‘Bill & Ted’ Sequel’s BD Steelbook Re-Issue Is Anything But Bogus

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Interscope Communications/Nelson Entertainment

Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan (a.k.a. Bill & Ted) are officially coming back for a new adventure.  This announcement was made official this past May.  Currently, little is known about the plot for the long-awaited second sequel to the now cult classic 1989 movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but audiences can keep up with the latest on the movie’s official Facebook page.  While audiences wait for the latest on the news the movie, Shout! Factory has a special treat for audiences in the form of its new re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  The company re-issued the movie in a new Blu-ray steelbook presentation late last month.  Its release comes a little more than two years after Shout! Factory released both movies in a special Blu-ray combo pack titled Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection, and a little more than six months after the company re-issued Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in its own Blu-ray steelbook presentation.  It may sound a bit odd, but the movie’s standalone presentation is actually one of its important elements, and will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included in the movie is another important element to discuss, and will be touched on a little later.  The movie’s average price point rounds out its most important element and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  All things considered, they make this latest re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey not too bogus.

Shout! Factory’s recently released re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is an interesting new offering for fans of the cult-favorite Bill & Ted franchise.  That is due in part to the movie’s very presentation.  Alex Winter (who played Bill S. Preston, Esquire) in the B&T movies, notes in one of the movie’s two bonus audio commentaries that there are those who prefer one movie to the other.  This will be discussed later in more depth.  What he was saying is that there are those who actually like this movie more than its predecessor.  Now being that the movie was previously available along with said predecessor on Blu-ray – that combo pack was also available via Shout! Factory —  this re-issue actually marks the first time since at least 2006 that Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey has been available as a standalone presentation.  That last standalone availability was through MGM.  In other words, more than 12 years have passed since it was last available by itself.  All of its other re-issues were as part of various combo packs.  Considering that such amount of time has passed between the two standalone re-issues, and that there are those who prefer this movie to its predecessor (again, according to star Alex Winter), then said audiences that prefer specifically this movie by itself can own it without having to pay the extra cost for both movies at a relatively affordable price; a price that will also be discussed later.  Of course those that want to own both movies together can do just that again thanks to Shout! Factory through the previously noted Blu-ray combo pack.  The availability of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in a standalone presentation is just one of the items that should be noted in examining this new re-issue.  The movie’s bonus content is important to address, too.

The bonus material included in this iteration of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is important to note as it is exactly the same material included with the movie in its inclusion in Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection, which itself was released by Shout! Factory in 2016.  Two feature-length commentaries and an in-depth retrospective of the movie, which runs just shy of two hours, make up the movie’s bonus material.  Each feature offers its own share of entertainment and enlightenment for audiences who perhaps did not already take in said material in the noted combo pack.  The feature-length commentary featuring Winter and producer Scott Kroopf reveals quite a bit of interesting information.  As previously noted, Winter notes in this commentary, that there are in fact audiences who prefer this movie to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and vice versa.  Just as interesting is Winter and Kroopf’s discussion on the role that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the Saturday morning cartoon that followed soon after had in the creative process of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Just as interesting is the pair’s discussion early on in the movie’s roughly 90-minute run time about that creative process.  The duo talks about the thought put into the script, and how it eventually became a coming-of-age style story that sees Bill & Ted trying to figure out their place in the world.  Late in the story’s run, the pair also does finally address how the movie went from being titled Bill & Ted Go To Hell to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Not to give away too much, but according to Winter, studio executives at Orion Films played a direct role in that aspect of the movie.  As if all of this is not enough, the guys’ discussions also turn to more light-hearted fare such as fellow cast member Joss Ackland’s alleged feelings about Winter and [Keanu] Reeves, as well as those of Warren Beatty.  Beatty is mentioned because according to Winter, he was working on the movie Bugsy in the same area in which Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was being shot, so the actors ran into each other from time to time.  There are also plenty of fun talks about William Sadler, who played the infamous Grim Reaper in this movie.  Those talks will bring plenty of laughs for audiences, along with the revelation that the women cast to play the princesses were different from the women in the franchise’s first movie.

Speaking of Sadler, he offers his own comments throughout the course of the bonus retrospective, Bill & Ted Go To Hell.  Sadler offers some entertaining anecdotes about his ad-libing and having to wear his extremely heavy costume and makeup during the shooting.  He notes how hot the weather was during shooting, and its physical impact on him.  Audiences will laugh as he shares his recollection of the ad-libbing in the scene prior to Bill & Ted’s arrival at the Battle of the Bands, and smile just as much as he talks about how much fun he had overall throughout the movie’s shooting.  Sadler’s is not the only interesting interview featured in this bonus feature.  Those behind the scenes, responsible for the special effects, costumes and sets also get plenty of their own screen time to talk about the work that went into the movie’s creation.  Those talks add even more appreciation for the movie.  Perhaps the most intriguing discussion of all comes from writer Chris Matheson, one member of the writing team that also included Ed Solomon.  Matheson reveals late in the feature that the movie did in fact “go off the rails” as it neared its end.  He reveals that from the heaven scene to the movie’s end, there was a lot of grasping at straws to make the movie end.  He almost sounds ashamed as he reveals this piece of information.  In hindsight, it really does seem to make little sense, that whole third act, but somehow it still ends up working.  Between everything noted here, the rest of the discussions in the retrospective and those items addressed in the audio commentaries, audiences have plenty to appreciate in the movie’s bonus features.  Of course, it should be reiterated that these are the same bonuses included with the movie in its inclusion in the 2016 Blu-ray combo pack, Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection.  This means that the bonuses will appeal to those who do not already own the movie in either setting.  To that end, the bonus content and the very presentation of the movie by itself in this new steelbook presentation is that much more appealing especially for audiences who prefer this movie to its predecessor.  Even with all of that in mind, it still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.

Research into the availability of the movie’s new steelbook presentation reveals that apparently, it is only listed at Shout! Factory’s online store and via Amazon.  Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million do not have it listed.  That makes the movie’s average price point approximately $26.97.  That is actually less expensive than the average price point of $34.46 for the Blu-ray combo pack of Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection, but a little more expensive than the average price point of $20.99 for the steelbook re-issue of Bill &Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  That price point was determined using pricing listed at Amazon and Best Buy.  It was not listed at Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or even at Shout! Factory’s online store.  Keeping that in mind, that movie’s average price point might actually be higher if it was listed at the other retailers’ sites.  To that end, the average price point for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey steelbook re-issue is actually quite affordable by itself.  Considering the bonus content provided in the movie’s presentation and the story presented as the movie’s center, it becomes a price point that is worth paying.  Again, noting the bonus content and the movie’s standalone presentation along with the story itself, all the noted elements join to make the movie’s steelbook presentation especially positive for its fans.

Shout! Factory’s new steelbook re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is a positive presentation for fans of this modern cult favorite flick.  That is proven in part through the movie’s physical presentation.  Its release late last month marks the first time in roughly 12 years that it has been released by itself.  The bonus material included in the movie adds even more for audiences to appreciate.  The steelbook’s average price point, when compared to that of Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection and the steelbook re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure couples with the bonus material (and its primary content) and the movie’s physical presentation to show even more clearly why fans specifically of this addition to the Bill & Ted franchise will appreciate this latest release.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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.

Advertisements

Shout! Factory’s ‘City Slickers’ Re-Issue Is Entertaining, But Priced Poorly

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Three years after its most recent re-issue, Shout! Factory has re-issued MGM’s classic comedy City Slickers again as part of its ongoing Shout! Select series.  City Slickers: Collector’s Edition was released Oct. 16 on Blu-ray.  This latest re-issue of the classic buddy comedy/western is a good fit for anyone who might not already own the movie from its 2015 re-issue.  That is due in no small part to the movie’s writing, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included in this re-issue plays into that, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The Blu-ray’s average price point is another reason that this latest re-issue of City Slickers will appeal to fans of the movie who might not already own the movie in its previous releases.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of the movie’s latest release.  All things considered, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of City Slickers is another welcome offering at least for those who do not already own this timeless story of friendship and personal growth.

Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of MGM’s 1991 buddy comedy City Slickers is a welcome addition to the home library of any fan of the timeless movie that might not already own the movie.  That is due in part to the movie’s writing.  The writing includes the story itself, which finds three longtime friends go on an “adventure vacation” following the 39th birthday of the movie’s main character, Mitch (Billy Crystal – Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, Parental Guidance).  Once the trio heads out west to New Mexico for its vacation, plenty of hilarity ensues and plenty of male bonding, too.  What’s really good here is that the male bonding in question never goes over the top.  Rather, that bonding is something to which plenty of male viewers can relate, making it that much more entertaining.  That is thanks to plenty of jokes about sports, life and some totally random subjects and general dialogue, certain to put a smile on any viewer’s face.

The story at the center of City Slickers is just one of the key portions of the writing that makes the writing so notable.  The story’s pacing is just as important to consider in examining the writing as the story itself.  The movie clocks in at just under two hours (one hour, 54 minutes), yet even considering that run time, the story moves relatively swiftly.  That is especially important to note being that the story, which was originally the idea of its lead star, is supposed to follow Mitch and his friends Phil (Daniel Stern – Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Bushwacked) and Ed (Bruno Kirby – Good Morning, Vietnam, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepers) on a two-week long cattle drive.  The writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel deserves its share of credit for this and for how it whittled down the original group of 12 to just three in the process.  The manner in which the pair addressed that part of the story and the very journey itself did an excellent job of keeping the story moving forward, even in some of the less action packed moments.  To that end, the writing that went into this movie forms a solid foundation for City Slickers.  It is just one part of what makes the movie’s latest re-issue so entertaining.  The bonus material included in this new re-issue ads to that enjoyment.

The bonus material included in Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of City Slickers is important to note because it is exactly the same bonus material included in the movie’s 2015 Blu-ray re-issue from MGM.  That includes even the feature-length audio commentary from Crystal, Stern and director Ron Underwood.  That content is also the same as the bonus material included in the movie’s 2011 “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray, also re-issued via MGM.  On the surface, some might argue that is a bad thing, but on a deeper level, it is clearly important.  That is because it does not force audiences to choose between one re-issue and another.  From the primary bonus feature, “Back in the Saddle: City Slickers Revisited,” which takes audiences through a series of discussions on the movie’s story, the importance of the movie in Hollywood’s history and other related topics, to an equally in-depth discussion on the movie’s script to the even funnier (and shorter) discussion on the unlikely star that was Norman the calf, to even the discussions on the deleted scenes, the bonus material included with the movie offers so much entertainment.  In turn, that entertainment (and insight) adds even more appreciation for the movie.  Case in point is the discussion on the movie’s original final scene, which saw Mitch and company actually release the cattle from the farm as one of the deleted scenes.  Underwood reveals that this scene, which is presented as a bonus, was the original finale for the movie, but was cut because of audience response and concerns from the movie’s creative heads.  Knowing that this scene was cut from the final presentation actually presents a smoother and happier ending.  “A Star is Born: An Ode To Norman” is interesting as it reveals how the cast and crew shot the now famous scene of Mitch birthing Norman.  As it turns out, that scene was shot in three separate locations due to weather and scheduling.  The full explanation will be left for those who have yet to see the movie.  “Back in the Saddle: Revisiting City Slickers” reveals as one of its most intriguing notes that Jack Palance (Sudden Fear, Batman, Shane) was allegedly so nervous on his first day of filming that he had a rather loud outburst against Underwood, but later apologized for it to Underwood and to Crystal.  Even more interesting is the revelation from Crystal that he believed he might have in fact lived a prior life, and that life may have had some connection to the old west.  That discussion is certain to create its own share of discussions.

The items noted here and plenty of others presented in the movie’s primary bonus material offers plenty of its own entertainment and interest for audiences.  It certainly is not the only interesting information shared through the bonus material.  The bonus feature-length commentary reveals that Mitch’s Mets outfit was the result of a connection with the New York Mets.  Crystal reveals that as a Yankees fan, he wanted to wear Yankees gear in the running of the bulls scene, but because of some charity work from the Mets, he ended up wearing their apparel.  That’s early on in the movie, of course.  He later reveals that the inspiration for the movie’s initial development came after watching a program on television about adventure vacations.  Going back to his discussion about his sense of déjà vu from being out west, one cannot help but wonder if in fact, he might have lived before.  Even later on, the discussion turns to Crystal’s friendship with Palance.  Hearing the emotion in his voice (and that of Stern and Underwood) is a moving moment from the trio who is otherwise light-hearted throughout the movie.  When one considers all of this and more along with the entertainment and insight offered through the movie’s main bonus material, the whole of the movie’s bonus material proves integral in its own right to its new re-issue.  When it is considered along with all of the positives in the movie’s writing, the two elements give audiences more than enough reason to add this re-issue to their home library.  For all of the positives offered through this latest re-issue, the movie’s price the movie’s only con.

At the time of this review, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of City Slickers is listed only on its own website.  It is not listed at the websites of Walmart, Best Buy, Target or even Amazon.  The 2015 re-issue is the most recent re-issue listed.  Its average price point is $9.97.  That is determined using prices from Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.  The movie is listed at Target only as DVD.  The price listed on Shout! Factory’s store for this new re-issue is $24.99.  Considering this, that pricing is a bit high since all of the material is exactly the same as those previous re-issues.  The only thing that makes this price acceptable is the bonus poster that comes with the movie in its online store.  To that end, the price is still somewhat high, and being that the 2011 and 2015 re-issues can also be ordered online at a far lower price (even with shipping & handling), it just makes the price that much more questionable.  To that end, one can only wonder what the outcome will be for this addition to Shout! Factory’s ongoing Shout! Select series.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of MGM’s City Slickers is an interesting new offering in its Shout! Select series of movies.  That is because it offers audiences the exact same presentation put forth in the movie’s past two re-issues from 2015 and 2011.  Audiences who do not already own one or the other of those re-issues would be recommended to pick up this copy, if not for the movie’s price, as it is currently listed only on Shout! Factory’s website.  That price is not competitive in comparison to the movie’s previous re-issues.  Keeping that in mind, one cannot help but be at least somewhat disappointed, if only for that pricing.  Other than that, it is an enjoyable presentation.  Hopefully this will lead to a price reduction that is more affordable for consumers.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For ‘Get Shorty’ BD Re-Issue

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MGM

Shout! Factory will re-issue MGM’s classic 1995 comedy flick Get Shorty this fall.

The movie is currently scheduled to be released Oct. 23 as on Blu-ray as part of Shout! Factory’s “Shout! Select” movie series.  It will be presented in a new 4K HD scan and will feature new bonus materials, such as a feature-length audio commentary from director Barry Sonnenfeld, gag reel and the featurettes, “Get Short — Look At Me” and “Get Shorty — Wise Guys & Dolls.”

The full list of bonus materials featured in the movie’s re-issue is noted below.

Special Features:
  • Remastered from a new 4K transfer
  • Audio Commentary with Director Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Featurettes: “Get Shorty – Look at Me,” ” Get Shorty – Wise Guys + Dolls,” “Going Again”
  • Get Shorty Party Reel
  • Page to Screen of Get Shorty
  • Vignettes
  • The Graveyard Scene
  • Trailer

Get Shorty follows former gangster turned loan shark Chili Palmer (John Travolta — Pulp FictionFace-OffGrease) as he travels to Los Angeles to collect a debt from down-and-out filmmaker Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman — Enemy of the StateSuperman IVThe French Connection).  His trip leads him to schmooze Hollywood figures Martin Weir (Danny DeVito — MatildaBatman ReturnsThrow Mama From The Train) and romances B-movie star Karen Flores (Rene Russo — AppaloosaLethal Weapon 4Ransom).  Things get even more interesting though when Palmer’s past comes back to haunt him courtesy of another mobster and a group of drug smugglers who are on his heels.

Those not-so-good figures are played by James Gandolfini (The SopranosEnough Said, The Mexican), Dennis Farina (Law & OrderSnatchMidnight Run), Delroy Lindo (UpMalcolm XRansom) and Jon Gries (Napoleon DynamiteMen in BlackReal Genius).

Get Shorty can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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.

 

‘The Man From Planet X’ BD Re-Issue Shows There Is Still A Clear Place And Need For The Classics Today

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/MGM/United Artists

Science fiction and horror are not what they once were. They are focused so much on quantity than quality. The amount of special effects and over the top violence to be exact. That is something about which audiences did not have to be concerned during Hollywood’s golden era. Classic science fiction and horror — including even the cheesiest flicks such as It Came From Outer Space, The Invisible Boy, and The Man From Planet X among so many others — stand head and shoulders above today’s largely forgettable flicks because they focused more on quality than quantity. Thanks to the work of the people at Shout! Factory, the latter of that trio recently received new life through a new Blu-ray re-issue this past July. That re-issue gave the movie its own new life while also helping to show why classic sci-fi and horror is just as good as its modern counterparts, if not better. That is due in part to the movie’s familiar yet still entertaining story, which will be discussed shortly. The movie’s production values (I.E. sets, special effects, etc.) also play into its enjoyment and will be discussed later. The bonus audio commentary tracks included in the movie’s re-issue round out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own way in showing why this movie is so enjoyable. All things considered, they prove clearly that this movie is in fact one more example of why classic sci-fi and horror is just as good as its modern counterparts if not better than them.

Scream! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of MGM and United Artists’ 1951 sci-fi/horror flick The Man From Planet X is a fun watch for any classic sci-fi and horror fan that proves clearly why movies of its ilk and era are just as good as their descendants if not better. That is proven in part through the movie’s simple story. The story centers on an alien from another planet that lands on a small fog-filled Scottish island in order to start an invasion of Earth. In order to start paving the way for that invasion, the unnamed alien puts the tiny village’s residents under its control by taking over their minds. It’s not the only time that Hollywood presented a story involving a villain using mind control for a nefarious purpose, but it is one of the earlier films to take this route. Interestingly enough, even when under the alien’s mind control, the villagers are still cognizant of their surroundings — enough so that they can give the movie’s protagonist, John Lawrence, the information he needs to stop the alien. Obviously in the end, Lawrence is able to stop the alien. How he does that won’t be given away here. The truly surprising aspect of the whole story is that the alien is not the only villain. Dr. Mears is also a villain, yet manages through his own greed, is the one who unwittingly uncovers the alien’s plot. It is definitely an interesting twist, and one that makes the movie that much more entertaining. Keeping all of this in mind, the movie’s story does plenty to make the movie entertaining, and is not the movie’s only key element. Its production values play into its entertainment value, too.

The production values at the center of The Man From Planet X are collectively speaking just as important to the movie’s presentation as its story. Those values include the movie’s sets, special effects and even collective editing and cinematography. There are those out there who have lamented the movie’s production values, but the simplicity of the movie’s production values are a big part of its interest, but those behind the lens used the resources that they had at the time. They are even discussed in the movie’s bonus audio commentaries. Those commentaries will be discussed shortly. The simplicity in the sets is in fact part of what makes the movie’s look so endearing. They show that a movie (whether sci-fi, horror or both) doesn’t always need over the top effects, etc. in order to have a great look. In fact they show that sometimes, a minimalist can have more impact than the overblown approach taken by so many of today’s sci/fi and horror blockbusters. The same applies to the movie’s cinematography and editing. The angles and cuts are simple in their own right, using the simple sets to their fullest for just as much impact. The combination of that expert editing, cinematography and set design makes suspension of disbelief even easier for audiences, and in turn, insures even more audiences’ maintained entertainment and engagement. When this is considered along with the impact of the movie’s story, the whole of those elements strengthens the movie’s presentation even more. They are not the movie’s only key elements. The movie’s bonus audio commentaries round out its most important elements.

As was noted previously, one of the items noted in the bonus commentaries included in The Man From Planet X‘s home release is that of its budget. Author Tom Weaver, who provides one of the two full-length audio commentaries, notes that the movie’s budget was low. He does so in a respectful manner, though. He explains that the movie did not have a major budget, yet still managed to make the most of the budget. His discussion on this topic is just one of the items that makes the bonus commentaries so engaging. Weaver also notes early on in his commentary that this movie is both sci-fi and horror because of elements such as the “mad scientist” (Professor Elliot) in his castle and of course the evil, mind-controlling alien. Another interesting item that he notes is that of when he first saw the movie in the 1980s and became a fan of the movie from then on. That he openly admitted not having seen it until almost 40 years after its debut, but still became a fan, shows its impact, despite being a b-flick.

Weaver’s is not the only commentary included as a bonus for the movie. Glenn Erikson, who sometimes writes for Turner Classic Movies, sits down for an interview with Arianne Ulmer, daughter of the movie’s famed director Edgar Ulmer as an additional commentary. Audiences learn through the younger Ulmer’s interview that he was concerned about his legacy being forgotten and about her father’s favorite films. The Man From Planet X apparently was one that her dad liked, but apparently was not one of his “favorites.” Early on, there is also discussion on her own efforts to preserve her father’s works. That dedication to keeping her father’s legacy and memory alive is a touching sentiment. If not for her efforts, audiences in fact might not have this re-issue today. Keeping that (and all of the other discussions) in mind, such commentary proves fully important to this presentation. the same can be said of the movie’s other bonus commentary. When this is considered along with the importance of the movie’s simple yet engaging and entertaining story and its equally laudable production values, the whole of those elements makes this presentation in whole full proof of why there is still a place and need for classic sci-fi and horror in today’s market.

Scream! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of MGM and United Artists’ classic sci-fi horror flick The Man From Planet X is a work that shows clearly and fully that there is both a place and need for classic science fiction in today’s movie industry. It shows that the classics are just as good as their counterparts, if not better, in many cases. In the matter of this rarity, that is shown through the movie’s story, which insures entertainment and engagement through its simplicity. Its production values, which are simple in their own right, join with that simple story to strengthen the movie’s presentation even more. Both of the in-depth feature-length audio commentaries included as bonus material to the movie, adds even more to its presentation. When all of these noted elements are joined together, they make the whole of The Man From Planet X a movie that easily rivals its modern counterparts and will entertain sci-fi and horror fans of all ages. It is available now in stores and online to prove that argument to everyone. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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.

‘Green Acres: The Complete Series’ Is A Must Have For Any Classic TV Fan

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is going “Green” next month.  That is because for the first time ever, the renowned home entertainment company will release to the masses Green Acres: The Complete Series.  The six-season set is currently expected to be released in stores and online Tuesday, Oct. 17.  Those fans who have waited for so long for its release will be happy to know that with this forthcoming release, the wait was well worth it.  That is due in no small part to the episodes.  This will be discussed shortly.  The set’s packaging is another important part of its presentation that cannot and should not be ignored, and will be discussed later.  The bonus material included in this package rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the set’s presentation.  All things considered, the first-ever run of Green Acres: The Complete Series proves, again, to have been well worth the wait and one that is easily one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-ups.

Shout! Factory’s forthcoming release of Green Acres: The Complete Series is a set that fans of the classic sitcom will find was well worth the wait.  That is especially the case considering that its release next month will mark the first time that the show has ever received a full-series treatment.  That is due in part to the episodes presented here.  From start to finish, audiences get all 170 episodes of the classic series, including the series’ rare pilot episode, which even has its own audio commentary track featuring thoughts from pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  That commentary is just one of the bonuses included in the set that will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject, this set marks the first time that all 170 episodes of the largely family friendly series have ever been released together or otherwise.  What’s more, each episode looks and sounds just as good as they did in their original broadcasts if not better.  This is a real tribute to the series’ fans on the part of Shout! Factory and MGM, and both companies are to be commended for those efforts.  That is just one of the reasons that both companies should be commended here.  The set’s packaging is deserving of just as much praise as the episodes and their presentation.

The packaging used for Green Acres: The Complete Series is once more everything that audiences have come to expect from box sets released via Shout! Factory.  All six seasons of the classic sitcom are set in their own cases with the discs themselves being placed on their own plates inside the boxes.  Even with four discs being placed inside each case (for a total of 24 discs), the cases are still standard single-disc DVD size cases, showing once again how much thought was obviously put into the set’s packaging.  While separating the seasons out into separate cases might have expanded the set’s overall packaging, it is a sacrifice worth having to make in order to preserve the discs, and in turn, the series.  What’s more, even while this method might expand the packaging, it still in essence doesn’t expand it too much.

The physical aspect of the set’s packaging is only one part of what makes this element stand out.  Once again, Shout! Factory has included inside each season’s case, a chronological episode listing for audiences that includes a short but concise summary for each episode, the episode’s original air date and title.  The result here is two-fold.  One on level, the episode title and summary helps audiences decide which episode(s) they want to watch at one point or another.  On another level, the air date serves as its own starting point for perhaps a history lesson on the episode and even the series.  In other words, the set’s packaging is pleasing not just for its physical aspect but for its aesthetic aspect, too.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why this collection’s packaging is just as important as its episodes, if not more important.  Of course it is not the last of the set’s most important elements.  The set’s bonus material forms the set’s cornerstone.

The bonus material included with Green Acres: The Complete Series offers just as much entertainment as the series’ episodes if not more.  That is because of its quantity and quality.  As previously noted, the series’ pilot episode can be viewed both by itself and with an isolated audio commentary track from pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  Dyball’s commentary both entertains and informs audiences of all ages with his insight.  The Granby’s Green Acres radio broadcasts, which are also briefly discussed in the bonus featurette Green Acres Is The Place To Be.  Audiences get to experience for themselves here just some of the episodes from the short-lived radio broadcast series, which was the foundation for Green Acres.  After taking in those broadcasts and learning about them through the aforementioned bonus discussion with author Stephen Cox, audiences gain a whole new respect and appreciation for the series in both incarnations.  Speaking of Cox’s discussion, his discussion about Green Acres’ radio roots is just one of so many topics that he covers in his featurette. Along with that discussion, he also touches on the series’ connections to I Love Lucy, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and other series through casting, production and other topics.  That is just the tip of the iceberg, too.  He also goes into depth about the off-screen friendship between the series’ stars, Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor—there was nothing romantic there, so no one should get their hopes up for any gossip—the fact that Albert and Gabor were not the original picks for the show’s leads and why, the series’ animal stars and their training and even the importance of the series’ theme song as a scene setter for the show among so much more.  Between his in-depth discussions and those from Dyball, audiences get more than they could have hoped for in terms of engagement and entertainment.  The radio broadcasts and Merv Griffin Show appearances starring Albert and Gabor collectively add even more entertainment.  From one item to the next, it is clear that the bonus material included with Green Acres: The Complete Series is pivotal to this set’s presentation.  It collectively succeeds, too.  When it is considered alongside the series’ full 170-episode presentation and the continued standard-setting packaging, all three elements join to make this first-time release one that was well worth the wait and the money.  They join to make the set one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming release of Green Acres: The Complete Series is definitely one that was well worth the wait.  It is also one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups (and maybe even families in whole, which the world needs more of in this day and age).  From the presentation of its full 170-episode run to its continued bar-setting packaging to its equally entertaining and engaging bonus material, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate.  Considering that, audiences will agree when they experience it for themselves–once more-that it was well worth the wait and the cost.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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.

Robot Jox Is One Of 2015’s Top New Reissues

Courtesy/Shout! Factory/Empire Pictures/MGM/Orion Pictures

Courtesy/Shout! Factory/Empire Pictures/MGM/Orion Pictures

The 1980s was one of the movie industry’s best eras and one of its worst. That is because a lot of great classic movies were born in that era. However, just as many really bad movies came out of that decade. There was also a handful of movies that while seemed bad at the time, have since proven to be so far ahead of their time and underappreciated in hindsight. Orion Pictures’ 1989 sci-fi action flick Robot Jox is one of the latter of those movies. And thanks to Shout! Factory, Robot Jox a new generation of moviegoers will see for themselves just how underappreciated the movie has been ever since its debut some twenty-six years ago. That is because Shout! Factory’s horror division Scream Factory re-issued the modern classic b-movie on Blu-ray this summer. Audiences that give this movie a chance will see for themselves that there is a lot that makes this movie well worth the watch, its script being the most important of its elements. The script presents a story that is more than just two men facing off in a pair of giant, fighting robots. Rather it is something deeper. That something deeper will be discussed at more length shortly. Its special effects are, colletively speaking, another important part of the movie’s whole. In comparison to both action movies from that era and from today’s age of big budget special effects blockbusters, Robot Jox boasts special effects that are surprisingly impressive. They are impressive both in themselves and in juxtaposition to the movie’s story. That will be discussed at more length later. Last but hardly least worth noting of the movie’s re-issue is its bevy of bonus material. Audiences get an extensive amount of interviews with those that worked behind the cameras in order to bring the movie to life. It adds plenty of insight and in turn enjoyment to the overall viewing experience. The result of that enjoyment is the agreement that Robot Jox is in fact one of the most underrated movies of its time and perhaps even of its genre and in knowing this, it proves itself to be one of the best of this year’s crop of new re-issues.

Scream Factory’s (Shout! Factory’s horror division) recent re-issue of the classic sci-fi B-flick Robot Jox is one of the best of this year’s crop of new re-issues. The main reason for the honor is the movie’s script. On the surface, it would seem to the untrained eye that the script presents a story that is just another movie about giant, fighting robots. But in reality it is far more than that. The script presents a story with just as much commentary and drama as with enjoyable fight scenes. The commentary in question can be argued to be the product of then Cold War tensions between the U.S. and Russia as Achilles–an American robot jock–faces off against Alexander–who interestingly enough is a Russian character played by an American actor–in a battle for the rights to Alaska and its resources. It is interesting to note that writer/director Stuart Gordon never makes clear which countries are on which side of the two post-WWIII factions. So it can only be assumed from this subtlety and the use of the movie’s two main characters that in fact Stuart was reflecting tensions in the real world as a model for the tensions divisions within the world of Robot Jox. It is just one part of what makes the movie’s script such an important part of the movie’s whole. The human drama element incorporated into the movie makes for even more interest and enjoyment. Achilles’ (Gary Graham–Alien Nation, All The Right Moves, Star Trek: Enterprise) personal drama was nothing new to the world of movies and television then nor is it now. But the fact that Gordon was able to keep that element overtake the story’s other elements or even become too schmaltzy is a tribute to Gordon’s attention to detail. The same can be said of his ability to prevent the action sequences from overpowering the script, too. In comparison to so many of today’s major action flicks, too many of those movies rely more on the quantity of explosions than the quality of the story in whole. Thankfully Gordon’s creation wasn’t and isn’t one of those movies, even having been released in 1989. It balances that element with the movie’s commentary and human drama to make a script that ensures audiences’ engagement from beginning to end. In turn, that balance proves the movie’s script to be one of its most important elements if not its most important.

Stuart Gordon’s script is one of the most important elements of Robot Jox’s presentation. It balances each of its elements so well that it will assuredly keep audiences fully engaged. On a side note, considering the amount of foul language peppered throughout the script and Athena’s short scene featuring her bare backside, it is a surprise that this movie got a “PG” rating. Maybe that’s just the sign of changing times. Regardless, the script behind Robot Jox is just one part of what makes the movie such a welcome re-issue. The special effects utilized in Robot Jox are just as important to the whole of the movie as the movie’s script. The special effects are such an important element in that in comparison to action flicks churned out in the 80s, few if any relied on models and stop motion photography in the same fashion or extent of this movie. Rather, most action flicks of the time were beginning to rely on bigger budget special effects including what was then the earliest incarnations of computer generated special effects and other movie magic. To see that those behind the cameras went the low-fi (for lack of better wording) route instead in this case just makes it all the more enjoyable. That is because it throws back to the days of Roger Corman’s classic B-flicks. It shows that such an approach could at the time still result in a movie that looked surprisingly impressive and that movie makers didn’t necessarily have to use the more modern approach to entertain audiences. For that matter moviemakers could probably use such an approach today and it would still look better than most of the explosion-laden action flicks that currently pollute American theaters. That in mind, the special effects used in Robot Jox, which are themselves discussed at more length in the bonus commentary included in the reissue’s bonus material, show just how important they are to the whole of the movie even nearly four decades after the movie’s original debut.

The script behind Robot Jox and its special effects are both equally important in considering what makes this movie such a welcome return. As important as both elements are, they are only a couple of parts of the whole of the movie’s enjoyment. The extensive commentaries from those behind the cameras are just as important as the movie’s script and it special effects in considering its enjoyment. Audiences will note of the movie’s bonus commentaries, that they get to hear from the movie’s writer/director Stuart Gordon as well as others behind the cameras including members of the movie’s special effects and visual effects department. Audiences learn through the interviewees’ discussions about the work that went into assembling the robot models used in the fight scenes, and the work put in to hide the wires on which the miniatures were mounted as well as the very work put in to bring the robots to life per se among so many other topics. Those and all of the other topics tackled along with the bonus gag reel and interview with star Paul Koslo (Joe Kidd, The Omega Man, Vanishing Point) combine to show why the bonus material included in the movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue is just as important to the movie’s script and special effects. It gives an in-depth look at just how much work went in to bringing to life not just the robots, but the movie in whole. According to one of the interviewees, the movie actually took some four years to be completed. That is a lot of time and work; time and work that paid off quite well in the end as the movie’s re-issue reveals. It paid off so well that the result is, again, one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues.

Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray re-issue of Robot Jox is one of the best of this year’s crop of new re-issues. It is more than just another cheesy 80s action flick. Rather it is a movie with a script that seems to reflect the world’s political climate at the time of its debut and boasts special effects that are surprisingly impressive compared to both those of other 80s action flicks and those released in recent years. The discussions on those special effects and other aspects of the movie’s creation in the reissue’s new bonus commentaries rounds out the movie’s presentation makes for even more appreciation for the movie. In the end, all three elements together show clearly why Scream Factory’s re-issue of Robot Jox is one of the best of the year’s crop of new re-issues. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/action-adventure/robot-jox. More information on this and other titles from Scream! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/scream-factory

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/scream_factory

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.

Shout At The Devil Is Well Deserving Of Its Recent DVD/BD Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group/MGM/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/MGM/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory re-issued this Spring a movie that is perhaps one of the lesser known wartime period pieces to have been released during the 20th Century. The movie in question is the World War I period piece Shout at the Devil. This 1976 film, starring Roger Moore (For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker) and Lee Marvin (M Squad, The Dirty Dozen, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), is a movie that deserves a second chance and rightfully has gotten one thanks to the people at Shout! Factory. The story’s script is the central reason for it to get that look that it otherwise might not have gotten in its original release. The script’s premise is pretty simple to follow, which leaves plenty of time for action throughout its length. Also worth noting is the acting on the part of both Marvin and Moore. The duo’s on screen presence makes suspension of disbelief quite easy, thus making the movie that much more enjoyable whether one is seeing it for the first time or the first time in a long time. And last but not least is the movie’s special effects department. While the movie is at its heart an action flick, the over-the-top explosions and other special effects that are overly used in today’s movies are nowhere to be found here. It seems like a minor detail. But reality is that it is quite important in the overall scheme of things. Each of the factors noted here are important at their own level. Altogether, they show just why Shout at the Devil is one of the 20th Century’s more underrated action flicks and war-time period pieces.

When asked to name some of the greatest war-time movies ever crafted during the 20th Century, most audiences will likely rattle off movie titles such as The Great Escape, Schindler’s List, Patton, and other big name movies. The likely reason for this is that movies centered on World War I are so few and far between. Next to Shout at the Devil perhaps the only other movie centered on that World War I that most audiences will come up with when asked to name any is All Quiet on the Western Front. Odds are few people will name Shout at the Devil as a matter of fact. Given the chance to watch this movie, word might finally spread now that it has been re-issued in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. And one reason that word might spread is the movie’s script. The script behind this movie is pretty simple. It sees Marvin and Moore as Colonel Flynn O’Flynn and Sebastian Oldsmith respectively. The pair goes toe to toe with German officer Herman Fleischer (Reinhard Kolldehoff) in a game of cat and mouse across Africa. After Fleishcer and his men set fire to the village where O’Flynn and Oldsmith are staying with Oldsmiths’ wife and child things get very personal. That’s because Oldsmith’s newborn is killed in the process. The pair is then given reason to join forces with the British Navy to hunt down Fleischer’s battleship and sink it. It’s as simple as that. So it leaves one wondering why some viewers didn’t like this movie. Perhaps those are the viewers that should give this movie another watch now that it has been re-issued on Blu-ray/DVD box set courtesy of Shout! Factory. Perhaps a second watch will allow those audiences to see it more clearly and in turn appreciate it for that script, if nothing else.

The script penned for Shout at the Devil is central to the overall enjoyment of this period piece. Working in direct connection with the script is the acting on the part of its lead cast. There is obvious chemistry between Moore and Marvin throughout the movie. Their interactions show that. From their first scene to their fight when O’Flynn’s daughter announces that she and Oldsmith are going to get married, to Oldsmith’s reaction to being volunteered for the mission to find Fleischer’s battleship, their interactions with one another pull viewers effortlessly into the movie. Audiences will find themselves laughing quite a bit at the contradiction of personalities between the duo at so many points throughout the story. And even in the story’s few more emotional moments, they both pull off their parts expertly. That ability to interpret each scene and properly emote will easily keep audiences engaged and entertained. In turn, they make the movie’s roughly two-and-a-half hour run time fly by thus proving once more why this little-known movie so rightly deserved its re-issue from Shout! Factory.

The acting on the part of Lee Marvin and Roger Moore in Shout at the Devil and the movie’s script are both important parts of the movie’s enjoyment. There is one more factor to examine in the movie’s overall presentation that makes it a movie worth watching. That final factor is the movie’s special effects. Those that give this movie a chance will note that it is both a drama and an action flick. No action flick is complete without a certain amount of special effects. The problem with Hollywood today is that it relies far too much on special effects to make up for what is an otherwise boring film that lacks any real substance. The case with Shout at the Devil is the exact opposite as today’s movies. Given, studios didn’t have access to the resources in 1976 to which they have access today. Regardless, those behind the movie’s special effects used the resources at their disposal at a minimum. The flight scenes were obviously filmed in front of a blue screen as was the scene early on in which Fleischer’s battleship rams the tiny boat carrying O’Flynn and Oldsmith. But in comparison to other movies released in the late 70s, these special effects were actually respectable. They didn’t look so deliberate that one would end up simply shaking their heads at said scenes. And even the final scene, which will not be revealed here, kept the explosions to a minimum. They weren’t the over-the-top flash-bang-boom trips on which filmmakers such as Michael Bay and James Cameron go in their movies. Simply put, the special effects used in Shout at the Devil were used as part of the story rather than to make up for lack of story. And that balance with the writing and acting serves as part of the whole that once more makes Shout at the Devil a movie that any movie buff and military movie buff should see. This is regardless of whether said individuals will see the movie for the first time or for the first time in a long time.

Shout at the Devil is available now in stores and online in a double-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo pack courtesy of Shout! Factory. It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/shout-devil. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Timeless Media is available online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial, http://www.shoutfactory.com, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364, and http://www.timelessvideo.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it at 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.