Lionsgate’s Latest Power Rangers DVD A Good Watch Any Time Of The Year

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Saban/Saban Brands

Nickelodeon is set to close out the latest installment of Saban’s hugely popular Power Rangers franchise this weekend.  Power Rangers Super Megaforce will close out this Saturday on Nickelodeon.  Before it closes out Saban and Lionsgate have released a new featuring a holiday episode from this season.  Power Rangers Megaforce: Robo Knight Before Christmas brings to audiences yet another new holiday tale from what has over the years become a worldwide phenomenon.  What audiences will appreciate most of all in this episode is the fact that yet again, the people behind the franchise have switched things up in this episode instead of repeating the same story as in previous Power Rangers seasons.  This is especially important considering some of the redundancy that can be seen in the seasons that followed the franchise’s original seven-season run.  The lessons taught in the central episode tie directly in to that originality.  It’s another reason that audiences will appreciate this installment from the Megaforce Rangers.  Speaking of lessons being taught, the lessons taught in the companion episodes are just as important to the overall presentation.  The episodes themselves may not be Christmas-themed.  But the lessons shared in said episodes are just as applicable during the holidays as they are any other time of the year.  Those lessons coupled with the lessons taught in the DVD’s central episode and said episode’s originality combine to make this DVD one that any Power Rangers fan will enjoy whether during the holidays or any other time of the year.

Over the course of its now twenty-ne years on television, Saban’s Power Rangers franchise has made a tradition of running a new Christmas-themed episode in every season.  And every season’s Christmas episode has proven to be different from the last.  This applies both stylistically and in terms of their stories.  Power Rangers Megaforce: Robo Knight Before Christmas is no different in that fashion.  Given, it is for all intents and purposes a clip show.  And it’s not the first time that Saban has used clip shows in previous seasons of the Power Rangers.  But through the use of the various clips, the story is more than just another typical clip show.  For that matter, it’s also not just another piece telling about the “true meaning of Christmas.”  The show’s writers incorporate the values commonly associated with Christmas into Robo Knight’s own attempt to better understand humans.  The end result is something of a third person vantage point that helps to better illustrate the morals and values that are so important not just during the holiday season but during any time of the year.  The show’s writers accomplish this goal without being overly preachy about it, either.  Sure there’s some sappiness.  But it’s still a good non-traditional piece that focuses on the holiday season and its associated values.

The lesson centering on Christmas’ values and Robo Knight’s own attempt to understand those values couple to make Robo Knight Before Christmas another enjoyable Christmas episode of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise.  Staying on that same train of thought, the two Power Rangers episodes included as bonuses offer audiences their own positive lessons.  Neither episode takes place during Christmas or even the holiday season.  But they still teach invaluable lessons.  Power Rangers Wild Force’s episode “Team Carnival” teaches an important and invaluable lesson about self-worth.  The interesting thing of the episode is that the writers behind that season actually also took a non-traditional route in presenting said lesson.  In the case of this episode, that season’s writers presented the lesson through the use of the season’s villains Toxica (Sin Wong) and Jindrax (Danny Wayne).  When Jindrax sees that Toxica has her own family in the fight against the Power Rangers, it makes Jindrax feel worthless.  He ends up teaming up with his own family member to fight the rangers and still learns his own valuable lesson about self-worth in the long run.  It’s interesting to see any episode of the Power Rangers make a villain a sympathetic character.  But it works here.  That and the lesson centering on personal self-worth makes this episode its own invaluable addition to this DVD.  It’s one more reason that this latest Power Rangers is another *ahem* mega-hit for audiences.

The second of the bonus episodes included in the new Power Rangers Megaforce DVD, “The Spirit of Kindness,” comes from Power Rangers Jungle Fury.  The most important lesson taught through this episode could be argued to be that of the golden rule so to speak.  As audiences will see in this episode, Casey (Jason Smith)  finally wins over an old nemesis in Whiger (Jared Turner) and convinces Whiger to join him in fighting Whiger’s own former evil ally.  Whiger admits before disappearing that he fought alongside Casey because Casey was kind to him unlike the season’s other villains.  He finally realized in that final moment before his own demise the importance of kindness.  It taught Casey that kindness can be just as powerful as fighting, too.  That in itself is an extremely important lesson to be taken away from this episode.  It’s one more lesson that is just as important during the holiday season as any other time of the year.  This lesson combined with the others presented on this DVD shows once more how much the Power Rangers franchise has to offer audiences even two decades plus after it first debuted.

If the lessons taught in each of the DVD’s trio of episodes isn’t enough for audiences, then the fact that the DVD comes with a bonus digital copy will win over audiences.  Having that digital copy means that audiences can take all three of these episodes with them wherever they go.  So the lessons and the entertaining stories can be shared with any viewer without having to lug around the DVD.  It is the finishing touch to yet another DVD that any Power Rangers fan will appreciate.

Power Rangers Megaforce: Robo Knight Before Christmas is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=31609&TitleParentId=9994.  More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

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Parents, Educators Can Count On Leap Frog’s New DVD

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Parents and educators alike have so many tools at their disposal today with which to use to educate children.  Television and the internet are both key resources.  Even video games offer their own educational content.  It’s just a matter of finding the right games.  And then there is another standby in the form of DVDs and Blu-rays.  There are perhaps just as many DVDs and Blu-rays from which to choose as there are websites and TV programs combined.  There are so many in fact, that deciding which one(s) to use to educate children can be as stressful as holiday shopping.  Thankfully, Lionsgate and Leap Frog have made that choice just a little bit easier thanks to its recently released DVD Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade.  It is the latest in a series of home releases from Lionsgate and Leap Frog.  And it is another great tool for parents and teachers alike that is just as valuable in the classroom as it is in the living room.  There is plenty to note that makes this DVD worth the watch, not the least of which being the presentation’s central story.  The story presented in this presentation sees the twins Lily and Tad deciding to raise money to buy books for their local library.  There is so much that can be said of this.  And it will be noted momentarily.  As important as the story is to the overall presentation, the combined lessons on both spelling and basic math are quite well balanced, making for even more enjoyment for young viewers.  The educational content and the presentation’s overall story that make up Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade more than make this DVD worth the watch whether in the classroom or the living room.  Speaking of its usefulness, kids can watch the DVD not just in the classroom and the living room but on the go, too.  The DVD comes complete with a digital copy for kids to watch on any mobile platform.  That means kids can be entertained and educated at the same time any time of the day, anywhere.  That is not to discount the “Curriculum commentaries” for parents and educators or the sing-a-long videos for young audiences.  These are added in as bonus material.  They round out the entire presentation and show once more why this DVD is well worth checking out no matter where one intends to use it.

Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade is not the first DVD to be released from Lionsgate and Leap Frog.  It is still a great tool for parents and educators, and an equally great watch for young audiences.  The reasons for this are so many that it would take too long to note them all.  One positive that can be noted though is the central story presented in the DVD.  The central story presented in this program focuses on Tad and Lily’s plans to raise money to buy new books for their local library.  We live in an age today in which books are increasingly going by the wayside in favor of all things digital.  So seeing that Leap Frog and Lionsgate are essentially promoting both books and literacy is by itself a huge positive.  The subtle promotion of community service to the story is worthy of applause, too.  It is great to see that not everybody has given over to the digital movement…at least not in full considering the promotion of actual physical books.  Whether or not Leap Frog and Lionsgate actually intended to promote physical books through the program’s central story is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, it is still nice to have that in there.  Children need to remember books.  For that matter, kids shouldn’t grow up knowing only digital books.  They should be able to experience the joys of actually holding a physical book versus the cold sterile e-readers out there.  Again, this aspect of the story may be subtle.  But it is an important and welcome addition to the whole that is the program’s central script.  The promotion of literacy is par for course from Leap Frog.  So Leap Frog and Lionsgate are to be applauded just as much for that.  The positives don’t end here, either.    The educational content contained in this program is just as noteworthy as its central story.

The educational content that is provided throughout Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade’s roughly thirty-five minute run time is just as important to its enjoyment and success as the central story line.  This installment of Leap Frog’s rather popular series of DVDs balances elements of both math and spelling showing how the two work hand in hand just as much as they work separately.  Tad and Lily have to use basic math skills in order to make the perfect lemonade mix.  At the same time, they incorporate basic spelling skills when assembling their lemonade stand among other activities.  Many of the lessons are accompanied by short, catchy songs that are sure to have young viewers singing along.  And with any luck, the songs will help said young viewers have an easier time remembering the lessons taught throughout the program.  That balance of math and spelling lessons coupled with the catchy songs used to teach them makes for yet another reason that audiences will appreciate and enjoy this latest DVD regardless of age and where it is viewed.  Speaking of where it is viewed, this is one more reason that Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade succeeds as much as it does.  The DVD comes coupled with a digital copy that can be viewed on any mobile web device. This is especially worth noting for any on-the-go family.  And even it in itself still isn’t all that makes this new DVD such a worthwhile watch.

The collective songs and lessons centered on basic math and spelling presented in Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade are by themselves plenty of reason that audiences will enjoy this program.  The feature’s central story makes the whole thing even more enjoyable for parents, educators, and children alike.  As important as these factors are to the presentation in whole, they still are not all that makes it worth watching.  Parents and educators will note that it is presented both with a physical and digital copy. That means that young viewers can enjoy it anywhere and anytime.  In an age when families seem to be increasingly on the go, this is especially important to the DVD in whole.  It means kids can still enjoy the DVD whether coming or going from school, going on a family trip or in any other given situation when not at home.  It may not seem like much of an addition, especially considering that so many DVDs and Blu-rays come complete with digital copies.  But in the grand scheme of things, it is extremely important considering all of the distractions that children have today.  Having this program in digital form is one more way to keep young viewers away from said distractions and still entertain and educate them at the same time.  So for that reason alone , the people at Leap Frog and Lionsgate deserve a standing ovation here.  That isn’t to discount the DVD’s curriculum discussions for parents and educators or the sing-a-long feature included as bonus material.  They play their own role to the DVD, too.  They are topics for another discussion.  The factors noted here collectively prove in the end that Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade is one of those rare children’s DVDs well worth the watch and the price.

Letter Factory Adventures: Counting on Lemonade is available now on DVD/Digital combo pack in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Leap Frog is available online at

Website: http://www.LeapFrog.com

Facebook: http://wwww.facebook.com/LeapFrog

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeapFrog

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Ancient Aliens Box Set Is An Out Of This World Collection

Ancient Aliens The Complete Seasons 1 - 6The truth is out there.  Or is it?  For ages, people have claimed that beings from other worlds have visited Earth.  Those people have been knocked as nutjobs, crackpots, and much worse, much like those that have any belief in the paranormal.  What if there is something to their arguments, though?  What if beings from other worlds—aliens—have not only visited but have been here all along and have even played a role in the countless advances made by mankind for eons?  History Channel and H2’s hit series Ancient Aliens has pondered these questions for six seasons.  And the series’ seventh season is airing now on H2.  The series’ first six seasons run primarily right now on H2.  However, they do also run on History Channel at seemingly various times.  This can be a little bit troublesome for those that want to catch the series.  Thankfully, Lionsgate and History Channel are releasing the first six seasons in one complete box set for audiences tomorrow, November 11th.  Now audiences can see the series’ first six seasons anytime that they want.  That is the first and most important aspect of what makes this brand new box set a good addition to the collection of any of the series’ fans.  The episodes themselves are more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this box set.  Even if the episodes don’t win over everyone, one thing that can be said of them is that many of them will leave even the harshest skeptics questioning the world and the universe.  In direct connection to the content of the episodes included in this box set is the inclusion of twelve episodes that are new to DVD.  Each of these aspects by themselves make Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 1 – 6 well worth adding to the collection of any sci-fi fan and any hardcore believer.  Collectively, they make this box set one of the best new box sets to binge on this weekend or any time this winter as the weather gets colder.

Ancient Aliens has proven to be quite the surprise for History Channel and its digital “sister station” H2.  Very few people expected this series to last more than one season when it premiered on History Channel back in 2009.  Since that time, it has gone on to be one of the networks’ biggest hits.  The problem is that not everybody gets H2.  And those that have History have to largely speculate as to when the network will run episodes.  This is a big problem for the show’s fans.  Enter the brand new six-season box set from Lionsgate and History Channel.  Six of the series’ current seven seasons are spread across twenty-three discs.  While the packaging is a little bit questionable, it is still nice to have them all in one place.  Having them all culled in one box means that audiences can watch any of the episodes anytime they want.  They can even binge on all six seasons without needing Netflix or any other streaming service.  That in itself is a huge plus as it’s an alternative both to cable AND streaming services.  So kudos are in order for both Lionsgate and History Channel for that.

The presentation of Ancient Aliens’ first six seasons in one box is by itself an important part of the box’s overall success.  It means being able to watch any episode from the series’ first six season any time that viewers want.  For those that so choose, it even means getting to do lots of binge watching since that seems to be something of a movement now.  And they can do so without the need for Netflix or any other streaming service.  By direct connection, the episodes themselves are just as important to the overall presentation that is Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1- 6.  From aliens beneath the sea to ancient alien treasures to the alleged genetic link between humans and aliens, audiences get plenty of interesting material.  Some of the stories and theories presented across the series’ six season set are thought provoking, while others are obviously rather laughable.  Regardless, the topics and concepts discussed across the set’s six seasons and eighty-two total episodes are enough to leave even the harshest critics at least questioning at a little bit the world and universe around them even if they still remain skeptical.  The fact that these episodes could leave even the harshest of nonbelievers questioning things even a little bit is quite a statement in favor of these episodes.  It is one more reason for any viewer(s) to pick up this brand new box set.

The episodes that make up Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 are rather interesting to say the least.  Again, some of the topics and theories discussed leave a lot of room for discussion.  Others on the other hand are less likely to have audiences believing.  The very fact that the episodes in whole will leave even the harshest critics questioning the world and the universe (even a little) is a major positive for this box set. Speaking of the episodes culled for the box set, also included are twelve previously unreleased episodes. Those episodes all come from the series’ sixth season. They have not been released on the previously released stand-alone Season Six box sets. That means roughly twelve hours of deep, thought provoking material that was previously unavailable to audiences. It means twelve more hours of conspiracy theories, cover ups and supposedly hidden history that sci-fi fans and alien enthusiasts will love.

The bonus addition of twelve previously unreleased episodes coupled with the series’ already released episodes makes Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 a great gift idea for any sci-fi fan or alien enthusiast. The very topics and theories discussed within every one of the set’s eighty-two total episodes makes this set even more worth the watch for its key audiences. And the fact that they are all combined into one single box set makes the deal even sweeter. Each factor alone makes this set a must for any fan of what has become one of History and H2’s most surprising series. Collectively, they make Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 an *ahem* out of this world gift for any lover of all things extraterrestrial. Yes, that bad pun was fully intended. It will be available tomorrow, November 11th in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/ancient-aliens-seasons-1-6-dvd/detail.php?p=700074&v=history_show_ancient-aliens. More information on this and other History Channel Series is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.history.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/History

 

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Step Up: All In Will Have Dance Fans All In

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Summit Pictures

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Summit Pictures

Lionsgate and Summit Pictures releases the latest installment of the popular Step Up franchise tomorrow in stores and online.  This latest installment, the series’ sixth, is another fun little romp for anyone that is a fan of all things dance.  Those that are fans of the Step Up franchise will enjoy primarily the movie’s script.  The script is simple enough and doesn’t really require much thought.  It also lifts somewhat liberally from certain other flicks that have come before.  The movie’s overly abundant number of dance numbers will impress fans of the franchise, too.  On a completely separate note, there is the movie’s rating.  Yes, the movie’s rating.  This must be noted as part of the movie’s whole.  The movie received a PG-13 rating.  But in its defense, it really was not deserving of that rating.  That will be discussed later.  The undeserved rating aside, the combination of the story and the dance numbers together will impress any fan of the Step Up franchise and prove it to be a fitting finale for the series should it be the series’ last installment.

“Every step has led to this.”  That is the line used on the front of the box for Step Up: All In.  It hints that perhaps this installment is the finale for the hugely popular dance-centric franchise.  If it is the last of the series’ movies, then the series has gone out on a positive note….er….step.  Yes, that bad pun was fully intended.  The movie, which will be released in stores and online tomorrow, November 4th, is an interesting work.  The central reason for its interest is its script.  The movie’s script focuses on Sean (Ryan Guzman) in his attempts to break out of his work-a-day world and put his talents as a dancer to use in a huge dance competition in Las Vegas called “The Vortex.”  The ultimate reveal as to his intentions is what makes the story interesting.  Unlike so many cookie cutter movies of its ilk, this story’s central character isn’t out to become a major celebrity.  Rather, as he explains to his new crew late in the movie, he just wants to make something of himself.  He wants something better for himself and the rest of his crew.  He tells them he doesn’t care about being a TV star or anything like that.  He just wants to dance and use dance for a living.  It’s a nice change of pace from the movies that fill out this movie’s genre.  Speaking of those movies, audiences can easily see hints of movies such as Universal’s Pitch Perfect and Blues Brothers 2000 and Disney’s High School Musical franchise.  That is thanks to the story’s execution.  That includes the numerous dance sequences, which will be discussed later.

The surprise twist added to the story by the writing team of John Swetnam and Duane Adler makes the movie an interesting watch in itself.  Of course, the requisite romance subplot is there.  Swetnam and Adler have also included the mandatory inner conflict for Sean as he is forced to face off against an old friend when his new dance crew has to take on his old crew.  That crew just happens to be headed up by Sean’s old friend.  Luckily that latter element is kept to an extreme minimum so as to not overpower this movie’s central plot.  Had that happened, it would have made the movie unbearable even for those that are familiar with its predecessors and who enjoyed said movies.  Even the mandatory romance subplot is kept to a minimum.  It’s good to see that Swetnam and Adler balanced the story’s various elements as well as they did.  The end result is a story that actually allows audiences to suspend their disbelief, turn off their brains for about an hour and a half (actually just over that) and enjoy some talented dancing and its associated beats.

John Swetnam and Duane Adler’s script for Step Up: All In is the core of the movie’s ability to keep audiences engaged throughout the course of the movie’s almost two hour run time.  While Adler and Swetnam are to be commended for their script, the story itself is only part of the whole that makes the movie work.  It goes without saying that the Step Up franchise in whole is very much a niche franchise.  It won’t reach everybody.  But those that are into the dance arts will enjoy the dance sequences that are included throughout the movie.  There aren’t just a couple dance sequences, either.  This critic specifically stopped counting at five sequences.  There is no denying the talents of the dancers, either.  Even if one is not exactly a fan of dance, one must admit that the dancers themselves are quite talented.  The choreography of the sequences in whole is just as impressive.  It had to have taken endless hours for the choreographers and dancers to perfect each of the movie’s multitudes of sequences.  Taking that into account the dance sequences, which are essentially the collective core of the movie, prove to be another key part of why audiences will want to give Step Up: All In at least once.

The dance sequences and the script that make up Step Up: All In are collectively more than enough reason for any fan of the long-running franchise to check out its latest installment.  This is the case regardless of whether or not is proves to be the series’ finale.  Getting on a different path for a moment, the movie’s rating is perhaps a bit undeserved.  The movie received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.  The reason given was “some language and suggestive material.”  There are perhaps only two instances throughout the course of the movie in which any foul language is used.  There is no nudity anywhere throughout any scene.  Given the outfits on both the side of the men and women are a bit skimpy.  But they are not to the level of being overly revealing.  The dancing is dancing.  Sure some of it may be a little bit risqué.  But compared to numbers in the likes of Cabaret and other works, it can hardly be considered suggestive at every point.  The only time that a PG-13 rating might be considered worthy is a dance sequence in “The Vortex” competition.  The sequence in question involves members of Sean’s crew simulating urinating on their opponent.  That would be the only time that a PG-13 rating would truly be justified.  Other than that one moment, very little of the material in this question would be considered overly questionable by today’s standards.  It’s one more reason that Step Up: All In proves in the end to be worth at least one watch. This is regardless of one’s own familiarity with the moves that came before this one.

The script behind Lionsgate’s new addition to the Step Up franchise and the movie’s multitude of dance sequences are both important factors to consider in the movie’s success. Audiences will find enjoyment out of both factors. Considering the fact that perhaps at only one point is there anything truly questionable (besides occasionally the dancers’ outfits), it all makes the movie’s PG-13 rating hold even less water. Could that one questionable dance move have been removed? Yes. It could have. But it really proves to be the only truly questionable moment in the entire movie. That being the case, it takes away very little from the rest of the movie and keeps it still worth at least one watch. It will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4th on DVD +Digital HD combo pack and Blu-ray+Digital HD combo pack. More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

Lionsgate’s Latest Family Friendly CG Centerpiece Will Entertain The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s latest CG animated feature Jungle Master is one of the year’s more welcome family features to come along so far in 2014.  Unlike so many of the movies released in recent years by Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar, Jungle Master actually takes the road less travelled.  The movie’s animation is the most obvious way in which it takes that road less travelled.  Despite being a CG presentation, it doesn’t bare that cookie cutter appearance of the movies released by Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar.  Another reason that it stands out is its run time.  The movie’s run time comes in at just under the ninety-minute mark.  That’s a very good thing and will be discussed later.  Last but not least of all that makes this movie stand out is its script.  The story lifts lightly from The Wizard of Oz believe it or not and adds in a touch of Avatar for good measure as well as other sci-fi flicks.  The end result is a story that the while it may never be as big as anything from Dreamworks or Disney/Pixar, is still enjoyable in its own right.  It proves to be a movie that the whole family should watch together and will enjoy together when they do watch it together.

Jungle Master is not one of the most well-known family flicks to be released by any of Hollywood’s major studios this year.  That aside, it still proves in the long run to be one of the year’s more welcome family friendly flicks.  One reason for that is the movie’s “animation.”  Lionsgate’s CG features are completely unlike those of Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar in the realm of animation.  It’s almost impossible to tell Dreamworks’ CG movies from Disney/Pixar’s because they all look alike.  The only way to really differentiate the two studios’ works is by the studio names.  That speaks volumes.  Lionsgate on the other hand has strived to keep itself separate from the mold used by those studios in terms of its animation.  The look of Lionsgate’s CG movies is rawer for lack of better wording.  But it isn’t raw to the point of looking like some pieces from perhaps independent studio Engine 15 Media Group and others.  There is actually some attention paid to detail with Lionsgate’s CG movies, including this one.  That attention to detail helps Jungle Master maintain its own identity separate from its bigger name counterparts from Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar.  It even helps the movie to maintain its own identity from Lionsgate’s previously released CG features.  That mostly original look is just one of a number of positives that surround Jungle Master and make it stand out among this year’s crop of CG movies.

The largely original look of Jungle Master plays a key role in the movie’s ability to keep audiences engaged through its entire eighty-two minute run time.  That run time is another reason that families will enjoy this movie.  It doesn’t even reach the ninety-minute mark.  That relatively short run time drastically increases the chances of keeping audiences engaged from start to finish.  This is especially the case with the movie’s target younger audiences.  Most of the CG movies released since 1995—which is when Pixar broke the mold and released Toy Story—have averaged about ninety minutes.  There have been a small number of movies that have come in just under that time.  But most either reach the ninety-minute mark or go well over it as was the case with Toy Story 3.  That movie came in at almost forty-five minutes.  Luckily its story worked well enough that it still succeeded and quite well at that.  Speaking of story Jungle Master’s story works wonderfully with its run time.  Its story combines elements of a number of other movies to make a story that somehow actually works.  It’s one more way in which Jungle Master works and makes itself one of this year’s more welcome family films.

Both the look of Jungle Master and its run time are important to the movie’s overall success.  They each play their own important role to the overall presentation as they both have an impact on whether or not audiences are kept engaged.  Luckily, both factors succeed by themselves and together.  As much as they succeeded, the look of Jungle Master and its run time are not all that made this direct-to-DVD feature work.  One would be remiss to ignore the movie’s script as an equally important part of the whole.  The movie’s script centers on a twelve year-old girl named Rainie (pronounced rainy) who runs away from home ater her mother forgot about her birthday.  It is assumed by the fact that Rainie was upset enough to run away that her mother (who remains nameless throughout the movie) has probably left Rainie alone more than once.  Her decision to run away ends up taking her to al alien planet  and a much biger adventure that is directly linked to the company for which her mother works.  It’s thanks to her adventure that Rainie realizes her mom hasn’t intentionally ignored her, obviously leading to an eventual reconciliation between mother and daughter.  The central story of the parent/child relationship is obviously anything but new.  It’s been done more times than a person can count on his or her own two hands.  However, the story’s execution is what makes this plot work.  Screen writer Steve Kramer lifted liberally from the likes of The Wizard of Oz and Avatar to make this story.  While he obviously lifted from the noted movies, Kramer didn’t try to just remake them and mix them together.  He used them more as influences for his story about family.  What’s more he balanced said elements quite well; well enough in fact that audiences will be moved to overlook the references to said movies and enjoy the presented story.

Kramer’s re-telling of original writer/director Xu Kerr’s story is one of the most important of this movie’s aspects in considering its level of success.  He obviously used at least a couple of rather well-known movies that have come before as both influences and elements of this movie.  But he also didn’t try to just rip off either work.  He balanced them together to make a largely original story that centers on family.  That creativity and homage still is not all that makes this movie work.  One should also take into account the movie’s cast and even its bonus shorts.  Victoria Justice (Victorious, Victoria Justice, iCarly), Jane Lynch (Glee, Hollywood Game Night, Wreck-It-Ralph), David Spade (Just Shoot Me, The Benchwarmers, Tommy Boy), Josh Peck (Drake & Josh, Ultimate Spiderman, Ice Age: Continental Drift), Christopher Lloyd (Cyberchase, Back to the Future 1 - 3), and John Lovitz (Saturday Night Live, The Critic, Gorwn-Ups 1 & 2) make up the movie’s cast.  Lovitz proves to be the real star of the story with his comical antics voicing Mulla.  The fact that so many well-known names overall would feel confident enough about such a movie makes it even more worth the watch.  And the bonus shorts included with the movie will entertain children for a little while after the movie ends.  These extra positives combined with the positivews already noted make Jungle Master a movie well worth at least one watch together by any family.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies

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Lionsgate’s Latest Addition To Its Alpha And Omega Series Is A Fun, Family Friendly Halloween Flick

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s latest installment in its popular Alpha & Omega franchise was released to DVD/Digital HD combo pack late last month.  The family friendly flick, Alpha & Omega:The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave comes just in time for Halloween.  It was released exclusively via Wal-Mart stores nationwide.  It follows the release earlier this year of Alpha & Omega 3The Great Wolf Games and last year’s Alpha & Omega 2A Howl-iday Adventure, the franchise’s other holiday-themed story.  This latest adventure from the people at Lionsgate is a good addition to any family’s Halloween/Fall party this year.  The primary reason for this is the movie’s script.  It interweaves two different story lines for one whole that audiences of all ages will enjoy.  Another reason that this new direct-to-DVD feature works is its relatively short run time.  And rounding out the whole presentation is the movie’s animation style.  Each factor by itself plays its own important role to the overall presentation.  Altogether, the factors noted here make Alpha & OmegaThe Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave a movie that any family will enjoy not only at their Halloween party but at any time of the year.

The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave is not the first holiday feature that has been spawned from Lionsgate’s popular Alpha & Omega franchise.  It is the first from the franchise centered on Halloween albeit indirectly.  That’s one small part of what makes the movie’s script work as well as it does and will be discussed at a later point.  The script behind The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave is the central point of the movie’s enjoyment and success.  The script actually presents not one but two separate stories.  The first of the pair—the central story—centers on the legend of a cave that is thought to be haunted.  Young Runt (voiced for the second time by voice actor Dee Dee Greene) decides to find out for himself whether or not that legend is true.  The truth behind the legend reveals a surprising story within itself.  That story will be left for those that have yet to see this movie so as to not ruin it for said audiences.  Getting to the movie’s secondary story line, this story line focuses on Runt’s own attempt to establish his place in his pack as he tries to solve the legend of the saw tooth cave.  It’s a story to which any viewer can relate really.  He wants to prove that he’s not just a little kid.  Every young child eventually reaches that point in his or her life at which he or she starts to exhibit that desire not so much for independence but to establish himself or herself and find his or her own place in the world.  That is sort of what’s going on here in this story line.  Kane managed to weave together both story lines seamlessly.  The end result is a story that audiences of all ages will enjoy whether during their Halloween parties or any other time of year.

Tom Kane’s well-written script is central to the enjoyment and success of Alpha & OmegaThe Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave.  The movie’s relatively short run-time is just as important as the script.  The movie’s run time is listed at forty-five minutes.  But the end credits roll just past the forty-one minute mark.  So the reality of the movie is that it really is not that long.  That’s especially the case when it is compared to most family films out there today.  Most children’s films today run anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.  That even applies to most holiday-themed family movies whether from major name studios or lesser-known studios.  Even when aimed at older children, such run times push the envelope in terms of keeping said audiences’ attention.  It makes this movie’s run time that much more important to the overall presentation.  Add in those two expertly crafted story lines, and audiences get in this movie a movie that is even more enjoyable in the long run.

The writing that went into Alpha & Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave and its run time are of equal importance to the movie’s enjoyment.  When taking into consideration just these two factors, this latest installment in Lionsgate’s Alpha & Omega franchise proves to be a movie that holds its own.  It holds its own both in comparison to other family holiday-themed movies and in comparison to the other films within this franchise.  While both factors prove to be of equal importance in the movie’s enjoyment, there is one more factor to consider that makes the movie work.  That last remaining factor is the movie’s “animation.”  In an era when so many “animated” movies look like one another thanks to cookie cutter computer graphics, this movie can only really be compared to the likes of Dreamworks’ Over The Hedge franchise.  The comparisons are slight at best.  Though, those familiar with those movies will be able to catch the similarities even as minimal as they prove to be.  That means that this movie, much like the others in the Alpha & Omega series maintains its identity from other computer generated flicks.  And it does so with ease.  It is the final touch on a movie that while it may not be as well-known as other family friendly holiday films is still enjoyable enough in its own right.

Alpha & Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave may not be as well-known as other family friendly holiday films.  Despite this, it still is enjoyable in its own right.  Writer Tom Kane has crafted a script that weaves multiple story lines together with ease.  Neither storyline steps on the other at any point throughout the story, thus preventing the story from bogging itself down.  The movie’s run time—and by connection its pacing—make the story even more enjoyable for audiences of all ages.  The movie’s relatively original animation style rounds out the whole presentation, making it a movie well worth adding to any family’s Halloween party this year and any year.  It is available now exclusively in Wal-Mart stores nationwide.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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Yankees Fans And Baseball Fans Alike Will Enjoy MLB Productions’ Latest Release

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/MLB Productions/A&E/A&E Home Video

Courtesy: Lionsgate/MLB Productions/A&E/A&E Home Video

The New York Yankees are in the waning days of the team’s 2014 season.  And along with the end of that season is the end of an era as Yankees great Derek Jeter is set to close out his Major League Baseball career, too.  While this season has not exactly proven to be everything that Yankees loyalists had hoped for MLB Productions has given Yankees nation reason to look back after this season’s end and still have plenty to smile about thanks to the recent release of Baseball’s Greatest Games: New York Yankees® Postseason Heroics.  This latest release continues a long-held tradition of excellence from Major League Baseball Productions as is evidenced throughout all four games contained in this set.  The inclusion of four full games is central to the enjoyment of the presentation.  That each game celebrates Jeter’s various accomplishments makes things even sweeter for fans.  As with previous MLB Productions releases, audiences are given the option to start at the top or bottom of any of the games’ innings.  They are not forced to sit through the whole game or even fast forward through to their key moments.  It adds even more enjoyment to the overall presentation.  And last but not least of all worth noting in this set is the collective video and audio mix in each episode.  MLB productions includes a disclaimer before the game, noting that there may be some discrepancies at given points.  But those discrepancies are few and far between.  If anything, seeing the games as they were originally broadcast adds to a certain sense of nostalgia among viewers, whether or not they be Yankees loyalists.  Each factor noted by itself is important to the whole in its own right.  All three together make Baseball’s Greatest Games: New York Yankees® Postseason Heroics another welcome addition to the library of any Yankees loyalist and any true-blooded MLB fan Yankees loyalist or not.

Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics is a welcome addition to the library of any Yankees loyalist and any true-blooded MLB fan Yankees loyalist or not.  It is especially welcome being that New York’s season hasn’t exactly lived up to the hopes and expectations of the team or its fans.  Luckily for fans, this four-disc set features four past Yankees games on which fans can look back and smile after the season’s end.  The first of the games is Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS in which the Yankees faced off against the Baltimore Orioles.  The second game takes fans forward four years to Game 4 of the 2000 World Series.  The Yankees faced off against the Mets that year.  The key moment of this game was Jeter’s leadoff home run against the Mets.  The third game takes audiences another year forward to Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS.  That year, the Yankees faced off against Oakland.  After taking down Oakland, the Yankees moved on in 2001 to the World Series, in which the team took on Arizona for the championship. MLB Productions features Game 4 of that year’s World Series as the set’s closing game.  As with the set’s other games, Jeter’s accomplishments are highlighted here, too.  Of course it doesn’t focus solely on his achievements.  Rather, the entire game is presented from the first pitch to the last.  The commercials have been cleanly cut, again displaying that commitment to quality from MLB Productions.  Simply put, with each game, audiences get the full game experience sans the commercial limitations.  They can pause the game at any point that they choose so as to use the bathroom, get a couple cold ones, or anything else.  All things considered here, it all proves just why the inclusion of the games and their inclusion in full at that is the central point of the set’s success.

The inclusion of four important recent Yankees games is central to the success of Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics is central to the success of the set.  Their inclusion in full and the fact that they are meant to highlight the accomplishments of the soon-to-be-retired Yankee great Derek Jeter makes it even more of a solid center to the set.  Adding to the set’s success is the fact that once again, audiences are able to choose the inning at which they start each game.  To be even more precise, audiences can choose whether they start at the top of an inning within a given game or at the top of said inning.  So rather than be forced to sit through the whole game or fast forward through so much baseball, audiences can pick precisely where the game starts.  So if viewers have to stop for any reason, they can just pop in the DVD, pick the inning (and its top or bottom) and go from there.  If fast forwarding is still necessary, it won’t have to be but so much as a result of this inclusion.  This is a standard that those at MLB Productions have maintained for years.  So it is wonderful to see this standard maintained even here.  It serves to make the set’s overall presentation even more enjoyable and a success.

MLB fans and Yankees fans alike will appreciate that those with MLB Productions took painstaking efforts to maintain the tradition of excellence established by the company with every one of its releases up to this point including this set.  The games included in this set are presented in full. Audiences can once again choose the point at which they start giving games, whether the top or bottom of said inning(s).  All of this taken into consideration, Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics proves to offer plenty of enjoyment for MLB fans regardless of their team loyalty.  There is still one more aspect of this set that makes it a joy for audiences.  That last aspect is the fact that the games in this set are presented exactly as they were seen in their original broadcast(s).  Game 1 of the team’s 1996 ALCS matchup against the Orioles was originally broadcast on NBC while the other three games were each broadcast on FOX.  MLB Productions’ people covered their bases, including a disclaimer noting the potential issues with the games’ video.  But the reality is the video looks just fine.  As a matter of fact, seeing the games as they looked in their original airings brings back a wonderful sense of nostalgia for fans. Considering that this season hasn’t lived to the hopes and expectations of the team and its fans, that sense of nostalgia is especially welcome for the members of the Yankees nation.  Together with the aforementioned aspects of the set, the presentation of each game from its original broadcast rounds out Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics and makes it complete.  It is one more reason that audiences, regardless of allegiance, will welcome this latest collection of games from MLB Productions and A&E Home Video.

MLB Productions and A&E Home Video have a long history together, releasing wonderful pieces of baseball’s history every year.  Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics is one more wonderful piece of that history.  The inclusion of four games in their entirety proves that right off the top.  That audiences can once more choose where they start viewing each game makes it even more of an enjoyable experience.  And the still quality video and audio mix of all four games rounds out the entire set.  All things considered, Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics proves to be its own home run for any Yankees loyalist and any true-blooded baseball fan in general.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from The Lionsgate online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=31220&TitleParentId=9945.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate and A&E Home Video is available online at:

 

Lionsgate

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate
Twitter: http://twitter.com/linosgatemovies

A&E Home Video

Website: http://www.aetv.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AETV
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AEHomeEnt

MLB Productions

Website: http://mlbproductions.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

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.