Paramount Comes Up Short With Its New Peanuts Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Paramount

Courtesy: Paramount

This past February, Paramount released to DVD for the first time the 1977 Peanuts “movie” Race For You Life, Charlie Brown. Its recent release marks the first time ever that it has seen the light of day on DVD. It wasn’t even included on either of the Peanuts 1970s Collections released by Warner Home Video in 2009 and 2010 respectively. As long as audiences have waited for this movie to finally be released, its release back in February of this year proved to be anything but outstanding. Interestingly enough, WHV didn’t handle Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. It was actually handled solely by Paramount, one of Hollywood’s Big 5 Studios. Considering this one would have thought that Paramount would have taken more pride in its product than WHV. Alas, that wasn’t the case with this release. It is a bare bones presentation lacking any bonus material for audiences. That will be discussed later. The movie itself presents an enjoyable story. And the overall presentation looks and sounds great. But that glaring lack of ANY bonus material hurts the overall product in a big way. The end result is a DVD that any Peanuts fans will welcome in their home library, but will do so very begrudgingly. It proves to be a DVD that Paramount should have handled far better than it did especially after making audiences wait nearly four decades for it to receive a DVD release albeit a DVD release that could have been far better.

Audiences have waited nearly forty-years for Paramount’s recent release of Race For You Life, Charlie Brown on DVD. Considering the wait, it goes without saying that the wait was not entirely worth it, going through this DVD. That will be discussed shortly. It isn’t all bad, though. The movie itself presents a fun story that takes both the Peanuts gang and audiences out of the typical world created by the Peanuts TV specials. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s story takes Charlie Brown and company out of the comfort of their own neighborhood and puts them into the wilderness racing for not just camp pride but in fact for their own lives. Because it is such a foreign setting for the Peanuts gang, it also forces Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang to band together in order to survive. As ominous as it sounds, it is all entirely family friendly. Even more interesting to note is that the adventure forces Charlie Brown to show a side that was otherwise very rarely put on display in any of the Peanuts special before or after. Schultz even allowed Charlie Brown to end up on top for once. While there were some instances in which he came out on top in other Peanuts specials, those moments are rare. This being one of those rare instances, it makes the story all the more special. And together with the rest of the story, it makes the whole of the script behind Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown the key element that makes this DVD worth the purchase by any Peanuts fan.

Charlies Schulz’s script for Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown is one of the key elements that makes this movie worth the purchase by any Peanuts fan. It is not the only reason that audiences will enjoy it, either in its new DVD release. The movie’s overall look and sound is just as worth noting. And it will be discussed shortly. For now the focus will turn to the movie’s one glaring negative.That negative is the fac that the movie’s presentation is a bare bones presentation. There is no bonus TV special. There is no feature offering any background on what led to the story’s creation or any other bonuses. All audiences get aside from the movie is the movie’s original trailer. Had this piece been released like this from say Warner Home Video, that would have been expected. That’s because of WHV’s track record in recent years with both releases for families and grown-ups alike. But having been released by Paramount, one of “Hollywood’s Power 5 Studios,”it comes as something as a disappointing surprise. The movie comes in at a little more than an hour. So that had to have left some room for some extras. For whatever reason though, someone at Paramount decided not to include anything extra with the movie other than its trailer. One can only hope that when and if Paramount releases another Peanuts movie or TV special on stand-alone Peanuts movie and/or feature it will include at least a little more than what this one has offered audiences.

The fact that Paramount has offered audiences very little other than the original trailer for Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown as a bonus to the presentation is somewhat disheartening. It is disheartening considering the fact that every previously released Peanuts feature has included at the very least a bonus TV special and a little bonus featurette offering insight into the given presentations. As much as the overall lack of any bonus material hurts Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown’s overall presentation, at least audiences can look to the overall look and sound of the movie in its first-ever DVD presentation. It is presented in full 16:9 format instead of the standard 4:3 with the black bars on either side. What’s more it looks and sounds just as good as it did in its debut roughly thirty-eight years ago. This is something especially important to note. It is important to note because in comparison to some re-issues out there, said re-issues show that very little effort was taken to properly restore them. They look scratchy and sound just as bad. But as in the case with every previously released Peanuts feature, this one looks and sounds just as great as it did in its debut. Nothing was lost along the way in terms of updating the soundtrack and footage. That continued dedication to properly presenting Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts features coupled with the “movie’s” original script makes Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown well worth the purchase even despite its glaring lack of any extras. This being noted, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown may not be the year’s best new DVD for children and families. But it is at least one of the year’s best.

Looking at Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown in whole, it offers audiences its own share of positives. Its script presents a wholly original story in comparison to the other features that make up the Peanuts universe. It also looks and sounds just as good as in its original debut some thirty-eight years ago. That is thanks to the efforts of those charged with resurrecting the movie. For all of its positives, it suffers just as greatly from its overall lack of extras. The only extra–if one wants to call it an extra–that the DVD boasts is the movie’s original trailer. That’s all. There is no bonus TV special. There is no extra feature offering any insight on the movie’s creation, etc. Because of this, major points are taken away. As troublesome as that lack of extras proves itself to be to the overall presentation of Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, it still doesn’t hurt it enough to keep it from being added to any family’s home movie collection. It is available now in stores and online. All of the latest information on this movie and all of the latest Peanuts news is available online now at:

Website: http://www.peanuts.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/snoopy

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PBS Announces Release Date, Specs For Grantchester Home Release

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ hit series Masterpiece brings to audiences another gripping murder mystery this spring when it releases Grantchester on DVD and Blu-ray.

Grantchester will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, April 7th. The story is based on author James Runcie’s novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. It picks up just after the end of World War II. Elizabeth II had just become queen. And Grantchester’s local priest was one of the town’s most respected figures. A lawyer in nearby Cambridge is found dead. A suicide note, a gun, and alcohol point directly to an open and shut case. But confessions to local priest Sidney Chambers reveals much more than Inspector Geordie Keating had thought. The confessions lead the pair to team up solve what turns out to be a murder. Audiences can check out a trailer for Grantchester online now via YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3tzFp5CeAU.

Grantchester stars James Norton (Rush, Death Comes to Pemberly, Mr. Turner) as Sidney Chambers. He is joined by Robson Green (Being Human, Mount Pleasant, Strike Back) as Inspector Geordie Keating. Also on board for this mystery are: Morven Christie (The Young Victoria, Death in Paradise, Sirens) as Amanda Kendall, Tessa Peake-Jones (Only Fools and Horses, Casualty, Doctors) as Mrs. Maguire, Al Weaver (Sherlock, Me and Orson Welles, Doom) as Leonard Finch, and Pheline Roggan (Soul Kitchen, Chiko, Kebab Connection) as the widow of lawyer Stephen Staunton, the series’ first victim.

Grantchester will be available Tuesday, April 7th on DVD and Blu-ray. The series is spread across six episodes for a total run time of 360 minutes. It is spread across two discs on both its DVD and Blu-ray release. The DVD set will retail for MSRP of $34.99 and the Blu-ray set for $39.99. Both can be ordered online along with a DVD/Book combo and Blu-ray book combo via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=grantchester&origkw=grantchester&sr=1.

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

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

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.

PBS Bringing British Murder Mystery To American Audiences This Spring

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS/Starz/BBC/BBC Two

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/Starz/BBC/BBC Two

This spring, PBS distribution will release a gripping new miniseries for all the mystery lovers out there.

Dancing on the Edge will be release on DVD an Blu-ray on Tuesday, May 5th. The story focuses on a group of black jazz musicians living and performing in London in the 1930s. The group, known as The Louis Lester Band is becoming increasingly popular all around London, even being asked to perform for the royal family. Along the way, American businessman Walter Masterson and his employee Julian catch the group and become very interested in it. It seems that everything is coming up roses for The Louis Lester Band. But then tragedy strikes. A series of challenges follows that threatens to end the group’s rise to stardom. The story was written by famed writer and director Stephen Poliakoff (The Lost Prince). It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, American Gangster, Children of Men), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc., Monsters U, Argo) Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, Watchmen, The Good Wife), Jacqueline Bisset (Bullitt, Murder on the Orient Express, The Deep), Tom Hughes (Page Eight, About Time, Cemetery Junction), Angel Coulby (Merlin, Imagine Me and You, Magicians), Wummi Mosaku (Philomena, Citadel, I Am Slave) and many others.

The mini-series’ six episodes bring its total run-time to roughly seven hours. Those episodes are spread across three discs both in its DVD and Blu-ray presentation. Audiences can check out a trailer for the mini-series online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcqnCz5chXs. The DVD set will retail for MSRP of $34.99 and the Blu-ray for $39.99.
The Blu-ray can be ordered online at: http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=58647396&cp=&sr=1&kw=dancing+on+the+edge&origkw=dancing+on+the+edge&parentPage=search#AdditionalInfo.

The DVD can be ordered online at: http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=58647376&cp=&sr=1&kw=dancing+on+the+edge&origkw=dancing+on+the+edge&parentPage=search.

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

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

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.

Hall And Oates Impress Again In Their First Time Together In Dublin

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Next Tuesday, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release its latest live recording Daryl Hall & John Oates Live in Dublin. The concert, recorded live at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on July 15th, 2014, is yet another example of why to this day Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leader in live recordings. For a number of years, Eagle Rock Entertainment has released some of the best live recordings out there for audiences. From rock (Stone Temple Pilots, BTO, Slipknot) to rap (Cee Lo Green) to jazz (Stan Getz) and points in-between, Eagle Rock has spanned the musical globe bringing some of the biggest names and best quality concerts to audiences right in their own living rooms. Now early in 2015 it continues to hold its reputation strong with the upcoming release of Hall & Oates’ new live recording. Being the very first time that the duo had ever performed together live in Dublin, the concert instantly becomes something special for long-time fans of this hugely popular pop duo. While not necessarily what one might call a career-defining concert, the show’s set list covers a healthy range of the duo’s seventeen albums. It even pulls from the pair’s 1977 compilation record No Goodbyes. Keeping that in consideration, the set list chosen for this first-ever concert for Hall & Oates becomes the first key element of its success. The stage presence not only of Hall & Oates, but also of the pair’s backing band is just as important to the whole experience. Audiences will not be disappointed in that avenue, either. And last but hardly least worth noting of the recording is its production values (I.E. the audio and video mix). Considering what looks like a relatively small venue in the Olympia Theatre, the camera crew and audio operators must have faced quite the challenge in setting up the cameras and setting audio levels. Their efforts paid off in spades as the concert looks and sounds just as impressive as any previously released live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment. By itself, the concert’s production values are what make the concert worth the experience. What’s the use of taking in a concert whose production values are muddy and rough? Exactly. That being the case, it shows why this show’s production values are as important as with any concert. Together with the show’s set list and the band’s stage presence, all three elements prove why Hall & Oates fans will enjoy this concert. It also shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leader in live recordings.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new Hall & Oates live recording is a piece that any of the duo’s long-time fans will appreciate. It also proves itself in the long run to be another example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live recordings. One key reason for this is the concert’s set list. While not necessarily what would be dubbed a career-defining set list, fans will be impressed with the mix of material chosen for the first-ever concert. The show’s set list goes all the way back to Hall & Oates’ sophomore album Abandoned Luncheonette (1973) and as recent as its 1984 album Big Bam Boom. pulling some of the duo’s biggest hits along the way. There is even one number included in the set that was released only on the duo’s 1977 compilation record No Goodbyes in the form of ‘It’s Uncanny’ and another taken from the 1983 compilation Rock ‘n Soul Part 1 in the form of ‘Say It Isn’t So.’ It all starts with a pair of the duo’s more recent hits in ‘Maneater’ and ‘Out of Touch,’taken from H2O and Big Bam Boom respectively. From there, H&O and company start going back in time beginning with that 1983 hit single ‘Say It Isn’t So.’ From there, the show’s set list hits on some of the biggest hits of Hall & Oates’ career including the likes of ‘Family Man,’ ‘Las Vegas Turnaround’ and perhaps the group’s biggest hit of all time, ‘You Make My Dreams’ among a number of others. The set list reaches fifteen songs, the last two of which are encores. The total run time (trt) comes in at just under the two-hour mark. And while it comes in at just under that mark, it doesn’t feel the least bit short. The concert keeps audiences engaged, singing and dancing along in their own living rooms from start to finish. And the reason for that is also the second reason that this concert will impress any long-time H&O fan, the band’s stage presence.

The set list chosen for Hall & Oates’ first-ever performance together in Dublin is itself reason enough for long-time fans to pick up this new live recording. As with any live performance, a set list is just that without a quality show on the part of the performer(s). In the case of Hall & Oates (and the duo’s backing band), the performance put on by the group makes the set list all the more enjoyable. One of the most memorable of moments that defines that stage presence is a very simple moment in which drummer Brian Dunne is introduced to the audience in attendance. He is apparently wearing a soccer jersey that the audience recognizes. As soon as he stands up in his introduction, the crowd starts chanting and Dunne smiles, pointing to his jersey. Who would have thought such a simple moment would be so memorable and powerful? Yet it helped the band make a connection with the crowd. On the musical side of things, the band in whole exudes such energy in its performance of ‘Family Man.’ While it holds the original song in the performance, the band has noticeably stepped up in this performance. And the funky vibes of ‘It’s Uncanny’ will take audiences back to another age as the band launches into this piece. The band’s live take of ‘It’s Uncanny’ is just as good as its original studio recording if not better than said composition. And the band’s performance of its biggest hit of all, ‘You Make My Dreams,’ is a solid performance in its own right. Interestingly enough, one would think the band’s performance of one of its biggest singles of all would be a big production. But the band opts instead for a performance that while not subdued per se is not the massive production that one would expect. Interestingly enough, because the band saves its energy for the last bars of the song, it makes this moment all the more special and memorable. Whether for that memorable moment or for the band’s performances of ‘Family Man,’ ‘It’s Uncanny’ or any of the moments not noted here, it can be said with ease that the stage presence of Daryl Hall, John Oates, and the duo’s fellow musicians throughout the concert presented here makes the set list and in turn the performance in whole all the more enjoyable for fans.

The set list and performance of said set list in Hall & Oates’ new live recording go hand in hand in making this yet another impressive recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Of course without quality production values none of that would matter. But being another Eagle Rock release, it goes without saying that the production values incorporated into this concert are of the highest quality. This is especially important to note considering the fact that the Olympia Theatre doesn’t exactly look like the largest venue out there. Being a seemingly quaint venue, it had to have presented quite the challenge for the show’s camera crew and those handling the show’s audio. The challenge for the camera crew would include placement of the cameras for the best angles and shots without risking damaging any equipment. In terms of the audio management, such a seemingly small venue means having to work even harder to handle every single little nuance of the concert’s sound. The smaller the venue, the easier it is for sound to bounce everywhere and in turn make the overall quality of the audio rather muddled. Luckily, everyone involved was obviously more than up to the challenges put before them. The end result is a concert that sounds just as good as it looks, making the concert in whole even more another proverbial feather in the cap of Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The production values incorporated into Daryl Hall & John Oates Live in Dublin by themselves make this recording well worth the watch by any Hall & Oates fan. If not for the high quality of the production values, neither the show’s set list nor the band’s performance of said set list would be worth anything. Luckily, the audio and video mix proves in the long run to be of the highest quality,which is of course the standard for Eagle Rock’s releases. And because of those high quality production values, the set list and the band’s performance manage to prove their importance to the presentation overall. All three elements taken into consideration, Daryl Hall & John Oates Live in Dublin shows exactly why in the end every Hall & Oates fan will enjoy this recording and why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the leader in live recordings. Daryl Hall & John Oates Live in Dublin will be available next Tuesday, March 31st in stores and online. Fans may even be able to purchase it at the duo’s upcoming live dates. Speaking of those dates, Hall & Oates’ latest tour dates and news are available online now at:

Website: http://www.hallandoates.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/halloates

 

More information on Daryl Hall & John Oates Live in Dublin 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

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.

MST3K Volume XXXII IS Yet Another Must Have Both For Series’ Long-Time Fans And Classic Movie Buffs

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the most underrated series in television’s modern history. The series, which originally ran from November 1988 to August 1999, was on the surface a show that poked fun at the best of the worst of Hollywood’s history. On a deeper level though, it proved a show that actually celebrated that history in its own playful way. It is because of MST3K that so many then much younger audiences become the lovers of film that they are today. This critic is among that mass of cinephiles, or lovers of cinema. After its cancellation in 1999, it became relatively difficult to find the show anywhere, including online. Thanks to the efforts of Shout! Factory though, the series has been kept alive through an ongoing series of box sets, each containing four episodes from the series’ eleven-season run. And today, Shout! Factory released what is just the latest in that ongoing series of box sets in the form of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXII. Volume XXXII is yet another joy for any MST3K fan or film buff in general. The central reason for this is of course the films that were chosen for this collection. Shout! Factory has pulled four more best of the worst flicks. They are flicks that are so bad that they’re great even though their cast and crews would rather they remain forgotten.  Another reason that that it is another great set is the collective segments that break up the movies. The timing of Joel, Mike, and their cast mates make for plenty of laughs within themselves. And last but not least worth noting is the bonus material included with the movies. Cast member Frank Conniff offers new introductions to two of the movies. There is also a pair of background pieces on Space Travelers and Hercules that audiences will enjoy along with a pair of bonuses that focus more on the show. All of these bonuses by themselves offer plenty of enjoyment for MST3K fans of all ages. Together with the movies chosen for this set and the live action segments that break them up, MST3K Volume XXXII proves itself one more great addition to the collection of any movie buff and any MST3K fan out there today.

One hundred ninety-seven episodes and eleven years. That is how long the cult hit series Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran in its original broadcast. Throughout the course of time and those episodes, MST3K offered audiences more laughs than one can even begin to count. One of the reasons that it remained such a laugh riot for so long was its choice of movies and those movies’ associated commentary. That is just as obvious in the series’ latest collection of films. The movies picked for this collection include Radar Secret Service (1950), San Francisco International (1970)—which was the “pilot” for the short-lived series—Space Travelers (1969), and the granddaddy of all Hercules incarnations in the 1958 Italian import starring Steve Reeves. Gene Hackman probably doesn’t mind that Space Travelers is one of his far lesser-known pieces today, considering his body of work. And were he alive today, Gregory Peck would likely feel the same about the movie. Yes, it’s that campy. By comparison, Apollo 13 and every other cheesy space flick that has come along since puts this movie to shame. Yet it’s so bad that one can’t help but watch. By contrast, the 1958 Italian import of Hercules is actually campy I nits own right. But at the same time, it is just as enjoyable as it is campy. It could even be argued that its camp is what makes it so worth the watch, again supporting the central argument of why this collection’s movie selection makes it another must have for fans of the series. Radar Secret Service is just as campy both in its story and in its presentation. The story sees a group of government agents tracking a shipment of stolen uranium through the use of (yup) radar. The acting is just as cheesy as the story. It is pretty much on the same level as B-movie king Roger Corman’s classic sci-fi flicks. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is os cheesy that audiences can’t help but laugh at it, in turn making audiences want to keep watching the movie. Still not enough? How about the standard cheese factor of the original Hercules (1958). The movie features one of the greatest of the demi-gods going on a quest for the mythical golden fleece. There is plenty of eye candy for the ladies. And for the guys, there is even an island populated by nothing but women that allegedly mate with men who come there and then kill them. And then there’s the over-the-top action of San Francisco International that takes place at a San Francisco airport. Of course as dumbed down and cheesy as that seems, there is plenty of material out there today that is even less intelligent offered to audiences. Keeping that in mind, it actually makes the likes of San Francisco International and the rest of this set’s movie’s all the more entertaining and important to its enjoyment.

The movies that were chosen for MST3 Volume XXXII are each equally entertaining in their own right. By themselves, they will offer their own share of laughs for both long-time fans of the series and for classic movie buffs alike. Of course by themselves, the movies can only offer but so many laughs. The segments that break up the movies (and the riffing during the movies) add to the laughs. Audiences will laugh uproariously when Crow and the rest of his robot buddies try to bring Mike back to himself in the skits used between Radar Secret Service. Their attempt to re-create his high school class reunion is a prime example of how the show’s mid-movie skits will leave audiences in stitches. Tom Servo’s speech between segments of Hercules about the ability to line up the stars to make any constellation is just as hilarious. It is so funny because it’s true. For eons, humans have passed down the knowledge of certain star clusters being specific patterns. Yet there are so many stars out there that it would be just as easy to take the same groupings of stars, line them up with other star groupings and make wholly different constellations. After all, who is to say that there couldn’t be a “sandwich” constellation? Audiences that watch this episode will get that joke. Speaking of jokes, the riffing during the movies expertly complements the mid-movie segments. In only a matter of minutes in Radar Secret Service, Mike and company take playful jabs at Harrison Ford, the classic 1975 sitcom Welcome Back Kotter, and even breakfast cereal Golden Grahams. If that’s not enough, there are jokes at the expense of the late, great Judy Garland and famed director John Sturges in Space Travelers (a.k.a Marooned). The writers playfully jab at Sturges that he had done much better work than Space Travelers, showing just how cheesy and over-the-top it was. There are plenty more jokes and riffs at which audiences will laugh uproariously throughout this set’s movies. They come so fast and furious that the only way for audiences to catch and fully enjoy them all is to pick up MST3K Volume XXXII. Regardless of whether for the noted skits and riffs or for others not noted here, audiences will agree in purchasing MST3K Volume XXXII that the laughs generated by each and every skit and joke more than make this collection of classic flicks a must have for any of the series’ fans and classic movie buffs alike.

The mid-movie skits and riffs offered up throughout the course of each of this set’s movies are a laugh riot. Between the zany skits, the jabs at all things pop culture, and the jokes in general, many audiences might find themselves laughing so hard that they cry tears of joy. That is thanks to the talent of the writers and to the choice of movies for this collection. For all of the enjoyment brought by the movies and the collective riffs and skits, they still are not all that makes this collection so fun for fans and movie buffs alike. The bonus material included with the movies puts the finishing touch on the set, proving without a doubt not only why MST3K Volume XXXII is a must have for fans and movie buffs alike, but also that this set is one of the year’s best new box sets for grown-up audiences. This time out, Shout! Factory has included a history on Space Travelers and its legendary director John Sturges and a history on Hercules producer Joseph E. Levine. There is also a fun little look at Frank and Trace’s trip to the U.K. for a sci-fi fan fest across the pond, and an equally entertaining piece focusing on the history of “Satellite News.” Space Travelers’ feature centering on director John Sturges spends a little bit of time going into detail on his body of work that included huge hits such as The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, and The Old Man and the Sea just to name a few. It compares those works to Space Travelers and its value versus that of this much bigger hits, explaining that is how the riff in the movie came to be. There is also an interesting point/counterpoint in whether or not its heads should have stuck with the title of Marooned or if going with the title of Space Travelers was better. For anyone that is a true lover of movies, this discussion in itself is sure to bring about plenty more discussions. Hercules’ feature centering on producer Joseph E. Levine is an eye-opener for cinephiles of all ages. It points out the movies that were brought to American viewers thanks to his efforts. As is noted in the feature, if not for Levine’s efforts American audiences might never have gotten to see the 1958 take of Hercules or another major motion picture in the form of Godzilla and other major foreign language films. Yes, Levine was even responsible for importing Godzilla. He is also the man responsible for bringing to audiences such hits as The Graduate, The Producers (go figure), and Darling among so many others. While it is not an extensive profile, this feature on Joseph E. Levine is still an important addition to MST3K’s latest collection of movies. It is just as important for any film history buffs, too. This feature and the piece on Space Travelers’ history are the central bonus features included in this set. That is not to discount the video post card that is Frank and Trace’s trip to London. or the “Satellite News” feature included in San Francisco International. Frank and Trace’s overseas trip serves to show the continued popularity of MST3K not just in America but around the world. That by itself is quite the statement. And speaking of statements, such a statement partnered with each and every other element noted here shows exactly why MST3K Volume XXXII is a must have for any of the series’ fans and for any classic movie buff. What’s more, everything noted here proves why this box set belongs on every critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups come December.

Whether for the movies chosen for the set, the mid-movie skits included in each episode and the riffing during the movies, or for the bonus material, MST3K Volume XXXII proves itself clearly to be a must have for any long-time fan of this cult favorite series. It also proves to be just as much of a must have for any classic movie buff out there. MST3K Volume XXXII is available in stores and online now and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-comedy/mst3k-volume-xxxii. 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

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.

History, Lionsgate Announce Release Date, Specs For Sons Of Liberty

Courtesy:  History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy:  History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History Channel/Lionsgate

Officials with History Channel announced this week that the network’s latest mini-series Sons of Liberty will be released this spring.

History Channel will release Sons of Liberty on DVD + Digital combo pack and Blu-ray + Digital HD on Tuesday, May 26th. The epic five-hour mini-series focuses on the events of the American Revolution including: Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride, the Boston Tea Party, The Battle of Lexington, and much more. Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Dorian Grey) leads the cast in the role of patriot Sam Adams. He is joined by Dean Norris (Breaking Bad, Under The Dome, Little Miss Sunshine), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist, 90210, Dirt), Michael Raymond James (Jack Reacher, Once Upon A Time, True Blood), Rafe Spall (Prometheus, Life of Pi, Shaun of the Dead), Henry Thomas (Gangs of New York, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Legends of the Fall), Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, The Amazing Spiderman 2), Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Vegas, Men in Trees), and Emily Berrington (24: Live Another Day, The White Queen, The Inbetweeners 2).

Along with the series’ main presentation, the Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and the DVD + Digital combo pack will both include a handful of bonuses for audiences. Those bonuses include a “Making Of” featurette, a feature on the central figures of the revolution, and a piece focusing on the special effects that helped bring the battles of the revolution to life. The full list of bonus materials is noted below:

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • “Lensing Liberty: The Making of Sons of Liberty” featurette
  • “Men of Independence: The Historic Figures of Sons of Liberty” featurette
  • “The Choreography of War: Creating the Battles and SPFX of Sons of Liberty” featurette

Sons of Liberty will be available on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack Tuesday, May 26th. The Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $29.99 and the DVD + Digital combo pack for $26.98. Audiences can check out a trailer for Sons of Liberty online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS6GcKFm9og&feature=youtu.be.

More information on this and other titles from History Channel is available online at:

Website: http://www.history.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HISTORY

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.

Anchor Bay To Release New WWII Drama This Spring

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/Amplify Releasing

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Amplify Releasing

World War II is known today as one of the worst conflicts in human history. The destruction caused by the war and the war’s human cost was devastating to say the least. We have that knowledge thanks to those that survived and through extensive documentation both on paper and film. The combination of these elements has in many cases been translated into some of the most powerful and memorable stories of all time. Stories like that of Oskar Schindler, General George S. Patton, Jr., the battle of Midway, and the crew of the famed Memphis Belle are just some of those countless yet powerful stories that have come from one of the world’s worst conflicts. Now this spring, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Amplify Releasing will add another equally powerful story to those ranks when it releases the human drama Against The Sun.

Against The Sun will be released on DVD Tuesday, May 5th. The movie follows the story of three U.S. Navy airmen that crashed in the Pacific in the early days after America entered the war. After crashing in the middle of the Pacific without any food, water, or possible chance of help, pilot Harold Dixon (Garret Dillahunt—Deadwood, 12 Years a Slave, No Country For Old Men), bombardier Tony Pastula (Tom Felton—the Harry Potter franchise, Get Him to the Greek, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and radioman Gene Aldrich (Jake Abel—Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Host, The Lovely Bones) must come together to survive. The trio faces not just the dangers of the open sea but its own emotional struggles, too as it floats thousands of miles from land. If this sounds familiar, it should. An equally well-known story is that of the crew of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which was sunk by a Japanese sub, leading to the greatest loss of life at sea in U.S. Naval history. The 900 survivors of the sinking faced very similar challenges. Their story was turned into a made-for-TV movie in 1991 titled Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. There is also a major motion picture centered on the ship in the works that will star Nicholas Cage. Getting back to Against The Sun, it will include a handful of bonus material including a behind-the-scenes featurette, a piece on the movie’s costuming, the movie’s special effects and more. The full list on bonuses is noted below:

  • A Behind-The-Scenes Look
  • A Plane Takes Flight
  • Starving at Sea
  • Working on Water
  • F/X: On Set and Off
  • Blisters, Burns, and Bites
  • Dressing The Part

Against The Sun will be available on DVD Tuesday, May 5th. It will retail for MSRP of $22.98. Its run time is ninety-nine minutes. More information on Against The Sun and other titles from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay

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.