Audiences Will Say “Yes” To Shout! Factory’s ‘Yes Virginia’ BD Re-Issue

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Paradigm Entertainment

Believing in those things that cannot be seen is one of the hardest things that we as humans can do. That is because the need to see in order to believe is something that is seemingly ingrained in mankind. Yet sometimes, just sometimes, believing in those things unseen without actually seeing them can and does make us and our lives better. That is the message at the center of the 1991 ABC holiday special Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, which was re-issued this past October via Shout! Factory. It is also one part of what makes the 142-minute (two hours, 22-minutes) movie such a worthwhile watch this and any holiday season. It will be discussed shortly. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to discuss in examining this movie as its central message (and by direct connection, the movie’s story). The bonus interview with Andrew J. Fenaday, the movie’s Executive Producer and co-writer rounds out the movie’s most important elements. When it is set alongside the other noted elements, all three combine to make Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus a touching, memorable holiday standard that should be in any family’s holiday movie collection.

Shout! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of ABC’s classic 1991 holiday special Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus is a must have for any family’s holiday movie collection. That is proven in part through the movie’s central message, which is tied directly to the movie’s story. The movie’s central message is one of hope and faith. It says to audiences that sometimes, just sometimes, believing in those things unseen without actually seeing them can and does make us and our lives better. Given it’s not the first time that such a message has been presented in any movie or TV special (E.g. The Year Without A Santa Claus, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Polar Express), but it is no less impacting here as in those presentations. The world needs those occasional reminders, especially considering the world’s current state. The way in which that message is delivered here (the movie’s story) illustrates that message quite well, too. It does so through a two-part story that sees not only Virginia (Katharine Isabelle — Insomnia, Freddy vs. Jason, Ginger Snaps) looking for something in which to believe but also her father James (Richard Thomas — The Waltons, It (1990), Wonder Boys). While Virginia’s desire for truth about Santa is simple on the surface, that need for something positive to believe in is far deeper, especially with her being in her formative years. James’ need for something in which to believe is so important because he is an immigrant, and he just wants to be able to give his family a better life. Having so much trouble trying to find stable work makes believing things can get better makes difficult that ability to believe things will get better.

Even newsman Francis Church (Charles Bronson — The Great Escape, Deathwish, The Maginificent Seven) finds himself in need of something in which to believe having lost his wife and daughter as the story opens. It is Virginia’s letter that gives him something in which to believe and ultimately emotionally heal. It kind of makes Church’s very name rather ironic in the long run. Of course everyone gets their happy ending. Given, life does not necessarily always have a happy ending, not believing in something doesn’t make us or life any better either. That being the case, it proves the importance of this story’s message for its presentation along with the story itself. That message (and the story through which the message is delivered) is only part of what makes this recent re-issue so enjoyable. The work of the movie’s cast is just as notable as the movie’s story and message.

In regards to the cast’s work, both the main and supporting cast deserves credit for their part in the movie’s presentation. Richard Thomas and Richard Bronson are the movie’s real stars, despite the movie’s title, story and message. One can’t help but root for James and Francis as they struggle with their situations — James as he tries to be that provider for his family and Francis as he tries to come to terms with the loss of his family. While the men’s situations are so different, it is clear in the performances that each actor fully embraced his character’s role and situation. Richard’s reaction as James is harassed by his former co-workers is spot on, and makes one feel so strongly for him. In the same breath, when he brings home the Christmas surprise for his family at the story’s end (that surprise won’t be given away here) leaves one wanting to stand up and cheer for him. On Bronson’s side, audiences will applaud him just as much as they will Thomas for his acting. Both men really come across as method actors in their roles, fully embracing the men and their situations. That embracing is, perhaps, what keeps either from going over the top in their respective performances, and in turn keeping audiences fully engaged and entertained throughout the story.

In regards to the supporting cast of Ed Asner (as Church’s editor, Edward P. Mitchell), Tamsin Kelsey (as James’ wife Evie O’Hanlan) and Colleen Winton (as Francis’ co-worker), their work is just as impressive to note as that of Bronson and Thomas. Asner, already having racked up plenty of accomplishments and accolades years ahead of this movie (including his time on Mary Tyler Moore, Roots and Route 66) plays the editor/semi-father figure to Francis expertly. Asner showed each time he was on camera that he knew his was a supporting role, yet still made Edward a strong foil to Francis. While Winton’s resume was not as extensive as those of her cast mates at the time this movie was released (who was best known by then for her work on the 1988 movie Watchers), she still played her part expertly, too as Andrea worked to bring Francis back to his old self. In the same vein, Kelsey’s work as Mrs. O’Hanlan makes Evie such a warm character even as little as she is on-screen. Yet even as little as she is on-screen, her chemistry with Thomas makes her so believable and entertaining. She is that loving mother who works hard even as a housewife to be the best she can be, which is fully admirable. Between her work, that of her fellow supporting actors and that of Thomas, Bronson and Isabelle, it becomes clear in examining each why each actor’s work on camera is so important and impressive here. Each actor put his or her best foot forward throughout, not trying to outdo anyone else, but rather playing off of his or her cast mates. The end result is a group of performances that collectively does just as much for this movie as the movie’s story and its connected message. Those collected performances are not the last of the movie’s most important elements, either. The bonus interview with Andrew J. Fenaday, the movie’s Executive Producer and Co-Writer rounds out the movie’s most important elements.

C. Courtney Joyner’s interview with Fenaday adds its own special touch to the movie’s home presentation because of the insight and entertainment that it offers audiences. One of the key insights offered through the interview comes as Fenaday talks about casting Bronson as Francis Church. He reveals that Bronson had in fact had his own tragedies not long before taking on the role of the famed reporter — both his wife and his agent had died not too long before he took the role — who had lost his wife and daughter before receiving Virginia’s letter. On a lighter note, Fenaday also jokes about his work on so many action flicks and how it played into this movie’s fight scenes being added to its presentation. That moment is one of the interview’s most memorable of its light-hearted moments. There are also discussions about how Fenaday came to take part in this TV special’s creation, its life as a stage play and so much more. The whole interview proves to be a fully in-depth presentation that audiences of all ages will enjoy and appreciate. When it is set alongside the main feature’s story (and message) and the work of the movie’s cast, the whole of those elements makes this movie truly a special holiday presentation — one that should be in every family’s holiday collection.

Shout! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of ABC’s 1991 holiday special Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus is a release that deserves a spot in any family’s holiday collection. As has already been noted above, that is due in no small part to the movie’s story and the powerful message contained therein. The cast’s work on camera adds its own special to the movie’s presentation. The bonus interview with the movie’s Executive Producer and Co-Writer Andrew J. Fenaday puts the finishing touch on the movie’s home presentation. Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation. All things considered, they make this re-issue of the holiday standard a must have for every family’s holiday collection. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Advertisements

Shout! Factory, GKids Partner For Indie Flick’s Home Release

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids

One of the most accalaimed independent animated films of 2017 will officially make its way home next month thanks to Shout! Factory and GKids.

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea will be released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Tuesday, Jan. 23 via Shout! Factory and GKids. Described by IndieWire as “John Huges for the Adult Swim generation,” this roughly 75-minute movie follows high school friends Dash (Jason Schwartzman — Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited) and Assaf (Reggie Watts — Pitch Perfect 2, Creative Control, Fort Tilden) as the pair try to survive after an earthquake causes their high school to fall into the ocean.

The pair is joined by popular know-it-all Mary (Lena Dunham — Girls, This Is 40, Tiny Furniture) and lunch lady Lorraine (Susan Sarandon — Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bull Durham, Thelma & Louise) along the way.

The group’s adventure presents a story about how high school forms our identities, even in the most unexpected situations. The story presents that story by mixing elements of the disaster genre with teen dramas and so many blackbuster cliches for a work that stands far and apart from its counterparts.

As an additional bonus for audiences, the movie also includes an audio commentary track from its writer/director (and acclaimed graphic novelist) Dash Shaw. There is also a group of short films and spotlight on the film’s animation style.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

More information on this and other titles from GKids is available online now at:

Website: http://www.gkids.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lewis Black’s Fans Will Enjoy His Latest Live Recording Now And In The “Future”

Courtesy: MVDVisual/Comedy Central/MVD Entertainment Group

It goes without saying that Lewis Black is one of the most iconic figures in the history of stand-up comedy. Black’s sharp wit and delivery have made him stand out starkly from his counterpart and in turn made him a favorite among audiences the world over. This has led to a hugely successful career that continues to this day that has taken him all around the world. This past October, that was proven yet again when Comedy Central partnered with MVD Visual, the video branch of MVD Entertainment Group, for a new live recording from the veteran comedian in the form of Black To The Future. This single disc presentation is one that will appeal to Black’s most seasoned fans just as much as it will those who are less familiar with him and his body of work. That is proven in part through the recording’s main feature. It will be discussed shortly. The bonus set included with the recording strengthens the recording’s presentation even more and will be discussed later. Black’s delivery and overall stage presence rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Black to the Future. All things considered, the noted elements make Black to the Future a recording that proves the future is bright for Black regardless of how when he retires.

Lewis Black’s latest live recording Black to the Future is a work that the veteran comedian’s fans old and new alike will enjoy and appreciate. That is proven in part through the recording’s main set. While not an overly long set — it runs 50 minutes — it still leaves audiences feeling fulfilled at its end. That is due in part to the topics that Black covers in his set and also to the set’s pacing. It should be noted that this set was originally recorded ahead of the 2016 election first and foremost. He takes on both the Democrats and Republicans, skewering Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton AND Donald Trump, so no one can accuse him of being biased. He also presents a scathing indictment of America’s mental health care system, coming right out and saying that the system has failed — and had failed — because of so many administrations going all the way back to the Kennedy administration. There is also a wonderfully hilarious commentary about pet owners who go too far with their pets including a story about a man who held a celebration for his dog called a “bark mitzvah.” As if all of that is not enough, he even goes on a scathing commentary about how the media covers politics and other matters.

From one topic to the next, Black’s transitions are smooth and seamless, ensuring even more audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment. That is the sign of a seasoned veteran. That is evident as he transitions from the hot button issue of gun control to the topic of mental health. Even as he ties mental health lightly to people who are too dedicated to their pets, his transitions are solid. The same can be said of all of the set’s other transitions. From start to end, Black never leaves any dead air, but also never moves too fast from one topic to the next, keeping everyone fully engaged. That engagement through transitions and relatable topics forms a solid foundation for this recording. They are, collectively, only part of what makes this recording so enjoyable. The recording’s bonus set is just as important to its whole as its main feature.

The bonus set included in Black to the Future strengthens its presentation even more because it is presented in a fashion unlike the program’s main set. Instead of Lewis presenting the topics, audience members generate the set list. The questions that they raise run the gamut from the impact and reach of social media to the current state of the country’s public school system, to legalization of marijuana and well beyond. Black’s reaction to the audience members’ questions in themselves give plenty for people to enjoy. His commentary on the topics in questions presents just as much entertainment. Audiences will laugh uproariously as Black discusses why he has not and would not run for office, saying his policy simply wouldn’t work. He also addresses plays that he has crafted throughout his career, a point about which many fans might not have known. The punchline, which involves a corked bottle (it won’t be given away here) makes the whole thing complete. Between these topics and so many others, engagement and entertainment is just as ensured here as in the program’s main set. The pacing is just as solid even as audiences wait for each person to come up to the mic. That could be due in part to Black’s interaction with co-host and fellow comedian Kathleen Madigan, who has made quite a name for herself throughout her career. Considering the once again solid transitions and the equally entertaining discussions on the presented topics, Black to the Future’s bonus set does just as much to solidify the program’s presentation as its main feature. Both sets together show thoroughly why this program is in fact so entertaining for any of Black’s audiences. Even with this in mind, there is still some left to discuss about the set’s presentation — Black’s stage presence.

Lewis Black’s reputation of screaming and ranting on stage is a big part of what has made him such a popular figure among his audiences and counterparts. The topics that he tackles of course are hot button, but the way in which he tackles them is what for so many years has drawn so many to him. For others though, that Sam Kinison-esque persona has driven people away from him. What’s interesting to note in these sets is that while he does do some ranting, it is not the full-on blast that he has done in years past. By and large, his stage presence in both of these sets is one of controlled chaos. His commentaries are as acerbic as ever, but the relatively controlled nature of his delivery makes the commentary all the harder-hitting. That is a big part of what makes watching these sets so enjoyable. It shows that he can be as impacting in a calm persona as in his more biting moments. Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why Black’s stage presence is just as important in both of these sets as the sets themselves. When all these elements are set alongside each other, they show in full why this recording is a surprisingly enjoyable experience even watching it on DVD. Keeping that in mind, the recording in whole proves, again, to be one that fans new and old alone will appreciate and enjoy.

Lewis Black’s latest live recording Black to the Future, presented by Comedy Central and MVD Visual, is a presentation that Black’s more seasoned fans will appreciate and enjoy just as much as those who are less familiar with him and his body of work. As has been noted above, that is proven in part through each of the program’s sets — its main feature and bonus set. The topics and transitions presented in each make them engaging and entertaining from start to finish. Black’s stage presence — at times ranting and at times more reserved — ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the sets. Each element proves in its own right why this program is so surprisingly enjoyable. All things considered, they make the program in whole one that will appeal to Black’s more seasoned fans and his newer audiences alike. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Black to the Future is available online now along with all of Lewis Black’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.lewisblack.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheLewisBlack

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS’ Richard Sherman In-Studio Concert Will Leave Audiences “Singing” Its Praises

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

John Williams. Hans Zimmer. The Sherman Brothers. One thing connects each of these names: each name is among the movie industry’s great musical minds. Each has composed some of the most well-known and beloved themes that audiences have ever heard. This past September, PBS and Public Media Distribution brought audiences a very special profile of one of those names with the release of Richard Sherman: Songs of a Lifetime. Released Sept. 5, this in-studio performance by its title figure, is a wonderful musical profile of one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative musical team. That is due in no small part to the songs that Sherman performs for audiences. The stories that he shares along the way are just as entertaining as the songs, and in turn will be discussed later. The program’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements. Each noted element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, they make Richard Sherman: Songs of a Lifetime a release that will leave audiences “singing” its praises.

PBS’ recently released Richard Sherman musical documentary Songs of a Lifetime is a special new “live” recording from PBS and Public Media Distribution that is certain to leave audiences “singing” its praises. That is due in part to the recording’s songs. The songs that Sherman performs throughout the program are not limited to just his Disney compositions. Also included in this intimate setting are songs from Tom Sawyer (1973 — MGM), Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang (1968 — Pinewood Studios), Charlotte’s Web (1973 — Paramount Pictures/Hanna-Barbera Productions), Snoopy Come Home (1972 — Cinema Center Filims/Lee Mendelson Film Productions/Bill Melendez Productions/Sopwith Productions/United Features Syndicate), a Christmas tune that he composed with Joe Van Winkle titled ‘Christmas in New Orleans,’ (which was made famous by Louis Armstrong) and even his own heartfelt composition that he wrote for his wife (who is there to enjoy the song at his side) among so many others. There is even a brand new song included at the recording’s end titled ‘A Kiss Goodnight’ that is certain to move viewers of any age.

In regards to the Disney tunes featured throughout the recording, the movies featured through those songs include: Winnie The PoohMary Poppins, The Happiest Millionaire, The Jungle Book, Summer Magic, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, The Parent Trap and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Needless to say, even though “only” ten movies are on that list, that is still a healthy cross-section of Sherman’s time with Walt Disney Studios. That is especially considering that some of those movies get more than one nod. Mary Poppins gets a handful of nods with the likes of ‘Feed The Birds,’ ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite,’ and ‘Through The Eyes of Love.’ Winnie The Pooh received three nods through a medley of tunes early in the performance while The Jungle Book receives its own share of representations, too. Considering the number of Disney flicks represented in this in-studio concert and the songs used to represent those movies, it goes without saying that even at “only” nine movies, the concert presents a healthy dose of Disney.

When that healthy dose of Disney is coupled with Sherman’s non-Disney compositions, the whole the recording proves quite impressive. Counting the single songs and the medleys, it is safe to say that the recording boasts at least 30 songs. Considering that the performance’s run time is roughly one hour, that is a lot of material pushed into that space, and quite well at that. Staying on that note, while the material in whole is impressive, one cannot ignore the lack of a program guide inside or outside the box printed or physical. The only program guide that does exist is in the scene selection option on the disc’s main menu. The songs are not even listed with their respective movies. Sure it seems on the surface like a not so important aesthetic element, but is in fact very important to the box’s presentation. That is especially in connection to the songs themselves. It would have been nice to have had that listing. Luckily though, as much as it detracts from the recording’s whole, it is not enough to completely ruin the program’s presentation. It just would have been nice to have had that element.

While the extensive list of songs and movies that makes up the body of Songs of a Lifetime are clearly critical to the recording’s whole, they are collectively not the DVD’s only important element. The stories that Sherman shares throughout the recording are just as important to its presentation as those songs. One of the most interesting stories that Sherman shares during his time at the keys is that of the creation of the song ‘Gold Can Buy Anything (But Love),’ which was made famous by country legend Gene Autry. Sherman tells audiences that the song came about after the Sherman brothers’ father (who was himself a well-known and respected musical mind) jokingly told his sons that the pair, even with their college degrees, “couldn’t write a song that a kid would give up his lunch money to buy.” He also notes that the song was the Sherman Brothers’ very first published song, and was written because country western music was big at the time. Another interesting anecdote that Sherman shares in the program tells the story of how Louis Prima and his band ended up as King Louie and his apes in The Jungle Book. He explains that Walt Disney himself sent Sherman and company to a Las Vegas night club where Prima and company were performing, showed them the movie and convinced them to star. There is a little more to the story here, but that will be left to viewers to discover. It goes without saying that the rest of the story (as a certain radio announcer used to say) will leave audiences laughing happily. As if that isn’t enough to get viewers interested, Sherman also shares a moving story tying the creation of the song ‘It Changes’ (from Snoopy Come Home) to how he and others felt when Walt Disney died in 1966 from lung cancer. While the story is short, it is a story that, when coupled with the emotion of the song, will deeply touch audiences as it illustrates expertly that story. When this and the stories featured throughout the concert are joined with the recording’s featured songs, the whole of that material gives audiences more than enough to appreciate here. Even with this in mind, that whole is still not all that audiences will appreciate. The program’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Songs of a Lifetime is so important because of what it adds to the program’s overall presentation. Audiences learn through this roughly four-minute discussion from 2015, Sherman’s thoughts on PBS’ Walt Disney profile American Experience: Walt Disney. Audiences learn that Sherman approved of that doc, even as it didn’t just sing Disney’s praises, but instead showed both sides of Walt Disney — the good and bad. He also discusses his emotion at holding the interview in Disney’s office, the very place where he, his brother and Walt Disney crafted so many hit tunes. That revelation will capture audiences just as much as anything else in his interview. Audiences also learn that the guest performers included in the recording were hand chosen for the program by Sherman himself. They weren’t just random selections by some faceless person or group. This is all just a sample of what is presented in Sherman’s bonus interview. When it is coupled with the rest of the interview’s discussions, the whole gives audiences even more to to appreciate. The behind-the-scenes photos montage adds one last touch to the whole as it couples the songs from the main feature with the noted photos for an experience that, as simple as it is, is certain to entertain audiences, too. When this is set alongside Sherman’s short but in-depth interview and the program’s main feature, the whole of those elements makes Songs of a Lifetime a presentation that will most certainly leave audiences “singing” its praises.

PBS and PBS’ Distribution’s recently released Richard Sherman “live” recording Songs of a Lifetime is a work that is certain to impress audiences. That is due in no small part to the recording’s featured songs. The songs featured in the program include not only Sherman’s work with Disney, but with other studios and even his own compositions. All in all, they paint a vivid picture of his career, showing why he remains today such a respected figure (along with his brother). The stories that Sherman shares throughout the performance add even more interest to the program’s whole. At times funny and at others emotional, Sherman’s stories are just as certain to keep viewers engaged and entertained as his songs. The bonus material included in the program puts the finishing touch on its program thanks to its own information. Each noted element is critical in its own way to the program’s whole. All things considered, they make this presentation one that will most certainly leave audiences “singing” its praise. Richard Sherman: Songs of a Lifetime is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Asks Are There “Killer Volcanoes” Around The World Today In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

With the recent news of a volcano in Bali threatening the nation, a lot of talk has come about the impact that volcanoes have not only locally and regionally, but worldwide. Next month, Public Media Distribution will release a new episode of NOVA that examines the global impact of volcanoes in the form of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes will be released Tuesday, Dec. 19 the hour-long episode follows a group of researchers as they search for a “mega-eruption” believed to have turned the world deadly cold. The discovery of a mass grave in London containing some 4,000 men, women and children is where the story starts. Initially, the researchers think the remains were of plague victims, but further research disproved that theory.

The researchers’ investigation leads to the revelation that their deaths may have in fact been related to global impacts of an unidentified volcano’s “mega-eruption” within the time frame of their deaths. Their digging (both literal and figurative) led them to find that the eruption blew ash and sulfuric acid into the air, which then spread from Greenland to the Antarctic, turning much of the planet cold and leading to death around the globe from famine and other related causes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is a timely program considering the potentially impending eruption in Bali and the constant watch at one of America’s most well-known parks and at volcanoes around the world. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Les Paul 2006 Tribute Concert Comes Up Short In Its Attempt To Honor A Legend

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/MVDVisual

Les Paul is an American Master. Period. For decades, Paul has been known as “one of the music industry’s greatest minds, having created one of the industry’s most well-known and respected guitar lines. He also was responsible for recording tech that has become the standard across the board. On June 18, 2006, a concert was held — fittingly — at the Gibson Amphitheatre to pay tribute to Les Paul and his legacy. Originally aired on AXS TV this past June, the concert was released on DVD early this past September via MVD Entertainment Group. While it is an enjoyable experience overall, it is not a perfect recording. The concert itself , which features some very well-known Les Paul devotees, sits at the center of the recording and is both a positive and a negative in the program’s overall presentation. Another notable negative to the presentation here is a total lack of a program guide. That will be discussed later. The segmentation of the concert and interview segments is its own positive to this presentation. Each element is, in its own right, important to the recording’s whole. All things considered, A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood proves to be an unsuspectingly entertaining program.

MVD Entertainment’s recently released A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood, is a program that, while entertaining, leaves something to be desired in the end. That is due in part to its set list. Coming in at 93 minutes, the concert’s lineup features performances from some very well-known and respected guitarists including Joe Satriani, Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit), Steve Lukather (Toto) Neal Schonn (Journey), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band), Buddy Guy and others. Even famed front man Edgar Winter (The Edgar Winter Group) came along for the ride along with Joe Perry (Aerosmith). Many of the songs performed throughout the concert are covers, though Satriani did perform a pair of his own works in the form of ‘Satch Boogie’ and ‘House Full of Bullets.’ The covers included takes on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition,’ Willie Dixon’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man,’ which was first made famous by Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter And’s ‘Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo’ among others. Between these and other songs featured throughout the concert, and the artists tapped to perform them, audiences get in the performance, a dual music history lesson for all intents and purpose. They see veteran performers taking on some equally well-known songs, some of which are their own and some of which are covers. Considering all of this, the very setup for the concert serves as a positive for this recording. At the same time, being that the concert is only 93 minutes long and considering Les Paul’s legacy, it is surprising that more stars were not tapped for the concert. That lack of more performers (and in turn songs) actually detracts from the recording to a certain point, leaving audiences wanting more, but not in a good way. This sadly is not the recording’s only negative. The lack of a program guide hurts the recording’s presentation to a point, too.

Audiences will note in examining the recording’s packaging that nowhere inside or outside the box is a program guide to be found. It is listed on the program’s main menu, but nowhere else. As has been noted so many times before about similar products, it would be nice to have that piece of the proverbial puzzle as it serves not only as a guide, but as a marketing tool that can serve to increase potential viewers’ chances of purchasing the program. By not having that guide included either in physical or printed form, MVD Entertainment Group has only hurt itself here. It really is a critical piece of the whole, even as much as it might not seem like it is. It is in reality, its own companion to the actual concert, which ties in a handful of interview segments with the featured artists. That segmentation, by the way, rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

Segmenting the concert footage in this recording with the companion interview footage was truly a smart move here considering how little actual performance footage was actually included in its presentation. Without the interview segments, the program’s run time might have only run about half of that 93-minute run time, ultimately making it a failure. Luckily, those behind the program knew well enough to add in the interview footage, which itself adds its own insight to the program while also breaking up the concert and keeping audiences engaged. Audiences will be interested to learn through the interview segments that Les Paul was the person responsible for initially developing the 8-track recording machine (I.E. multi-track recording). Audiences also learn through Slash’s interview segment how much his appreciation for Paul grew as he himself grew. Joe Satriani also offers a funny anecdotes about being pranked by Les Paul at one point in his segment. Theirs are not the only interesting interview segments. Edgar Winters adds his own interesting thoughts in his interview, too. All things considered here, the segmentation of the program’s concert and interview segment proves a critical part of its overall presentation. When it is coupled with the recording’s very concert footage, the two elements make A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood worth at least one watch.

MVD Entertainment Group’s recent home release of AXS TV’s Les Paul tribute concert A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood is an entertaining recording worth at least one watch. The lineup, which featured a number of well-known artists performing some equally well-known songs, played into this in a big way, both to the pro and con. The lack of any program guide hurt the program’s presentation in its home release, too, sadly. Luckily, the program’s overall presentation, which mixed the concert footage with interview footage, makes up at least to a point for the issues raised by the concert’s short run time and lack of program guide. It helps establish the program’s relatively short 93-minute run time. As noted already, each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, they make A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood a concert that while not necessarily one of the year’s most memorable recordings, worth at least one watch. It is available now and can be ordered online via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store. More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘2017 World Series’ Doc Is An Excellent Companion Piece To The ‘2017 World Series Collector’s Edition’ Set

Courtesy: Major League Baseball/Shout! Factory

The Houston Astros’ run to the 2017 World Series Championship is an historic part of Major League Baseball’s history. When the city that the team calls home was inundated by flood waters from Hurricane Harvey, the team became a beacon of hope for its residents. The team took that mantle and literally ran with it, giving its all from one game to the next, eventually finishing the regular season with 101 wins before advancing steadily but surely through the post season and on to the World Series Championship. Now thanks to Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory, baseball fans nationwide can relive the Astros’ unlikely season, from the devastation of Harvey this summer to the final out of the World Series’ seventh game in the new 2017 World Series documentary. That story is told through the doc’s bonus material and its roughly 90-minute main feature, both of which are key elements of the doc’s presentation. The doc’s availability on DVD, Blu-ray and digital on one platform is also key in that it allows viewers to take in the story in all three platforms through just one setting. Each element is important in its own right to this forthcoming documentary, which is currently set to be released Tuesday, Dec. 5. All things considered, they make this documentary a solid companion piece for the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros.

Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory’s upcoming 2017 World Series documentary is a solid companion piece to the companies’ also soon-to-be-released 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros. That is due in no small part to the story told through the pairing of the doc’s bonus material and its main feature. The main feature, which runs roughly 90 minutes, takes audiences through the entirety of the 2017 World Series, one game at a time, while also acknowledging the motivation that the Astros had to play so hard. It is told through the words of the men who took to the field on both sides of the ball game-by-game and through footage recorded during each game. That footage includes pre-game warmups by both teams. The frank words from the players does plenty to enhance the series’ importance because it lets audiences know firsthand what they must have been feeling in each game. The original broadcast audio from both teams’ radio networks adds even more emotion to the story. While there is some extraneous narration from Morgan Spector, his verbiage is kept to a minimum, making the experience all the more enjoyable. That minimization allows the teams and announcers to tell the story, again making for plenty of enjoyment. That enjoyment more than ensures viewers’ maintained engagement from beginning to end. Of course the story told through the doc’s main feature is only one way in which the story told here proves so solid. The story told through the bonus material also plays into that strength.

The bonus material included in the 2017 World Series documentary includes two short yet impacting segments — “Houston Strong” and “How They Got There” — that tell the story of the Astros’ motivation to play hard for Houston and the impact of that drive. The prior tells the story in short but concise fashion, the story of Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston and of the Astros’ desire to be there for the city’s people. The latter tells the story of how the team’s efforts got it through its highs and even the lows of mid-season injuries, eventually giving way to the acquisition of Justin Verlander and the return to form for the Astros. The whole thing culminates with the Astros’ ALCS win over the Yankees. Given, it’s an extremely brief mention, but is there nonetheless. The bonus “Clenching Moments” and “Regular Season Highlights” reels add to the story told through the two main bonuses, making for even more engagement and entertainment for audiences. When all of this additional bonus material is set alongside the doc’s main feature, the end result is, for all intents and purposes, an in-depth story of how the Astros went from starting over from 2016’s struggles to taking on the mantle of Houston’s guiding light (so to speak) to Major League Baseball Champions. It is a story that every baseball fan will appreciate regardless of team loyalty, and is just one more reason that the doc in whole proves such a solid companion to the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros. The availability of the program on three separate platforms in one single setting puts the finishing touch on the program’s presentation.

Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory have made it possible for audiences to enjoy the 2017 World Series documentary on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms in one single combo pack. That’s nothing new for the companies’ World Series documentaries. What is really great for audiences is that they have made it possible for audiences to enjoy the program on all three platforms in one single setting, rather than forcing them to choose between platforms. The average price point of $22.78 ($23 and change with tax) gives audiences all three platforms in one, allowing them to enjoy the program at home and on the go. For those wanting just one platform, the program is also being made available on standalone DVD at an aver age price point of $20.22. That’s not a bad price point, and is cheaper on the surface than the price point for the 3-platform combo pack. However in a 24/7 digital world, the slightly more expensive combo pack that includes a digital download code makes more sense. Not only that but it also allows audiences to watch the program on any platform or even lend one of the discs to family and/or friends without worry. Keeping that in mind, the availability of this documentary on both multi-platform setting and a single platform setting shows how much thought was put even into this aspect of its presentation. MLB Productions and Shout! Factory are to be commended just as much for this as for the product presented through the program’s central and bonus content. When all of this is considered along with the story told through the noted content, the result is a presentation that is just as enjoyable to take in as the actual World Series and that expertly completes the presentation of this year’s Fall Classic.

MLB Productions and Shout! Factory’s upcoming 2017 World Series documentary program is a solid companion piece for the companies 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros. It takes the presentation in that program and builds on it by giving audiences an even deeper look into the World Series from the mouths of the men who took the field. It also takes audiences through the Astros’ regular and post season with separate highlights reels. Those reels, while short, come together in whole to paint a relatively full picture of Houston’s road to the World Series. The availability of that full story on three platforms in one setting (DVD/BD/digital combo pack) strengthens the program’s presentation even more. Each element is clearly important in its own right to the presentation’s whole. All things considered, they make the 2017 World Series documentary a solid companion piece for the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros and certainly another program that every baseball fan will appreciate regardless of team loyalty. It will be available Dec. 5 and can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.