil about the album and what their is most looking forward to with touring this summer.

Ben Harclerode

Phil Bozeman