Why you should get HBO Max.

With HBO Max launching tomorrow, a lot of you maybe be wondering whether you should spend your valuable bucks on the brand new premium streaming service. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the AT&T and Warner Media owned streaming service, so that you can decide for yourself if its worth the monthly subscription.

In this article:

  • HBO Max vs. HBO GO vs. HBO NOW
  • The Crown Jewels of HBO Max
  • DC CONTENT
  • HBO Max Originals
  • The Criterion Collection
  • Studio Ghibli and Crunchyroll Anime Collection
  • HBO Collection
  • Children’s Programming
  • Extensive Movie Library
  • Why you should get HBO Max

HBO Max vs. HBO Go vs. HBO Now

HBO Max vs. HBO Go vs. HBO Now. What should you pay for?

Since 2015, HBO NOW has been HBO’s standalone streaming service. For $15/mo., you get access to everything HBO’s ever made, plus a rotating collection of around more than a thousand movies. HBO Max will include everything that HBO NOW has for the same price, and so much more. Not only do you get everything that already available, but a whole bunch other big shows, movies and HBO Max Originals. If you’re already a HBO NOW subscriber, you’ll automatically be upgraded to HBO Max without any extra cost.

But for HBO GO subscribers, things are a little complicated. HBO GO is a streaming service included in HBO cable subscriptions and TV packages. It essentially allows HBO cable subscribers to stream the HBO content they’re already paying for, facilitating on-the-go viewing. If you get HBO through AT&T TV, DIRECTV, Hulu or Spectrum, you’ll automatically get an HBO Max subscription at no extra cost as soon as it launches. If you however don’t get HBO through the following service providers, you’ll need to pay the bucks for HBO Max.

To me, HBO Max is clearly the superior streaming platform, since you get so much more at practically the same price point. So, if you’re a HBO NOW or HBO GO subscriber, I would advice you to upgrade to HBO Max at launch without a doubt.

The Crown Jewels of Streaming

Even tough every streaming service is hungry for new content, most people just wanna watch the good old stuff and have a good time. HBO Max reportedly paid over 1.5 Billion dollars for 3 big shows alone. Let’s have a look at these shows.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

The Friends cast – Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow.

Friends is arguably THE crowning jewel of the streaming wars – drawing more viewers than any other show in the world. The popular 90’s American sit-com about the tumultuous lives of a group of friends living in New York is still hit with fans among both the old and new generation. The Friends reunion was supposed to be the thing that would make people sign up for HBO Max, but due the corona-virus pandemic, the show has now been delayed. Still, Friends remains one of the most popular shows on the platform and with it’s high re-watch-ability, it sure gonna be there for you.

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory

WarnerMedia’s nascent streaming platform will have exclusive rights to 12 seasons of the show from Warner Bros. Television and co-creators/executive producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. All 279 episodes of “Big Bang” will be available on HBO Max when it launches.

South Park

South Park

South Park, the long-running animated comedy hit, will have a new streaming home on HBO Max. The upcoming streaming platform from WarnerMedia scheduled to launch in May of 2020 will have exclusive streaming rights to the iconic series beginning in June of 2020.

DC CONTENT

Personally for me, the biggest draw of HBO Max is all the DC content they will be serving up.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

#releasethesnydercut

After years of fans petitions and online wars, Warner Brothers finally announced last week that Zack Snyder’s version of the justice league will be release exclusively on HBO Max in 2021. It is said to either in the form of a four hour movie or a six episode miniseries. Whatever be the case, excitement for the Snyder Cut among fans is high and it is expected to fetch HBO Max a lot of subscribers.

Green Lantern

Green Lantern HBO Max

A live-action Green Lantern TV series is currently in the works for the HBO Max streaming service, with Greg Berlanti producing.

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark

Abrams’ Bad Robot company is working on a number of projects for HBO Max, including a Justice League Dark series. The line is not official yet, but expect Constantine and Zatanna to appear.

Other HBO Max Original DC shows

DC’s Strange adventures
DC Super Hero High from Elizabeth Banks
Aquaman: King of Atlantis from James Wan
DC’s DMZ from Ava DuVerney

The CW Shows

Arrowverse shows will not be available at launch

All the new CW shows will be available on HBO Max including the season of Batwoman and the new Stargirl show.

DC Universe Shows

Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol season 2 will release on HBO Max along with the first season. However, the fate of other DC Universe shows like Titans, Harley Quinn is still unknown.

The DC movie Library

DC Movies on HBO Max

The complete DC movie library will available on HBO Max – From The Dark Knight to Joker, Wonder Woman to Aquaman and Man of Steel to Batman Returns.

HBO Max ORIGINALS

Dune: The Sisterhood

Dennis Villeneuve will accompany his star-studded film adaptation of Dune with a companion series on HBO Max, titled Dune: The Sisterhood. The series will center on on the women of Bene Gesserit as they navigate the political framework of The Imperium to make way for the planet Arrakis.

Overlook

This Stephen King-inspired genre piece will feature characters from The Shining and will tell stories from the most famous haunted hotel in fiction. It’s produced by J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot, who are also behind Hulu’s Castle Rock.

Raised by Wolves

Ridley Scott will executive-produce the sci-fi series from Aaron Guzikowski about two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet. As the growing colony of humans almost falls apart due to religious differences, the androids realize how dangerous and difficult their task really is.

There are literally tons more, these are just what I’m most excited about.

THE CRITERION COLLECTION

The Criterion Collection, Inc. is an American home video distribution company which focuses on licensing “important classic and contemporary films” and selling them to film aficionados. Honestly, I’d pay 15$ just for this.

STUDIO GHIBLI COLLECTION

Studio Ghibli, Inc. is a Japanese animation film studio based in Koganei, Tokyo, Japan. The studio is best known for its animated feature films, and has also produced several short films, television commercials, and one television film. 

CRUNCHYROLL COLLECTION

Crunchyroll is an American distributor, publisher, and licensing company focused on streaming anime, manga, and dorama. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley graduates, Crunchyroll’s distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to 50 million registered users worldwide.

HBO COLLECTION

Well, this is a given but all shows and movies will be available on HBO Max. They are know for their prestige dramas and they have some huge shows coming up too like Lovecraft Country and Game of Throne’s prequel House of the Dragon.

Children’s Programming

As the parent company of Cartoon Network and Looney Tunes, WarnerMedia has an impressive collection of children’s content that will also hit a nostalgia nerve for their parents. Many of HBO Max’s original series are also aimed at children and families. Also cartoons from Cartoon Network and Adult swim will be available on HBO max.

Extensive Movie Library

The movie library on HBO Max is so big, that I’m not even gonna try to list them all. Apart from the great Warner Library, they also have several classic films from other big studios available on their service. Also, HBO Max will be producing original movies for their service. Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle will be the first original movie to release on HBO Max.

Seth Rogen in AN American Pickle

Why you should get HBO Max.

Now let’s get to business. I honestly think you should get HBO Max, even though it’s costlier than other service like Disney+ and Netflix. But see it this way, you were most probably already paying for HBO, you just get all the extra stuff free. And even if you never subscribed to HBO, there’s just so much content here that I believe it’s absolutely worth the 15$/mo price point. It’s literally so much content that I probably didn’t even consider 5% of all that is available in the service. And it’s not like they are just putting anything on there – it’s all premium content, made by some of the biggest names in Hollywood and with some of the biggest pop culture properties. Just like the tagline of HBO Max goes – “Where HBO meets so much more.”

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for HBO Max now!
http://www.hbomax.com

Music Interviews: Italian Rock Band The BlackLava

Songs Voices Never Share

Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?
Hi everyone, I’m Carlo “Karlo” Loglisci and I’m the frontman (singer and guitarist) of The Blacklava. We are an Italian rock band (obviously the songs are sung in English) with 70s and 90s influences.

Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?
We started in 2014. Me, Mark (who previously played the guitar) and Gabry (ex bass player). I was already friends with both. We went to a rehearsal room of a metalhead friend of ours and used the logic pro loops as drums. Thinking about it now makes me smile! After two months Gabry introduced us to Diego, a drummer friend of his. We played together for three years and we made an Ep and we were getting ready for the record. While recording the album Gabriele left the band for personal reasons. It had been in the air for some time already. The Blacklava project was going on and he was unable to devote the necessary time and problems in the family made him make the decision. After a short time we decided that Mark would play the bass and that a friend of ours Matteo “Zeta” would play the solo guitarist! we finished the record and we are on tour in Europe and in 2019 Zeta leaves the band for study reasons! Now the training is complete with Francesco “Vip” on guitar! Francesco was our Producer since the first EP.

What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

Difficult question, especially in a lockdown period like this. in 2014 we did Rock / Stoner. later we decided to mix a little and put a lot more rock and now in the last singles we do a rock mkic with influences from the 70s and 90s. This quarantine is changing us and I
don’t know how much it will not be possible to produce music all together. A single that talks about quarantine will soon be released, all created with technology. So acoustic guitar, vocals and electronics. We as artists change based on the period and on what we feel like doing!

What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?
I really like the initial part! When I play a simple riff for fun and I sing on it. I find it magical, instinctive! then I like the first part when the embryo becomes music and then the last part is the one I like the least, perhaps because at that point I heard the song 200 times! hahaha. We The Blacklava produce ourselves from the very beginning so we are present and authors of our tracks. maybe if we went to a studio where someone else is behind the mixer the order of pleasure would be different

What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?
I like a lot of themes. It depends on the period! now I want to go back to screaming music and / or ballads.

Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?
Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Fink, Chet Baker, Black Stone Cherry, Royal Blood. These are the first influences that come to mind that have marked my way of approaching music!

Where can someone looking for your music, find it?
everywhere.Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music, Itunes, Deezer and more

What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?
be with my friends and my band before the show, have fun together and then get a little drunk on the stage 🙂

What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

Almost always a message of lightness and fun and sometimes, even if in very little percentage, some deep reflection on life. But sometimes the reflections are trivial because now they are all poets in the world and the most beautiful reflections have already been made and also a very good way!

Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for the band?
I hope that after this pandemic the live activity will resume even more than before and I would like the band to travel a lot abroad!

Album Review: Notes on a Conditional Form – The experimental new record from the 1975 is truly an album for our Generation.

Notes on a Conditional Form; the 1975

Rating – “It’s great” / worth adding to your collection.

Notes on a Conditional Form begins, like all other the 1975 albums, with a track named ‘The 1975′ which samples audio from a Greta Thunberg speech. Greta talks in her melancholic voice about climate change and the human species’ losing battle with nature, as a really sombre piano piece is played in background. She urges people to perform civil disobedience and rebel against any sorts of politics that is keeping us from bringing about a change. But there lies the irony. You see, the 1975 are often criticised in the rock and roll music community for not being “rebellious” or “edgy” enough for an alternative/indie rock band. They are typically known to make clean synthesized ‘white girl’ music for teenagers with Matty Healy’s charming laid back observations of modern relationships. While, I don’t agree with those accusations, if you’re someone who believes them – you’re in for a surprise.

THE 1975 – NOTES ON A CONDITIONAL FORM

Notes on a Conditional Form is not your typical the 1975 album. Like I said earlier, they make it very clear right from the very first track that they are trying to explore something deeper on this And the theme they are trying to explore is our generation’s modern life and struggles. Matty says the reason Greta’s speech was sampled into the album was because they wanted to give her some sort of pop culture relevance for being the voice of our generation’s eco friendly demands. The theme is nothing new The 1975 though, their last album ‘A brief Inquiry into Online Relationships’ dealt with similar themes. In fact ‘Notes on a Conditional Form ‘ is a sequel to that album, in their third release cycle “Music for Cars”. Originally supposed to come only months after the first album, the production of the album got delayed and after a long recording sessions in 16 different studios, the album has has finally arrived more than a year after it’s initial release date. But that long stretched production has given this album a sound you couldn’t have imagined otherwise. This with out a doubt, the most experimental the 1975 has ever been. From hypno rock to elctro-dance pop and even heavy metal, this album is mixture of sounds from variety of genre – all distorted but still connected to form a really meaningful experience. I completed listening to the album and instantly went back again. The album consists of these very ambitious àmbient music that is really exceptional all guided by the 1975’s classic books to lift them up. Also there a a couple of alternative post rock tracks sprinkled in this record, and those were just some of the best listening experiences I have had this year.

the 1975 – Guys – NOTES ON A CONDITIONAL FORM

Matty’s laid back vocals with his observational song writing are still here on this album, but it’s much more introspective here. You can surely break them apart individually and find beautiful meaning in them. Matty said in an interview that the genesis of this album came from a time he watching watching Netflix alone in his room and immediately wanted more episodes as soon as the season ended. While that might not be a good analogy to explain the theme of this album, the theme of isolation runs throughout it. But the band’s secret weapon remains drummer and producer George Daniel, who has grown increasingly adept at matching Healy’s every whim as a songwriter. It’s easy to take for granted by now that, no matter what style the 1975 attempt, it will at least sound great. A slapstick country-emo travelogue? Go for it. A shoegaze snippet with Auto-Tuned ad-libs? Why not. A lush, futuristic Americana story-song? Fetch the pedal steel.

From a production stand point this is their most ambitious and intricate work yet. If the lyrics don’t tell a story, the music is telling an unified story in itself with its strange transition and sudden blows. The music packs a punch, you don’t know what to expect next as the 1975 change from one song to another. Which is ultimately my one gripe with this album, due so many unique sonic directions sometimes it feels lost and unmotivated. The songs don’t flow into each other naturally. But the tracks are finally bound together by a deep sense of isolation, which makes them great individually. For all its sonic experiments, Notes is filled with these quiet, self-affirming moments. If the 1975’s early work felt like pop music compulsively interrupted with provocations and footnotes, then Notes takes an inverse approach: It is a long, messy experiment that just so happens to peak with some of their sharpest songs. Yes, they have expressed some of these thoughts more succinctly in the past; and yes, the tracklist could be condensed so that you don’t have to clear your schedule to get through it. But when everything clicks, their work has never sounded so patient, so personal. And in the last song of album ‘Guys’, where it Matty sings about their early days and friendship among the band mates, all the societal and personal themes come together to form one beautiful mess.

In all of it’s experimentation and observational lyricism, Notes on a Conditional Form is truly an album for our Generation- with all the perils of of our times. In the song –  “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know),” a late-album highlight and their highest-charting single to date in the UK. Evolving from a slow-building intro into a mechanical chug, it is the record’s closest thing to a typical 1975 song—a glittery ’80s arrangement, a ridiculous saxophone solo, a charmingly sleazy hook. Matty sings about his obsession with the cam girl of his dreams – how he’s drawn towards the laptop every time and seduced into the screen by a girl he can’t meet. “I need to get back, I gotta see the girl on screen” Matty sings with bravado, and you’re left wondering if this is what the meaning of love and connection has come to in our digital age.

Fav Tracks – //The 1975/People/Frail State of Mind/Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America/ Straming/ Roadkill/ The End (Music for Cars)/ If you’re too shy (let me know)/ Having no Head/Me and you together songs/ I think there’s something you should know/ Don’t Worry/ Guys//

Least Fav Track – Shiny Collarbone

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jason Sheldon/Shutterstock (10567289o) The 1975 – Matty Healy The 1975 in concert at the Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, UK – 25 Feb 2020

You can listen to Notes on a Conditional Form by the 1975 here – https://open.spotify.com/album/0o5xjCboti8vXhdoUG9LYi?si=crfp7HfXSG2iCRoJ6ZuhFA

Music Interviews – Leaving Eden talk about new album ‘Dream With Me’ and film projects with Massimiliano Cerchi.

1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

Hi, I’m Eric Gynan, Cofounder of the Rock band Leaving Eden from New England USA.

Leaving Eden Lineup: Eve Lead Vocals, Alyssa Bailey White Keys and Vocals, Jake Gynan Drums, Eric Gynan Guitars and Vocals, Rich Chouinard Bass and Vocals

https://leavingeden.com

2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

Leaving Eden has been around for well over a decade. Co-founded by myself and Eve. Rick was in a previous band to Leaving Eden. Alyssa was at a gig and she wanted to play keys for us. The drum slot also  became available and Jake asked for it. I think every member of Leaving Eden are really top-notch musicians.

3. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

I consider Leaving Eden a multi Genre band branded in Rock/Metal, we also have folk, pop, alternative, progressive music that really tends to blend paired with lots of energy and a connection to the crowd. I always say Leaving Eden is best seen and heard live. Eve has a way with people that is intriguing. Lots of melody/harmony with hooks and lyrics that are based on reality to a certain extent.

4. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

Great question.  As a musician the best part is recording an album and playing live. It’s always been something that is very unique. Sharing these experiences with the band members gives you a special sense of comradery. When you’re up on stage it’s those five people making the music together, tight, full of energy and entertaining. The same goes for recording. It’s so fun knowing that you’re together creating something that will last forever. When it’s done it’s such a sense of achievement. 

5. What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

I think there’s an ongoing theme of hope. I also think there’s darkness shadowed by the light. Every single one of us are embedded with good and evil.  It’s always been a struggle to overcome evil.  It’s reality, so we write about it. Most of our lyrics are based on reality in someway.

6. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

There are so many like Fleetwood Mac, Disturbed, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel.

7. Where can someone looking for your music find it?

We have seven albums released worldwide. You can find those albums on all the normal platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon.

Our new album “Dream With Me” to be released in May, 2020, we were told it was the best pre-order for the label.

Leaving Eden New Album – Dream With Me. Photo by Mark Weiss.

Dream With Me is Leaving Eden’s 7th Album to be released world wide and distributed by Dark Star Records/Sony/Universal.  In this album we got the best of both worlds, where again like our last 2 Albums, we were able to take all the time necessary to record and produce “Dream With Me” in Leaving Eden’s Studio. But then, to have One of the best Rock Engineers in the world as far as I’m concerned, Grammy Award Winning Engineer Johnny K. (Disturbed, Staind, Finger Eleven, 3 Doors Down, Megadeath, Sevendust, Plain White T’s, POP Evil, Trapt, Drowning Pool, Alien Ant Farm, and many more) for Final Mix and Mastering is my dream scenario!  I love working With Johnny, he’s a genuine connoisseur of great music with so much talent, it’s such a pleasure to call him my friend. We’ve worked together on other albums but this one, to have the freedom to dig deep and experiment with my own unique recording techniques and then to have Johnny put his final touches on it was a real treat!” 

House of the Rising Sun Official Video
By Leaving Eden

Dream With Me Official Vide
(in a time of the CoronaVirus)
By Leaving Eden

Alyssa and I wrote the title track “Dream with me“.  We loved the song when it was finished. We felt it was a great title for the Album.  The video has a connection to the coronavirus.

8. What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?

Well it’s certainly one of the things that greatly motivates us.  Basically most of our friends have come through touring and playing live.  You get to meet people you never possibly could’ve met, you get to see places you’ve never possibly could’ve seen. Leaving Eden has toured the USA, UK & Canada sharing the stage with hundreds of the biggest national bands in the world including; 10 Years, 10 Years After (Woodstock Reunion), Adelitas Way, Alice Cooper, Alice In Chains, Anthrax, Apocalyptic Review (featuring members of Godsmack), Avenged Sevenfold, Big Brother and The Holding Company (Woodstock Reunion), Black Sabbath (Heaven & Hell), Blackstone Cherry, Bret Michaels, Buckcherry, Chevelle, Collective Soul, Country Joe (Woodstock Reunion), Damage Plan, (Featuring Dimebag & Vinnie Paul) Days Of The New, Disturbed, Dope, Dropkick Murphy’s, Drowning Pool, Five Finger Death Punch, Fuel,  Gemini Syndrome, Gin Blossoms, Godsmack, Halestorm, HELLYEAH, Herman Rarebell (The Scorpions), Hinder, Hookers & Blow (featuring members of Guns ‘N’ Roses, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P.), In This Moment, Jefferson Starship (Woodstock Reunion), Killswitch Engage, Kittie, Korn, Lacuna Coil, LA Guns, Lamb Of God, Lita Ford,  Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marilyn Manson, Michael Schenker (UFO, MSG & The Scorpions) Motorhead, Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, Napalm Death, Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden),  Nonpoint, One Eyed Doll, Papa Roach, Pop Evil, Powerman 5000, Puddle Of Mudd, Queensryche, Ratt, Rob Zombie, Ronnie James Dio, Saliva, Saving Abel, Scott Stapp (the voice of Creed), Sebastian Bach, Seether, Sevendust, Shinedown, Slayer, Soil, Soulfly, Steven Tyler, Stone Sour, Taproot, Ted Nugent, Testament, The Butcher Babies, The Misfits, Theory Of A Deadman, Trapt, Tremonti (Creed/Alterbridge), Trixter, Uncle Kracker, Warrant, ZZ Top, Nickelback, Skillet & many more.

9. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

I guess have fun, enjoy life, be responsible to yourself as well as others, open your mind and save your soul if you can.

10. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are your future plans for the band?

Tracks from Leaving Eden albums will be featured in Massimiliano Cerchi’s movies: Painkiller, Mayday, Lockdown and Penthouse starring Michael Pare (The Philadelphia Experiment,  Eddie and the Cruisers). And Bloodthirst.

“We are excited about this new album also, because the entire album and lots of tunes from our previous albums will also be featured in a new fake reality comedy movie titled “The Nitwit”

Watch the teaser trailer For THE NITWIT MOVIE

Website:

https://thenitwitmovie.com

Originally I had written The Nitwit movie script loosely based on real life events with the intention of having Leaving Eden’s music throughout the movie and procuring other pros to make the movie. Where Leaving Eden has been involved with having our music placed in different movies and TV series this simply made sense. While in Iowa after wrapping up on a shoot I sat down with Nitwit Movie Producer, Ray Van Blarcom and Actor, Matt Moody over a scotch and threw the script down on the table. They started reading it, thought it was hilarious so we decided let’s make the movie. For me being the director of several music videos it was a very simple transition to direct The Nitwit Movie. Finally, I was intrigued by Matt Moody’s experience not only in production but as an actor. Ironically Matt fit the leading role as The Nitwit perfectly.  He then brought in Jordan Smith as his costar and Nitwit Movie Producer, Fran Huges, the rest is history. We expect the movie to be released in 2020 by SGL Entertainment.  Many concerts have been scheduled so we’re hoping that things start to shape up around here. Being isolated during the coronavirus is a very tough thing for most people so we definitely do wish for everyone’s safety.

https://leavingeden.com

There you will find everything you need to know about Leaving Eden.  Thanks much man it was a pleasure chatting with you here and I wish you peace and safety.

Movie Review: Scoob! – It’s a shame that this childish delight has to skip THEATERS.

Scoob!; Dir – Tony Cervone

Rating – //stream it once it’s free// (Or you know, purchase on VOD for your kids!)

Scoob! is set on it’s way to create history one way or another. It is the first movie set for a theatrical release, to completely skip theaters and release on digital VOD due too the current corona-virus pandemic. What kinda business it does is yet to be seen, but either ways it’s going to shift some gears in the Hollywood release model. Anyways we’re not here to talk about that, let’s discuss if the movie is any good. Is it? Well, it’s a both yes and a no.

While Scoob is a nice fun pastime for the family, it no ‘The Lego Movie’ which both kids and adults can appreciate together The jokes here are mostly written for kids and read as if it’s some middle aged man trying to write what he thinks kids these days find funny. Yes the Scooby Dooby franchise has been adapted to modern times and all characters are now millennials (Or GenZ, I’m not sure. Also the plot and the messaging in the film is not nearly as smart or innovative as the LEGO movies, which the scooby doo mystery mystery formula being revamped to fit into the superhero genre. Because again, what do kids love these days? Superhero movies.

The gang reuniting in the middle a third-act superhero fight scene in Scoob!

But I’m not gonna be too harsh on it for that, after all this movie IS made for kids. And honestly I think kids will love this movie – with all the bright colors, funny gags and entertaining action. That’s why I couldn’t help but think of how much better it all would be on the big screen. Kids out of school, going to the theaters and having a blast with Scooby and gang, as they slurp on cola and much on popcorn. This movie really had the potential be some like a minions. But alas, that not the kind of time we live in right now.

Also if you’re a genuine Scooby fan, I think there’s enough in Scoob! to please you too. Shaggy and Scooby are the stars of the film and I think the voice actors did a good job here. But the real show stealers in the voice acting department are Zac Efron as Fred and Mark Wahlberg as The Blue Falcon. What you don’t get much of is – enough time with the gang together as they are separated right at the beginning. But to compensate for that, you get a slew of Hanna-Barbera characters in the movie. There are a ton of references in this movie! This is essentially an origin story for a planned hanna-barbera universe by the Warner Brothers. So if you’re like me and spent your childhood watching hanna-barbera cartoons on Cartoon Network, that’s plenty reason to get excited.

How good Scoob! would’ve done if it were released in the theaters? I can’t possibly tell that, but the last act of this movie would definitely have been a blast to watch on the big screen. So, I would recommended you to watch this film – kids will love it, and chances are you will too.

Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma in a scene from Scoob!

Click on the link below to watch Scoob! online right now –
https://www.amazon.com/SCOOB-John-DiMaggio/dp/B087L5HNCR

How The Half of It defies Its Genre CONVENTIONS

Ellie Chu tells the audience right up in the opening sequence of the film – “This is not a love story”, à la the narrator in ‘500 Days of Summer’. And just like ‘500 Days of Summer’, ‘The Half of it’ subverts all genre conventions and tropes that people have come to expect, while still being a part of it and playing by its rules. It takes the very familiar story (one that’s been told over and over again, especially in the recent string of teen movies from Netflix), and just decides give the story realistic conclusions. And in doing so, it becomes something more than the genre sets it out to be, and the movies breaks free to greatness just like it’s protagonist.

The Half of It Official Trailer from Netflix.

I’m gonna be honest here, I’m not a fan of these Teen/High School movies from Netflix; most times they are just too cliched and suck real bad. And while ‘The Half of It’ has a really cliched plot, the executions and certain choices made in the production help it rise above it’s peers. The story begins with our lead protagonist Ellie Chu, an immigrant from China living alone with her father since her mom’s demise, as she explains us the concept soulmates to us using Greek mythology. “According to Greek mythologyhumans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.” she says, showing her search for that fairy tale concept of love. But Ellie isn’t bothered much about that, she spends her time learning and writing papers for other students in exchange of money, so she can go to college even if it’s not her dream school. To spice up her boring life, one day High school jock Paul approaches her to write letters popular high school beauty Aster, so that he can woo. You have seen any movie in this genre over the last few decades, you know what’s gonna happen next. Naturally Ellie falls for Aster as they exchange letters and feels like she has finally found her other half who understands hers.

The friendship between Ellie and Paul is without a doubt the best aspect of The Half of It.

But here the film decides to take things a little different and turns itself into a complex and nuanced tale. First of all, yes it’s a story of a lesbian Chinese immigrant and that is a huge thing in itself. But just having a progressive character in your film doesn’t make it groundbreaking or good for that matter, it’s what you do with those characters that matters. This story could easily turn into the ‘gay best-friend’ trope popular in so many rom-coms, but instead what develops is really nuanced and probably one of movie friendships in recent memory. The chemistry between Leah Lewis and Daniel Diemer is off the charts and the cute moments they share together were the highlights in film for me. And while Ellie is falling hard for Aster, Paul starts developing feelings for Ellie being unaware of the situation. Now this is the part of the story that could really go wrong by becoming very awkward or cheesy. But not The Half of it, rather it gives the decisions of it’s character real world repercussions which help them grow. Like Ellie Ellie says in another of her voice-overs, “no one will get what they want in the ensuing story. But they will get what they need.

The Half Of It – Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Collin Chou – Photo Credit: Netflix / KC Bailey Movie Review

That is not say that The Half of it does a perfect job of rising above it’s genre, it gives up to it in certain places, like in a “standing up and shouting out their feelings” scene in the third act. And while it doesn’t resolve in the conventional way, it still uses those devices to tell the story. It definitely breaks out and stand above others in the genre, but still it ain’t no 500 days of Summer. But hey, saying that it is not as good as one of the best movies of this century is not really a criticism. And considering how many rules this movies breaks, from story telling plot devices to real life issues like teenage sexuality, Asian culture and even a subtle dab at religion. But again, I have seen a lot of articles praise the movie just for being progressive and said how it criticized religious people, but reading was quite different, I didn’t feel like it was undermining religious people at all, if anything it made understand why they believe what they believe in. And that’s the thing, this movie takes each of its characters seriously and gives them layer – saying that this movie is trying to show down upon any community only undermines the things it tries to speak for.

Ellie kissing goodbye to Aster in The Half of It.

Alice Wu does an excellent job in directing the movies, she adds just enough quirk and innovative techniques to make it all seem special. This is only her sophomore film and her last film was fifteen years back. I don’t know if it’s for any personal reason, but if it is because she wasn’t getting any work, that’d be a huge bummer because boy does she direct this film. Leah Lewis nails the lead role and surely expecting to see more for from her. The overall cast is really good too, not much bad stuff to say here. And yeah, the score – it is just beautiful and a lot more emotion to the story. I’m definitely gonna listen to that score over and over.

 “Love is messy, and horrible, and selfish, and … bold.”

So overall The Half of It is one of the rare teenage dramas on Netflix that’s funny and heart touching forever. Scenes like when Ellie’s dad speak about his wife’s demise for the first time or when Paul runs after Ellie on the train are gonna stay with you for a long time. And just like Tom in 500 days of Summer, when Ellie learns what love really means and we reach the heartbreak point in the story, you feel like you grow up with her. And then when she leaves her home for a successful career, you feel that change in you as you see Paul and Ellie struggle saying goodbye to each other. So, while it isn’t a love story, it is definitely one of the sweetest friendship, and that should be enough reason for you to give it a watch,

Paul running after Ellie’s train in the Half of it.

The Half of it is now streaming on Netflix. Big recommendation.

Music Interviews: “Heart & Hand Grenades” Talk about being a hard rock band based in buffalo.

  1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

We are Hearts & Hand Grenades, a Buffalo born hard rock band. We’ve got Stephanie Wlosinski on bass and lead vocals, Mike Bress on rhythm guitar and keys, Kenny Blesy on lead guitar, and Tom Lafferty on drums.

2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

We all met through the cover music scene here in Buffalo. Stef and I started playing in bands together about eight years ago in a local rock band. Somewhere along the way we met Tom and Kenny in the scene, we became friends, and even started jamming together at some gigs. It wasn’t until Stef and I performed at a local telethon in early 2019 that we decided it was time to get our own original project going. This was due Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls who approached us afterward and insisted we get in his Studio GCR and get the music laid down. We then approached Kenny and Tom to get them on board and here we are.

  1. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

We are all about the hard rock. When we recorded our first EP ‘Wait’ we knew we wanted to make great hard rock songs. We ended up doing just that. We soon got to work on our second EP ‘Nothing Left’ and felt even stronger with the music as we moved toward our goal of being classified as a hard rock band. With our third EP release ‘Adrenaline’, I think we’ve arrived at our goal. The latest EP is full of some powerhouse rock music.

  1. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

The creativity of building a song from scratch is the most fun for us. I like sitting down with a blank piece of paper and watching a song being born. From that first moment when you have that sweet guitar riff in your head, and you are able to build that into a complete idea is just great. It is very satisfying to see everyone put their thoughts and ideas into making the songs what they are in the end.

  1. What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

There are a lot that we’ve portrayed in the songs we released already. I’d have to say the dominant themes reside around hopelessness, anger, and frustration. Everyone in their lives has a story surrounding these at any given time. It is natural to take an idea in this area and run with it. Some are fiction and some are not.

  1. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

I’d say going back to the early eighties with Judas Priest, Metallica, and AC/DC is where we draw a lot of influence from. Those guitar riffs and the overall feel of the songs were just ground-breaking. They have stood the test of time and you can hear their style and play of music in a ton of hard rock bands out there today.

  1. Where can someone looking for your music, find it?

Our music is available for streaming everywhere. You can find us on platforms like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Deezer, Jango, etc. It is also available for purchase from iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, etc.

  1. What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?

Our absolute favorite thing about playing live is the rush. There is nothing better than standing up on that stage with loads of screaming fans standing before you. It is amazing to see them getting into music that you have created. I still remember the first time I saw a fan singing the lyrics to our music back and that really gave me a chill. I knew we were destined for some amazing things at that moment.

  1. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

Through our music, I guess I wouldn’t have a specific topic that I would keep pushing. We write our songs on the edge of our seats. The ideas come to us, and we lay them down. At one moment we might talk about finding out your deepest secret or needing a fix. It’s really just whatever idea we had at the moment we were writing the song.

  1. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are your future plans for the band?

We see ourselves on the big stages in the next couple of years. We are actively looking at putting a tour together so we can hit the road and get our music out of the Buffalo area live for everyone to be a part of. We got into this for the long haul and look forward to every little moment along the way.

The Lighthouse – How to build and release tension in a single scene?

Anatomy of a Scene – The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is one of my favorite films from last year, if not my favorite. So, today I wanna look at a scene from The Lighthouse that in my opinion, is the perfect example of how to build and release tension in a single scene without any dialogue.

The particular scene that I’m talking about, happens around twelve minutes into the film where Robert Pattinson’s character is taking a smoke break after completing his chores at the lighthouse. Prior to this scene the movie sets up the two lighthouse keepers who have come to stay in this hostile environment completely isolated. Just in the scene before, we see Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe argue over dinner, on who should be doing the light duty as Pattinson thinks he’s ready for it. Now it might look like a very petty issue, but it creates one of the fundamental conflicts in the story. Dafoe completely rejects Pattinson’s proposition and in turn says, “The light is mine!” But this only increases Pattinson’s curiosity about the light, as now it has been told that it is forbidden to him. He imagines his master to derive some kind of divine pleasure, which he doesn’t want to share with his assistant. After all, Dafoe clearly says, “There’s enchantment in the light.” However futile this sounds to you, this scene actually lays foundation for the Prometheus allegory that runs as one of the main themes of the story. And that is the beauty of The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers takes these really simple scenes where nothing really happens on the surface, but he adds so much meaning to them through subtext,

Robert Pattinson staring at the Lighthouse with his lustful eyes.

The scene begins as we find Robert Pattinson smoking on the rock, staring up at the lighthouse with desire filled eyes. If you didn’t catch it earlier, the light here represents Zeus’s fire and Pattinson’s desire for it is deliberately showcased because it becomes one his character’s biggest motives later on in the film. But as a viewer watching the movie for the first time, you are not aware of what the light means, so you’re left wondering of its meaning and there’s an immediate tension and mystery attached to Pattinson’s actions.

The first shot is a tracking shot from behind, as the camera follows Robert Pattinson walking towards the mysterious pitch black sea, lit faintly by the moonlight. In the sea, we see a few wooden logs floating away like an illusion and it immediately grabs our attention. DOP Jarin Blaschke deserves special praise here, his cinematography makes even the most mundane visuals haunting, while being so pretty at the same time. And like us, the sight sucks in Pattinson too, as he in drawn towards it. He gets into the water and starts pacing towards the logs with his lustful eyes right on it, as the camera cuts between the enchanting waters and Robert Pattinson’s bewildered face which only increases the tension. We want to know what’s in the and we want to know what’s attracting Pattinson, so we have ourselves more unanswered questions.

Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse.

But that’s not where it stops, as Eggers adds even more tension to the scene by placing a person in between the logs which is eventually revealed as the logs move away, and upon inspection anybody can tell that he dead. Suddenly you have a whole new set of unanswered questions – Who is person? How did he get here? What caused his death? And as the camera cuts back to Robert Pattinson, you see all the same uncertainty and tension in his face. And my God, does Pattinson act in this scene! This is by far some of the best acting by him, and he sells everything in movie that on paper might seem really crazy. And as for the last piece to building tension – Pattinson walks straight into his death. He starts to drown in the ocean and now, not only are you uncertain of what is happening or what Pattinson is doing, now you’re also uncertain of whether he’ll survive.

A scene from The Lighthouse where a dead body is found in the ocean by Robert Pattinson.

So now that all the tension is built, how does Robert Eggers decide to release it? There are mainly two ways to do this, either provide the audience with some kind of answer or jump cut to a more peaceful scene so that the audience is left wondering what the fuck happened. Eggers decides to do both, but only partially. He gives us an answer but it only complicates the plot even more, he slows us a mermaid. It is important to note here that, this is first supernatural occurrence in the story, and it remains to be the only one for a longtime. So as the story develops you’re always reminded of the mermaid and her chilling cries underwater, so the tension remains intact throughout. Even though, Robert Pattinson’s character never talks about it later, you can tell that it’s bothering him since it was earlier revealed that the last keeper died after talking of the mer-folk.

The mermaid in The Lighthouse

So what does the mermaid represent in The Lighthouse? For that we’ll need to what’s the role of mermaids in mythology. While some western cultures do represent the mermaid as friendly beings, most mythical stories portray them as vicious creatures. In popular stories mermaids are found to lure seamen out of their ships into the and seduce them to death. And while being seduced to death doesn’t sound so unpleasant, it is really one of the worst ways to die as they feed off your soul for years.So, again what does the mermaid represent in The Lighthouse? It represents desire – the very thing that leads Pattinson’s character to his doom.

Valeriia Karaman as the beautiful mermaid in The Lighthouse

The mermaid comes back in several scenes throughout the movie as a recurring theme. And because of this first scene, we’re always scared that something bad might happen to Robert Pattinson like the previous lighthouse keeper, whenever she appears. So not only does she act as a motif throughout the film, she also becomes a source of suspense and tension. With each appearance of the mermaid, Pattinson’s desire only increases and it comes out of in the last act of movie – first as a rage-filled masturbation scene where he imagines having sex with the mermaid, and second as a vengeful act against his master.

Robert Pattinson having sex with a mermaid in The Lighthouse (2019).

Now, some people think that all the scenes with the mermaid are actually dream sequences, but in my opinion that doesn’t matter. You can think whatever you want to think that happened, it’s the symbolism behind the scene that matters. It is the story of Prometheus trying to steal what the gods denied him as an act of revolt, and in turn being punished for it for eternity. But what Eggers cleverly does in his take of the story is he doesn’t choose a hero, instead he paints both sides in dark nuanced tones, and what happens in result, turns The Lighthouse into an age old story of men going too far to fulfill their desires.

Orpheus in the Underworld

Late night at the fortress, high, 
Higher than a kite in the sky,
Surrounded by people smelling of piss and sweat 
Dirty walls holding tears of it's thousand inmates.

Segregated and kept separated
Beaten and tortured until broken
Locked in these cells like animals, who don't cooperate,
Spend forever here on charges of crimes against the state.

Blades run for those who disobey,
Killing all that comes on it's way,
Chains bind them to their doom,
Going mad together in this tomb.

My mind's intoxicated, all my senses blurred
Thoughts pummel my head, bordering on the absurd
I need to get to Raven,I need to fortify her
But the visions in front me form a constant blur.

Inside the cages filled with golden canaries,
These walls hide their most priced possession,
A hundred year old bard,
With long flowing hairs and beard
Whiter than Gandalf, from the darkness appeared
Growling in a voice, strong enough to persuade even the purest
To melt even the strongest
And to cure even the sickest.
Blinded by the light, I bow down on one knee
And listen to Orpheus go on a recitation spree.







Why I avoid all Instagram controversies?

It’s like almost every other week that there is a new controversy out there on Instagram or Twitter, where some account seemingly exposes people doing shady stuff, and a million people jump onto their share train, depending on whether it suits their agenda. Now, I would like to clarify right away, and I don’t justify any of the misbehavior that these accounts are trying to bring to people’s notice and neither am I trying to shame people who share posts related to their agenda. I get it, it’s only natural. But I can’t help but notice, how faulty these accusations are sometimes when there is no way to prove them, and why is it only coming from accounts of social media influencers who need followers and new trends. Again, I’m not accusing anybody, I’m just asking – what basis do you have to give out your opinions on these issues?

Legal action taken against the boys part of the Instagram group “boislockerroom”,

Most recently, two days back a post went viral across all social media platforms where a girl shared a screenshot of an Instagram group Boys Locker Room where the boys posted very objectionable content and threatened to rape a girl. Now obviously, this became a huge thing and lots of people shared it with their followers and the social media influencers got content for another week. While this definitely is a big issue and the boys in that group should definitely be taught a lesson, is this really the way to go about it? Whenever ‘leaks’ like this happen, there is an obligatory comment at the end of the post that the person is not sharing this for publicity, but she feels like people should know about this. But is it though? I mean if you tell the police or contact the journalist, your story will naturally be heard eventually. That’s why whenever there is a new controversy on the internet I just ignore it, because chances are that it just ain’t true.

Soon men came out opposing the incident with #girlslockerroom and #notallmen, which in my opinion only increased the problem in a way which could have different only if the situation was handled differently.
Manav Singh killed himself after being publicly shamed on Instagram for alleged rape.

So, am I saying that you should ignore everything that happens to let the people who do such horrendous stuff go away easily? No, absolutely not. I’m just asking you to wait for an official police statement and the court’s decision before you share your opinion. Shame people all you want but only when you’ve seen the whole picture. How many more people do we have to lose before we realize that the judge and jury of the public is not what the world needs?

Understanding Life with Art

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