VSC Announces Release Date, Product Info For Portlandia Season Four

Courtesy:  Video Services Corporation

Courtesy: Video Services Corporation

Video Services Corporation (VSC) will release the fourth season of IFC’s hit comedy series Portlandia this summer.

Portlandia: Season 4 will be released on DVD Tuesday, August 26th. Armisen’s beloved characters Dave and Kath are back in Portlandia’s fourth season, as are Spike and his uptight girlfriend, Iris. Spike and Iris have to deal with a difficult situation at a Thai restaurant while Dave and Kath actually give relaxation a try. And then there is the couple, Nina and Lance. Nina and Lance have to recover from the trauma of losing a pet this season.

Season Four sees a who’s who of celebrity guests across its ten episodes. Among some of the more well-known guests that appear on the show this season are: k.d. lang, Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman 1 – 3), Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Mark Proksch (The Office), and many others. Also returning from Portlandia’s previous seasons is an equally high profile list of stars including: Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park 1 &2, Independence Day), Ed Begley, Jr. (Arrested Development, Pineapple Express), Jason Sudeikis (How I Met Your Mother), and director Gus Van Sant (Promised Land, Milk) and just as many other big names.

Portlandia: Season Four was shot entirely in Portland, Oregon. It is co-created and co-written by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel. Krisel is also the series’ director. The series is executive prodiced by Lorne Michaels (SNL) and produced by Broadway Video. Portlandia: Season Four is comprised of ten episodes on two discs. It will retail for SRP of $19.98. Portlandia has earned a Peabody © award and has been nominated for an Emmy ® award as well, and has run for four seasons exclusively on Independent Film Channel.

More information on this and other releases from Video Services Corporation is available online at http://www.facebook.com/videoservicescorp, http://www.videoservicescorp.com, and http://twitter.com/vidserv. 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.

Cloudy 2 Is A Rare Ray Of Light Among 2013’s Sea Of Sequels

Courtesy:  Sony Pictures Animation

Courtesy: Sony Pictures Animation

Everyone knows the old adage that a movie’s sequel is never as good as the original. Everyone also knows the old adage that one should never say never. That’s because there are exceptions to the rule. Sony Pictures’ Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is one of those exceptions to the rule. While it might not have been a necessary sequel, it is still a fun movie for the whole family. The movie picks up right where its forerunner left off, even going so far as to highlight the events of that movie in the outset of this story. The writing team of Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Erica Rivinoja are to be applauded for this. It’s not all for which they are worthy of applause, either. The trio has crafted in this story that while predictable, also has its own share of heart and humor.  The mediations on friendship and environmentalism make the story even more entertaining.  For all the work put in by the script’s writing team, viewers can’t ignore the work put into bringing the “Lost World” style environment to life.  This element makes the movie even richer.  It is especially the case for those with an interest in computer graphics. When they take all of this into consideration, audiences of all ages will find that Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is one of the surprisingly rare worthwhile sequels churned out by Hollywood’s major studios in 2013.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 seems on the surface to be an unnecessary and even unbelievable story. Much like its precursor, this movie has no link whatsoever to the book on which it was lifted. Rather, it is more akin to Jurassic Park than the book on which it is based. But once audiences allow themselves to get past this factor, they will find that it has real entertainment value.  The script picks up right where the previous movie left off. It even catches up audiences that have yet to have seen said movie.  This isn’t something that’s commonly seen among the masses of sequels that currently jam theaters.  To that extent, the story’s writers deserve a certain amount of credit.  They are also deserving of credit for the fact that despite their script being predictable, it also bears its own share of heart and humor.  The central message in this script is one of friendship and its importance.  Lord and company make the statement that friends are some of the most important people that anyone can have.  This couldn’t be truer.  Any parent will appreciate that this message was included in the script.

The message of friendship made for plenty of heart throughout the roughly ninety-five minute run time of Cloudy 2.  That heart is something that viewers of any age will appreciate.  It’s just part of the whole presentation, though.  There is just as much of a comic element to the movie as there is heart.  The comedy comes in the form of countless pop culture references and jokes.  Younger audiences won’t catch all of the jokes included in the script.  But parents definitely will.  And they will be surprised to find themselves laughing at those jokes.  One could go so far as to argue that the “Live” company and its founder are a spoof of Apple.  That argument could be made considering Apple’s reputation.  Set against the “Live” Company and its loyal legions, the similarities are too obvious to ignore.  Regardless of whether or not a given viewer is an Apple loyalist, any viewer that recognizes this similarity will appreciate the jab at the company.

The mix of heart and humor does so much to make Cloudy 2 fun for the entire family.  There is one more aspect of the movie that as subtle as it is, is just as important to note in its success.  That aspect is the movie’s Jurassic Park style world.  The world crafted by those behind the movie is absolutely stunning.  Yes, the movie as a whole is just another crafted via CG rather than by hand.  This critic will never dismiss that argument.  However, one can’t ignore the detail and depth given to Swallow Falls.  The world crafted for this movie is so lush and rich in color and style.  It actually stands out in its own way against so many other CG features.  This is exemplified by all of the jungle scenes and the inner workings of the Big Rock Candy Mountain.  Yes, Lord and his co-writers went there.  That’s just one of so many of the pop culture references that only parents will get and appreciate.  The colors and detail of the rock candy crystals and walls inside the mountain were so precise and bright.  The same can be said of the onion/brontosaurs type creatures.  It’s obvious in their case that their scenes were modeled precisely after the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.  They moved and acted just like the dinosaurs in question.  There is so much more that could be noted.  But it would be a disservice to audiences to ramble on about all of it here.  Audiences will appreciate what they find when they check out this rare worthwhile sequel for themselves.  It is in theaters now.  More information on Cloudy 2 and other Sony Pictures releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/SonyPictures, http://www.facebook.com/SONYPicturesAnimation, http://www.sonypictures.com, http://www.sonypicturesanimation.com, http://twitter.com/#!/sonyanimation, and http://twitter.com/sonypictures.

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Us Weekly: Segel’s New Romantic Interest Identified

Courtesy:  Us Weekly Magazine

Courtesy: Us Weekly Magazine

Actor Jason Segel has recently been seen out and about with a new mystery woman.  The actor, who is best known for his role on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, parted ways with former girlfriend Michelle Williams this past February.  Now, the identity of Segel’s new mystery companion has been revealed.  Her name is Bojana Novakovic.  The 31-year old Serbian/Australian actress is best known for her role in The Edge of Darkness.  She was spotted with Segel on June 9th.  She and Segel were seen out and about shopping and sharing lunch together in Hollywood.  Reports are that the photographs saw Segel affectionately wrapping his arm around Novakovic during the couple’s outing.

A source close to Segel noted of Segel and his new love interest that she definitely holds a special place in his heart.  “He had been dating some girls, a few. But think it may be a little more serious with this one,” the source said.  “He wanted to date, but he did learn that down the road he does want something more stable and serious.”

Segel and Williams broke up this past February after dating about a year.  Reports are that the parting of ways was mutual as the couple wasn’t able to make its long distance relationship work.  Williams is currently living in New York with her seven-year old daughter, Matilda.  Segel currently resides in Los Angeles.  In the time since the couple broke up, Williams has allegedly been seen out and about with artist Dustin Yellin.  The couple had been spotted at a park in Brooklyn on June 4th with Williams’ daughter.

More information on this and even more is available online at http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/jason-segels-mystery-girl-identified-bojana-novakovic-2013126#ixzz2W14waVmU.

To keep up with all of the latest celebrity news and more from Us Magazine, go to the magazine’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/UsWeekly and “Like” it.  Fans can also keep up with all the latest celebrity news and more on the Us Magazine website, http://www.UsMagazine.com.  Fans can also keep up with all the latest from Us Magazine on Twitter at http://twitter.com/usweekly.

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Radnor’s Directorial Debut A Story “Ahead Of Its Years”

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/IFM Films

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFM Films

Josh Radnor’s (CBS’ How I Met Your Mother) directorial and writing debut is a story of personal growth and acceptance.  It is for all intents and purposes a coming-of-age story for today’s thirty something generation.  What audiences are presented within this movie is the story of a man who is in denial about getting older.  The man in question is Jesse Fisher (Josh Radnor).  Jesse is in denial about his aging until a series of occurrences leads him to begin seeing the light and sets him on his path of self-realization.  That path is started when he attends the retirement party of a former professor at his old university.  It’s his visit to his alma mater that leads him to meet a group of current students–including one 19-year old named Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen)–with whom he starts a friendship that becomes a semi-romantic relationship.  It’s his interactions with her that help set off a chain of events which eventually make Jesse realize some difficult truths.

As intriguing as the discussion is in Liberal Arts, the discussion makes the movie come across as a movie that’s not exactly for everybody.  Its biggest problem is its pacing.  Because of the manner in which the discussion takes place, the story ends up moving rather slowly.  To add to it, the manner in which the entire discussion is presented makes it come across as being too ambitious.  It may alienate some viewers.  It’s not to say that the discussion on getting older and accepting it is a bad idea for the basis of a movie.  Quite the opposite.  Rather, the problem with this discussion is its placement.  Had this discussion on acceptance of getting older been placed within the confines of another story, it might have translated better to mainstream audiences.

Don’t be mistaken.  Liberal Arts is not a terrible movie by any means.  It is simply a niche film that unlike other recent releases from IFC Films, will appeal more to a smaller, more specific set of viewers.  But then again, it may not have been intended for all audiences to begin with.  That being the case, those who enjoy this movie will know that they are the specifically intended audiences, while others will know the opposite.  Regardless, because of its discussion on acceptance of aging, it’s a story that is original and is worth at least one watch.

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