PBS, Syfy Announce Release Date, Specs For The Almighty Johnsons Season One

Courtesy:  PBS/Syfy

Courtesy: PBS/Syfy

The Almighty Johnsons are coming to DVD and Blu-ray this fall.

The first season of the hit sci-fi/fantasy dramedy The Almighty Johnsons will be released on DVD and Blu-ray this fall.  The series focuses on the brothers Mike, Anders, and Axl, who just happen to be descendants of Norse gods.  Each of the three brothers becomes himself a Norse god on his 21st birthday.  But there’s just one catch.  While each of the brothers does get his own powers upon becoming a god, those powers are not as powerful as they would hope.  The reason that their powers are far less than hoped for is that Odin has been separated from Frigg, effectively taking down the house of Asgard.  As luck would have it, Odin has been reincarnated as Axl.  And it won’t be until Axl and Frigg are reunited that the house of Asgard will be rebuilt and the brothers’ powers brought to full strength.  So it is up to Axl and his brothers to defeat their nemeses, the evil power-hungry Goddesses, and reunite Odin and Frigg.  Adding to the series’ interest is that Axl is not yet at his 21st birthday.  He is still only 20-years old.  So the combination of his every day pressures coupled with those of becoming a god plays a major role in what happens to both him and his brothers along the way in this series’ first season.

The Almighty Johnsons: Season 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, October 7th.  The DVD box set will retail for SRP of $39.99.  The Blu-ray box set will retail for SRP of $44.99.  It will also be available for digital download.  Both the DVD and Blu-ray box set will include commentary from Tim Balme (Mike) and Emmett Skilton (Axl) and director Mark Beesly on the series’ first episode.  There will also be a bonus cast interview.  Both the DVD and Blu-ray can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org.

Fans of The Almighty Johnsons can keep up with all of the latest news about the show online at http://www.facebook.com/almightyjohnsons, http://thealmightyjohnsons.com, and http://www.syfy.com/almightyjohnsons.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Anchor Bay’s The Midnight Game Is A Fright Filled, Fun Indie Horror Flick

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz

Anchor Bay Entertainment’s new horror flick The Midnight Game is a surprisingly entertaining work for an indie horror flick.  The central point of the movie’s success is its script.  One watch of this fright-filled story shows that it’s not just another teen slasher flick.  For that matter, there’s barely any blood shed throughout.  It will however leave audiences guessing right up to the end.  Another reason that horror fans will appreciate The Midnight Game is the acting on the part of the movie’s cast.  The cast knows that this movie is an indie flick.  And while the cast doesn’t necessarily ham it up per se, each cast member’s acting does come across as lightly poking fun at the whole teen horror sub-genre of the horror realm.  Last but not least of all worth mentioning about The Midnight Game is the fact that while it obviously lifts from certain other horror flicks, it doesn’t go so far as to blatantly rip off said movies unlike far too many movies out there regardless of their genre.  These three factors each play their own role in the overall success of The Midnight Game.  Together, they make this indie horror romp one that any fan of the genre will want to watch at least once now that the movie is officially available in stores and online.

The central point of The Midnight Game’s success lies in the movie’s script.  At first glance, one might think that this movie is going to be just another run-of-the-mill gore fest loaded with lots of references to people taking part in satanic rituals.  The reality of the movie is that it is anything but.  Sure, it is essentially another teen horror flick.  But at least it isn’t just another one of the standard gore-filled slasher/evil spirit flicks that are all too common nowadays from the world of horror.  Yes, there is some blood shed at points in the movie.  And there is one very brief moment of nudity.  But both elements have been kept to a minimum.  For that reason alone, the movie’s writing staff is deserving of a certain amount of credit.  There’s no denying that there is at least some predictability at certain points in the story.  But the writing staff makes up for that by throwing in a rather interesting twist ending, which will not be revealed here for the sake of those that haven’t yet seen this frightfully fun teen horror flick.  It is a twist though, that will leave audiences wondering and talking.  And that it will have that lasting effect is a fitting final testament to the talents of those behind the movie’s script.

The talents of those responsible for crafting the script behind The Midnight Game are definitely worth noting in the overall enjoyment of the movie in whole.  The work of those charged with crafting the story’s script goes a long way toward making the movie work.  The same can be said of the acting on the part of the movie’s cast.  The cast—Renee Olstead (The Secret Life of the American Teenager13 Going on 30Still Standing), Shelby Young (The Social NetworkDays of Our LivesEverybody Hates Chris), Guy Wilson (Little Black BookDays of Our LivesThe Open Door), Valentina de Angelis (As The World TurnsGossip GirlBereavement), and Spencer Daniels (Star TrekThe Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonThis Is 40)—doesn’t necessarily ham it up.  But it’s obvious that the cast members had fun with their roles throughout the movie’s filming.  They did take their roles with a certain level of seriousness.  But they didn’t take them so seriously that they went over the top.  Their acting could be argued to have even been a little bit of a spoof of the teens in every teen-centric horror flick ever released to a point.  That’s really what made this aspect work so well.  They were just that spot on in their depictions of the stereotypes used in all the other teen horror romps already out there.  Audiences will know in watching the cast at work that they are watching a movie.  Yet thanks to that acting, audiences will still want to watch what happens to each “teen” next, even going so far as to laugh at their characters at some points.  Again, herein lies one more reason that any horror aficionado will want to see this movie if only once.  There is still more worth mentioning even after considering both this aspect of the movie and its script.

The script and acting that went into The Midnight Game are both key to the movie’s overall enjoyment and success.  Anyone that is familiar with the world of horror will note in watching though, that this movie bears quite the similarity to a number of other horror flicks out there.  Those flicks include the likes of: Fear Dot ComThe Ring, Shadow People and others of that ilk.  Audiences that give The Midnight Game will see the comparison rather early on and even in the story’s final minutes.  The catch is that while the similarity is there, The Midnight Game doesn’t go so far as to directly rip off those works.  Despite being loosely related to said movies, it still maintains its own identity against them, thus helping to maintain at least a certain sense of originality.  That is the final touch to this movie that makes it one of this year’s more surprising entertaining indie flicks.  It’s a movie that any horror aficionado should watch at least once whether this Halloween or any other time of the year.

The Midnight Game is available now on DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered directly online via the official Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayent.com/detail.aspx?ProjectId=8e063eb4-72ab-e311-b062-d4ae527c3b65.  More information on this and other titles available from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at http://www.anchorbayent.com, http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay, and http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Quiet Ones Proves Low-Budget Horror Flicks Can Be As Scary As Their Big Budget Brothers

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Quiet Ones, the latest horror/thriller from Lionsgate Films, is one of the scariest movies that horror fans will see this year if not the single scariest.  The phrase edge-of-your-seat is tossed around far too often in various film genres.  However in the case of The Quiet Ones, that far too oft term is quite properly used to describe this story.  It will keep viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish even with the movie coming in at just over an hour and a half.  It all starts with the script.  The script is one that while based on actual events, has crafted a story that successfully creates its own story.  It will leave viewers questioning quite a bit right up to the story’s twist ending.  The script is but one part of what makes The Quiet Ones work.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast makes the story even scarier.  There is something about the cast’s acting that will pull viewers in and at times, even send chills up viewers’ spines, thus leading to the edge-of-your-seat term even more justified here.  Last but hardly least worth noting that makes this movie work now in its home release is the bonus “Making of” documentary.  Much like the far too oft used phrase noted already, “Making of” featurettes hardly ever live up to the expectation of being bonus material.  The “Making of” featurette here only serves to deepen the overall experience and in turn makes the movie even scarier.  These three factors are but the tip of the iceberg that can be noted in what makes The Quiet Ones one of 2014’s scariest movies.  Audiences will find plenty more for themselves when they purchase this movie for themselves.  And when they do, said audiences will themselves be making quite the noise (yes, bad pun intended) about The Quiet Ones.

So much can be said of the script behind The Quiet Ones.  This script isn’t just another one of those run-of-the-mill, over-the-top slasher flicks or even just another ghost story.  The movie’s script writers have crafted in this piece a story that combines an absolutely terrifying tale of the occult with an unexpected human drama, both of which combine to make a story that will leave even the hardest of unbelievers questioning what they believe right up to the story’s twist ending.  And the script itself is only part of what makes the story work as surprisingly well as it does.  The movie’s trailers made it come across as just another found footage film.  The reality of this movie is that it in fact is not just another one of those works.  Audiences will note that while there is an element of the found footage genre, it isn’t just another found footage flick.  That element is used more as part of the story rather than as the story itself, if that makes any sense.  It is used to help advance the story at various points rather than being used as the crux of the script, to hopefully make that clearer.  This is all discussed at length in the bonus “Making of” featurette that has been included in the movie’s new home release.  The discussions on those and so many other topics add even more depth to the movie.  The end result is a respect for the movie that some viewers might not have previously had should they have seen the movie while it was in theaters early this year.

The deep and deeply terrifying script crafted for The Quiet Ones is the center of the movie’s terrifying success.  It’s just one element of what makes the movie work.  Also worth taking into account is the acting on the part of the movie’s cast.  The Quiet Ones is a low budget film.  Going back to the in-depth bonus “Making of” featurette, this is noted in that featurette.  The thing is that typically, when one thinks of low budget films (such as the ones churned out by Syfy), one thinks of everything wrong with the movie industry.  But in the case of The Quiet Ones both the script itself and the acting on the part of the cast made this movie a success.  Actress Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Bates Motel, Ouija) steals the spotlight as the troubled young Jane Harper.  Viewers can’t help but watch her as the movie progresses.  At no one point does she ever try to take things over the top.  There is just something on which a finger can’t be placed about her acting that makes it work.  Perhaps as (again) noted in the bonus “Making of” featurette, it is her ability to go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye.  Her cast mates—Jared Harris (Natural Born Killers, Lincoln, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Erin Richards (Open Grave, Breaking In, Gotham) feed off of that energy and serve to heighten the story’s tension and terror.  Audiences will see that in their gradual transition from believers in science to believers in something much darker and less capable of being explained away.  They expertly interpret the script and present a fear that audiences can almost feel as they watch the story unfold.  It proves to be a feeling of terror that audiences will find it hard to shake even after the movie ends.   That is one more sign of acting done right.  So, kudos are in order for the cast of The Quiet Ones for doing their part to make this movie a terror in the best possible way.

The acting and writing that went into bringing The Quiet Ones to life are both key to the movie’s success.  Despite the work of the scribes charged with bringing the movie to life and that of the movie’s cast, this underrated horror was largely lambasted by audiences and critics alike.  Now that it is being released to DVD and Blu-ray/VUDU, audiences will see it for its true value especially thanks to the movie’s bonus “Making of” featurette.  Far too often, moviemakers and studios try to throw in these additions to movies in hopes that they will make their movies more accepted.  The problem is that hardly often enough does that actually happen.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t always work.  The case with The Quiet Ones proves that it can and does at times make a movie more worthy of respect.  Audiences get an in-depth look at the movie’s script, the location shooting, acting, and so much more.  There are discussions on the inspiration behind the script, why the house in question was chosen and even on the choice of Olivia Cooke as the movie’s lead.  Audiences will learn why this story isn’t just another movie that is based on actual events.  They will learn about the terror factor in the house and Cooke’s ability to simply turn her emotions on and off for the cameras with ease.  There is so much to note that audiences would be best served to watch this featurette for themselves.  In doing so, both those that have and haven’t already seen The Quiet Ones will have a new respect for a movie that is one of the year’s scariest movies, hands down.

The Quiet Ones will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19th on DVD and Blu-ray/VUDU combo pack.  It can be ordered direct from the Lionsgate online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=The%20Quiet%20Ones.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at http://www.facebook.com/linosgate, http://www.lionsgate.com, and http://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hey Arnold! The Complete Series A Must Have For Any Nicktoons Nostalgic

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon released the final season of Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoon Hey Arnold! last year. It was the culmination of a process that started in 2011. And thanks again to Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory, those classic Nicktoons fans that didn’t have the chance to pick up any of the series’ stand-alone box sets in their original releases will have the chance to own the entire series in one complete box set. Hey Arnold! The Complete Series will be distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19th. Audiences that pick up the box set will note that in comparison to the previously released stand-alone sets, this box set actually is a space saver on any DVD rack. That is the starting point of what makes the set a win for any fan of Hey Arnold! Another positive for fans to consider is the fact that this box set also contains every episode from the original series. Unlike box sets from other companies (those companies will remain nameless), nothing has been left out here. And last but not least is the box’s pricing. Considering that this box set contains ninety-nine episodes spread across two boxes and sixteen discs, it is relatively affordable. That affordable pricing combines with the inclusion of every one of the series’ episodes and the box’s overall packaging to make Hey Arnold! The Complete Series a must have for any Nicktoons Nostalgic yearning for Nickelodeon’s golden era and a set that is one of this year’s best new box set for children and their parents.

The very first thing that audiences will note of Hey Arnold! The Complete Series is its packaging. The series was already released over the course of two years and six box sets. Season Two was split into two separate volumes. This box set has taken every one of the series’ ninety-nine episodes and spread them over sixteen discs and two boxes. What’s more, the discs contained within each box were packaged in exactly the same fashion as the discs in the previously released stand-alone box sets. The end result is a set that is far more ergonomic than the series’ previously released stand-alone box sets. In other words, it actually saves space on any fan’s DVD rack. And being that space is increasingly a premium for any viewer today, the space afforded by this set will make any fan of Hey Arnold! want to pick up this box set.

The space that Hey Arnold! The Complete Series saves on any viewer’s DVD rack is but one reason that audiences will appreciate this box set. Another reason that fans of this modern classic will appreciate its complete series release is the fact that it actually includes every single episode aired in the series’ original run. Audiences take for granted far too often that certain companies will give everything hoped for in the box sets released by said companies. However, as at least one company has shown in recent years, it is possible to release box sets (and movies) that are severely lacking in content. The company in question is NOT Shout! Factory, thank goodness. Rather, Shout! Factory remains the leader in DVD and Blu-ray box sets and movies. And they show just why once again here, as audiences will note. Every episode that aired in Hey Arnold!’s original run is included here. Nothing has been left out. Though one can only hope that with the release of every episode in one box set, Shout! Factory will next re-issue Hey Arnold! The Movie to completely finish off this modern classic series once and for all. In the meantime though, the release of this box set will definitely do for anyone yearning to add the series to their own home collection and re-live a piece of their own childhood.

Hey Arnold! the Complete Series will resonate with audiences both for its ergonomic packaging and for the fact that it doesn’t short change audiences that grew up with the series. Those two factors alone are more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this brand new box set. As impressive as these factors are, there is still one more reason for audiences to pick up Hey Arnold! The Complete Series. That reason is the box’s pricing. Its list price is roughly thirty dollars. However, audiences will note on Wal-Mart’s website (as the series will be available exclusively via Wal-Mart), that it will be available for twenty-seven dollars (plus shipping and handling of course). There is another modern classic children’s series being released in its entirety soon that has far fewer episodes than this box set. It is listing at double the list price for this box set. Keeping that in mind, audiences will hopefully see that Hey Arnold! The Complete Series is actually quite affordable by comparison. The affordability of this box set compared to that of so many others is the final touch on this set. Taken into consideration with the set’s packaging and its inclusion of the series’ complete run, it makes Hey Arnold! The Complete Series an absolute must have for any Nicktoons Nostalgic and one of the best new box sets for children and their parents this year.

More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Dinosaur Train Will Bring Lots Of Spooky Family Fun This Fall

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/The Jim Henson Company

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/The Jim Henson Company

PBS Kids and The Jim Henson Company will release another brand new DVD from PBS Kids’ family favorite series Dinosaur Train next month.

Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Halloween Adventure will be available on DVD Tuesday, September 2nd.  The brand new DVD features four more family friendly Halloween-themed episodes that are perfect for any child’s Halloween party.  In “Haunted Roundhouse,” the first of the adventures on this disc, the Pteranodon family goes to Troodon Town.  During the family’s trip, the Dinosaur Train makes a stop at its roundhouse, which has been decked out in Halloween decorations by the Troodons.  While there, the Pteranodon kids meet Vlad Volaticotherium.

“Big Bond Pumpkin Patch” is the second of the shorts included on the disc.  The Pteranodon kids discover their first pumpkins in this episode while learning about the customs of their neighbors, the Lambeosaurus family at the annual “Gourd Day,” a prehistoric Halloween of soirts.  The whole family learns how to hollow out and carve pumpkins along the way.

“Night Train” is the third of the shorts included on PBS Kids’ latest Dinosaur Train DVD.  Buddy and Tiny go for a nighttime ride on the Dinosaur Train along with Mr. Pteranodon in this short.  They learn about all sorts of nocturnal animals during their ride.  T all ends with a walk under the full moon at the Big Pond.

Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Halloween Adventure is rounded out with the short “Fossil Fred.”  Buddy, Tiny, and Don are searching for fossils around the Big Pond in this episode.  The result is the discovery of the complete skeleton of a dinosaur from the Jurassic era.

Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Halloween Adventure will be available Tuesday, September 2nd on DVD.  It will retail for SRP of $7.99.  It can be ordered via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=42447476&cp=&kw=buddys+halloween+adventure&origkw=Buddy%27s+Halloween+Adventure&sr=1.  Parents and children can get more information on Dinosaur Train, as well as games, activities and more episodes online at http://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain and http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Denver The Last Dinosaur Is Extinct No More

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Denver The Last Dinosaur is extinct no more!

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Cinedigm and VCI Entertainment will release Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series on Tuesday, September 16th. The series ran a total of fifty-two episodes from 1988 to 1990. It follows the adventures of Denver—a Corythosaurus—and his human friends who discovered him after he unexpectedly hatches from a fossilized egg. The series received a recommendation from the National Education Association for its engaging and nonviolent story lines. The series features the talents of some of today’s most well-known voice talents including: Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama, Hey Arnold!), Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), Kath Soucie (Dexter’s Lab, The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures), June Foray (The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Garfield & Friends), Brian Cummings (Duck Tales, Garfield & Friends, Adventures of the Gummi Bears) and three of the voice talents from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series in Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, and Rob Paulsen among so many others.

The upcoming box set will contain not only the series’ complete fifty-two episode run but also a handful of bonus materials, too. Those bonus materials include interviews with the series’ Creative Director Jeremy Corray, image galleries, and even a glimpse at other classic cartoons including the likes of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. The six-disc set will retail for SRP of $59.99. More information on this and other releases from Cinedigm is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm, http://twitter.com/cinedigm and

http://www.cinedigm.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

A Haunting Season 6 Offers Plenty Of Frights For Audiences

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

August is almost at its halfway point.  That means that as the month passes, the annual wave of Halloween-themed releases will start to make their presence known on store shelves.  There are just as many releases, it would seem, for Halloween as there are for Christmas each year from which audiences can choose to get their fear fix every year.  This year is no different.  Already, Timeless Media will offer audiences one of those early options next Tuesday, August 19th in the form of A Haunting: Season 6.  This season only ran for a total of four seasons on Destination America, which is part of Discovery Communications.  Even with only four episodes, anyone looking for a good fright will appreciate this season and the fact that the series has been picked up for a complete seventh season.  That will all be discussed later.  The stories that make up the sixth season of A Haunting are the crux of this season’s success.  They are not all that is worth noting, either.  The re-enactments should be noted here, too as should the bonus features.  The bonus features included on this disc show that as scary as the re-enactments were, the actors had their share of fun bringing the stories to life.  Audiences will see that in the included gag reel.  The same can be said of those responsible for the stories’ special effects.  There is a short bonus feature focusing on that factor, too.  These bonuses along with the stories included on the disc and their re-enactments will give any horror fan the frights and fun that any Halloween party needs.

The sixth season of A Haunting only lasted a total of four episodes.  According to the rumors, the reason for that is in relation to the numbers for the series’ fifth season.  However, Destination America has allegedly renewed the series for a full seventh season as the numbers for Season Six were impressive enough to renew it.  And now with its upcoming release on DVD, audiences will see for themselves just why officials with Destination America opted to renew the series.  The stories included in Season Six each offer their own frights.  The season’s opener sees a woman who is haunted by an evil spirit conjured by a jilted admirer.  Episode two, “Well From Hell” involves a house haunted by spirits coming from a well that is essentially a doorway to the other side.  A family is haunted by some not so nice spirits in “Black Magic” after a young ward of the family’s matriarch starts practicing black magic.  And in the season finale, “Haunted Victorian,” a young couple has found the home of their dreams.  But it soon turns into the home of their nightmares not long after. All four stories will have viewers on the edge of their collective seats, wanting to know what happens next. And not to give away too much information, they don’t all have the happy ending that some might hope for or expect. Those slightly surprising endings are reason enough to watch these episodes. And they’re not the only reason, either. Another reason for audiences to check out this upcoming DVD is the re-enactments used to help tell each of the four stories on the disc.

The stories that are included in the sixth season of Destination America’s A Haunting are by themselves reason enough for lovers of ghost stories to purchase this season’s DVD. Another reason for audiences to check out this DVD is the collective re-enactments used to help tell each of the stories included on the disc. The actors hired to help re-tell each of this season’s stories are impressive in their own right. The best of the re-enactments comes in the season finale. The couple that re-enacts the story of the young couple that had bought the Victorian House is quite the pair. The way that the young woman portrays having been somewhat possessed by the deceased maid is creepy in its own right. And the actors that helped tell the story of “Black Magic” do just enough to make that story believable, too. The actors in this season’s remaining two episodes do their own part to make said episodes worth at least one watch, too. Audiences will see this for themselves when they order or purchase the DVD for themselves.

The re-enactments and stories that are featured in the sixth season of A Haunting work in tandem to make this season just as enjoyable as the series’ previous season. Having noted them, these is only one more factor to consider in the overall success of A Haunting: Season 6. That final factor is the bonus material included on the DVD. All four of the episodes included on this disc offer their own frights for audiences. On the exact opposite side of the coin, the gag reel offers its own laughs, too. It helps to lighten the mood a little bit. And those with any interest in production and special effects will appreciate the bonus special effects reel. This reel gives just a slight glimpse behind the scenes of the show in regards to how the ghosts were *brought to life* (bad pun fully intended here). They are the final touch to a DVD that any horror fan will welcome in their home horror collection whether for Halloween or any other time.

A Haunting: Season 6 will be available on DVD Tuesday, August 19th. It can be pre-ordered online via the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/haunting-season-6. More information on this and other new releases from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.timelessvideo.com, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364, http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

The Mona Lisa Mystery Is As Gripping As Any Major Mystery Author’s Novels

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Da Vinci’s famed Mona Lisa is perhaps the single most talked about painting in the history of visual art.  His painting has been the topic of discussion for ages largely because of the mystery surrounding the identity of the woman behind the painting.  Experts, critics and average art lovers alike were confounded by her identity for quite some time.  But now that that mystery has seemingly been solved, there is still another mystery that remains about the Mona Lisa.  That mystery is whether or not the painting that hangs today in the Louvre is in fact the real deal or a very convincing counterfeit.  That’s right.  As it turns out, there is a second Mona Lisa painting that many never knew about until recent history.  And the two paintings are the subject of the latest episode of PBS’ hit series Secrets of the Dead.  As a matter of fact, they are the center of why anyone with any appreciation of art and art history will want to see this episode now that it is on DVD.  The very discussion itself on whether the two paintings were crafted by the same man or by separate individuals is only the start of why audiences will want to watch this episode of Secrets of the Dead.  The depth of the arguments and the evidence provided for said arguments makes the program even more engaging.  This is the case even for viewers that might not be so familiar with the art world.  And last but not least of all to consider in this episode’s success is the tasteful use of re-enactments throughout the course of the program.  Altogether, these factors make The Mona Lisa Mystery another example of what makes Secrets of The Dead another great addition to PBS’ schedule.

The central discussion on which The Mona Lisa Mystery is based is key to the program’s overall success and enjoyment.  It doesn’t waste any time on the oft discussed topic of the picture’s subject.  Rather, it focuses on the far lesser known story of the second Mona Lisa painting.  That’s right.  What few people other than perhaps the most avid art lovers know about the Mona Lisa is that there were not one but two Mona Lisa paintings crafted.  This program aims to try and figure out if one of those paintings was a fake or if perhaps Da Vinci painted both of them and the one hanging at the Louvre is actually one of that pair potentially painted by one of the greatest artists in history. It makes for a great introduction into what is one of history’s lesser known mysteries. And that’s only the beginning (bad pun fully intended) of what makes this DVD worth checking out. The sheer depth of the evidence provided in the arguments and the arguments themselves make add to the interest of this mystery.

The arguments provided throughout this episode of Secrets of the Dead are an important piece of the whole as is the evidence provided for those arguments. Simply put, there is no bias one way or the other concerning the validity of the second Mona Lisa or lack thereof. Arguments are made supporting the possibility that Da Vinci could have painted both versions of the Mona Lisa with one having been painted on one canvas and the other having been potentially painted on a completely different canvas years later. This argument states that perhaps Da Vinci was unhappy with his original and only pulled it back out years later and used it as a model for the second one, thus attempting to explain away the differences in background, etc. Another argument alleges that not Da Vinci but another artist painted the second Mona Lisa having seen the original in its incomplete state. The painter in question is another of the more well-known names in the art world. And a third argument alleges that maybe, just maybe, a far less well-known individual had painted the second Mona Lisa. Again, none of these arguments is ever definitively confirmed. However, the evidence used in each of those arguments is quite compelling to say the very least. In depth information regarding dates of the paintings’ creation and carbon dating used to confirm said dating are just some of that evidence. It definitely leaves on wondering in the best way possible. It’s one more reason that audiences will enjoy this episode of Secrets of the Dead regardless if they are art lovers, history lovers, or just audiences looking for a worthwhile respite from all of the brainless “reality shows,” and overly violent and over sexed dramas and comedies that fill television’s spectrum.

The arguments presented in this program and the evidence used to support said arguments are integral to the program’s overall success. They leave audiences scratching their heads and wondering in the very best way possible. That along with the very fact that the program focuses primarily on the mystery of the paintings will most definitely keep audiences engaged throughout this program. There is still one more factor to consider in what makes The Mona Lisa Mystery work as well as it does. That last factor is the minimalist use of re-enactments. Those behind the program’s creation kept the re-enactments to a minimum. Instead, they let the program speak for itself, which it does and quite well at that. The re-enactments that are used are incorporated primarily for the purpose of illustrating specific arguments. Other than that, their use is kept to a very limited space. It’s one more way that PBS continues to prove why it is the gold standard for anyone wanting real educational content now that History Channel,TLC, Discovery and certain other channels of that ilk are but pale shadows of what they once were. And it is that alongside the solid and valid arguments and their evidence that completes The Mona Lisa Mystery, making it one of the best episodes yet of Secrets of the Dead.

Secrets of the Dead: The Mona Lisa Mystery is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=38349356&cp=&sr=1&kw=secrets+of+the+dead&origkw=Secrets+of+the+Dead&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online at the official Secrets of the Dead Facebook page and website at http://www.facebook.com/SecretsofTheDead and http://pbs.org/secrets. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com./

Babar Update Series Compilation Is Wild Fun For Families

Courtesy: eOne/Nelvana

Courtesy: eOne/Nelvana

eOne and Nelvana recently released the first compilation of episodes from Disney Jr.’s children’s series Babar and the Adventures of BadouGone Wild is the first compilation of episodes from Disney Jr.’s continuation of the classic Babar animated series.  And as a first impression, this collection of episodes is a good first impression for those that might perhaps have not even known about this series.  The primary reason that it is such a good first impression is the writing of the included episodes.  Another reason that audiences will appreciate this new DVD is the lessons taught in each of the episodes, which ties directly in to the episodes’ writing.  And last to consider in the overall success of these episodes is their “animation” style.  All three factors put alongside one another reveal why both children and their parents will appreciate this latest incarnation of the classic Babar franchise even if they don’t get Disney Junior on their channel lineup.

The primary reason that audiences of all ages will appreciate Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Gone Wild is the writing incorporated into each of the collection’s eight episodes.  Anyone that has any knowledge of the original Babar series will recall that in the original Babar series, that series’ episodes would consist mainly of stories told by Babar to his children.  They would be in reference to his own childhood.  In the case of this latest series, which originally aired in 2010 on YTV in Canada and on ABC2 in Australia, Babar is there.  But he generally takes a back seat to his 8-year old grandson Badou.  From time to time, the now much older Babar would offer some insight to Badou.  So the show’s creators made sure to not completely stray from the original source material for this series.  Older audiences will appreciate this factor.  Younger audiences will appreciate the fact that the series focuses more on younger figures whereas the younger figures in the original Babar series were merely part of recollections told by Babar.  That balance of the old and new alongside Badou’s own family friendly adventures in the kingdom of Celesteville with his friends shows just how much care the show’s writers took with the series despite its short run.  That result is eight solid episodes whose writing is reason enough by itself to check out this new DVD.

The writing by itself serves as plenty of reason for families to check out this new DVD from eOne and Nelvana.  It pays homage to the original Babar franchise while also advancing the story without losing anything in the process.  On a similar note, parents and children alike will appreciate that some of the episodes in this compilation also include invaluable life lessons.  One example of those lessons comes in the episode “Copy Cat.”  Young zebra Zawadi learns an important lesson about accepting one’s own self for who one is, rather than trying to change one’s own self just to be different from the masses.  On a similar note, “Monkey Camp” teaches young viewers about the differences between people and how those differences make everybody special in their own way.  One last example of those lessons comes in the DVD’s second episode, “Operation Secret Suitcase.”  This episode deals with a very common issue among younger viewers.  It deals with the issue of children losing friends due to moving away.  It’s definitely something to which audiences of all ages can relate.  It also teaches young viewers about jumping to conclusions without all the information on a given subject within the course of the episode.  So, that one is actually a dual hit.

The writing and the themes tied into said writing for the episodes included on this disc are both key factors to its overall enjoyment.  Together, they prove the episodes presented here to have a certain amount of heart and substance.  There is still one factor left to examine in the overall enjoyment and success of Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Gone Wild.  That final factor is the show’s “animation.”  Given, each episode is computer generated rather than hand drawn.  That is the trend in the current era of animation.  In the case of this series though, the computer generated graphics actually stand out if only a little bit from all of the cookie cutter CG-based children’s shows currently filling the television spectrum.  The closest comparisons that can be made here are perhaps to the graphics used in The Garfield Show and Jungle Junction, which is another show currently on Disney Junior’s schedule .  And that is being generous.  That is not meant in a negative connotation, either.  It is simply nice to see that while this incarnation of Babar has long since ended its short run, it is one of few shows out there for kids today that has at least some individuality and originality in its “animation” style.  Together with the themes incorporated into each episode’s script and the writing itself, the show’s graphics are collectively the final piece in the overall presentation of the DVD that makes it worth a watch by viewers of any age.

Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Gone Wild is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Babar-Adventures-Badou-Gone-Wild/dp/B00K2OBZZ8/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1407546469&sr=1-2&keywords=babar+and+the+adventures+of+badou+-+gone+wild.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Releases The Final Chapter Of The Transformers’ Unicron Trilogy On DVD

Courtesy:  Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory released the latest Transformers box set this week.

Transformers: Cybertron was released Tuesday. The new box set was released yesterday fresh on the heels of the release of the latest Transformers big screen feature Transformers: Age of Extinction. Transformers: Cybertron is the final piece in the Transformers’ Unicron trilogy, which includes the series: Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon, and Transformers: Cybertron.

This new box set follows the events of Unicron’s defeat and resultant consequences. A black hole has been created as a result of Unicron’s defeat. And now it is threatening Cybertron, the home world of the Autobots. The only way for Optimus Prime and the autobots—and their new human friends Coby, Lori, and Bud—is to find the four mystical Cyber Planet Keys. Of course the search for the keys won’t be easy as the Autobots still have to deal with Megatron and his Decepticon forces. The fate of the galaxy and even the universe is at stake in the Autobots’ search.

Transformers: Cybertron is available in stores and online now for SRP of $44.99. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store now at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/transformers-cybertron-complete-series-0. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.