Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Review”

Audible Review: The 64th Man

Audible has consistently raised the bar when it comes to audiobooks. With The 64th Man, the bar has been raised yet again. Starring professional wrestler and actor John Cena, this Audible Original is an excellent, slickly produced, humorous tale about an athlete trying to find himself and his place in the world. Despite being a casual sports fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook.

I was impressed by John Cena’s excellent voice over work, and the supporting cast is wonderful too—especially Jane Curtin as Mildred. At a little over five hours in length, this story blows by and it has a satisfying conclusion. While some audiobooks have incorporated sound effects in their production, The 64th Man takes everything to another level. It felt like listening to a movie or TV show, which made for a highly enjoyable and immersive experience. If this is the future of audiobooks, then the future is bright.

 

Review: DDP Yoga Bonus! & Extreme 3.0 DVDs

Recently, two new DDP Yoga DVD sets were released: DDPY Bonus! and Extreme 3.0. A significant amount of people still prefer physical media over digital, so Dallas decided to give them some new content to enjoy. Collectively, these new DVD sets contain five DVDs and 23 new workouts—15 on DDPY Bonus! and 8 on Extreme 3.0. All of these workouts first appeared on the DDP Yoga Now app and are still available. They originally debuted on the DDP Yoga Now app as live workouts, but they have since been renamed—on the DVDs and the app—with fun, descriptive titles. Think of these DVD sets as a greatest hits collection of the best and most challenging live workouts from the DDP Yoga Now app, specifically targeted toward those who prefer the DVDs over the app or for DDPY fans who simply want to have a hard copy of some of their favorite live workouts. Below is my take on each DVD set, as well as names and descriptions for every workout you’ll find on DDPY Bonus! and Extreme 3.0.

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Martha Graham Cracker’s Album Release Show Is A Smashing Success

Last night Philly’s favorite drag queen, Martha Graham Cracker, gave her finest performance. This album release show coincided with the debut of Lashed But Not Leashed—Martha’s first studio album. A concept album that captures the music from the live show created in residency at the Kimmel Center’s 2015 Theatre Residency Program, Lashed But Not Leashed is an 11-song odyssey of myriad musical styles and emotions that goes for the jugular and doesn’t let go until the final note dissipates.

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Music Review: Lashed But Not Leashed

Tomorrow Martha Graham Cracker, Philly’s favorite drag queen, releases her very first studio album. I’ve listened to it several times, and it is fantastic! Filled with numerous musical styles, Lashed But Not Leashed is the perfect representation of everything Martha Graham Cracker is, while paying tribute to her influences. From the high-energy album-opener to the funky and hilarious “Let Me Sit On It,” there’s something for everyone to love. The standout track to me is “I’m Not Trying To Stop The Rain.” It’s an epic, sweeping ballad that is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s like Barry Manilow and Aretha Franklin tossed into a blender, with the result being sheer perfection and 100% soul. To put it simply, this album is all killer and no filler. But don’t take my word for it, check out Martha’s track-by-track insights below. And make sure to buy your ticket to see her one-night-only performance at the Kimmel Center tomorrow night before it sells out.

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Review: Super Street Racer for Nintendo Switch

Released on November 7, Super Street Racer is available digitally and physically for Nintendo Switch at the price of $39.99. It’s an enjoyable, attractive looking game filled with numerous customization options, as well as a substantial career mode with a variety of challenges to overcome. I’ve enjoyed my time with it and keep coming back for more. Let’s take a closer look at what this game has to offer.

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Audible Review: The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Prior to reading The Thief of Always, I had heard great things about this book. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d wind up enjoying it. The Thief of Always is now not only one of my favorite Clive Barker books, it’s one of my all-time favorite books in general, regardless of the author. Why? Because it is a tightly-woven fable with vivid imagery, whimsy, and grandeur. What impressed me most was the writing style. I’m used to Clive Barker’s dark, macabre writing style. You won’t get any of that here. It’s so dramatically different that I thought I was reading another author’s book. The Thief of Always has a charming and lovingly presented style that goes down as smoothly as an ice-cold orange cream soda on a sweltering summer day. The characters are splendid, and the story is epic and succinct all at once. While reading this book, I experienced the same joy that I did from watching The Neverending Story as a child. I was filled with awe and happiness because I was fully immersed in a world I didn’t want to leave. Even better, the narrator for this Audible Original is perfect. His warm, emotive voice perfectly captures the mood and tone of the book and enhances it tenfold. Everyone should experience The Thief of Always—it’s a timeless tale for young and old about the wonders of the world . . . and beyond.

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Mean Girls Opens In Philly

Mean Girls—the record-breaking new musical comedy produced by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, Sonia Friedman, and Paramount Pictures based on the hit film – opens on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, November 19, running through December 1. The Mean Girls First National Tour features Philadelphia native, Mary Kate Morrissey.

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Audible Review: Tortured Souls by Clive Barker

Clive Barker is an incredibly creative person. Books, movies, paintings⁠—Clive Barker has created them all and done so masterfully. Oftentimes, his artistry will span across multiple mediums at the same time, which is the case with Tortured Souls. This novella, which is an Audible exclusive, consists of writings that accompanied Todd McFarlane action figures of the same name. These figures were released between 2001-2002, and each of them included a 32-page novelette. There were two sets of figures. The first contained six figures⁠—each accompanied by a novelette exclusive to that figure. The second batch of six figures didn’t include any new written material. In February 2015, these novelettes were combined to create the Tortured Souls novella.

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Movie Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep, the new movie directed by Mike Flanagan, is coming out November 8. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this is a sequel to The Shining. I was invited to attend an advance screening of this movie last night, so I jumped at the chance to see it.

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Audible Review: Cabal by Clive Barker

Originally released in 1988, Cabal is one of Clive Barker’s most well known stories because it was the basis for the cult classic film Nightbreed. The protagonist Boon is “a tortured soul haunted by the conviction that he has committed atrocious crimes.” According to the synopsis, “In a necropolis in the wilds of Canada, he seeks refuge and finds the last great creatures of the world – the shape-shifters known as the Nightbreed. They are possessed of unearthly powers-and so is Boone. In the hunt for Boone, they too will be hunted. Now only the courage of this strange human can save them from extinction. And only the undying passion of a woman can save Boone from his own corrupting hell…” Cabal is an inventive story, featuring wildly imaginative characters, and it has some of the most exquisite and poetic writing I’ve ever encountered.

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