mpi Media Group To Release New Gerry Anderson Documentary Next Week

Courtesy: mpi Media Group

Gerry Anderson is one of the most well-known figures in the modern history of television and next week, mpi Media Group will release a new documentary about Anderson’s life and work in the form of Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted.

The new documentary is scheduled for release Jan. 10 on DVD.  The documentary was created with the permission from officials running his estate.  His story is told through interviews with Anderson’s family, friends and colleagues. 

The documentary follows Anderson’s upbringing in a household that featured a Jewish father and anti-Semitic father and how he came to create so many beloved series, such as Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Space: 1999 and Stingray over the course of a 92-minute run time.

Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted will retail for MSRP of $24.98.

More information on this and other titles from mpi Media Group is available at:

Websitehttps://mpihomevideo

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

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

mpi Media Group’s New ‘The Munsters’ Compilation DVD Is A Welcome Alternative To Rob Zombie’s New ‘The Munsters’ Prequel Movie

Courtesy: mpi Media Group

Rob Zombie’s new prequel to the beloved 1960s sitcom The Munsters officially debuted on Netflix and released on DVD and Blu-ray this week.  In the short time that the movie, which tells the story of how Herman and Lily met, has been met with starkly sharp responses from audiences and critics alike.  According to the numbers from Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has received a score of 49% from critics so far, and even worse among audiences, at 35%.  The criticisms have run the gamut, from the makeup and costumes to the general look to the very story itself.  It further shows that it is impossible to improve on perfection, even when perfection only lasted two seasons.  Thankfully for fans of the much better source material that has remained so beloved to this day, mpi Media Group released a much better alternative to the new Munsters movie in the form of the new classic Munsters compilation DVD, Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Show Cast Members & More Lost Treasures.  The single-disc presentation offers plenty for audiences to enjoy over the course of its roughly two hour run time.  That is due in large part to its featured content, which will be discussed shortly.  The quality of the footage presented adds to the appeal in its own way and will be addressed a little later.  Considering the content presented here, the DVD’s average price point rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered they make the DVD a welcome watch not only during the Halloween season this year but any time during the year.

mpi Media Group’s brand-new collection of rare The Munsters TV appearances is a presentation that so many of the classic sitcom’s fans will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to its featured content.  The content that makes up the DVD’s body comes in the form of the rare hour-long TV special, Marineland Carnival.  This is a presentation that is not included in the standalone DVD sets for either of the series’ two seasons released in 2013.  Season 1 does include the series’ original unaired pilot episode, but again, neither season set features this collection which finds Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddie and Marilyn at the Marineland Oceanarium (likely in Florida) taking in a show at the facility.  The family thinks it is at a fish market, leading to its own share of laughs along the way.  Grandpa makes his way up a flag pole and does a few stunts in the process (or rather his stunt double more likely) at one point.  Eddie and Marilyn see a pair of “mermaids” feeding some dolphins at another, as well as enjoying trainers work with seals and dolphins.  Meanwhile Herman, Lily and Grandpa also meet a rather confident walrus who wants to get his feet…er…flippers in the TV door as they make their own way through the park.  The hour-long story is funny in its own right, though it is clear why it was never included as part of the original series at any point.

Star Fred Gwynne gets his own moment in the sun in another funny appearance in The Red Skelton Show in the three-part story, “To-Ra-Ra-Bum Today.”  Herman joins up with Red Skelton’s famous character Freddie The Freeloader in the story and learns how to live like Freddy.  Freddy uses Herman as much as possible, though the story has its own hilarious ending that no one saw coming.

In yet another engaging and entertaining presentation, Gwynne’s co-star Yvonne De Carlo (who plays the part of Lily) appears on The Joey Bishop Show not in her Munsters costume and makeup but as herself.  Her discussion with Bishop about her time on the show, and with the audience about other topics is truly enlightening in its own right.

Much the same can be said of fellow star Butch Patrick’s retrospective on his time on the show.  Many audiences might be surprised to learn from Patrick himself that he got the part because Billy Mumy (Lost in Space, Babylon 5, The Twilight Zone) turned down the role of Eddie originally.  He also notes the enjoyment that he had working with his fellow cast mates throughout the show’s short run while surprisingly speaking highly of Zombie’s new Munsters prequel.  The brief discussion on these and so many other topics makes for even more enjoyment.  This and the other features included in this disc really are the most notable of the disc’s overall presentation.  There is an appearance by Gwynne as Herman on The Danny Kaye Show that is enjoyable.  It finds Herman and Kaye’s Dracula-esque character acting like they are news figures in Transylvania.  It is funny but not overly memorable.  The commercials for other shows that mpi Media Group has released make up the rest of the DVD’s body.  They really are anything but notable, so keeping all of this in mind, the primary content featured in this disc does give audiences plenty to enjoy regardless of the lesser material.

While the primary content featured in the disc makes for its own share of appeal, the quality of the footage therein makes for its own appeal.  The majority of the classic clips shown here are from 1965.  There is one from 1966, and Patrick’s comments were recorded this year.  Those classic clips (including the hour-long special) still sound and look very impressive even considering the features’ ages.  It is clear that no effort was taken to spit shine any of the footage, but it also did not need that added work, as audiences will see and hear for themselves.  The result is such a wonderful and welcome sense of nostalgia for viewers.  Again, this shows the clear importance of the footage presented here.

Keeping in mind the engagement and entertainment that this DVD’s content will bring through itself and through the quality of its video and audio, there is that much more for audiences to appreciate.  That means there is one more item to note, that being the DVD’s average price point.  The DVD’s average price point is $16.82.  That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  The most common listing is $14.99, through Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.  Target lists the DVD at $15.99, which is still below the noted average price point.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million list the DVD at $19.99 and $19.98 respectively, which is well above the average.  In other words, for the most part, the DVD will not break any viewer’s bank account, coming in at less than $20.  That will appeal in itself to the original series’ fans all the more.  To that end, this price point proves to be just as important as the DVD’s content and its quality.  Keeping all of this in mind, Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast & More Lost Treasures proves itself so worth owning and watching whether this Halloween season or any other time of the year.

Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast & More Lost Treasures, the new compilation of rare The Munsters TV appearances, is a presentation that so many fans of the original series will enjoy.  The DVD proves so appealing in large part through its featured content.  It is all content that is not featured as bonus content with the most recent – 2013 – release of the series’ two seasons on DVD.  It is also so entertaining.  The quality of the footage makes for its own appeal because it proves no touch ups were needed to any of said material.  The average price point for the DVD makes for its own appeal, too, keeping in mind the overall appeal of the content.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD in whole is a welcome addition to the home library of any fan of The Munsters.

Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast & More Lost Treasures is available now through mpi Media Group.  More information on this and other titles from mpi Media Group is available at:

Websitehttps://mpihomevideo

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

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

MPI Media Group Announces Release Date For New Munsters Collection

Courtesy: mpi Media Group

Rocker/director Rob Zombie’s “prequel” origin story of The Munsters is scheduled for release this week on digital and Blu-ray, but for those looking for something more along the lines of the original show, mpi Media Group has something on the way next month.

mpi Media Group announced Monday, it is scheduled to release Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Show Cast & More Lost Treasures Oct. 4. The classic presentation is scheduled for release exclusively on DVD. The forthcoming special marks the first time ever that the 1965 TV special will have seen the light of day on DVD.

Along with the title special, the collection also includes a 1966 full-color The Munsters themed “episode” featuring star Fred Gwynne in costume and character as the beloved bumbling head of the Munster household, Herman on The Danny Kaye Show. There are also some rare and vintage segments from other talk shows and a new featurette titled “Munster Memories.” The special presentation features Butch Patrick (who played Eddie Munster in the original series).

In addition, guest appearances by Edie Adams and Joey Bishop, as well as music from New Christy Minstrels.

Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Show Cast & More Lost Treasures will retail for MSRP of $19.98. Its run time is listed as two hours.

More information on this and other titles from mpi Media Group is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Website: https://mpihomevideo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

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

MPI Media Group Announces ‘The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection” Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: mpi media group

Fans of the classic sitcom The Honeymooners will get a special treat Tuesday courtesy of mpi media group.

The company is scheduled to release The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection on DVD Tuesday. The collection features all four of The Honeymooners specials: Second Honeymoon, Valentine Special, Christmas Special and Christmas Carol.

Second Honeymoon finds Ralph wanting to celebrate his and Alice’s 25th wedding anniversary by renewing the couple’s vows. When Ralph thinks Alice is pregnant though, Ralph’s old pal, Ed Norton teaches Ralph how to care for a baby.

Valentine Special features Alice secretly trying to buy Ralph a suit for Valentines Day. The thing is that when Ralph finds evidence of Alice’s plans, he thinks she is cheating on him and wants to kill him. Ralph enlists Ed to help him go undercover and find out what Alice is up to.

Christmas Special involves Ralph’s love of gambling as he risks his and Alice’s life savings on the lottery, as well as Ed’s holiday bonus. To make things even more interesting, Ralph’s gamble also puts in jeopardy, the social security check of Alice’s mother.

Christmas Carol finds Ralph leading and starring in his company’s annual holiday fundraiser play. In this case the play happens to be none other than Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Ed ends up directing the play and his inexperience helming such a project leads to plenty of comedy.

More information on this and other titles from mpi media group is available at:

Website: https://www.mpihomevideo.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

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

‘Scenes From An Empty Church’ Is A Surprisingly Enjoyable Addition To This Year’s Field Of New Independent, Overall Movies

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/MPI Media Group

When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached American shores last year, the initial impact was stunning to say the least.  Live music was shutdown along with schools, businesses, and even the movie industry.  Major studios’ theatrical offerings were delayed until this year, and some of those offerings are still delayed to this day.  Thankfully, for all of the impacts that the pandemic had on the movie industry, not everyone gave up.  Independent filmmaker Onur Tukel took to one of the empty churches in New York City to make his movie, Scenes From an Empty Church.  Thank goodness he took the chance to make this movie, too.  That is because it is one of this year’s most unsuspecting successes from the independent movie community.  That is due in part to its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie enhances the viewing experience and will be examined a little later.  The work of the movie’s cast rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, the movie proves to be, again, one of the best of this year’s field of new independent movies, and possibly movies in general.

Scenes From an Empty Church, released Tuesday through MPI Home Video, is one of the most surprising of this year’s new movies, independent and otherwise.  The movie’s success comes in part through its story.  The story in question follows to priests – Father James and Father Andrew – as they navigate the impacts of the pandemic on the church, which ended up being closed, just like everything else early on.  What is interesting here is that the story is a reflection of everything that happened when the pandemic first reached America’s shores, but is not a documentary.  It is in fact a fiction, but is so surprisingly engaging and entertaining because it really embraces the old adage that art and life impact one another.  Audiences on both sides of the discussion will relate to Father James and Father Andrew in their separate reactions to the forced closure because they will so easily see themselves in the men.

While the impact of the pandemic on the nation is essentially the backbone of this story, it is not the central story.  Rather, the examinations of the loneliness that we all felt as a result of the pandemic as well as the role of faith and religion in everything that happened are really the core of the story.  Tukel points this out in the feature-length audio commentary that comes with the movie.  This element will be discussed more a little later.  Getting back on topic, the discussion is so interesting considering that Tukel – again referencing the commentary – admits in the commentary that he is not Christian and relied on his Director of Production (who he said was far more knowledgeable about various religions) for the discussions between Father James, Father Andrew, and Father Andrew’s friend Paul (Max Casella).  People nationwide felt very lonely as a result of the isolationist measures forced on Americans by governments at the local, state and federal levels.  So, one would imagine that a place like a church would help people ease that sense of loneliness.  At first that wasn’t the case at the church, because of Father James, but over time, audiences see Father James change and allow more people to come to the church.  Along the way, Andrew, James, and Paul have some interesting discussions on faith.  At times, the discussions are serious and deep, such as the existence of the soul.  At others, the discussions are far more lighthearted. One of the more lighthearted discussions comes through Paul’s revelation for audiences, the irony that even though he is a Catholic priest, Andrew is actually Jewish.  This makes for a memorable, laugh,-inspiring moment.  Another great moment comes as Andrew and James are trading scripture to try and outdo one another on a separate discussion.  Paul chimes in after the men are done and states, “That was great.  It was like dueling banjos, except with scripture.”  Getting back on the topic at hand the story, which takes place largely in the church’s sanctuary and kitchen, is so strong because ultimately it follows the changes that Paul, James, and Andrew go through as they begin to let more people into the church and have their release.  That character development within the main trio of characters and the portrayals of those who come to the church strengthens the story even more.  Taking all of this into account, the story is so simple, but is so rich in that simplicity.  Audiences really will find themselves fully immersed in the story because of the story and its execution.  The success that results from that full engagement and entertainment is itself ironic because according to Tukel himself, this may end up being the last movie that he helms.  This is one of so many so interesting revelations made in the audio commentary.

According to information from IMDB, Tukel has helmed approximately 15 movies since his directorial debut, House of Pancakes in 1997.  That count includes this movie.  Interestingly it turned out to not be his last movie.  He also directed the movie, Tes Yeux Mourants / That Cold Dead Look in Your Eyes this year.  So that means that maybe just maybe audiences will see more content from Tukel in the years to come after all.  He does also admit during his commentary that he says a lot of things that he doesn’t really mean.  This movie certainly shows that Tukel has talent as a writer and director, after all.  That talent is exhibited thanks to the work of his cast, who he admits he did not even audition.  He states in the commentary that everyone in the movie is someone that he knows either directly or through someone else.  He adds that for the most part he did not have to really step in and tell the cast how to do its job.  This moves into the matter of the cast’s work, which will be discussed later.  Getting back on topic again, Tukel reveals that he is not a Christian nor is he even a practicing Muslim even though he and his family are from Turkey.  He leaned heavily on his Director of Production (DP for short), who happened to be far more versed in various religions than himself for this movie’s dialogue and story.  It just makes for such an interesting juxtaposition.  Here is some one who is not Christian nor even practicing Muslim for that matter, and he is helming a movie that he wrote about the role of religion and faith in general during such a difficult time.  Speaking of the writing, Tukel also reveals through his commentary that some of the scenes that are in the movie were not even in the original script.  The talks of how the scenes came to be are themselves engaging.  They make the movie’s bonus deleted scenes all the more important.  That is a matter for another time.  Between everything noted here and the rest of Tukel’s discussions throughout the movie, his commentary makes for so much engagement and entertainment in its own right.  When that is considered along with the engagement and entertainment ensured through the movie’s completely unpretentious story, that whole shows even more why Scenes From an Empty Church is so surprisingly enjoyable.  That is not all that makes the movie so enjoyable.  As noted already, the cast’s work on camera puts its own touch to the movie.

The cast’s work on screen is so important because every single bit of that work feels so natural.  Casella’s performance in particular is a prime example of the enjoyment that the cast’s work brings to the movie.  Going back to the audio commentary, Tukel reveals here that Casella was “going through his own things” when the movie was being made, and that he used those personal matters to help him build on his performance as Paul.  Casella succeeded in that approach so well.  It makes Paul such a sympathetic character that audiences will love.  Interestingly, Tukel also reveals in the commentary that he modeled Paul after himself, as a sort of “lost” figure, trying to find his way.  Casella obviously took that into account with his own personal matters to enhance his performance even more. 

Casella is not the only actor worth noting.  Majorie Johnson and Edward Carnevale star as parishioners Elisabeth and Jimmy.  Jimmy suffers from severe anxiety.  Elisabeth meanwhile just wants to be able to pray. Their personalities are so distinct from one another, and each actor is so believable in their respective role.  The matter of fact personality that Johnson brings to Elisabeth as she tells James and Andrew that she can hear their discussion is just so deadpan.  There is something about that “I can hear you but I really don’t care” persona makes her so memorable.  In the same vein, Carnevale is just as believable as Jimmy prays, and cries, trying to overcome that noted anxiety.  It would have been so easy for him to ham it up, but he never once does that.  It makes his brief moment on camera so moving in its own right.  Similarly, Natalie Carter as Nurse Sara is just so entertaining as she tries to get Father James to reveal what her husband has confided in him.  Not only that, but her presence as she talks about wanting to leave her job as a nurse is just as moving.  There is something in the way she handles Sara’s mixed thoughts and emotions that is itself fully believable.

As if all of this is not enough, the subtlety in the performances put on by Kevin Corrigan (Father Andrew) and Thomas Jay Ryan (Father James) that makes them just as enjoyable to watch throughout.  What really makes their performances so enjoyable through that subtlety is how they use that to really bring out the humanity in each man.  So many people thing that priests, ministers, etc. are these high, holy figures.  But watching the two discuss philosophy, theology, and the use of people clapping every day for healthcare workers (is it really to support them or is it just self serving? – another interesting thought) makes them fully relatable.  It makes them “one of us” so to speak, and each man succeeds so well in this matter. 

On yet another note, Craig Bierko is just as deserving of his own attention even in his brief performance as “the sinner.”  Going back yet again to the audio commentary, Tukel reveals in the scene with Bierko (which apparently according to Tukel was not even in the movie’s initial cut) could have been Satan according to one of Tukel’s own friends.  In hindsight, it makes sense, looking at Bierko’s semi-neurotic performance.  There is a certain edge about “the sinner,” and the fact that he is dressed all in black, makes that possibility even more sensible even if that was not the initial intent.  Bierko’s performance in his scene with the priests sort of makes it a biblical sort of situation with “the devil” facing off against the priests, pointing out the shortcomings of Christianity.  It is just one more of so many wonderful, natural performances from the movie’s cast.  When this performance, the others noted here and those of the rest of the cast are all considered together, they leave no doubt as to the importance of the work done by the movie’s cast.  When that work is considered along with the impact of the story and its companion commentary, that whole makes fully clear, why Scenes From an Empty Church, is such a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation.

MPI Home Video’s presentation of director Onur Tukel’s Scenes From an Empty Church is an unsuspecting success.  It is one of the most surprising offerings among this year’s independent movie industry and movie industry in general.  That is proven in part through its story.  Unlike so many independent movies out there past and present, there is no sense of pretense even considering the depth of content in the story, which focuses on the role of religion and faith in the face of a difficult situation, such as the ongoing pandemic.  Yes, ultimately the story will be dated.  Regardless, it will still find itself relatable for audiences even despite this matter.  It approaches the topic with such care and genuine interest.  It makes the story fully believable as a mirror of everything going on even now.  The feature-length audio commentary that accompanies the movie in its new home release adds its own engagement and entertainment to the whole.  That is because it offers so much background on the movie.  It is not just a director talking about certain kinds of lenses, shots, lighting, etc.  It is refreshing to have that more personal discussion throughout the movie.  The work of the movie’s cast puts the final touch to the movie.  The cast’s work throughout the movie feels so natural.  It makes suspension of disbelief so much easier, and in turn engagement that much easier, too.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make the movie one of this year’s best new independent movies and potentially best movies overall. 

Scenes From an Empty Church is available now.  More information on this and other titles from MPI Home Video and MPI Media Group is available online at:

Website:  https://www.mpimedia.com

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘Attraction 2’ Is A Movie That Action, Sci-Fi Fans Are Better Off Not Seeing, Knowing About

“There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!”  Those were the words of “Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) in the 1997 blockbuster sci-fi flick Men in Black.  While Kay’s words were in the context of his conversation with Jay (Will Smith), it is a line that applies in the bigger picture of the science fiction film realm, including mpi/Sony/Columbia Pictures recently released flick Attraction 2: Invasion.  This movie is sadly one of those works that people would be better off not knowing about.  Released domestically July 21 on Blu-ray, the movie offers little for audiences to enjoy other than its special effects and maybe its story.  Those two elements are its only saving graces.  Its pacing meanwhile poses the biggest problem for its presentation.  It will be addressed here, too.  Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of this movie.  All things considered, they make Attraction 2: Invasion a movie that audiences really would be better off not seeing.

mpi/Sony/Columbia Pictures’ recently released sci-fi import Attraction 2: Invasion is a largely forgettable work that even sci-fi fans will find difficult to take in.  That is not to say it is a complete loss.  It does have at least one semi-positive in its story.  The story is relatively easy to follow as long as one pays full attention.  Yulya (Irina Starshenbaum) is caught in the middle of a conflict between her nation’s military and an aritificial intelligence from another world.  The military just wants to use her for her superhuman abilities, which she gained in the movie’s predecessor, while the AI wants her dead.  Though, it’s never fully explained why it wants her dead.  Caught up in the conflict is her alien boyfriend Artyom (Alexander Petrov).  His addition to the story is where things start to get a bit contrived.  The couple’s relationship, set against the conflict, lends itself to comparisons to the Twilight movie franchise, thus causing some problems in its own right.  As the story progresses, it is revealed that in order to beat the alien AI, the humans have to make do with analog and ditch their digital technology.  That is because that technology is what led to all the problems in the first place, as audiences will find out if they even take the time to watch this movie.  If that sounds familiar, it should.  It is a direct rip-off of the same story element from Independence Day.  This causes even more problems for the story.  Add in the confusion that is caused in the story’s conclusion and what audiences get is a story that on the surface is easy to understand, but is still rife with problems.  While the story that is featured in Attraction 2: Invasion something of a mixed bag presentation, the story’s pacing is nothing but problematic.

The pacing of Attraction 2: Invasion’s story is problematic in that it moves so slowly.  The first roughly hour-and-a-half of this story is just buildup that is accompanied by an ongoing chase scene and commentary about the dangers of digital media.  Considering everything we as Americans know about Russia’s clear interference in the 2016 election, it is somewhat ironic that this Russian import is sending such a message.  It is not until the third and final act that this two-hour, 13-minute movie finally picks up.  Even when it does, it still manages to drag on and build up to its conclusion.  Simply put, this movie, which clocks in at just over two hours, finds every opportunity to drag.  As a result, this concern and those raised by the story couple to make the movie that much less worth watching.  Of course, for all of the problems that this story poses, it does have at least one positive – its special effects.

The special effects that are featured in Attraction 2: Invasion are outstanding.  From the giant alien ship to Artyom’s “space cycle” vehicle thing, to the use of the cinematography in the chase scenes and so much more, the special effects rival anything featured in any of Hollywood’s biggest summer blockbusters.  The explosions are just as big and the use of something like giant video screens on buildings just as spectacular.  The final scene in which the giant AI ship starts sucking the water up and flooding the city’s center is just as immense and intense as any similar scene from so many Hollywood sci-fi flicks.  Simply put, this movie shines thanks to its special effects.  They are everything that action and sci-fi fans have come to expect from any blockbuster.  Sadly though, they are about all that this movie has to fully boast.  Sure, its story is simple to follow, but it is problematic in its own right, as is the story’s pacing.  All things considered, the movie really does prove agent Kay’s statement from Men in Black:  The only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!” 

Mpi/Sony/Columbia Pictures’ Russian sci-fi import Attraction 2: Invasion is a movie that action and sci-fi fans are better off not watching.  It does offer a story that is easy to follow.  The problem is that the story comes across at least in part as some kind of Twilight rip-off, considering the unnecessary romance subplot that puts our heroine and her love interest in the middle of a conflict between the two opposing sides.  What’s more, the plot element involving using analog tech in place of digital as a means to defeat the AI is itself a rip-off of a key element from another well-known sci-fi alien invasion blockbuster.  The story’s pacing causes watching this movie painful, even though it runs just over two hours.  The movie feels like it runs two-and-a-half hours instead of just over two hours because of the pacing.  The only real saving grace to this movie is its special effects, which rival those of any Hollywood blockbuster.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered, the movie is a presentation that audiences will find better off unknown and unwatched.

More information on this and other titles from mpi media group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.mpimedia.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/mpimediagrp

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

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.

MPI Media Group’s New ‘Donna Reed Show Set’ Is A Positive Offering For Some Viewers

Courtesy: mpi media group

The Donna Reed Show is back again…sort of. For the first time ever, mpi media group released the series’ first five seasons in one box set last month.  The final three seasons were not included in the set because mpi currently does not have the distribution rights to those seasons.  This new collection, while not a full-series set, is still a welcome addition to the home library of any of the show’s fans and to that of any classic television fan.  That is due in part to its average price point.  That is the most important aspect to consider here because the content featured across each of the five featured seasons is exactly the same as that featured in the seasons’ previous standalone releases.  It will also be addressed in this analysis. The set’s general packaging plays its own important part to the set, too, and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5.  All things considered, they make this collection a good collection for those fans who do not already own the series’ first five seasons.  For those who do, there is, in full discretion, no reason to purchase this set.

mpi media group’s release last month, of The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5, is a worthwhile purchase for those fans of the series who do not already own the series’ first five seasons.  That is due in part to the collection’s average price point.  This is the collection’s most important aspect because the sets that make up this set’s packaging are exactly the same sets that mpi media group released one by one in the past.  Looking at prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million, the standalone sets that made up the series’ first five seasons range in price from $25 to as much as $40 each.  The new bundled set however, averages at $102.71.  Considering that the original press release that announced the box set’s release listed the set’s MSRP at $129.98, that average price – using listings at Target, Amazon, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble – is not too bad.  That is especially the case considering that the five seasons that make up the set span 186 episodes.  When one considers this along with the collective price of five standalone sets, ranging between $25 and $40, an average price of $102.71 becomes even more affordable.

The average price point of The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5 is critical to its overall presentation if only for the fact that this set takes all five of the previously released standalone sets into one large bundle package.  Audiences who do not already own the series’ first five seasons will find this aspect to be a positive in its own right.  Adding in the fact that the primary and secondary content is exactly the same in each season’s set, that price becomes even more noteworthy.  It should be noted here that in having done the research on The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5 and the show’s standalone sets, the alleged “new” bonus material featured in this set is in fact not new.  All of the bonus content featured in the seasons’ original releases is featured in this collection.  What’s more, the commercials that originally ran with the show are included as part of the episodes’ presentation within each season’s set, too.  This is key to note because of the sense of nostalgia that their inclusion generates among audiences.  When it is considered along with the overall fact that the same sets featured here feature the same primary and secondary content as that of the original season sets, the box set in whole becomes that much more appealing for longtime fans.

The fact that The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5 is comprised of the very standalone sets that mpi media group has previously released, and that the content is exactly the same in these sets as is in the previously released sets, audiences who purchase this collection can rest easy knowing they have the exact same presentation that is exhibited in those noted standalone sets.  While this is critical in its own right to the whole of the collection, it is not the last notable item in this box set.  The set’s general packaging rounds out its whole.  As noted already, the box set is composed of the same standalone season sets that mpi media group already released in past years.  That includes not only the content, but the packaging, too.  Each season set features a full episode guide printed inside the case’s wrapping.  The guide lists specifically each episode within the confines of its respective disc.  Having that listing saves viewers time in deciding which episode to watch.  It would have been nice if the episode guide had listed a brief episode summary, and not just episode titles, air dates and disc numbers.  Beggars can’t be choosers, though.  To that end, the packaging – despite the one negative – is just as much of a positive to this set as the set’s content and general presentation.  When it is considered along with those elements, the end result becomes a set that presents a fully positive viewing experience for fans of The Donna Reed Show and classic TV fans in general.    Now if only mpi media group could get the rights to the series’ final three seasons, fans wishes would finally come true for a full series run of this timeless series.

mpi media group’s recently released five-season set of The Donna Reed Show is a positive new offering for fans of the classic sitcom and for fans of classic television in general.  That is because fans who do not already own the series’ standalone season sets, which have already been released through mpi media group, get those same season sets in one complete bundle in this box and at a more affordable price at that. Those same fans also get all of the same content in each set, both in terms of their primary and secondary content.  The packaging, in terms of the episode guides is also the same.  Each item is a positive in its own right to the whole of The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5.  Collectively, they make this set a positive offering for fans of The Donna Reed Show who did not already own this series’ currently available sets.  With any luck mpi media group will one day claim the rights to the series’ final three seasons, thus allowing all of the series’ fans to finally own the series truly in whole.  The Donna Reed Show: Seasons 1 – 5 is available now.  More information on this and other titles from mpi media group is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.mpimedia.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

 

 

 

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‘Dealt’ Is As Good As And Possibly Better Than Any Hollywood Underdog Drama

Courtesy: IFC Films

Card mechanic Richard Turner is one of the greatest and most respected figures in the world of card tricks. Turner has, for decades, wowed audiences across the country with his sleight of hand abilities, and next week, a new documentary from mpi media group and IFC Films will profile the veteran performer with a new documentary titled Dealt. The nearly 90-minute doc, which is also rather aptly titled, is an entertaining, inspiring and memorable work that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries. That statement is supported in part through the program’s story. It will be discussed shortly. The program’s pacing also supports that statement and will be discussed later. The bonus material included in the program’s presentation supports said statement even more. Each element is important in its own way, as will be discussed. All things considered, they make Dealt a program that is pure magic. Yes, that pun was fully intended.

Dealt, the new Richard Turner profile from mpi media group and IFC Films, is an aptly titled, truly magical presentation that will appeal to not just magic lovers but audiences in general. That is proven in part through the doc’s inspiring and entertaining story. The story in question profiles Turner and what has made him such a respected figure in the magic community throughout his life and career. It is also a profile of a man who as he has gotten older, has had to come to terms with his disability, learning to accept it rather than be ashamed by it. As audiences will see over the course of the program’s 86-minute run time, Turner starts out being upset about being blind, even somewhat ashamed of it. That is obvious as he talks about his anger over media figures bringing it to light in their interviews with him. Yet over time, he finally begins to accept his situation, learning to live with it rather than hide it. There’s even an eventual award reception for his talents included in the story. One could argue that, considering all of this, this story is the stuff of so many Hollywood underdog dramas, except being an un-embellished and true story, is even better than that fare. Keeping this in mind, the story forms a solid foundation for Dealt, proving easily in itself why this doc is, again, its own magical presentation. Of course, the doc’s story is only one part of what makes it an impressive offering. The story’s pacing, by connection, is important to discuss.

The pacing of the story at the center of Dealt is important to note because of how much ground the story covers in its nearly 90-minute run time. The story starts out immediately by introducing Turner to audiences before eventually making its way into the heart of the story, the development of Turner’s blindness at a young age, and his attempts to cope with that disability. At the same time, there are discussions on both sides about coping with blindness by featuring a woman who is blind but accepts it, and is working with Turner to accept his blindness. Considering the doc’s deeper feature that tackles the issue of coping with disability and the bigger story of Turner’s talents and his legacy, there is so much going on here. Even with so much going on, those behind the story’s creation timed every aspect of the story expertly, moving fluidly from one to the other from start to finish. That fluidity insures just as much as the story itself audiences’ maintained engagement. While that engagement does plenty to help the doc’s presentation, it still is not the last of the program’s last important element. Its bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Dealt is relatively simple. It includes a handful of deleted scenes and a group of card mechanics (they apparently don’t like being called card trick magicians) giving viewers a quick show. One of the most interesting of the deleted scenes comes as Turner jokes about his blindness with the woman working with him on handling his condition. The jokes that the pair share cannot be repeated in this review, as they are rather adult-oriented, but are certain to have any viewer laughing, sighted or not. The opening deleted scene in which Turner is teaching another aspiring blind card mechanic is just as interesting because it shows the impact that he has continue to have throughout his career. It’s a moving moment to say the least. The bonus magic shows are enjoyable because of their variety. Audiences will get a kick out of one magician’s take on the classic shell game — in which a pea is placed under a shell and moved around. The trickster’s sleight of hand here is impressive. The other card variants displayed add their own enjoyment to this feature. When the enjoyment brought by the deleted scenes is coupled with that brought by the mini-magic shows, the whole of the bonus material shows fully why even as minimal as it might be, it is just as important to the whole of this program as the other noted elements. When all three elements are joined together, they prove without a doubt that this documentary is truly a magical presentation in itself.

Dealt, the new profile of card mechanic Richard Turner, is a powerful, entertaining and inspiring profile of a great man who is also very aptly titled. It shows that despite the *ahem* cards that one is dealt in life, it is possible to make the best of said situation, which is what Turner essentially learned through the course of this real life doc. That is the ultimate message presented in the doc’s central story, which serves as a solid foundation for the program. The story’s pacing strengthens that foundation even more. The bonus material included with the program adds even more enjoyment to its overall presentation. Each element, as has now been noted, is important in its own way to the whole of Dealt. All things considered, they make Dealt a truly magical presentation that is as good as any major Hollywood underdog drama if not better. It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, February 13. More information on this and other title from mpi media group is available online now at:

Website: http://www.mpimedia.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online now at:

Website: http://www.IFCFilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ifcfilms

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.

MPI Media Group’s New Gerry Anderson Collection Is Imperfect But Entertaining

Courtesy: mpi media group/MPI Home Video

MPI Home Video this week unearthed a special new collection of material from Gerry Anderson, one of the legendary names from television’s early eras when it released the new two-disc collection The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson.  The collection presents to audiences what was essentially the evolution of Anderson’s work from supermarionation to live action.  The presentation of that evolution is the set’s most critical element.  As important as that collection proves to be, the set in whole sadly is not perfect.  It lacks any physical content guide in its packaging, leaving audiences to essentially have to memorize the material included in each disc.  That is a con that cannot be ignored here. Getting back to the set’s overall material, while a pro, it is both a pro and a con (but more pro than con).  That will be discussed later.  Each element is key in its own way to this collection’s whole.  All things considered, The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson proves to be a collection that while enjoyable, comes up just short in its first outing.

MPI Home Video’s brand new release of The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson is a relatively enjoyable first outing for this collection of Anderson rarities, but one that leaves room for improvement should it ever get another release.  The set’s main positive is its primary content.  Audiences get to see in the set’s main body, another attempt at a supermarionation series in the form of The Investigator alongside the live action series The Day After Tomorrow and Space Police.  There is also an attempt at an adult-oriented claymation presentation in the form of Dick Spanner, P.I.  There is even a very old almost Howdy Doody type presentation in Kandy, which is basically a show about a foolish koala.  Though some of the set’s presented material makes clearly obvious why it did not survive, other material such as Space Police leaves one wondering why it didn’t last.  The juxtaposition of the live action and animatronic material presented in the series’ pilot episode is exactly the kind of presentation that would go on to be used for decades by Japan’s Super Sentai series.  It would also end up being used in the Americanized version of that franchise, the famed Power Rangers franchise.  Keeping that in mind, such a show – even in just one episode – shows how far ahead of its time it was.  Simply put, it shows how ground breaking and innovative Anderson was even as he moved away from puppets to live action.

As if the live action and other material is not enough for audiences, there is even a documentary style presentation in the form of Blue Skies Ahead.  This short presentation takes audiences on a jaunt across Europe, showing its key locations while also advertising for Blue Cars bus lines.  It is very much in the same vein as the old color newsreels that audiences might see today on Turner Classic Movies, showing Anderson’s ability to make legitimate nonfiction programming just as much as his abilities in the fiction realm.  Considering this along with the discussion on the featured fiction material included in the set, it becomes clear why the set’s material is so critical to the set’s overall presentation.  It is not the set’s only critical element, though.  The lack of a physical content guide is a negative that cannot and should not be ignored.

Opening up the set’s standard-sized case audiences will note that there is no sign of a content guide anywhere inside or outside the case.  On the surface, this might not seem overly important.  On a deeper level though, it is very important.  There might be those out there who are at least somewhat familiar with the material, but maybe haven’t seen it in decades.  They would be nearly on the same level as those who have not yet seen these presentations.  Keeping that in mind, having a content guide would have made for a solid introduction (or re-introduction) for audiences to that material before they play either of the set’s discs.  Not having that introduction makes for a somewhat uneasy introduction, and in turn detracts from the set’s presentation to a point.  Thankfully, it is the set’s only truly impacting negative.  The Space Police test footage, while perhaps a bit too extensive, presents its own positive to the set’s presentation.

The Space Police test footage included in The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson is for all intents and purposes little more than bonus material.  It takes audiences behind the scenes of the featured episode “Star Laws.”  Throughout the course of the footage, audiences see that the scenario presented in the final product was not the only considered scenario.  Nor were the actors in that final product the only actors who had test screenings.  The comparison of the two scenarios and the actors is key because it adds to the appreciation for the final product.  The scenarios presented in the test footage show that that material was just too campy even despite some impressive animatronic and prosthetics work with the aliens.  Even the lead actors presented in the test footage were a bit over the top cheesy in their presentation.  Keeping that in mind, the presentation used in the final product proves to be much more fitting for the show, even being a cop drama.

At the same time that the show’s test footage proves integral to this set’s presentation, it also is somewhat disappointing in just how much test footage is shown.  So much of the material takes place in an alleyway scene, and shows time and again the actors handling the same scenario.  There is also a bevy of in-car test footage with the lead actors that honestly gets boring after a while.  All of this material honestly could have (in this critic’s eye) been cut back, and should have for that matter.  Considering this, the intrinsic value of the test footage shows the importance of Space Police to Anderson’s career, and its place within its genre.  However, it is too much of a good thing even in its use of comparing scenarios and actors.  With this in mind, the test footage included in this set is both a positive and a negative.  When it is set alongside the set’s primary material, the whole of that material becomes a presentation that is enjoyable, but honestly leaves something to be desired in the end.  That is not to say that it is a total loss, but there is room to grow if this set is ever re-issued or if it is ever included in another Anderson collection.

The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson is an interesting new collection of rarities from the famed figure’s career.  It shows a part of his career that has rarely if ever been seen thanks to the primary material presented in its lead disc.  The lack of a content guide of any sort is a detractor for this collection, though.  It takes away from the overall presentation and viewing experience, but does not make the presentation a total loss.  The bonus Space Police test footage adds back what is taken away by the lack of a content guide thanks to the insight that it adds to that one episode.  At the same time, there is such an abundance of that test footage that it really feels like overkill and should have been shaved back.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to this set’s whole.  All things considered, they make the set a collection that while not a total loss, one that leaves room for growth in the next Gerry Anderson collection.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from mpi media group and MPI Home Video is available online now at:

 

 

 

Websitewww.mpimedia.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

 

 

 

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.

MPI Media Group To Release Gerry Anderson Rarities Collection Next Month

Courtesy: mpi media group/MPI Home Video

Fans of Gerry Anderson are going to get an early Christmas present next month courtesy of mpi Media Group.

The World of Gerry Anderson is currently scheduled to be released Nov. 14 on DVD.  The new release is a collection of rare classic Gerry Anderson films and other features including his never-before-seen early puppet film Here Comes Kandy, the final segment of the 1980s stop-motion comedy series Dick Spanner, P.I., The Investigator and The Day After Tomorrow, which has no connection to the 2004 big screen blockbuster.

Along with the noted titles, the new two-disc collection of rarities will also feature the pilot Space Police, which would go on to be the template for Space Precinct.

The World of Gerry Anderson will retail for MSRP of $24.98.  Its total run time is 354 minutes.  More information on this and other titles from mpi Media Group is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.mpimedia.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

 

 

 

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.