Re-issues Saved Movie, TV Studios During Pandemic

Courtesy: Arrow Video

This year was another rough one for television and movie studios alike.  Movie studios were forced to postpone the release of so many new movies until either 2021 or beyond and TV studios were forced to shut down production all as they faced the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  On top of all of that, the movies and TV shows that did release this year and that were announced for release were largely another massive batch of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events.  That, again, made for very little for audiences to really appreciate.  Thankfully, there were a lot of worthwhile box sets for families and grown-ups alike.  There were also lots of enjoyable re-issues.  That is why Phil’s Picks once again is presenting a list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video released some of the best of this year’s re-issues, with re-releases of classics, such as Black Angel, Flash Gordon, and The Last Starfighter.  Shout! Factory meanwhile produced its own interesting re-issues in the form of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, The Spider, and Attack of the Crab People.  CBS DVD and Paramount even had their share of interesting re-issues in the form of Mission: ImpossibleThe Original TV Series, Police Squad: The Complete Series, and Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary Edition.  Audiences were even treated to re-issues of more classics, such as Roman Holiday, To Catch a Thief, and The Flintstones: The Complete Series.  All of these titles and others are on Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

As with each other list from Phil’s Picks, this final list of 2020 features the Top 10 New titles for the year along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVD & Blu-ray Re-Issues.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW DVD & BLU-RAY RE-ISSUES

  1. Black Angel
  2. Flash Gordon
  3. Mission: Impossible: The Original TV Series
  4. The Last Starfighter
  5. Thomas & The Magic Railroad
  6. The Spider
  7. The Flintstones: The Complete Series
  8. Warning From Space
  9. Mallrats
  10. War of the Colossal Beast
  11. Attack of the Crab People
  12. To Catch A Thief
  13. Roman Holiday
  14. Police Squad: The Complete Series
  15. Transformers: The Complete Series

That’s it for this year’s year-ender lists.  With 2021 already coming fast, plans are already in the works for lots more new music, movies, and TV shows.

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.  

Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of TV To Enjoy In 2020

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution/PBS

Families nationwide got a lot of worthwhile ways to spend time together during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, thanks to all of the new DVDs, Blu-rays and box sets.  Of course while families got plenty to watch together, grown-ups also needed something of their own to enjoy.  Thankfully this year produced just as much for grown-ups to enjoy as children.  That is why Phil’s Picks is taking a look at what were among the best of this year’s new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-ups.  This year saw a bunch of new content from Warner Brothers and DC, some better than others (E.g. the new Swamp Thing reboot and new seasons of Black LightningBlack Lightning proved better this year than Swamp Thing, but the latter still proved worth watching at least once.  Itv and PBS presented a rather intriguing new season of itv’s crime drama Endeavour.  The season was okay but left something to be wanted.  The short-lived deep comedy The Good Place finally met its end this year and also received its only full-series release on Blu-ray thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory.  In an even more surprising move, ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family got a full series release this month exclusively through Target.  While not inexpensive, it is a presentation that devotees will appreciate.  It is just one more entry in Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets For Grown-ups category. 

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the category along with five honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Without further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 new DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets for Grown-Ups.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW DVD & BLU-RAY BOX SETS FOR GROWN-UPS

  1. Endeavour: Season Seven
  2. The Good Place: The Complete Series
  3. Modern Family: The Complete Series
  4. Doctor Who: Season 12
  5. The Expanse: Season 4
  6. Black Lightning: The Complete Second Season
  7. Black Lightning: The Complete Third Season
  8. Stargirl: The Complete First Season
  9. Mission: Impossible: The Complete Series
  10. Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary Set
  11. Gunsmoke: The Movies
  12. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1
  13. Swamp Thing: The Complete Series
  14. Star Trek Picard: Season 1
  15. The Twilight Zone: Season 1

One more list is up to finish up this year’s lists.  That list is the year’s top new re-issues.  Stay tuned for that.

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.  

Vintage, Modern Offerings Gave Families Lots To Like This Year

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Families spent a lot of time indoors together this year thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Between parents working from home and students forced to take classes online, parents and their children have seen a lot of each other this year; Probably a lot more than usual.  That increased time together can often lead to tensions between families.  Thankfully, plenty of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets were released this year to help relieve that tension and give families plenty to enjoy together.  That has already been pointed out in part through Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVDs & Blu-rays list.  Single disc presentations are just a part of what families had to enjoy together this year.  There was also plenty of content thrown in this year in the form of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for families.  Among some of the best of this year’s new family box sets are first time releases from the likes of Time Life, PBS, and Nickelodeon.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the year’s Top 10 new titles and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Family DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVD & BLU-RAY BOX SETS

  1. Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
  2. The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4
  3. Dolly: The Ultimate Collection
  4. Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection
  5. The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Vol. 2
  6. The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Vol. 3
  7. Molly of Denali: Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures
  8. The Jetsons: The Complete Series
  9. Sesame Street: Old School Volume 1
  10. Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2
  11. Spongebob Squarepants: Season 11
  12. Paw  Patrol: PUP-tastic 8-DVD Collection
  13. The Flintstones: 2 Movies & 5 Specials
  14. Garfield & Friends: Season Three
  15. Benji 4-Movie Collection

Next up from Phil’s Picks is the 2020 Top 10 New Grown-Up Box Sets and then the year’s top new re-issues to finish off this year’s lists.  Stay tuned for all of that this weekend.

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, MLB Prouctions “Score” Again With ‘2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Productions

The first tow months of each new year are the most important of all for baseball fans.  That is because it is during those months that news starts arriving about Major League Baseball’s spring training and regular season schedules.  The league’s spring training was cancelled I 2020 and its regular season start delayed until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Now that news is finally coming out about the hopefully soon distribution of a vaccine to fight the virus, anticipation is likely building even more over what will happen with Major League Baseball’s 2021 season.  With any luck, fans and teams alike will get a full season with no asterisks (unlike this recently ended season).  Until then, fans will get to relive the 2020 World Series in part thank to Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory.  The companies have partnered once again to release a look back at MLB’s annual fall classic, this time in the form of 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers.  The two-disc set, which features the program on DVD and Blu-ray separately, is a presentation that will appeal equally to Dodgers fans and baseball fans in general.  That is due in no small part to the documentary’s primary feature, which is narrated by legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus (secondary content) that accompanies the program builds on the appeal created through the retrospective’s primary content and makes the overall presentation that much more entertaining and engaging.  It will be discussed a little later.  The whole of that primary and secondary content collectively makes the set’s average price point important to address in its own way, too.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the set’s overall content, the whole of this presentation proves itself such that it will keep baseball fans across the board entertained, regardless of whether MLB’s 2021 season starts on time (which hopefully it will).

MLB Productions and Shout! Factory’s annual World Series retrospective presentation, this year focusing on the 2020 World Series, is a work that is certain to appeal to baseball fans, regardless of team affiliation and loyalty.  That is proven in no small part to the documentary’s primary feature.  The production, narrated by legendary Dodgers voice Vin Scully, takes audiences through the back and forth six-game battle between the Dodgers and Rays.  Adding to Scully’s narration — which shows zero bias toward the Dodgers at any point (audiences will appreciate this aspect of Scully’s work very much) — was commentary from members of the Rays and Dodgers, recalling thoughts and emotions on both sides of the ball as the series progressed.  From the momentous “battle of the bats” in the series’ fourth game, to the controversial decision by Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash to pull pitcher Blake Snell in the sixth inning of Game Six, to the impact of Mookie Betts for Los Angeles throughout the series, and more, audiences are presented a rich picture of the action throughout the series thanks to that first hand insight and narration.  The cinematography that pairs with Scully’s narration adds to the experience. 

Media access to the World Series was limited on and off the field due to COVID-19 restrictions, but despite that, enough footage was captured that audiences still managed to see firsthand, the highs and lows for each team.  Even with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the cameras were still fully able to capture all of the on- and off-field action.  The editing of that footage helped tell the series’ story.  Audiences will watch in awe as certain pitches make their way past the batters and as the fielding units make their way to the walls, making seemingly impossible leaps to catch the balls.  Even seeing the looks on the players’ faces throughout the course of the series adds to the impact of the cinematography.  The editing of that footage into the presentation shown here works with Scully’s narration to make the program’s pacing solid from start to end.  According to information on the program’s case, its run time is 90 minutes.  That run time passes by with ease thanks to everything noted here collectively.  The result is a primary presentation that ensures this retrospective will keep audiences watching time and again as they count down to the start of the 2021 season.

The primary presentation featured in 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers is undeniably important in its own way to the whole of this program.  As important as it is to the retrospective’s whole, it is just one aspect worth examining in the presentation.  The bonus content that accompanies the set’s primary content adds its own share of entertainment and engagement for audiences.  The whole of that content opens with the “How The yGot There” featurette.  Clocking in at approximately five minutes (give or take a few seconds here and there) this featurette chronicles the Dodgers season-long run to its first MLB title in 32 years.  One of the biggest highlights of the featurette is the team’s acquisition of star Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox during the off-season.  His addition to the team clearly made a big difference, as this featurette shows.  Just as interesting to see in this presentation is the tension between the Dodgers and their rivals, the San Diego Padres as the season progressed.  Obviously there was no love lost between the two teams, as the documentary shows.  The brief, but still rich presentation culminates with the final out in the sixth game of the World Series.

The “Clinching Moments” and “Season Highlights” that accompany the bigger look back take audiences back through some of the biggest moments of the season and post season for the Dodgers, including one game in particular that saw Betts go yard three teams.  Other notable highlights are big moments from Betts’ teammates, such as Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Clayton Kershaw.  Everything is rounded out by the Game Six post game interviews with the Dodgers’ players.  The interviews, conducted by on-air staff with MLB Network and Fox Sports, show an interesting picture of calm from the team members.  One would think that after a drought of 32 years without a championship, the team members would be jubilant and excited even in the interviews.  Given, they were clearly upbeat, the control in their presentation is something to behold, considering everything going on around them.  One of the most interesting questions that came up (multiple times) was the thoughts of the Dodgers; team members about that controversial move by the Rays’ manager to pull Snell.  It shows the clear impact that Snell had in the series.  Betts’ response to the question is telling in itself.  He took the high road and refused to let the announcers try to pull him into the controversy, which is a wonderful show of his professionalism.  The interviews in whole are a great accent to the bonus content that opens with the “How They Got There” featurette, showing that the sequencing of the bonus content is just as important as the content itself.  It helps to enrich the story of the 2020 World Series even more.  When this content and its sequencing is considered along with the set’s primary content, the whole of the set’s content gives audiences plenty to appreciate.

Considering the breadth and depth of the content featured in 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers, the double-disc set’s average price point prove to be its own positive worth noting.  The average price point, using listings at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Major League Baseball’s online store, is $21.70.  The set is not listed through Target or Books-A-Million.  The documentary’s standalone DVD presentation is listed through Target at $14.99.  Speaking of the DVD, its average price point comes to $18.31.  That price is obtained by adding in the aforementioned retailers’ listings along with that noted listing at Target.  Amazon and Target offer the lowest DVD listing at $14.99 while MLB’s listing of $24.99 is the most expensive.  Its listing of $29.99 is also the most expensive of the Blu-ray/DVD combo set price listings while Best Buy’s listing of $19.99 is in fact the best buy in this case.  Considering that the Blu-ray/DVD set’s average price point barely tops the $20 mark and that the standalone DVD set’s price point comes in at just below the $20 mark, that in itself is motivation for baseball fans.  Neither price will break any fan’s budget, and that together with the noted content makes the prices even more positive.  Given, the singular price listings  are somewhat expensive at some retailers, but the least expensive listings are below $15 (DVD) and below $20 (Blu-ray/DVD).  That overall affordability is undeniably another positive to this presentation.  When it is considered along with the retrospective’s overall content, the whole of the presentation leaves zero doubt as to its value for the most devoted baseball fans.  It is a presentation that will keep viewers entertained and engaged as they wait for news on the start of the 2021 MLB season, especially when it is considered along with the forthcoming full, six-game World Series set that is due for release in February.

Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory’s 2020 World Series retrospective 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers is a welcome presentation for Dodgers fans and baseball fans alike as they wait anxiously for news about the 2021 MLB season.  That is proven in no small part through its primary feature, which chronicles in depth, all six games of this year’s World Series.  The narration by legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and the first hand accounts from team members on both sides of the ball does so much to entertain and engage audiences.  The cinematography and editing that pairs with the overall story adds to the presentation’s positive impact.  The average price points for the documentary’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and its standalone DVD presentation prove to be their own positive as do their least expensive singular listings.  They are prices that will not break any viewer’s budget.  Add in the amount of content in the overall presentation and that content’s depth, and those least expensive listings become even more positive.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers proves itself a great way for Dodgers fans and baseball fans alike to pass the time until Major League Baseball (hopefully) returns in March for its 2021 season.

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

Websitehttp://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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

Shout! Factory, MLB Productions Announce Release Date, Specs For World Series Sets

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Productions

Los Angeles Dodgers fans and baseball fans alike can relive history beginning next month.

Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory have partnered to release 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers Dec. 8. The 90-minute presentation takes audiences through the Dodgers’ 2020 season all the way through the World Series.

Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully narrates the program, which culminates in the Dodgers’ first World Series Championship in 32 years.

Scully was humble as he talked about taking part in the production.

“It was 32 years since the Dodgers won a World Series and the seventh in the history of the organization, bringing great joy to their fans and the city of Los Angeles in particular,” said Scully. “This is their winning story against the Tampa Bay Rays, and it’s an honor for me to recount just how they did it.”

Media access was limited this year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. However, approved access and other feeds allowed for this year’s production to happen. The set is expected to retail for MSRP of $19.98 (DVD) and $26.98 (Blu-ray/DVD combo pack).

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Prouctions

As an additional bonus, the entire six-game world series is scheduled for release Feb. 9 through Shout! Factory and Major League Baseball Productions. The set will feature Game 3 of the National League Division Series and Game Seven of the National League Championship Series as bonus content.

2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is expected to retail for MSRP of $59.98 (DVD) and $74.98 (Blu-ray).

More information on these and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Websitehttp://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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

Gene Autry Movie, TV Archives Coming To Shout! Factory TV

Photo Credit: Autry Qualified Interest Trust and The Autry Foundation
Gene Autry from Rovin’ Tumbleweeds (1939)

Shout! Factory TV will take audiences back to the old west next month.

The company will stream Gene Autry’s TV and movie archive beginning May 1. The resurrection of the archives marks the first time ever that the properties have been available to stream by any company.

Shout! Factory TV worked closely with Gene Autry Entertainment to curate the titles. The first group of Gene Autry titles to stream (May 1) are his feature films, South of the Border, Gaucho Serenade, Melody Ranch, The Strawberry Roan and Blue Canadian Rockies.  The second round of content — Public Cowboy No. 1, In Old Monterey, RovinTumbleweeds, RidinOn A Rainbow and Sioux City Sue will start streaming June 1.

Autry’s TV and film collection will be available to stream on all Shout! Factor TV platforms: Shout!FactoryTV.com, Shout! Factory TV’s Roku Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Android apps.  It will also be available on Shout! Factory TV-branded channels, such as Tubi, Amazon Prime Video Direct, Amazon Channels and Roku Channel.  Each of Autry’s films will stream on the noted channels on the last Wednesday of each month, too.

The synopsis of each of Autry’s movies is noted below.

 

List of Films and Synopses
Available May 1, 2020
South of the Border (1939)
On the eve of World War II, Federal agents Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette are sent South of the Border to help foil the plans of foreign spies attempting to gain control of Mexican oil fields. Full of action, humor and music, this 1939 release introduced both the title song and teen performer Mary Lee to movie audiences.
Gaucho Serenade (1940)
A case of mistaken identity sends Gene and Frog (Smiley Burnette), two down-and-out ex-rodeo stars, on a rip-roaring, cross-country trek as they help a little boy evade the gangsters responsible for the false imprisonment of his father. This “road picture,” originally released in 1940, features Duncan Renaldo, TV’s popular Cisco Kid, and counts “A Song at Sunset” among its classic tunes.
Melody Ranch (1940)
Lawlessness runs rampant in Gene’s hometown of Torpedo until the movie and radio cowboy returns as Honorary Sheriff for a Frontier Days celebration and cleans up the town. Showcasing classics like “We Never Dream the Same Dream Twice” and its title song, and featuring Jimmy Durante and Ann Miller, this musical was Gene’s biggest theatrical production when it was released November 15, 1940. Melody Ranch was selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry in 2002.
The Strawberry Roan (1948)
In Gene Autry’s first color picture, Champion stars in the title role as a wild stallion who becomes a legend of the West. More exciting than any manhunt is the furious pursuit of an outlaw stallion, branded a killer, and the two-fisted cowboy who fights off a gun-crazed posse to win justice for the noble animal. Filmed in vibrantly hued Cinecolor against the beauty of Arizona landscapes, The Strawberry Roan combines thrill-filled action with a tender story of loyalty and includes five great Western songs, including the title song and “The Angel Song.”
Blue Canadian Rockies (1952)
Gene Autry and Champion crash through a maze of murder and mayhem on a dude ranch deep in the heart of the tall timber country. Montana rancher Cyrus Higbee sends Gene, his foreman, to Canada to stop the marriage of his daughter Sandra to Todd Markley, whom he suspects is a fortune hunter. Gene soon discovers that Sandra has turned the place into a dude ranch with entertainers Carolina Cotton and the Cass County Boys. When a mountie is murdered and lumberjacks threaten to take over, Gene and Pat Buttram must find the real murderer and bring peace to the Blue Canadian Rockies. Features the title song and the humorous tune “Mama Don’t Like Music.”
Available June 1, 2020
Public Cowboy No. 1 (1937)
Gene Autry’s tried and true crime fighting methods are put to the test when cattle rustlers employ modern technology – including refrigerated trucks, planes and two-way radios – in Public Cowboy No. 1. Things get worse when the local newspaper gal’s scathing editorials bash Gene’s old-fashioned methods and demand the locals call in “progressive” big city detectives. It’s up to Gene and his horse Champion, along with pal Frog Millhouse, to prove that the Western straight-shooting methods of dealing with crime still hold true! Features the classic tune “The West Ain’t What It Used to Be.”
In Old Monterey (1939)
Sergeant Gene Autry, formerly a rancher, pretends to quit the Army to persuade stubborn farmers to sell their land for a military proving ground. Gene soon discovers that unscrupulous mine owners are keeping the ranchers stirred up in hopes that the government will grow weary of the dealings and pay a higher price for their land. Smiley Burnette and June Storey join Gene in this wartime Western. Features the classic song “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”
Rovin’ Tumbleweeds (1939)
Rancher Autry takes a job singing on the radio to aid farmers and ranchers whose lands were destroyed by raging floods. Blaming crooked politicians, he goes to Washington and tries to put through a flood control bill and finds he has a lot to learn. In this classic release, Gene introduces his immortal theme song,“Back in the Saddle Again,” which has gone on to become a piece of American history.
Ridin’ On A Rainbow (1941)
Assisting in the search for murderous bank robbers, rancher Gene Autry goes undercover as a showboat entertainer to capture the crooks and recover the money. Key to their investigation is the young singer Patsy, played by Mary Lee. Action-packed from ship to shore, the film’s showstopping musical numbers include Gene’s performance of “Be Honest with Me,” nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Song of 1941.
Sioux City Sue (1946)
Gene trades in his wings for a pair of spurs in his first movie after returning from World War II. To get his ranch out of dire financial straits, Gene reluctantly goes to Hollywood to make a movie. But his real troubles begin on his return when everyone finds out he’s the voice of Ding Dong the animated singing donkey, and his nemesis tries to drive him to ruin. Released November 21, 1946, this classic features Sterling Holloway and the hit “Oklahoma Hills.”

 

More information on Shout! Factory TV’s upcoming Gene Autry presentations is available online along with all of the latest Shout! Factory news at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

More information on all things Gene Autry is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.GeneAutry.com

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

 

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.

‘Arthur’ Leads 2019’s Top New Family DVDs/BDs With Its New Celebration Of Diversity

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Entertaining children and keeping them  entertained is not an easy task.  Every parent out there can attest to this statement, including this critic.  Thankfully, new DVDs and Blu-rays are released annually that go a long way toward keeping children entertained while also bringing families together.  This year saw its own share of strong new DVDs and Blu-rays for families, too.  That was thanks to PBS Distribution, Shout! Factory  and even — believe it or not — Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.  From Sesame Street to Wild Kratts to even Scooby Doo and more, this year’s family-friendly DVD and BD releases offered hours of entertainment.

As with every list presented so far, this year’s list features the Top 10 titles of the year, plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 new releases.  Without further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Family DVDs and BDs.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

  1. ArthurArthur Celebrates Community
  2. Ready Jet Go!One Small Step
  3. Ready Jet Go!Space Rocks
  4. Nature CatNature Cat & Mr. Hide
  5. The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales
  6. Mister Rogers’ NeighborhoodMister Rogers & Making Mistakes
  7. Ready Jet Go!Chasing The Sun
  8. Sesame StreetAwesome Alphabet Collection
  9. Sesame StreetCelebrate Family
  10. Scooby Doo & The Curse of the 13th Ghost
  11. Wild KrattsCreepy Creatures
  12. Wild KrattsBriny Blue Sea
  13. Splash & BubblesPole To Pole
  14. Dinosaur TrainDinosaurs Big & Small
  15. Oddsockeaters

 

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

Shout! Factory’s 2019 World Series Documentary Will Score With Team’s Fans

Courtesy: Shout! FactoryMLB Productions

Winter is here again, and with it, the return of the seasonal indoor sports.  Luckily though, Jack Frost’s annual visit to America doesn’t last but so long.  In other words, it might feel like a long wait for the return of warm weather and the sights and sounds of the ballpark, but it really won’t be that long.  While those of us who prefer warmer temperatures and baseball wait for opening day (and even just spring training), Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory have partnered to offer those fans a way to pass the colder months in the form of the 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals.  The 90-minute documentary takes audiences back through the season-long story of the unlikely champions.  Given, it certainly won’t appeal to fans of the Houston Astros, but clearly will for fans of the Nats and for sports enthusiasts in general who might not have a favorite team.  That is due in large part to the documentary’s story, which will be addressed shortly.  The program’s bonus content adds to its appeal for the noted audiences.  The primary and secondary content considered together, the presentation’s average price point proves to be money well-spent among the noted audiences.  When that price point is considered alongside the noted content, all three items together make 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals a presentation that the noted audiences will find, a positive way to pass the months until spring returns.

Shout! Factory and Major League Baseball Productions’ annual season-ending MLB documentary is officially here, and it will certainly appeal to the Nats’ fans.  That is due in large part to the program’s overall story.  Audiences are presented here, the Nationals’ season-long story.  From the team’s early season lows and struggles to its unexpected turnaround late in the season.  From game to game, that never-say-die attitude showed, even as the team had its back constantly against the wall.  Even as the team went down three games to two in the World Series, audiences see firsthand, the team’s resolve and determination to keep fighting.  The editing and narration incorporated into the program add even more enjoyment for the noted audiences.  Each hit, catch and dive works with the additional background in the narration and interview making the experience that much richer for audiences.  Audiences get to experience the post-game press conferences, in which the teams’ managers express their calm despite the situations.  The moments immediately after the games in which the players make their way back to their respective locker rooms are there, too, adding to the story’s overall emotion.  The same can be said of the footage of the fans’ reactions throughout each game.  All things considered, the story featured here touches on every aspect of the annual Fall Classic, giving Nats fans and sports enthusiasts in general plenty to appreciate.  It forms a solid foundation for the program that is strengthened even more through the program’s bonus content.

The bonus content featured with 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals strengthens the documentary’s presentation in a variety of fashions.  For those who want a shorter tale of the Nats’ season, that is there in the “Regular Season Highlights” bonus.  Nats star Juana Soto gets his own profile in the bonus features, showing his own highs and lows.  As if that is not enough, the key high points of the team’s post season are featured, too, including the team’s unexpected win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.  That was perhaps the biggest surprise of all, despite the understanding that the Nationals had their proverbial backs to the all throughout most of the regular season’s latter months and the early portion of the post season.  This highlights work with the regular season highlights and Soto’s profile to enrich the overall picture of the Nationals’ never say die attitude even more.  In turn, they serve to paint a picture that is that much richer for audiences and appealing for Washington’s most devoted fans.  The World Series celebratory parade puts the final accent to the presentation for fans, completing the overall effect and story.  Keeping that in mind, the bonus content plays its own integral part to the whole of 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals.  When the bonus content is considered alongside the program’s primary content, the whole of that content gives the most devoted Nats fans more than enough to appreciate.  Keeping all of this in mind, it makes the program’s average price point accommodating for its key audiences.

The average price point for 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals is $19.20.  That price was obtained by averaging price listings at MLB’s official store, Shout! Factory’s store, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  The title was not listed at Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  The price is important to note because it is the listing for the program’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.  That is just as important to note in its own right.  That is because regardless of whether one takes in the program and its bonus content on DVD or Blu-ray, audiences get the same content on each platform in this set.  To that end, the price point of less than $20 is money well spent for the aforementioned audiences.  It puts everyone on a level playing field – terrible pun fully intended – in terms of content and price.  MLB Shop’s listing of $17.49 is the least expensive of the listings while Amazon and Walmart only slightly more expensive at $17.89 each.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listing of $21.94 is the most expensive of the listings, while Shout! Factory and Best Buy’s listing of $19.99 is the middle ground in the noted listings.  Keeping these listings in mind, the retailers’ largely sub $20 listings give audiences plenty of choices, adding even more appeal to the presentation.  When this is considered along with the program’s collective content, the whole of all of this documentary a score of its own for the most devoted Nationals fans and sports enthusiasts.

Shout! Factory and Major League Baseball’s 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals is a piece that is certain to score with the most devoted Nats fans and equally devoted sports enthusiasts in general.  As has already been noted here, that is due in part to the program’s primary content, which paints a rich, vivid picture of the Nationals’ season and surprise first-ever World Series title.  The bonus content that is coupled with the noted primary content to make the general presentation one that the noted audiences will enjoy from start to end as they count down to the start of the 2020 MLB season.  The average price point of less than $20 for the DVD/BD combo pack makes the program even more appealing.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make 2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals a work that will score in its own way among audiences.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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

Shout! Factory 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

 

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.