A Haunting: The Television Series Is One Wonderfully Fright-Filled Box Set

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory/Discovery Channel/Discovery Communications/Destination America

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory/Discovery Channel/Discovery Communications/Destination America

Halloween is a little over a week away. Many stores have already stored away their Halloween decorations and have replaced them with their Christmas decorations. Others are even already pumping the annual stream of Christmas music over their speakers. It’s sad. But worry not Halloween lovers. Timeless Media and Shout! Factory have not fallen victim to that trend just yet. Timeless Media and Shout! Factory released A Haunting: The Television Series last Tuesday. This nine-disc box set is a good fit for any fan of the paranormal whether on Halloween or any other time of the year. The main reason for that is that it has compiled the series’ first six seasons into one complete set. The inclusion of the series’ first six seasons in one place is its own positive in that it means not having to hunt from box to box for one episode or another. It just means hunting through one full box. This is only one positive to this set. Another positive to the box in whole is that one box versus multiple boxes saves space on anyone’s DVD rack o in said persons’ cabinets (depending on which one a person uses). And last but hardly least of all worth noting of this set is the stories themselves. What examination of this set would be complete without a look at the stories that make up the set? They offer plenty of frights for audiences. This is the case both on Halloween and any time of the year. Together with the box’s packaging and its associated factors, the stories included in this set complete the box and make it one that anyone looking for a good scare will appreciate whether it be on Halloween or any other time of the year.

A Haunting is one of the more interesting paranormal series on television in recent years. Unlike its counterparts on Syfy, LMN, and Travel Channel, it never seemed to really fit in with the other programs on Discovery or even Destination America. Yet somehow it has continued to maintain a healthy fan base. It has gone on to see a number of episode compilations released throughout the years as well as stand-alone single season sets for said fan base. Now, fans have been rewarded for their loyalty to the series with this complete nine-disc set that encompasses the series’ first six seasons. Having all six previously released seasons put into one complete set is a reward as those single-season stand-alone sets and compilation discs are not easy to find. Now audiences won’t have to hunt for each one. They can have all six previously released seasons in a single box. Those that do have any of said previous releases will appreciate this set as having all six seasons in one set also means no more fumbling through their other boxes for one episode or another. They need only open the box and flip through the discs to find their favorite episodes. It’s a major positive and possibly the most important to the box set in terms of what does and doesn’t work about it.

Timeless Media and Shout! Factory’s newly released A Haunting: The Television Series succeeds so strongly primarily because of the inclusion of all six of the series’ previous seasons in one box. Their inclusion means no more hunting in stores, online and through DVD racks for one season or another. It’s all right there in one box set. Having everything in one single box set is a positive not just for the content but also for the matter of space, speaking of DVD racks. Any number of stand-alone compilation discs has been spawned from A Haunting. And each of the series’ previous seasons have been released as stand-alone sets, too. All of those compilation discs and stand-alone seas sets take up a lot of room on DVD racks. Now audiences can trade in all of those noted releases in favor of this ergonomically packaged nine-disc set. All nine discs that make up the series’ previous seasons are here. They have been packaged in exactly the same fashion as other releases from Timeless Media and Shout! Factory. That packaging means has become the standard seemingly across the board. However not every company out there utilizes that standard even today, believe it or not. It’s sad. Thankfully fans of A Haunting don’t have to worry about that. It’s one more reason that the partnership between Timeless Media and Shout! Factory has made both leaders in home releases of TV series and movies. And it’s one more reason that audiences will appreciate this latest release from their partnership.

The overall packaging of A Haunting: The Television Series and the inclusion of the series’ full six season run—prior to its now seventh season airing on Destination America—couple to make the box set even more enjoyable for audiences than it would have been in lacking one factor or the other. As important as those factors are, the stories that make up each season are just as important if not more so. Without interesting and gripping tales of terror, there would be nothing to watch. In “Hungry Ghosts,” audiences are taken to Japan where an American family is haunted by ancient spirits when the family moves into a posh new home upon the father accepting a high-ranking position in his company. “Nightmare Upstairs” sees an Arkansas family scared out of its house when it is revealed that it is haunted by demons and possibly evil incarnate itself. Viewers are also taken to Ireland for a heart wrenching story about a house haunted by the spirit of a murdered child in “A Haunting in Ireland.” These are just a few of the terror-filled tales that make up A Haunting’s six-season run in this set. There are far more tales from which viewers can choose their own favorite(s). Needless to say, having so many stories to take in, there are plenty of frights to be had. And after watching the stories that make up A Haunting: The Television Series, audiences might not be going to sleep anytime soon. Some might even find themselves checking under their beds and even turning on that night light when they go to bed. Who knows? There might…or might not….be something there….Or maybe they’re all just stories. Audiences can choose for themselves when they purchase A Haunting: The Television Series for themselves. It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct via the Timeless Media website at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group. More information on this and other releases from Timeless Media is available online now at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364

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Scream Factory, Anchor Bay Announce Bonus Features, Specs For Halloween Box Set

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory announced Monday the latest chapter on the upcoming box set re-issues of the horror classic Halloween.

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

The companies announced Monday, the bonus features and specs for the upcoming Halloween: Complete Collection 15-disc Blu-ray box set. The box set includes: Seven brand new featurettes, three new commentaries, and four new interviews, new transfers and audio specs and much more. The full details on all of those additions are listed below.

Disc 1 – John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)

Bonus Features:

  • HD transfer supervised and approved by cinematographer Dean Cundey
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey, Editor Tommy Lee Wallace And The Shape, Nick Castle
  • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actress Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • “The Night She Came Home” Featurette
  • “On Location: 25 Years Later” Featurette
  • TV Version Footage
  • Television Spots
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV and Radio Spots

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); Dolby TrueHD 7.1; Original 1978 Audio in Dolby TrueHD Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

 

Disc 2 – John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary With Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter, Actress Jamie Lee Curtis and Co-Writer/Producer Debra Hill
  • Featurette: Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV and Radio Spots

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); Dolby Surround 5.1; PCM 5.1; Original 1978 Mono Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

 

Disc 3 – Halloween II (1981)

Theatrical Version

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi (Theatrical version)
  • Audio commentary with stunt co-ordinator/actor Dick Warlock (Theatrical version)
  • “The Nightmare Isn’t Over: The Making Of Halloween II” Featuring Rick Rosenthal, Lance Guest, Dick Warlock, Alan Howarth, Dean Cundey, Leo Rossi and Moore…
  • “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween II” – Host Sean Clark revisits the original shooting locations of the film
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary from director Rick Rosenthal
  • Alternate Ending with Optional Audio Commentary from director Rick Rosenthal
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV and Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD MA 5.1

 

Disc 4 – Halloween II TV Cut (1981) DVD (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)

Television Cut With Added Footage Not Seen In The Theatrical Version

 

Tech Specs:

Standard Definition Full-frame 1.33:1; Dolby Digital Mono

 

Disc 5 – Halloween III: Season of The Witch (1982)

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with director Tommy Lee Wallace
  • “Stand Alone: The Making Of Halloween III: Season Of The Witch” featuring Tommy Lee Wallace, Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dick Warlock, Dean Cundey and more
  • “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” – Revisiting the original shooting locations
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD MA 5.1; Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0

 

Disc 6Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris
  • Audio Commentary with Director Dwight H. Little and Author Justin Beahm
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1); Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

 

Disc 7 — Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Actor Don Shanks and Jeffrey Landman
  • Audio Commentary with Director Dominique Othenin-Girard and Actors Danielle Harris And Jeffrey Landman
  • Halloween 5: On The Set
  • Halloween 5: Original Promo
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1); Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

 

Disc 8 — Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Theatrical Cut

Bonus Features:

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1); Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English

 

Disc 9 – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Producer’s Cut (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)

Bonus Features:

  • NEW High Definition Master from the original inter-negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Screenwriter Daniel Farrands and Composer Alan Howarth (Producer’s Cut)
  • NEW “Jamie’s Story” – An Interview With The Original “Jamie” Actress Danielle Harris
  • NEW “The Cursed ‘Curse’” – An Interview With Producers Malek Akkad And Paul Freeman
  • NEW “Acting Scared “– A Look At The Film’s Cast With Actresses Mariah O’Brien And J.C. Brandy
  • NEW “The Shape Of Things” – A Look At Michael Myers’ Murders And Mayhem With Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl Buechler And Brad Hardin And Actor George P. Wilbur (Michael Myers)
  • NEW “Haddonfield’s Horrors” – The Sights of Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers With Director of Photography Billy Dickson And Production Designer Brad Ryman And Director of Photography (Additional Scenes) Thomas Callaway
  • NEW “Full Circle” – An Interview With Composer Alan Howarth
  • NEW Cast And Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasance
  • Archival Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage (approx. 30 Minutes)
  • Alternate And Deleted Scenes (Not Present In Either Cut Of The Film)
  • Teaser Trailer: Halloween 666: The Origin Of Michael Myers

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1:78:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English

 

Disc 10 — Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Bonus Features:

  • Presented in the correct 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
  • NEW Commentary With Director Steve Miner And Jamie Lee Curtis, Moderated By Sean Clark
  • NEW “The Making of Halloween H20” Featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Nancy Stephens, Adam Hann-Byrd, Tom Kane, Editor Patrick Lussier, Producer Malek Akkad, Producer Paul Freeman, Composer John Ottman, Chris Durand (Michael Myers), Writer Robert Zappia, Stunt Co-Ordinator Donna Keegan, Make-Up Brad Hardin And Cinematographer Daryn Okada
  • Vintage Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

 

Disc 11 — Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary With Director Rick Rosenthal And Editor Robert A. Ferretti
  • Alternate Endings
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurette: “Head Cam”
  • Storyboard Analysis
  • Set Tour With Production Designer Troy Hansen
  • Set Interview With Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Vintage Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Home Video TV Spots

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English

 

Disc 12 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)

Bonus Features:

  • Unrated Director’s Cut With Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Rob Zombie
  • Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary
  • Alternate Ending With Optional Commentary
  • Bloopers
  • Featurette: “The Many Faces Of Michael Myers”
  • Re-Imagining Halloween
  • Meet The Cast
  • Casting Sessions
  • Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, Spanish

 

Disc 13 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007) Bonus Disc (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)

Bonus Features:

  • Documentary: “Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween (4 ½ hours)

 

Tech Specs:

Dolby Stereo

Subtitles: English

 

Disc 14 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (2009)

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Rob Zombie
  • Deleted And Alternate Scenes
  • Audition Footage
  • Make-Up Test Footage
  • Blooper Reel
  • Captain Clegg And The Night Creatures Music Videos
  • Uncle Seymour Coffins’ Stand-Up Routines

 

Tech Specs:

1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1;

Subtitles: English

 

Disc 15 – Bonus Features (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)

  • John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN – The Extended Version (In HD – TV Inserts Are In Standard Definition)
  • Interview with Moustapha Akkad about origin of HALLOWEEN
  • Featurette: HALLOWEEN UNMASKED 2000

·         Featurette: The Making Of HALLOWEEN 4: FINAL CUT

  • NEW The Making Of HALLOWEEN 4 Featuring Actors Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Kathleen Kinmont, Beau Starr, Raymond O’Connor, Erik Preston and Sasha Jensen, Stuntmen Tom Morga (Michael Myers) And George P. Wilbur (Michael Myers), Composer Alan Howarth, Writer Alan B. McElroy, Producers Malek Akkad And Paul Freeman, Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl Buechler And Ken Horn
  • Featurette: Inside HALLOWEEN 5
  • NEW The Making Of HALLOWEEN 5 Featuring Interviews With Actors Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Wendy Kaplan, Jeffrey Landman, Jonathan Chapin, Frankie Como, Tamara Glynn, Matthew Walker, Don Shanks (Michael Myers), Producer Malek Akkad, Line Producer Rick Nathanson And Composer Alan Howarth
  • NEW Interview With Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Burman On HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
  • HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH Radio Spots
  • TV Spots – HALLOWEEN 4, HALLOWEEN 5, HALLOWEEN (2007) and HALLOWEEN II (2009)
  • Photo Galleries — HALLOWEEN, HALLOWEEN 4 and HALLOWEEN 5

Tech Specs:

1080p, 520p Full Frame, Anamorphic Widescreen 1:85:1, 2.35:1;

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Stereo, Mono

 

Halloween: The Complete Collection will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, September 23rd. According to Shout! Factory’s online store website, this box set has already sold out as only 500 copies were available. It will be available primarily in stores on September 23rd. More information on this and other releases from Scream Factory and Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online now at http://www.screamfactoryDVD.com, http://www.facebook.com/screafactoryDVD, http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay, http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay, and http://www.anchorbayent.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Scream Factory, Anchor Bay Release New Teaser Pic For Halloween Box Set

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

Scream Factory and Anchor Bay Entertainment released a special teaser image Monday to build excitement over the upcoming release of the Halloween Complete Collection on Blu-ray.

On Monday, the companies released a picture of original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis sitting with Halloween H2O director Steve Miner and moderator Sean Clark during a tracking session for a new audio commentary and interview that will be included in the upcoming fifteen-disc Deluxe Edition. Miner is on the right and Clark is in the center rear.

Courtesy:  Scream Factory/AnchorBay Entertainment

Courtesy: Scream Factory/AnchorBay Entertainment

The Halloween Complete Collection will be available on Blu-ray Tuesday, September 23rd. The box set will be released in a special 15-disc deluxe Blu-ray box set and a standard 10-disc set. More details will come soon on this upcoming release. Audiences can keep up with the latest updates on the Halloween Complete Collection through Scream Factory’s Facebook and website respectively at http://www.facebook.com/ScreamFactoryDVD and http://www.shoutfactory.com/screamfactory. More information is also available online via Anchor Bay’s Facebook page, Twitter account and website at http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay, http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay, and http://www.anchorbayent.com.

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Scream! Factory, Anchor Bay Partner To Release New Halloween Box Sets

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

It’s not October. But don’t tell that to the people at Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream! Factory. That’s because the two companies have partnered to bring audiences a very special collection of movies this fall.

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Scream! Factory, a division of Shout! Factory, has partnered with Anchor Bay Entertainment to release the Halloween Complete Collection on Blu-ray Tuesday,

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/Anchor Bay Entertainment

September 23rd. The box set will be released in a special 15-disc deluxe Blu-ray box set and a standard 10-disc set. More details will come soon on this upcoming release. Audiences can keep up with the latest updates on the Halloween Complete Collection through Scream! Factory’s Facebook and website respectively at http://www.facebook.com/ScreamFactoryDVD and http://www.shoutfactory.com/screamfactory. More information is also available online via Anchor Bay’s Facebook page, Twitter account and website at http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay, http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay, and http://www.anchorbayent.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Halloween 35th Anniversary BD One Of 2013’s Best Re-Issues

Courtesy:  Trancas Films/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Trancas Films/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Thirty-five years.  That is how much time will have passed since John Carpenter’s modern horror flick Halloween originally premiered as of this October.  In the three decades plus that have passed since this modern horror classic made its debut, it has not lost any of its luster.  Rather, it has garnered who new generations of fans the world over.  It has seen multiple sequels and re-issues over those years.  It’s even been re-made with honor by horror aficionado Rob Zombie.  And now in celebration of its upcoming thirty-fifth anniversary, Anchor Bay Entertainment is rewarding the loyalty of the movie’s fans with a brand new thirty-fifth anniversary Blu-ray re-issue.  The upcoming Blu-ray re-issue will be available in stores and online this Tuesday, September 24th.  There are those that might have their say about this latest re-issue of Halloween, complaining about this or that about it.  What those complainers might not realize is that over the decades, the movie has garnered so many new fans, thus making re-issues necessary.  No one re-issue is going to be perfect.  Audiences on both sides of the fence need to keep this in mind before complaining.  That is in itself a massive statement about this movie.  And directly tied in to that is this generation and previous generations getting to potentially learn new facts about the movie possibly never before known thanks to the movie’s bonus features.  More than anything else, this latest re-issue is a welcome addition to any horror fan’s home library because by comparison, so many of today’s horror flicks are dry, shallow shadows of this classic.  They pale in comparison.  Having this one still available to the masses is a huge boon not only to movie lovers and horror lovers, but to the movie industry itself.  It serves to all as a reminder of horror done right.  All this kept in mind, this brand new thirty-fifth anniversary Blu-ray re-issue of Halloween is one not just for one generation but for a whole new generation.

The thirty-fifth anniversary Blu-ray re-issue of Halloween is a re-issue for not just one generation but for the generations that have all grown up with this slasher horror flick.  There are so many people out there that seem to make it their duty to do nothing but complain about it.  Those people are obviously not true fans of the movie.  Only so much bonus material can be crammed into a movie with each re-issue before it’s been seen before.  That needs to be understood right here, right now.  Anyone that already owns the movie in its previous releases will likely see many of the same bonus features in this re-issue as those re-issues.  But there are those that have never before had the chance to add this movie to their home library.  So keeping that in mind, for those people this re-issue is a brand new experience save for the movie.  Even with the movie alone, it could be like taking a trip back in time to a better time in some audiences’ eyes.

Watching the movie itself on a brand new re-issue for some may not seem like much.  For others, it’s a wonderful trip back in time, as some of the fans point out in this re-issue’s bonus documentary, “The Night She Came Home.”  Those fans really show just what the movie means to them years later.  They even talk about it with their own children right there.  These testimonials are just part of what makes this a welcome addition to this re-issue’s bonus features list.  Audiences discover through this bonus feature that star Jamie Lee Curtis is in fact not a horror movie fan.  She openly admits this early on in the documentary.  That’s a huge surprise to this critic at least.  There’s even more historical perspective added to the movie thanks to the book style case in which the Blu-ray is packaged.  The “book” style packaging includes copious notes written by Stef Hutchinson.  The notes in question take viewers even deeper into the movie’s history alongside the vintage set photos.

It should be clear by now just what makes the new thirty-fifth anniversary Blu-ray re-issue of John Carpenter’s Halloween such an important re-issue.  This is especially the case being that not only is the thirty-fifth anniversary of this landmark horror movie right around the corner, but because Halloween itself is right around the corner.  So many movies since Halloween have tried, but failed to live up to the legend that surrounds this classic.  Those movies pale in comparison.  And now with its in depth bonus features, a whole new generation will discover just how important and timeless this classic horror movie is and always will be.   It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Anchor Bay website at http://www.anchorbayent.com/detail.aspx?ProjectId=972a6546-4a98-459c-81a2-9c0800e596f5#.  More information on this and other titles from Anchor Bay is available at the Anchor Bay website, http://www.anchorbayent.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBayEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

From Up On Poppy Hill Stands Out Successfully Among The Anime Masses

Courtesy:  Studio Ghibli/GKids

Courtesy: Studio Ghibli/GKids

From Up On Poppy Hill is a surprisingly interesting work from Hayao Miyazaki.  This latest re-issue of the story from one of the masters of modern Japanese anime stands out among the masses as it strays from the typically standard fantasy tales to which viewers have become accustomed from the anime film genre.  It also boasts an equally surprisingly enjoyable soundtrack.  And thanks to the new Special Edition re-issue, fans of this modern anime classic will get even more out of the story than in any previous release.  When set next to the other factors that play into the movie’s success, they come together to make a movie that any anime fan will appreciate no less with each watch.

The most commonly held belied about the anime genre is that its stories are centered in fantastical worlds with stories of equal level fantasy.  From Up On Poppy Hill completely breaks that mold, opting instead for a more real world situation that is sure to keep even the least of anime fans engaged throughout the story’s toughly ninety-minute run time.  The story in question centers on two young high school teenagers living in Yokohama, Japan in 1963.  Both children had lost their fathers when they were much younger.  This leads to a long-held secret that shocks both youths.  And because of just how real the situation is, it will surprise viewers just as much.  The reality of the story makes it so much easier for viewers to suspend their disbelief in watching the story unfold.  Audiences will appreciate the included booklet with story notes written by both Hayao Miyazaki that is included with the upcoming Special Edition re-issue of the movie.  The booklet in question adds even more insight into the movie, and is highly recommended reading before watching the movie.  It’s just one of the bonus features included in the Special Edition re-issue that anime fans will find to be an especially worthwhile addition to the overall package.  It explains both the original story’s concept and its evolution into the story that viewers will have before them in the movie’s Special Edition.

The story behind From Up On Poppy Hill is a very touching and moving tale.  Despite the fact that its main characters are teens, even adults will appreciate the story of the two youths who were ironically enough brought together as a result of a war that tore apart so many families’ lives.  It makes for one of Miyazaki’s more interesting stories.  Just as interesting as the story is the story’s soundtrack.  The largely swing-jazz heavy soundtrack is quite surprising considering the music that backs most of the film maker’s other works.  It fits, though.  This story came right on the early edge of the 1960s.  So the jazz movement that marked the 1950s still had some life.  It adds one more extra touch to a story that already stands out among so many other anime features and helps to make the movie that much more worth the watch.

The music and the story together work quite well in keeping viewers engaged from start to end in From Up On Poppy Hill.  There is one more aspect of the movie’s upcoming re-issue that anime fans will appreciate in taking in this modern anime classic.  That aspect is the collective bonus features included in the movie’s Special Edition.  The Special Edition includes not only the movie on DVD and blu-ray, but also in both English and its original Japanese presentation.  There is also an interview with director Goro Miyazaki included in the set’s bonus features that will both entertain and enlighten viewers.  In the nearly twenty-minute interview, Miyazaki discusses the comparison of the Yokohama that was created in this movie versus the real one.  He laughs as he discusses how those that lived in the real Yokohama disputed so many of the designs intended for the movie.  It leaves him laughing.  And it will leave viewers laughing, too.  In one of the interview’s more moving moments, he becomes introspective in discussing what life must have been like for those that lived in the real Yokohama during the 1960s.  He discusses the importance of getting a feel and respect for what life back then was like.  It shows that while Miyazaki has a sense of humor, he also is human and has emotions.  That would explain why From Up On Poppy Hill is more than just another anime movie.  It’s a movie that although it’s anime, has heart and is worth at least one watch whether one is an anime fan or not.  It will be available September 3rd from GKids and Studio Ghibli and can be pre-ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Poppy-Hill-Blu-ray-Combo-Pack/dp/B00CSYRHG6/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1377654658&sr=1-2&keywords=from+up+on+poppy+hill.  Audiences can find out about even more films from GKids online once they’ve pre-ordered From Up On Poppy Hill at http://www.facebook.com/GKidsfilms and http://www.gkids.tv/films.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hey Arnold! Has As Much Fun And Heart As Ever In Its Fourth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Hey Arnold! was and is one of the greatest shows that Nickelodeon has ever aired.  It was also one of the best of the best of the network’s “Nicktoons” programming block.  Now with only two real “Nicktoons” left—Spongebob Squarepants and Fairly Oddparents—the release of this classic Nicktoon’s previous three seasons is more welcome than ever.  Fans have been able to pick up the show’s previous trio of seasons thanks to both Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory.  Now next Tuesday, fans will be able to pick up the fourth season of Hey Arnold!  Whether one already owns the previously released seasons or not, Season Four is one more welcome addition to any classic Nicktoons Nostalgic’s home library.  This critic should probably copyright that term, huh?

Hey Arnold! lasted as long as it did in its original television run because its writers were so capable at balancing its family friendly comic elements with warmer, more heartfelt elements without getting too emotional.  Audiences get even more of that in what would eventually become the penultimate season of this standout cartoon.  This is exemplified early on in the episode, “Oskar Can’t Read?”  “Oskar Can’t Read?” stands out this season as it actually tackles the issue of adult illiteracy.  Mr. Kokoshka is typically seen as a lazy mooch who refuses to do anything to help himself.  But when it’s discovered that he can’t read, Oskar actually sets out to prove that he will do whatever it takes to be able to read because he is genuinely embarrassed about his inability to read.  Adult illiteracy is one of those topics that is rarely discussed, but crosses generations.  So even now years after this episode originally aired, it remains just as moving and entertaining today as it was in its original airing.  That the show’s writers would tackle the subject at all is one more part of what makes this series and Season Four so enjoyable.

For all the seriousness of “Oskar Can’t Read?”, Hey Arnold! Season Four offers its own share of more comical, easygoing stories, too.  Among the best of that crop is “Synchronized Swimming.”  This episode is centered on the classic battle of the sexes.  Coach Wittenberg (voiced by James Belushi—The World According To Jim) is at it again with his wife.  This time the couple is disagreeing on whether boys can participate in the artistic aquatic event.  This was not Belushi’s first appearance as Coach Wittenberg.  And he was just as funny as ever this time out.  Coach Wittenberg’s wife Tish is just as funny being that she is so much like him.  Just like Jack (Coach Wittenberg), she can’t properly pronounce Synchronized Swimming.  There’s just something funny about this and the couple’s constant competitiveness.  The process of Arnold and his friends training to be a synchronized swimming team is just as funny.  The end result turns the battle of the sexes on its ear in a way that will leave any viewer laughing and smiling. It’s just one more episode that makes Hey Arnold! Season Four so enjoyable. 

Hey Arnold! Season Four offers a solid balance of laughs and more serious matters over the course of its two discs, as one can tell through the episodes already noted here.  There is at least one more episode that exemplifies that balance in this season.  It’s an episode that pays tribute to America’s men and women in uniform.  The episode in question is simply titled, “Veterans Day.”  In “Veterans Day” Arnold and Gerald are taken to a big Veterans Day ceremony by Arnold’s grandpa, Phil.  Martin, Gerald’s father, comes along, having served in Vietnam.  Martin makes a statement that still rings true to this day, as sad as it is.  He notes that people see it less as a chance to honor those that served as more as just an excuse for another day off.  He adds how few people actually attend ceremonies honoring veterans.  Save for parades, there is a certain amount of truth to this statement even to this day.  Along the way to the veterans’ ceremony, both Phil and Martin share their stories with Arnold and Gerald, hoping to impart some knowledge to the boys.  That goal is achieved, as both young men learn some very valuable lessons about honoring those that served, especially as their numbers grow older and fewer.  Yet again, the writers behind Hey Arnold! have taken a very weighty topic and put it into a format that young audiences will understand and hopefully appreciate to this day, and that audiences that originally watched it as kids will appreciate even more as adults.  This and the previously mentioned episodes comprise just one more sample of what continues to make Hey Arnold! the timeless show that it is.  Of course, there are plenty of other episodes for audiences to enjoy over and over again.  Some of the best of the rest include: “Eugene’s Birthday”, the Halloween themed episode, “Headless Cabbie”, and the season finale, “Dino Checks Out.”  In all, audiences will have their own favorite of the season’s seventeen total episodes. And there is definitely plenty from which to choose.  Audiences will get to see their favorites over and over again when the double-disc set hits stores and online outlets Tuesday, May 14th.  It can be ordered online direct via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/217311

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.