All posts by alanwp

“Person of Interest” comes to an end . . . and what an ending says Michael Emerson

All things come to an end. Even great things. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season on Blu-ray and DVD.  This is the end of one of television’s most compelling, action-packed, crime dramas. 

For years, the Person of Interest team, consisting of tech genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), ex-agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel), NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), cyber-hacker Root (Amy Acker) and missing-in-action operative Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi), have been protected by The Machine. As worlds collided, however, and a rival AI known as Samaritan finally cornered The Machine inside the nation’s power grid, it was the POI team’s turn to protect Finch’s creation.

 In season five, the cold war is over. The world might appear to look the same, but something has drastically changed. Samaritan’s lethal “correction” has initiated its control. Finch’s Machine is essentially dead. Shaw is still missing. And the team is once again hiding in plain sight. But with Samaritan’s invisible grip tightening everywhere, will Finch be able to rebuild and resurrect The Machine? And if he does, will it be the same Machine when it comes back online?

We wonder what Michael Emerson (best-known for his theater work, including a great run as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and a greater Willie Oban in The Iceman Cometh), feels about Person of Interest ending.

“I feel good. I think we were surprised when we first heard that it was coming to an end,” he says. “You always think that as long as your ratings are high, you’re good to go. But it doesn’t necessarily always play out that way. There were other kinds of concerns and such.  Once we got used to the idea, and when they said, ‘We’re just going to shoot 13,’ somewhere in my heart there was a leap of joy because I thought, ‘Praise God. I think I can get through 13.’ I wasn’t sure I could do another 22.”

As for the way the series ended? “Oh, that’s alright. That’s a human ending, not some contrivance or irony or device. I’m really pleased with it and at peace with it and so happy that I’m not still out there shooting,” he adds.

PBS Distribution releases an important DVD, “Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped?”

It’s a documentary so important, so riveting, that it can best be described as transporting viewers to the front lines of this fast-paced, life-and-death detective story.

Alzheimer’s disease strikes at the core of what makes us human: our capacity to think, to love and to remember. The cause of Alzheimer’s­ and whether it can be stopped is one of the greatest medical mysteries of our time. Alzheimer’s ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide, stripping them of their memories and often their dignity on a poignant march that can lead to death.

In PBS Distribution’s DVD NOVA: Can Alzheimer’s be Stopped?, a new one-hour documentary, investigators gather clues and attempt to reconstruct the molecular chain of events that ultimately leads to dementia, and follow key researchers in the field who have helped to develop the leading theories of the disease.

Along the way, meet individuals from all walks of life who will reveal what it’s like to struggle with Alzheimer’s. Among them, members of a unique Colombian family who have learned that their genetic predisposition all but guarantees early onset Alzheimer’s—but there may be hope. Join these courageous patients participating in clinical trials, and then go behind the scenes of the major drug trials to see how researchers target and test therapies that may slow and even prevent Alzheimer’s.

Stephen King, James Franco and a dead Kennedy make for riveting TV

It’s a question most people can readily answer: Where were you when JFK was shot? And almost everyone remembers Walter Cronkite wiping away tears while reporting the tragic news.

Imagine having the power to change history. Willing? Then journey back to 11.22.63.  The Hulu original series stars James Franco as Jake Epping, a high-school teacher at a loss with his life, who wants to make a difference and do something meaningful. Encouraged by his ailing friend (the wonderful, but aging Chris Cooper), Jake journeys back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The story transports audiences into the world of ’60s Texas as Jake explores the multiple mysteries surrounding the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Daniel Webber).

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Lee Harvey Oswald, recreated by the brilliant Daniel Webber

But Jake’s mission faces threats not only from Oswald, but from Sadie (Sarah Gadon), a beautiful librarian he falls in love with, and from the past itself . . . which doesn’t want to be changed. And if the Past doesn’t want to be changed, it will push back­ often violently. With something for everyone, this edge-of-your seat mystery offers an epic and emotional thrill ride as viewers hurtle deep into the unpredictable darkness of the American dream.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s release of 11.22.63 is on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.  Executive Produced by Emmy winner J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Kevin Macdonald, the event series includes all 8 episodes as well as a brand new featurette. The series is based upon the New York Times best-selling 2011 novel written by King.

Billy Zane, Chad Michael Collins and Dennis Haysbert hit the “Sniper: Ghost Shooter” target

We are die-hard members of the Billy Zane Fan Club. We love the hunky actor, even if he makes films that are pretty bad. One film that is not bad: Sniper: Ghost Shooter, the latest in the popular Sniper franchise. This latest action-packed direct-to-video chapter has arrived on DVD and Digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and we’re watching it (again) as soon as we finish typing.

Sniper savors know that Chad Michael Collins and Dennis Haysbert also return for this explosively entertaining installment in which Corporal Brandon Beckett (Collins) and his Marine sniper unit must face off against an infamous extremist sniper who has seemingly perfect accuracy. Directed by returning series’ director Don Michael Paul and co-starring Nick Gomez, Stephanie Vogt and Enoch Frost, Sniper: Ghost Shooter is loaded with the non-stop military action series’ fans (and BZ fans) and newcomers won’t want to miss.

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Elite snipers Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins) and Richard Miller (Billy Zane) are fighting extremists in the Middle East when Colonel (Dennis Haysbert) gives them a new mission: to protect a gas pipeline stretching from the Republic of Georgia to Western Europe from terrorists eager to make a political statement. But when skirmishes with the enemy lead to U.S. snipers being killed by a ghost shooter who locks into their exact location, a security breach is suspected. Fingers are pointed and battle lines are drawn, all leading up to an explosive climax.

Warning! Andy Samberg will have you pissing in your pants in “Popstar”

There’s something funny about Justin Bieber. We’ll star with this bon mot: He has no talent. On the other hand, Andy Samberg is funny. In Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping , a mockumentary  about a former boy-band member trying desperately to salvage his failing solo career (think Bieber), he is fucking funny. If you miss the flick in your local theatre, the film comes to Digital HD on August 16, On Demand on August 30, and Blu-ray and DVD on September 13. You can thank Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for this side-splitting comedy.

We won’t give away too much, but Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping goes behind the scenes as music sensation Conner4Real (Samberg), the breakout star of a popular but disbanded hip-hop group, finds his popularity plummeting after a disastrous album release, leaving his fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when he’s no longer the dopest star of all . . just as he launches a highly publicized solo tour.

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It’s funny because SNL alums Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (the comedy collective known as The Lonely Island) wrote the screenplay, a razor-sharp, music-filled send-up of pop celebrity chronicles the exploits of the lovably egotistical singer-rapper (and his 32-person entourage) as he attempts to win back the hearts of his once-adoring fans. The trio also produced the film, along with comedy mastermind Judd Apatow.

And oh! Popstar co-stars a who’s who of comedy superstars, including Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Imogen Poots, Chris Redd, Bill Hader, Kevin Nealon and Will Arnett. And there are laugh-out-loud cameos from such music-world VIPs as Justin Timberlake, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Carrie Underwood, DJ Khaleed, Seal, P!nk, Nas, , Usher, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ringo Starr, , Simon Cowell, Questlove, Mariah Carey, RZA, T.I., and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Could this be the life story of Bieber? Never say never.

 

 

We have never had shame: “Shameless” is an outrageous, irreverent Showtime series

We have no shame promoting all the great DVDs and Blu-ray releases Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings to fans. On August 30, one of the top-rated Showtime comedy series will get in your hands with the release of Shameless: The Complete Sixth Season.  Get set for the Gallagher clan, one of television’s most outrageous families as they entertain viewers with another highly addictive season featuring 12 irreverent episodes, plus bonus content, including two new featurettes and deleted scenes.

Shameless, based on the long-running, award-winning British series, was adapted for American television by John Wells and original UK series creator Paul Abbott. The show stars Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the outspoken, alcoholic, single father of six clever and resourceful kids from Chicago’s South Side. Scrappy, stubborn and strong, the Gallaghers are tested by changing times but season six finds them older, wiser and better at playing the system.

Accustomed to their natural state of chaos, the Gallaghers are as surprised as anyone at how life is turning out for them. But as they come into their own and find out who they really are, is it really possible that they might grow apart for good?

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During season six of Shameless, Frank continues to grieve the loss of Bianca, while his newfound appreciation for life is freaking everyone out.  Debbie (Emma Kenney) has decisions to make about her pregnancy while Fiona (Emmy Rossum) learns that she too, is expecting. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is still in a dangerous relationship with one of his college professors. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is adjusting to taking his meds and finding a new purpose in life. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is released early after serving time in juvenile detention. And just when they think it couldn’t get any worse, the Gallagher clan faces the possibility of losing their home when they are served with an eviction notice.

Stay tuned.

Go for the gold without attending the Rio rumpus with new Caillou DVD

Forget Rio. Forget the dirty water and nasty people and nastier crime. The young and young-at-heart can go for the gold with the new PBS Distribution DVD Caillou Goes for the Gold. In 11 exciting episodes, Caillou quickly learns that playing soccer, baseball and running aren’t as easy as they look, but it’s always fun to try something new.
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The DVD is filled with fun sports-themed adventures that empower preschoolers to try new activities with their friends and family.

The suggested retail price of $12.99 is a hell of a lot cheaper than a Rio rumpus.

 

 

Lee Greenwood has a hot new gig: He’s Ambassador for Disabled American Veterans

He may still be looking for love in all the wrong places, but Lee Greenwood is in love with his latest job: The 73-year-old country crooner has become an Ambassador for the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a non-profit charity that provides support for America’s ill and injured veterans.
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Greenwood, who was recently named one of Billboard’s 100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time, performed his most recognizable patriotic song, “God Bless the USA,” for 4,000 DAV members at the closing ceremonies of the DAV National Convention in Atlanta on August 3. The event marked the start of Greenwood’s official partnership with DAV.

“It was an exciting night at the DAV National Convention in Atlanta,” says Greenwood. “These proud men and women are dedicating their lives after military service to help those who are struggling to fit back into civilian life. They address the challenges of all wounded veterans head on and give hope to each soldier who otherwise might not survive.”

A known champion of military and veteran causes, Greenwood will work with DAV to bring much-needed attention and support to the needs of the country’s 22 million veterans, their families and survivors. His ambassadorship will include support of many DAV campaigns, including Keep the Promise and Thank a Vet.

Coos said DAV National Adjutant Marc Burgess: “Mr. Greenwood has shown a deep and abiding respect for our nation’s service members and veterans, and we could not be more thankful for his support. Our members were absolutely thrilled to hear him perform, and appreciate his patriotism and genuine gratitude for those who served. He is greatly admired within the veteran community and we look forward to working closely with him as advocates for our nation’s heroes.”

Want to thank Greenwood yourself? Catch him at one of his gigs; we share his concerts dates across below.

Aug. 7 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Game – Canton, Ohio
Aug. 26 Pentagon Auditorium – Washington, D.C.
Aug. 27 Donna Dean’s Old Dominion Barn Dance – Highland Springs, Va.
Aug. 31 Chuckwagon Races – Clinton, Ark.
Sep. 2 The Sweet Corn Festival – Millersport, Ohio
Sep. 3 Freedom Hall – Louisville, Ky.
Sep. 9 SCI Kiwanis Balloon Fest – Bloomington, Ind.
Sep. 10 Bristol Racetrack – Bristol, Tenn.
Sep. 11 Frederick Brown Jr Amphitheatre – Peachtree City, Ga.
Sep. 15 Mass Comm Bldg – Clarksville, Tenn.
Sep. 16 Plaza Theater – Glasgow, Ky.
Nov. 1 Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center with Crystal Gayle – Midland, Tex.
Dec. 1 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Event Center – Battle Creek, Mich.
Jan. 21, 2017 Meadow View Conference Resort & Convention Center – Kingsport, Tenn.
Jan. 27 Country Music Cruise – Tampa, Fl.
Feb. 25 Orange Blossom Opry – Weirsdale, Fl.

An intense story, a disturbing payoff make for a super DC Universe Original Movie, “Batman: The Killing Joke”.

We never tell jokes unless they involve farmers’ daughters and Republicans. It’s no joke when we suggest you delve into the demented history of the Dark Knight’s arch nemesis–The Joker–as he sets out to prove insanity is only a horrifying moment away for anyone in the latest DC Universe Original Movie, Batman: The Killing Joke.
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Based on one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time, this R-rated, feature-length animated film brings together some of the key creative team behind Batman: The Animated Series with executive producer Bruce Timm  at the helm and Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill returning to their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively. You can see what the fuss is about: Batman: The Killing Joke has arrived (from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) on Blu-ray Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Super, man.

Let us share a moment featuring Batman searching the fun house as the Joker chides him with a monologue that ends with his famed “One Bad Day” line.

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, Batman: The Killing Joke takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime–from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is–setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest. Following a gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl, Batman: The Killing Joke stays true to the authentic tale that has held fans’ imaginations for nearly three decades–spotlighting the birth of a Super-Villain, the fortitude of a Super Hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless.

We ain’t saying anymore, but we Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing, the final words. She promises the film has an “intense, often disturbing storyline, but we are extremely pleased with how true to the graphic novel we have been in this original film.”

 

Eric Clapton’s amazing concert captured on CD and vinyl

Eric Clapton devotees have reason to clap . . . wildly applaud actually . . . now that we’re spilling the beans: EC’s latest CD, Live in San Diego With Special Guest JJ Cale, will  be offered as a 2-CD set or 3-LP vinyl set and digital album, will be released September 30 on Reprise/Bushbranch Records.

Fans who pre-order the album from Ericclapton.com will receive the track “Anyway the Wind Blows” instantly and two additional songs in advance of the release date. The 180-gram version of the vinyl is exclusively available at the website, as well as a T-shirt and album bundle.

A live video of Clapton and Cale performing “Anyway The Wind Blows” from San Diego is available now at YouTube.com/EricClapton.

Recorded at Clapton’s March 15, 2007 performance at the iPayOne Center in San Diego, CA, this concert was part of a world tour that was much loved by Clapton fans and featured a stellar band that included guitarists Derek Trucks (now of the Tedeschi Trucks band) and Doyle Bramhall II. The two-hour San Diego concert was a highlight of the tour as it featured JJ Cale as a special guest on five tracks (including “After Midnight” and “Cocaine”), as well as Robert Cray on the final song of the record, “Crossroads.”

After successfully covering several JJ Cale songs over his career, Clapton finally collaborated with Cale in 2006 on the original album Road to Escondido.  At the time, Clapton said: “This is the realization of what may have been my last ambition, to work with the man whose music has inspired me for as long as I can remember.”

So it is fitting that one year later, Cale joined Clapton on stage for this special concert where they performed five songs together – underlining the mutual respect the two musicians had for each other.

The concert features a set list from across Eric’s career. Notably, it includes songs from Eric’s classic Derek and the Dominos album Layla, with Derek Trucks playing many of Duane Allman’s original guitar parts.