PBS Distribution Announces Release Date For ‘The Tunnel: Season 1’

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

PBS Distribution has announced the release date for PBS’ new political crime thriller The Tunnel.

The Tunnel will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, August 9th.  The movie stars Stephen Dillane (The Hours, Game of Thrones, King Arthur) as lead character Detective Karl Roebuck.  Roebucks is investigating the death of a prominent French politician who was found in the middle of the fame Channel Tunnel, straddling the border between England and France.  It is up to Roebuck and his partner Elise Wasserman (Clemence Poesy—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I & II, 127 Hours) to solve the mystery of the politician’s death.  Things take a gripping turn when a shocking discovery is made at the scene of the crime.  The discovery forces both French and British police to put aside their differences and work together in order to solve the case while Roebuck and Wasserman are pulled ever-deeper into the case.

The Tunnel’s run time is 450 minutes spread across 3 discs.  The DVD set will retail for MSRP of $49.99 and the Blu-ray set for $59.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on The Tunnel is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website:  http://www.thetunnelmovie.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thtunnelmovie

 

 

 

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PBS Kids’ New ‘Peg + Cat’ DVD Is In Fact Another “Out Of This World” Collection

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS Kids/PBS

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS Kids/PBS

School is currently out for most students across the country.  But even with children being out on vacation, it is never too soon to instill a little education with their summer fun.  That’s where PBS Kids comes into play.  PBS Kids has already released a handful of family friendly DVDs that will both entertain and educate audiences of all ages this summer.  Earlier this month it released yet another new family friendly offering in the form of Peg + Cat’s new DVD Out Of This World.  This latest offering from the award-winning series is much smaller than its predecessors.  But it still offers plenty to be appreciated beginning with its featured stories.  That will be discussed shortly.  The lessons that are contained therein are just as important to note in the collection’s bigger picture as the stories in which the lessons are presented.  The bonus material that is included in the set rounds out the collection’s most important elements.  It brings everything full circle here and shows together with the featured stories and lessons why the DVD is, in whole yet a rather aptly titled collection.

Peg + Cat: Out Of This World is an aptly titled new collection from the award-winning PBS Kids series.  That is because it proves in whole that it is in fact an out of this world set, even as small as it may be.  This is proven in part through the stories that make up the main body of the disc.  Unlike previous Peg + Cat DVD collections, this one is much smaller than its predecessors in regards to its stories.  It features only for stories, whereas the majority of its predecessors feature twice that number.  Not every collection does.  But the majority of those collections do double up on that story count.  Even featuring only four episodes it still doesn’t detract from the collection.  That is because the stories are original and also interconnected.  Each story sees Peg and her furry, blue friend visiting their alien pal Richard, who lives on the purple planet for different reasons.  “The Doohickey Problem” sees Peg and Cat having to fix their rocket ship because it has broken.  And it is up to Richard to help them.  The duo visits him yet again in “The Long Line Problem” as he waits to get the latest new yellow gadget.  This is an especially funny episode for parents because it is obvious that the writers were poking fun at Apple and the people who wait so rabidly for the latest new Apple gadget even if they don’t know entirely what it does.  In “Richard The Third” Peg and Cat have to help motivate Richard as he competes with his siblings (who just happen to also be named Richard).  The story plays on the practice of people being called “the first,” the second,” and so on.  The set’s final episode “The T-Ball Problem” joins Richard with Peg and Cats T-Ball team in order to take on another team for the purple planet’s “world series.”  It’s a fitting way to not only entertain and educate young audiences (and even some older audiences thanks to its lesson) but also build hype over MLB’s road to the “second season” now that said annual road is being paved once again.  All four stories have their own identity separate from the others.  But they are all connected by one underlying thread—that of Peg and Cat’s visits with Richard.  The fact that the people at PBS Kids and PBS Distribution were able to connect all four episodes together all while maintaining the episodes’ identities is impressive in its own right.  It shows again that while the set boasts only four stories, they are still four stories that will keep audiences of all ages entertained and educated from beginning to end.  The stories are collectively just part of what makes this latest collection of Peg + Cat episodes so enjoyable.  The lessons that are tied into the stories are just as important to note as the stories that are featured within each episode.

The stories that make up the main body of Peg + Cat: Out Of This World are in their own right hugely important to the DVD’s overall presentation.  That is because each story has its own identity yet is connected to the others by the central thread of Peg and Cat visiting Richard in each story.  The balance presented therein makes the stories their own clearly important part to the disc’s presentation.  The lessons that are tied into each story are just as important to the collection’s presentation as the stories themselves.  The lessons presented here are not just the standard math lessons either.  The value of teamwork is taught alongside elementary level counting skills in “The Doohickkey Problem.”  “Richard The Third” presents an equally lesson about self-confidence and sense of self alongside its own elementary counting lesson.  “The Long Line Problem” and “The T-Ball Problem” are the only stories presented here that focus primarily on math.  The prior teaches a basic lesson about ordinal numbers while the latter presets a basic lesson about statistics.  Whether for the math lessons, the more personal lessons, or for both, it can be said that the lessons in whole add their own element to the collection.  It clearly shows that continued effort by The Fred Rogers Company to instill that sense of self among audiences (and do so in a way that doesn’t exactly mirror the lessons from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) all while also teaching valuable lessons, proving the importance of math in everyday life on a level that makes that importance accessible by younger audiences.  There is no denying the impact that this balance of education (both socially and in terms of math) plays in the bigger picture of this collection.  Together with the set’s featured episodes the two elements strengthen the DVD’s presentation even more.  They still are not its only important elements.  The bonus material that is included in the set is just as important to note as the set’s featured stories and their related lessons.

The stories that make up the main body of PBS Kids’ new Peg + Cat collection are undeniably important to the collection’s presentation.  The social and mathematical lessons that are tied into the episodes are just as important to its collection as the stories themselves.  They are not the collection’s only important elements, though.  The bonus material that is included in the set is just as important to the collection’s presentation as its stories and lessons.  That is because the bonus material is made up of lessons that drive home the concepts presented within each of the stories and lessons.  They encourage parents and teachers to work with children in order to drive home those lessons, too.  “Monster Math” is one of those bonuses.  It drives home the basic counting lesson presented in “The Doohickey Problem” and “Richard The Third” by having an adult work with a child to build a “monster”–much like the one on the purple planet, who loves all things yellow—out of an empty tissue box and construction paper.  The adult then cuts up the construction paper even more, putting numbers on each piece before giving those pieces to the child.  From there, the adult calls out the numbers for the child to find and then feed to the monster.

“Triple Addition” is another of the set’s bonus features.  It, too echoes the basic counting lesson presented in “The Doohickey Problem.”  It does so by having children and parents find household items in order to make their own patterns.  The suggested items include candy (to make the lesson educational and tasty), pasta (in its various forms), and different colored and shaped blocks just to name a few.  Parents and children can use those suggestions or find their own items.  Over time parents and children can build pattern recognition skills using any number and type of items.

“Marble Mayhem” is the last of the bonuses included in the set.  This bonus lesson uses dice, marbles, (or whatever item parents and children choose) and a cup.  It is a multi-player game that teaches counting skills by having children roll the dice and put the matching number of marbles into their respective cups.  The first child to fill his or her cup wins the game.  As is noted in the activity, younger children can use just one die while older children can use a pair of dice.  It is a simple game that is sure to entertain and educate any child.  That is not to discount “Triple Addition” or “Monster Math” either.  All three bonus activities offers its own education and entertainment for the whole family.   Those bonus activities couple with the set’s stories and their associated lessons to make this collection in whole yet another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  They come together to make it a collection that truly is “out of this world” whether used in the classroom or the living room.

Peg + Cat: Out Of This World is yet another impressive collection from the award-winning PBS Kids series.  It is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library that is in fact rather aptly titled.  That is due in part to the interconnected stories which make up the body of the DVD’s presentation.  The lessons that are tied into each story are just as important to note as the stories themselves in noting what makes the DVD so impressive.  The bonus activities that are included with the collection round out its most important elements and bring everything full circle.  They join with the set’s stories and their associated lessons to ensure children’s (and even adults’) entertainment and education from beginning to end, proving again why this set is so “out of this world.”  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this DVD is available online now along with lots more Peg + Cat activities, games, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/peg

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

 

 

 

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‘Endgame’ Makes Plenty Of Smart Moves

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The underdog story is one of the most overly story types in the movie industry today.  From Rudy to Rocky to Remember The Titans and beyond Hollywood loves visiting the underdog arena.  In all honesty, it is the view of this critic that Hollywood loves the underdog arena way too much.  That is because of the genre’s overall lack of creativity and originality. It seems that nine out of every ten underdog stories offered to audiences today present roughly the same story just in a different setting.  While that is a somewhat disheartening number to consider, it does at least mean that every now and then there is one underdog story that makes up for the other nine that are otherwise forgettable.  Earlier this month Shout! Factory released one of those standout offerings in the form of the indie underdog story Endgame.  The movie, originally released nationwide on September 25th, 2015, was released earlier this month on DVD and Blu-ray by Shout! Factory.  While it might not be the most memorable movie of its kind to ever be released it is still a worthwhile alternative to all of the other run-of-the-mill stories within that arena.  That is especially true in considering the movie’s story, which is just one of its key elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with the movie’s new home release rounds out the most important of its elements.  It completes the movie’s presentation in its new home release and shows once more why this indie underdog story is just as inspirational and moving as its more well-known counterparts and in turn, is worth at least one watch.

Endgame is hardly the first underdog story to ever be presented to audiences in cinematic history.  It is however, an underdog story that is just as inspirational as its more well-known counterparts.  In turn it is an underdog story that is worth at least one watch as is evidenced in the movie’s central story.  The story follows a young Latino boy named Jose (Rico Rodriguez—Modern Family, The Muppets, Epic Movie) who happens to be quite the talented chess player.  Growing up in the poor community of Brownsville, Texas, chess is the only thing that brings him any joy in life other than his grandmother (Ivonne Coll—Jane The Virgin, Lean on Me, The Godfather: Part II).  That is because he is living in the shadow of his older brother Miguel (Xavier Gonzalez—Between Us, Walk Away, Stories of the Paranormal).  Miguel is a rising soccer star and everybody knows and loves him.  They expect Jose to be just like Miguel.  But when Miguel is killed in a late night car crash, life changes for everyone, including Jose and his divorcee mother.  Chess becomes even more Jose’s escape and his source of strength.  The story eventually sees Jose and his team mates in his school’s chess team inspire each other and their entire community as they make their way to the state chess championships.  Even Jose’s mother and grandmother are inspired and moved in their own way.  What is most interesting of the whole story is that while the story does end at least somewhat as expected there is a surprise of sorts in the end, too.  That unexpected ending element is actually a pleasant surprise.  It won’t be revealed here for the sake of those who haven’t yet seen the movie.  But it is nice to see that writer/director Carmen Marron didn’t let the story remain formulaic even in its end.  Staying on that train of thought, Marron’s approach to her adaptation of the real life events on which this movie are based is to be just as commendable as the story itself.

The story at the center of Endgame is in itself worth at least one watch.  That is because it isn’t just another underdog story centered on a boxer, football player (or team), or sports team in whole.  Rather it focuses on one community’s banding together behind an unsuspecting middle school chess team in one of Americas most underprivileged school districts.  While the story’s “nothing to something” story line is ultimately not that original the story is still original in its own right since few if any underdog stories have ever centered on such subjects.  That is just part of what makes the story stand out.  Writer/director Carmen Marron’s approach to the story is just as important to note in considering the story as the story itself.  That is because unlike other screenwriters, Marron didn’t try to make Endgame into yet another run-of-the-mill, over-the-top epic underdog stories of which audiences are all too familiar.  Rather she made sure that the story maintained a certain sense of humility throughout instead of letting it become one of those almost pompous presentations that are so common among its more well-known counterparts.  At the same time, being a Dove Foundation approved movie it also didn’t have that overly cheesy vibe of so many other movies given the okay by the Christian-based film rating organization.  Rather it has more the feel of a general independent movie than one of its over-the-top big brothers or one of its cheesier indie counterparts.  In other words, it boasts its own approach, and in turn identity thanks to Marron’s approach.  When this is taken into consideration along with the story itself the two elements combine to show why Endgame’s story makes its worth at least one watch.

The story at the center of Endgame and the approach taken in creating the movie are both important pieces of the movie’s presentation.  Both by themselves and together, they make the movie worth at least one watch.  They are not the only important elements to note in examining the movie’s presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as that of Marron in developing the story.  Rodriguez, Coll, and Justina Machado are among the most notable of the cast members in considering the cast’s work.  Whether alone or together, each actor puts forth an admirable performance throughout the movie.  Thanks to Rodriguez’s performance, so many younger audiences will be able to relate to Jose regardless of nationality.  Even older audiences may find themselves being able to relate to Jose.  That is because so many people have faced the same sibling issues that Jose faced and the related frustrations.  It makes Jose’s frustrations completely understandable.  Rodriguez’s handling of those emotions is just as relatable to many viewers.  Given, probably not every has broken a sibling’s trophy out of anger, but they have likely broken something belonging to a sibling out of anger towards said figure.  In the same breath, likely fewer people have ever had to deal with the death of a sibling (or even a child) at such a young age.  But there sadly are those few that have dealt with it.  Being that there are those who have, they will appreciate the pure emotion exhibited by all three actors.  It would have been so easy for each to go over the top in their portrayal of their respective characters’ sadness of Miguel’s death.  In a much bigger budgeted film, that might have even happened.  That’s especially the case since this has in fact happened in said movies.  But none of the trio went to that length.  It makes each individual’s performance all the more believable and engaging.  On a different note, the relationship between Jose and his grandmother is just as enjoyable to see.  Coll and Rodriguez have such wonderful chemistry when they are on screen together.  It is clear in watching them that thy really enjoyed working together.  Because they had so much fun together audiences will enjoy their performances just as much.  There are so many other performances that could be cited here in explaining why the cast’s work is just as important to the movie’s presentation as its story.  They include that of Rodriguez’s cast mate Alina Herrera (Marrying God, The Little Samaritan, Caribe Road) as Jose’s frien Dani, Efran Ramirez’s (Crank, Napoleon Dynamite, Eastbound & Down) take on Jose’s teacher Mr. Alvarado, and Jon Gries’ (Napoleon Dynamite, Taken, Men in Black) take on Principal Thomas.  Each actor puts forth his (or her) impressive performance throughout the movie.  Their performances couple with those of Rodriguez, Coll, and Machado to show even more clearly why the work of the movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as that of Marron in crafting the story.  They are not the movie’s only important elements, though.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s home release is just as important to note as its story and the work of its cast.

Writer/director Carmen Marron’s work in developing Endgame’s story and the work of the movie’s cast in interpreting Marron’s scripts are both important in their own right to the movie’s presentation.  Each element makes the movie worth at least one watch.  They are not the movie’s only important elements, though.  The bonus material that is included with the movie in its new home release is just as important to the movie’s presentation as its writing and acting.  The most notable of those bonus materials is the movie’s bonus behind-the-scenes featurette.  This is important to note because it is rare for a behind-the-scenes featurette to add any real value to a movie’s presentation.  More often than not they are little more than space fillers regardless of the studio.  But in the case of this movie it actually adds quite a bit to the movie’s presentation.  Audiences learn in watching this featurette that lead star Rico Rodriguez actually came into the movie with at least some knowledge of chess.  He openly admitted that he was hardly a professional.  But he did have at least a certain amount of knowledge and understanding of the game.  So being involved in the movie, he states in his interviews that has in fact served to strengthen his interest in the centuries-old board game.  That is quite the statement.  On a related note, audiences will be just as interested to learn in this feature that the movie was recorded in just 19 days, many of which couldn’t even be full, eight-hour days.  That is due to labor laws preventing minors from working eight hours in a single day.  Most of the 19 days in question turned out to be about 6 hour days because of those labor laws.  All of this is so notable because of how the movie turned out in the long run.  Again, it boasts its very own identity both within the underdog arena and within the Dove-nominated field.  It stands out in both fields both in terms of its look and its feel.  This is the case even with the movie having been recorded in just 19 days.  That is truly extraordinary especially for an independent movie.  Just as interesting to note is the fact that the movie was filmed completely on-site in Brownsville, Texas.  That adds even more to the movie’s believability.  By direct connection the revelation of the community’s welcoming nature towards the movie’s cast and crew is just as interesting to learn.  It echoes the togetherness exhibited by the community in the movie.  This shows once more the importance of the movies bonus material in regards to the movie’s overall presentation.  Even Marron’s own audio commentary throughout the movie adds its own interest to the movie.  When that engaging bonus material is set alongside the movie’s story and the work of the movie’s cast, the presentation in whole proves why it is, again, worth at least one watch.

Endgame is not the first underdog story to ever be presented to audiences either independently or on a major scale.  It is however, just as inspiring and moving as its more well-known counterparts past and present.  That is due to its largely original story and the approach taken in presenting the story.  The work of the movie’s cast plays its own part in making the movie worth seeing.  The same can be said of the bonus material included in the movie’s recent home release.  Each element plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered they make the movie more than just another underdog story.  They make it an underdog story that is worth at least one watch.  It is available in stores and online now and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-drama/endgame. 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

 

 

 

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Mill Creek’s ‘Bump In The Night’ Re-Issue Is Imperfect But Still Enjoyable

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

In October 2014 one of the most important eras in television’s history came to an end.  The era in question was that of Saturday morning cartoons.  For so many decades, children across America would get up every Saturday at the crack of dawn and watch cartoons while eating countless bowls of sugar-laden cereal until noon.  But on the weekend of October 4th, 2014 the final nail was put into the proverbial coffin for Saturday morning cartoons when The CW ran its final “Vortexx” programming block.  Being that weekday morning (and afternoon) cartoons had already gone the way of the dinosaur many years before, it was also the true end of a whole generation’s innocence.  The 24-hour news cycle took over along with streaming media and FCC demands for more educational programming.  Thankfully though, many companies out there have made it their sole mission to keep that age of innocence alive with DVD and Blu-ray releases of those classic bygone cartoons.  They include the likes of Shout! Factory, Scholastic, 20th Century Fox, and the focus of today’s review, Mill Creek Entertainment, among so many others.  While Mill Creek Entertainment does not normally have the best reputation within the home entertainment arena there have been times when the independent outlet has been worthy of at least some praise.  Its  re-issue of ABC’s short-lived Saturday morning series Bump in the Night earlier this year is one of those examples of Mill Creek deserving at least some praise.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging. That will be discussed later.  While not perfect it does have at least some positives.  The presentation of the episodes themselves is also worth noting in this recently re-issued set.  It will be discussed later.  Last but hardly least of note in examining Mill Creek’s new re-issue of Bump in The Night: The Complete Series is the series’ writing and its affordable price.  It is one of a small handful of saving graces for the collection.  Each element plays its own important part in the whole of this set.  Collectively they make Mill Creek Entertainment’s re-issue of the series a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library even despite its imperfections.

Mill Creek Entertainment’s recent re-issue of ABC’s short-lived Saturday morning series Bump in the Night is not a perfect presentation by any means.  However, considering how much worse it could have been (especially considering the company’s general reputation with re-issues) it is surprisingly worthy of praise.  That is due in large part to the company’s overall packaging of the series.  Each of the series’ two seasons is presented on its own disc on its very own spot inside the set’s case.  This is a major departure for Mill Creek.  More often than not, when it presents multi-disc sets, it places them one atop the other on one single or in ordinary CD sleeves that are then placed atop one another in the same format as its other multi-disc sets.  Neither practice is ergonomic nor safe for the sets’ discs.  Keeping that in mind, seeing Mill Creek take the proverbial road less traveled here makes the company and the set’s presentation deserving of praise.  Now having noted this one cannot ignore a point at which Mill Creek came up short in the set’s presentation.

The packaging that is used for Mill Creek Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Bump in the Night: The Complete Series is deserving of praise in its own right.  At the same time though, that packaging is not perfect.  Each of the series’ twenty-seven episodes is listed on the cover of each of the sets two discs.  Thy are placed clearly within their given season, too.  This is where the problems begin.  While Mill Creek is to be applauded for doing this, one cannot ignore the fact that they are not listed on the back of the set’s box.  There is also no companion booklet to help guide viewers along the way with either episode guide or even episode summary.  On a related note the only bonus feature included in the set is the series’ special holiday episode “Twas The Night Before Bumpy.”  Other than that there are no bonuses to make up for the lack of episode guides other than the episode listings on each disc.  To that end the set’s overall packaging is hardly perfect.  But it deserves at least some points for effort.  It is not the only element that should be noted here.  The presentation of the episodes themselves is just as important to note here as the set’s packaging.

The packaging method used in Mill Creek Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Bump in the Night is a mixed bag.  It has its positives.  But it also has its negatives.  Considering this the packaging is not a total loss.  But it still could have been better.  Moving on, the set’s packaging is not the only important element to note here.  The episodes’ actual presentation is just as important to note as the set’s packaging.  The episodes clearly have not been touched in their transfer to DVD in this latest re-issue.  Though, in defense of Mill Creek Entertainment here, they don’t look that bad.  Given, they could have benefited from at least a little bit of touching up, but in the bigger picture of their presentation they look just as they did in their original broadcast on ABCs Saturday morning broadcasts from 1994 – 1995.  The look of the series—for those not familiar with the series–was something completely unlike that of any of its counterparts and even any show that has since come along.  It mixed together live action elements with stop motion/claymation for a look that was all its own.  It didn’t have that spit-shined look that so many animated series had at the time nor even more experimental look of a show such as Reboot.  It was its own, look.  And luckily it actually does end up looking quite interesting in its own right.  In turn it makes the episodes presentation deserving of its own praise despite, again, being slightly imperfect, too.  It still is not the last of the sets most important elements.  Last but hardly least of note in examining the series is its writing.  The writing is the set’s primary saving grace.

Mill Creek Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Bump in the Night is not a perfect re-issue.  But it is still deserving of at least some praise in considering.  That is determined in considering the set’s packaging and the look of the series’ episodes.  Neither is perfect by any means.  But they could also have been much worse.  That’s especially considering Mill Creek Entertainment’s overwhelming reputation.  Having examined both of the noted elements there is just one more element to examine here.  That element is the series’ overall writing.  Just as the series’ look was completely unlike that of any other children’s series at the time so was its writing.  In regards to its writing it was a partly goth-style show that would have (perhaps) made even Tim Burton proud.  It follows Mr. Bumpy (Jim Cummings—The Lion King, CatDog, Transformers Rescue Bots) and his pals Squishington (Rob Paulsen—Animaniacs, Darkwing Duck, Danny Phantom) and Miss Molly Coddle (Gail Matthius—Bobby’s World, Tiny Toon Advenures, Animaniacs) as they have all kinds of nocturnal adventures in the room of Mr. Bumpy’s 10-year old boy.  One can’t help but wonder, in considering this what if any role it had to have played in influencing the development of Pixar’s Toy Story.  And there are plenty of laughs to be shared in each episode along with important life lessons, too.  “Better Homes and Garbage” is one of the best examples of what makes the writing so impressive.  It is a classic Odd Couple style story that will leave audiences of any age laughing.  In the end, Mr. Bumpy learns, just as Oscar did in The Odd Couple the value of his counterpart’s friendship.  Therein is the episode’s important life lesson—valuing one’s friends.  On a completely different note, “Danger: Unexploded Squishington” doesn’t really boast any life-altering lesson.  But it does offer plenty of laughs as Mr. Bumpy realizes that his friend might have unwittingly eaten a bomb.  Spongebob Squarepants has a similar episode in which Squidward gives Spongebob a pie laden with a bomb.  So one can’t help but wonder here if the prior might have been an influence for the latter.  “Party Pooper” is another example of what makes the series’ writing so important.  When Molly wants to go to a party being held by the Cute Dolls, she learns an important lesson about being true to herself rather than trying to be what the Cute Dolls think that she should be.  It is a timeless lesson from which audiences of all ages.  These episodes are all included in the series’ first season, meaning that there are plenty of other episodes that could be used to cite the importance of the series’ writing.  Altogether the writing behind this series (including all of the great pop culture references within each episode) proves to be one of just two shining, saving graces in its latest presentation.  The other would be its relatively affordable price.  The set is retailing on average for about eight dollars.  When that and the series writing are set against the set’s overall packaging and the look of the show’s episodes the whole of the set makes it an imperfect re-issue but one that is still a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.

Bump in the Night: The Complete Series is, in its most recent re-issue, an imperfect collection.  But even in considering its imperfections it is still a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  That applies especially to families who have knowledge and respect for the cartoons that once made Saturday mornings so great.  There is no denying that its packaging in this new presentation leaves at least a little something to be desired.  Though, it could have been so much worse.  And while it would have been nice to see Mill Creek Entertainment do at least some re-touching in regards to the look of the series, it doesn’t look so bad that it makes the episodes unwatchable.  In fact one could argue that its original look still makes it stand out even today especially against television’s current sea of CG-based children’s series.  The writing behind the series and the sets pricing are the set’s saving graces.  The writing will entertain and educate (so to speak) audiences of all ages.  And the set’s relatively affordable price (averaging about eight dollars) will increase the odds that families will want to purchase the set and consider all of the previously noted elements for themselves.  Each element is important in its own right.  That goes without saying.  It has its pros and its cons.  But all things considered the combination of those pros and cons balances itself out and in turn makes this new re-issue one that its fans will want to add to their own home DVD libraries.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Mill Creek Entertainment’s online store at http://www.millcreekent.com/bump-in-the-night-the-complete-series.html.  More information on this and other titles from Mill Creek Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.millcreekent.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/millcreekent

 

 

 

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Time Life To Re-Issue ‘The Wonder Years: The Complete Series’ This Summer

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

There is good news for fans of ABC’s classic family drama The Wonder Years.

Time Life Entertainment has announced that it will re-issue the series in a complete series box set next month.  It is currently slated to be released Tuesday, August 23rd and will retail for MSRP of $119.95.  The new re-issue will feature all 115 episodes of the six-season series spread across 22 discs and 12 hours of new bonus material.  Those bonus features include: highlights from the cast’s first reunion in 16 years, a farewell set tour, Exclusive interviews and more.  It also features all of the songs originally used in the series’ 5 year, six season run including: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, and many others.  The series’ soundtrack in total comes to 300 songs.

Over the course of its six seasons on the air, The Wonder Years was one of television’s most popular series.  It earned a spot on Neilsen’s Top 30 in four of those seasons.  It earned an Emmy® for “Best Comedy Series,” and at age 13 lead actor Fred Savage became the youngest actor ever nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actor For A Comedy Series.”  The series would eventually go on to earn a total of 24 awards and be nominate for 70 more.  Those nominations and wins included: Emmy® Awards, A Golden Globe®, and in 1989 a Peabody® Award for pushing the boundaries of the sitcom format and using what were then new methods of storytelling.  Even after the show ended its run, its impact was still being felt.  In 1997 “My Father’s Office” was ranked #29 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.  The series’ pilot episode was ranked #43 on that same list.

The Wonder Years: The Complete Series will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, August 23rd via Time Life Entertainment.  It will retail for MSRP of $119.95.  More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

 

 

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Eagle Rock Entertainment To Release New Nina Simone Doc This Summer

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment has another new music documentary on the way this summer.

On Friday, September 2nd Eagle Rock Entertainment will release its new music documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?  The documentary focuses on legendary performer Nina Simone.  It will be released on separate DVD + CD combo pack, Blu-ray + CD combo pack and digital formats.  The story at the center of the new documentary presents Simone in all of her highs and lows.  It follows Simone’s life and career from young piano prodigy to student at The Julliard School of Music, to jazz and blues great and civil rights activist, to her later years.  The story is told through archived interviews, concert performance footage, and interviews with Simone’s family, friends, and colleagues.  The documentary, presented on DVD and Blu-ray is coupled with a compilation of Simone’s greatest songs on CD.  The songs in question include both studio recordings and live performances. The full track listing for the documentary’s companion CD is noted below.

 

MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? CD TRACK LISTING:

1) I Loves You Porgy

2) Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

3) I Put A Spell On You

4) Strange Fruit (Live in New York, 1965)

5) Sinnerman

6) Mississippi Goddam (Live In New York, 1964)

7) Little Girl Blue (Live In New York, 1964)

8) Don’t Smoke In Bed (Live In New York, 1964)

9) My Baby Just Cares For Me

10) Lilac Wine

11) Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair

12) Night Song

13) Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out (Live in New York, 1965)

14) Feeling Good

15) Ne Me Quitte Pas

 

What Happened, Miss Simone? will be available in stores and online on Friday, September 2nd on DVD + CD combo pack and Blu-ray + CD combo pack.  The DVD + CD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $21.98 and the Blu-ray + CD combo pack for $26.98.  The DVD + CD combo pack can be pre-ordered online now here and the Blu-ray + CD combo pack here.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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Virgil Films’ New ‘Back To The Future’ Doc Is A “Heavy” Presentation

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Throughout the course of its rich, ages-long history Hollywood and its major studios have carved out so many new cinematic highways on which audiences have traveled.  It is on those same roads that audiences have been introduced to just as many iconic cars and more.  In 1964 audiences were introduced to James Bond’s now famed Aston Martin for the first time.  Four years later in 1968 audiences were introduced to yet another iconic car in the form of the Ford Bullitt Mustang GT 390 Fastback.  And in 1985 audiences went for another ride with one of the single most iconic cinematic cars of all time in the form of Doctor Emmett L. Brown’s DeLorean time machine.  That car is the focus of today’s review.  Or rather, a new documentary focused on the car in question is the focus of today’s review.  Just last week Virgil Films released a new documentary title OUTATIME:  Saving The DeLorean Time Machine.  The roughly 63 minute documentary follows the efforts of a dedicated team of fans who made it their mission to reconstruct the car, which for years had sadly been left to the elements by the very studio that made it famous.  That story in question sits at the center of the documentary as its most important elements.  The transitions that are used to advance the story are just as important to note as the documentary’s central story.  The bonus material that is included in the documentary rounds out its most important elements.  It brings everything full circle in the program’s presentation.  Each element plays its own unquestionably important part in the program’s presentation.  Altogether they make OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine a must see not just for Back to the Future fans but for car nuts and film buffs, too.  They come together to make the program in whole potentially one of the year’s top new documentaries.

Virgil Films’ new cinematic documentary OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine is potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is a must see not just for Back to the Future fans but for car nuts and film buffs, too.  That is exhibited in large part through the story that makes up the body of the program’s main feature.  The story follows a group of dedicated Back to the Future fans who make it their mission to bring back to life the famed DeLorean time machine used in the filming of the beloved film series (and apparently its animated spinoff, too as audiences will learn in watching this documentary).  As the story goes, the car in question was Universal’s “A” car.  It was one of three that were used in the filming of the original trilogy and is the only one of the three cars that survived the filming.  The problem is that the car was largely neglected in the years following the trilogy’s filming.  If it wasn’t being used at special events and around the Universal back lot, it was being left open to the elements and overzealous fans, many of whom picked pieces of the car and took them home for themselves.  So, as the story presents, it was up to these dedicated fans to reconstruct the car to its original, pristine condition.  It was anything but an easy chore, too.  It took the team a whole year to find get the job done.  From looking through military surplus yards to contacting fans who had taken pieces of the original car (including the original flux capacitor) to even building parts from scratch and more the reconstruction team had quite the job in store.  Lead man Joe Walser made certain, too that the car was rebuilt right down to the smallest detail.  Perhaps most incredible of all is that not a single member of the team was paid for its efforts.  One man drove three hours either way from beginning to end while another even flew 7 hours at one point and was instantly put right to work upon arrival.  The end result of the team’s efforts is incredible to see.  Interestingly enough had Universal taken more care of the DeLorean, this documentary might have ironically never happened.  But now thanks to the efforts of the build team, it does exist.  Not only that but the DeLorean now sits in one of the world’s most renowned automotive museums for all to see after being moved from Universal Studios.  This is revealed in one of the program’s key bonus features, and will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject at hand, the story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is a key element to the documentary’s presentation.  It is only one of the program’s key elements.  The transitions that are used in telling the story, and advancing it, are just as important to the program as its story.

The story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is a key element in the program’s presentation.  It is just one of the documentary’s key elements.  The transitions that are used to help tell the story and advance it are just as important to its overall presentation as the story itself.  Viewers will be pleased to see just how smooth the transitions in question are.  Each segment is launched by the use of yet another iconic BTTF element, the clock from the clock tower.  As each month ticks by so does the clock tick back to zero.  Within each segment viewers are presented with a specific portion of the rebuild–the time circuits, reacquiring the pieces that had been picked from the car, the hunt to find other parts, etc.  The beginning and end of each segment is wholly clear, making the story in whole that much easier to follow.  That in turn leads to insurance of viewers’ engagement from the beginning of the program to its end.  It works with the story directly to make the presentation of the program’s central story key in itself to the documentary’s overall presentation.  It still is not the last of the documentary’s most notable elements.  Its bonus material is just as important to note as its story and transitions therein.

The story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine and its related transitions are both key pieces of this documentary’s presentation.  The story centers on the efforts to restore what is one of the most iconic cars in Hollywood’s modern history.  The transitions ensure viewers’ engagement from beginning to end.  While both elements prove to be undeniably important to the documentary’s overall presentation they are not its only important elements.  The bonus material that comes with the documentary is just as important as the story and its elements.  That is because the bonus material collectively brings the whole presentation full circle beginning with the “Petersen Automotive Museum” featurette.  This bonus features Joe Walser and a representative from the Petersen Automotive Museum discussing the addition of the DeLorean time machine to the museum’s collection.  Walser is so ecstatic as he discusses the car’s move from Universal Studios post reconstruction to the Petersen Museum.  He notes that he could not have been happier because unlike its time at Universal Studios, it is not encased in a giant box.  It is on display for everybody to see.  And as the museum’s rep notes, it is presented so that people can walk almost all the way around it as they admire it.  But it is also monitored very closely so as to prevent anyone from touching it, again bringing the story full circle since people originally taking parts from the car was part of what led to its near demise.  Speaking of the car’s parts the documentary also features a short piece discussing the names for the various parts that make up Doc Brown’s famed time machine and how said names came to be.  Walser and another member of the team note that many of the car’s parts were named by other BTTF fans, not by the people behind the cameras.  As a result of that dedication to the car and the franchise that made the car so famous, the names for the parts have, in turn, stuck to this day.  On a similar note, there is also a feature on sci-fi archivist Bob Burns and how his dedication to archiving and maintaining props and other pieces from Hollywood’s history served as the inspiration for Walser and others.  It is eye-opening to see Burns’ vast collection and the state in which the props remain today.  It is a compliment to Burns’ efforts to say the very least.  As if that isn’t enough there is also an extensive collection of deleted scenes that adds its own share of enjoyment to the program.  The bonus feature-length commentary adds just as much entertainment and insight to the documentary if not more than the other noted bonus features.  That aside, audiences will agree that each bonus plays its own part in the whole of the program’s presentation.  Altogether they prove to be just as important to the documentary as its story and the story’s related transitions.  All things considered they make OUUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine a must see for any Back To the Future fan as well as any car nut and cinema history buff.  It is the kind of program that would be a good fit on History Channel and even Velocity network because of that reach and the networks’ similar programming.  Considering all of this, the documentary proves to be such a solid work that it is potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.

OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is potentially one of 2016s top new documentaries.  That is due in large part to its original story and the transitions therein that ensure viewers’ engagement from beginning to end.  The story makes it a good fit not just on Blu-ray but also alongside programming offered on History Channel and even Velocity network.  The bonus material that is included with the program’s home release makes the documentary even more worth the watch.  That is because it brings the program full circle with its presented material.  Each element plays its own important part to the program, as has already been noted.  When they are set against one another, they show this documentary to be one that every car nut, cinematic history buff, and Back to the Future fan alike will appreciate.  Considering that reach and overall enjoyment, the documentary in whole proves to be potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is available now in store and online.  More information on this and other titles from Virgil Films is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.virgilfilmsent.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/virgilfilms

 

 

 

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.