‘Moana’ Makes For An Enjoyable Occasional Watch

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios has gone to great lengths in recent years to attract young female audiences looking for something other than the standard damsel in distress stories.  New strong female leads such as Princess Elena (Elena of Avalor), Merida (Brave) and Elsa and Anna (Frozen) have proven those efforts have paid off.  The company’s take on Rapunzel (Tangled) could be argued either way.  Late last year, the House of Mouse brought its young female audiences another strong female role model in the form of Moana.  The Polynesian teen’s coming-of-age story proved to be a rousing success for Disney in terms of sales.  Now available on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, the movie has proven to be just as much of a financial boon for the company.  As successful as it has performed, this latest teen-centric tale of self-realization and friendship is, in reality, not Disney’s best.  It is not a total loss, though.  That should be emphasized here.  That is due in part to its dual-pronged story.  That will be discussed shortly.  The story’s pacing does take away from the story, bogging it down more than once.  The movie’s bonus material should also be noted in examining its overall presentation.  That will be discussed at more length later, too.  Each element plays its own part in Moana’s overall presentation.  They show that while it is anything but Disney’s best, it is also not the studio’s worst effort either.  It is worth at least an occasional watch.

Walt Disney Studios’ latest animated adventure Moana is hardly the famed studio’s finest work.  To be fair, it is also not the company’s worst effort.  It is worth at least an occasional watch.  That is due in part to the movie’s dual-pronged story.  The most obvious of those two prongs is Moana’s own coming-of-age story.  After being told by her father not to go beyond the reef, she decides (on the advice of her grandmother) that she should make her own decision.  This leads her to strike out on her own adventure in an effort to save her island and its surrounding islands.  This story of self-actualization generates, in itself secondary messages about finding one’s own way in life, not being afraid to take chances, and so many other messages.  The movie’s writing staff is to be commended for the way in which they incorporated those messages into the central story without allowing them to overpower the script’s central story.  They are to be commended just as much for the balance of that central story with the secondary story of Maui’s turn from villain to hero.

The secondary story of Maui’s turn from villain to hero is just as commonplace in the cinematic realm as Moana’s coming-of-age tale.  As the pair journeys to return the heart of Taffiti Moana eventually leads Maui to realize the error of his ways, leading him to make a tough decision about himself and about personal sacrifice, leading him to atone for his past wrongs and become a hero.  It is, in its own right, its own coming-of-age story, just more in the avenue of self-actualization.  This story of personal growth is just as commonplace in the cinematic realm as Moana’s coming-of-age tale.  Yet somehow the script’s writing team was able to make both stories work.  That ability to make both stories so entertaining makes the movie’s writing team deserving of its share of applause.  At the same time though, that applause cannot be too loud.  That is due to the problem raised through the story’s pacing.

Moana’s writers are to be commended for joining two common-place cinematic stories and somehow balancing them.  They are to be commended, too for somehow taking at least a somewhat original approach to the all-too-familiar stories.  While the writers are to be commended for the efforts taken to make those stories work collectively and alone, they cannot be applauded too loudly.  That is because their efforts also led to a pacing problem that clearly bogs down the movie.  That pacing issue is evident early on as Moana is given the heart, only to lose it when she is caught by her father.  The problem here is that it meant the story had to take a lot of unnecessary time building up to Moana getting the heart back from a somewhat expected source all while she is growing up and finding her way all before she even embarks on her epic journey.  Once Moana finally gets her voyage, things pick back up a little, only to get bogged down again as she and Maui get randomly attacked by a bunch of mutant-type living coconut pirates.  Yes, mutant-type, living coconut pirates.  Sounds like the premise for a really bad 1950s B-sci-fi flick, right?  Once they escape the creatures’ (which conjure thoughts of the goombas from the Mario Brothers video game franchise) clutches, the story does pick up again, only to be bogged down yet again later as Maui (at least temporarily) deserts Moana—not to give away too much—before things pick up again in the story’s final act.  Considering the constant back and forth of the story’s pacing, keeping audiences engaged in the nearly two-hour movie is not easy.  That could potentially chalked up to the fact that it seems like the writers just threw together elements of past Disney offerings such as Aladdin, Hercules, and so many others and hoped they would make this story work.  They made the story’s dual-pronged approach work.  But they clearly caused problems in the story’s pacing.

The pacing of Moana’s dual-pronged story is a problem that cannot be ignored in examining the movie’s overall presentation.  The constant back and forth of the movie’s pacing makes maintaining audiences’ engagement (especially younger audiences) problematic.  Luckily, the efforts of the movie’s writing team to balance the stories and somehow make them at least somewhat original makes enduring the pacing problems easier.  Another element that makes up (at least somewhat) for the movie’s pacing is the bonus material included in the movie’s home release.  The movie’s key bonus feature is the documentary “Voices of the Islands.”  The roughly half-hour program takes viewers along with the movie’s heads to the South Pacific as they studied the Polynesian people and their culture ahead of the movie’s creation.  Audiences will be surprised to see how much of the region’s culture—from the importance of family and community to the importance of the coconut to even something as minor as the people’s hair style—plays directly into the movie in this program.  All of these discussions exhibit just how much time and work went into making the movie believable and that it properly paid tribute to the people on which it is centered.  It creates a new respect for the work put in to bring the story to life and is yet another example of how bonus features can make an otherwise forgettable flick more memorable and not the last.  The bonus ‘Gone Fishin’’ short that features Moana and Maui adds its own enjoyment to the movie’s overall presentation.  When the movie’s bonus material and its story are coupled together, they make the one negative of the movie’s pacing bearable.  The end result is a viewing experience that audiences of all ages will enjoy even with just the occasional watch.

Walt Disney Studios’ new animated movie Moana is not the studio’s best effort, nor is it the company’s worst offering.  It is a movie that is worth at least an occasional watch.  That is due in part to the balance in the movie’s dual-pronged story.  The story’s pacing is problematic.  There is no denying that, but luckily it is not so problematic that it makes the movie unwatchable.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s home release gives audiences even more reason to give it a chance; especially the movie’s companion 30-minute “Voices of the Islands” documentary.  That bonus documentary, when coupled with the movie’s balanced two-part story, the two elements do plenty to make up for the movie’s pacing problems.  That combination makes the movie worth watching at least once in a while.  More information on Moana is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/moana

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory Kids’ New ‘LPS’ DVD Is A “Star” In Itself

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

Shout! Factory Kids’ latest entry in its ongoing series of Littlest Pet Shop DVD, Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars is a star in itself among the bigger picture of the series’ current collections.  The DVD, released Feb. 14, is yet another enjoyable collection of episodes for the whole family.  That is due in part to the collection’s featured episodes and their sequencing.  That will be discussed shortly.  The episodes’ writing is just as important to note in examining this collection if not more than the episodes themselves. While it is a minute detail here, the series’ animation can actually be noted in the case of at least one of the collection’s episodes.  Each element plays its own important part to the collection’s overall presentation.  All things considered, this collection proves in the end to indeed be another enjoyable addition to the series’ current list of entries and another one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Shout! Factory Kids’ latest Littlest Pet Shop DVD Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars is yet another enjoyable addition to the series’ current list of home releases.  It is also an easy, early pick for any critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s DVDs.  That is due in part to the episodes that are featured on the DVD.  As with the series’ previous DVD releases, this collection features five more episodes from the family friendly animated series.  The episodes featured in this collection take families through the series’ second and third season.  What truly stands out here is that the episodes are presented in relative chronological order from start to finish.  This includes both overall and within the seasons themselves.  ‘Heart of Parkness’ and ‘Standup Stinker’ are both lifted from Season Two while ‘The Secret Recipe,’ ‘A Night at the Pawza’ and ‘Sue Syndrome’ are all lifted from Season Three.  On the surface, this seems like an unimportant element to examine.  In the bigger picture though, presenting the episodes in almost the same order as they aired in their original television broadcast shows a dedication to properly transferring the episodes from television to DVD.  Simply put, it’s an aesthetic element, but an important one nonetheless.  To that end, it is still a highly important piece of the DVD’s overall presentation, and not the only important piece either.  The writing behind each episode is just as important to examine as the episodes themselves.

The episodes featured in Shout! Factory Kids’ latest LPS DVD collection are in themselves important to the DVD’s overall presentation.  That is because they are presented in relatively the same order as they were in their original broadcast.  This is not the first time that Shout! Factory Kids has taken such painstaking efforts to properly transfer the series’ episodes from television to DVD.  That being the case, it makes this element well worth noting.  Just as important to note in examining the collection’s overall presentation is the work of the show’s writers within each episode.  The writing is notable first because of the stories that are at the center of each episode.  The writing in the set’s opening episode “Heart of Parkness” shows that the episodes can and do entertain even when only one of the cast is a story’s focus.  In this case, Sunil is the focus as he is separated from his fellow pet pals and is forced to defend a group of “native” raccoons in the park from a King Cobra.  The setup for the story comes from the Biskit twins’ release of the exotic snake from their father’s pet store because of their own selfishness.  Considering the very real issue of people having (many times illegally) exotic pets and the dangers posed therein, suspension of disbelief here becomes relatively easy.

“Standup Stinker” is another key example of why the episodes’ writing is so important to note. The dual-pronged story line presented in “Standup Stinker” sees both Pepper and Minka following their own dreams, connecting both with plenty of humor along the way.  This touches on another element of the writing that is so important to note–its pop culture references.  True lovers of classic sci-fi flicks will enjoy the manner in which the writers spoofed so many classic sci-fi/alien flicks here as the pets try to make Minka believe she has become the first monkey on Mars right down to the poorly designed alien costumes.  On another note, there is also a joke made through a reference to eBay at the episode’s end that only parents will appreciate.  Speaking of jokes that only grown-ups will appreciate, the story at the center of “The Secret Recipe” is one that adults will enjoy just as much as their children if not more so.

The story at the center of “The Secret Recipe” sees Blythe’s friend Youngmee Song pitching her not so tasty pet treats on a show called Bear Cave, which is very similar to ABC’s hit series Shark Tank.  In the case of Bear Cave, the “hosts” are dressed in bear suits (yes, bear suits).  The full-on spoof of Shark Tank highlights the often times silliness despite attempts by its heads to make it come across as something serious.  That is shown through the “hosts’” reactions and their general personas as well as Youngmee’s pitch.  The scenario is set up through a class project in which Blythe, Youngmee and their classmates have to develop their own businesses.  Again, such a setup is believable as there are some schools (and teachers) who do use this teaching method in their classrooms in real life.  It’s just one more way in which the writing proves so important to the DVD’s overall presentation.  Together with so many other examples, it becomes clear why the writing is so important to the collection’s presentation.  It still is not the last element worth noting here.  The animation is, surprisingly, worth noting here, too.

The episodes that make up the body of LPS: Pet Stars and the writing within each episode is important alone and collectively to this collection’s presentation, as has been pointed out already.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the DVD’s presentation, they are only two of its most important elements.  The show’s animation is a minute detail to note here, but is in fact worth noting in this case.  That statement is supported partially in the design of the King Cobra in “Heart of Parkness.”  Rather than make the snake a full-on scary character, the show’s animators maintained a King Cobra’s look but also made the snake not look too scary or menacing.  By making sure the snake didn’t look too scary, the animators helped ensure even more engagement by the show’s younger audiences.  The work of the series’ animators also proves important in “Standup Stinker” as they designed a famous comedian as the host of a comedy competition show.  The animators took David Letterman’s tooth gap for the comedian’s design, crossed it with Conan O’Brien’s face and hair, and Jay Leno’s chin for quite the interesting hybrid figure.  Just as with so much of the writing, this design is something that only adults will appreciate.  On another note, the “hosts” of Bear Cave are an impressive likeness of the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank; so much so that the “sharks,” if they see these designs, would be moved to laugh at the similarities between themselves and the “bears.”  It’s just one more ways in which the animation proves so important to this collection of episodes.  When it is set alongside the episodes, their sequencing and the equally impressive writing within each episode, the whole of these elements shows fully why this collection is a star among this year’s current field of new children’s DVDs.

Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars is a star in itself among this year’s current crop of new children’s DVDs.  That is, as already has been explained, due to the episodes featured in this collection and their sequencing, the writing within the episodes and even the animation featured in the series.  Each element shows in its own way to be an important piece of the presentation’s whole.  All things considered, they make Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars another enjoyable experience for audiences of all ages and—once again—one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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‘Tremors 6’ Begins Production

Courtesy: Universal 1440 Entertainment

Courtesy: Universal 1440 Entertainment

The Graboids are coming back again!

Universal 1440 Entertainment has announced the franchise’s sixth (yes, sixth) installment is currently in production in Capetown, South Africa.  This time out creature hunter Burt and his son Travis—Michael Gross (Family Ties, Anger Management, Dan Vs.) and Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted, Three Kings, Son of the Mask)—are at a remote research station in Canada when they come under attack by the mutant man-eating worms once again.

The worms aren’t just the normal mutant man-eating worms in this movie either.

It turns out they might be weaponized worms.  Things get even more difficult when Burt is attacked by a Graboid and needs an antidote.

The only way to get the antidote is to milk one of the Graboids.  There’s just one problem—no one knows how to milk a graboid.

Glenn Ross, Universal 1440 Entertainment General Manager and Executive Vice President, said this installment of the long-running franchise is the series’ best yet.

“This is going to be the craziest, most over-the-top movie in the Tremors saga to date,” Ross said.  “It takes the franchise’s signature combination of suspense, action and humor to new explosive heights.”

Don Michael Paul (Sniper: Legacy) returns once again to helm the movie after helming the franchise’s fifth offering.  Mike Elliot (Kindergarten Cop 2, Halloween II) serves as producer.  Hein de Vos (District 9, Dominion, Homeland) is the movie’s director of photography.

New to the franchise this time are Tanya van Graan (Zulu, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, Death Race 2 & 3) and Rob van Vuuren (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Shark Attack 2, Footskating 101: The Movie) and Greg Kriek (Momentum, The Race, Infidel).

Tremors 6 is currently set to be released direct on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD in 2018.  More information on this and other titles from Universal 1440 Entertainment and its parent company, Universal Pictures, is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.universalpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/universalpics

 

 

 

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Geoff Tate Stars In New Independent Horror-Thriller Flick

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Cleopatra Studios

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Cleopatra Studios

Geoff Tate is starring in a new independent horror flick.

The former Queensryche and current Operation Mindcrime front man is starring in the direct-to-DVD movie The Burningmore Deaths.  The movie, set to be released on DVD and digital platforms on Feb. 14 via Cleopatra Studios and MVD Entertainment Group, is based on true events centered on a group of unsolved murders.

The murders are alleged to have happened in 2005 during the filming of a pilot for a home improvement television series. A man named James Parrish is believed to have murdered the crew filming the home makeover presentation in the house where he is also alleged to have previously murdered his own wife and children.

As the film crew proceeds to record the series’ pilot, Parrish allegedly murdered the film crew, with the whole event being caught on security cameras set up by the show’s crew.  Tate takes on the role of Parrish in this gripping horror/thriller from MVD Entertainment Group.  Audiences can view a trailer for the movie online now here.

 

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Cleopatra Studios

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Cleopatra Studios

 

Tate said taking on the role of Parrish was not a big change of pace for him because of his experience.  It just meant thinking a little bit differently.

“I think I’ve always done it…In our own shows and with the way I present music,” Tate said. “It all has a bit of a stage acting bend to it. So this wasn’t really a stretch for me.  It was just playing to a different audience, to a camera rather than a room full of people, but it’s the same thing.  You play-act and you make stuff up and you present that like you would in a stage show.”

The Burningmore Deaths can be ordered online direct via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store and via Amazon.  More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://mvdb2b.com, http://mvdentertainment.com

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

 

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

 

 

 

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‘The Ultimate Legacy’ Does Little For The Legacy Of ReelWorks’ “Ultimate” Franchise

Courtesy: Cinedigm/ReelWorks Studios

Courtesy: Cinedigm/ReelWorks Studios

Evangelical movie studio ReelWorks Studios will release the latest installment in its ongoing “Ultimate” franchise on Tuesday when it releases The Ultimate Legacy.  The franchise’s third installment, it is enjoyable, but hardly perfect.  That is not to say that it is a total loss, but this critic would be lying to say that it is one of the year’s best new cinematic offerings independent or otherwise.  One of the key elements that keeps this latest installment in the “Ultimate” franchise afloat is the work of the movie’s cast.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the cast’s work is laudable, its story is sadly not so laudable.  That is hugely important to note, and will be discussed later.  Of course whereas the movie takes a big hit due to its story, the movie’s cinematography makes up for that hit if only slightly.  When the cinematography is coupled with the cast’s work on camera, they luckily do just enough to make up for the movie’s story, which is anything but original.  Each element plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered, The Ultimate Gift proves to be anything but the ultimate cinematic triumph.

ReelWorks’ latest installment in its “Ultimate” movie franchise is enjoyable, but is hardly an ultimate cinematic offering.  Luckily for its parent studio though, it is not a total loss.  It does have some saving graces, one of which is its cinematography.  The movie, shot at least partially in La Grange, Kentucky, will impress audiences if only for the work of its cast.  Viewers will be surprised to learn that the supporting cast is more deserving of credit than the lead cast in this movie.  The most notable of the support cast are Torry Martin and Doug Jones.  The pair plays two of Anderson House’s staff, and while they are not on camera at all times, their time on camera is successful.

Audiences will love watching Martin (The Matchbreaker, The Errs of Birdie Hollow, Adrift) as the innocent, nerdy housekeeper Oscar.  Martin makes Oscar such a loveable character through his portrayal.  His comic timing is spot on as he stumbles over what to call Joey, and as he runs to save the day after Joey accidentally hits a water line while developing the memorial garden.  Even in a more serious moment such as when Oscar and Hawthorne (Jones) reveal a long-held secret to Joey, Martin impresses.  As enjoyable as he is to watch, one can only hope that he will get more opportunities to shine in bigger movies and sooner rather than later at that.

Jones’ (Star Trek Discovery, Hellboy, Hellboy II) portrayal as Hawthorne is just as enjoyable Martin’s take on Oscar.  Just like with Martin, Jones’ time on screen is limited.  But he shines just as much.  Those who are familiar with Disney Junior’s animated series Sofia The First will be able to instantly compare Jones’ portrayal to Tim Gunn’s portrayal of Sofia’s butler Baileywick.  The difference is that Hawthorne barely has any speaking lines in this movie.  Even with that being the case, Jones still impresses when he does speak.  He impresses just as much when his acting is done more through emoting than speaking.  Jones gets even those moments right, and whether those moments come when he’s alone or he is alongside Martin, he shows exactly why he is deserving of credit.  When Jones and Martin work alongside, the pair shows fully that they are the real stars of this movie and collectively one of the only shining stars in this otherwise forgettable evangelical flick.

While Jones’ and Martin’s work is a laudable piece of The Ultimate Legacy’s overall presentation, the movie is anything but perfect.  The movie’s story weighs it down and while it has some funny moments, it is otherwise unoriginal and forgettable.  The movie’s story is a blatant rehashing of the “Ultimate” franchise’s first two movies and just as much of a ripoff of Fireproof.  That is right down to the book that holds Sally Mae’s original will and the 12 Gifts that Joey has to work on in order to earn his inheritance.  Just as with the franchise’s first two films and with Fireproof, the story’s main character has to go through a certain process in order to obtain enlightenment (so to speak) and his ultimate reward.  That process includes self sacrifice (again just like with the aforementioned movies) and tithing in a manner of speaking.  What’s more, Joey doesn’t necessarily go through any major transformation in the story.  The fact that he gave charity early on in the movie made him little more than the bad boy with a heart of gold.  That in itself is hardly original in the bigger picture of the entertainment world.  Considering the fact that he never really went through any major transformation, it almost completely negates any reason to watch the movie.  Luckily, these issues with the movie’s story (it’s writing in the bigger picture) aren’t enough to make the movie completely unwatchable.  Its cinematography does its share to make it worth at least one watch, just as with the work of the movie’s cast.

The story at the center of The Ultimate Legacy does more of a disservice to the movie than a service.  Joey doesn’t necessarily go through any earthshaking transformation when one truly examines the story closely.  The process that Joey has to go through is nothing new both to the movie’s franchise, and is also a reworking of the story presented in Fireproof.  For all of the problems that the story poses, those problems are offset by the movie’s cinematography.  Viewers will be especially impressed by the soaring aerial shots of Hamilton House’s vast property and the countryside shots as Joey helps an elderly woman on her way to his grandmother’s funeral.

The movie’s various interior shots offer audiences just as much to applaud as its exterior shots.  One case comes as Sally’s lawyers watch Joey at work on the memorial garden from inside the mansion’s dining room.  The wide shot of the room and the contrast of the grounds from the inside exquisitely captures the details not just of the room but of the setting in whole.  The shots captured in the mansion’s library and barn are just as impressive in their own right, and are hardly the only footage worth noting.  Between the various impressive interior shots and exterior shots presented throughout the movie’s 99-minute run time, its cinematography paints quite a laudable picture; a picture that makes the movie worth at least one watch if only for that one factor. That is made clearer when one takes into consideration the work of supporting cast members Doug Jones and Torry Martin.  When their work is joined with the work of the movie’s camera crew, the end result is a movie that is worth at least one watch even though it is anything but ultimate.

The Ultimate Legacy is a work that is anything but ultimate.  Its story does little more than rehash the story used in the franchise’s previous installments.  It also uses a very similar story presented in Sherwood Films’ movie Fireproof.  That in itself does more harm than good to the movie.  Even as much damage as it does to the movie’s value, the work of the movie’s support cast and its camera crew does just enough to make it worth at least one watch.  Considering all of this, The Ultimate Legacy does little for the legacy of ReelWorks’ “Ultimate” franchise.  It still remains a movie that while anything but ultimate, is worth at least one watch.  It will be available Tuesday in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from ReelWorks Studios is available online at http://www.reelworks.net.

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Students, Lovers Of The Biological, Ecological Sciences Will Appreciate ‘Wonders Of The Arctic’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory gave audiences an early taste of winter this past September when it released the documentary presentation Wonders of the Arctic on Blu-ray/Digital combo pack and 4KUHD/BD 3D/Blu-ray/digital expanded combo pack.  Yet another of the company’s recent IMAX offerings, the 40-minute-plus program is an interesting look at life in the Arctic that is worth at least one watch.  That is due in part to its central topic.  That will be discussed shortly.  The information provided within the program is just as important to note in examining the program’s presentation as its central topic.  That will be discussed later.  As with Shout! Factory’s other IMAX offerings, this program’s cinematography stands proudly as one of the program’s most outstanding elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Wonders of the Arctic a program that students and lovers of the biological and ecological sciences will appreciate.

Wonders of the Arctic is a program that any student and lover of the biological and ecological sciences will appreciate.  They will agree it is a program that is worth at least one watch.  That statement is supported in part through the program’s central topic.  The topic in question is that of life in the Arctic.  It presents the interaction and intersection of humans and wildlife in one of the planet’s coldest regions.  At the same time, it also points out the delicate balance that humans and animals share in that area.  What is so important about this is that while it points out that balance, those behind the program never allow the message of that balance become preachy.  That is important to note because at least two other offerings in the company’s IMAX series – The Last Reef: Cities Beneath The Sea and Humpback Whales – have both been blatantly preachy in nature.  This program however, walks that line but never allows itself to fall in with those counterparts.  That being the case, it does its own part to ensure audiences’ engagement at least to a point.  It is just one of the elements that should be noted in examining this program’s presentation.  The information presented within the program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.

The central topic presented in Wonders of the Arctic is a key piece of the program’s overall presentation.  That is because those behind the program never allow it to become too much of an activist film, unlike some of its counterparts, as it presents the intersection of human and animal life in one of the planet’s coldest places.  That is just one piece of the program that should be noted here.  The information that is provided throughout the program is just as important to note as its central topic.  One of the most interesting pieces of information presented in this program focuses on the ways in which the Inuit people survive in the region.  Audiences will be interested to see that they keep alive the tradition of using every part of the animals they hunt.  That includes animals both above and below the ice.  Touching on the matter of the information’s balance between informational and influential, narrator Victor Garber discusses the changes in the region’s ice flows and the impact those changes are having on the area at one point.  This is one example of the information presented here consciously effectively walking that line.  There is also mention of the research conducted on the area to study how much the region has changed over time.  Even this mention manages to effectively balance information and influence.  It is one more example, too of the importance of the presented information to the program’s whole.  There is plenty of other information that audiences will appreciate just as much.  All things considered, the information presented throughout Wonders of the Arctic clearly proves to be just as important to the program’s presentation as its central topic, and is just one more of the program’s key elements.  The program’s cinematography is just as important as its topic and associated information if not even more important than those elements combined.

The topic at the heart of Wonders of the Arctic and its associated information are both key pieces of the program’s overall presentation.  The two in themselves do plenty to keep viewers entertained.  When they are set against one another, they ensure even more, audiences’ engagement.  While both elements play their own important part in the program’s whole, they are just two of the program’s key elements.  The program’s cinematography is just as important to note in examining its presentation as the previously discussed elements.  Audiences will marvel at the aerial shots over the mountainous parts of the region just as much as they will the footage recorded in the area’s icy waters.  Viewers will enjoy just as much getting to ride along on sled dog rides across the icy terrain.  These are just some of the ways in which the program’s cinematography stands out.  There is so much more for audiences to enjoy just from the visual angle here.  When that outstanding overall cinematography is set alongside the program’s largely focused topic and equally engaging information, they make the program overall a work that, again, students and lovers of the biological and ecological sciences will appreciate.

Wonders of the Arctic, another entry in Shout! Factory’s IMAX series, is a work that students and lovers of the biological and ecological sciences will appreciate.  They will agree it is a program worth at least one watch.  That is proven in part through the program’s largely focused central topic.  While it walks the line between being informative and influencing, it never allows itself to become preachy unlike a couple of its counterparts.  The information presented throughout the program is just as important to note because it ensures even more, audiences’ engagement.  The program’s cinematography rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Wonders of the Arctic a program worth at least one watch by students and lovers of the biological and ecological sciences.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct 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

 

 

 

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La La Land Is Phil’s Picks’ Most Laudable Movie Of 2016

Courtesy: Black Label Media/Gilbert Films/Impostor Pictures

Courtesy: Black Label Media/Gilbert Films/Impostor Pictures

The end is here.  2016 officially ends tonight.  So with the year’s end here, Phil’s Picks has one last year-ender before the clock strikes midnight and we welcome 2017.  That final list of the year is the year’s top new movies overall.  It includes both independent releases and theatrical releases.

One of the biggest surprises of the year was La La Land.  It is a breath of fresh air in a field of films overly crowded by prequels, sequels and remakes.  Little Men, another independent offering, is also in this list.  Sure, its premise isn’t overly new.  But at the same time, audiences don’t see a lot of movies with its premise about two young men becoming friends while their parents fight.  It sends a powerful message.  On the bigger stage, Dr. Strange and Star Wars: Rogue One are on the list along with Jason Bourne.

As a final reminder, the list includes both the Top 10 movie picks from Phil’s Picks plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 movies.  That being said, here for you is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Movies list.

 

2016 PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW MOVIES

 

  1.  La La Land

 

  1. Fences

 

  1. Little Men

 

  1. Marguerite

 

  1. Zootopia

 

  1. Dr. Strange

 

  1. Jason Bourne

 

  1. Star Wars: Rogue One

 

  1. Moana

 

  1. Deadpool

 

  1. Star Trek Beyond

 

  1. Queen of Katwe

 

  1. The Edge of Seventeen

 

  1. Captain America: Civil War

 

  1. The Nice Guys

 

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.