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Movie Review: Elton John’s Las Vegas Concert Film – In theaters worldwide for one night only (March 18, 2014)

 

Elton John

I am a HUGE Elton John fan. I have been since I was a young girl. He is a huge talent with a larger than life personality.

I had the amazing opportunity to meet Sir Elton John at a press junket for the film Gnomeo & Juliet a few years ago. He even gave me a hug and kissed me on my cheek – something I will never forget and that I’ll cherish for a lifetime!

Even though he’s an incredible showman and full of energy on stage I found him to be very quiet, soft spoken, incredibly sweet and well spoken.

Tomorrow, for one night only, a very special Elton John concert that was recorded at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will be shown in theaters around the world.

The legendary  Elton John’s spectacular concert event to cinema screens around the world, and for two nights only in the US on March 18 2014. The concert will be shown in an expected 500 theaters across the US and a total of 1,200 in over 40 countries including the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and Australia.

The concert event includes all of Elton’s greatest hits from throughout his career including ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’, ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ and ‘Your Song’.

Creatively the show is a marvel: A baroque, Roman-inspired golden stage that transforms itself to magnificently reflect the personality of each song. At the centerpiece of the concert is the show’s namesake custom-made Yamaha one-million-dollar piano ($1.4 million, to be exact): an engineering phenomenon featuring more than 68 LED screens incorporated into the design of the piano. When Elton first saw it, he cried.

Accompanied by his band and the ”The Million Dollar Piano,” the concert showcases the epic talent of John, guitarist Davey Johnstone, the late Bob Birch on bass, percussionist John Mahon, drummer Nigel Olsson and keyboardist Kim Bullard, with a special appearance by percussionist Ray Cooper.

Elton is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time, with 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, 29 consecutive Top 40 hits, and he has sold more than 250 million records worldwide. Elton holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time, “Candle in the Wind ’97,” which sold 37 million copies. He also holds the record for most appearances on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, with his newest single, “Home Again” marking his 69th entry. Since his career began in 1969 he has played over 3,000 concerts worldwide. John has recently been named the first recipient of the BRITs Icon Award, which recognizes the very highest level of British music achievement, presented only to iconic artists whose writing, recording and performances set them apart as having made a lasting impact on the nation’s culture.

I had the opportunity to view the film. I was blown away! It was as if I was at an Elton John concert but I was seated in my living room. He pulled off a spectacular one-man show.

I had the chance to see Elton John play one song on the piano at the Gnomeo & Juliet red carpet premiere. Since then I had it on my “Bucket List” to see him in concert before he retires. That day might never come (seeing him in concert “live”), so this concert film is the next best thing.

Elton John performed many of my favorite songs. In between songs he talked to the audience sharing stories about his song writing process, inspiration for his songs and important people who have touched his life. It was great to see him connecting with his audience on such a personal level.

Performances from his concern include;

The Bitch is Back

Bennie and the Jets

Rocket Man

Levon

piano excerpt “Planes”

piano excerpt “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

Tiny Dancer

Your Song

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Better Off Dead

Indian Sunset

Blue Eyes

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

Philadelphia Freedom

I’m Still Standing

Crocodile Rock

Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Circle of Life

Whether you are a diehard Elton John fan or just enjoy an incredible music you should make sure to grab tickets to this concert of a lifetime.

Tickets can be purchased at theater box offices or online at www.FathomEvents.com.

Do you have a favorite Elton John song? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Million Dollar Piano - Elton John

Kimberly

*I screened the concert online for free. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Movie Review: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition

 

Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that one of the most beloved Walt Disney films, Mary Poppins, is celebration it’s 50th Anniversary? I find it amazing because Julie Andrews has hardly aged a bit and Dick Van Dyke looks pretty good or a man who made this classic film 50 years ago.

Out in theaters is the film Saving Mr. Banks which is the story about how Walt Disney was able to bring Mary Poppins to life on the big screen. The author of the book that the film was based on was very reluctant to have Walt Disney turn her stories into a movie. It took a lot of time and effort (20 years!) but Walt Disney was finally able to see the film come to life.

I have not seen Saving Mr. Banks yet but people I know who have seen it love it. You might want to check it out over the holiday break.

I would like to think that most people know a bit about this timeless classic. If you are like me you have probably seen it dozens of times.

In a nut shell Mary Poppins is a nanny who comes to tend to precocious siblings, Jane and Michael Banks. The children have a way of running off all of their nannies. They find that their nannies are strict and no fun. The children want a FUN nanny. Before their father can hire a new nanny the children write a note looking for a nanny who is fun, kind-hearted nanny. The father finds the note and tosses it into the fireplace where it floats out of the chimney.

The next day Mary Poppins show up to answer the children’s ad for a nanny. Mr. Banks is reluctant to hire her, but agrees to let her stay on a trial basis.

Mary is not your average Nanny. She has a magic umbrella and the ability to turn chalk drawings into scenes that come to life.

The children embark on several adventures with Mary and a chimney sweep name Bert.

Mary Poppins is a fun filled fantasy filled with wonderful musical and dance numbers. It’s full of heart and sheds light on the importance of family.

Many people are familiar with the songs from the film, like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, A Spoonful of Sugar and Chim Chim Cheree. Below is the song A Spoonful of Sugar for your enjoyment.

 

I haven’t seen Mary Poppins in many years. It was wonderful to watch it all over again, this time on Blu-ray. I found myself singing right along to the songs (much to the shock of my kids). It’s amazing how you don’t forget the words, even after many years.

The Blu-ray/DVD combo package include a lot of great bonus features. To be honest I found the bonus features equally as entertaining. I especially loved learn more about how the Walt Disney brought this film to life, which is what Saving Mr. Banks is all about. It was great to hear from the cast and crew and their experiences on the film. Sadly the young boy who played Michael Banks (Matthew Garber) died when he was very young. It was nice to see Jane Banks (actress Karen Dotrice) all grown up.

There are two new bonus features not seen on other editions of the movie. One is called Becoming Mr. Sherman which features the actor who plays the role of Richard Sherman in Saving Mr. Banks, Jason Schwartzman. He discusses the Sherman Brothers part in creating the music for the film and the challenges they faced. There are even a few interviews with Robert Sherman himself.

The other fun bonus feature is called Mary-oke Sing-Along. It’s a sing along to a few songs from the film, but instead of watching a little bouncing ball go over each word you need to sign, it’s more like a cartoon with the works spread through the images. It’s cute to watch.

Look for Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition where ever movies are sold.

Check out the clip below from Mary-oke Sing-Along.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Enter for a chance to win the Garth Brooks Ultimate Fan Experience

 

Garth Brooks

Are you a Garth Brooks fan? How would you like to meet Garth and experience the ultimate fan experience?

Straight Talk has partnered with Walmart for a special sweepstakes that will offer fans a special once in a lifetime experience to meet and see Garth Brooks in Las Vegas with the Walmart All Access Pass, courtesy of Straight Talk.

Unlike other sweepstakes where there is one grand prize winner, the Garth Brooks Ultimate Fan Experience will have THREE winners! Not only that, each winner can bring THREE FRIENDS (or family members).

The Garth Brooks Ultimate Fan Experience includes:

  • All expense paid trip to Las Vegas
  • 2 night stay at the Wynn Resort
  • Opportunity to meet Garth
  • Autographed boxed set
  • Garth Brooks Gift Bag
  • Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy S III & one year service

The prize package is fabulous – especially for a Garth Brooks fan.

There are two ways to enter.

Method #1 – Purchase the Garth Brooks Blame it on my Roots boxed set, only available at Walmart, and then go to www.StraightTalkSwitch.com/Garth to enter in the special UPC code found with the set. This option is available only through November 30, 2013 until 11:59 PM (CST).

Method #2 – You can send a postcard (address found under the “Official Rules”). The postcard must be postmarked by December 2, 2013.

If you are a fan and happen to be shopping at Walmart on Black Friday or Saturday be sure to pick up the new boxed set for the special UPC code.

This special boxed set would make the ultimate holiday gift for a Garth Brooks fan too!

You can also see Garth Brooks LIVE on CBS on November 29, 2013 at 9:00 PM (EST) / 8:00 PM (CST). Please check with your local TV guide listings for channel.

Are you a Garth Brooks fan? Do you have a favorite Garth Brooks song? Do you think you’ll enter the contest? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Garth Brooks Blame it on my Roots

Kimberly

*This is a compensated post however the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

 

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Holiday gift idea for ‘tweens – One Direction: This Is Us

 1D_BD_ULTIMATE FAN EDITION

If you have a ‘tween daughter or granddaughter chances are you know all about the music group One Direction.

I thought I would let readers know that their documentary-style film, One Direction: This Is U, will be available on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Download on December 17, 2013. I know the release date is still far off, however I thought some readers might like to know in case their child or grandchild has been asking for a copy for the holidays.

Here is a little more information about the film in case you are interested.

Follow international pop sensation One Direction from their humble hometown beginnings to the global phenomenon in One Direction: This Is Us, arriving  in an “Ultimate Fan Edition” coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack with UltraViolet Dec. 17 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  Also available in 3D format, the special edition release features both original theatrical and extended fan cuts of the feature film.  The Extended cut includes20 minutes of new footage and four additional songs for fans to treasure.

As MTV’s 2012 Artist of the Year, Academy Award® nominated director Morgan Spurlock (Best Documentary, Super Size Me, 2004) and producer Simon Cowell (TV’s “The X Factor”) give fans a captivating and intimate, all-access look at the journey of One Direction, chronicling the group’s almost immediate rise to superstardom.  Never-before-seen footage from the “Ultimate Fan Edition” includes three exclusive featurettes with behind-the-scenes footage of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis having fun at a radio station in Japan and paying a visit Madam Tussauds wax museum to experience their own sculptures being created.

This edition will also feature “Up All Night” – two mini movies previously only seen at the live concert. One Direction: This Is Us also comes with extended scenes and seven featurettes where fans will have the opportunity to go backstage with the group as they prepare for one of their biggest performances of the year and even see members of the group take breaks to make hometown visits with the cameras rolling. The fan-favorite “Best Song Ever” Music Video will also be featured on the disc, which was the lead single from Midnight Memories, the new record from the group which will be released November 25th globally. 

One Direction: This Is Us will also be available on single-disc DVD featuring the original theatrical version
of the film along with select featurettes from the “Ultimate Fan Edition.”

Synopsis:

One Direction: This Is Us is a captivating and intimate all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon. Weaved with stunning live concert footage, this inspiring feature film tells the remarkable story of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis’ meteoric rise to fame, from their humble hometown beginnings and competing on the X-Factor, to conquering the world and performing at London’s famed O2 Arena. Hear it from the boys themselves and see through their own eyes what it’s really like to be One Direction.

One Direction: This Is Us was directed by Morgan Spurlock. The film was executive produced by
Richard Griffiths, Harry Magee, Will Bloomfield, Douglas C. Merrfield, Jeremy Chilnick, Matthew Galkin, with
Simon Cowell, Adam Milano, Morgan Spurlock and Ben Winston serving as producers.

 

Blu-ray Combo Pack Exclusive Bonus Features (Also 3D Format) Include:

  • 20 minutes of new footage
  • Four additional songs
  • Three featurettes:
  • “I Didn’t Do It” – The boys try to complete on-air promotions at a Japanese radio station
  • “Hold That Pose” – The boys visit the famed Madam Tussauds wax museum
  • “Up All Night!” – Two mini movies previously only shown during the live concert

Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Bonus Features Include:

  • “Best Song Ever” Music Video
  • Five “Going Home” Featurettes – Each member of the group visits their home town, family and friends offering fans a glimpse at their life off the road
  • Two additional featurettes:
  • “Before The Show” Featurette – Featuring the boys hanging out, playing games, exercising/training, and getting ready for one of their performances
  • “1D Family” Featurette – A piece on the fans of One Direction
    • Extended Scenes

One Direction: This Is Us has a running time of approximately 85 minutes and is rated PG for mild language and the Extended Cut is rated PG for language.

Mark your calendar. I’m sure there are a lot of parents and grandparents who are looking forward to seeing the excitement on their ‘tweens face when they open up their own copy of the film.

tn1_One_Direction_This_Is_Us_Movie_Wallpaper_2_rtzax

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Cody Karey Self-Titled Debut Album Premiere

 

Cody Karey Album Cover

I have a very eclectic taste in music. My playlists include songs from Elton John to Metallica, and from Plácido Domingo to Pitt Bull. Classical, opera, heavy metal, dance, pop, hip-hop… I like songs from almost all genres.

One artist I really like is Josh Groban. I think he has the most beautiful voice. His song Believe, from the film Polar Express, is amazing. He’s truly gifted.

There is a new artist who is releasing his debut album tomorrow (October 22, 2013) who reminds me of Josh Groban in a way. He has a beautiful voice too.

This young man’s name is Cody Karey. He’s only 21 years old but you would never know it from his amazing tenor voice. Cody is even influenced by Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli (another favorite of mine).

Cody was only 18 months old when he stood up in his high chair at Pizza Hut when he broke out signing Achy Breaky Heart. Since that day Cody has been following his destiny – to be a super star.

You might not know his name now, but trust me, you will.

Cody can transition effortlessly from classical to mainstream pop. He can even attract an international audiences because he speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French and German. That is pretty impressive.

Cody started out singing country but once he discovered Groban and Bocelli he found a new style of singing that he enjoyed just as much.

Cody was discovered by Verve Music Group’s Chairman David Foster, who has an “ear” for great talent when he hears it. He has been a producer for such successful musical artists as Christina Aguilera, Air Supply, The Bee Gees, Andrea Bocelli, Toni Braxton, Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Cher, Chicago, Neil Diamond, Céline Dion, Earth Wind and Fire, Josh Groban, Hall & Oates, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé Knowles, Kenny Loggins, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Olivia Newton-John, Nsync, Prince, and Barbra Streisand to name a few. Foster has also won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations.

Knowing that Cody has been place amongst such world renowned talent tells me that Foster knows that he is going to be the next big thing.

Cody has shared a stage with some of the world’s most talented singers too including  Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli, The Tenors, Pia Toscano and American Idol alumni Katharine McPhee and Ruben Studdard.

Check out these brief clips to learn more about Cody and to hear his beautiful voice.

 
 

I had the opportunity to listen to his debut album. I love it! There are 11 tracks. My favorites are You are the Song (featured in one of the above clips), Leap of Faith, All I know, I’m Coming Home, Tu Sei and his rendition of I Believe I Can Fly. I actually prefer his classic music over his pop music, but that is just me and my personal preference.

He’s a very talented man. I find his songs to be a bit on the romantic side. This album would be great for a romantic dinner. :-)

If you would like to learn more about this incredible new talent check out his official website www.CodyKarey.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Look for his new self titled debut album on sale tomorrow (October 22, 2013) where ever music is sold.

What do you think about this young man? Does it look like an album you would add to your music collection?

verve

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Edition now availalbe

 

Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary

Can you believe that one of the world’s most beloved films is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary? The Wizard of Oz was released in theaters on August 25, 1939. This timeless classic has gone on to delight generation after generation. My mother loved the film. I love the film and my daughter loves the film. I’m sure when I have grandchildren they too will be fascinated and entertained by this incredible story.

The Wizard of Oz is available in a special 75th Anniversary Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and Digital HD/UltraViolet edition (released on October 1, 2013).

My family had the VHS version of the film (do you remember VHS?). I was in awe when I saw how much nicer it looked on DVD. DVD has nothing on how amazing the film looks on Blu-ray. It’s as if you can see things in much more detail and sharpness. The colors practically jump off the screen (and I’m not referring to the 3D version either).

The music from this film is classic too. Even the movie soundtrack is just as wonderful as the film.

I find it hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t know the story of the Wizard of Oz. In case you are not familiar with the story here is a brief synopsis.

Over the Rainbow

The Wizard of Oz stars the late Judy Garland as Dorothy, a young girl who lives on a farm in Kansas with her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and farmhands Hunk, Zeke and Hickory.

One day the wicked Miss Gulch arrives at the farm demanding that they hand over Dorothy’s dog Toto. She claims that Toto bite her and she had an order from the sheriff to hand the dog over so he could be destroyed. Reluctantly Dorothy hands over her furry friend and races off to her room to be alone. Luckily Toto escapes and returns to Dorothy.

Fearful that Miss Gulch will return to claim Toto, Dorothy and Toto run away from home. Along the way Dorothy meets a traveling showman name Professor Marvel. Realizing that Dorothy was running away from home, Professor Marvel convinces Dorothy that he can foresee the future and tells her that her Aunt Em is very ill and drying. Dorothy races home to be with her.

Dorothy barely makes it home when a tornado hits the farm. Dorothy is trapped inside the farmhouse with Toto as it’s ripped from the ground and sent swirling around inside the tornado. Suddenly the house drops from the sky and lands on the ground. When Dorothy emerges she realizes that she’s not in Kansas anymore. She’s in a place called Oz.

Dorothy meets a beautiful witch name Glinda and some unusual people called Munchkins. She also finds out that her house landed on the wicket witch of East, crushing her to death. Her sister, the wicked witch of the West is angry and plans on getting her revenge on Dorothy. The only way Dorothy can be saved is if she gets back home to Kansas. To do that she needs to make her way to the Emerald City and see the great and powerful Oz who can help her to get home.

Dorothy is set out on her own and told to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Along the way she encounters a Scarecrow, Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion who join Dorothy on her journey to the Emerald City.

the-wizard-of-oz

The group make it to the Emerald City and meet the great and powerful Oz who demands that Dorothy bring back the broom from the wicked witch of the West before he will help her to get home to Kansas.

Will Dorothy succeed or will the wicked witch of the West destroy her first? Even if she does succeed, is Dorothy able to make it back home to Kansas. And what will become of her friends? To find out you need to pick up a copy of The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Blu-ray, now available where ever movies are sold.

As I mentioned before, the quality of the film in the Blu-ray copy is truly amazing. It’s difficult to believe that this film is 75 years old. You would no know that when you see it on Blu-ray. It’s crystal clear and spectacular!

I was super excited about the bonus features. Here is a brief run down on the bonus features you’ll find in this special 75th Anniversary edition.

My favorite feature by far is The Making of The Wizard of Oz. This feature really gives you all the nitty gritty details behind what went on behind the scenes in making this film. It features interviews with the cast (Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Margaret Hamilton and others), historians Sam Wasson and John Fricke, movie critic Leonard Maltin and many others.

Making of The Wizad of Oz

I have seen the movie more times then I can even remember, but after watching The Making of The Wizard of Oz I’ll never see the movie the same way again. I have a new found appreciation for the film. Just watching this bonus feature alone is well worth the cost of the movie.

Other features include deleted scenes (it was interesting to see what was deleted), outtakes, commentary (I normally don’t watch commentaries) and a fun sing-a-long feature which include all the well known songs from the film.

I do have the Blu-ray 3D version of the film but unfortunately I don’t have a 3D television. I am unable to let you know how the film looks in 3D (but I bet it’s spectacular!).

This would make a great gift for the Wizard of Oz lover in your home, especially with the holiday season fast approaching. This is also a great set to add to your family’s movie collection and a great way to introduce this classic film to a new generation.

Look for Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and Digital HD/UltraViolet copy where ever movies are sold. You can also purchase it from the WB Shop.

You can also check out the film on the official Wizard of Oz Facebook page. You can also check out clips on the films official YouTube channel. 

Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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