‘Nature: Bears’ Largely Successful In Its Presentation Of The World’s Different Species Of Bears

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

PBS’ popular wildlife series Nature has, over the years, brought audiences countless hours of educational and entertaining content about animals and ecosystems from around the world.  From the plains of Africa to the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the highest peaks of the Andes, the series has done so much for audiences.  Now with a mutated flu running rampant around the globe and causing so much unnecessary fear, panic and closures, the program is needed more than ever.  That is because even zoos, where people might otherwise be able to be exposed to many of those animals and ecosystems, are among the many places closed as a result of that unnecessary fear and panic.  So where else to be exposed to nature and wildlife in general than in PBS’ long-running series?  In one of its most recently released episodes, Bears, the program takes a look at the different species of bears that roam the world.  The surprising revelations about the different species form a strong foundation for the program.  It will be discussed shortly.  While that engaging content does a lot to help this episode of Nature, it should be noted that there is one negative to the whole.  That one negative is once again, is the preachy message about conservation pushed into the program’s final minutes.  This is not the first time that this has happened with an episode of Nature, and is something that needs to stop.  It will be addressed a little later.  Getting back to the positive, the program’s collective pacing and transitions round out its most important elements.  They work with the episode’s content and makes it well worth watching even despite the unnecessary preaching pushed into the episode’s final moments.  Keeping that in mind, Nature: Bears proves to be another overall positive episode of Nature.

Nature: Bears, one of the latest releases from PBS’ popular wildlife series Nature, is a welcome presentation for audiences everywhere in a time when panic and fear over COVID-19 has caused so much unnecessary closure nationwide.  It serves to expose audiences to a variety of bears that they otherwise might not have been exposed to at the zoos and other wildlife facilities that are now closed.  That introduction to the different species forms the program’s foundation.  Audiences are introduced to familiar bear species, such as black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears over the roughly hour-long episode as well as perhaps less familiar species, such as the sloth bear and the spectacled bear.  Not only are viewers introduced to all of those species of bears, but they are also introduced to the things that make each bear unique.  For instance, viewers learn that the polar bear’s sense of smell is 20 times stronger than that of a bloodhound, and that it can smell its prey as deep as three feet beneath the ice.  Also of interest in the program is the revelation that the sloth bear is able to avoid the pain of solder termites’ pincers when it breaks down termite colonies because of the construction of the bear’s mouth.  In regard to the grizzly bears, viewers learn that they learn through what is essentially modeling.  The cubs learn how to hunt for fish, for instance, by watching their mother.  That is very similar throughout the animal kingdom.  On another note, audiences also learn in watching the program that bears scratch their backs on trees, not because their backs itch, but because of territorial marking.  So, as funny as it is to watch, it actually serves a key purpose in the lives of bears.  All of this is just a snapshot of everything that is discussed throughout the course of Bears.  When it is considered along with the content that was note addressed here, the whole of the program’s main feature proves to be worthwhile presentation for audiences of all ages.  Even when the discussions on bears mating and hunting come up, the content is largely edited, so viewers don’t have to worry about covering their children’s eyes or fast forwarding at any point.  To that end, it makes the program that much more accessible for viewers.  All things considered, the content featured in Nature: Bears builds a strong foundation for this program.  Of course for all of the positives presented through the DVD’s content, it is difficult to ignore its one negative element, the unnecessary preaching about conservation at the program’s end.

As Nature: Bears nears its end, narrator Olga Merediz begins reading lines that make statements about the danger that many bears are in, such as the polar bear because of global warming.  At another point prior, she reads a message about how deforestation endangered panda bears in Asia.  Yes, we know global warming is a problem.  There is no denying it.  There is also no denying that deforestation globally is a problem.  However, being that the rest of the program did so much to educate and entertain, having that element to close out was not necessary.  It ruins an otherwise enjoyable program because of its preachy nature.  Please do not misunderstand the statement being made here.  There is no doubt that global warming should be addressed.  There is no doubt that the deforestation that nearly wiped out the panda bears is still very much of concern.  However, as important as they are, there is a time and place for everything, and a program that is otherwise presented solely as an educational piece does not need to include preachy messages about environmentalism at any point.  That should be saved for another time and perhaps another episode of Nature that is dedicated entirely to the issue facing the planet. For an episode that is supposed to focus on animals, that preachiness should not be there.  This is not the first time that this has happened in an episode of Nature, and likely isn’t the last either.  Hopefully though, the people at PBS will take this into consideration for future episodes of Nature.  Now as much of a detriment as that preachiness is to this episode of Nature, it doesn’t make the program unwatchable.  The collective pacing and transitions that are used throughout the program make the primary content even more engaging.

The pacing and transitions that are used throughout the course of Nature: Bears is so important because it is these elements that keep the program flowing from start to end.  Considering the number of species of bear featured throughout the program and what makes each species unique from one another, there is clearly a lot of content presented.  Just enough time was given to each species and its abilities and adaptations from one to the next.  As each species’ focus gives way to focus on other species around the world, the transitions are seamless.  Audiences are never left behind and are never left feeling like the transitions are stark.  Everything is fluid throughout the program.  That fluidity and the steady pacing ensures that audiences will be largely, if not fully, engaged in this episode of Nature from start to end.  When this is taken into account with the power of the program’s content, that certainty of engagement and entertainment is strengthened even more.  That is even despite the one issue of the unnecessary environmentalist message pushed so hard in the program’s final moments.  Keeping that in mind, Nature: Bears proves itself another largely positive episode of what is one of PBS’ most notable series.

Nature: Bears, released on DVD Jan. 28, is another largely positive presentation from PBS’ long-running wildlife series.  It takes viewers around the world, profiling various species of bear and their unique adaptations and abilities.  Along the way, its pacing and transitions do a lot to make even more certain that viewers will remain engaged and entertained.  Even with the unnecessary environmentalist preaching at the episode’s end, those positives still make the program largely a positive presentation.  It is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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Eagle Rock Entertainment Announces Home Release Date, Specs For New Miles Davis Doc

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will bring the new Miles Davis documentary Birth of the Cool home next month.

The documentary, which originally premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, grossed more than $1 million during its recent theatrical run.  It is scheduled for home release April 10, and will be available as a BD/DVD combo pack and 2DVD with bonus Montreux concert footage and 16-page hardcover book and all digital platforms.  The Montreux footage was culled from Davis’ performances at the festival in 1973, 1984 and 1985.

The performance listing for the Montruex shows is noted below.

 

BONUS DVD – ALL LIVE FROM MONTREUX Tracklisting
1.) Ife (1973)
2.) Star People (1984 Afternoon)
3.) It Gets Better (1984 Afternoon)
4.) Hopscotch; Star On Cicely (1984 Afternoon)
5.) Lake Geneva (1984 Afternoon)
6.) Star People (1985 Evening)
7.) Hopscotch (1985 Evening)

 

The documentary, which also recently aired nationwide on PBS as part of the network’s beloved American Masters series, was directed by three-time Emmy award winner Stanley Nelson. It profiles the life and career of the late great trumpeter Miles Davis.  The profile features never-before-seen live performances and outtakes from Davis’ studio sessions.  It also features interviews with people who knew Davis both professionally and personally, such as Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter.

The documentary was nominated for a Grammy at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards and for a NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Documentary (Film).”

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

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MVD Entertainment Group Announces Release Date, Specs For New Laurel & Hardy Collection

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

MVD Entertainment Group will resurrect the classic comedy films and Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy this summer.

Laurel & HardyThe Definitive Restorations is scheduled for release June 16.  The collection’s release will feature the duo’s classic comedy shorts presented for the first time ever in 2K and 4K restorations from the films’ 35mm originals.  It will feature shorts, such as “Me and My Pal,” “County Hospital” and “Come Clean” as well as the debut of Laurel & Hardy’s 1927 silent “pie fight” film from the short “Battle of the Century” and the only Laurel & Hardy blooper reel.

Adding to the viewing experience is eight hours of bonus content, such as rare photos and studio documents, interviews with those who worked with Laurel & Hardy and original music tracks and trailers, plus the full restoration of one of Laurel & Hardy’s surviving color films, The Tree In A Test Tube.

Commentaries from Laurel & Hardy historian Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann are also featured as part of the collection’s extensive bonus content.  The restorations were made by possible by Jeff Joseph and SabuCat in conjunction with UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Library of Congress.

More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online at:

 

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

 

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PBS’ New ‘Nature’ Episode Is A ‘Big’ Success

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Nature is full of giant creatures, and in a new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature, PBS is introducing audiences to some of nature’s biggest beasts.  Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts was released on DVD Jan. 14.  The hour-long episode takes viewers around the world, presenting the biggest of the big and even the biggest of the small.  That central aspect of the DVD forms the program’s foundation, and does a good job of doing so.  As interesting as all of the discoveries are throughout the episode, the program is not perfect, sadly.  The program’s final statement detracts from the episode, but thankfully not to the point that it makes the episode unwatchable.  This will be addressed a little later.  While the program’s finale does detract from its whole, it is the program’s only negative.  There is at least one more positive to note in examining the episode.  That positive is the episode’s pacing.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts its own “big” hit.

Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts is its own big, successful presentation.  That is due in large part (no pun intended) to its central story.  The hour-long program takes viewers around the world, offering audiences introductions to the biggest of the biggest and biggest of the small beasts.  From the giraffe, which has to position itself just right in order to be able to get a drink of water, to a certain kind of leech, which can eat other invertebrates, to a giant octopus, which can eat other sea life twice its size and more, the program’s central feature serves as a good starting point for so many biology lessons from high school onward.  The program takes audiences into the treetops and skies and even below the waves time and again, wasting little time along the way.  That matter, that of the program’s pacing, will be discussed later.  The central story will surprise many viewers as it introduces them to creatures that they otherwise might not have ever known about.  Case in point are the specific species of bats, beetles and even crabs featured within the program.  On a side note, the crab that is introduced in this program looks a lot like the one who held Maui’s hook in Disney’s Moana.  One can’t help but wonder if that real life crab served as the model for that character.  Getting back on the topic at hand, the various beasts that are introduced throughout the course of Nature’s Biggest Beasts and what makes them so intriguing more than gives audiences reason to take in this episode of NOVA.  That ensured engagement forms a solid foundation for the DVD.

For all of the strength that Nature’s Biggest Beasts gains through its central presentation, there is one problem with this episode that cannot be ignored.  That problem is presented, go figure, at the episode’s end.  As viewers are introduced to the corals that make up the Great Barrier Reef, the narrator makes a direct statement about appreciating and protecting all of nature’s beasts, whether they are the biggest of the big or the biggest of the small.  This is important to note because in hindsight, the whole episode essentially rounds out to one big preachy presentation.  The thing is that the preachy aspect was so covertly incorporated into the program.  It would have been so easy to have not had that element added to the mix, but the fact that it was put in at the very end results in that lasting impression that audiences really are sitting through one big statement story.  That realization that audiences will experience can and does leave a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths so to speak.  Keeping that in mind, this is a detriment to the episode’s presentation.  It is not so bad that it makes the episode unwatchable.  Regardless, it is an element that cannot be ignored.  Luckily for the episode’s sake (and for that of everyone involved in the episode’s creation), this negative is the program’s only con.  Its pacing works with its central presentation to make it that much more worth watching.

The pacing of Nature’s Biggest Beasts is key to note because over the course of roughly an hour, a lot of ground (and water – yes, that awful pun was intended) is covered.  From Africa to North America to Asia to the Atlantic and even to the Arctic, viewers are taken around the globe.  Considering how many regions and animals are examined, it would have been so easy for the pacing to get out of control and leave viewers behind.  Thankfully, that did not happen here.  For all of the material that is presented throughout, each beast and each region of the world gets just enough time.  The transitions from one segment to the next adds to the positive impact of the program’s pacing.  The two elements collectively do just enough to ensure viewers are able to keep up with everything, and in turn to ensure that they gain a certain appreciation for what makes each big beast so intriguing.  That time and thought that was incorporated into the program’s pacing and the transitions clearly paid off.  Considering the successful result of that material and the engagement and entertainment ensured through the presentation itself, the two elements do a lot to make it another positive offering from PBS.  That is even with the issue of the preachy message that was so covertly included in the program.  All things considered, Nature’s Biggest Beasts proves to be a possible candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts is an engaging and entertaining new episode of PBS’s hit wildlife series that deserves consideration for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.  That is due in part to the wide range of animals and areas that are covered throughout the course of the program.  The program’s pacing and its related transitions, which play into the pacing, make the program that much more worth the watch.  The one negative from which the episode suffers is the covert inclusion of the episode’s preachy message about conservation.  Yes, we as viewers know that we need to take care of the earth and its many great creatures.  The last thing we need in watching such an other wise enjoyable program is to be preached at.  The fact that the program’s script saves that preachy message until its end is really slick. It makes the episode in whole seem like one giant preachy message in whole, which detracts from its presentation.  Thankfully, the impact is not so negative that the episode is unwatchable.  It can’t be ignored either, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts is a big success.  It just could have been even bigger if not for that unnecessary, covert preachy aspect.  Either way, it is an episode of Nature that is well worth the watch even with its one con.  The DVD is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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‘Xavier Riddle And The Secret Museum’ Makes Its DVD Debut This Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids’ new hit animated series Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum will get its first DVD release this month.

Xavier Riddle and the Secret MuseumMeet Xavier is scheduled for release March 17.  The episode features three episodes from the series, which teaches young viewers about history and some of the most well-known figures from history.

The DVD’s title episode Xavier and his friends meet famed scientist Marie Curie.  Curie reminds Brad that he should never five up on his dreams.  “I Am George Washington,” another of the DVD’s episodes, teaches young viewers about the importance of taking care of Earth.  “I Am Charles Dickens” finds Yadina learning that using one’s own imagination is just as enjoyable as toys in entertaining one’s self.

Xavier Riddle and the Secret MuseumMeet Xavier will retail for MSRP of $9.99.  More information on Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum is available online along with lots of games, activities, printables and more at:

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/xavier

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

 

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Myrath To Release Its Debut Live Recording Next Month

Courtesy: earMusic

Myrath will release its first-ever live recording next month.

The progressive-metal outfit is scheduled to release Live in Carthage April 17 through earMusic.  The expansive set list featured in the CD/DVD combo pack includes a variety of the band’s latest hits and songs from its previous recordings.  Among the songs included in the set list are the like of ‘Believer,’ ‘Dance,’ ‘Get Your Freedom Back’ and ‘Endure The Silence.’

Deep Purple’s own Don Airey made a guest appearance during the band’s performance of ‘Believer,’ offering his talents on the song’s keyboard line.

Pre-orders are open now for Live in Carthage.  The recording’s track listing is noted below.

 

LIVE IN CARTHAGE TRACK LISTING:
CD:
“Believer” (Feat. Don Airey)*
“Asl”
” Born To Survive”
“Storm Of Lies”
“Dance”
“Wide Shut”
“Merciless Times”
“Get Your Freedom Back”
“Endure The Silence”
“Nobody’s Lives”
“Duat”
“The Unburnt”
“Sour Sigh”
“Tales Of The Sands”
“Madness”**
“Believer”
“No Holding Back”
“Drum Solo”**
“Beyond The Stars”
“Outro”**

BONUS:
Making-Of**

*Only on CD
**Only on DVD

 

More information on Myrath’s forthcoming debut live recording is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.myrath.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/myrath

 

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Eagle Rock Entertainment Debuts New Trailer For New Ella Fitzgerald Documentary

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment released the first new trailer this week, for its forthcoming documentary, Ella FitzgeraldJust One Of Those Things.

The new trailer, released Wednesday, features clips of Fitzgerald performing with Duke Ellington and his orchestra, new interview footage with the likes of Tony Bennett and Jamie Cullum.

The 90-second trailer also features vintage photos of Fitzgerald from early in her career and even footage of interviews that Fitzgerald herself conducted on television.

The trailer is streaming here.  Eagle Rock unveiled a clip from the documentary last month, that featured discussions on Fitzgerald’s time on the road with Chick Webb and his orchestra.  It is available to watch here.

Ella FitzgeraldJust One Of Those Things is scheduled to make its theatrical debut April 3 in select theaters nationwide.  Award-winning director Leslie Woodhead helmed the project, and Reggie Nadelson produced the presentation.

Just One Of Those Things follows Fitzgerald on and off the stage, showing how she used her musical talents and her intelligence to break down barriers and overcome great odds throughout the course of her life.  It features never-before-seen footage of interviews with Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Norma Miller and Ray Brown Jr., Ella’s son. along with many other famous figures.

Fitzgerald lost her mother when she [Fitzgerald] was 15 years old.  From there, she also endured mistreatment in reform schools.  in 1934, her life took a turn that would set her on the path of success from then on, winning a contest at the famed Apollo Theater.  She would eventually go on to work with jazz greats, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman.

While she had great success on stage, Fitzgerald was very different off-stage, wanting privacy for herself and her family.  Audiences will see that dichotomy throughout the course of this new documentary.

Fitzgerald earned a number of accolades during the course of her career. Among those honors were 13 Grammy awards, record sales exceeding 40 million records and an NAACP Equal Justice Award. She also received the American Black Achievement Award.

More information on Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new Ella Fitzgerald documentary is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://www.ellafitzgeraldmovie.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/EllaFitzgerald

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ellafitzgerald

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