PBS Kids Announces Release Date, Info For Latest Arthur DVD

Courtesy:  PBS Kids/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS

PBS Kids will release the latest Arthur DVD next month.

Arthur Makes A Movie will be released on DVD Tuesday, May 13th. The DVD includes four more episodes of the family favorite series based on author Marc Brown’s beloved literary series. Those four episodes are: “Arthur Makes a Movie”, “Go To Your Room, D.W.”, “Agent of Change”, and “D.W. Unties The Knot.” The DVD will retail for an SRP of $9.99.

In the title episode of the new DVD, Arthur and his friends decide to make their very own movie since they’re not old enough to see a real “James Hound” movie. Muffy Crosswire takes the helm and taps Arthur to play the lead role in the kids’ movie. However, things don’t go exactly as planned when the kids try to put their plan in action.

“Go To Your Room D.W.” tackles a very familiar subject for audiences of all ages when four-year old D.W. is sent to her room by her parents. D.W. has to stay in her room for ten whole minutes! That’s a lot for a four-year old. And it’s just enough time for a four-year old to ruminate on his (or in this case her) difficult childhood, and plan a life away from home. D.W. finds out the reality of trying to run away when she tries to put her plan in action and the folly of her decision in this episode sure to entertain audiences of all ages.

“Agents of Change” is another episode that audiences of all ages will enjoy. It tackles the subject of gender inequality in the movie industry. After Francine and Muffy go to see a movie about a boy and his truck, they are left rather disenfranchised. So they set out to make their own movie that focuses on a strong female lead. They are joined by Molly, who helps to handle the movie’s artwork. With Molly on board, the trio set out to make their very own movie with interesting results.

Wedding season is just around the corner. So what better way to close out Arthur Makes A Movie than with an episode titled, “D.W. Unties The Knot?” In this episode, D.W. decides to get married after watching “The Wedding Channel.” There’s just one problem. D.W. being a child, she doesn’t fully graspt everything that goes into a wedding and what exactly a wedding is or what it represents. She ends up realizing she’s gotten herself in much deeper than she ever imagined. So she’s left to figure out how to get everything back to how it was.

Arthur Makes A Movie will be available Tuesday, May 13th. It can be pre-ordered now via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34129306&cp=&sr=1&kw=arthur+makes+a+movie&origkw=Arthur+Makes+A+Movie&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Arthur DVDs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PBSArthur and http://www.pbskids.org/arthur. 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.

PBS Kids Announces Release Date, Info For New Martha Speaks Compilation DVD

Courtesy;  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy; PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids has announced that it will release a brand new DVD from its family favorite series Martha Speaks next month.

Martha Speaks: Martha’s Superhero Adventures will be available May 13th. The new single-disc compilation features six episodes from the series. It will retail for an SRP of $9.99. The six episodes include with this compilation are: “Martha The Hero Maker”, “Starstruck Martha”, “Return of the Bookbots: The Case of the Missing Words Part One”, “Return of the Bookbots: The Case of the Missing Words Part Two”, “Verb Dog: When Action Calls”, and “Martha’s Adverb Adventure.” It will also feature coloring pages and activities for children, and resources for parents.

“Martha The Hero Maker” sees Martha come up with an idea for a new adventure story.  She shares her story with Truman, T.D., and Helen. The trio starts drawing the story for Martha. There’s just one problem. When they work on the story for Martha, they each start to add their own element to Martha’s original story. Those extra elements include: butter, a ground squirrel, and the Incredible Exo-Skeleton-of-Wow. Things only get more wild from there as art starts to mirror reality in more ways than one.

In “Starstruck Martha”, Martha gets stars in her eyes when a famous Collie named Courageous Collie Carlo comes to town. In her attempts to meet Carlos, Martha inadvertently reveals that Carlo isn’t as courageous as he seems. So it’s up to Martha to save Carlo’s reputation. Otherwise, Carlo’s TV career could be history.

The Announcer takes center stage in the two part Episode, “Return of the Bookbots.” Martha and her friends have to stop The Announcer in this episode after he goes on a rampage through Wagstaff City, bringing nouns to life from books. It’s up to Martha to lead the charge against the Announcer once and for all in this episode.

The last of this compilation’s episodes, “Martha’s Adverb Adventure”, brings back the villainous Weaselgraft and Pablum. The pair develop a new invention called The Adverbalizer in this episode that is sure to make them rich. That is because The Adverbalizer can actually activate adverbs. It allows the holder of the Adverbalizer to make things happen completely, sloppily, and instantly. Not realizing its true potential, T.D. orders an Adverbalizer, causing all kinds of problems immediately.

Martha Speaks: Martha’s Superhero Adventures can be pre-ordered online via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34129636&cp=&sr=1&kw=martha+speaks&origkw=Martha+Speaks&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Martha Speaks DVDs is available online at http://pbskids.org/martha. 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.

PBS Releasing Special New Dinosaur Train Double Feature Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids announced today that it will release a special new Dinosaur Train double feature DVD next month.

Dinosaur Big City/Dinosaurs A Z will be released on DVD May 13th. The first feature in the upcoming double feature, Dinosaur Big City sees the Pteranodon and all of their friends take the Dinosaur Train to Laramida, the Dinosaur Big City, for the Therapod Convention. Once there, Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, and Don have to help King Cryolophosaurus get over his stage fright because he has to perform in front of his biggest audience ever. The kids also meet an old friend in Annie Tyrannosaurus.  She and her parents, Deloris and Boris, just happen to be visiting Laramida, too. This adventure is just one of the four included in Dinosaur Big City. Also included on this DVD are four more adventures—“Troodon train Day”, “King Cryolophosaurus”, “The Therapod Club”, and “Laura The Gigantosaurus.”

The second DVD included in the upcoming double feature, Dinosaurs A Z, the Pteranodon family takes the Dinosaur Train to Troodon town. Along the way, Buddy, Tiny, and Mrs. Pteranodon are joined by dinosaurs whose names begin with every letter of the alphabet from A – Z. The episode is split into four separate segments. There are also five more episodes included on the DVD for the whole family. Those episodes are: “The Call of the Wild Corythosaurus”, “Fast Friends”, “One Small Dinosaur”, “Have You Heard About The Herd?” and “Solstice Time.”

Dinosaur Big City/Dinosaurs A Z retails for SRP of $14.99. it can be pre-ordered via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34129386&cp=&sr=1&kw=dinosaur+big+city&origkw=Dinosaur+Big+City&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Dinosaur Train DVDs is available 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.

Kids And Parents Will Both Love The Latest Dinosaur Train DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

All aboard!  The Dinosaur Train is ready to roll again!  The latest compilation from PBS Kids’ hit series Dinosaur Train is a good fit for young audiences and teachers as Valentine’s Day nears once again.  Dinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs boasts four more episodes from the hit series.  Four episodes may not be much to some.  But the collective content of the included episodes is the primary factor in the overall enjoyment of this set.  Just as noteworthy as the episodes’ content is the collective bonus features included in the set.  Both of these factors work together to make Dinosaur Train’s latest DVD compilation a grouping of episodes that will have audiences of all ages saying they love dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs contains four more episodes from PBS’ hit series.  On the surface, four episodes doesn’t seem like that much.  But the collective content of each of the four episodes makes this latest DVD well worth ordering.  Love is in the air in this compilation.  Shiny has a crush on Mr. Conductor’s nephew, Gilbert in “Gilbert Visits The Nest.”  A Cryolophosaurus  named Crystal catches the eye of King Cryolophosaurus in “King Meets Crystal.”  And even Mr. Conductor has his own romantic interest in “Erma and the Conductor.”  With so much romance even in the dinosaur age, it makes this compilation a great fit for Valentine’s Day both in the classroom and the living room.  The romance factor of the included episodes is just one part of what makes Dinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs a fun addition to any classroom or home library.  The overall content of the episodes culled for the set is really what makes them enjoyable.

The overall content of each of the four episodes culled for this latest Dinosaur Train DVD is the…ahem…heart of what makes the presentation in whole so enjoyable.  One of the most interesting things to note of the episodes contained on the disc is that not every episode sees the Pteranadon family take the Dinosaur Train.  “Gilbert Visits The Nest” and “Don’s Collection” prove that the show’s writers can make a good episode without having to pull the characters into different time periods.  What’s more, the lessons taught in these two episodes make them all the richer.  “Don’s Collection” teaches young viewers that sometimes, the simple things can be just as entertaining as anything else.  That’s a lesson that can be applied in so many facets in life.  “Gilbert Visits The Nest” teaches viewers that one doesn’t have to go to extremes to impress others.  This doesn’t have to apply in a romantic setting, either.  It can apply in a setting as simple as making friends.  Even adults could learn a thing or two from this episode.  Speaking of learning things, kids get a mini-lesson of sorts on astronomy in “Erma and The Conductor.”  The Pteranodon family takes the Dinosaur Train to see a meteor shower.  Younger audiences learn what meteors are and what meteor showers are at that.  So along with the romance factor, the education factor is there, too.  If the episodes themselves aren’t enough for viewers, the bonus features included in the DVD will convince viewers.

The episodes included in Dinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs are by themselves a bonus for viewers.  That’s thanks to the mix of educational and entertaining content.  The episodes aren’t all that audiences get with this new set from PBS and PBS Kids.  The bonus features included with this DVD maintain the bar set by previous Dinosaur Train DVDs.  Dr. Scott The Paleontologist’s segments are included once again as are more coloring pages, an interactive DVD-Rom game and more.  The bonus features bring everything full circle and make this DVD complete.  Having gone through both the episodes and bonus features, every viewer will agree that they, too love dinosaurs.  Dinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered online via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=29393236&cp=&sr=1&kw=dinosaur+train+i+love+dinosaurs&origkw=Dinosaur+Train+I+Love+Dinosaurs&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Dinosaur Train DVDs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain.  More episodes and games are also available online at http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain.  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.

Danny Phantom Complete Series Set Is Loads Of Ghostly Fun For All

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Nickelodeon’s programming today is comprised largely of live action sitcoms aimed at teen viewers.  However, from the early 1990s up until the mid-2000s, the network was known more for its vast array of cartoons.  It’s “Nicktoons” were its heart and soul.  While Nickelodeon does have some cartoons today, the network’s sole remaining real Nicktoon is Butch Hartman’s hugely successful series Fairly OddparentsFairly Oddparents is a standout series, too.  Interestingly enough, it isn’t his first series to have the honor of being added to Nickelodeon’s list of beloved Nicktoons.  His first notable “Nicktoon” was the short-lived supernatural series Danny Phantom.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of Danny Phantom will be able to own the complete series in one box later this month.  Danny Phantom only ran for three seasons.  In its defense, it could be argued that this was because it was ahead of its time.  That aside, series creator Butch Hartman and his writers crafted a number of enjoyable episodes throughout the show’s short run.  Just as worth noting about this new upcoming box set is that is alleviates some minor problems raised in the box sets containing the series’ second season.  Lastly, those that know their Nicktoons history will appreciate the voice talent that made up the series’ cast.  That who’s who of voice actors combined with the enjoyable stories, and the fact that they are all available together for the first time collectively make this upcoming set well worth picking up for any Danny Phantom fan.

Fans of Danny Phantom: The Complete Series  will appreciate this new complete series set first and foremost because it presents the series’ entire three-season run in one complete box set.  Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have already released three complete series sets from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Angry Beavers.  Those sets proved to actually take up far less space on DVD racks than the stand-alone season sets that had originally been released.  This set is no different.  All nine discs that make up all three seasons are included in this box.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon have sweetened the deal even more for fans in that they have maintained the established wise packaging that was used in the aforementioned complete series sets.  The discs are placed inside the box on either side of their own “insert” with the ninth and final disc being placed in its own spot inside the back of the case.  As with the previously noted box sets, this protects the discs and allows the episodes contained within each one to be enjoyed much longer.  It is the starting point of what audiences will appreciate about Danny Phantom: The Complete Series.

The packaging for Danny Phantom: The Complete Series is a good starting point in discussing everything that makes this box set well worth its price.  The episodes contained across the set’s nine total discs make the presentation as a whole even more enjoyable.  It would be easy to say that because its main characters were high school students, Danny Phantom was just another program aimed at audiences of the same age. To a point, it could be seen how teen audiences would take an interest in the series.  Case in point, one of the series’ story arcs involved a potential inter-racial romance between Danny and black classmate named Valerie Gray (voiced by Cree Summer—The Cosby Show, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, etc.).  It really is a sign of the times that the show’s writers would include this without making a big fuss over it, either.  It is a subtle, but nice addition to the series.  There are also the constant struggles to balance trying to be a regular teen with being a superhero. But the jokes that are tossed in each episode aren’t above some younger viewers, either.  So while teens might have been the primary audience, younger viewers would have obviously enjoyed the show, too.  The same applies to today’s teens and pre-teens, too.

The packaging and writing that make up Danny Phantom’s episodes are collectively a big part of what makes the series so enjoyable even for today’s younger audiences.  There is at least one more aspect of the series’ new set that audiences will appreciate in examining the presentation as a whole.  That aspect is the series’ voice cast.  The series’ primary cast reads like a who’s who of voice acting.  It has already been noted that veteran voice actress Cree Summer is part of the primary cast (even though she doesn’t come into play until the second season).  Along with Ms. Summer, Grey DeLisle (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Clifford: The Puppy Years, Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, etc.) Kath Soucie (Futurama, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Beauty and the Beast, etc.), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.) and a whole slate of others each play roles in the series.  Fans will also recognize the voices of Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, Hellboy & Hellboy II), Martin Mull (Roseanne), and the man who is perhaps the busiest male voice actor in the business, one Frank Welker (Curious George, The Real Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, etc.)  Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Taylor Lautner (the Twilight saga), and the late David Carradine even make appearances throughout the series among so many other big names.  If the massive list of A-listers that play roles in Danny Phantom isn’t reason enough to check out the new Danny Phantom: The Complete Series box set, then one need only set that alongside the enjoyable writing and the equally wise packaging to see just how worthwhile this set is for kids and kids at heart.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 28th.  It can be pre-ordered online now from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/danny-phantom-complete-series.  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.

Every Family Will Enjoy PBS Kids’ Latest Dinosaur Train DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids/The Jim Henson Company

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/The Jim Henson Company

The Dinosaur Train Gang (get the joke there?) is back! Tiny, Shiny, Don, and Buddy are headed back out on the Dinosaur Train yet again for more family friendly fun in the latest release from The Jim Henson Company and PBS Kids, Dinosaur Train: We Are A Dinosaur Family.  This latest grouping of episodes from the hit PBS Kids show is just as fun as any of the show’s previously released DVD compilations.  What sets this compilation of episodes apart from others is the constant underlying theme of family in each of the set’s eight episodes.  All the fun lessons about different dinos are there, too.  And just as with previous sets, PBS Kids and The Jim Henson Company have made sure to include Dr. Scott’s segments.  There are even printable coloring pages and interactive DVD-Rom games and more that the whole family will love.  All things considered, the episodes and the special features included in Dinosaur Train: We Are A Dinosaur Family make this another wonderful inclusion to any family’s home DVD library.

Dinosaur Train: We Are A Dinosaur Family includes eight more entertaining and educational episodes of the hit PBS Kids series that the whole family will enjoy.  All eight episodes included in this latest compilation have the underlying theme of family in each episode.  Each episode features a different family theme that parents and kids alike will enjoy and appreciate.  It all opens with the introduction of the Pteranodon kids’ grandparents in “Meet The Grandparents.”  There are also special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day themed episodes in “Flowers For Mom” and “Dad’s Day Out.”  Parents and kids will both enjoy “Date Night”, the set’s closer.  On the surface, it may not seem like it fits.  But it’s just as important to the set as any of the other episodes.  Kids sometimes think that then their parents go out on a date night or a weekend alone, that their parents don’t love them, believe it or not.  This episode serves as a great starting point to illustrate that parents just need some mom and dad time just like kids need kid time.  And even when moms and dads get their mom and dad time, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their kids.  If anything, they love them just as much, if not more.  Any parent will be able to relate to this theme.  It’s just one more example of what makes this compilation so worth adding to any family’s home DVD library.

The family-centric themes that run through all eight episodes in this set are just one reason that parents and their kids will both enjoy this latest DVD compilation.  Just as with previous Dinosaur Train compilations, this one is loaded with even more paleontology lessons.  The kids meet a burrowing dino called Oryctodromeus in “The Burrowers.”  Viewers of any age will love how the kids are first introduced to the Oryctodromeus family.  After a whole day of waiting to meet them, the kids come up with a hypothesis about the holes that they see which proves to be right in the end.  They also meet a Hadrosaurus when they go to visit their grandparents in “To Grandparents’ Nest We Go!”  They even learn about “classification” when they visit their grandparents.  This is just part of all the fun lessons that are offered throughout all eight episodes in this set.  Kids, parents, and even teachers will enjoy and appreciate all the lessons tied in to each episode just as much with each watch.  Of course, the fun in this compilation doesn’t end with the direct lessons.  There’s plenty of enjoyment thanks to Dr. Scott’s segments and the bonus activities, interactive game and printable coloring pages.

The bonus interactive game, activities, and coloring pages included in this latest compilation of Dinosaur Train episodes are all accessible when audiences pop the DVD into the DVD drive of their computer.  Parents can print out coloring pages for their kids.  The bonus interactive game will be familiar.  As with previous Dinosaur Train DVDs, kids can learn just how big the dinosaurs featured in some of the episodes here really were.  And Dr. Scott’s segments are just as much of a bonus.  While they’re included as part of the episodes on TV, kids can watch them separately yet again on this DVD.  Separating Dr. Scott’s segments from the episodes helps kids to focus better on the subject of each episode.  It serves as another positive way to teach young viewers.  Along with its companion bonus features, and the set’s episodes, it makes Dinosaur Train: We Are A Dinosaur Family one more wonderful compilation from PBS Kids and The Jim Henson Company for any family’s home DVD library.  It is available this week and can be ordered direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=23765876&cp=&kw=dinosaur+train+we+are+a+dinosaur+family&origkw=Dinosaur+Train+We+Are+A+Dinosaur+family&sr=1.  Parents and kids can get more information on Dinosaur Train, watch episodes and play even more Dinosaur Train games online at http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain/.   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.

Wild Kratts’ Box Set A Wild Bunch Of Episodes For Any Family

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids/9 Story Entertainment

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/9 Story Entertainment

Wild Kratts is one of PBS Kids’ best shows.  The adventures of Martin and Chris Kratt have entertained audiences of all ages since 2011.  In that time, Martin, Chris and their friends have traveled the globe, introducing all kinds of animals to audiences.  Now thanks to PBS Kids and 9 Story Entertainment, those audiences can enjoy twenty episodes from the beloved series in one large box set, titled Wild Kratts: Wildest Animal Adventures.

Wild Kratts: Wildest Animal Adventures features twenty episodes from the brothers’ animated series in five discs.  All five discs are placed inside their own slim cases.  Only one collection is missing from this set.  That set is Wild Kratts: Jungle Adventures.  Does this take away from the overall presentation of the set?  It does.  But it doesn’t take away so much that it hurts the set, either.  The very fact that PBS Kids and 9 Story Entertainment would go so far as to release four of the show’s five collections in one set is impressive in itself.  Keeping that in mind, it makes the collections culled for this set one of the set’s positives.  Just as much of a positive are the combined lessons of nature and conservancy taught through each episode.

The brothers Kratt offer viewers lots of animated fun throughout the twenty episodes included in Wild Kratts:  Wildest Animal Adventures.  They offer more than just fun, though.  Throughout each episode, Chris and Martin have to face some not so nice individuals who in their own way help to illustrate the guys’ lessons about conservancy.  As bad as they are, the noted baddies are also quite dopey and entertaining in their own way.  This makes the included episodes even more family friendly.  What’s most important about the lessons taught throughout each episode is that unlike say Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Wild Kratts is nowhere near as preachy.  The show’s writers don’t press the issues so much as they offer gentle nudges.  Simply put, it teaches without preaching.  And that is the best thing about the writing in each episode culled for this latest collection from PBS Kids.  Add in animation that even if it is CG based, one can’t tell that it’s CG based, and audiences get a show that is a perfect balance of entertainment and education.  That balance makes Wild Kratts one of PBS Kids’ best shows on the air right now.  And it makes Wild Kratts: Wildest Animal Adventures a welcome set for any parent, teacher, or child.  It will be available on DVD Tuesday, September 3rd.  It can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=20875686&cp=&kw=wild+kratts+wildest+animal+adventures&origkw=Wild+Kratts+Wildest+Animal+Adventures&sr=1. More information on Wild Kratts is available on the PBS Kids Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PBSKIDS.  And more full adventures are available online on the Wild Kratts PBS Kids website at http://pbskids.org/wildkratts/home.html.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facbeook.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.

New Dinosaur Train Compilation More Prehistoric Fun For Families

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

The latest addition to the long line of DVDs released from PBS Kids’ hit science show, Dinosaur Train is another great group of outings from the Pteradon family.  It’s just as fun for teachers, parents and children alike to watch.  Nature Trackers offers audiences eight more adventures from Tiny, Shiny, Don, and everyone else at Pteranodon Terrace as they ride the Dinosaur Train through different times and learn about even more kinds of dinosaurs.  That’s not all the kids learn in the episodes culled for this compilation.  This time out, the kids learn a little bit about astronomy, life cycles of plants, and even about gardening.  Along the way, they also learn valuable life lessons such as compromise and teamwork.  And for those teachers, parents and kids worried about keeping up with the dinosaurs that are introduced, worry not.  Dr. Scott’s segments are included, too.  They are included along with printable coloring pages and a DVD rom game.  All Of these extras are great bonuses.  They work with the hefty load of episodes contained on the single disc to make this new release another enjoyable addition to any Dinosaur Train fan’s DVD collection.

Dinosaur Train: Nature Trackers is much like previous compilations from this hit PBS Kids show.  Audiences get to learn all about even more different dinosaurs in each episode.  They also learn which creatures aren’t dinosaurs.  They learn specifically the differences between dinosaurs and other creatures of the different time periods.  That’s not all that viewers get from this collection.  Unlike previous Dinosaur Train collections, viewers learn extra lessons in this set.  Among those extra lessons are those of astronomy, biology, and even a small lesson on botany in “Tiny Loves Flowers.”  Perhaps the most important lesson of all that’s taught in this compilation is of compromise and teamwork.  That lesson is taught in the compilation’s title episode.  The lessons included throughout this set are wonderful additions to the overall theme of learning about dinosaurs.  This is a tribute to the show’s writers.

The individuals responsible for writing each episode’s script throughout the show’s run have done an impressive job of crafting each story.  This compilation is proof positive of that.  They have been able to craft a handful of shorts that expertly weave multiple storylines together without allowing one to take precedence over another.  The stories’ secondary plotlines are just subtle enough to work in partner with the primary storylines rather than overpower them.  Again, this shows the level of professionalism from the show’s writers.  And in turn, it shows exactly why the show has remained such a huge hit among viewers of all ages.

The lessons and the writing in the episodes culled for this latest compilation do so much to make it enjoyable for viewers of all ages.  The bonus features do even more.  Among the most important of the bonus features included on this disc are the side segments with Dr. Scott the Paleontologist.  Each segment that would normally be included with the episodes on television are included on the side here.  This is a smart way of doing things on the DVD.  That’s because it helps viewers to better keep track of the dinosaurs featured in each episode.  It makes for a wonderful starting point for any young viewer interested in dinosaurs.  It’s just as impressive for adults, as most grown-ups will find that they know about as much as their children and students about the different species of dinosaurs that once populated the Earth.  Along with the bonus dinosaur measuring game and coloring pages, it helps to make the compilation a complete experience for viewers of all ages.  It will be available Tuesday, July 16th and can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=20571606&cp=&sr=1&kw=dinosaur+train+nature+trackers&origkw=Dinosaur+Train+Nature+Trackers&parentPage=search.  And for all of the latest news on Dinosaur Train, parents, teachers, and children can go online to http://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain and “Like” it.  Parents, teachers, and students can also stay up with the latest on Dinosaur Train on its official website, http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain.

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.

Arthur Stands Up To Bullying Another Impressive Compilation Of Episodes From PBS Kids

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

Everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur Read, is back with another set of adventures for audiences of all ages.  PBS’ latest compilation of episodes from the hit children’s TV series is just as important for viewers as it is entertaining.  That’s because it is one more shot in the battle against bullying.  Arthur Stands up to Bullying includes four brand new episodes from the series.  Two of those episodes directly tackle the issue of bullying, while other pair offers its very own lessons that parents, teachers, and children will enjoy and appreciate.  Parents, teachers, and children will enjoy and appreciate each episode first and foremost because of each episode’s script.  The writing that has become standard for the Arthur series is continued here.  While the show’s animation is based more on flash animation than hand drawn animation, it is still more impressive than so many of the CG based shows that dominate commercially run networks.  It all works together to make this compilation one more that will be welcomed in the classroom and the living room.

Arthur Stands up to Bullying is anchored by a pair of important episodes centered on the ongoing problem of bullying that so plagues America’s youth population today.  Both episodes are important in that they examine bullying from two fronts.  The first of the episodes, “The Last Tough Customer”, tackles bullying head on.  It examines bullying from the angle of Molly, a member of the Tough Customers gang.  She knows that she is being a bully and that she always has been.  Through flashbacks, audiences learn how she became a bully. And because of something that he brother James does to someone else, it refreshes her own memory of how she became one, too.  This, in turn leads to an epiphany that leads her to apologize to everyone she has bullied.  She goes on to tell her friends they all need to stop being bullies, too.  This is an important lesson because it could make those that are bullies to perhaps give a second thought to their own actions and make their change.  In making a change, maybe those same individuals will take the time to tell others to stop bullying, too. 

The second of the episodes centered on bullying is taken from the polar opposite angle as that of “The Last Tough Customer.”  “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” finds Arthur losing his friends because of his own bullying.  The catch here is that Arthur doesn’t even realize that he is being a bully at first.  He was making jokes about his friend Sue Ellen because of a sweater that she wore to school.  He made all kinds of mean comments about her for what she wore.  It led to a lot of hurt feelings all the way around, not just in her.  It’s a very well written secondary lesson about bullying.  It teaches audiences of all ages (yes, even adults do this) that it’s not right to bully someone just because of what they wear or simply for how they look in general.  This secondary storyline is wonderfully interwoven into the primary plot of Arthur not knowing he was being a bully.  Together, the two storylines make this episode as good as the prior episode, if not even better than that episode. 

The interactivity of the dual storylines in “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” is just one example of the continued solid writing of the episodes in this latest compilation.  It’s a standard that was set from the show’s very first season years ago.  And it is a standard that has continued to this day.  The writing makes the episodes easy for young audiences to understand and appreciate.  There are also subtle jokes from Arthur’s parents and other adults that teachers and parents will enjoy and appreciate.  It all combines to make all four episodes entertaining for the whole family any time.

The writing behind each story’s script is as solid as it has been in the past.  That’s obvious in the episodes in this collection.  The show’s animation is just as good.  There are those that have lambasted the show and those behind the scenes for its animation.  That is because the show’s animation is now based more in flash animation than hand drawn animation.  But by comparison, the animation is still quite impressive.  So many commercial programs that call themselves cartoons are anything but.  They are CG-based shows that completely lack any originality.  Arthur, on the other hand, still at least maintains some sense of the hand-drawn animation for which it was originally known even in flash animation.  It’s one more aspect of the show and these episodes that makes them just as enjoyable as the show’s older episodes.

Parents and teachers can order this DVD on Tuesday, July 16th.  It can be ordered direct from the PBS store online at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=20571566&cp=&kw=arthur+stands+up+to+bullying&origkw=Arthur+Stands+Up+To+Bullying&sr=1.  Parents, teachers, and children can watch “So Funny I Forgot To Laugh” and its companion episode, “The Best Day Ever” online now on the PBS Kids Go website at http://pbskids.org/arthur/video/index.html.  New episodes are always being uploaded to the website along with games for kids.  And to keep up with all of the latest news on Arthur and his friends, parents and kids can “Like” the official Arthur Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PBSArthur

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

Trouble With The Heights More Proof Of The Power Of Indie Flicks

Courtesy:  Viva Pictures

Courtesy: Viva Pictures

Viva Pictures’ crime drama, Trouble in the Heights is an interesting movie.  This is not exactly what one would think about when one thinks about crime dramas.  And it’s also not the standard shoot-‘em-up action movie, either.  Rather than letting itself descend into the standard action subgenre, Writer/Director Jonathan Ullman offers audiences a story that is a deeply emotional piece that will instantly pull in audiences and keep them engaged right to the end of the story’s roughly ninety-minute runtime.       

The story at the center of Trouble in the Heights focuses on the theft of drug dealer Nevada’s (Raul Esparza) ill gotten money by main character Diego’s little brother Javy (Antonio Ortiz) and his friend, Robby (Cruz Santiago).  Because of the actions of Javy and Robby, Diego (Rayniel Rufino) is forced to make some tough decisions.  Those tough decisions only make this hard working man’s life even more difficult, especially in finding out that his girlfriend Ana (Alexandra Metz) is carrying his child.  Diego’s personal struggles both as a result of his brother’s actions and news that he gets from Ana make him a sympathetic and far more believable character than any of the anti-hero stereotypes from other closely related crime thrillers.  Because he is such a believable character, audiences will find it so much easier to root for him.  And because viewers will find it so easy to root for Diego, they will in turn find themselves becoming increasingly engaged in the overall story right to its surprise conclusion.

Ullman’s writing and acting on the part of Rayniel Rufino in Trouble in the Heights are both important parts of the movie’s success.  Just as important to its success was its general lack of violence.  This may come across as a minor factor.  But one would be remiss to ignore this factor.  While guns are brandished, not a single shot is fired and not a single drop of blood is shed throughout the course of the story.  The most extreme level that the violence reaches comes early in the story when Nevada has two of his men throw Robby over a bridge in front of an oncoming train for having stolen his money.  The actual act is never actually shown.  But it is understood that this is what happens to Robby.  Aside from this vile act, the only other extreme included in Trouble in the Heights is the movie’s coarse language.  The language is obviously not suitable for younger viewers.  But it helps to make the characters and story that much more believable.

The general lack of violence, the solid acting of Rayniel Rufino, and writing throughout Trouble in the Heights help to make the movie stand on its own feet against the endless flow of fare more violence and sex laden movies within the crime drama/thriller genre.  There is at least one more factor that viewers should take into account in considering the movie’s success.  The movie’s cast in general has plenty of acting chops under its belt.  But none of the cast members are major name stars.  Case in point: Dominic Colon.  Colon plays Diego’s friend, Junior, which is a small role.  Colon is known largely for his role of Manny Spamboni on PBS’ re-imagined take on the classic educational show, The Electric Company.  He has also had roles in the hit movies, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, August Rush, and We Own The Night just to name a few.  Keeping in mind that the cast is largely unknowns, they have collectively put on performances that play their own role in the overall success of the story.  This, along with the story’s other previously mentioned factors makes Trouble in the Heights a surprisingly interesting movie within the annals of recently released crime dramas/thrillers.  It turns out to be a movie that is deserving of at least one watch.  It is available in stores and online now.  It can be purchased online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BF7FGOM/ref=s9_csaiv_gw_p318_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1AEJPXX8M7XCJ271FKKV&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846.  A trailer for the movie can be viewed via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flqzhEXyNdI.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews, 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.