Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Review”

Cursed Films Debuts April 2

A Shudder original, Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series which explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions. From plane accidents and bombings during the making of The Omen, to the rumored use of real human skeletons on the set of Poltergeist, these stories are legendary amongst film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie?

Cursed Films reveals the real-life events that haunted these productions through interviews with experts, witnesses and the cast, directors and producers who lived through them. Were these films really cursed, as many believe, or just the victims of bad luck and bizarre circumstances?

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Book Review: Wrestling With Pixels

We are one week away from WrestleMania, and everyone is cooped up in their houses; so, now is a great time to revisit some epic professional wrestling video games. Not sure which ones to fire up? Wrestling With Pixels, a new 242-page book all about the history of pro wrestling video games, is your guide.

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Book Review: WWE Beyond Extreme

DK Publishing is back with another action-packed WWE book. In WWE Beyond Extreme you get 127 pages of high-flying, over-the-top WWE goodness from past and present to satiate even the most voracious of fans. Check out my video review below to learn more and get a preview of what’s inside.

Book Review: Suze Orman’s The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+

Suze Orman is my favorite personal finance expert. Unlike most people my age, I used to watch The Suze Orman Show every Saturday night during most of its 13-year run on CNBC. I even met Suze at a book signing in New York when The Money Class came out in 2011, which was her last book. When Suze turned 65, she decided to stop her CNBC show and retire from the public spotlight. Suze and her wife sold their homes, moved to a small island, and they went fishing. That’s not a joke. Suze and her wife, KT, go fishing all the time. Suze even won several fishing trophies because she’s so good at it. So, why did Suze turn away from all this fame? She decided to find out who Suze Orman is when she’s not busy being Suze Orman. It’s an important lesson for all of us to consider. When we retire and step away from whatever it is we’re known for, are we happy? I’m glad to report that Suze is happy. However, she saw this revelation as an opportunity to write a book solely focused on retirement for those that are 50 and older. After all, when she was a financial advisor retirement was her speciality. Having read this book, I can confidently say that it’s Suze greatest book to date and her passion and knowledge radiate off of every page. It’s absolutely the best book I’ve ever read on personal finance.

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Book Review: The Art of Fire Emblem Awakening

Fire Emblem is a series of fantasy tactical role-playing games, starting with the first entry in 1990 released on the Famicom in Japan. Since then, the series has grown in popularity and it is approaching nearly 20 games in total. One of those games is Fire Emblem Awakening, which came out for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012. The game was met with universal praise from critics, and it has since sold more than two million copies worldwide. This game is the first time I ever heard of the Fire Emblem series, and it’s an entry that people continue to recommend and revisit. The beloved nature of Fire Emblem Awakening is one of the reasons why Dark Horse decided to create The Art of Fire Emblem Awakening book. I spotted this book at Nintendo New York the last time I was there, so I decided to check it out.

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Hello, Dolly! Shines In Philly

7_Carolee-Carmello-in-Hello-Dolly-National-Tour-Photograph-by-Julieta-Cervantes-2019The first musical I attended was Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing, and it took place during the show’s 1995 revival when it came to the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia between February 25 and March 5 of that year. In 2017, I saw Hello, Dolly! when it was revived again—this time on Broadway with the incredible Bette Midler. It is the greatest musical I have ever seen. Not only was Bette fantastic in this role which seemed tailor made for her, but the crowd that night was electric. It felt as if I was at Woodstock, Live Aid, or some other seminal moment in music history. The magic was palpable, and I’m thrilled that I had the chance to see Bette in her role of a lifetime, for which she deservedly received a Tony Award. Bette’s Hello, Dolly! broke the Broadway record for best first-day ticket sales, the box office record at the Shubert Theatre 12 times, and it shattered The Shubert Organization’s all-time record 10 times! Running from March 15, 2017 through August 25, 2018, this triumphant revival is now showing at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

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Review: Night Songs II by Barry Manilow

On Valentine’s Day Barry Manilow released one of the most romantic albums you’ll ever hear: Night Songs II. It’s the cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day that we all needed. Back in 2014 Barry Manilow released one of his greatest albums: Night Songs. Met with universal praise, Night Songs was nominated for a Grammy award and fans wanted more. Fast forward six years, and Barry Manilow is back with Night Songs II. This time around you can expect 13 songs, one of which is a bonus track that’s exclusive to the CD-version of the album, all lovingly arranged and masterfully sung by the incomparable Barry Manilow. I love that Barry is comfortable enough in his own skin that he continues to record, produce, and release whatever makes him happy. Most artists aren’t that brave. They simply keep repeating the same old music over and over again, or they merely try to imitate their past. Not Barry. He continues to evolve, explore, and create some of the most compelling music of his substantial and diverse career. Having so much music to enjoy makes being a fan of his immensely satisfying. There’s always something new to anticipate and experience. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at each of the tracks on Night Songs II.

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Book Review: The Art Of Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 is one of the most wildly popular games for Nintendo Switch. And at Nintendo Philly Meetup, a group I founded and run, we play Splatoon 2 all the time at our monthly meetups at TAP Esports in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Why? Because the multiplayer modes in Splatoon 2 are highly addictive. There’s something about the crazy art style, whacky music, and frenetic action of this game that keeps us, and millions of Nintendo fans worldwide, coming back for more. With this in mind, Dark Horse published a book, The Art of Splatoon 2, that is dedicated to providing fans with a deep dive into the art and design of this instant classic.

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Book Review: The Art of Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is my favorite game on Nintendo Switch. Why? It’s quite simple. I was born in 1985, which is the same year the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the U.S., and I have fond memories of playing every entry in the Super Mario Bros. series. Some of my favorites include the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and, my all-time favorite, Super Mario World. Super Mario Odyssey continues the innovative evolution of Nintendo’s signature character, while simultaneously paying tribute to the entries that preceded it. It’s a fantastical journey that can be enjoyed by those young and old, and The Art of Super Mario Odyssey by Dark Horse takes a deep dive into how this masterpiece was made.

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Movie Review: The Fanatic

I just watched a movie that I feel compelled to review: The Fanatic starring John Travolta. Released on August 30, 2019, The Fanatic didn’t have much of a fighting chance. It had a limited theatrical run, followed by a release on digital platforms. Here’s the film’s description: “On the grimy streets of Hollywood, a celebrity-obsessed man feels slighted by his favorite movie star and embarks on an unhinged quest to get a response – leading to a home invasion and a very long night that changes both men irreparably.” This premise fascinated me, primarily because I’m a passionate fan of all forms of entertainment. Not only have I had the pleasure of attending countless concerts, movies, and star-studded events, I’ve interviewed almost all of my celebrity heroes and befriended a few of them along the way. So, a film starring John Travolta as a fan that takes things too far was something I couldn’t pass up. I’m glad I finally watched it because it’s the best film I’ve seen this year and, in my opinion, John Travolta’s greatest dramatic performance to date.

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