PBS To Release Third Classic Reading Rainbow Compilation This Winter

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Reading Rainbow (the classic Reading Rainbow) returns again this winter with another new collection of classic episodes.

PBS and PBS Distribution will release Reading Rainbow: Miss Nelson is Back in stores and online on Tuesday, January 12th. The series’ latest collection of classic episodes, its third so far, this collection will include four more classic episodes. Each episode will be presented in its entirety exactly as it was presented in its original broadcast. In this latest collection LeVar meets famed magician Harry Blackstone while comedian/actress Ruth Buzzi reads the timeless children’s book Miss Nelson Is Back. The story, written by James Marshall and Henry Allard, follows its title character as she pretends to be out sick, only to return as the vile Viola Swamp in order to get her students to behave. Little do they know that Viola is in fact Miss Nelson. That is just one of the great stories featured in this collection. Naomi Judd reads Our Big Home, which connects to LeVar’s trip to the United Nations. The two work together to discuss how everyone in the world is connected and it turn presents a message about peace. Veteran actress Helen Mirren is also included in this collection as she reads How To Make Apple Pie and See the World. This story follows a woman who goes to great lengths in order to get the ingredients that she needs for an apple pie. Those lengths tie this episode back in to the previous episode in which LeVar takes a trip to the United Nations building in New York. In the set’s final episode, young audiences get to go on a train ride with LeVar while actor Brian Dennehy reads Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express. As with the previous episode, one could argue that this episode ties into its predecessor considering the travelling. The episode’s featured story follows its title character as she witnesses a train crash and has to rush to the nearest train station to get help. All four episodes are just as great for today’s youth as for those that were themselves kids in the episodes’ original broadcasts. And audiences of all ages can watch them together when the DVD is released in stores and online on Tuesday, January 12th.

Reading Rainbow: Miss Nelson is Back will retail for MSRP of $6.99. It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=80523506&cp=&kw=reading+rainbow+miss+nelson+is+back&origkw=reading+rainbow+miss+nelson+is+back&sr=1. More information on this and other titles from PBS and PBS Distribution is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

 

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MPI, Cohen Media Group Making Their Name With Their Latest Uncovered Classic

Courtesy:  Cohen Media Group/mpi media group

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group/mpi media group

The partnership between Turner Classic Movies and Warner Home Video has made the two companies leaders in re-issuing cinema classics.  Universal Studios is a close second thanks to the recent re-issues of Cape Fear, its Alfred Hitchcock Essentials collection, and it Universal Monsters collection. Now two more companies are staking their claim in the classic movie world.  Those companies are Virgil Films and Cohen Media Group.  Early in 2013, the two companies partnered for the release of what is one of the single greatest classics of all time in the Thief of Bagdad.  Now months later, they have released an even lesser known classic in Perfect Understanding.

The plot of Perfect Understanding rests in the agreement between Swanson’s Judy and Olivier’s Nicholas that could be equated to an open marriage.  Right off the top, it’s obvious just how original this is, considering social norms and values of America in the early 1930s.  The agreement between the couple is meant in order to break the trend that the couple sees among its friends.  Neither wants to end up like their friends.  Ironically enough, it is because of the agreement that the couple reaches the point of its friends.  The ensuing story is unlike anything that fans of the rom-com genre have seen since.  It’s obviously not just another typical boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end story.  It’s almost Shakespearian in a way when one really goes back through the story a couple of times and analyzes it at a much deeper level.  It should also be noted here that despite a run time of an hour and half, the story actually moves along at a relatively easy pace.  This, along with the largely original story is another positive to this unearthed gem of a classic film.

For a film of its era and its style, Perfect Understanding could very well have been much longer and less able to relate to viewers, even today.  Luckily, it didn’t do that.  And roughly eight decades after it premiered it’s still as funny today as it was in its premiere.  Taking into account the film’s age, it’s incredible that it still sounds and looks as good as it does to this day.  What audiences see and hear is largely what audiences heard when the film first premiered so long ago.  It is a true testament to those charged with restoring the film to its original glory.  And now thanks to those individuals, a whole new generation of film buffs can enjoy this rare classic.

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Hitchcock A Surprisingly Interesting Story

Courtesy: Fox Searchlight Pictures/20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Fox Searchlight Pictures/20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Fox Searchlight’s Hitchcock is quite the interesting story.  While it would be so easy for some to attempt to call this largely independent film a glorified biopic, it is anything but.  It is in fact one more movie adapted from the written word.  It has been adapted from the book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.  Author Stephen Rubello’s book is a nonfiction work.  It’s one thing to try to adapt a fiction work to the big screen.  It’s a whole other task to try to translate an author’s work from a nonfiction into a near two hour movie that will be accepted by both uninitiated audiences and those more “experienced” Hitchcock devotees.  That has already been evidenced in the likes of Public Enemies.  The original book on which it was based is an excellent read.  But the big screen take on that story hardly translated.  So the question remains, where does Hitchcock get things right where other historically based movies adapted from nonfiction books get it wrong?

Despite what apparently many critics and audiences had expected of this movie, it is not just another standard biopic.  Rather it is the story of how the famed director made his now legendary cinema classic.  It examines not just how he made the movie, but how the movie made him.  Audiences see in this story, the impact that making Psycho had on his marriage, too.  In simple terms, this adaptation of Rubello’s book is less a history lesson and more a romance.  It portrays a couple that is nearly torn apart as each becomes wrapped up in their own personal projects before each reach a revelatory point that brings them back together.  This, in turn, leads the husband and wife team to finish Hitchcock’s masterpiece that remains one of horror’s best ever.

Audiences are instantly pulled into this movie as Hopkins introduces the story exactly as the real life Hitchcock had done in his classic TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  This homage to Hitchcock history is enough to generate some laughs and applause from those who remember the classic program.  From there, the combination of the movie’s sets and costumes work together to keep audiences fully engaged in the story, as they strive to keep the story as historically accurate as possible.  Also worth noting here is the inclusion of facts about how studios and censors operated in the days of Psycho.  This was one of the hurdles which Hitchcock had to face in bringing his movie to the masses.  While the process of bringing Psycho to theaters may or may not have played out exactly as portrayed in this movie, it will still keep audiences engaged.  And seeing him overcome everything thrown out at him, audiences will cheer at his success.  That cheering will continue right to the story’s end.  The reason behind that will be left to those who have yet to see the movie.  But any viewer that knows anything of Hitchcock history will appreciate it, and will in turn be left agreeing that this turns out to be a movie worth having seen at least once.

Giveaways, Giveaways, And More Giveaways!

The Phil’s Picks blog keeps rolling in 2013 with lots more giveaways.  I’m proud to announce that I have LOADS of new giveaways this coming week.  First up, I’ve got three (3) copies of Anthony Hopkins’ new movie, Hitchcock on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack to give away.  I’ll give away these copies Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday March 25th, 26th, and 27th.  The first person to get five (5) people to “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page each day will win their own copy of this brand new release.  Each person that “likes” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page has to either message me or post on the Phil’s Picks Facebook page timeline letting me know who sent them so that I can keep track of each person’s entries.

The second of the week’s contests will be drawings for copies of the brand new Digimon Adventure: Volume 2.  I’ll draw three lucky winners’ names Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Just “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page to get your name in for this drawing.  On Friday, one lucky person will win a copy of Digimon: The Complete Season 2 for themselves.  Again, this is a straight up drawing.  You can enter simply by posting on the Phil’s Picks FB page’s timeline or messaging me via the Phil’s Picks FB page.

I have a third contest for all the parents next week.  One lucky parent will win Scholastic’s brand new triple disc set, Scholastic Storybook Treasures Spring Collection.  I also be giving away that box set on Thursday, March 28th.  The process is the same as above.  Simply either message me or post on my timeline letting me know that you want in on this drawing.

And last, to cap off this coming busy week, I’ve got one more HUGE giveaway for my brothers and sisters in the Metal Nation worldwide.  On Thursday, March 28th, I’ll be giving away a copy of Anthrax’s new EP, Anthems.  One person will take home this disc.  And then finally on Friday, March 29th, I’ll draw the name of one person who will win not just the new Anthrax EP, but also a pair of tickets to see Anthrax when the band headlines the Metal Alliance Tour at its stop in Charlotte, North Carolina on the Metal Alliance tour.  Again it’s a drawing, nothing more.  So make sure that you start getting your name in ASAP if you want to have the chance to win.

If any of this confuses you, just message me and let me know via the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  You can’t enter unless you “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page first.  So get out there, get the word out, and get your name in!

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