Cinephiles, Classic Movie Buffs Alike Will Enjoy Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection Re-Issue

Courtesy: Universal Pictures/Shout! Factory

Seventy-nine years ago this year, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made their theatrical debut in the classic romantic comedy One Night in the Tropics.  That movie made its theatrical debut Nov. 15, 1940.  Shout! Factory and Universal Pictures are partnering to get a jump on celebrating the anniversary of the legendary comic duo’s big screen debut with the Blu-ray release of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection: 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition.  The famed duo’s collection has previously been released twice on DVD, but this marks the first time that the collection has received the Blu-ray treatment.  All joking aside (yes, that terrible pun was intended), the forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue of the collection is a presentation that every classic film buff will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to its featured movies, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the collection adds even more enjoyment to this collection, and will be addressed a little later.  The collection’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item discussed here is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make the set’s average price point money very well spent among every cinephile and classic movie buff.

Universal Pictures and Shout! Factory’s new forthcoming re-issue of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection: 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition is a presentation that fans of the comic duo and its work will appreciate just as much as any cinephiles and classic movie buffs.  That is due in no small part to its makeup.  The collection features all 28 of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s Universal Pictures movies in one setting.  The movies are spread across 15 discs in three separate Blu-ray cases.  This is important to note because while all 28 movies have been released previously between 2003 and 2005 by Universal Pictures in four separate DVD collections, this set marks the first time that they have ever seen a Blu-ray release and in one complete collection.  In other words, this collection is not the first time that all 28 movies have ever been released together in one setting (considering the collection’s previous two DVD releases), but it is the first time that all the movies have ever seen release in one setting on DVD.  That will save space for those audiences and fans who might not already own the noted standalone DVD volumes released between 2003 and 2005.  Also, a comparison of the bonus content featured in those previous standalone DVD sets (the 2003-2005 sets) and the bonus content featured here shows far more bonus content in this collection than those sets.

The bonus content featured in Universal Pictures’ standalone Abbott & Costello DVD sets is minimal at best.  Audiences got in those noted sets, Production notes in the second of the four sets, and a pair of features in the fourth volume – a tribute to Bud and Lou from famed comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and a retrospective on Abbott & Costello’s monster movie crossovers.  By comparison, audiences get in the new Blu-ray re-issue of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection, feature-length commentaries as an extra in no fewer than six of the collection’s movies.  The noted Seinfeld and monster movie retrospectives are also featured in this collection.  This goes right back to the already discussed fact that the entire collection is featured in one setting.  So, for those who might not have the fourth previously released volume of Abbott & Costello movies will now have those retrospectives along with lots of new, commentaries that were also featured in the collection’s previous two DVD releases.  As if the commentaries and retrospectives being placed in one complete collection is not enough, audiences also get the same companion booklet that was also featured in the previous DVD releases of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection.  That booklet is just as important as the retrospectives and the commentaries.  Reading through the booklet not only gives audiences an overview of each of the movies,  but also some rather interesting trivia.  For instance, audiences learn of One Night in the Tropics, the very first scene that Bud and Lou shot for that movie was their now iconic “Who’s on First” bit. Additionally, at one point, laughter by the movie’s crew members got so bad that the set had to be cleared.  In the case of The Naughty Nineties, viewers learn that the riverboat set was originally constructed for Universal Pictures’ 1936 movie Show Boat and that Henry Travers, who played the riverboat’s Captain, also went on later to play Clarence opposite James Stewart.  Also of interest in the companion booklet’s information is that the pair’s 1946 movie The Time of Their Lives, that marked one of only two times during their career in which Bud and Lou did not work as a team.  The other time is noted in the booklet but will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  Getting read the trivia is like taking in the same kind of presentation from one of the current hosts at Turner Classic Movies. It just makes the experience that much more personal, and in turn enjoyable.

As if all of the trivia revealed and the story summaries are not enough for viewers, the companion booklet also features introductions from family members of Bud and Lou.  Specifically speaking, Bud Abbott’s daughter Vickie Abbott Wheeler and Lou Costello’s Children Paddy Costello Humphreys and Chris Costello.  Vickie Abbott Wheeler reveals in her introduction that her parents worked together in Vaudeville early on, adding that her mom actually worked with Lou Costello before her dad.  She also reveals something very intriguing about Universal studios during its heyday that will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The Costello children reveal in their introduction information, such as the revelation that Bud and Lou intentionally kept their act clean because they did not like working “blue.”  They also note, Bud and Lou had a good relationship both on and off camera and that Lou would have appreciated the advancement of recording technology because of his personal interest in technology.  This is just a portion of everything that the pair had to talk about.  Between that and everything else that they and Mrs. Abbott Wheeler had to say, audiences get a lot of engaging and entertaining personal insight into who Bud and Lou were on and off screen.

As if all of the personal recollections from Bud and Lou’s family are not enough, there is also an extensive, in-depth look back at the life and legacy from Abbott & Costello In Hollywood co-author Ron Palumbo that will keep viewers just as engaged and entertained.  Audiences learn about the cultural significance of Abbott & Costello through Palumbo’s discussion on the constant comparisons that are made to the duo since – as he writes – “There are no comedy ‘teams’ anymore.  Pakumbo writes that comparisons to Bud and Lou during discussions about comedic duos, such as gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Dan Akroyd and John Belushi.  Palumbo also notes bud and Lou had a very noticeable financial impact for Universal Pictures during their 15 years under contract with the studio.  He notes that the pair was the studio’s “single greatest source of income.”  That is a very telling statement in regards to the pairing’s star power.  This and everything else that Palumbo notes in his liner notes couples with the discussions that Bud and Lou’s children share in the booklet to make the set’s companion booklet perhaps its most important bonus.  That is especially considering all of the trivia shared in the booklet and the movie summaries that are featured within, too.  When the importance of all of this information is considered along with the fact that all of the pair’s Universal movies are set here with lots of other previously released bonus content, the set becomes that much more of a plus for any cinephiles and Abbott & Costello fan who might not already own Universal’s previous Abbott & Costello collections.

While the primary and secondary content featured in Shout! Factory and Universal Pictures’ new Bud Abbott & Lou Costello Blu-ray collection go a long way toward making the collection so impressive, they are only a portion of what makes it notable.  The overall packaging is just as worth examining as the set’s content.  As previously noted, all 28 of the duo’s Universal Pictures entries are spread here across 15 discs in three separate Blu-ray cases.  That is important to note, as it takes up less space than the four standalone DVD sets that Universal Pictures released between 2003 and 2005.  This critic owns those standalone sets and measured them against one another.  The new Blu-ray re-issue is equal, in terms of space, to three of the four DVD sets.  So, while the space saving might not be extensive, audiences do still get with this set, a package that consumes less space on a rack than the four separate DVD sets.  The movies featured in the DVD sets are featured two to a side on either side of two discs on each set.  In simpler terminology, each DVD set features two discs.  Each disc has two movies on either side, making for eight movies.  The fourth and final set features four more of the pair’s movies plus the noted retrospectives.  By comparison, the Blu-ray presentation features two movies per disc, with each disc sitting on its own plate on either side of a set of plates inside the cases.  So, while the discs have fewer movies on each one, the packaging still helps to save space, again, still making the packaging its own positive.  Keeping this in mind along with the breadth and depth of primary and secondary content, the whole of this collection proves a welcome addition to the home library of any cinephile and Abbott & Costello fan who might not already have either of this collection’s previous DVD releases or Universal Pictures’ previously released standalone DVD volumes of Abbott & Costello movies.

Universal Pictures and Shout! Factory’s forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection is a welcome addition to the home library of any true blooded cinephile, classic movie buff and Abbott & Costello fan.  That is due in no small part to the fact that it features all 28 of Abbott & Costello’s Universal Pictures features in one complete setting.  The extensive bonus content – the feature-length bonus commentary and extra information featured in the set’s companion booklet – adds its own share of engagement and entertainment for audiences, as has been noted here.  The space-saving packaging in which the whole thing is featured makes for its own positive.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this collection.  All things considered, they make Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection: 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It will be available Nov. 19.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Shout! Factory Re-Issuing Abbott & Costello’s Complete Universal Pictures Collection

Courtesy: Universal Pictures/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is resurrecting a series of movies from one of the greatest acts in entertainment history.

The company is going to release Abbott & Costello’s complete Universal Pictures collection on Blu-ray Nov. 19.  Abbot & CostelloThe Complete Universal Pictures Collection features all 28 movies in which the comedic duo starred while working for Universal.  Among those movies are the famed movies The Naughty NinetiesAbbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein and Buck Privates.

Along with the full movie collection, the set also features a variety of new extras, such as feature-length audio commentaries and interviews.  The bonuses and full movie listing is noted below.

Complete List of Films
·        Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
·        Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion
·        Abbott and Costello Lost in Alaska
·        Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
·        Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
·        Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops
·        Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff
·        Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy
·        Buck Privates
·        Buck Privates Come Home
·        Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man
·        Comin’ Round the Mountain
·        Here Come the Co-Eds
·        Hit the Ice
·        Hold that Ghost
·        In Society
·        In the Navy
·        It Ain’t Hay
·        Keep ‘Em Flying
·        Little Giant
·        Mexican Hayride
·        One Night in the Tropics
·        Pardon My Sarong
·        Ride ‘Em Cowboy
·        The Naughty Nineties
·        The Time of Their Lives
·        The Wistful Widow
·        Who Done It?
Complete List of Bonus Features
Disc 1:
ONE NIGHT IN THE TROPICS
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
BUCK PRIVATES
·        Audio Commentary by authors/film historians Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo (Abbott and Costello in Hollywood)
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 2:
IN THE NAVY
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
HOLD THAT GHOST
·        Audio Commentary by film historian Jeff Miller
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 3:
KEEP ‘EM FLYING
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        Recruitment Short/Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
RIDE ‘EM COWBOY
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian James L. Neibaur
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
PARDON MY SARONG
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
WHO DONE IT?
·        Audio Commentary with film historian Frank Coniff
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 5:
IT AIN’T HAY
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
HIT THE ICE
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 6:
IN SOCIETY
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
HERE COME THE CO-EDS
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 7:
THE NAUGHTY NINETIES
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
LITTLE GIANT
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 8:
THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES
·        Audio Commentary with film historian Frank Thompson
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 9:
THE WISTFUL WIDOW OF WAGON GAP
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
·        Audio Commentary by film historian Gregory William Mank
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 10:
MEXICAN HAYRIDE
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Scott Allen Nollen
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Troy Howarth
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 11:
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO IN THE FOREIGN LEGION
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 12:
COMIN ROUND THE MOUNTAIN
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
LOST IN ALASKA
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 13:
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
·        Audio Commentary by film historians Tom Weaver and Richard Serivani
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 14:
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE KOPS
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY
·        NEW Audio Commentary by author/film historian Troy Howarth
·        Theatrical Trailer
·        Still Gallery
·        Production Notes
Disc 15:
THE WORLD OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET JERRY SEINFELD
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE MONSTERS
Bonus Features:
·        NEWAbbott and Costello: Their Lives and Legacy – featuring interviews with Chris Costello (daughter of Lou Costello) and Ron Palumbo (co-author of Abbott and Costello In Hollywood)
·        NEWAbbott and Costello: Film Stories – featuring an interview with author/film historian James L. Neibaur (The Monster Movies of Universal Studios)
·        NEW Abbott and Costello: Behind the Scenes – Ron Palumbo talks about the various writers and directors
·        NEW Abbott & Costello Meet Castle Films – 8 of Abbott and Costello’s best Castle Films 8mm/16mm films
·        Outtakes from Pardon My Sarong, It Ain’t Hay, Hit the Ice, Little Giant and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
·        The Abbott and Costello Trailer Reel

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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‘Live At Us Festival’ Is Santana’s Third Solid Release So Far This Year

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Studios/Icon Television Music, Inc./Sony Music

Carlos Santana has been in the headlines a lot this year.  He released a new EP in January.  That record ­– In Search of Mona Lisa — was followed up in June, with a new full-length album, Africa Speaks.  Early this month, even more music from Santana saw the light of day with a new archived concert from Shout! Factory, Icon Television Music, Inc. and Sony Music in the form of Live at Us Festival.  Originally recorded Sept. 4, 1982, the vintage recording was released on Blu-ray Sept. 6, almost 37 years to the day after the concert featured in the presentation.  The recording is another welcome presentation for fans of Carlos Santana in part because of its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The recording’s editing adds to its interest and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content featured with the recording rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted here plays its own part in making the concert appealing for Santana fans and music fans alike.  All things considered, they make the recording in whole, one more of this year’s top new live Blu-rays and DVDs.

Carlos Santana’s latest live recording Live at Us Festival is an enjoyable new offering from one of the elder statesmen of the music industry that his fans and music fans alike will enjoy.  That is due in part to the set list featured in this vintage concert recording.  The show’s set list is made up of a total of 13 songs, two of which – ‘Gypsy Queen’ and ‘Marbles’ – are actually part of some two-song collections.  The songs in total show, even then, they wide range of Santana’s talents and his fellow musicians.  The whole thing opens with a performance of the group’s own work, ‘Searchin,’ which is then followed up by the first of the two-part pieces, ‘Black Magic Woman’/’Gypsy Queen.’  What is important to note here is that ‘Black Magic Woman’ was originally composed by peter Green and made famous by Fleetwood Mac.  Fleetwood Mac is a far cry, stylistically, from Santana.  Yet Santana and company made the song their own, and did so impressively at that.  The musicianship of the percussionists – Raul Rekow, Armando Peraza and Orestas Vilat – adds so much to the performance.  The control they have on their respective instruments is astonishing in the best way possible.  Much the same can be said of the trio’s performance during ‘Savor.’  The timbales, guiro and congas really serve as the backbone for the arrangement, which in this case is one of the group’s originals.  The keyboards, handled by Richard Baker, add even more enjoyment to the performance.  This is just one more way in which the set list shines.  Between the group’s own originals and its covers, the whole of the set list makes for a presentation that without any doubt, will keep audiences fully engaged and entertained.  The only down side to the whole thing is the fact that audiences don’t get the band’s whole set in this concert.  Also featured in the concert were performances of the songs ‘Primera Invasion,’ ‘Dealer/’Spanish Rose’ and ‘Soul Sacrifice.’  They were also omitted from the concert’s broadcast on AXS TV.  That aside, what is presented in terms of the set list and performance thereof is enjoyable in its own right.  To that end, it creates a solid foundation for the recording’s whole.

While the concert footage featured in the recording is a key piece of its whole, it is not the recording’s only important element.  The recording’s editing plays into its whole, too. In examining the editing, the most notable aspect thereof is the separation of the recording between its concert and interview segments.  Each performance segment is preceded by an interview segment with Santana that is clearly much more recent than the footage from the concert.  Those breaks from the concert not only serve to help the recording’s pacing, but also to make the overall presentation more personal for viewers.  That is thanks to Santana’s very real and frank commentaries.  Those commentaries tackle a variety of topics, such as his view about the roots of what so many people label as Latin music, “real guitarists vs. not-so-real guitarists,” and the purpose of music.  Those discussions in themselves are just as certain to keep viewers entertained and are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The bonus extended interviews featured with the recording make for even more interest.

The extended discussions that are featured as bonus content show Santana’s lighter side as he talks about “real guitarists” playing from all throughout inside instead of just their fingers.  He also goes into more depth about his sound and that of his band not really being a signature sound.  That discussion is one of the most enlightening of the discussions.  He also goes into more depth as to his view of how “Latin” music has been mislabeled by the powers that be.  Between these discussions and more, the extended discussion cuts truly are bonuses that are just as worth taking in as the concert’s main footage.  When both elements are considered along with the recording’s editing, the whole of the recording becomes a presentation that Santana’s fans will appreciate just as much as music fans in general.

Live at Us Festival is a positive new offering from Carlos Santana that music lovers across the board will appreciate.  It offers a set list that clearly puts on display the talents of Santana and his fellow musicians and the breadth of the band’s influences.  That in itself makes the concert well worth viewing.  The concert’s editing ensures even more, its appeal for viewers, as it is broken up into varying live and interview segments.  The bonus extended interview cuts that are featured with the recording put the final touch on the recording’s whole.  Each item discussed is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live at Us Festival one more welcome addition to the music libraries of Santana’s most devoted fans and of audiophiles in general.  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

 

 

 

More information on Live at Us Festival is available online now along with all of Carlos Santana’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.santana.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SantanaCarlos

 

 

 

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’50 Years And Counting’ Is An Enjoyable Celebration Of One Of TV’s Greatest, Most Important Series

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Sesame Workshop

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop are celebrating Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary with a new collection of content from the long-running series.  Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting is scheduled for release Oct. 1 on DVD.  The two-disc set is a presentation that will entertain audiences of all ages as they celebrate the landmark show reaching its half-century mark.  That is due in part to the content that makes up the body of the collection.  It will be discussed shortly.  The actual presentation of said content plays into the set in its own right and will be discussed a little later.  The set’s average price point is important to note, too considering the set’s content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting.  All things considered, they make the collection an enjoyable new celebration of one of television’s greatest and most important series.

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop’s forthcoming Sesame Street presentation 50 Years and Counting is a celebration of the long-running series that audiences of all ages will enjoy.  That is due in part to the content that makes up the body of the two-disc set.  Audiences get in this collection half a century of fan favorite skits and live action story lines that were interwoven into the series’ episodes.  The content pulls from many of the series’ eras, giving audiences of all ages something to appreciate, in turn ensuring viewers’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end of each disc.  From the timeless animated pinball segment that teaches children to count to 12, to the silly classic spoof of Indiana Jones (which features a guest appearance by a then young Jeff Goldblum), to the spoof of Singin’ In The Rain to the rockabilly lesson about cooperation to the introduction of Sesame Street’s first-ever autistic Muppet, this collection offers audiences more than enough to appreciate.  The segments run the gamut from teaching important life lessons, such as the importance of teamwork and embracing everyone’s differences to simply entertaining audiences, such as in the Indiana Jones spoof and the Downton Abbey spoof along the way.  In other words, the content presented throughout the set is just as diverse in itself as the eras from which it was pulled.  This is, in itself, more than enough reason for audiences to add the set to their home libraries.  It is just one part of what makes the collection noteworthy.  The fact that the collection’s content is distinctly separated into two discs is just as important to discuss as the set’s content.

The content that fills each of the set’s discs is distinct within itself because of its focus.  Disc one is an extensive look back through the show’s annals in terms of the general segments.  Disc two focuses more distinctly on the series’ live action segments.  What’s more, it takes viewers – while not in precise chronological order – through the history of Sesame Street, starting way back in the series’ infancy and all the way to its most recent era.  The early segments featured in the second disc are moments, such as Luis and Maria’s wedding, Mr. Hooper’s passing and Snuffy’s introduction to Sesame Street’s residents.  As the disc’s content progresses, audiences are eventually treated to the noted appearance of Goldblum as Bob’s brother, and the eventual introductions of Abby Cadabby and Julia.  The change is subtle in the cast and backdrop, but a close watch shows that a certain amount of time and thought was put into the sequencing of this disc’s content.  The set’s first disc, by comparison, presents a more random selection of content, such as the beloved waiter segments with Grover, the aforementioned animated pinball short, Kermit performing with a Muppet version of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and even a classic bit featuring the one and only Mumford the Magacian, just to note a handful of the set’s segments.  Each disc features a lot of content, meaning trying to binge on it all is difficult.  Audiences are encouraged to take everything in at their own pace as they make their way through each disc.  Doing so will add to enjoyment, again, for audiences young and old alike. It will also help increase appreciation for the work done by those behind the scenes to assemble everything presented.  That appreciation will leave viewers agreeing that the separation of the set’s content is just as important as its content.  While the content featured in this collection and the fashion in which it is presented is important to the set’s presentation they are not the set’s only important elements.  They make the set’s average price point important in its own right.

The average price point of Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting is $13.46.  That price is reached by obtaining price listings at Shout! Factory’ store, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  At the time of this review’s posting, the collection was not posted at Best Buy’s website.  The least expensive of the noted listings is at Barnes & Noble Booksellers — $12.07 – while the set’s most expensive listing is at Books-A-Million — $16.97.  Shout! Factory’s listing is $13.97, just above the average, while Target and Amazon’s listing of $12.39 is relatively inexpensive, too.  Walmart lists the set at $12.96, again, below that average, and a relatively affordable price in its own right.  Regardless of whether audiences purchase the set through Walmart, Shout! Factory, Target, Amazon or Barnes & Noble Booksellers, the fact of the matter is that an average price listing of less than $20 for this expansive collection, and separate listings of below $20, too is affordable, period.  It is money that audiences will agree is well-spent.  It is especially well-spent because it is a collection that will bring the whole family together time and again, regardless of which retailer one chooses.  When this is considered along with the content featured in this set and its presentation, the whole of the set proves to be a wonderful presentation that stands out as one of this year’s top new family DVD and BD box sets.

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop’s new Sesame Street collection 50 Years and Counting is an outstanding new presentation from the companies.  That is due in part to the content that makes up the body of the collection.  It reaches back into the show’s early days, its middle age and its most recent era, giving audiences of all ages more than enough to enjoy.  The way in which the content is presented in this set adds to the enjoyment of the collection because it allows viewers to choose for themselves whether they want to watch the live action segments or the Muppet and animated segments.  The wide breadth of content featured in the set makes its average price point (and separate listings) of less than $20 money well spent, considering that it is content that will educate, inform and entertain audiences for another 50 years.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting.  All things considered, they make this two-disc set one of the best of the year’s best new family DVD and BD box sets.  It will be available Oct. 1.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.omshoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.sesameworkshop.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

 

 

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‘Penguin Highway’ Will Get A Lot Of Mileage In Anime, Sci-Fi Fans’ Blu-ray, DVD Players

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Eleven Arts Studios

Shout! Factory has been busy this year, releasing a handful of anime titles for fans of the noted genre.  The latest of those titles, Penguin Highway was released early last month on DVD and Blu-ray.  Based on a book crafted by author Tomihiko Morimi, this debut outing for director Hiroyasu Ishida is a work that will appeal to anime fans and even some science fiction fans.  That is due to the movie’s story, which will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s recent domestic release adds to its appeal for the noted audiences, and will be addressed a little later.  The primary and secondary content considered, they collectively make the movie’s average price point money well spent for the movie’s noted viewers.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered, they make Penguin Highway an offering that anime and science fiction fans alike will appreciate.

Shout! Factory’s recent domestic release of Eleven Arts’ presentation Penguin Highway is a presentation that will appeal widely to anime fans and to some science fiction fans.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story.  The story follows a 9 year-old boy named Aoyama who is a lot smarter than any children his age. An easy comparison would be to a young Sheldon Cooper, just without the social ineptness.  Aoyama is a very smart young man, but also has a lot of learning to do in general about life.  He learns a lot about life in this coming-of-age story, too.  He learns about friendship, life and love as he meets a peculiar woman who works at one of his town’s dentist offices.  As Aoyama’s friendship with the woman grows, so does the mystery of a giant orb that his friends discover in a forest near the town and the woman’s connection to the orb.  As it turns out, the two are connected, as are the penguins that keep appearing around town.  This leads to the movie’s secondary story which will appeal to the noted sci-fan fans.  The concepts that Aoyama brings up about time and space being twisted by the orb and the woman’s connection to the penguins (and monsters) delves into not just the sci-fi realm, but the fantasy realm to a certain extent, too.  Through it all, audiences familiar with the movie’s source material will be glad to know the story follows its literary source material quite closely.  This will be addressed shortly in the discussion on the movie’s bonus content.  Getting back on the subject at hand, The story at the center of Penguin Highway is a unique presentation.  It takes some very familiar plot elements and crosses them in a way that is rarely ever used, if ever at all.  That in itself makes the story worth taking in at least once if not occasionally.  It is just one of the elements that makes the movie a worthwhile watch for its target audiences.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s home release adds more interest to its presentation.

The bonus content featured with the home release of Penguin Highway includes interviews with Morimi and Ishida as well as a promo video for the movie.  The promo video is nothing memorable, but the interview segments add a certain degree of engagement and entertainment to the movie’s presentation.  Ishida, during his interview, discusses items, such as the deeper meaning of the movie, his favorite scenes, casting the movie and the movie’s creation.  Ishida reveals in his interview that Penguin Highway was his debut as the director of a full-length feature, adding how nervous he was about helming the project.  That is because, as he reveals, all of his previous work was on independent shorts.  In discussing some of the movie’s scenes, he reveals that the sequences in question were a reflection of his own intentions to make the story progress in a certain fashion.  That is an interesting discussion that audiences will be left to take in for themselves.  Ishida also takes a moment to discuss the freedom of creating independent releases versus the controls of making a full-length feature.

Morimi’s interview finds him discussing items, such as his real target audience with his book, the connection between his book and its cinematic adaptation and how he developed the title for his book.  His discussions are just as natural as those of Ishida, as he takes on each item.  In talking about the creation of the book’s title, Morimi admits he does not fully recall how or when he developed the book’s title, saying only that it happened when he was in college.  He also admits that when he wrote Penguin Highway, he did not write it with children in mind as his target audience.  That would make sense, considering some of the content featured early on in the movie.  He also admits that knowing Ishida was an untested director made him uneasy about his book being adapted cinematically by Ishida, but adds he was pleased with the outcome.  This is just a sampling of the items that Morishi addresses as well as Ishida.  Between the noted discussions and lots more not noted here, the bonus interviews featured with Penguin Highway add their own share of engagement and entertainment for the movie’s target audience.  When this is considered along with the engagement and entertainment generated through the movie’s primary content, the two elements together make the movie’s average price such that those audiences will not mind paying.

The average price point for Penguin Highway’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is $19.98.  that price is obtained by averaging prices from Shout! Factory, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  The movie’s price point for its standalone DVD packaging is $18.56.  Almost all of the same retailers’ prices were used for that price.  The only outlet that did not list the price for the movie’s  DVD packaging was Best Buy.  Amazon and Walmart have the least expensive price listing for the BD/DVD combo pack at $17.96 while Target and Best Buy listed the BD/DVD pack’s price just above that at $17.99.  Books-A-Million’s price listing of $26.99 is its most expensive listing.  To that end, the price of $17.96 is money well spent on for those noted viewers who are fans of anime and/or science fiction.  That is especially considering the movie’s script and bonus content.  The same applies to the movie’s listing of $12.39, again at Amazon and Walmart.  Regardless of which retailer consumers choose for either platform, Amazon and Walmart offer the most competitive pricing.  What’s more, that pricing is such that the noted fans will find it worth spending considering everything noted here already.  Keeping that in mind, all three elements discussed here come together to make Penguin Highway a presentation that anime fans across the board will find appealing.

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts’ recent domestic release of the anime flick Penguin Highway is a work that is certain to get plenty of mileage among the most devoted anime and science fiction fans.  That is proven in part through the movie’s dual story lines that interweave together so well.  The bonus interviews with the movie’s director and the author of the book that spawned the movie collectively add more engagement and entertainment to the presentation.  They collectively make the movie’s relatively low average price of less than $20 a welcome pricing, again, for those noted target viewers.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Penguin Highway.  All things considered, they make the movie a presentation that will certainly get plenty of mileage in the noted viewers’ DVD and Blu-ray players.  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

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eleven Arts is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://elevenarts.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ELEVEN_ARTS

 

 

 

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‘Sesame Street: Dance Party’ Will Have Audiences Dancing For Joy

Courtesy: Sesame Workshop/Shout! factory/Shout! Kids

The countdown is officially on to one of the most important anniversaries in the modern history of television.  On November 10, Sesame Workshop will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Sesame Street (take that Simpsons).  As the beloved, long-running series’ anniversary nears, Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop are continuing their celebration of the series and its historic run with yet another new DVD.  Sesame Street: Dance Party was released Tuesday.  The DVD is a presentation that Sesame Street’s fans both young and old alike will appreciate.  That is due in part to the DVD’s primary content, which features lots and lots of dancing mixed in with some important educational content to boot.  This will be addressed shortly.  The DVD’s bonus content is just as certain as its primary content to keep audiences entertained, and will be addressed a little later.  The primary and secondary content taken into consideration together, they make the DVD’s average price point just as appealing to audiences as that content.  All things considered, this DVD in whole will have audiences of all ages dancing together for lots of reasons.

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop’s latest Sesame Street DVD, Dance Party is a presentation that will have viewers of all ages doing their own happy dances.  That is due in part to the DVD’s primary content.  Clocking in just under 90 minutes, the DVD’s primary content creates a starting point on discussions about the varied forms of dance that exist throughout America and the world through each of its separate segments.  The whole thing starts with an entertaining segment that finds the Sesame Street “gang” doing their own ballet performance.  The catch is that Big Bird’s best friend Snuffalupagus joins in, leading Allan to have to figure out how to lift everyone’s favorite furry, friendly mammoth.  This leads to an important secondary aspect of the DVD’s primary content that will be addressed shortly.  Getting back on track, everything ends up working out in the end, but not without plenty of laughs for the whole family.  It’s just one of the segments that makes up the DVD’s primary content.  Bert and Ernie make their own music video in another segment.  This segment teaches its own important lesson that will also be addressed shortly.  The varied dance styles (and the fact that it uses an episode from the height of the “Angry Birds” craze adds even more to its appeal.  It’s one more way in which the segments serve to create such appeal.  They don’t just come from one specific era of Sesame Street’s history.  Most of the segments are from  the series’ more recent years, given, but it is still nice to see the segments come from more than just one period of the show.  Bert and Ernie’s music video is not the only one that gets some screen time in this new DVD.  Prairie Dawn and her friends make their own music video that will appeal to country music fans as it presents its own take on “The Farmer in the Dell.”  That segment alone creates plenty of smiles among audiences, too.  The same can be said of the brief segment featuring Jason Derullo, who puts on a short hip-hop dance exhibition.  Between that moment, the others noted here and more, the whole of the DVD’s primary content will keep viewers just as entertained as they are engaged from beginning to end, learning about the various types of dances that exist.  Those introductions serve as their own starting point for larger discussions on the cultures from which the dance styles were spawned.  That also serves as its own important part of the DVD’s primary content.

As noted, the fact that the brief introductions to the various dance styles that exist serve collectively as a good starting point for discussions about the cultures that spawned the dance styles.  They are just some of the extra discussions that will take place among audiences as a result of the DVD’s primary content.  The DVD’s opening segment finds Allan and other members of the Sesame Street gang working to figure out how to lift Snuffy as part of their ballet dance number.  This plot element is a subtle lesson about problem-solving skills.  How the group finally figures out how to lift Snuffy will be left for audiences to discover for themselves, but is still quite intriguing.  Of course, Allan’s attempts to lift Snuffy prior to that realization end with plenty of laughs.  It is just one of the lessons presented within the primary content of Dance Party.  As Ernie is making a video to put online, he has to learn to adapt and change the plan because things don’t always go as planned.  This is a vital life skill for not just children, but adults, too.  Just as many adults seem to forget this key life skill just as much as children.  To that end, it is a reminder that again, viewers of all ages will appreciate.  On another level, the lesson about just how much work goes into making a music video in the segment featuring Prairie Dawn and company shows audiences of all ages just how much time and work goes into making videos.  It isn’t the invaluable life lesson featured in the other noted segments, but is still interesting in its own right.  When it is considered along with the other lessons, the whole of the group does more than enough to show even more, the importance of the primary content to the whole of Dance Party.  While the breadth and depth of the primary content featured in this DVD forms a solid foundation for its presentation, it is only one of the DVD’s most important elements.  The disc’s secondary content plays its own important role in the whole of the DVD.

The secondary content featured in Dance Party is a full-length episode of Sesame Street.  The episode in question comes from the mid 2000s.  The whole thing opens with a musical story that finds Elmo causing everyone on Sesame Street to sing everything.  How and why this happens will be left for viewers to discover for themselves.  It’s hardly the first time that any program has gone this route.  It is a plot element that has been used through the years on so many programs, most recently on Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger. Even with that familiarity, there is something endearing about the segment, which takes up somewhere in the range of 15 minutes of the nearly hour-long program.  As the episode progresses, viewers are treated to a rather interesting episode of “Flying Fairy School” and even what looks like a vintage “live action” segment that finds a quartett of performers doing an a capella performance about the letter “M.”  The whole thing wraps up with a full segment of the now beloved “Elmo’s World.”  Each segment offers its own entertainment value.  All things considered here, they will keep viewers just as engaged and entertained as will the DVD’s primary content.  To that end, the bonus content that is featured with Dance Party proves just as enjoyable as the DVD’s main feature.  When the DVD’s main and secondary content are considered together, they make the DVD in whole well worth the money spent.

The money spent on Dance Party averages to approximately $12.33.  That price is reached by averaging prices listed at Shout! Factory’s store, those of Walmart, Target, Amazon, Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  The DVD was not listed at Best Buy’s website at the time of this review’s posting.  While Shout! Factory’s listing of $13.98 was not the most inexpensive listing, it also was not the most expensive.  That title goes to the listing at Books-A-Million, at $14.98.  Shout! Factory’s listing is the second most expensive at $13.98 while the most common listing – at Walmart, Target and Amazon – is $10.99.  It is also the most inexpensive listing.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listing of $12.04 is the mid-point listing.  Regardless of which retailer customers choose, Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop will benefit from a portion of the sales.  Keeping all of this in mind, customers who buy the DVD will get hours of entertainment, education and engagement, and in the process, will also benefit the continued broadcasting of one of the most important programs to ever hit the airwaves.

Sesame Street: Dance Party is a DVD that is certain to have audiences of all ages celebrating.  That celebration will come in the form of their own dances as well as dances with the segments featured throughout the DVD.  That is due in part to the DVD’s primary content, which features dances from a wide array of cultural backgrounds.  The bonus full-length episode of Sesame Street adds its own share of enjoyment to the DVD’s presentation for every viewer.  Considering the content that makes up the body of the disc, it makes the DVD’s average price point of less than $20 a wise investment for any family.  That is because families will find themselves enjoying the noted content together time and again.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD in whole will have audiences of all ages dancing for joy as they dance along with the DVD’s content.  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

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://sesameworkshop.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

 

 

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

Shout! Factory Taking Audiences Back To ‘The Good Place’ Tuesday

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/NBC Universal/NBC

Shout! Factory is bringing the third season of NBC’s sitcom The Good Place to DVD.

The Good PlaceSeason Three is scheduled for release July 30.  The 13-episode season proved to be a critical hit among audiences, received a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on now 44 reviews.

At the end of Season Two, audiences saw Michael ( Ted Danson — CheersBeckerBody Heat) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden – Broad CityOther PeopleBarry) standing before a judge (Maya Rudolph – Saturday Night LiveBridesmaidsThe Way Way Back), arguing that Eleanor (Kristen Bell – Veronica MarsFrozenForgetting Sarah Marshall) and her friends were judged unfairly and deserve a second chance.

Enter Season Three.  Eleanor and company are back on Earth and are alive.  As Season Three opens, Eleanor and company are back on Earth and making a fresh start in the two-part season premiere episode “Everything is Bonzer!”  The group’s changes for the better don’t last but for so long, leading Michael to have to intervene, even though he is not supposed to do so.

Twists and turns ensue throughout the season, with demons from the Bad Place trying to do their best (worst) to Michael, Janet and even the humans.  Meanwhile Michael and Janet learn their own important lessons along the way.  A new group of subjects is started  as the season comes to its end as the original group returns to the Medium Place.

The Good PlaceSeason Three will feature extended episodes and episode-length audio commentaries as bonus content, as well as a gag reel and visual effects reel.

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

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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