Sick Of It All Kicks Off “Live” Quarantine Performance Series

Veteran punk band Sick Of It All launched its live quarantine sessions performance series this week.

The band opened the series with a performance of its single ‘Alone.’  The performance is the first in a six-part series that the band has scheduled.  The song itself is taken from the band’s 1989 debut album BloodSweat and No Tears.

The band said in a prepared statement, that the sessions are a new way to entertain audiences.

“Quarantine gave us a reason (and an excuse) to dust off some of our favorite songs that haven’t been featured in our live set either in a while, or ever,” the statement reads. “ We wanted to rekindle their fire, and share them with our fans worldwide. So for the next months, we’re going to release one song every fortnight to try to keep the torch of hardcore lit through this drought of live music that’s driving us all crazy!  Please stay tuned for details and release dates,”

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The launch of the band’s quarantine sessions series comes less than three months after the band debuted its latest new single, ‘Bull’s Anthem‘ and its video.  The song is featured in the band’s latest album Wake The Sleeping Dragon.

Additionally, the series’ launch comes less than a month after the band published its new book The Blood and the Sweat: The Story of Sick of It All’s Koller Brothers.  The book, published through Post Hill Press, is available through Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and Amazon.

More information on Sick of it All’s new quarantine sessions series and book is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:






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Microcosm Publishing Announces Release Date For New GG Allin Graphic Novel/Bio

Courtesy: Microcosm Publishing

Punk shock rocker GG Allin’s life and career is receiving renewed attention in a new graphic novel.

Microcosm Publishing is scheduled to release the graphic novel Rock and Roll TerroristThe Graphic Life of Shock Rocker GG Allin Oct. 13  Crafted by author/writer/musician Reid Chancellor, the 192-page graphic novel tells Allin’s story by examining his life on and off stage.  It tells the story of his traumatic upbringing to bring renewed attention to how that played into the man that he would become on stage.

As an additional bonus, the graphic novel will come with an activity/coloring book.  The adult publication will allow readers to draw Allin’s tattoos on him, color scenes of Allin and company on sage, and more.

The set will retail for MSRP of $14.95.

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Classic Dio Album Getting Its Own Graphic Novel

Courtesy: Z2 Comics

Comic publisher Z2 is paying tribute to rock legend Ronnie James Dio.

The music-based comics company is scheduled to publish a new graphic novel centered on Dio’s album Holy Diver next year.  Writer Steve Niles will write the graphic novel’s story, which is based on the album’s cover art.  Scott Hampton will take on the project’s artwork.

Niles was humble as he talked about writing the graphic novel’s story.

“I’m so excited to be writing this book,” he said. “I hope I do Ronnie James Dio justice.”

RJD’s widow Wendy explained the concept behind the 120-page story in a recent interview.

“Steve Niles tells the story behind the album cover ‘Holy Diver,’ a story about how you can’t judge a picture by the way it appears, which is what Ronnie wrote many times in his songs; that you have to see inside the person and not judge them by the way they look or by what they wear,” says Wendy Dio. “Together with Scott Hampton’s amazing artwork they tell the story of ‘Holy Diver,’and I know Ronnie would have given his stamp of approval on this great graphic novel.”

Z2 Publisher Josh Frankel said in his own comments, he was looking forward to the publication of the graphic novel.

“We have managed to work with some of the greatest legends in both comics and music, and a Dio graphic novel with a cover by the great Bill Sienkiewicz perhaps sums that up best,” said Frankel. “This is one of the most iconic heavy metal album covers in history. We are honored to pay tribute to the originator of the universal sign of the music that he has inspired since he first took the stage with Black Sabbath 40 years ago. Working with Wendy Dio directly to ensure it is true to his vision is the next best thing to working with Ronnie James Dio himself, and we have hit a new high note with this one!”

Pre-orders are open now for Dio: Holy Diver.

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‘A Gator Took My Toothbrush’ Is Among The Most Notable Of This Year’s New Children’s Books

Courtesy: Sweetwater Books

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is one of the greatest rewards of being a parent.  It reminds a parent of the wonder of the world even as the world seems to do all that it can to bring us down on a daily basis.  Keeping that knowledge in mind, it makes the story in the new children’s book A Gator Took My Toothbrush such an enjoyable tale.  The book in question is the debut offering from independent author Brandy Frisby.  Scheduled for release Sept. 22 through Sweetwater Books, the book presents a story that in fact is presented from the imagination of a boy.  It makes for its own share of success and will be discussed shortly.  The book’s illustrations add to the book’s appeal in their own way.  They will be addressed a little later.  The book’s price puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of A Gator Took My Toothbrush.  All things considered, they make this new children’s book a work that will appeal to readers of all ages.

Independent author Brandy Frisby’s debut children’s book A Gator Took My Toothbrush is a welcome addition to the home library of any family.  It is such a fun read that the whole family will enjoy.  This is due in part to the book’s central story.  The story in question is told from the imagination of a young boy who does not want to get ready for bed.  More specifically, he explains to his mom why he has not taken a bath and brushed his teeth – necessary nightly steps for every child.  The boy tells his mom that, as the book’s title states, an alligator took his toothbrush so as to brush its own teeth.  He adds in his story, that a beaver took up the bathtub and that he even had to deal with a lion whose mane had itself gone wild.   The ultimate reveal will be left for families to discover on their own.  The manner in which the story is told adds to the appeal.  It is presented in a specific rhyme scheme, which keeps it flowing smoothly from page to page.  This approach to the storytelling is a familiar tactic for children’s books across the board.  Frisby clearly took that into account in crafting the boy’s tale.  He succeeded in the process.  The result of that catchy rhythm and the boy’s imaginative excuse for not getting ready for bed makes for more than enough reason for families to enjoy this book.  It is just one of the most notable of the book’s elements.  The illustrations that accompany the story add even more appeal to the book’s presentation.

The illustrations for A Gator Took My Toothbrush – created by Wes Wheeler – add even more enjoyment for families as they read this unique new children’s book.  The artistic style here is important to note because it boasts its own identity apart from that of other children’s books out there past and present.  The colors are so rich from page to page, from the blues to the greens to the browns and more.  Even the subtlety of something like little drawing on the walls of the boy’s bedroom works so well.  What is really interesting here is Wheeler’s balance of smooth angles and more defined angles in each picture.  The use of the different styles together gives the book’s art a bit of a comic book style presentation more so than that of a storybook.  Case in point is a comparison to the artistic presentations in more well-known children’s books, such as If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Where The Wild Things Are and even the more modern Niccolini’s Song.  The stylistic approach here is decidedly more modern.  That is not a bad thing, either.  It shows that Wheeler, just as much as Frisby, is in touch with the current generation of young readers, and uses that knowledge to keep those young readers engaged and entertained in his own way.

Younger readers are not the only one who will be entertained through Wheeler’s work.  Grown-ups will enjoy the art, too.  That is thanks to the pop culture references that Wheeler threw in for them.  On one page, Wheeler has added in a subtle reference to the classic television/movie/toy Masters of the Universe/He-Man franchise through a poster that is hanging on one of the walls in the boy’s room.  The boy even has the castle in which Skeletor lived as one of his toys.  The boy’s excuse about a lion spoofs the Head & Shoulders shampoo brand, which will get a laugh from grown-ups in its own right.  The same can be said of the bear holding a book of “dad jokes” and the Kraggle Rock poster on another of the walls in the boy’s room.  The poster in question is a spoof of Jim Henson’s beloved Fraggle Rock property.  The noted subtle inclusion of the boy’s “wall art” will put a smile on older readers’ faces just as much, as will the dirt all over the boy’s shirt and the trash all over his floor.  All things considered here, the illustrations that are featured in A Gator Took My Toothbrush does just as much to make the book appealing for the whole family as its actual story.  As much as the noted elements do to make this book enjoyable, they are not its only positives.  Its price is its own positive.

According to its listing on, A Gator Took My Toothbrush is priced at $16.99.  That is on par with the prices for other children’s books.  Amazon lists the hardcover copies of the timeless book Where The Wild Things Are at $16.15, right along the lines of this book’s price.  The book’s listing at Books-A-Million is $17.55 and $17.95 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  The Caldecott Award-winning children’s book Locomotive, written by author Brian Floca, by comparison is listed through Amazon at $14.89.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers lists the book at $17.99 while Walmart lists the book at $15.93.  Books-A-Million meanwhile lists the book at $1759.  Simply put, the price for A Gator Took My Toothbrush is proven to be right along the same price lines as other more well-known children’s books that are out there.  Given, some other books may be less expensive than Frisby’s debut book, but that does not apply for all of them.  To that end, the book succeeds in its price point just as much as it does in its overall content.  Together with that noted content, all three elements make the book overall a notable new children’s book that every family will enjoy.

A Gator Took My Toothbrush is a strong start for up-and-coming author Brandon Frisby.  It is a book that holds its own against other new books in the children’s realm.  That is due in part to the book’s central story, which is told from the vantage point of a young boy who does not want to get ready for bed.  The book’s illustrations add to its appeal, giving it a modern look that will appeal to the current generation of children.  The book’s price is on par with other, more well-known books past and present.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the book’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the book a wonderful start for Frisby that every family will enjoy whether before bed or during the day.  More information on A Gator Took My Toothbrush is available along with all of Brandon Frisby’s latest news at

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IFC Films Announces Domestic Release Date For ‘How To Build A Girl’

Courtesy: IFC Films

IFC Films has a new coming-of-age story on the way next month.

How To Build A Girl is scheduled for release Aug. 11 on DVD.  Starring Beanie Feldstein (Neighbors 2Sorority Rising, American Crime Story, What We Do In The Shadows) as 16 year-old Johanna Morrigan, the movie — based on the book by the same name by author Caitlin Moran — follows the young teen as she uses her imagination to escape her reality in Wolverhampton and live out her fantasies.

Things take a turn for the surprising when Johanna sends a music review to a group of self-important, hipster rock critics at a weekly music magazine.  She ends up reinventing herself as Dolly Wilde, who is apparently self-important in her own right, and who has a lust for fame, life and men.

The result of her change leads her to her own existential crisis.  She starts asking herself is the persona she has created the person she wants to be or does she need to start over again?

The movie also stars Emma Thompson (Nanny McPheeNanny McPhee ReturnsStranger Than Fiction), Alfie Allen (John WickGame of ThronesThe Other Boleyn Girl), Paddy Consindine (Hot FuzzDead Man’s ShoesIn America), and Chris O’Dowd (BridesmaidsThe Sapphires, Moone Boy).

How To Build A Girl will retail for MSRP of $24.98 (DVD) and $29.98 (Blu-ray).  Its run time is listed at 104 minutes (one hour, 44 minutes).  the movie is rated “R.”

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Universal Pictures’ ‘Black Angel’ Is One Of Hollywood’s Most Underrated Film Noir Flicks

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group will resurrect Universal Pictures’ little-known 1946 film noir flick Black Angel later this month.  The movie, starring Peter Lorre (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Maltese Falcon, Arsenic & Old Lace), June Vincent (The Creeper, Shed No Tears, Can’t Help Singing) and Dan Duryea (The Flight of the Phoenix, Scarlet Street, Too Late For Tears) is scheduled for release January 28 on Blu-ray.  The movie’s central story proves that while it might not have been among the genre’s most well-known features in its initial debut, is still a work that every noir fan will appreciate.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s home release adds even more appeal to its presentation.  That combined primary and secondary content makes the movie’s average price point money well-spent by any classic movie buff and film noir aficionado.  Keeping all of this in mind, Arrow Video’s forthcoming reissue of Black Angel proves itself a presentation that is a must have for all of the noted viewers.

Movies today just are not what they were during Hollywood’s golden era.  Hollywood (and even so many independent studios) rely entirely too much on sex, violence and special effects than on anything with any real substantive content.   Thankfully, Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group are going to give audiences another alternative to all of that excess later this month when they reissue Universal Pictures’ 1948 noir flick Black Angel.  This movie is a work that classic film buffs and noir aficionados alike will welcome openly.  That is due in part to its story, which abounds in content.  The story, based on the novel by author Cornell Woolrich, centers on the murder of the fictional singer Mavis Marlowe and the search for her killer.  The man accused of her murder Kirk Bennett (John Phillips – 7 Men From Now, Heldorado, John Paul Jones) is accused of taking her life and is sentenced to death for the crime.  However, Kirk’s wife Catherine (played by Vincent) doesn’t believe her cheating husband is guilty, so she works with Marlowe’s estranged husband Martin Blair (Duryea) to prove Kirk’s innocence and save him from the gas chamber.  Female viewers especially will appreciate the story because as Martin and Catherine work to prove Kirk’s innocence, Kirk finds himself falling for Catherine, but she never gives into his charms, staying loyal (ironically) to her husband who himself had cheated on her with Mavis.  In the end, Kirk is proven innocent.  How he is saved will not be revealed here.  That will be saved for audiences to discover on their own.  During the course of the story, Roy Chanslor, who adapted Woolrich’s story for the screen, manages to keep viewers engaged and entertained as Catherine and Martin go undercover at a night club to investigate the crime.  He [Chanslor] does a good job with the use of his red herring in the investigation.  Viewers will agree that element adds even more enjoyment to the story since it does throw a bit of a proverbial wrench in the works.  As a matter of fact, it will leave eagle-eyed viewers to go back and recall a certain subtle element from earlier in the story that helps determine the identity of the true killer.  By the story’s end, audiences will know that they have taken in a story that even despite its changes from its literary source material (which is discussed in the movie’s bonus content), is still an enjoyable story in itself.

The story at the center of Black Angel does a lot to make it an enjoyable presentation for classic movie buffs and film noir aficionados.  It is just one part of what makes the movie’s forthcoming home release so appealing.  The bonus content included with the story builds on the foundation formed by the story to make the movie’s presentation even more appealing.  One of the bonuses featured with the movie’s reissue is a retrospective on the movie by film historian Neil Sinyard.  Sinyard has provided commentary for other reissues from Arrow Films and Arrow Academy.  He points out in this presentation’s commentary, Woolrich actually was not fond of Chanslor’s adaptation of his novel.  Maybe that is because of the changes that Chanslor made as he wrote the story’s screenplay.  This will be discussed a little more in-depth shortly.  Sinyard also makes note of the fact that Woolrich’s biographer ironically did like the movie.  Sinyard points out the reason for this was that it ‘caught something essentially about Woolrich’s personality both personal and artistic.”  The discussion on Black Angel as a possible reflection on Woolrich’s personality is just one of the interesting notes that Sinyard brings up in his roughly 20-minute retrospective.  He also goes into a discussion on the movie’s casting, noting that by the time that the movie came along, Duryea was already a very well-known actor, having played villains (or heavies as they are also known) in a number of films prior to this work.  Sinyard points out that Duryea is actually a presentation of Woorich himself, and that added to the reason for Woolrich’s biographer appreciating the adaptation.  Along with the note of Duryea and his possible connection to Woolrich, Sinyard also shares a funny anecdote about supporting actor Broderick Crawford (All The King’s Men, A Night Before Christmas, Born Yesterday), who portrays in this movie, Police Captain Flood.  He tells the story of an alleged run-in between Crawford, who also had a history of playing bad guys in cinema prior to this flick, and the late, great Frank Sinatra.  The story that Sinyard shares involves Crawford allegedly getting into an altercation with Sinatra and doing something peculiar with Sinatra’s toupee.  Lorre is also addressed by Sinyard, albeit briefly.  He jokes about not knowing how Lorre could deliver his lines while having a cigarette “dangling from his bottom lip.”  That in itself will bring its own share of laughs from viewiers.  Sinyard also addresses the movie’s soundtrack and its role in the story as well as director Roy William Neill, stressing Black Angel was actually Neill’s final film before his death.  He applauds (and rightfully so) Neill’s work behind the lens, citing specific examples for his praise of Neill in the process.

Writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode (pronounced roadie) adds even more enjoyment to the movie with his feature-length commentary.  Right off the bat, Rode does actually get one fact wrong, noting that Catherine is trying to save her husband from the electric chair.  It is clearly pointed out during the story that he faces the gas chamber, not the electric chair, but he [Rode] can be forgiven for this misstep.  It is the only item that is misspoken through the course of the movie.  Rode expands on Sinyard’s commentary, noting that Duryea was paid as an outsider for his part in this movie since she was not a contract actor for Universal Pictures.  At another point, Rode points out that Vincent was not the first choice for the role of Catherine.  In fact, Ava Gardner was the initial choice for the role, he points out.  Rode also points out that Duryea actually played the piano in this movie, rather than just playing against a tape.  He points out that Duryea learned five songs so that he could actually perform them here.  This is important in that it added to the story’s believability.  Along the same line, the song ‘Heartbreak’ was sung by Vincent.  This adds even more to the story, both for its irony and the realism.  An extensive background history of Neill is also presented by Rode during his commentary, including his earliest days.  Rode points out that Woolrich’s original book was told from a first-hand perspective from Catherine and that there were four characters included in the book that were omitted in the screenplay adaptation.  Maybe that played into Woolrich’s dislike of how his book was translated to the screen.  Rode also points out the fact that Duryea was completely different off screen than his characters.  He notes that some women were such fans of Duryea’s characters that despite those characters’ despicable nature, his female fans liked that aspect.  He states that Duryea was so concerned by the fan letters that he took them to a psychiatrist friend of his and asked what to do.  Rode adds in, he was so concerned about the reaction of his fans to his characters that he and his wife went over the top in every day life to make sure people knew the characters he played were just that.  This shows that crazy fans today are nothing new.  Everything noted here is discussed within the first half hour of Black Angel’s 80-minute run time.  The rest of the movie offers audience just as much, if not more, commentary to appreciate.  That includes a funny recollection of an off-screen interaction between Lorre and another actor in a movie and how it led to a bit of a scuffle in the movie in question.  When all of this is considered alongside Sinyard’s retrospective, the whole of the bonus content proves to be more than worth the watch.  It adds so much to the movie’s overall presentation and makes the movie’s average price point that much more worth paying.

The average price point of Black Angel is $32.20.  That price was reached by averaging listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-A-Million and MVD Entertainment Group’s store.  Considering that the movie’s reissue this time out is being handled by a British company, that makes it an import.  So to that end, that price is right about on par with most imports.  Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each have listings below that average point.  Their listings do not even break the $30 mark as a matter of fact.  Walmart ($33.09), Books-A-Million $39.95) and MVD Entertainment Group (also $39.95) all break that average.  Again, audiences should keep in mind that this reissue is an import, so all of the prices are in line with most DVD and BD import prices.  Regardless of which retailer one chooses, the money paid is worth it considering everything that this presentation offers audiences.  Add in the general rarity of the movie’s release, it makes the price, which will not break anyone’s bank, that much more appealing.  Keeping this in mind along with the content, the whole of Black Angel becomes a presentation that lovers of classic film and especially film noir will enjoy.  It is also another example of why Arrow Films/Arrow Academy and MVD Entertainment Group are quickly becoming some of the leading names in home entertainment.

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BBC Studios Announces Release Date For ‘Good Omens’

Courtesy: BBC Studios

BBC Studios — Americas is bringing the much talked about series Good Omens to DVD and Blu-ray.

The program (based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) is scheduled for release Nov. 5 on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be purchased through BBC Shop and Amazon.  The series follows an angel and a demon — Aziraphale Michael Sheen — Masters of Sex, Midnight in Paris, The Queen) and Crowley (David Tennant — Dr. Who, Duck Tales, Fright Night) respectively — who are forced to team up to avert the apocalypse.

Sheen and Tennant are joined by an all-star cast made up of celebrities, such as Jon Hamm (Mad MenBaby DriverMillion Dollar Arm), Micheal McKean (This Is Spinal TapA Mighty WindClue) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Star TrekInto DarknessIn Search OfSherlock) for the series.Miranda Richardson (The Crying GameSleepy HollowThe Hours), Jack Whitehall (Fresh MeatBad EducationMother’s Day) and Adria Arjona (Pacific RimUprisingTrue DetectiveLife of the Party) are also included in the program’s cast list.

The six episodes that make up the miniseries’ six-hour run are spread across two discs.  They are accompanied by a variety of bonuses that are exclusive to the series’ DVD and Blu-ray platforms.  They include items, such as a variety of galleries, feature-length commentaries for all six episodes and a page-to-screen comparison of the series and its source material.

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‘Penguin Highway’ Will Get A Lot Of Mileage In Anime, Sci-Fi Fans’ Blu-ray, DVD Players

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Eleven Arts Studios

Shout! Factory has been busy this year, releasing a handful of anime titles for fans of the noted genre.  The latest of those titles, Penguin Highway was released early last month on DVD and Blu-ray.  Based on a book crafted by author Tomihiko Morimi, this debut outing for director Hiroyasu Ishida is a work that will appeal to anime fans and even some science fiction fans.  That is due to the movie’s story, which will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s recent domestic release adds to its appeal for the noted audiences, and will be addressed a little later.  The primary and secondary content considered, they collectively make the movie’s average price point money well spent for the movie’s noted viewers.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered, they make Penguin Highway an offering that anime and science fiction fans alike will appreciate.

Shout! Factory’s recent domestic release of Eleven Arts’ presentation Penguin Highway is a presentation that will appeal widely to anime fans and to some science fiction fans.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story.  The story follows a 9 year-old boy named Aoyama who is a lot smarter than any children his age. An easy comparison would be to a young Sheldon Cooper, just without the social ineptness.  Aoyama is a very smart young man, but also has a lot of learning to do in general about life.  He learns a lot about life in this coming-of-age story, too.  He learns about friendship, life and love as he meets a peculiar woman who works at one of his town’s dentist offices.  As Aoyama’s friendship with the woman grows, so does the mystery of a giant orb that his friends discover in a forest near the town and the woman’s connection to the orb.  As it turns out, the two are connected, as are the penguins that keep appearing around town.  This leads to the movie’s secondary story which will appeal to the noted sci-fan fans.  The concepts that Aoyama brings up about time and space being twisted by the orb and the woman’s connection to the penguins (and monsters) delves into not just the sci-fi realm, but the fantasy realm to a certain extent, too.  Through it all, audiences familiar with the movie’s source material will be glad to know the story follows its literary source material quite closely.  This will be addressed shortly in the discussion on the movie’s bonus content.  Getting back on the subject at hand, The story at the center of Penguin Highway is a unique presentation.  It takes some very familiar plot elements and crosses them in a way that is rarely ever used, if ever at all.  That in itself makes the story worth taking in at least once if not occasionally.  It is just one of the elements that makes the movie a worthwhile watch for its target audiences.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s home release adds more interest to its presentation.

The bonus content featured with the home release of Penguin Highway includes interviews with Morimi and Ishida as well as a promo video for the movie.  The promo video is nothing memorable, but the interview segments add a certain degree of engagement and entertainment to the movie’s presentation.  Ishida, during his interview, discusses items, such as the deeper meaning of the movie, his favorite scenes, casting the movie and the movie’s creation.  Ishida reveals in his interview that Penguin Highway was his debut as the director of a full-length feature, adding how nervous he was about helming the project.  That is because, as he reveals, all of his previous work was on independent shorts.  In discussing some of the movie’s scenes, he reveals that the sequences in question were a reflection of his own intentions to make the story progress in a certain fashion.  That is an interesting discussion that audiences will be left to take in for themselves.  Ishida also takes a moment to discuss the freedom of creating independent releases versus the controls of making a full-length feature.

Morimi’s interview finds him discussing items, such as his real target audience with his book, the connection between his book and its cinematic adaptation and how he developed the title for his book.  His discussions are just as natural as those of Ishida, as he takes on each item.  In talking about the creation of the book’s title, Morimi admits he does not fully recall how or when he developed the book’s title, saying only that it happened when he was in college.  He also admits that when he wrote Penguin Highway, he did not write it with children in mind as his target audience.  That would make sense, considering some of the content featured early on in the movie.  He also admits that knowing Ishida was an untested director made him uneasy about his book being adapted cinematically by Ishida, but adds he was pleased with the outcome.  This is just a sampling of the items that Morishi addresses as well as Ishida.  Between the noted discussions and lots more not noted here, the bonus interviews featured with Penguin Highway add their own share of engagement and entertainment for the movie’s target audience.  When this is considered along with the engagement and entertainment generated through the movie’s primary content, the two elements together make the movie’s average price such that those audiences will not mind paying.

The average price point for Penguin Highway’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is $19.98.  that price is obtained by averaging prices from Shout! Factory, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  The movie’s price point for its standalone DVD packaging is $18.56.  Almost all of the same retailers’ prices were used for that price.  The only outlet that did not list the price for the movie’s  DVD packaging was Best Buy.  Amazon and Walmart have the least expensive price listing for the BD/DVD combo pack at $17.96 while Target and Best Buy listed the BD/DVD pack’s price just above that at $17.99.  Books-A-Million’s price listing of $26.99 is its most expensive listing.  To that end, the price of $17.96 is money well spent on for those noted viewers who are fans of anime and/or science fiction.  That is especially considering the movie’s script and bonus content.  The same applies to the movie’s listing of $12.39, again at Amazon and Walmart.  Regardless of which retailer consumers choose for either platform, Amazon and Walmart offer the most competitive pricing.  What’s more, that pricing is such that the noted fans will find it worth spending considering everything noted here already.  Keeping that in mind, all three elements discussed here come together to make Penguin Highway a presentation that anime fans across the board will find appealing.

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts’ recent domestic release of the anime flick Penguin Highway is a work that is certain to get plenty of mileage among the most devoted anime and science fiction fans.  That is proven in part through the movie’s dual story lines that interweave together so well.  The bonus interviews with the movie’s director and the author of the book that spawned the movie collectively add more engagement and entertainment to the presentation.  They collectively make the movie’s relatively low average price of less than $20 a welcome pricing, again, for those noted target viewers.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Penguin Highway.  All things considered, they make the movie a presentation that will certainly get plenty of mileage in the noted viewers’ DVD and Blu-ray players.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:









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The Appeal For ‘The Andromeda Strain’ BD Re-Issue Will Spread Like A Virus Among Audiences

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Universal Pictures

Michael Crichton was one of the greatest literary minds of his time during his life.  He was, for all intents and purposes, the second coming of Jules Verne.  That is because his novels, like those of Verne, told stories that were so far ahead of their time.  Jurassic Park, for instance was not so much about a bunch of dinosaurs living on an island, but rather the issue of cloning before it become a major topic for scientists and news agencies to talk about daily.  Now it is everywhere.  Next focused on genetics and government control thereof before the news ever picked up on the issues, such as drug companies using people’s blood types to control the drug industry and people being able to pick the gender of their babies with their doctors.  In The Andromeda Strain, one of his earliest works, Crichton addressed the issue of germ warfare and the issue of what constitutes “intelligent” life from other worlds other than our own.  That book was adapted to the silver screen in 1971, and subsequently released (and re-issued multiple times) to home viewers.  Early last month, Arrow Video re-issued the movie again, this time on Blu-ray, resurrecting the chilling plague outbreak story for a whole new generation of sci-fi and horror fans.  The noted audiences are certain to appreciate the noted story, which forms the foundation of the movie.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s latest re-issue adds even more to its presentation.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the movie’s re-issue is yet another positive touch to its overall presentation.  Each item noted here plays its own key part in the whole of The Andromeda Strain.  They certainly are not the only key elements that one can examine.  One could also examine additional items, such as the movie’s cinematography, its casting and even the work of the movie’s cast by relation.  All things considered, they make The Andromeda Strain an welcome addition to the home library of any science fiction (and more specifically Michael Crichton) fan.

Plague outbreak stories seem to be a favorite go-to for Hollywood’s major studios.  From the likes of The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Masque of the Red Death (1989) and Outbreak (1995) to the likes of And The Band Played On (1993), 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Andromeda Strain (1971) and so many others, Hollywood’s major studios seem to love stories about plagues.  To that end, it makes sense that early last month, the latter of the noted group of movies – The Andromeda Strain – would re-issue that movie.  Released June 4, it was re-issued this time on Blu-ray.  Fans of the outbreak genre, fans of Michael Crichton’s works and sci-fi fans in general have plenty to appreciate in this latest re-issue, starting with the movie’s story. The story at the center of The Andromeda Strain follows a group of scientists that is working to contain a space-borne virus brought back to Earth on a satellite that mysteriously crashed to Earth in a quiet town in the American Southwest.  As the story progresses, it is eventually discovered — not to give away too much — that the virus being aboard the satellite might not have been quite as coincidental as originally thought.  The antidote (of sorts) is eventually discovered, thanks to two lone survivors from the town – an old man and a baby.  The story in whole harkens back to the sci-fi flicks of the 1950s and 60s turned out by Universal Pictures, whose stories centered on the military’s atomic testing leading to all kinds of problems for mankind.  Again, not to give away too much, but there is a very close similarity between those stories and this work.  It is also addressed in the bonus features included in The Andromeda Strain’s bonus material.  That will be addressed a little later.  Keeping that in mind, this story will appeal to a wide range of viewers, even despite its pacing issues.

It becomes clear through everything  noted so far, that the story at the center of The Andromeda Strain builds a strong foundation for Arrow Video’s recent re-issue of the movie.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s recent re-issue strengthens that foundation even more.  That is because this re-issue features some previously presented bonus content and some new material in one setting.  Among the most notable of the new bonus content is the discussion by critic Kim Newman.  Newman discusses in his commentary, The Andromeda Strain’s place in the bigger picture of the plague/virus outbreak genre, citing the movies already cited in this review, and others.  Newman’s discussion might not seem like much  on the surface, but in the bigger picture, the roughly 10-minute presentation brings new light to the fact that said genre is in fact so expansive.  The previously presented “making off” featurette, which was featured in the movie’s 2001 re-issue, is another notable addition to this re-issue.  That is because some viewers have not previously seen this featurette while others perhaps have not seen it in a long time and forgotten what was discussed in the mini-doc.  Audiences get discussions here on topics, such as the then groundbreaking special effects used in the movie, the deliberate choice of cast members who were not at the time, well-known  and the faux bibliography featured in The Andromeda Strain and its connection to it cinematic adaptation.  That discussion, with the movie’s script writer Nelson Gidding, makes for its own share of insight and entertainment.  There are also vintage interview segments with Crichton himself featured within the “making of” documentary in which he talks about his connection between his medical education and the book.  Those discussions are expanded even more in yet another of the movie’s key features, “A Portrait of Michael Crichton.”  The late, great author talks in this presentation, about his decision to author his original novels under a fake name and why he decided on going to medical school first among other topics.  As if everything in this and the other noted featurettes is not enough, the new feature-length audio commentary will entertain and engage viewers just as much if not even more than those featurettes.  All things considered here, the bonus content – new and old alike – does just as much to keep viewers engaged and entertained as the story at the center of The Andromeda Strain.  The two elements together are just part of what makes this latest re-issue of the classic sci-fi flick such a welcome addition to audiences’ home movie libraries.  The companion booklet that is featured as yet another extra with this re-issue is notable in its own right to the movie’s whole.

The companion booklet that comes with  the latest re-issue of The Andromeda Strain adds its own touch to the movie’s presentation, as its liner notes – penned by author Peter Tonguette – discuss not only the movie’s place in the grand scheme of the cinematic universe, but also that of its director, Robert Wise.  Tonguette states in his notes, that Wise and the movie both deserve far more credit than they have been given.  He notes Wise’s work on so many b-flicks prior to helming The Andromeda Strain as a big part of the reason that Wise has never gotten the credit that he believes the director has deserved.  Additionally, Tonguette discusses Wise’s approach to the Andromeda, crediting that approach for items, such as the dialogue and effect of the cinematography.  Along with Tonguette’s brief, but concise discussion on Wise’s work on The Andromeda Strain, the companion booklet also offers a starting point for discussions on the movie within the context of a film appreciation class, clearly outlining a set series of discussion topics; topics such as the nature of the deaths in Piedmont, the President’s decision whether to drop an atomic bomb on Piedmont, and the impact of the virus’ mutation.  There are also focuses on items, such as recent real life scientific breakthroughs in comparison to the topics discussed in the movie, whether The Andromeda Strain is in fact science fiction or science fact, and Werner Von Braun’s statement decades prior about the very topic on which Crichton centered his book.  Even more interesting is that all of these discussion topics were featured in a 1971 educational guide sent to schools nationwide to help promote the movie.  That guide is still just as relevant today as it was in 1971.  To that end, it is another key addition to the companion booklet included with this latest re-issue of The Andromeda Strain.  Keeping this in mind, the vast expanse of content (and the depth thereof) within the booklet proves to be just as important to the re-issue’s presentation as the bonus content and the story itself.  When all three elements are considered together, they make The Andromeda Strain a movie that, again, sci-fi fans will appreciate just as much as fans of Michael Crichton and those of the plague/virus outbreak genre.

Arrow Video’s re-issue of Universal Pictures’ The Andromeda Strain is a strong new offering for fans of Hollywood’s plague/virus outbreak genre just as much as for fans of Michael Crichton and of science fiction in general.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story.  While maybe not the first movie of its kind when it was originally released in 1971, its story is one that still rings true for audiences to this day.  It is far more believable than most other movies within its realm.  The bonus content that is featured with the movie’s recent re-issue adds even more engagement and entertainment to the re-issue’s presentation.  That is because the content balances new and old for viewers of all ages.  The companion booklet that also come with the re-issue adds even more interest to the re-issue.  Each item noted in this review is important in its own way to the whole of The Andromeda Strain.  All things considered, they make this re-issue a work that is one more of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available online now at:










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‘The Illusionist’ Maintains Its Cinematic Magic In Its New Latest Re-Issue

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox/MVD Entertainment Group/MVD Visual

MVD Entertainment Group has added 20th Century Fox’s period drama The Illusionist to its MVD Marquee collection.  The company is scheduled to re-issue the movie, which stars Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man, 12 Years A Slave), Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk, American History X, Birdman) and Jessica Biel (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, 7th Heaven, I’ll Be Home For Christmas) in its lead roles, on June 25.  The movie itself is one of the most underappreciated movies of the 1990s, and the upcoming re-issue serves to remind audiences of exactly that.  That is due in part to the movie’s story, which will be addressed shortly.  Its bonus content,  which will be addressed a little later, adds even more interest to the re-issue’s presentation.  The collective work of the movie’s cast and crew also adds to the story and will be addressed later.  When it is coupled with the movie’s story, all of the elements together show why this latest presentation of The Illusionist is more cinematic magic.

MVD Entertainment Group’s forthcoming re-issue of 20th Century Fox’s period drama The Illusionist is a positive offering for most audiences.  That is due in part to the movie’s story.  The story — based on a short story crafted by author Steven Millhauser — is a fully-engaging and entertaining presentation that is full of magic, murder, mystery and romance.  Those elements are all expertly balanced throughout the course of the story, too.  It is set in 19th Century Vienna, Austria (but was actually filmed in The Czech Republic – this will be discussed later) and features Norton and Giamatti as Eisenheim and Inspector Uhl respectively.  Eisenheim, who was friends with the Duchess Sophie van Techen (Biel) when the pair was much younger, wants to reconnect with the Duchess.  The problem for Eisenheim is that Uhl, who is working for Crown Prince Leopold (Refus Sewell – A Knight’s Tale, Dark City, Tristan + Isolde), stands in his way.  Eisenheim and Uhl eventually develop a certain almost friendship as the story progresses while tensions between Eisenheim and Leopold increase right up to the story’s climactic conclusion.  The story’s run time is listed at 109 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes), but because of the pacing, feels longer than that noted time.  What’s truly interesting is that usually when pacing makes a move feel longer than it is, that is a bad thing.  In the case of this story though, it is the exact opposite.  Somehow, writer/director Neil Burger, who adapted Millhauser’s short story to the screen, managed to make the story work even despite that feel.  That is a tribute to his work.  Even with the pacing seeming slow at times, the story is still able to keep viewers engaged and entertained with ease.  The movie’s twist ending gives viewers a finale that is completely fulfilling.  That fulfillment finale, and the ability of the movie’s story to keep viewers engaged and entertained creates a strong foundation for The Illusionist and gives viewers more than enough reason to watch this movie.  As much as the movie’s story does for its presentation, its bonus content adds even more to the movie’s presentation.

The bonus content featured in MVD Entertainment Group’s forthcoming re-issue of The Illusionist is carried directly over from the movie’s most recent release, its 2007 release.  That includes not just the brief making of featurette and equally brief conversation with Biel, but also the feature-length audio commentary from writer/director Neil Burger.  The commentary is listed, in this re-issue, as an audio option instead of a bonus extra, unlike the 2007 home release, as an added note, but it is still the most important of the movie’s extras.  Burger  presents a lot of information in his commentary, such as the revelation that most of the movie was recorded on site in Prague, Czech Republic and that his adaptation of the original short story The Illusionist is quite different from its literary source material.  Considering the number of differences that he addresses, it makes one want to find said story and see just how different the two stories are.  That is just some of the content revealed through Burger’s commentary. He also reveals that Norton and Biel were not the first choices for their respective roles.  Those discussions are themselves certain to generate plenty of discussion, and in turn are more proof of why Burger’s commentary should have been featured in The Illusionist’s latest re-issue.  They are certainly just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is his commentary.  As the movie progresses, he shares far more that audiences can discover for themselves.  Keeping that in mind, Burger’s bonus commentary builds on the foundation formed by the movie’s story and strengthens it that much more.  It is still not the last of the movie’s positives.  The collective work of the movie’s cast and crew couples with the story and commentary to give audiences even more to appreciate.

The work of all four of the movie’s lead cast members is worthy of applause in its own way throughout the movie.  Burger notes in the movie’s audio commentary (along with so much more already noted) that he made Eisenheim more of a sympathetic character by using Inspector Uhl more than he was in the movie’s source material.  The thing is that Norton’s abilities as an actor did not even call for more inclusion of Uhl.  Given, Norton and Giamatii were just enjoyable on-screen together as they were on their own, but Norton’s own abilities were more than enough to make his work engaging and entertaining in its own right.  His emoting during his time on stage in front of Eisenheim’s audiences is just one example of that talent.  His tears were just as believable as he reaches out for Sophie’s hand in the final act when he is on stage.  The pain that he displays translates so well, even if it is all part of his act to trick everyone.  Much the same can be said of Giamatti that is said of Norton.  When Giamatti is set alongside Sewell, he [Giamatti] shines even more while Sewell, as more of a supporting character, makes it just as easy for audiences to dislike Leopold.  Burger discusses this, too, in the commentary. Viewers will agree with his comments here, too.  What’s more, viewers will also appreciate the discussions by Burger on the amount of research that was done to make The Illusionist look just like 19th Century Vienna in terms of costumes and even buildings.  That research clearly paid off, as the resultant work of the movie’s costume and set designers created an environment that was just as believable as the work of the movie’s cast, getting back on track.  It is even noted by Burger, that Eddie Marsan (who played Eisenheim’s manager) was in his 30s when the movie was crafted, yet he looked like he was in his 50s.  That is another tribute to the work of the movie’s crew.  If one did not know what Burger revealed in the commentary, one would in fact think Marsan was in his 50s.  Getting back on the matter of the cast and crew’s work, it couples with Burger’s work on the movie’s script and his commentary, to make the movie appealing for everyone.

MVD Entertainment Group’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of 20th Century Fox’s The Illusionist is a work that will entertain any true movie buff.  That is due, as noted, in part to the movie’s story.  The story expertly balances elements of magic, murder, mystery and romance to make a whole that will keep viewers engaged from beginning to end.  That is due in part to the movie’s story, adapted by writer/director Neil Burger to the screen and to the commentary provided throughout the movie as a bonus commentary.  The work of the movie’s cast and crew adds to its enjoyment, too.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of The Illusionist.  All things considered, they show why The Illusionist is its own magical cinematic diamond in the rough.  More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:










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