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

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz

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

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

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

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

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

eOne’s Latest Geronimo Stilton DVD Is More Mousy Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Geronimo Stilton is back again.  Everyone’s favorite rodent reporter is back in a brand new DVD courtesy of eOne.  Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures is available now on DVD in stores and online.  There is just as much to enjoy about this new DVD as eOne’s previous Geronimo Stilton compilations.  The first factor worth noting is of course the writing that went into each of the four episodes included on this disc.  Also worth noting is the series’ animation.  The original style animation to which audiences have become accustomed on previous Geronimo Stilton DVDs is present here, too.  And rounding out the whole thing is the return of the series’ voice cast once more.  All three of these factors, when taken into consideration both by themselves and collectively, show why any family will want to watch Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures.

The central reason for the overall enjoyment of Geronimo Stilton’s latest DVD compilation is the writing that went into each of the episodes included on the disc.  Stilton is essentially Scholastic’s answer to Indiana Jones.  While he’s a mild mannered reporter by day, he is also quite the adventure seeker.  In the disc’s title episode, audiences see Geronimo and his friends go on an adventure that leads to quite the unexpected end after finding a mysterious old letter and map.  What makes this episode really enjoyable is that it actually incorporates a light history lesson along the way.  That lesson is taught so covertly that young audiences wouldn’t even know.  The series’ writers are to be commended for balancing that educational content so well with the show’s more entertaining side.  The surprising end result will leave a smile on any viewer’s face as it in itself teaches quite the valuable life lesson.  And it’s just one of the wonderful lessons shared throughout these episodes that make them such a joy.  It’s just one lesson taught in this collection of episodes.  The overlying lesson that runs through each episode is that it’s perfectly fine to have a love of knowledge.  That is key to the enjoyment of these episodes more so than any other lesson.  Being that this lessons isn’t shoved down audiences throats, the end result is even more enjoyment of each of the compilation’s episodes.

The writing used in each of this set’s episodes is of the utmost importance in considering what makes the collection work.  As important as the writing is to the overall presentation, it isn’t the only factor to be taken into consideration in the presentation’s overall enjoyment and success.  One would be remiss to omit any mention of the original animation style used in this collection of episodes.  The animation style used throughout the Geronimo Stilton animated series looks to have been actually hand drawn.  While it is possible that there might have been some computer usage, it isn’t clearly evident.  If anything, the animation used in this series is similar to that of the short-lived DC series Krypto The Superdog.  Whether or not there was some computer usage, the fact remains that in an age of cookie cutter CG-based children’s shows, animation such as this stands head and shoulders above the rest.  And together with the continued solid writing, that animation makes this box set stand out among this year’s current crop in its own right.

The animation and writing that went into each of the episodes in this set both play their own role in making Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures enjoyable for audiences of all ages.  Having examined both factors, there is still one factor left to examine that makes this DVD worth the watch.  That final factor is the voice cast.  Included among the talents that worked on the series were the likes of: Brian Drummond, Erin Matthews, Sarah Edmonson, Richard Ian Cox and many other. The significance of the series’ voice cast is that many of them have also worked together on the likes of the hit anime series Inuyasha and Dragonball Z among other TV shows and movies. So, that familiarity with one another helped in its own way here as it helped to create a certain chemistry among much of the cast. The end result of that chemistry is an easily suspended disbelief among audiences. The ability of the show’s cast to make suspension of disbelief easy for audiences couples with the series’ animation and writing to make even clearer why any family not yet familiar with Geronimo Stilton will want to check out this DVD.

Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K2OBWTM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1WPBH8WP2DTRA82510SA&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846. More information on all of the latest Geronimo Stilton books and DVDs is available online at http://www.geronimostilton.com. 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.

Power Rangers In Space Volume One Is Another Out Of This World Box Set For Every Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands/FOX

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands/FOX

The final chapter in Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise is also one of the franchise’s best installments.  And thanks to the partnership between Saban and Shout! Factory, the first half of that final chapter is finally available on DVD in the form of Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One.  Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One is one of the best of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise first and foremost because of its writing.  All of the elements that made the Power Rangers franchise so beloved early on in its run are still present.  Making things better is the expansion of the Rangers’ world so to speak.  For the first time ever, the Rangers’ adventures aren’t limited to just Angel Grove and Earth.  There’s even a crossover with Saban’s  short-lived live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series in this volume to sweeten the deal.  The episodes’ presentation is just as important to the overall success of this box set as the writing of each episode.  That is also worth noting concerning this box set.  And last but not least is the set’s packaging.  As with Shout! Factory’s previous Power Rangers box sets, this set has also been packaged in a manner that saves space on audiences’ racks.  All things considered, Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One proves in the end to be one more welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan.

Power Rangers In SpaceVolume One is a welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection especially if said fan doesn’t already own Shout! Factory’s previously released twenty-one disc megaset containing the full original seven-season Power Rangers run.  The primary reason for this is the writing incorporated into this half of Season Six.  All of the elements that made the franchise’s first five seasons so enjoyable are still present in these episodes including both the life lessons incorporated into each episode and the comic relief on the part of Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (Bulk and Skull). In “A Ranger Among Thieves,” Andros (and viewers) learn an important lesson about right and wrong and the consequences connected to doing wrong. The season’s two-part premiere incorporates the familiar lesson of teamwork into the story.  These are just a couple of the lessons included in this season.  There are plenty more included across the episodes spread throughout all three of the discs that make up Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One. And those lessons are not all that the show’s long-time fans will appreciate in this latest installment.  Just as welcome, is the inclusion once again of the comic relief from Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy as Bulk and Skull.  Having left behind their short-lived careers as junior police officers and then aids to Detective Bullock at his own private eye office, Bulk and Skull are now assisting a crazy professor in his search for alien life.  The duo’s Laurel & Hardy style comic routines are just as funny as ever this season, and help to lighten the mood anytime that the pair is on screen.  The comic relief provided by Narvy and Schrier does just as much as the lessons taught throughout each episode, leading the two factors collectively to show solidly just why the writing in this half of Season Six continues to be just as impressive as in past seasons of the Power Rangers franchise.

The writing that went into each of the episodes presented in Power Rangers in Space: Volume One is highly important to the success of this latest Power Rangers release.  Just as worth noting is that the episodes presented here are presented exactly as they were in their original broadcast on FOX’s weekday afternoon FOX Kids programming block.  Unlike so many other series that see changes and edits here and there, none of the seasons of Power Rangers released so far by Shout! Factory have seen those edits.  It’s one more reason that Shout! Factory has continued to remain at the forefront of home releases for so long.  Audiences will see for themselves when they purchase this three-disc box set for themselves.

The writing and general presentation of the episodes contained in Power Rangers in Space: Volume One are both of high importance to the set’s success and enjoyment.  The last factor to examine in the success and enjoyment of this set is its packaging.  Just as Shout! Factory has made a tradition of presenting the Power Rangers’ episodes in their entirety, so has Shout! Factory also made a tradition of proper and respectful packaging.  While there are only three discs in this set, each one is placed on its own spindle inside the standard single-disc DVD case.  Two of the discs are placed on either side of a single insert while the third rests on its own spindle on the back of the case.  As with every previous Power Rangers release, this protects the discs from one another, thus preserving them and allowing for enjoyment for quite some time.  It is the final piece of the whole that makes Power Rangers in Space: Volume One a welcome addition overall for any true fan of this landmark franchise.

Power Rangers in Space: Volume One is available now on DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-space-vol-1.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial and http://www.shoutfactory.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/The Jim Henson Company

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/The Jim Henson Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

ESPN Networks Covering A’s, Braves Weekend Series

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Two of the top teams in Major League Baseball will face off this Sunday night on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.

The Atlanta Braves will host the Oakland Athletics in a three-game series beginning tonight.  ESPN will carry the third game of the series live Sunday night on its weekly Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell broadcast.  Coverage begins at 8pm ET with Dan Shulman at the helm.  He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter/analyst Doug Glanville for commentary.  Looking at the numbers, this weekend’s series is sure to be a close one, despite the vast difference in the teams’ records.  The Athletics currently sit atop the MLB standings at 73 – 48 while Atlanta currently sits at 61 – 60.  Oakland has proven to be much better at home than on the road so far this season.  The A’s are 40 – 21 at home and 33 – 27 on the road.  On the other side of the ball, Atlanta’s home/road record so far this season has been just as rough.  The Braves are 34 – 28 at home so far and 27 – 32 on the road.  Atlanta has gone 3 – 7 in its last ten versus Oakland’s 5 – 5 record in its last ten.  Sunday night’s game will be preceded by ESPN’s weekly pre-game show Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7pm ET with host Adnan Kirk and analyst Eduardo Perez.   Those that won’t be near a TV Sunday evening can still catch the game online and on the radio via ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, and WatchESPN.

Along with Sunday’s coverage of the series’ third game, ESPN Radio will have coverage of the series’ first and second game Friday and Saturday night.  Jon Sciambi will have the call for Saturday’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by Chris Singleton for both broadcasts.  Adnan Virk, Rick Sutcliffe, and Eduardo Perez will have a wrap of Friday’s game live on ESPN and WatchESPN at 10pm ET.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight and http://espn.go.com/mlb.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Denver The Last Dinosaur Is Extinct No More

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Denver The Last Dinosaur is extinct no more!

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

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

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

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

eOne’s New Peppa Pig Compilation Another Welcome DVD For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  eOne/Nick Jr.

Courtesy: eOne/Nick Jr.

eOne and Nick Jr. released the latest compilation of episodes from Nick Jr.’s family favorite series Peppa Pig this week. Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride was released Tuesday. As with the series’ previous releases, it’s another collection of episodes that the series’ young viewers will thoroughly enjoy. Parents will appreciate it just as much. The main reason that both parents and children alike will appreciate this latest compilation is the episodes’ short run time and collective run time. Another reason that audiences will value this compilation is the same reason as before. That reason is its writing. And last but most definitely not least of all is its ability to connect with its viewers. All these factors together make Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride one more welcome addition to any family’s home library.

The primary reason that audiences will appreciate Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride is the collective run time of the episodes culled for the collection. The total run time listed on the DVD’s case is one hour. There are twelve shorts total included on this disc. That equals to roughly five minutes per short. That is perfect for the show’s younger viewers as it is just long enough to keep the attention of the said audiences. Any longer and young audiences might become disinterested and in turn bored. This would lead parents to have to find other ways to entertain children. Coming full circle, that means that once more the short run time of each short will keep young viewers thoroughly entertained even if only for an hour. Any parent will agree that an hour of having a child entertained is an eternity of peace and quiet. So, kudos are in order for eOne and Nick Jr. for that. By direct connection, the writing in each of the short is another big part of why they will keep young viewers entertained.

The run time of the shorts both by themselves and collectively is just the tip of the iceberg that makes Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride another welcome addition to the home library of any family with young children. The writing continues in these shorts to be another reason for the compilation’s enjoyment. Rather than write shorts that teach moral lessons, the series’ writers continue to write short stories that teach basic concepts for younger audiences. Those concepts include learning how to whistle, learning how to ice skate, and valuing what one has rather than always having to have new and shiny things among many other concepts. The latter of those noted lessons comes in the short “The New Car” while the lesson about ice skating lies in the aptly titled short “Ice Skating.” And “Whistle” teaches young viewers how to whistle. These are simple concepts to adults, obviously. But to a toddler and even pre-school age viewers, these are largely alien concepts. The writers have presented them in ways that make them easy for said viewers to grasp. That applies to the shorts not noted, too. That ease of understanding coupled with the lessons taught in each short add even more value to this DVD. And partnered with the ability of the shorts to connect with viewers, this compilation gains even more value for families with young children.

eOne and Nick Jr. offer parents and children plenty of reason to enjoy Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride thanks to the writing that went into each short and the shorts’ collective run time. The ability of the series’ writers to connect with the show’s young viewers through each short is the cherry on the top of this treat for the whole family. Each episode is written not necessarily from the perspective of Peppa. She is however, the central figure in each short. The resultant effect is that younger viewers will be able to relate more to both her and her brother. As with the writing and run times of each episode, this final factor will help that much more to keep young viewers engaged. And together with those factors, it rounds out the entire presentation, making it again, one more DVD that the whole family will appreciate.

Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride is available now on DVD in stores and online. More information on this release and others, as well as the Peppa Pig series is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialPeppaPigUS and http://www.peppapig.com/us. 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.

A Haunting Season 6 Offers Plenty Of Frights For Audiences

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

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

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

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

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

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