Cohen Media Group’s Re-Issue Of Syncopation Hits All The Right Notes

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group/RKO Pictures

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group/RKO Pictures

Every year, any number of classic movies is re-issued on DVD and Blu-ray. The re-issues range from modern movies that come from the latter part of the 20th Century (the 1980s and beyond) and those that come from Hollywood’s golden era (the 1970s and before). Among that yearly mass of movies, some are sort of memorable. And then there are those that prove to be must have movies for any true movie buff. While 2015 is still very young, already one movie has been released that is more than deserving of the title of a must have for any movie buff. The movie in question is the 1942 classic RKO Pictures movie Syncopation. It was re-issued on Blu-ray and DVD February 10th via Cohen Media Group. Syncopation is a must have not just for any true-blooded movie buff but for any true-blooded lover of music (and more specifically jazz). While it has never been known as one of the major blockbusters of Hollywood’s golden age, it is still a wonderful work. The main element of this movie that makes it a must have for any true-blooded movie buff and lover of music is its story. Writers Philip Yordan, and Frank Cavett have crafted a tale from Valentine Davies’ original story that bucks the general trend of most romantic movies. Rather than putting the script’s romantic plot line at the center of the story, they instead make the movie’s music the center of the story. It is the central element off of which the story’s romantic subplot works for its own development. And just as the story’s essentially inverted story makes the movie enjoyable, so do the transitions used throughout the story. Audiences are presented with solid scene transitions throughout the movie’s nearly ninety-minute run time that make the movie’s central story easy to follow. The end result is a story that will not only entertain viewers but is also easy to follow. In turn, it will keep viewers engaged from beginning to end and is sure to, again, show why this movie is a must have for any true-blooded movie buff and lover of music. The largely original story and its easily followed transitions are both key elements of what makes Syncopation a must have for any true-blooded movie buff and lover of music. If they are not enough reason, collectively speaking, for audiences to pick up this golden age re-issue, the footage and performances included with the movie as bonus material is sure to convince audiences. Cohen Media Group has included as bonus material a number of classic recordings from the likes of Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway and others that equals out to roughly nearly an hour and a half in itself. The recordings in question are taken from their original tapes. And being that they have not been re-mastered, they look just as they did nearly a century ago. And that is not a bad thing, either. As a matter of fact, it helps the overall presentation of Syncopation in terms of taking audiences back in time. It is a wonderful feeling brought on by both that bonus footage and the movie together is a realization that Cohen Media Group’s new re-issue of Syncopation is indeed a must have for any true-blooded movie buff and music lover and one of this year’s best new re-issues.

Syncopation is one of the best new re-issues of 2015 and a must have for any true-blooded movie buff and music lover. This movie was never one of the bigger names from Hollywood’s golden era. But it is still a wonderful classic that any movie buff and lover of classic movies and music will love. The main reason for this is the movie’s story. Crafted by co-writers Philip Yordan and Frank Cavett, the movie takes a route not very often taken by screenwriters both past and present. Instead of just being another romance movie, Syncopation makes its romance story secondary while putting the evolution of America’s greatest music front and center. From the Dixieland and blues sound of New Orleans to the more up-tempo sounds of Chicago’s jazz scene and more, audiences get to hear for themselves the roots of the jazz community. Even better for audiences is that jazz legends Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Harry James, and Charlie Barnet all get some screen time along the way. Getting to see and hear these legends perform makes for an excellent introduction to them and their music for those that might not be so familiar with them or their work. It could be a doorway into a whole new world of music for that matter. And for those that are more familiar with them and their music, it is that much more reason to add this movie to their home collections.

The musical elements of Syncopation’s story more than make this movie worth the watch by anyone that has any love of classic movies and the rich history of Hollywood’s golden era. They are just part of the story’s whole, of course. They are the base on which the movie’s secondary romance story sits. The romance side of the story follows Kit Latimer (Bonita Granville) from her childhood in New Orleans to her adult life finding love, losing that love because of war, and learning to love again afterward. Director William Dieterlie didn’t allow this subplot to overpower the movie’s central story honoring what is America’s music, instead balancing both elements together. The end result is a story that proves to be unlike so many other romance stories both of its age and Hollywood’s current era and in turn one of the perhaps most underrated movies in Hollywood’s history. It is one that any true lover of movies and music should add to their collections should they not already own it.

The dual-lined story that serves as the body of Syncopation makes for plenty of reason for any movie buff and music lover to add it to their personal movie libraries. They are but a tiny portion of what makes it worth the purchase, too. Throughout the course of the movie’s story, director William Dieterlie and those behind the cameras make following the story especially easy thanks to the story’s scene transitions. The scene transitions are smooth dissolves. There is no jumping from point to point. Audiences will see this as Kit leaves her childhood behind in New Orleans for her new home. They will see it just as clearly when America is pulled into Work War I and the man she loves goes off to fight for her country, and after the death of her childhood nanny Ella. The examples could go on and on. But it should be clear just how Dieterlie used this effect to help advance the story. And because he used them when and where he did, it went a long way toward keeping audiences engaged from beginning to end thus making for even more reason for true-blooded movie lovers and music lovers to pick up this movie’s much deserved re-issue.

The writing that went into Syncopation is key to its success and enjoyment. Yordan and Cavett are to be commended for the way in which they balanced the movie’s two separate plot lines. Dieterlie’s handling of the transitions (and that of those charged with assembling the final product) is just as important to the whole of Syncopation. Both parts are integral to the enjoyment of the story in whole. On another branch, the presentation that is Syncopation’s re-issue is made all the more enjoyable thanks to the recordings that make up the movie’s bonus features. Cohen Media Group has included a total of nine classic recordings featuring some of the greatest names in jazz. The names in question include: Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and a handful of others. The recordings are presented exactly as they were in their original presentations nearly a century ago. They look and sound surprisingly good considering the fact that well over eighty years have passed since they were originally recorded. Their collective run time comes to almost an hour and a half if not more than that, with the shortest (Jazz A La Cuba w/ Don Aspiazu) coming in at five minutes and nineteen seconds. The longest (St Louis Blues w/ Bessie Smith) comes in at fifteen minutes and forty-one seconds. The recordings aren’t just audio tracks, either. They are actual audio/visual recordings that tell stories alongside the songs. And they will definitely keep audiences engaged even by themselves. Lena Horne even makes an appearance in one recording, singing ‘Stormy Weather.’ She is presented singing her song inside a house, rain falling on the window. The pain in her voice as she sings against that backdrop makes the classic gives the song so much emotional punch. The other bonus recordings offer their own entertainment, too. And audiences will see that for themselves when they pick up Syncopation for themselves whether on DVD or Blu-ray. It is yet another reason that Syncopation’s new re-issue is a must-have for any true-blooded movie buff and music lover. What’s more it is that much more way in which it proves itself one of this year’s best new re-issues. Together with the work of the movie’s writing team and the work of those behind the cameras, it proves that without even the slightest shadow of a doubt.

Syncopation proves in its brand new DVD and Blu-ray re-issue that it is one of the best new re-issues of 2015. It proves to be a piece that any true-blooded movie buff and music lover should have in their own home libraries. It proves this through the solid work of co-writers Philip Yordan and Frank Cavett. It proves this just as much through the story’s scene transitions. they make both of the movie’s story elements entertaining and interesting for audiences. The bonus classic recordings that were unearthed for this re-issue make its presentation whole. That is thanks to the surprisingly impressive quality of their audio and video. The combination of all of these elements makes crystal clear why Syncopation is such a welcome re-issue. Their combination shows without a doubt why it is one of this year’s best new re-issues and a work that every true-blooded movie buff and music lover should have in his or her home movie collection. It is available now in stores and online. Audiences can check out a trailer from the movie and check out the movie’s image gallery online at https://cohenmedia.net/films/syncopation. A link to Amazon and iTunes is also available at this website for those looking to order or download the movie online. More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online at:

Website: https://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

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Mostly Original Script And Short Run Time Make Speak No Evil Worth At Least One Watch

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Forty-five years ago writer/director George A. Romero and co-writer John A. Russo brought to the world a little horror flick titled Night of the Living Dead. At the time that Romero ad Russo’s movie debuted few if any studios at any level were putting out horror movies of its ilk. In the decades since its debut, it has gone on to become the model for almost every horror writer and director out there. It has also gone on to be the seed for what has become one of the most popular sub-genres of the horror realm if not the most popular. Countless zombie knockoffs have been churned out in theaters ever since. And AMC’s comic book based zombie serial The Walking Dead has become one of the biggest shows on television today. With so many different zombie-centric movies and TV shows out there, it leaves one wondering how the industry can keep the success of the zombie sub-genre going without letting it get stale. Lionsgate presented one potential answer late in 2014 when it released the indie-horror flick Speak No Evil. It is quite obvious in watching Speak No Evil that it is an independent flick. But it is still a piece that is worth at least one watch by anyone that has any interest in or love of zombie flicks. The main reason for it being worth at least one watch is its story. Rather than turning adults into flesh-eating zombies, it’s the kids’ turn to take on that mantle. Adding to the interest is the fact that it is all the result of a biblical-era demon awakening from its slumber. It actually puts an interesting little twist on the far too oft used plotlines for previous zombie flicks and TV shows. And while the story itself makes the movie worth the watch, it isn’t without its flaws. The major issue with the writing comes in its continuity. The story has a tendency to jump from point to point throughout its roughly seventy-four minute run time. This proves to be somewhat problematic as it does bear the possibility of losing audiences along the way. Luckily it isn’t so problematic that it ruins the movie. That’s at least the case for those that can overlook this issue and try to keep track of everything going on. The story’s pacing is another issue that weighs down the movie. While it does keep audiences engaged, it also proves to be its own con, too. That’s because as fast as the story moves, coupled with the continuity issues, it is possible to leave audiences feeling just as lost as the continuity issues alone. And then there is the issue of the movie’s cinematography. It is just as jumpy at times as the scene transitions. All three issues together show that Speak No Evil is anything but perfect. It isn’t the worst horror flick ever released. But it also could have been better. Of course for all of the negatives found in Speak No Evil, it isn’t without its positives. One more positive that can be noted of this indie horror flick is its run time. The movie’s run time is roughly seventy-four minutes. That’s counting credits. Not counting its end credits, it clocks in at barely more than an hour. Being that its run time is so short relatively speaking, the issues that do arise throughout the movie are minimized enough to make the movie bearable and worth at least one watch. The end result in considering this is a movie that while anything but perfect deserves at least some credit for trying.

Speak No Evil is an interesting addition to the zombie world. The reason being that it isn’t necessarily the standard flick about flesh-eating zombies that audiences have seen again and again from so many other scripts. Rather than just being another one of those cookie cutter flicks, single-named writer/director Roze has crafted a story in this movie’s script that turns the attention to a younger group of individuals. He turns said younger individuals into the zombies instead of their older, adult counterparts in the case of this movie. Even more interesting is that in assembling his script, Roze has created an original way in which the children are turned into zombies. Rather than it just be some virus spread by victims being bitten, Roze’s script sees the children being turned into evil, blood-thirsty zombies by an equally evil, biblical-era demon. The demon in question wants nothing more than to cause the adults to kill the children by their own hands. Of course that does happen to a certain extent as audiences will see. It’s disturbing to say the least. But Roze is to be commended for going this route. The reason that he should be commended is the message that lies beneath it all. No parent ever wants to see harm come to their child. Yet great harm has in fact come to them. And it has led the adults in the movie’s small southwest town to do the absolutely unthinkable in order to save the town’s population. It makes for a rather interesting discussion starting point in watching this movie. If for no reason other than for Roze having taken such an original route in crafting his story, it makes Speak No Evil worth at least one watch.

The story behind Speak No Evil is in itself plenty of reason for audiences to watch this indie horror at least once. As interesting as the story makes the movie’s overall presentation, there are some obvious issues with the movie in whole that cannot be ignored. One of those issues is the movie’s continuity. Single-named writer/director Roze has crafted a script for this movie that has a severe tendency to jump around at points without any clear and concise transitions. This leaves a great possibility of losing audiences along the way. As prevalent as it is, throughout the movie’s roughly seventy-four minute run time, it is not so much of an issue that it would kill the movie altogether. That’s at least the case for anyone that can overlook this issue. So whatever script Roze works next, he should most definitely take this into consideration. In the same vein, the movie’s pacing proves to be just as much a con as a pro. The story’s pacing keeps the movie running and in turn helps to keep audiences from being too badly distracted by the script’s continuity issues. At the same time though, the pacing is just as problematic as it is positive. That is because coupled with the story’s continuity problems, it can in fact leave viewers feeling lost. It all depends on the viewer. Viewers that can manage to look past the issues of continuity and pacing are still faced with the issue of cinematography in this movie. The movie’s cinematography is just as much a problem as the pacing and continuity. That is because it works in tandem with those issues at a near breakneck speed. It’s enough to sometimes leave audiences feeling not just lost but dizzy, too. Sadly all three of these cons together take a lot away from the movie. Thankfully though, the movie’s run time makes up for that. Just like its largely original plot, the movie’s run time works to its benefit, making for at least one more reason for audiences to watch it at least once.

There is a lot to say in regards to the issues that weigh down Speak No Evil. That is obvious in the discussion noted above. For all of the issues that rise in watching this indie horror flick, they aren’t enough to make the movie completely unwatchable. That is thanks primarily to the movie’s mostly original plot. The movie’s run time is just as much to thank for its ability to keep audiences watching even despite its problems. The movie’s total run time comes in at roughly seventy-four minutes. That is counting its end credits. Sans credits, it comes in at barely more than an hour. It comes in at about an hour and maybe five minutes. So it really isn’t that long of a movie. Because it isn’t that long, the problems that do come up don’t occur so much so that they do major damage to the movie’s enjoyment. Coupled with the positive side of the movie’s pacing and its largely original plot, that run time makes the movie that much more bearable even with just a single watch. The end result of that mostly original plot and the movie’s relatively short run time is a presentation that despite its blatant issues that is worth at least one watch by any lover of both the horror realm and its zombie sub-genre.

Speak No Evil is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store at https://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=Speak%20No%20Evil. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: https://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

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Anchor Bay, Starz Conjure Up Second Season Of Da Vinci’s Demons On DVD, Blu-ray

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz Media

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz Media

Fans of the original drama Da Vinci’s Demons have reason to be excited this winter. That is thanks to Anchor Bay’s announcement Tuesday that it will release the hit drama’s second season next month.

Officials with Starz announced Tuesday that the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons will be released Tuesday, March 3rd. It will be released on Blu-ray + Digital HD and DVD. Season Two picks up where the series’ first season left off. Da Vinci continues to defend Florence against the powers that be in Rome. Meanwhile he also continues his quest for the fabled Book of Leaves and for answers about his mother. New enemies rise up along the way, too; forces that prove to be even more dangerous than even Pope Sixtus and his minions. Both the DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD presentation of Da Vinci’s Demons include a handful of bonuses to complement its ten-episode run. Those bonuses include a “making of” featurette, a recap of Season One, a look at the new sets used in Season Two and more. The full list of bonus material included on Season Two’s box set is noted below.

New Bonus Features:

  • New Sets
  • Creating the World
  • A Closer Look

The Journey Begins: Season 1 Recap

Da Vinci’s Demons stars Tom Riley (I Want Candy, Return to House on Haunted Hill, Happy Ever Afters) as famed inventor Leonardo Da Vinci. He is joined by Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Inbetweeners Movie), Blake Ritson (Rock N Rolla, Titus, Red Cap), Elliot Cowan (Happy-Go-Lucky, Alexander, The Golden Compass), Lara Pulver (Edge of Tomorrow, True Blood, Sherlock), and James Faulkner (Downton Abbey, Bridget Jones’s Diary, X-Men: First Class). The Blu-ray + Digital HD box set will retail for $54.99 and the DVD box set for $44.98. All of the latest updates on Da Vinci’s Demons are available online at:

Website: https://www.davincisdemons.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davincisdemons.starz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DaVincis_Starz

All of the latest information on Da Vinci’s Demons and other titles from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at:

Website: https://www.anchorbayentertainment.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay

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Lionsgate Announces Release Date For Manhattan: Season One

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/WGN America

Courtesy: Lionsgate/WGN America

Manhattan is coming home this spring.

Lionsgate will release the first season of its hit drama Manhattan on Blu-ray+Digital, DVD+Digital, and Digital HD on Tuesday, April 7th. The serial, which currently airs on WGN, is a historically-based fiction that follows the events leading up to the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb. It focuses on the scientists that developed the bomb and their struggles to balance their secretive operations with their own personal lives. The series stars Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards, The Blacklist, Beautiful Creatures) and Michael Chernus (Orange Is The New Black, The Bourne Legacy, Love & Other Drugs).

Season One’s Blu-ray+Digital release will be a three-disc set and its DVD+Digital release a four-disc set. Both sets will feature the same bonus material. That material includes a making of featurette—“Ground Zero: Bringing The Bomb To Screen”—episode specific commentaries, a featurette on J. Robert Oppenheimer, and more. The full list of the box sets’ bonus material is noted below. The Blu-ray+Digital box set will retails for $49.97 and the DVD box set $49.98.

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • “Ground Zero: Bringing the Bomb to Screen” featurette
  • “P.O. Box 1663: Creating a City that Didn’t Exist” featurette
  • “‘Now I Am Become Death': J. Robert Oppenheimer” featurette
  • “Recreating an Era: ‘Manhattan’Costume Design” featurette
  • Select episode audio commentaries with Cast and Crew

*Subject to change.

 

All the latest updates on Manhattan are available online at:

 

Website: http://wgnamerica.com/shows/manhattan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ManhattanWGNA/timeline

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ManhattanWGNA

 

All of the latest information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

 

Website: https://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LionsgateTV

 

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Transformers Fans Of All Ages Will Enjoy Shout! Factory Kids’ Latest Rescue Bots DVD

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory Kids will release the latest addition to its kid friendly Transformers series Transformers Rescue Bots this Tuesday, February 10th. Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is the sixth of the series’ collections released by Shout! Factory Kids and Hasbro Studios. Five previous collections having already been released, it is common sense that this DVD is just as worth the watch as the series’ previously released compilations. The central reason that it proves to be just as worth the watch as its predecessors is the collection of episodes chosen for the single-disc presentation. Six more episodes have been culled for the set starting with the series premiere “Family of Heroes.” The set also pulls in a second episode from Season One in the form of “Return of the Dinobot” that presents a Dinobot unlike anything most audiences know of from the Transformers’ previous incarnations. There is also a two-part episode from Season 2 and a pair of stand-alone episodes also from Season 2 to complement. All six episodes together make for plenty of enjoyment for Transformers fans of all ages. The same can be said of the writing behind each episode. Whether in the series premiere, the included two-part episode from Season 2, or for the remaining pair of episode, the writing in these episodes is to thank for their enjoyment. And last but hardly least worth noting of these episodes is work of the series’ all-star cast. Veteran actors LeVar Burton (Star Trek The Next Generation, Reading Rainbow, Captain Planet and the Planeteers), Jason Marsden (The Fairly Oddparents, The Garfield Show, Batman: The Brave and the Bold), and Mauriche LeMarche (The Simpsons, Futurama, Animaniacs) are joined by the likes of Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced, Sean Saves the World, A To Z), Steve Blum (Digimon: Digital Monsters, The Boxtrolls, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie), and Elan Garfias (Handy Manny, Chowder, Ni Hao Kai-Lam) among other names. And the interpretation of the episodes’ scripts rounds out the reasons that these episodes are so enjoyable. Regardless of the cast members’ level of experience, nothing but professionalism was shown in each episode, making easier suspension of disbelief and in turn the overall enjoyment of the episodes. By itself, the work of the cast in each of these episodes makes for its own level of enjoyment among audiences. Together with the work of the series’ writers and those charged with assembling the episodes, all three elements make Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure a great adventure for Transformers fans of all ages.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is not the first collection of episodes that Shout! Factory Kids has released from Discovery Family’s family friendly update on Hasbro’s classic franchise following everyone’s favorite robots in disguise. It is however a fully enjoyable collection of episodes. It is a fully enjoyable collection both for those that are and those that are not so familiar with the series. The central reason for that enjoyment is the collection of episodes pulled for the DVD. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series, every one of the series’ fans finally gets to see how the series started thanks to the inclusion of its premiere episode to open the whole thing. Audiences also get to see the writers’ vision of at least one of the legendary Dinobots as well as other early adventures of the Rescue Bots. The collection in whole offer loads of action and laughs for Transformers fans of all ages. The episodes by themselves offer loads of action and laughs for the whole family. That is thanks to the adventures that make up each episode. Keeping in that vein, the writing behind each of the episodes is to thank for making each episode so enjoyable.

The writing that went into each of the episodes on this DVD is just as noteworthy as the episodes themselves in considering what makes it so enjoyable. One way in which the writing proves so important is in the series’ premiere episode “Family of Heroes.” Audiences will note in this episode that at least one of the Rescue Bots—Heatwave—is not instantly fond of being on Earth. As a matter of fact, he would much rather take a mission on another planet than deal with humans who want to control them. Obviously they aren’t really trying to control the Rescue Bots. And eventually, Heatwave overcomes his mistrust as Cody and his family prove that they can be trusted. Yes, it’s a tried and true story element used in so many other series and movies. But especially in the case of this series, it’s interesting to see that things don’t start out with a full-on “happy-happy-joy-joy” vibe for the Rescue Bots or for the humans in terms of their relationship. It is just one example of why the writing in these episodes makes them so enjoyable. The writing in the two-part episode “What Lies Below”/”What Rises Above” is another good example of why the writing behind the episodes makes them so enjoyable. It could even be argued to be the best example of the disc’s episodes in terms of its writing. That is because of the amount of material that went into the episode in whole. Chief Burns and his brother Woodrow (voiced here by Mark Hamill—Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series, Codename: Kids Next Door) have to come to terms with the tensions built between them ever since their childhood. At the same time, Heatwave exhibits his own personal growth as the leader of the Rescue Bots as he and Optimus Prime work to get back to the others and get out of the volcano. At the same time, the writers pay tribute to Jules Verne in this episode as a hidden prehistoric world is discovered along the way. Through the whole story, none of the noted elements overpowers the other. The end result is a story that easily keeps viewers fully engaged, wondering what will happen next. The writers’ tackling of myths in “In Search of the Griffin’s Nest” and the classic theme of AI becoming sentient (and dangerously so at that) in “Movers and Shakers” is as enjoyable as any sci-fi story. Whether for the solid work on the DVD’s included two-part episode, the series’ premiere, or even that in “In Search of the Griffin’s Nest,” the writing behind the episodes included on Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure shows time and again why it is so pivotal to the overall enjoyment of the DVD. Together with the episodes selected for the compilation, both elements strengthen even more the argument in favor of this latest addition to the series’ already-released compilations.

The episodes tapped for inclusion on Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure and the writing behind each episode make a strong argument in favor of this new DVD. The work of the series’ voice cast is just as worth mentioning in the overall enjoyment of these episodes. From the series premiere to the episodes that followed, the chemistry and professionalism between the cast is obvious. Considering the cast’s collective years of experience, that should come as no surprise. That’s especially the case with lead stars Jason Marsden and Mauriche LeMarche. Marsden, who voices lead character Kade Burns, and LeMarche, who voices Kade’s father Chief Charlie Burns, breeze through their roles. The same can be said of fellow veteran LeVar Burton as he voices supporting character Doc Greene. Even young Elan Garfias (Cody Burns) impresses in his own right. While Garfias might not have the years of experience as Burton, LaMarche, and Marsden, he still shines as the voice of Cody. He handles his role in every episode with the ease and professionalism of a seasoned veteran. And together with his older, more experienced co-stars–including those not noted here–the group as a whole proves to be the perfect choice for each role. The choices paid off in spades, too with each cast member alone and together keeping viewers just as fully engaged with its work as the stories behind each episode. It is the last part of the DVD’s whole that makes it so enjoyable for Transformers fans of all ages. Together with the work of the show’s writers and those tapped to select the DVD’s episodes, all three elements together show in full why Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is yet another great collection of episodes from what is one of the greatest incarnations of the Transformers.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure will be available tomorrow, February 10th in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory Kids’ online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-jurassic-adventure. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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The Aviators Is Loads Of High Flying Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/Viva Kids

Courtesy: Cinedigm/Viva Kids

This critic has time and again publicly voiced a certain amount of disdain for the mainstream movie industry in its current era.  The reason being that Hollywood’s major studios have increasingly shied away from everything that once made it so great.  This includes not only live action movies but animated features, too.  While the movies that make up Hollywood’s live action fare have increasingly been little more than a jumble of prequels, sequels, and remakes, the major motion pictures that call themselves animated have been just as disappointing.  The central reason for that disappointing nature of Hollywood’s major “animated” features is their cookie cutter appearance. Whether from Dreamworks, Pixar, Disney, or another studio, the major “animated” motion pictures that have been released in the last ten years or so have looked alike.  And while the scripts behind those movies have themselves been original, it is the look of the movies that has hurt them more than anything.  For all of those look-alike features churned out by Hollywood’s major studios, there are smaller, lesser-known studios out there that pick up the major studios’ slack.  Such is the case with Cinedigm’s new family friendly historically based flick The Aviators.  This movie could not have come along at a better time.  While it’s obvious that computers played a distinct role in the movie’s creation, some of the movie’s animation actually looks like it might have been crafted by hand.  It’s difficult to say without full knowledge of its creative process if any of it was crafted by hand.  But the balance of those parts that were obviously handled via computer and those that might have been hand crafted is enough within itself to make this movie worth at least one watch.  The historically-based story behind the movie also plays its own role in the movie’s enjoyment, too.  And last but not least is the collective various formats in which the movie is made available to audiences.  It is available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, stand-alone DVD, and Digital HD.  Its availability in three formats gives audiences plenty of viewing options.  It is its own important part of the presentation’s success.  When combined with the movie’s look and its script, all three elements prove the Aviators a movie that flies quite well indie flick or not.

Cinedigm’s new indie family friendly feature The Aviators is something of an anomaly in the current era of the animated film.  In an age when so many look-alike CG-based movies are churned out each year by Hollywood’s Power Five studios, claiming themselves to be “animated,” this movie has come along and broken that metaphorical mold, mixing those too oft used CG elements with a design that may or may not be hand crafted.  The mix of those CG and potentially hand-drawn elements together makes The Aviators stand solidly among its mainstream counterparts.  In turn, it makes it a movie that is well worth the watch if only for that one reason.  Even if the elements that look hand crafted were in fact created via computer, their look is so close to something hand-made that one wouldn’t even know the difference.  That speaks volumes about the painstaking efforts on the part of those charged with bringing the movie to life. They are entirely deserving of every bit of praise given to them for those efforts.  It could even be argued that considering the end result of those efforts, the “animators” behind Hollywood’s more well-known CG flicks could take a lesson or two from them.  And with any luck, said lessons could actually result in a new birth of stylistic originality from Hollywood’s major “animated” movies.

The largely original and creative look of The Aviators is itself plenty of reason for audiences of all ages to check out this family friendly indie flick.  In the same vein, the movie’s largely original and creative story makes it just as worth the watch.  On the surface, it could be argued that The Aviators is just another movie based on actual events.  But the reality of the movie is that it is anything but.  Writer/Director Miquel Pujol and co-writer Iban Roca took one specific element of WWI’s bigger history and used it to craft this story of one group of carrier pigeons’ determination and how it helped the allies win the war.  Roca and Pujol don’t even attempt to call the movie a work based on actual events.  They just took the story of how carrier pigeons were used and used it to craft this largely original story. There’s not even any attempt at the over embellishments that are so overly common with its more well-known counterparts.  It’s just one more reason that audiences of all ages will enjoy this movie. As if it isn’t enough for audiences, the various formats in which the movie has been made available for viewers most definitely gives even more reason to applaud both the movie itself and Cinedigm.

Cinedigm’s The Aviators may not be a new release overseas. But here in the U.S. it is. It was originally released in Spain in 2008. Since its original release, the world of animated movies has taken a dramatic decline here in the United States. The cookie cutter appearance of American “animated” movies coupled with their own falling victim to Hollywood’s trend of prequels, sequels, and remakes has made them far less the viable force that they once were in Hollywood’s golden era. Taking this into consideration, it makes The Aviators all the more worth the watch by audiences of all ages. Making it even more worth the watch is that it is available for audiences in three separate formats. Those formats are a stand-alone DVD, a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and Digital HD. On the surface, it may not seem like that is much of a factor. But it really is. It shows that Cinedigm has paid tribute to all of the movie’s audiences regardless of the format to which audiences have access. Audiences with a DVD player can watch it on DVD. Those that perhaps have access to both a Blu-ray player and DVD player can pick up the movie in its combo pack presentation. What’s more, since there are apparently no mobile Blu-ray players out there yet, the combo pack lets audiences watch the movie on Blu-ray or DVD at home, and watch it on DVD on the go. Speaking of on the go, audiences with tablets can download the movie in its Digital HD format and watch it on the go, too effectively saving space in terms of perhaps packing for a trip of any length without losing the chance of watching the movie in the process. Understanding now the importance of the movie’s various formats, audiences should see clearly why this part of the movie’s overall presentation is so important. Together with the movie’s outstanding animation style and its original script, its various presentation formats solidify the success and enjoyment of The Aviators. Together, they show once and for all why The Aviators is just as good as any “animated” feature from Hollywood’s Power Five studios past or present. In turn, they show exactly why The Aviators is worth at least one watch by audiences of any age.

The Aviators is available now online and in stores. More information on this and other titles from Cinedigm is available online now at:

Website: http://www.newvideo.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm,

                          http://www.facebook.com/CinedigmKids

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StarVista Shines Bright Again Thanks To The Wonder Years Season Two

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

ABC’s The Wonder Years was one of the most successful and popular programs on television in its original run on ABC from 1988 – 1993.  Even after more than two decades since it finally came to an end, it still remains one of the most beloved series in television’s modern history.  As beloved as the series continued to prove to be since it ended its original run, it wouldn’t be until last year that devotees of The Wonder Years would finally be rewarded for their loyalty to the series.  The complete first season of The Wonder Years finally got its first ever full, proper DVD release last fall courtesy of StarVista Entertainment.  And this week, StarVista Entertainment has followed up that release with the series’ complete second season.  Season Two picks up where the series’ first season left off in every sense of the phrase, presenting wonderful, timeless episodes that are just as relatable today as they were in their original airings.  The acting on the part of the cast remains just as impressive as in Season One.  And the mass of bonus material including the companion booklet and the on-disc bonuses impresses yet again in its own way.  Each of the noted elements—the writing, acting, and bonus material—that went into the second season of The Wonder Years plays its own pivotal role in making this long-awaited box set so impressive.  All three together make the second season of The Wonder Years another must have for any of the series’ original audiences.

When it was finally released last year, StarVista Entertainment’s release of The Wonder Years: Season One proved in so many ways to be well worth the two-decade plus wait.  One of the main reasons that it proved so well worth the wait was the writing behind its episodes.  Much the same can be said of the writing in Season Two’s episodes.  The series’ writers continued in Season Two to present a series that was a serial without actually being a serial.  It followed the Arnold family’s growth.  But unlike today’s series, it didn’t require audiences to dedicate the amount of time that said series require of audiences.  It’s a model that sadly hasn’t been seen since the days of Home Improvement, Wings, The Cosby Show, and 3rd Rock From The Sun just to name a handful of series.  It’s just part of what continues to make the writing so impressive in the series’ second season.  The ability of audiences to so easily relate to the series concepts in these episodes makes the writing just as strong.  Every viewer will relate to the fallout from Kevin and Winnie’s breakup at the end of Season One because every viewer has navigated those same troubled waters in their own lives whether as children or teens.  In the same vein, the growing complexities of Kevin and Paul’s friendship throughout Season Two are just as real.  The strain put on the pair’s friendship when Paul starts dating in “Steady As She Goes” is a situation to which any viewer can relate.  It’s a situation to which both men and women can relate as both boys and girls go (have gone) through at some point in life.  And the emotional strain caused by a divorce as in “How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation” is just as much an issue to which so many audiences can relate.  It’s just one more example of how the writing behind Season Two makes its episodes just as enjoyable as those that made up the series’ first season.  There are plenty of other examples of why the series’ writing this season remains so solid.  From the special message in “Christmas” to the tensions which every married couple has had at some point even today in “Pottery Will Get You Nowhere,” to the already noted episodes, audiences will see from episode to episode just why the writing behind Season Two’s episodes is central to the set’s success and enjoyment.

The writing behind the second season of The Wonder Years is the center point of its success and enjoyment.  Even now in the twenty-first century, the situations presented throughout each episode are situations to which any family can relate.  That is because every viewer has found himself or herself in at least one of the given situations if not most.  That having been noted, the work of the show’s cast in terms of interpreting Season Two’s scripts adds to the episodes’ enjoyment.  At no one point does it ever feel like the cast is going over the top.  Maybe the reason for that is that the situations presented in Season Two were just as timeless then as they are today.  They were (and are) so real that it made interpreting their scripts that easy.  It is so easy to believe Kevin’s heartbreak when he learns that Winnie hasn’t fallen back in love with him and when he is struggling to keep his parents from fighting after Jack gives Norma no support as she takes a pottery course.  The frustration of the Arnolds in trying to keep up with the times in “Christmas” is just as real and believable.  Even today, it’s so easy for any family to see itself in the position of the Arnolds as they feel left behind by technology and those with the latest technology.  That reality made the acting just as easy for the cast just as the reality of divorce made the acting in the season finale so easy.  And because the acting in these (and all of Season Two’s episodes) is so believable, it makes the episodes in whole more believable and that much more enjoyable for audiences.  The believability of the cast’s acting coupled with the work of the script writers makes collectively for a big reason that The Wonder Years: Season Two is a must see for any fan of this classic series.

The work of the cast and the writers in The Wonder Years’ second season make up a big part of the reason that any fan of the show should check out this new box set from StarVista Entertainment.  While both elements are of equal importance to the set’s success, there is still one more element to note of the set that will impress audiences just as much.  That final element is the set’s collective bonus material.  The bonus material includes not just the bonus interviews and featurettes on the set’s fourth disc but the set’s companion booklet, too. The material included on the set’s fourth disc includes more interviews with Fred Savage’s TV parents Dan Lauria and Alley Mills as well as an interview with narrator Daniel Stern (Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Bushwacked). There is also a look back at the turbulent era in which The Wonder Years’ second season took place. The era in question was the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was a time of great social change for America, and as audiences will see in “The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Era” those changes were reflected directly in the episodes. They were part of the previously noted writing that made Season Two so enjoyable. Along with all of that, there is also a roundtable discussion with Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, and Josh Saviano in which the trio looks back on the events of Season Two and what those events meant to each one of them. The companion booklet that is included with Season Two maintains the standard set by the booklet included in Season One’s box. Simply put, it is more than just an episode guide. It outlines the episodes and gives some background on the episodes as well as some history behind the show and other little important tidbits such as current events and music history in relation to the episodes’ settings. The fact that the people at StarVista entertainment would strive to maintain that high standard even with the set’s companion booklet shows that they wanted to continue honoring the series and those that made it so great, and the show’s fans. Such an in-depth booklet coupled with equally in-depth bonuses included on-disc show together why the bonus material included in The Wonder Years: Season Two is just as important to its presentation as the episodes and the work of the cast. By themselves, the bonuses included in this set make for plenty of reason for the show’s original fans to add this set to their home library. Together with the work of the cast and the writers, audiences are presented with a set that is in every way a definite must have.

The Wonder Years: Season Two is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Years-Season-2-4DVD/dp/B00OGD8PX6/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1423063498&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Wonder+years+Season+2. More information on this and other titles from StarVista Entertainment is available online at:

 

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

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