Friday, December 30, 2011

The Hangover Part II - DVD













I'm glad I didn't pay to see this in the theater. I definitely do not consider myself a film snob. I am very generous when it comes to giving films a chance that others may hate. Having said that, I think Hangover II sucks. Yep, rarely do I give a scathing review as I try to pull the good out of most films I watch. But man, I was disappointed with this one. Considering that I thought the first Hangover was one of the best comedies I've seen in a while, part II would be its evil twin brother. Most of the jokes seemed forced, and the pace was too damn slow. It did have funny scenes and even topped the first one as far as shock value. But just because you have shock value doesn't always mean it'll be funny. When they push the shock value without any REAL comedy behind it, it winds up being FLAT. What made the first one so great is that it had lots of shock value AND equal amounts of great comedy to go with it. Thumbs down for Hangover II. They should've just stopped where they ended in Vegas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Batman: NOEL













Ho Ho Ho, here to get you into the Christmas spirit is... Batman??

Yep, in one of the biggest surprises in the world of graphic novels this season, Batman: Noel swings into our world and drops a new take on that old familiar Christmas Story by Dickens. Written by Lee Bermejo, Batman: NOEL puts a twist on the Dickens' tale and brings it into the heart of Gotham city. If I can say three words about this is, "Get this book". For anyone that loves the Batman franchise as much as I do, you'll be sure to enjoy this. I never really read a Batman story that struck an emotional chord in me, but this one did. The phenomenal story and artwork in this book makes it one of the years best for me. So go and check it out!

David Crowder*Band - Oh For Joy













It was sad news earlier this year when the David Crowder*Band would be breaking up after this year. So naturally, all of us that are familiar with the band expect a farewell album that we can remember for years. Well, DCB has stated that they are working on a final album. But the most recent "Oh For Joy" is not it. This is a little gift dropped by the band for fans to enjoy this holiday season, as well as other seasons to come. So while we wait for them to finish their last album, we get to hear their unique versions of Christmas favorites such as Joy To The World, Angels We Have Heard On High, and Silent Night on this album that includes a total of 8 tracks. Do yourself a favor and add some holiday cheer to your festivies this year courtesy of DCB!

Friday, December 16, 2011

TobyMac - Christmas in DiverseCity













I am proud to post this review by Amica Paige of TobyMac's "Christmas in DiverseCity"... Check it out!

I wouldn't call myself a Christian; I'd rather wait for Truth in the end to reveal what's beyond this fragile life, which is nevertheless sprinkled with beauty, peace, and joyful things, if we only cared enough to see that the glass is indeed half-full and not always view it from the top as half-empty and lacking. I consider myself a hopeful skeptic, an occasional atheist, a nature worshipper, and a lover of art, music, and words. In other words, I'm a doubting Thomas and a crumb-licking dog searching for home. I'm both spiritual and worldly, if there is such a separation. I regard myself earthy, since I, like you, am grounded by gravity no matter how different our spiritual takes are, and recognize that our only exit is exactly the only exit from this life—to dust.

Why the long intro just to review a musical piece? Well, my theatrics lead to this: my general fondness for music. I keep my ears open—yes, even to those labeled as "Christian" music, which are sometimes disregarded, mocked, just plain hated, or unnecessarily worshipped even more so than the God in their message. I believe that music, in all its forms, opens the mind, touches the spirit, and pierces the soul, if it bears any substance at all. Having said all that, here is my experience with TobyMac's Christmas in DiverseCity, a collaborative album.

Words that came to mind upon the first listen:
Breezy, Jingly, Snappy, Dancy.
Melodic. A soulful variety.
Tender...yet hard enough to rock to or, as I prefer, dance to.

And after the 2nd and umpteenth plays, here's what I think:
Christmas This Year rings in beautifully with a smooth blend of Toby's arresting ease and Leigh Nash's angelic vocals—there she goes again!—complemented by the entrancing background piano.

The First Noel is a strong follow with a rhythmically captivating arrangement, while Mary's Boy Child is definitely one of my favorite songs in the album, as even a bitter soul may render this soothing tune as ear candy—a delicious mix of intoxicating calm and head sway.

I seriously would dance or jog to O Come, All Ye Faithful—alright, I actually did dance to it and would have also done the latter if I didn't have a problem with sweaty earbuds slipping from my ears. However, singing along to this euphonic tune can make one feel like a real phony, especially if you like to question the Being being sung about. I couldn't help it though. When a song is brilliantly executed with just the right amount of funk, a listener can get carried away.

Little Drummer Boy is rich in beats, yet manages to hold its footing quite well, not losing grip of its context in all the fun, whereas This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless) is a tuneful chant of its title in parenthesis.

Carol of The Kings is a finely crafted symphonic song, making it a real treat on that point alone. As an aside and not to discount the artist's own merit, the rapper sounds like Kanye West, whose rapping style, per se, I like.

Birth of Love exudes energy. I'd play this as a backdrop for a Holiday fashion show if I move in that arena.

What Child is This? penetrates the way a song should...even if you didn't bother with Christ. Its musical strength can mesmerize.

It Snowed is rock, pure and simple. If guitar riffs could jolt you into head bobbing, you'd dig this. But I dance to the beat of brit pop and funky or entrancing songs and relish the slightly tamer side of some alternative and indie tunes.

Angels We Have Heard On High presents yet another angelic voice, wrapped in heavenly harmony and goosebumps-inducing chorus, warmly tied with an instrumental ribbon. There is a bit of narrated biblical message later in the song, as a sidenote to those who just can't be bothered with it or those whose ears are simply numb to it.

Santa's Coming Back Around is a jazzy R&B, a style that doesn't quite stir my spirit, like rock music, and the outburst in the intro can be quite grating. Still, it's just my queer taste and certainly not a pompous and foolish attempt to disregard the artist(s). Ditto for Christmas Time which is another flavorful R&B, at least for those who jive to those beats.

To end, if music is chocolate, this is definitely a box worth grabbing this season. The only difference is, it would never run out on you. If likened to coffee, DiverseCity is a nicely brewed Holiday album, infused with such melodic ease, funk, and musical depth, elements that arguably prevent an album from turning into just another overprocessed junk in a music industry often stricken with a toxic tick that saps the sublime out of its pop music, leaving them as substanceless as soda pop, regardless of its spiritual angle, or lack of. I give this Christmas album a 9 3/4s out of ten stars, only because I'm still stuck at King's Cross and could never quite get to perfection such as that of closure...wishing that the Great Hall had never closed its doors... Perhaps, I should give DiverseCity a few more hundred listen to give it a perfect ten.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2













Being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, I was ecstatic upon receiving my copy of Deathly Hallows Part II. Seeing this on Blu-ray was a great experience since the only other time I saw it was in the theater. Just being able to stop and rewind key scenes to take it all in again was a lot of fun. The movie has its flaws, but overall it was a very satisfying end to the franchise that has done what no other movie series has ever done before. Sure, it's sad that we have no more HP films to look forward to each year. But having the films on Blu-ray and experiencing them at home will do just fine for now and in the future. Of course the Blu-ray is loaded with bonus features that cannot be missed. One key feature is a sit down conversation between Dan Radcliffe and JK Rowling. I can't recommend this Blu-ray set enough. Go out and see it now!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Kevin Max - Cotes d'Armor













There are so many good albums I have been meaning to share on this site but just haven't had the time. However, I will be doing that soon. But first I point your attention to an album titled Cotes d'Armor by Kevin Max. As an artist who proudly wears his eccentricity on his sleeve, this album is loaded with memorable songs that were birthed by his creative mind. I swear, each time this guy puts out an album, he outdoes his previous efforts each time. If you are not familiar with K-Max, I suggest start with this CD then work your way back. If you are familiar and appreciate his style, then you'll be sure to get lost in these songs.

A definite 4 out of 4 stars.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides













The latest installment is on Blu-ray/DVD, and what better weekend to enjoy in some pirate revelry than Halloween weekend!

Now, this wasn't my favorite POTC, nor did I think it was a very impressive film. But, it's still POTC. See, with a franchise like this one, it doesn't matter how bad the film is. As long as Johnny Depp is reprising his role as Jack Sparrow and there is some mysterious legend being chased, it's almost impossible not to like it. Having said all that, despite being the weakest of the 4 films, I still recommend seeing it. Especially on Blu-ray. The concept of them trying to find the Fountain Of Youth was pretty cool, and some surprise guest stars (Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane) make it an enjoyable ride. One of my favorite parts is the opening sequence where Jack and Gibbs try to escape London! If you're looking for a good family flick to take in this weekend, definitely check this one out. As far as the Blu-ray version goes, the film quality is superb. However, they could've included a bit more in the extras to make it a better set. But again, I still recommend cheking it out!



For extra enjoyment, check these out!





Monday, October 17, 2011

Scream 4













The franchise that gave slasher flicks a reboot in the 90's has returned for a new decade with new rules. Say what you may, but I liked this film! It had all the elements that cemented the other Scream films in horror movie history. The best part is that the film led you on without revealing exactly who the killers were. They teased you here and there throughout the film making you think it's one character, only to think it's someone else a second later. With all the changes in the way we view entertainment, we miss out on not having more films like these. One thing about the Scream films is that while they provided enough scenes to make you jump, they never took themselves too seriously. This one is no exception. The Blu-ray version is out now and I recommend checking it out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules













Funny, clever, and... FUNNY!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the hilarious sequel to the hit film Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the successful book series created by Jeff Kinney. I have a son who loves these books, so I am quite familiar with the stories. Having watched both films, I can say that they stayed very true to the books. Rodrick Rules follows Greg and his older brother Rodrick, who makes Greg's life hell. From beginning to end this film is a riot. I actually think it was funnier than the first film, and this one has me excited to see how they come up with the next film. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is out on Blu-ray and I definitely recommend that you ch-ch-ch-check it out.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1













Ok, stop what you're doing, head out and grab a copy of Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1 on DVD now. Prepare for some addicting, mind-blowing shows that will have you dizzy if you don't pay attention! Honestly, this show is such a blast that I will find myself going back again and again to watch. Right from the beginning of this DVD set, we see the team travel through time and get involved in a very mysterious situation where they must get help from former President Nixon! Every twist and turn of this awesome show is here in a 2-disc set to enjoy. And I enjoyed it quite a bit. I highly recommend it for its mind-bending awesomeness!

The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure













One thing is for sure, the Smurfs will always rock! With the movie out in theaters, it would be good to brush up on your Smurf knowledge with the DVD release of ! This 2-disc set of 10 fun episodes of the Smurfs is a must see for any fan of the show. I got a kick out of watching these episodes and being brought back to my childhood again. Show after show, you get to see how they just cannot keep themselves out of some kind of trouble! I highly recommend this DVD for both kids and adults! For a taste, check out the clip below:

Friday, July 01, 2011

PLATOON’s 25th anniversary (Blu-ray + DVD)













Before he was "WINNING", before such classics like Men At Work and Hot Shots, Charle Sheen starred as a lead in the moving Vietnam War flick known as Platoon. This was one of Oliver Stone's masterpieces, and 25 years later it still stands the tests of time. Very disturbing and realistic, Platoon highlights the fact that "the first casualty of was is innocence". MGM Home Entertainment has released a special 25th anniversary edition of this film on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack. If I were to recommend the top video sets of the year, this would be one of the top ones. The remastered video and audio on the Blu-ray version really show the film like never before. It's a movie that will stick with you for days after watching, and make you thankful if you never had to go through a hellish experience like this.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Sixth Season













"Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down..."

Did I just bring back memories by posting that line? Good because now I can proceeed with letting you know about the new DVD release of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Sixth Season. This final season of the TV series that skyrocketed Will Smith's celebrity status is full of cameos and surprises that are too funny to be missed. One in particular is the hilarious episode with Chris Rock playing a stand-up comedian AND his sister! For sure, seeing the image of Chris Rock all done up like a woman is enough to damage your psyche! But overall, this is one memorable season all leading up to a an emotional finale that might just bring tears to your eyes. Check it out!







Friday, April 22, 2011

VeggieTales: ‘Twas The Night Before Easter













VeggieTales, the animated specials that have theme songs that will get stuck in your head and annoy you all day have an Easter special. I appreciate the moral themes that they teach young kids, but that theme song drives me nuts! Anyway, it is almost Easter time and if you haven't watched this special, I recommend checking it out. It's got the familar cast that you've seen in all their other shows, except this one has a guest appearance by Cassie Cassava (voiced by American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle). ‘Twas The Night Before Easter will have kids and parents laughing along as they get reminded what Easter is all about. Big Idea comes through again with some sharp animation and a valuable lesson for all to remember.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Charlton Heston Presents The Bible and King Of Kings

With Easter fast approaching, what better way to get into the holiday spirit than with two great video releases of Charlton Heston Presents The Bible and King Of Kings!













For the past 10 years, I've had the VHS collection of Charlton Heston Presents The Bible. Now, thanks to Warner Home Video, they have been released in DVD format. This is a timeless collection of Bible stories presented by The MAN, Charlron Heston. With his trademark voice, he narrates the beloved biblical stories on location in the Holy Land. The video quality is obviously much better than the VHS format, which was the only way to view it until now. It’s a fantastic set that I definitely recommend checking out.
















A classic film about the life of Jesus is out on Blu-ray, and it is good! Well, when I say good, I am referring to the amazing video quality of this old film remastered in Blu-ray format. The film itself is…. interesting. I must say the acting is a bit cheesy at times, but overall a movie that everyone should see at least once. It stays pretty close to the Biblical stories and does a pretty good job seeing what Jesus life possibly was like up close. Do yourself a favor and check this one out!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

RAIN MAN on Blu-Ray













This is a film that really needs no introduction. A pivotal film in the 80’s, Rain Man is both a monumental film for the decade and the careers of Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. This is a film that never gets old, no matter how many times you watch it. Since lately we’ve been on the topic of films getting rereleased on Blu-ray, now we get to see Rain Man. Seeing it in HD quality you notice right away the improvements such as clearer picture and audio. While it’s not the best I’ve seen on Blu-ray, I think they did a good job for this 80’s classic. Definitely worth your time to watch it again, especially with the extra features like commentaries, a documentary titled “The Journey of Rain Man”, and deleted scenes.

Moonstruck on Blu-ray













“Snap out of it!”

If you’ve ever seen the movie Moonstruck then you know what that line above means. Moonstruck is the one movie where people that don’t like Cher and Nic Cage can actually enjoy. Cher has always annoyed me ever since I was a kid. Nic Cage has to be in the right role, otherwise his performance usually has me feeling awkward. Well Moonstruck is the one movie where you forget that you’re watching Nic and Cher. This classic romantic comedy is filled with great one-liners and is a smart and witty take on love. In case you haven’t heard, the film has released on Blu-ray. Considering this is from the 80’s, you can definitely see the difference in watching the Blu-ray version. Much clearer picture on the widescreen and HD audio makes it a good movie-watching experience. Of course features have been thrown in for an extra bonus. Some included are audio commentaries and a feature titled “Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family”. In short, a good title to own for any fan of the film.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BAMBI Diamond Edition













BAMBI Diamond Edition


One of the all time classic coming-of-age movies has been released in all its Blu-ray glory. Bambi is one of the most beloved Disney films, and why wouldn't it be? What's not to like about the cute deer growing up and facing the joys and sorrows of life? I think that this is a timeless film that people of all ages can learn from. Now about this special Diamond Edition. This is a 2-disc combo pack, so it includes the Blu-ray and DVD version for you to enjoy. As enjoyable as the film is, I thought the special feature "The Making Of BAMBI" was very informative and entertaining. If you like seeing how films get done, then this feature is right up your alley. So if you haven't had the opportunity to catch this classic in hi-def, do yourself a favor and check it out.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

He-Man & the Masters of the Universe - The Complete First Season













I thought they were done with releasing He-Man. Apparently, they're not. Mill Creek Entertainment has released the ENTIRE first season all in one collection. That's right. Rather than release different volumes of one season, they decided to pack ALL episodes from this legendary cartoon into one box set. So that means A LOT of enjoyment for all you He-Man fans.

Pros:

Great video and sound quality. Around 22 hours of MOTU fun for anyone looking to reminisce about this great cartoon. PLUS, there is a wonderful documentary on a bonus disc that includes interviews with the creators of the show. Most questions related to the creation of the show are answered in this in-depth documentary. Not to be missed.

Cons:

The packaging! Arrggh! They did a great job with the artwork on the outside cover, but once you open it you'll be surprised to see each disc not in a foldable booklet of some kind, but individual envelopes. You'd think for a collectible set like this, that they could have spent more time creating some cool packaging along with the great discs. But it seems like where they excelled in one, they lacked in the other. On the bright side, it's not like you're just going to be staring at the box! But still, it would've been nice to have some kind of collectible box to go with the discs.

Overall it's a cool set that any He-Man fan can appreciate.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Newworldson













Yes, there is hope for Christian music. If more artists with raw talent like Newworldson keep coming out, they could reshape the way "Christian music" is done. On their self titled album, these guys bring a lot of funk, heart, and soul in thir songs. The constant theme in their music is one that points back to the Creator. The style is hard to pin down, since one minute you hear a little jazz, then some straight up funk, then Stevie Wonder, etc. This is one band that streches their musical styles all over the place, and the results are songs that be sure to get your body and soul moving. Check out their album and you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Books

Books, books, and more books..

Here are some of the books I’ve been fortunate to check out recently.













Fearless by Max Lucado

I really like this guy’s style. From his Punchinello children’s stories to encouraging books for adults such as this one, Max always finds a way to get the heart of the reader. In Fearless, Lucado provides a very hopeful book with timeless advice that points the reader to a God as the source of all hope, no matter what the circumstance. Hard as it may be, if followed properly, this is one book that can truly help you to become “fearless”.












Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell

This great book put out by Bell is a collection of photos, personal stories and other life illustrations that drive home the point that suffering unites us as humans. Very profound in its writing style, this book also weaves in the story of how God joins us in our sufferings, and that we’re not alone. It’s a big book (literally) too, so don’t expect to be able to put it on a bookshelf! It’s best left out on a coffee table as a decoration.













O Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett

At first glance this book would appear to jump on the trendy “doubt” bandwagon, but this one is as honest as it gets. I found myself connecting with Boyett in his confessions in many ways, and appreciated his “confession” style of writing. Rather than drive you away from God, this is one book that deals with doubt honestly and pushes the reader to seek God further, even amidst a sea of doubts.













The Message – Large Print Hardcover

Yes, I reviewed this translation of the Bible before. But this time I checked out the large print version of the Message. Where the Remix version was one that’s great for keeping in the car or just carrying on the go, this large print version is perfect for adding to a home library. Crack it open and dig into the large print text on each page. This one is easy to read, and a great one to own for anyone eager to study more of the Bible.













The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers by Cathleen Falsani

I’m not a big fan of some books that try and pull (or put) Christianity into everything related to pop-culture. Being the movie buff I am, I appreciate those books written by people who “really get” the story, rather than try and fit a certain film into THEIR worldview. This is one of those books. This one mainly deals with films made by Hollywood legends, the Coen Brothers. Warning: This book contains many spoilers so if you haven’t seen some of the films, you may want to not read about them in this book. Falsani really did her homework when it came to these movies. After reading this, you may not watch a Coen Brothers film the same way.