‘MMPR: The Movie’ Re-Issue Will Appeal To Franchise’s Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Almost 24 years ago, 20th Century Fox brought one of the most beloved kids’ series in television history to the big screen in the form of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.  When it was originally released, the big-screen adaptation of the high-action sci-fi series was met with largely negative reviews, and with good reason.  Even as bad as the movie was (and still is today), it is still a presentation that the most devoted Power Rangers fans will appreciate.  As the 24th anniversary of the movie’s debut nears, Shout! Factory and Saban are celebrating the anniversary with a new Blu-ray re-issue of the movie complete with a new in-depth bonus featurette.  While the movie is largely a failure, there are still certain elements of the movie that do work.  This will be addressed shortly.  The new bonus commentary, which runs approximately 44-minutes in length, is the re-issue’s most notable positive.  It will be addressed a little bit later.  The Blu-ray’s average price point is not a budget breaker for those MMPR devotees who want to add the movie to their collections.

Shout! Factory and Saban Brands have been doing quite a bit in recent years to make Power Rangers fans with lots of Power Rangers and Super Sentai box sets.  On June 4, the companies will do something a little bit different for fans of both series when they re-issue the 1995 big screen adaptation of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on Blu-ray.  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was resoundingly panned by viewers and critics alike in its initial release.  Now almost 24 years later, it has not improved in its footing.  That is due in part to the fact that its story completely breaks canon from the original series.  Its look is also a far cry from that of the original series, right down to the over-the-top CG zords.  For all of the negatives exhibited in the movie’s story, the story is not a total loss.  It does present some positives, such as the camp elements that made the TV series so enjoyable (and that still do today).  That includes the comic support from Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy – Bulk and Skull – and the ever-the-top cheesiness of Ivan Ooze (Paul Freema – Hot Fuzz, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Centurion) in terms of his personality. The work of the supporting cast that played the parents of Angel Grove also echoed the feel of the movie’s source material.  Keeping in mind that overall feel of the movie, it makes up for the issue of the movie’s story, at least a little bit.  That in itself makes the movie worth an occasional watch among Power Rangers’ most devoted fans now that it is being re-issued on Blu-ray.  The movie’s throwback to the camp feeling of the MMPR TV series is just one of the most notable elements presented in the upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.  The bonus content is just as notable as that feel.

The bonus content is notable because audiences get not only the relatively short original featurette included with the movie’s initial DVD release, but a new 44-minute featurette that takes audiences even deeper into the movie’s background and history.  Audiences learn through the movie’s new bonus featurette – “A Look Back At Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie – lots of items not featured in the movie’s original bonus featerutte.  Viewers learn, through discussions with the movie’s director Bryan Spicer, that there was lots of discussion on the script between himself and the heads at 20th Century Fox during the movie’s pre-production.  Viewers also get an interesting anecdote from Spicer about how the newspapers in Australia allegedly mid-identified one of the movie’s Assistant Directors as the Director, thus incorrectly giving that AD the credit for helming the movie instead of Spicer.  On a related note, Spicer also talks about filming in Australia during his interview segments and why the filming took place there instead of in the United States.  That’s not all that audiences get.  Viewers also receive a very interesting tidbit about a well-known actress who was initially wanted by Fox’s executives to fill the role of Dulcea and how she was replaced by the woman who ended up in the role.  The movie’s cast members get plenty of their own time throughout the featurette, too.  They talk about topics, such as the pace of shooting each scene for the movie versus shooting for the TV series, the stunts and the visual effects among other topics.  Between everything noted here and the rest of the discussions featured in the movie’s new bonus featurette, said featurette proves to be the true foundation for the movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue.  When it is considered along with the fact that the movie’s creative heads did at least try to give the story the same camp feel of the MMPR series, those two elements together give viewers even more reason to check out this latest presentation of MMPR: The Movie.  Considering those elements, the average price point of the movie’s re-issue proves to be not too expensive.

The average price point of MMPR: The Movie – based on prices listed at Shout! Factory’s store, Walmart, Target and Amazon – is $15.52.  At the time of this review’s posting, it was not listed at Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  However, the movie’s original DVD release was listed at those sites.  By comparison, the DVD’s average price point was $7.33.  That includes prices listed not just at Books-A-Million, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers, but also at Walmart and Amazon.  While the original DVD release’s average price point is obviously less expensive than that of the movie’s new BD re-issue, the DVD does not boast the new bonus featurette that is featured in the new re-issue.  To that end, the price for the movie’s re-issue is not too bad.  Keeping all of this in mind, this new re-issue of MMPR: The Movie proves a piece that the most devoted MMPR fans will want to add to their libraries.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie is a piece that the most devoted fans of the timeless sci-fi action series will appreciate.  That is due in part to the fact that while the movie’s story clearly breaks from the series’ canon, it does at least maintain the campy feel of its source material.  That alone makes the movie worth at least an occasional watch.  The new 44-minute bonus featurette featured in this re-issue makes the presentation even more appealing for the noted fans.  The re-issue’s average price point of less than $20 is relatively affordable, and not wasted, considering the movie’s primary and secondary content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.  All things considered, the movie’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue is one that the most devoted MMPR fans will enjoy especially if they do not already own the movie on DVD.  It will be available June 4.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




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Classic Fox Kids Series Still As Enjoyable As Ever In Season Two Volume Two

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 2 Volume 2 is another fun jaunt down memory lane for fans of the series that started the whole Power Rangers phenomenon in the United States.  This second half of the original series’ second season sees another pivotal point in the evolution of the Power Rangers as three of the original cast members are replaced with a new trio of Power Rangers who would themselves later be replaced, too.  Also, audiences see the first major change in the Rangers’ zords.  As the fight against Lord Zedd continued, the Rangers’ original Dinozords were replaced by the new Thunderzords.  Through all the changes, the series still retained the campy yet fun qualities that made it so enjoyable up to this point.  This includes some worthwhile episodes, too that contain more important life lessons.  It all comes together to make this latest release another set of adventures that will make any older MMPR fan nostalgic for a better time, and will enjoy for the first time again with their own child(ren).

One of the first things that fans of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers will appreciate in the second half of the series’ second season is the changes that ensue this time.  Rita Repulsa (played by Machicko Soga) is long gone after having been banished by Lord Zedd.  Another change that viewers see in this half of Season Two is the replacement of three of the original Rangers.  Zack (Walter Emanuel Jones), Trini (Thuy Trang), and Jason (Austin St. John) would be replaced in the two-part episode, “The Power Transfer.”  The trio would be replaced by Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch), Aisha (Karan Ashley) and Rocky (Steve Cardenas) respectively.  The changeup in the team’s lineup was (in the story) the result of Zach, Jason, and Trini being chosen to a teen activist group in Switzerland.  Though more than likely in reality it was likely the result of failed contract negotiations.  In the grand scheme of the show though, the replacement of the original team embers with fresh young talent was handled very well by the show’s writers.  On a side note, sadly, Thuy Trang would later die in a car crash in 2001.  So it would be the last time that audiences would see her as a Power Ranger.

The team lineup change was just one of the changes that the show would see in the second half of Season Two.  Also updated for this final set of episodes from Season Two were the team’s vehicles, its Zords.  Knowing the team would need stronger weapons against Lord Zedd, Zordon gave the updated team of Rangers the mystical Thunderzords” which would of course later be replaced by the Ninjazords. This update to the show and the new team members both helped to keep the show fresh and interesting then and even now for those seeing the show again for the first time.  They were only part of what continued to make the show enjoyable for viewers.  There were some changes to the show, as has been noted.  For all of the changes, one thing stayed the same.  The one thing was the show’s writing.

Because the show’s writing stayed largely the same as it had been from the show’s inception, it maintained the same level of action that had been established throughout the show’s first season and the first half of its second season, too.  There were also the same life lessons thrown in that thankfully continued to refrain from being too preachy and taking over.  Rather, they were tied into each episode’s storyline.  For instance, in the episode, “Rocky Just Wants to Have Fun”, viewers learn the importance of balancing work and play when Rocky is put under a spell by Lord Zedd that makes him just want to have fun.  The end result is a valuable lesson about that balance and maintaining it.  “Mirror of Regret” is something of a semi-bullying story.  IN this story, Adam has to overcome his own insecurities brought on by Zedd’s mirror in question.  All the while, he has to fight the taunts of Goldar in order to overcome his past.  So in its own way, the show even promoted understanding and acceptance even that early on.  For that reason, it is most definitely to be commended.  There is even an episode that promotes the importance of education when the Rangers appear on a local talk show in their home town of Angel Grove.  Again it’s that mix of action and life lessons so expertly balanced yet again in this half of Season Two that continued to make the show enjoyable then and even now years later.

The writing behind MMPR in the second half of Season Two went a long way toward making these episodes as enjoyable as they were.  There is one last factor that makes this half of Season Two enjoyable.  That final factor is the show’s production values.  Unlike so many of the Power Rangers incarnations that would follow this one, its production values and special effects were more…raw for lack of better wording.  By comparison, so much of what has been crafted since the days of the original MMPR is spit shined.  And the physical comedy on the part of Bulk and Skull (Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy) only added to the whole package.  Even years later, one can’t help but laugh, watching this dopey duo taking pratfalls and pies left and right.  Together with everything else that went into this half of the show’s second season, it makes Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 2 Volume 2 another enjoyable addition to any fan of the team that started it all, the Mighty Morphin’ Power RangersMighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2 Volume 2 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216962.

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Power Rangers Season 2.0 Twice As Nice As Season One

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

The one and only Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are back.  Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Billy, Zack and yes even Tommy are back for more adventures in the first half of the show’s second season.  Season Two Volume One is an important piece of the Power Rangers legacy.  That’s because this collection features some big changes and the start of some other, equally big changes.  Along with the big changes, Season Two Volume One also presents twenty-six episodes of everything that the show’s fans had come to enjoy from its first season, only stepped up.  And now fans of this classic Fox Kids series can finally re-live all of that any time that want thanks to Shout! Factory and Saban Brands.

Season Two Volume One is an important point in the evolution of the Power Rangers legacy.  It features the departure and re-introduction of Jason David Frank to the team.  Frank’s character Tommy loses his powers as the Green Ranger once and for all, but eventually returns much to the surprise of the other Rangers, as the White Ranger.  This is just one of the important milestones for the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series as it marks the return of one character that had been temporarily written out of the show.  It’s even more important in that Tommy would later go on to become the head of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers in the second half of Season Two (which is due out May 28, 2013).

Tommy’s departure and eventual return is just one important part of the Power Rangers’ evolution in the first half of Season Two.  Just as important is the introduction of three new characters who would later go on to be three of the new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Those characters are Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch), Rocky (Steve Cardenas), and Aisha (Karan Ashley).  The trio would end up taking the places of Zack, Jason, and Trini respectively.  This cast shakeup is an important part of the show’s second season because other than the introduction of Tommy in Season One, it marks the very first real major cast change in the long-running franchise’s history.  It wouldn’t be long though, before more cast changes would happen.  By the time the show reached its next incarnation, Power Rangers Zeo, Kimberly, Billy, and Aisha would all be replaced.  And Jason, the original Red Ranger, would also return, albeit for a short time.  The changes would go on from here.  That’s what makes this very first major shakeup such an important part of Season Two.

The introduction of new soon-to-be team members and the re-introduction of another are big parts of the success of Season Two Part One.  Just as important in the first half of this season’s success are the show’s writing and its general production.  In comparison to more recent incarnations of the Power Rangers franchise, the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers presented a product that was more…raw.  It didn’t have that sleek, spit-shined feel that so many newer PR shows have had.  There’s something special about that feel, from the special effects of the time to the animatronics of Goldar and the other baddies to the general shooting.  It’s completely different from the shows that would follow, making it that much more special.  The writing is just as impressive as the production.  Sure some of the writing seems as cheesy and campy as the production at times.  But it doesn’t feel forced like the franchise’s more recent series.  It just feels more natural.  That combination of more natural writing also led to more natural acting from the cast.  It made the cast more relatable to young viewers.  That ability of the show to reach its young viewers, combined with the show’s more natural writing and production went a long way toward making Season Two just as successful as the show’s debut season.  And thanks to Shout! Factory and Saban Brands, those audiences who first saw this show as kids can re-live all that joy again in the first half of Season Two.  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Two Volume One is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216673.  Audiences and fans of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and other classic shows can get more info on this show and more online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.

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Pull Out Those Morphers, The Rangers Return Again!

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are back again, courtesy of Shout! Factory.  Everyone’s favorite super powered teens are back with the second thirty episodes from the iconic show’s first season.  Season 1 Volume 2 sees the Rangers’ friend Tommy take center stage in another pair of episodes.  And in what is one of the very first ever turning points for the Rangers without the Green Ranger, the team has to face Goldar in his own zord, Cyclopsis.  The rangers are almost defeated by Goldar and Cyclopsis in the two part episode, “Doomsday.”  These and the set’s other classic episodes will take any kid at heart back in time, creating that sense of nostalgia that so many of Shout! Factory’s releases generate.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two is a nice addition to the home library of any old school Power Rangers fan.  This second half of Season One sees the original sixth ranger, Tommy return after having his powers taken away by the evil Rita Repulsa in the two part episode, “The Green Candle.”  This episode sees Tommy lose the powers imbued on him by Rita when she creates a green candle.  The candle in question burns brighter and faster every time that Tommy morphs and fights Rita’s evil minions.  Eventually Tommy loses his powers.  But it isn’t the last that fans see of him as his powers are returned albeit for a short time, just in time to save the Rangers in the third of the set’s two-part episodes, “Return Of An Old Friend.”  The Rangers aren’t the only ones in danger in this episode, as they have to figure out how to get their mentor, Zordon, back.  It all leads up to the season finale, “An Oyster Stew.”  This episode would be the last featuring the original Megazord.  As the show shifted into its second season, the Rangers would gain new Zords when their original Zords are defeated courtesy of new baddie, Lord Zedd.  His appearance would mark the beginning of a whole new chapter for the original Rangers.

The episodes contained in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two will take any Power Rangers fan back to their childhood.  It’s even another chance for those same grown up audiences to experience this groundbreaking kids’ show with kids of their own.  They do their own part in the overall enjoyment of this new set.  They aren’t all that make it successful, though.  As with Season One Volume One, the main menu of both discs will add even more nostalgia for the show’s fans.  Rather than just being any ordinary episode selection menu, the menu is set up against the backdrop of the original show’s power chamber.  Sure it’s something minor.  But sometimes, it’s the little things that matter most.  There’s even a sound effect that is supposed to be coming from the tube in which Zordon appears.  Again it’s a minute detail.  But that the people behind this would take the time to add in such detail makes this another impressive addition to the set.

The main menu and the episodes themselves come together to make Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two an overall enjoyable viewing experience.  There is at least one more factor that audiences will appreciate from this set.  It’s a factor that has in its own way made Shout! Factory a leader in the DVD and Blu-ray market.  That factor is the double disc set’s packaging.  While there is a generally increasing move towards slimmer cases for box sets, Shout! Factory was one of the few leaders in that pack from early on.  Many of its box sets would be released in single DVD/Blu-ray sized cases.  But in opening the cases, audiences would find multiple discs thanks to an insert that would place discs on either side, along with discs placed in standard spots inside the case.  This more ergonomically sound packaging is used yet again in this new set.  It’s an ergonomically sound set.  It’s easy to carry and it takes it little space on DVD and Blu-ray racks.  As the old adage goes, less is more.  And that less space taken up not only makes for more space for other DVD’s and sets but it also makes for that much more overall enjoyment of and appreciation for yet another impressive release from Shout! Factory and Saban.  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online direct via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.

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New Collection Holiday Fun For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Power Rangers are back with three more holiday themed episodes courtesy of Lionsgate.  Lionsgate recently released another compilation featuring a trio of Halloween themed episodes.  This time, fans new and old get three Christmas themed episodes.  Two of those episodes are culled from the Power Rangers’ early years.  The third is a retrospective by a member of the newest team of rangers, as the Rangers count down to Christmas.The feature episode of Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever sees the Samurai Rangers in the holiday spirit.  The team is decorating for Christmas.  As they do, Emily (the Yellow Ranger) decides to send an e-mail to her sister, telling her all about the Rangers’ past year.  She tells her sister about each member of the squad, going all the way back to the day that the team members met.  She starts off telling about Mike (the Green Ranger).  She explains how things started off for Mike, but that he eventually came around and became the Ranger that he was at that Christmas.  From there, she tells her sister about Kevin and Mia before eventually making her way to Jayden and Antonio.  The most moving moment of this episode comes not in Emily reminiscing, but in Mike’s reaction after he receives his gift on Christmas.  He keeps thinking that he’s not going to get anything.  But after the rest of the team members have their gifts, he gets quite a surprise.  Viewers can find out what that surprise is for themselves.  What makes the moment even better is that his surprise becomes an even better surprise for a certain other pair of characters.   Again, viewers will have to find out for themselves who that pair is.

From the current team of Rangers, audiences are treated to a pair of adventures from previous Ranger teams.  In the first of the teams, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers have to face off against one of Lord Zedd’s minions as he sends Rito Revolto and Goldar to the North Pole to take over and force Santa’s elves to make toys that will take over children’s minds.  The Rangers teleport to the North Pole, and with the help of Santa’s elves manage to trick Rito and Goldar and tie them up, thus saving the day.  While the Rangers may have saved the day, there’s still one problem they have to deal with back in Angel Grove.  And unwittingly, even Bulk helps to solve the problem, too.  It will end up leaving any viewer with that warm holiday spirit filling them.

In the last of this new set’s episodes, Tommy and the Zeo Rangers have to face off against King Mondo once again.  Mondo pulls a plan to make the Rangers fight about each other’s different religious traditions.  This episode is simply put, an episode that teaches about religious differences and tolerance.  It’s a valuable episode for any young viewer, even today.  And combined with this new set’s other pair of episodes makes for another enjoyable set for any Power Rangers fan.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com.

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It’s Morphin’ Time Once Again Thanks to Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory has done it again.  This company that specializes in nostalgia television has brought the children of the late 80’s and 90’s another childhood favorite in the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  That’s right, everyone.  The team that started it all back in 1993 is finally seeing its adventures released both in a triple disc set containing the show’s first thirty episodes, and in a box set containing the entire original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series.  For the sake of this review, the main focus is going to be on the very first release that is Season 1 Volume 1.

In Season 1 Volume 1, fans see the very first team of rangers assembled by the interdimensional leader Zordon, and his robot assistant, Alpha.  Fans will also get to see the complete five-part “Green With Evil” story arc in which long time ranger Tommy is introduced to the show.  And in one of the better stand alone episodes, fans see Billy, the Blue Ranger, face Bulk and Skull with a little help from Trini’s uncle, Howard.

The massive franchise that is the Power Rangers all started with the episode, “Day of the Dumpster.  Audiences discover that Rita escapes when her “space dumpster” is opened by a pair of curious astronauts.  When Zordon and alpha learn of Rita’s escape, the first team is chosen.  Jason, Billy, Zack, Trini, and Kimberly are transported to Zordon’sCommandCenter.  What fans will really get a kick out of is Alpha’s response.  He pleads with Zordon, saying, “Not teenagers!”  Zordon’s comment that sets up Alpha’s response adds to the moment of laughs.  He tells Alpha, get me five overbearing, overemotional humans!”  Who wouldn’t laugh at that joke?  At first the Rangers don’t’ believe Zordon.  But when they have to face Rita’s Putty Patrollers, they morph for the very first time, and are sent back to Angel Grove to face Rita’s henchman, Goldar.  Goldar almost has the Rangers beat until they get the Megazord’s Power Sword.  Seeing that, Goldar retreats back to Rita’s moon base.  In the end, the Rangers all agree that they’re in it for the long haul, and vow to protect the world from Rita and her attacks, thus marking the beginning of the now long running Power Rangers franchise.

The very first season of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers could be summarized as a season of firsts.  It’s the season when the original team of Rangers is formed.  And it’s the season when the very first “extra’ Ranger is introduced.  The five-part story arc, “Green With Envy” sees the introduction of new team member—and long time Power Ranger—Tommy.  Tommy starts out in this story arc as a new “kid” in Angel Grove.  Rita sees this and takes advantage of it, putting a spell on him, forcing him to serve her and fight the Rangers.  He serves her as the evil Green Ranger.  But when the rest of the Rangers realize it’s just because Tommy’s under a spell, they learn that they have to destroy his Sword of Darkness to break the spell, which Jason does in a final showdown.  Rita’s spell is broken, releasing Tommy.  When he agrees to join the team, Zordon reveals to the Rangers, the very first brand new Megazord alternate combination when Tommy’s Dragonzord combines with three of the Rangers’ zords to make the Dragon Megazord.  Of course, as any true Power Rangers fan knows, Tommy’s first incarnation as the Green Ranger is short lived, thanks to Rita.  But he would later return to the Power Rangers as the White Ranger.  And years later, he would return as the head of the Power Rangers Dino, too, making mention of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers team.

The firsts experienced in Season 1 are great moments for this show.  But they aren’t all that made the show great.  There were also life lessons in the show, such as in the episode, “The Dark Warrior.”  Blue Ranger Billy learns about facing bullies in this episode, when Bulk and Skull start harassing him.  Thanks to teaching from Trini’s uncle Howard, he learns how to handle them without fighting.  And of course, Howard’s (Trini’s uncle)  invisibility formula helps, too.  That formula is also the basis for the Rangers’ adventure in this episode.  Rita sends down the Dark Warrior to steal the formula and use it to make the Rangers disappear.  That, of course, doesn’t happen, as the Rangers defeat the Dark Warrior, and Howard retrieves his formula that he had accidentally misplaced.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 1 Volume 1 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s store at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.  To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/ 381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.