Shout! Factory, Paramount’s ‘Explorers’ Blu-ray Re-Issue Is Fully Deserving Of Being Called A “Shout! Select” Presentation

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Paramount Pictures

When Paramount Pictures’ kid-centered science fiction flick, Explorers made its theatrical debut in 1985, the movie almost immediately bombed.  It was panned by multiple media outlets, with positive reviews few and far between. However as time went on and technology advanced, the creation of home video technology helped give the movie new life and appreciation among fans of the genre.  It has maintained that status quite well in the decades since, too.  This past May, the movie became one of the latest entries in Shout! Factory’s ongoing “Shout! Select” series, and re-issued on Blu-ray.  The re-issue, complete with an expansive amount of new bonus content, is certain to help build the movie’s status even more.  That appreciation will come in part thanks to the movie’s story, which will be discussed shortly.  The noted bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue does its own share to build the movie’s appreciation even more. It will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s general presentation in its new re-issue also plays into its appeal and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this presentation unquestionably one of this year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Shout! Factory and Paramount’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Paramount’s Explorers is a presentation that is well-deserving of its spot in Shout! Factory’s ongoing “Shout! Select” series.  It is just as deserving of a spot in any science fiction fan’s library.  Its story is just one way in which this is proven.  The story follows three young boys – Ben (Ethan Hawke – Training Day, Dead Poets Society, Before Midnight), Daren (Jason Pressen – Gremlins 2, Lady in White, The Stone Boy) and Wolfgang (River Phoenix – Stand By Me, My Own Private Idaho, The Mosquito Coast) – who travel into space and meet a pair of aliens who like themselves, are adolescents.  They also happen to be brother and sister.  The journey happens as a result of messages that the aliens sending messages to Ben in his sleep that instruct Ben on how to build the spacecraft that takes the boys to meet the aliens, Wak and Neek. Getting off topic a bit here, but audiences who watch History Channel’s Ancient Aliens will find this interesting since at least one episode has made the allegation tht aliens have been in telepathic connection with certain humans for centuries. It makes this aspect of the story, in hindsight, more interesting. Getting back on topic, Wak is played by Robert Picardo (Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek Voyager, Innerspace) while Need is played by Leslie Rickert.  The story is relatively simple.  There is no earth-shaking revelation, just a first contact between two species and of course the revelation as to why Ben and his friends were chosen and why Wak, his sister, and other alien beings stay hidden from humans.  That revelation comes as audiences find out that Wak and Neek know what they know as a result of watching human TV shows and movies.  This is really where things actually get interesting.  This statement is powerful because just like humans got a certain vision of aliens from movies, it was those same movies (and TV shows) that led Wak and Neek to believe humans were a certain way.  On a side note, Neek tells the boys that what they have seen of humans on TV and in movies is why they and other alien species have remained hidden from humans.  That in itself is a telling statement and rings so true today.  Sure, as Ben points out, those are just movies and TV shows, but looking at human society today, it would be no wonder that any beings from other worlds would continue to hide from humans.  Humans really are, largely, not ready to be introduced to beings from other worlds. So as simple as the whole story is, there is still some depth to the story.  The whole thing is really just a family friendly celebration of childhood innocence and wonderment about the world beyond Earth that will connect with grown-ups just as much as children even today.  The story’s finale is bittersweet but still happy and fulfilling, and considering how long the original finale was going to be, the featured finale makes for a fitting end to the movie.  This critic will avoid spoilers for those who have yet to watch the movie, but when those audiences watch, they will agree the ending works quite well even though Ben and company do not learn the secrets of the universe.  That finale is addressed in the new bonus content featured in the movie’s new re-issue.

The bonus content featured in the new re-issue of Explorers reveals that the movie’s original end was far different and longer than that presented in the final cut.  It involved the boys going to another planet and getting stranded there, according to the movie’s writer, Eric Luke in the feature, “A Science Fiction Fairy Tale: The Story of Explorers.”  It is a good thing that the noted third act did not happen, considering this.  That is because by Luke’s description, it would have ruined the movie.  On the same note, the deleted final ending cut that is presented in the deleted scenes just makes no sense.  Again, it makes the presented final cut’s ending far more fitting.  On a related note, one of the movie’s executive producers reveals that as the movie progressed, it apparently went over on time.  He never comes out and says it, but the figure in question seems to hint that the movie also went over on budget.  Those two items combined would explain why the movie presented in the final cut was what it was.  Again thankfully though, it is good that audiences got what they did even though allegedly the final cut was “unfinished.”  There are other, lighter notes in “The Story of Explorers” that add their own interest, such as the revelation that Luke’s father (no puns, please) actually worked at NASA when he was a boy, which clearly led to his love of all things science fiction.  It would also explain why this movie, even with its story, also really seems like a love letter to classic sci-fi cinema.  There are references, after all to great classics, such as War of the Worlds, It Came From Outer Space, This Island Earth, and even Forbidden Planet throughout the movie.  Additionally, Luke reveals that the use of the trash can on the Thunder Road came from something in his personal life. Audiences will be left to discover that story for themselves.  It is an anecdote that makes for plenty of smiles and laughs.  Additionally, he reveals that a letter that he wrote to none other than Bruce Springsteen resulted in the use of the name Thunder Road for the boys’ spaceship.  On yet another note, Director Joe Dante reveals through his own comments that this movie was Hawke’s acting debut, and that prior to being offered the role of Ben, Hawke had no acting experience, yet he was so much better to Dante than any of the “fake” (Dante’s own word) other child actors out there at the time.  Hawke’s own discussion on playing Ben and his reaction to the movie’s initial failure shows so much humility from himself.  It is just one more of so many items in “The Story of Explorers” that makes this bonus feature so enjoyable.  The new “Deleted Scenes” feature is also of note in examining the bonus content’s role in the movie.

As already noted, one of the deleted scenes featured in the movie’s new bonus “Deleted Scenes” feature is a long, drawn out finale that clearly while entertaining, was not needed.  It involved Ben and company taking on the bullies from the movie’s opening scene as well as some other items.  Ultimately, audiences will agree that the sequence in question simply was not needed and that the final presentation was a fitting end to the story.  Another deleted scene that really proved unnecessary was the brief family meal scene with Ben, his parents, and his brother.  It is through this scene that Dante reveals Ben’s brother is the same boy who is seen at the drive-in movie with his girlfriend, watching the cheesy “Starkiller” movie.  Though Dante alleges that he felt the scene was needed, this critic’s own view is that the scene was really unnecessary, especially since Ben’s unnamed brother did not even really notice that the Thunder Road was not part of the movie that he and his girlfriend were watching.  Also proving ultimately unnecessary was the birthday party scene and even the extended scene in which the police officers search the forest after the fair ride that became the Thunder Road went barreling past them down the road.  That is a scene that while it would have worked in the final cut, being so brief, was just as easily removed.  Keeping all of these scenes in mind, and Dante’s revelation that they were only some of many more scenes that did not make the final cut, the final presentation really gains even more traction and appreciation.  When everything presented in the “Deleted Scenes” feature and the expansive “The Story of Explorers” feature is considered together, that whole makes the movie’s new bonus content just as engaging and entertaining as the movie itself.  It makes the final cut all the more enjoyable, and is collectively just one more part of what makes this presentation so wonderful.  The movie’s general presentation works with everything noted to make for even more enjoyment and appreciation for the movie.

The general presentation of Explorers presents the movie in its home release and its original theatrical release.  The difference between the two cuts is subtle at best.  It is a difference of roughly three minutes give or take a few seconds here and there.  The two cuts are really separated only through Picardo’s improve “set” when Wak and Need first meet Ben and his friends.  As Dante reveals in “The Story of Explorers,” Picardo’s performance here was fully improve.  He adds that Picardo went on for a bit (as is now know, approximately three minutes or a little more), and that a good portion of that improv set had to be cut along with so many of the movie’s deleted scenes after studio execs pushed up the movie’s release date as a means to cut costs and production time.  This is such a subtle difference between the two cuts, but audiences who watch the “extended” cut will have that much more to enjoy from Picardo as well as the rest of the cast. That Shout! Factory and Paramount would include both versions of the movie here so as to allow audiences to compare the two versions adds that much more appeal to the presentation.  When this is considered along with the impact of the story and bonus content, the whole makes Explorers all the more enjoyable in its new presentation.

Shout! Factory and Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issue of Explorers is a welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s “Shout! Select” series and to any true science fiction fan’s library.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story is simple and family friendly.  One part story of excitement about space travel and the unknown from a childhood vantage point and one part love letter to classic sci-fi, the whole makes for a relatively quick (but not too quick) take of space travel and friendship.  The new bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue makes for its own appeal.  That is because of the background that it provides with the story.  It helps audiences realize what the story might have been and in some cases thankful it was not what it might have been.  The movie’s general presentation, showing the movie in its home video presentation and its original theatrical cut, puts things into even more perspective for audiences, even though the difference between the two cuts is so subtle.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie fully deserving of its place in Shout! Factory’s “Shout! Select” series and in any sci-fi fan’s library.

Shout! Factory and Paramount’s Blu-ray re-issue of Explorers is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shoutfactory

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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, eOne Partner For 35th Anniversary Re-Issue of ‘Transformers: The Movie’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/eOne

Shout! Factory will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original release of Transformers: The Movie this summer.

The home entertainment company, which last re-issued the movie on Blu-ray in 2016, is scheduled to re-issue it again Aug. 3 on a new 4K UHD/BD steelbook presentation. It marks the first time that the movie has seen release on that platform. Additionally, the movie will see release on a standard edition 4K UHD/BD package and separate 35th anniversary BD combo pack platform.

The BD and 4K UHD/BD combo packs will feature the movie in separate HD fullscreen and widescreen presentation. Additionally, the 4K UHD/BD combo pack will feature new bonus content that was not featured in the movie’s previous 2016 BD re-issue as well as the bonus content featured in that release.

The full list of the movie’s bonus content is noted below.

   *New Feature-Length Storyboards, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences

·        *New Fathom Events 30th Anniversary Featurette, including Stan Bush’s acoustic performances of “The Touch” and “Dare”

·        ‘Til All Are One – A comprehensive documentary looking back at THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, singer/songwriter Stan Bush, composer Vince Dicola and others!

·        Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu

·        Featurettes

·        Animated Storyboards

·        Trailers and TV Spots

*exclusive to the Limited Edition SteelBook and 4K UHD releases

Audiences in theUK will see the movie’s re-issue come in September. An exact release date is under consideration. Viewers who pre-order the movie now will receive a bonus 18″X24″ lithograph with new art by Matt Ferguson while supplies last.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available along with the company’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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

Shout! Factory, MLB Productions Hit It Out Of The Park Yet Again With 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition Box Set

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Productions

The 2021 Major League Baseball season will start on time.  Unlike last year’s shortened season, this year will feature spring training in whole – starting Sunday, Feb. 28 – and the league’s entire 162-game schedule will kick off Apr. 1, with all 30 clubs hitting diamonds across the country.  While audiences still have more than a week left to wait for the start of the 2021 season, MLB Productions and Shout! Factory have just the thing for audiences to pass the time.  The companies partnered to release the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition last week.  The eight-disc set’s release continues a long-running partnership between the companies and is just as enjoyable as the two sides’ previous full World Series box sets.  That is proven in part through the set’s very presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the set adds to the set’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  The set’s companion booklet rounds out its most important items and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition yet another great presentation for any baseball fan, especially if those fans Los Angeles Dodgers loyalists.

The 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition continues a long trend of successful home releases from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory that goes back many years.  It  has  much to offer audiences regardless of team loyalty,  beginning with its very presentation.  Audiences get here, the whole of the six-game 2020 World Series from its first pitch to its last right from the original broadcasts on FOX.  As with the existing World Series sets from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory, the commercials are gone, shortening the presentation to a point.  Adding to appeal, audiences have multiple listening options.  Fans can listen separately to the FOX broadcast team’s audio throughout the series, as well as from the Dodgers’ own radio affiliate and in Spanish for those audiences, too.  There are some audiences out there who, regardless of team affiliation, have open said over the years that they prefer their teams’ radio broadcasts the TV broadcast coverage.  So once again, that will certainly add to the enjoyment since each broadcast is its own presentation.  Going back to the very presentation of the game, maybe there were those who might have been unable to watch the World Series for one reason or another.  Now those viewers and everyone else can enjoy the game at their own pace, even being able to pause the game when they need to maybe go use the restroom or get a snack.  No doubt, this will appeal greatly to a wide range of audiences.  It will certainly allow viewers to enjoy the annual Fall Classic at their own pace as they count the days to the start of the 2021 season.  It is just one part of what makes the set so enjoyable.  The bonus content that comes with the full world series set will appeal even more.

The bonus content in question comes in the form of the Dodgers’ key wins in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series and Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.  The Dodgers routed the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of the NLDS to move on to the NLCS to face the Atlanta Braves.  The Dodgers would then defeat the Braves in seven, with that deciding game being close at 4-3 the final.  Audiences are reminded that the Padres and Dodgers had an intense rivalry taking place last season.  That included some moments of heightened emotions during the regular season and the NLDS.  Audiences will see some of those contentious emotions in the Game 3 broadcast, too.  Staying on that topic, that rivalry looks to resume this season, as both teams have been very active in bolstering their rosters during the offseason.  To that end, audiences will likely see more tension between the two sides this year.  On the other side, with the NLCS, the battle between the Braves and Dodgers was obviously hard-fought, going right down to the last inning of the series’ last game.  Audiences will thrill at every at bat and every pitch and catch in this fateful game.  Honestly, real fans (again regardless of team loyalty) will watch those two games before the world series, to really get the full effect and appreciation for the Dodgers’ road to the championship.  When they are considered along with the set’s full World Series presentation, the overall experience that audiences get is fully immersive, engaging, and entertaining.  While the primary and secondary content featured in the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition goes a long way toward making the set so enjoyable, it collectively is just a portion of what audiences will appreciate about the presentation.  The companion booklet that comes with the collection puts the final touch to the collection’s presentation.

This year is hardly the first that a World Series set from Shout! Factory and MLB Productions has ever included a companion booklet.  Building on that, the booklet featured with this set is just as important to the collection as those featured with the companies’ existing World Series collections.  Audiences get lots of trivia and information that relates to each game within the series that maybe the broadcast teams missed.  For instance, audiences learn thanks to the booklet’s information, Clayton Kershaw passed Justin Verlander for the most strikeouts ever in the post season during Game 5 of the World Series.  There is even a little bit of background information on the NLDS and NLCS games here.  Viewers learn through the companion booklet, that  Los Angeles’ Game 7 win over Atlanta in the NLCS made the team the fourth MLB team to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 separations to win a best of seven series.  That speaks to the team’s never-say-die attitude last season.  It was that attitude (and of course a bad call by Tampa Bay’s manager in Game 6 to change pitchers) that ultimately led the Dodgers to last season’s title.  Yet another interesting fact revealed in the companion booklet is that in Game 1 of the World Series, is that in that game, Mookie Betts became the first player since Babe Ruth to be walked and to steal two bases in the same inning of a World Series game.  That shows talent and respect/fear that the opposing team had for him.  That is a big statement.  When this tidbit is considered along with the other items noted here and so much more information, no doubt is left that the companion booklet that comes with the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is just as important to the engagement and entertainment of the set as the rest of the set’s content.  All things considered, the set becomes another must have for any MLB fan.

Shout! Factory and MLB Productions’ presentation of the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is a presentation that baseball fans and Los Angeles Dodgers fans alike will welcome into their homes.  Whether watched ahead of the start of the 2021 MLB season, during or even after, this collection does everything right.  Its presentation presents audiences with the full 2020 World Series to watch at their own pace and with three separate listening options.  The pivotal NLDS Game 3 and NLCS Game 7 as bonus content adds even more enjoyment to the presentation.  The games help to show how hard this Dodgers club fought to get to the pennant in 2020.  The companion booklet that comes with the set once again adds its own layer of enjoyment to the whole.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this presentation yet another impressive offering from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory that any baseball fan will appreciate.  It is available now.

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

Websitehttps://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

More information on the sets is available online along with all of the latest Major League Baseball headlines at:

Websitehttps://www.mlb.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mlb

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/mlb

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

Shout! Factory, MLB Productions To Release 2020 World Series Next Month

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Productions

Shout! Factory and MLB Productions will bring the 2020 World Series home next month.

2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is scheduled for release Feb. 9 through Shout! Factory and Major League Baseball Productions. The set will feature the 2020 World Series in whole on separate DVD and Blu-ray presentations. As added bonuses, each platform’s presentation will also feature Game 3 of the National League Division Series and Game Seven of the National League Championship Series to enhance the set’s presentation.

2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is expected to retail for MSRP of $59.98 (DVD) and $74.98 (Blu-ray). Its release follows that of its companion documentary film 2020 World SeriesLos Angeles Dodgers, which was released Dec. 8.

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

Websitehttps://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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

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.