No Mystery Here: Mysteries Of The Unseen World Is A Fun Film For Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy:  Virgil Films/National Geographic/Lockheed Martin/FEI/National Science Foundation

Courtesy: Virgil Films/National Geographic/Lockheed Martin/FEI/National Science Foundation

National Geographic officially released its new documentary film Mysteries of the Unseen World this week. The film, which runs barely over the half-hour mark, is just as good a fit for any family’s home collection as it is a science class at any level of education. The film’s aforementioned run time is the central reason that it is such a good fit in both the living room and the classroom. By association, its pacing plays its own role, too. It’s just part of what makes it so worth the watch. Its clear presentation of two separate yet similar topics adds to its enjoyment. For those that might actually have a 3D Blu-ray player and 3D TV will also appreciate the fact that National Geographic has presented the film in both standard 2D and 3D format. Both formats are both Blu-ray presentations, too. So regardless of whether or not audiences have the equipment for a 3D presentation, every viewer will have reason to be happy when they pick up the film in its 2D/3D Blu-ray combo pack. Whether for this reason, for the fact that it clearly separates the topics into two separate segments or for its relatively short run time, audiences will see in the end that there is plenty to like about Mysteries of the Unseen World.

National Geographic’s new documentary Mysteries of the Unseen World is a good fit for the living room and the classroom alike. As a matter of fact, watching through this program, it proves to be a piece that audiences of any age will enjoy whether in the living room or the classroom. That is saying quite a bit. It is just as valuable for a junior high science class as a freshman level college science course. One reason for this vast reach is the program’s run time. Its total run time comes it at just over the half hour mark. To be more precise, its run time comes in at approximately thirty-nine minutes. That time seems to fly by, too even with the amount of information shared through the course of the film’s two segments. That is a credit to those charged with editing and assembling the film. As much information is shared through the course of the program–the wonders of the microscopic world and slow motion photography, and its history and impact–at no one point does it spend too much or too little time on the subjects or their related topics. Speaking of those topics, they are another reason that audiences of all ages will appreciate this film.

The run time and pacing of Mysteries of the Unseen World collectively make this presentation well worth the watch in and of themselves. No time is wasted on either end of the clock covering any of the material presented throughout the course of the film’s thirty-nine minute run time. It’s just part of what makes this documentary feature worth the watch regardless of audiences’ age. The material itself adds even more enjoyment to the program in whole. It examines the world first through the lens of a high-speed camera, showing specific situations both slowed and sped up. Those situations include a balloon being popped, a rose decaying, a glass and pitcher of milk falling and breaking and more. Anyone that remembers Discovery’s short-lived series Time Warp and who might have actually watched it will appreciate this segment. The second segment, which is clearly separated from the first, takes viewers into the microscopic world, introducing viewers to otherwise invisible objects. Those objects are both good and bad. For instance, there is a close up look at a butterfly egg and at a highly bendable material that–as narrator Forest Whitaker notes–could one day be used to build the long talked about elevator to space. On another level, there’s a note of the bumpy microscopic surface of a lily pad which could be used as a model to keep planes’ wings from icing over one day. To these extents, the things that we can’t see become that much more incredible. And they make for an especially welcome starting point for just such a discussion, again, in a science class at any level. On the other side of the discussion is a microscopic look at some not so nice objects such as head lice and even a mite that lives on people’s eyelashes. It’s unsettling but so intriguing that one can’t help but look. And it’s one more way that the content presented in Mysteries of the Unseen World makes this documentary worth the watch whether in the living room or the classroom. Coupled with the film’s run time and pacing, the content adds even more punch to the whole, making it that much more of a must have at least for any science teacher and lover of science in general.

The run time and pacing of Mysteries of the Unseen World taken into consideration with the overall content and its arrangement makes collectively for more than enough reason for audiences to check out the new documentary from National Geographic. While the noted elements are each equally important to the whole that is Mysteries of the Unseen World, there is still one more element to note of the film that should be noted that makes it a worth the watch. The element in question is the very fact that the documentary has been presented in a 2D/3D Blu-ray combo pack. The 2D/3D Blu-ray combo pack obviously presents the documentary both in its 2D presentation and enhanced 3D presentation. Those that have the necessary equipment to take in the 3D presentation will see for themselves just how amazing the microscopic world and the smaller world in whole look. It is the finishing touch to a documentary that along with its overall content, run time, and pacing shows to be a surprisingly fun and entertaining piece for audiences of all ages.

Mysteries of the Unseen World is available now in stores and online. The 2D/3D combo pack can be ordered online direct from Virgil Films’ online store and National Geographic’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Virgil Films is available online at:

Website: http://www.virgilfilmsent.com

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

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Pawn Holds Its Own Against Other Crime Thrillers

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Anchor Bay Entertainment’s new crime thriller, Pawn is an interesting work.  For a movie that was filmed in roughly fifteen days, and helmed by a first time director—David A. Armstrong—it turned out to be not the standard crime thriller.  Rather, it’s a story that requires audiences to completely invest their attention on the story.  If viewers can do this, then they will find that despite some scripting issues, it still turns out to be a movie that is worth at least one watch.

One of the main positives to Pawn is that it wastes no time jumping right into the story.  The story is simple enough.  On one side, audiences get a crime thriller that’s front loaded with lots of crosses and double crosses; so many in fact that some viewers may need a program to follow exactly what’s going on.  In direct relation is the story of a young man who simply wants to turn around his life after having gotten out of jail only hours before the standoff at crime boss Yuri’s café.  The young man is used as a red herring for one specific aspect of the story.  Though, it becomes increasingly obvious that he is used in such role as the story advances.  Because of this one can’t help but cheer for him and hope that he gets out of the café alive and in one piece.

The writing behind Pawn forces viewers to fully engage and immerse themselves in its world.  It’s just one of the movie’s positives.  What can also be noted of the movie is that the acting on the part of both Chiklis and Common was expert once again.  This should come as no surprise, especially considering that Chiklis has quite the extensive resume when it comes to crime thrillers.  He worked for seven seasons on FX’s The Shield, not to mention an equally extensive stage resume, too.  And Common played the role of a crooked cop himself in the 2010 movie, Date Night.  What’s most interesting is hearing Chiklis pull off a British accent.  Typically American actors don’t have much success trying to pull off foreign accents.  But somehow, he pulled it off.  Though he did sound somewhat like Bob Hoskins as Smee in Hook.  And considering that Hoskins is a U.K. born actor, this is actually quite the compliment to Chiklis.

Next to the outstanding of the movie’s all-star cast, one can say of Pawn is its cinematography.  The angles and the fast paced shots help keep the suspense throughout the story.  Even in less action packed moments, the camera work does an impressive job of keeping viewers entirely engaged.  One such example comes late in the story when the unnamed “Man in the suit” (played by Ray Liotta) attempts to feel Amanda’s (Nikki Reed) baby bump after having spent quite an amount of time threatening her life and that of her husband and her unborn child.  The tension in the room is thanks in large part to the camera work.  The angle of the shot leaves viewers wondering what he’s about to do.  It’s just one of so many impressive shots achieved throughout this crime thriller.  And it’s just one of so many moments that make this a crime thriller that is worth at least one watch.

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Scholastic Set An Excellent Tool In The Classroom And The Home

Courtesy:  Scholastic/New video/Weston Woods/New Kideo

Courtesy: Scholastic/New video/Weston Woods/New Kideo

Scholastic’s African-American heritage based box set, Stories About African American Heritage featuring MARCH ON! The Day My Brother Martin Changed The World is a wonderful box set.  This triple-disc set is an excellent tool both inside the classroom and in the home, regardless of whether viewers are celebrating Black History month or simply to learn about an important part of African American history.  The stories culled for this collection celebrate some of the most respected and notable figures in the African American community such as musicians Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.  Also featured in this set are stories of famed civil rights figures Rosa Parks and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Viewers are even introduced to some of the most well known African-American stories.  In all, this collection includes thirteen stories for audiences.  As an added bonus, interviews with the sister of Dr. King, Dr. Christine King Farris and with author of Henry’s Freedom Box, Ellen Levine.  There are even discussion questions included for students, children and parents both in the classroom and at home.  And what Scholastic set would be complete with the optional Read-Along feature?  That is here, too.  It all comes together to make a box set that any viewer will appreciate and enjoy.

Stories About African American Heritage (as it will henceforth be known) opens fittingly with a collection of stories centered on two of the most well known figures in the Civil Rights movement; Rev. Dr. martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.  It opens with a story by Dr. King’s sister, Christine King Farris titled, March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed The World.  In this story, Mrs. Farris describes not only how her brother prepared for his landmark speech at the nation’s capitol, but the reaction of the people who were in attendance.  The story is made even more interesting as it includes actual photos of Dr. King throughout the story as well as of those in attendance.  Audiences also learn that Dr. King wasn’t the first minister in his family.  His grandfather, A.D. Williams was also a minister.  Just as interesting to learn is that while most people remember this moment in history for Dr. King’s speech, many may not know that Dr. King had also come to meet with Congressional leaders about passing a new law that would make whites and blacks truly equal.  He hadn’t come just to give a speech.  This story is more than just a story.  It’s a trip back in time to a pivotal moment in history.  It’s a trip that everybody young and old, white, black and otherwise should take at least once.  While the story’s companion interview with Christine King Farris is dated (it mentions the monument built in his honor before it had been built), her interview helps to bring the story full circle and show just how significant his speech was and still is today to Americans as a whole.

The main feature on Dr. King is a very powerful and moving piece.  It’s just one of the interesting pieces included in this set of thirteen stories.  Also included as part of the set, is a feature on famed pianist/composer and band leader Edward Kennedy Ellington, A.K.A. Duke Ellington.  Right from the start, audiences get a little history lesson on Ellington that’s easily accessible for all audiences.  Whitaker reads to viewers that Ellington was born in 1899 in Washington, D.C. and that the name “Duke” was a name he brought on himself as he told people to call him by that name.  Viewers will be interested to learn that Ellington apparently originally did not lean towards music.  Rather, according to the story—narrated by veteran actor Forest Whitaker—Ellington originally was more interested in playing baseball than the piano.  The story of how Duke was drawn back to the piano is just as entertaining as his early lack of interest in the instrument.  The history lesson centering on Duke’s rise to stardom is equally easy to grasp for audiences.  Being that it’s being read out loud, both parents and kids alike will easily remember the majority, if not all, of what they are taught.  That’s really what makes this an especially nice addition to this set.  Just as with the feature on Dr. King, it doesn’t come across as a history lesson.  It comes across simply as a story about important historical figures since it’s coming across on the screen instead of in a book.  The visual images will stimulate the eyes and mind, while the history will stick with viewers.  As a result, it could help to foster an interest in music in younger viewers just as the piece on Dr. King could get young audiences interested in politics.  Again, it’s one more wonderful tool for viewers both in the classroom and in the home.

The last disc in this set celebrating African American heritage focuses on the literature of a people.  Just as religion, politics, and music are important parts of African American history, so is literature.  In the set’s final disc, viewers get a healthy dose of literature from the African culture as it includes five classic stories anchored by the story, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.  This tale tells the story of why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears, just as the title notes.  According to the story, the mosquito buzzes in people’s ears because it has a guilty conscience after causing the death of a baby owl.  This concept might be a bit much for some younger audiences.  So parents should use their own discretion with this story.  That aside, it still is an interesting addition to this final disc’s collection of stories.  Added to the set’s other stories, the entire collection comes together to make a set that again is a wonderful tool that any parent or educator will want to use every year any time of year, not just for Black History Month.  It is available now and can be ordered online via New Kideo’s official website at http://www.newkideo.com/scholastic/the-heritage-collection/.

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