Solid Stories, Acting Make Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups Its Own Showstopper

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios

Ace, Cookie, Niblet, and the rest of the Pound Puppies are back again with yet another great collection of episodes.   Shout! Factory recently partnered with Hasbro Studios to release the latest Pound Puppies DVD Showstopping Pups.  The series’ ninth new collection–and hardly its last—it boasts five more episodes pulled from the series.  The episodes that are featured in this new collection boast five more stories that the whole family will enjoy.  They are the tip of the proverbial iceberg in examining the set’s positives.  The more minute details of the collection are just as important to in this compilation as the stories presented within the featured episodes.  Last but hardly least of note is the work of the series’ cast in each episode.  Once again it stands out just as much as in the episodes featured in previous collections.  Each element is important in its own manner.  Altogether they make this latest collection of episodes one more that not only proves Pound Puppies was cancelled way too early after only three seasons but this latest collection is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library; especially families that are fans of the short-lived series.

Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups, the ninth collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s (formerly Hub’s) short-lived series Pound Puppies.  One can only hope that being the series’ ninth collection of episodes, Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios will release the series’ full season sets and/or full series set sooner rather than later.  While audiences wait for one or both of those sets to be released, this latest collection of episodes will most certainly help pass the time and entertain audiences.  The main element of the set that makes it so enjoyable and entertaining is its collection of stories.  The stories that are presented within each of the set’s five episodes will entertain audiences of all ages.  The story within the set’s lead episode “The Accidental Pup Star” is proof of this.  Rebound (voiced by Brooke Goldner—Littlest Pet Shop, Skatergirl) is accidentally caught on video singing about her adoration for her owner, Agatha (Betty White—Golden Girls, The Proposal, Hot In Cleveland).  When Agatha’s son Leonard, (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, The Little Mermaid, Benson) who also runs Shelter 17, discovers Rebound’s video he sets out to make himself famous rather than Rebound.  Of course the whole thing backfires on him thanks to Lucky an the rest of the Pound Puppies.  That’s just part of the story that makes it so interesting, too.  The story of why Rebound was caught on video is its own interesting secondary story that audiences will enjoy just as much.  That story will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It’s just one example of how the stories featured in these episodes are so pivotal to this collection.  “The Watchdogs” is another episode presenting its own fun and funny story.

“The Accidental Pup Star” features a key example of how the stories featured in this set of episodes prove to be so important to its enjoyment.  It is just one example of how the set’s stories make it an overall enjoyable presentation.  The story at the center of “The Watchdogs” is another key example of how the set’s stories make the set so enjoyable in whole.  This time around Niblet and Strudel set out to be crime fighters by night after an incident with some not so nice dogs.  Of course things start out okay for the duo.  But of course that doesn’t last for long.  In the grand scheme of things Strudel (Alanna Ubach–Meet The Fockers, Legally Blonde, Rango) learns that it’s a lot harder to be a crime fighter than she realizes and that she is already making a big impact by helping place other pups in their homes.  It’s just one part of what makes this episode so enjoyable, too.  There are smaller elements incorporated into the story that ad even more enjoyment for audiences—especially comic book lovers.  They will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject, the story presented in this episode is just one more example of how the episodes’ featured stories are so important to the episodes’ presentation.  The story presented within the set’s closer “Back In Action” is yet another great piece for the whole family.  It is especially one that older audiences will enjoy.

The stories presented within “The Accidental Pup Star” and “The Watchdogs” are both prime examples of how the episodes’ stories are so important to the set’s presentation.  As integral as they are in proving the set’s enjoyment they are not the only stories that can be cited.  The story in the set’s closer “Back In Action” is yet another example of how the episodes’ featured stories are so important to the set’s presentation.  The story at the center of this episode follows a one-time famous dog named Bert (Clancy Brown—The Shawshank Redemption, Sleepy Hollow, Spongebob Squarepants) who needs a morale boost.  And yes, the Pound Puppies are right there to help.  They help when it is revealed that a young boy is in need of a real life rescue.  Bert realizes in helping in the rescue that he may be older and retired, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t or can’t be a real life hero.  While the message here is likely not intentionally sent to audiences, its message that anyone can be a hero and do great thing is there.  It is a message from which audiences of all ages can and will benefit.  Yet again the story presented within the episode is only part of what makes it so enjoyable.  There are other, smaller elements presented within this episode, too that make it even more enjoyable.  As with the other episodes, those smaller elements will be discussed later.  Getting back on track once more, the story featured in this episode is just one more example of how the episodes’ featured stories are so important to the set’s presentation.  “It’s Elementary My Dear Pup Club” and “Hot Dawg!” both feature their own entertaining stories.  Those stories, together with the stories noted here, come together to show in whole why the stories featured in Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups are indeed central to the DVD’s overall presentation.  The stories featured within this set are just one part of what makes the set’s featured episodes so enjoyable, too.  The smaller details of the stories are just as important to the episodes as the stories themselves.

The stories that are featured within each of the episodes in this set are undeniably important in their own right to the set’s presentation.  While they are obviously important to the set’s presentation they are not the set’s only important element.  The smaller details of the episodes’ stories are just as important of the stories themselves.  The smaller details of “The Accidental Pup Star’s” story are proof of this.  The writers directly related the story to its young viewers by having Rebound caught on a little girl’s smart phone camera and then posted to what is obviously supposed to be YouTube.  There is no mention of YouTube.  But in watching McLeash watch the video it is clear that he is watching the video on what is supposed to be YouTube.  There were likely legal reasons behind it not being directly named.  But that’s beside the point.  What’s important here is the fact that the writers incorporated modern technology and even tied it to a younger person shows a real attempt to reach viewers of the same age.  On another note, ‘The Watchdogs” is in itself a reference to the big screen adaptation of the graphic novel The Watchmen.  The episode obviously is nowhere near as dark or violent.  But seeing Strudel and Niblet dress up in their own home made costumes as their crime fighting alter egos will leave audiences laughing just as much.  What’s more seeing the duo struggle to stay awake is funny in its own right.  That’s because it seems like so many crime fighters do their “jobs” at night.  One can’t help but wonder in noting this how they stay awake during the daytime.  That in itself makes for its own share of laughs.  And again, it is just one more way in which the stories’ smaller elements prove to be just as important to this collection’s presentation as the stories themselves.  “Back In Action” provides its own smaller items that audiences—especially older audiences—will enjoy.  The story in itself is a spoof of the classic action series MacGyver.  To say that taking such an approach is original is an understatement.  The references to the series’ title character making huge creations (from bombs to scuba tanks and more—as fans of the series will recall) from the least number of objects is just as great to see.  It is a playful jab at MacGyver.  But it also pays real homage to the series.  Keeping that in mind, even this minute detail makes “Back in Action” all the more entertaining.  And it shows once more just how important the smaller details of this collection’s stories are to the set’s presentation.  They show that those smaller details are just as important to the episodes as the stories themselves.  And that is not to ignore the smaller elements of the collection’s remaining pair of episodes.  They boast their own great minutia that audiences will enjoy, too.  All things considered here the smaller details of this set’s episodes prove in the end to be undeniably as important to the episodes (and the set in whole) as the episodes themselves.  They still are not the only important part of this collection, either.  The work of the show’s cast is just as important as the episodes’ stories and the stories’ minor details.

The episodes that are presented within Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios’ new collection of Pound Puppies DVD present plenty of reason for audiences to add this se to their on home DVD libraries.  That is evident both in each of the episodes’ stories and the smaller details of each story.  While the stories presented in each episode and their minutia do plenty to make the episodes entertaining they are only part of the episodes’ entertainment.  The work of the series’ cast once again proves to be just as important to the show as its other elements.  Case in point Ulanna Ubach’s work on “The Watchdogs.”  Ubach is completely entertaining as she voices Strudel in this episode.  Audiences will love seeing Ubach’s presentation of Strudel’s almost delusional belief that she needs to be out fighting crime is worth its own share of laughs.  On another note, guest voice actor Clancy Brown’s take on former dog star Bert is just as impressive in “Back In Action.”  Audiences will enjoy seeing just how grumpy he makes Bert before Bert finally realizes that he can indeed learn some new tricks.  On a different note, the voices behind the Super Secret Pup Club in “It’s Elementary My Dear Pup Club” are to be commended in their own right.  The pups’ confidence and determination as they look to clear Chucky’s name will keep viewers entertained and engaged.  Thanks to the actors’ work, viewers—especially younger viewers—will believe that even “young pups” can do great things.  It’s just one more way in which the work of the show’s cast proves to be just as important to this collection as its featured episodes, their stories, and the stories’ smaller elements.  Together with those elements, the work of the show’s voice cast rounds out the set’s positives and shows once an fort all why this latest collection is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.

Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups, the ninth new collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s (formerly Hub) short-lived animated series, is yet another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  It is another collection that will leave audiences *ahem* begging for more.  One can only hope that said begging will eventually lead Shout! Factory Kids and Hasbro Studios to release the series in its own standalone season sets and/or a full series run.  Regardless of if and/or that happens, it can be said of this set that it will still help families and fans pass the time and agree in the end that is one more of this year’s top new family DVDs.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/pound-puppies-showstopping-pups.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

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Shout! Factory To Re-Issue Classic Adaptation Of The Merchant Of Venice

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

William Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights of all time if not the greatest.  His plays have been adapted more times than any one person can count both on stage and screen throughout the ages.  And next month Shout! Factory will re-issue just one of those many adaptations when it releases a made-for-TV take of Shakespeare’s comedy The Merchant of Venice.

Shout! Factory will release The Merchant of Venice on Friday, May 17th.  The 1973 take on the timeless play stars Sir Laurence Olivier (Spartacus, Rebecca, Clash of the Titans) opposite then wife Joan Plowright (101 Dalmatians, Dennis The Menace, Bringing Down The House) as Slylock.  Plowright plays the part of Portia, love interest to leading man Bassanio (Jeremy Brett – My Fair Lady, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles).  Bassanio is in love with Portia.  But in order to win her hand and her heart he needs money.  So he takes a loan from Shylock.  The problem is that it turns out Bassanio can’t pay back Shylock’s loan.  So it’s up to Portia to save Bassanio from a very bad fate.  Anthony Nicholls (Othello, A Man for All Seasons, The Omen) stars as Bassanio’s friend Antonio.  The movie is taken from the 1970 National Theatre stage production. Which also starred the same cast as is present here.

The Merchant of Venice will be released Tuesday, May 17th in stores and online.  It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $19.97.  It can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $16.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-drama/the-merchant-of-venice.  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.

Shout! Factory To Re-Issue Classic Crime Thriller Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Universal Pictures

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Universal Pictures

Shout! Factory is set to release another cinema classic this spring.

Shout! Factory will re-issue Universal Studio’s classic 1965 thriller I Saw What You Did May 17th.  The movie, which stars Joan Crawford in a rare supporting role, will be available in stores and online exclusively on Blu-ray.  It comes just as the countdown to summer vacation starts and the weather really starts to warm up, giving audiences one more way to beat the heat.  The movie’s script follows a pair of teenagers that get themselves in quite a bit of trouble when their habit of making prank phone calls backfires on them.  The pair—Libby Mannering (Andi Garrett – The Wild Wild West) and Kit Austin (Sara Lane – The Virginian¸The Trial of Billy Jack, Billy Jack Goes To Washington) likes to call people, telling them, “I saw what you did, and I know who you are.”  To the pair, it’s all fun and games.  But when they call Steve Marek (John Ireland – Red River, All The King’s Men, Spartacus) things turn very bad for the teens.  That is because it turns out that Marek had just killed his wife.  And he is not about to let it be known that he did.  What happens as a result will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.  William Castle (House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, 13 Ghosts) helmed the project.

I Saw What You Did will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, May 17th.  It will retail for MSRP of $29.99 but can be pre-ordered now at a discounted price of $24.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-horror/i-saw-what-you-did.  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.

Shout! Factory To Release Classic TMNT Series Next Month

TMNT The Next Mutation Box Art

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

There’s a lot of talk right now about Nickelodeon Movies’ latest installment in its updated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.  The new trailer for the franchise’s latest installment Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.  While there’s plenty of hype over this latest Michael Bay-helmed project, it isn’t the only installment in the TMNT franchise about which audiences should be excited.  Shout! Factory has announced that it will release one of the franchise’s least known installments next month in the form of Ninja Turtles: The Next MutationThe Complete Series.

Shout! Factory will release Ninja Turtles: The Next MutationThe Complete Series on Tuesday, May 10th.  It will be available exclusively on DVD at Wal-Mart.  Its twenty-six total episodes will be spread across four discs.   It is the only incarnation of the hugely popular franchise to be presented in a live action format.  Leo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Splinter once again face off against the evil Shredder in this series.  But he isn’t the only opponent that they have to face.  This time out they have a new bad guy added to the mix in the form of Dragon Lord.  And helping out along the way is a new addition to the team, the female turtle named Venus De Milo!

Ninja Turtles: The Next MutationThe Complete Series will be available in Wal-Mart stores nationwide on Tuesday, May 10th.  It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $19.93.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Webite: 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.

Shout! Factory TV Announces April Streaming Schedule

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory TV

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory TV

Shout! Factory has released the April streaming schedule for its free online streaming service Shout! Factory TV.  The Dick Cavett Show and Backlot are spotlighted this month.

This month Shout! Factory TV will be streaming ten episodes of The Dick Cavett Show.  This month’s selection of episodes is pulled entirely from the 1990s.  It featured guests  from around the world of stand-up comedy in honor of Cavett’s own stand-up roots.  Among this month’s list of guests are: Conan O’Brien, George Carlin, Richard Lewis, Dennis Miller, Steve Martin, and others.  This month’s complete list of Dick Cavett Show episodes is noted below.

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Steve Martin (1992)  

Steve Martin, comedian and actor known for films such as Bowfinger and The Jerk, is interviewed by Dick Cavett.

 

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Conan O’Brien (1995)

Dick Cavett interviews legendary talk show host, Conan O’Brien.

 

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Chris Elliott (1994)

Dick Cavett interviews comedian Chris Elliot, a man known for his late-night comedic sketches on Late Night with David Letterman.

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Jon Lovitz (1992)

Dick Cavett interviews Jon Lovitz, actor comedian and singer, best known for his role on SNL.

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: George Carlin (1992)

Dick Cavett interviews the late comedian George Carlin, a man known for his outspoken stand-up comedy, thoughts on politics, religion and other various taboo subjects.

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Richard Lewis (1990)

Dick Cavett interviews Richard Lewis, American comedian and actor.

 

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Dennis Leary (1991)

Dick Cavett interviews Dennis Leary, comedian and former star actor of the show, Rescue Me.

 

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Phil Hartman (1991)

Late Canadian-American SNL actor and comedian Phil Hartman, is a guest on this episode of The Dick Cavett Show.

 

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Dennis Miller (1992)

Dick Cavett’s guest for this episode is Dennis Miller, stand-up comedian, talk show host, actor and commentator.

 

The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: Bobcat Goldthwait (1992)

Bobcat Goldthwait, actor, comedian, filmmaker and voice artist is interviewed by Dick Cavett.

Also back this month is its exclusive series Backlot.  The series examines some of the most beloved cult favorite films and TV series.  It is hosted by Shout! Factory’s Brian Ward and features interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, featurettes, and a whole bunch more from those fan favorites.  In one of this month’s episodes of Backlot, Ward sits down with Paul Feig (Ghostbusters, Spy, Bridesmaids) and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, This is 40, Pineapple Express) to discuss their work on the cult classic series Freaks and Geeks.  Shout! Factory recently re-issued the series on Blu-ray.   Along with his recent big screen work, Feig was the creator of Freaks and Geeks.  Apatow served as the series’ executive producer.   In another episode of Backlot Ward takes a look back at the 1961 King Kong spinoff Gorgo.  He will delve into how the Gorgo suit was created, the problem of putting a monster in Paris, and even how it was handled by the crew of the Satellite of Love in none other than Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Speaking of that series, Shout! Factory TV also has two classic episodes of MST3K streaming this month.  One of those episodes features Gorgo.  The other focuses on another so bad that it’s great movie in the form of the 1983 Canadian made-for-television movie Overdrawn at the Memory Bank.  The full list of MST3K episodes being streamed this month is noted below.

MST3K: Gorgo

Mike and the ‘bots gorge on Gorgo (1961), a maudlin monster mess featuring two giant mother-and-son lizards and a Samuel Beckett lookalike. Leonard Maltin shows up to hawk his movie guide, which inexplicably praises the film.

MST3K: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

A weather tech’s mind gets trapped in a computer and Pearl establishes her own public television pledge program.

Along with the latest episodes of The Dick Cavett Show, Backlot, and MST3K being streamed this month, Shout! Factory TV is also streaming the series and movies listed below.

 

Other notable series and movies also streaming on Shout! Factory TV now include:

·         THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE

·         PRINCE KILLIAN

·         CHICAGO CAB

·         PERFECTLY NORMAL

·         ONE DOWN TWO TO GO

·         ROCK, ROCK, ROCK!

·         THE SMURFS AND THE MAGIC FLUTE

·         THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE

·         CONVICT 762

 

 

More information on these and other presentations being streamed online now at Shout! Factory TV is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactorytv.com

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

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.

The Legend Of The Lone Ranger Is A Rare Reboot That’s Actually Worth Watching

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

The Lone Ranger is one of the most iconic figures in film and television history.  For decades the masked stranger has maintained a special place in the hearts and minds of children and adults alike.  Of course some incarnations of The Lone Ranger have been more memorable than others and vice versa.  One of his least memorable outings was Disney’s lackluster 2013 offering starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.  That movie was a bitter disappointment.  Luckily it has proven to be one of very few takes on The Lone Ranger that have ever been turned out since the masked stranger first took to the radio waves way back in 1948.  One of the better installments to ever be released was the 1952 classic The Legend of the Lone Ranger.  It starred Clayton Moore as the masked stranger and was released, ironically, the same year that Moore was replaced by John Hart.  In 1981 that movie was rebooted with Klinton Spilsbury in the starring role.  The movie was re-issued on Blu-ray late in 2015 by Timeless Media Group.  While it largely follows the same premise as the movie’s 1952 installment it is still a rare reboot that is worth the watch, especially being a Lone Ranger flick.  The central reason for its success is its writing. That will be discussed shortly.  Another important element of this movie is the movie’s special effects.  This will be discussed later.  Last but hardly least of note in this movie is the work of the movie’s cast.  All things considered the 1981 reboot of The Legend of the Lone Ranger proves to be a reboot that is actually worth watching and a movie that any Western fan will enjoy.

Universal Pictures’ 1981 reboot of the 1952 film Legend of the Lone Ranger is a reboot that is actually worth watching.  That is in comparison to other rare reboots of the day and to all of the endless reboots being churned out by Hollywood’s “Big Six” today.  The main reason for that is the movie writing.  This includes both the movie’s central story and the story’s smaller elements such as its special effects and violence.  The movie’s central story sticks in large part to the plot presented in the 1952 original.  It is basically an origin story that starts at the Lone Ranger’s childhood and is taken from the first three episodes of the original Lone Ranger TV series.  The movie runs roughly an hour and forty minutes.  And the first half of that time is spent telling the Lone Ranger’s back story while the second half follows his search for the villainous Butch Cavendish.  What’s important about the whole of the story is that even with such clear separation, the movie’s writing team didn’t overdo either end of the story.  Just enough time is spent explaining what led John Reid to become the Lone Ranger in the first half of the movie.  The story’s progression in its second half is just as surprising.  Cavendish’s plot to kidnap the President and hold him hostage is laid right out rather than having a bunch of time wasted building up to its reveal.  In the same vein, the writers use just as little time sending Reid on his hunt for Cavendish.  In neither case does the story feel rushed either.  This means that the story is that much easier to follow.  Simply put both the first and second half are so expertly balanced in terms of their pacing and their general storytelling that the presentation in whole will keep viewers wholly entertained and engaged from beginning to end.  It is just one aspect of this movie that makes it well worth the watch.  The movie’s special effects are to be taken into consideration, too.

The Legend of The Lone Ranger’s writing team is to be applauded for their work on this takeoff of the 1952 original.  This is saying plenty considering the problems usually faced by scripts crafted by multiple writers.  The script is well balanced both in terms of its pacing and its general progression.  These two aspects alone are just part of what makes The Legend of the Lone Ranger a rare reboot worth watching.  The movie’s special effects are just as important to note here as the movie’s script.  This is especially in comparison to so many of today’s overly violent, special effects laden action flicks.  The gunfights are big in scale.  But they never feel overpowering unlike similar scenes churned out in today’s action flicks.  What’s more the amount of blood shed pales in comparison.  It is kept to an extreme minimum, again by comparison to today’s action flicks.  This is so important to note because it shows how much action movies have de-evolved since this movie’s release and even its predecessor.  It’s really a powerful statement.  The explosions that are used in the movie’s third act are just as notable.  They are only used in that act and nowhere else in the story.  To add to that, the explosions that are used are not the overly loud, speaker shaking explosions that are used way too much in Hollywood’s current era.  More simply put they are part of the story rather than the star of the story unlike with those used in movies by Michael Bay and Zack Snyder.  Because they are used so responsibly they make the movie in whole even more entertaining.  When they are set against the movie’s equally well-executed story the two elements combine to show even more why Universal’s reboot of The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a diamond in the rough in the world of reboots.

The writing behind Universal’s reboot of The Legend of the Lone Ranger and its special effects are both key elements in the movie’s success.  While both elements are important in their own right they are not the movie’s only key elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note.  Christopher Lloyd is surprisingly impressive as the devious Butch Cavendish.  It would have been easy for Lloyd to throw back to the days of the original Lone Ranger TV and radio series, going well over the top.  But he opted not to go that route.  Instead he portrayed Cavendish as something of a cerebral criminal, calm and collected but not overly proud of himself at the same time.  Klinton Spilsbury and Michael Horse are just as impressive as John Reid/The Lone Ranger and Tonto respectively.  They handled their roles with professionalism equal to that of Lloyd.  They balanced the serious nature of their characters with just enough charm and ham to make both characters fun to watch.  When Spilsbury and Lloyd face off in the story’s final minutes, Spilsbury delivers an applause worthy performance as he contemplates Cavendish’s fate.  It is a small moment, but an important moment nonetheless.  It was one of those scenes that made Spilsbury believable as the iconic character.  That is not to say that Lloyd and Horse were not believable in their respective roles; Quite the opposite in fact.  They are just as believable.  Their interpretation of their characters and the movie’s scripts rounds out the movie’s most important elements and shows once and for all why this movie, while a reboot, is still well worth the watch.

The 1981 reboot of The Legend of The Lone Ranger is a rarity of a work.  That is because while it is a reboot, it is a reboot worth watching.  This is thanks in part to the movie’s expertly balanced writing and pacing,  The movie holds a solid steady pace from beginning to end.  It balances just as well the story’s setup and its central story present in the script’s second act.  The special effects utilized in this movie were used sparingly and respectably in comparison to so many action flicks in today’s era of action flicks.  The work of the movie’s cast in interpreting their characters and the story’s script adds that much ore enjoyment to the movie.  It rounds out the movie’s most notable elements.  Their work couples with the work of the writers and that of the special effects department and makes this movie a rare reboot that is actually worth watching.  It is available now on Blu-ray in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/action-adventure/the-legend-of-the-lone-ranger.  More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Timeless-Media-Group-358391474233364/?fref=ts

 

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Scores Another Hit With Maude: The Complete Fourth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory has, for a long time, been known as the leading name in home entertainment.  That is thanks in large part to the series and movies that it has released and re-issued over the past decade.  From Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoons Hey Arnold! andThe Wild Thornberrys to more recent series such as The Soul Man to much older fare such as The Jeffersons and All in the Family, and so many others, Shout! Factory has presented great TV series and movies for audiences of all ages for years.  Early last year the company added another notch to its proverbial belt when it released the classic dramedy Maude to its catalogue.  It released the series in its entirety on March 15th, 2015.  It was followed up with standalone season sets of Season Two and Season Three respectively later in the year.  Now the landmark series’ fourth season has finally been released for classic TV buffs and the show’s fans.  The three-disc set is available today in stores and online.  Just as with the series’ previous two standalone season sets this season boasts its own share of heart and humor, proving once again what made (and continues to make) it such an important part of television history.  It all begins with the season’s writing.  This includes not just the season’s episodes but also the smaller details of the episodes.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important in its interpretation of the episodes’ scripts.  Last but hardly least of note in this season is its production values.  Season Four looks and sounds great in its transfer from its original masters to DVD. That will be discussed later.  Whether for that element or the other noted elements, it can be said with certainty that this season is another great addition to any Maude fan’s home DVD library.  It is also shows once more why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment.

Over the course of its first three seasons on the air, Maude entertained thousands of audiences across America if not hundreds of thousands.  That is thanks to the work of the show’s writers.  The show’s writers kept audiences laughing and even moved thanks to their ability to balance the show’s comic elements and its deeper, more serious elements.  Season Four is no different.  From the season premiere to its finale this season is loaded with laughs and more moving moments for any classic TV buff and for any fan of this classic landmark series.  One of the most notable points at which that balance is displayed comes in “Maude’s Big Decision.”  This episode is the first of an ongoing story arc that runs throughout Season Four that sees Maude pursuing a political career.  The story sees Maude beginning to decide if she wants to actually take that first step into the world of politics.  The problem is that Walter’s alcoholism becomes a stumbling block in her decision.  It also ends up playing a very direct role in his and Maude’s marriage.  The manner in which the writers tackled Walter’s addiction is impressive in its own right.  They didn’t go over the top and preach about the dangers of alcoholism.  Rather they just had Arthur address Walter’s addiction straight on with Maude. And in reality that is typically the most effective way to address a person’s addiction whether it be to alcohol, drugs, or anything else.  To this day there are so many people who would much rather tip toe around the subject instead of taking the proverbial bull by the horns.  Considering this, it makes this episode’s story just as relevant in society today as it was in its original broadcast.  It also serves to show in its own way the heart that still remained in the series in its fourth season.  It’s just one way in which the series continued to exhibit that balance of heart and humor in its fourth season.  Later in this season the needle aims more towards the comical angle in “Arthur’s Medical Convention.”

“Maude’s Big Decision” is a prime example of how the writing behind Maude maintained its balance of heart and humor in its fourth season.  For all of its seriousness, there is some humor that plays into its bigger story.  That will be discussed later in the discussion on the more minute details of the season’s writing.  Getting back on topic, “Maude’s Big Decision’ is just one example of how Maude’s writing maintained its mix of heart and humor this time out.  “Arthur’s Medical Convention” is another example of the writers’ continued ability to balance Maude’s more comical and more serious elements from one episode to the next.  In the case of this episode, Walter joins Arthur at a medical conference.  Walter, trying to sound important tells Arthur’s fellow doctors that he is a doctor, too.  In an effort to teach Walter a lesson about lying Arthur’s friends play a joke on Walter that results in plenty of laughs not just for Arthur’s friends but for audiences, too.  This episode is such an important one to cite from Season Four because it showed that while Bea Arthur was the show’s lead star, her cast mates could hold their own just as easily by themselves as when set against Arthur’s own sharp comic timing and wit.  Not only that but it also showed the writers’ ability to craft episodes that entertained with both comedy and drama and with each element by itself.  It is just a fun, turn-off-your-brain episode that is loaded with laughs and is sure to be a fan favorite regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Maude.  It’s just one more example of what makes the writing behind Maude: The Complete Fourth Season so important to its presentation. “Mrs, Naugatuck’s Citizenship,” which comes later in the season’s run, also exhibits the importance of the series’ writing this season.

“Maude’s Big Decision” and “Arthur’s Medical Convention” are both clear examples of what makes the writing behind Maude just as important in its fourth season as its first three seasons. They are only two examples of what makes the writing this season so important.  “Mrs. Naugutuck’s Citizenship” is yet another example of what makes this season’s writing so pivotal to its presentation.  It is another example of the writers’ ability to seamlessly weave together the series’ comical and more serious elements.  This episode sees Mrs. Naugutuck studying for her big citizenship test.  But as she studies, it is becoming increasingly evident that something isn’t right with her as she is acting very oddly.  The reveal as to what is wrong is a key moment.  That is because it would have been so easy for the writers to go over the top with the moment’s drama.  Yet they didn’t go that route.  Instead they provided the drama but kept it limited so as to not get campy with the episode’s twist.  The episode’s final moments do just as much of an impressive job lifting the weight of the story as {Bea] Arthur and Hermione Baddeley (who played Mrs. Naugutuck) share their own light-hearted moment.  In examining the episode’s story in whole, its dramatic and comedic elements prove to be expertly balanced from beginning to end.  Again, in seeing this it becomes crystal clear why this episode is another prime example of the importance of the series’ writing in its fourth season.  Of course “Mrs. Naugutuck’s Citizenship” is just one more episode that proves the importance of the series’ writing in its fourth season.  There are plenty of other episodes from which audiences could choose to exemplify the importance of the series’ writing in this season.  All things considered the stories that were crafted for the fourth season of Maude prove in whole that the writers not lost their ability to tell entertaining stories up to this point.  Keeping this in mind, the stories that are presented in Season Four are just part of the writing that should be noted.  The more minute details of the episodes are just as important to note as the stories themselves.

The stories that were crafted for the fourth season of Maude are important in their own right to the season’s presentation.  They are not the only aspect of the writing that should be noted, however.  There are smaller details within each episode that makes the episodes just as enjoyable if not more so.  In “The Christmas Party” the episode opens with Maude and Carol singing ‘Deck The Halls’ as they decorate their Christmas tree.  At the end of the song, Maude jokingly asks Carol, “What the fa la la are we doing,” to which Carol can only laugh.  It’s a small moment.  But is still entertaining in its own right.  And Maude’s attempt to endear herself to a famous poet in “Maude’s Rejection” is just as entertaining.  That is because of just how relentless Maude is in her efforts.  She tried so hard that viewers will find it just as annoying as the poet in question.  The writers’ ability to make the behavior so annoying (and annoyingly fun) is yet another example of how the episodes’ finer details prove to be just as important as the episodes’ stories.  If that isn’t enough the dialogue between the cast in “The Case of the Broken Punch Bowl” proves entertaining in its own right, too.  Mrs. Naugutuck agreeing with both Arthur and Vivian about what really happened to Maude’s punch bowl is so funny in its simplicity.  It’s just one more way in which the finer details of Maude’s writing proves just as important as the stories themselves this time out.  Just as with the stories themselves, there is so much more that could be cited in explaining what makes the smaller details of the scripts just as important as the stories themselves.  It would take far too much time and space to discuss every example, though.  Keeping that in mind the writing is just one part of what makes Maude’s fourth season so enjoyable.  The work of the cast is once again just as important to note as that of the writers.

The work of Maude’s writers proves hugely important to its presentation throughout the series’ fourth season.  The writers expertly balance the series’ comic and dramatic elements from beginning to end and even add in some extra laughs along the way thanks to the episodes’ finer details.  Of course as important as all of this is to Season Four’s writing it is only part of what makes this season so enjoyable.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important as that of the series’ writers.  Being that the cast had already spent the previous three seasons working together on the show the chemistry between the actors was obvious throughout this season.  It is quite obvious in “Maude’s Big Decision” as Maude confronts Walter about his alcoholism.  Both actors made suspension of disbelief so simple.  It showed the seriousness with which both actors took the moment.  In turn it made the moment all the more powerful.  This episode also boasts a great comic moment early on as Vivian confronts Walter, thinking that he had slept with another woman and the impact on Maude.  Walter’s (Bill Macy) reaction to the allegation makes for one of the season’s funniest moments.  To say that his timing was impeccable is putting it lightly.  It won’t be revealed here for the sake of those that haven’t yet seen this season.  But it goes without saying that it will leave audiences in stitches, especially with the added element of Mrs. Naugutuck walking in just as Walter tells Vivian what really happened.  Later in the season’s run Maude is forced to confront her own uber-liberal feminist views when her old friend Stephanie comes to Walter’s company Christmas party.  Mrs. Arthur is just as entertaining when Maude is forced to weigh her own beliefs with Stephanie’s.  On a side note, audiences will be surprised to find out just who plays the part of Stephanie in this episode.  Getting back on track, Arthur’s timing as she is told by her favorite poet that she annoys him and that he really doesn’t like her is just as priceless as any other moment in this season.  She does a total 180 in only a matter of a few seconds, stopping dead in her tracks as she realizes what she has just been told.  It is a perfect take that shows once again Arthur’s talent in front of the lens and just one more of so many moments that could be cited in showing what makes the cast’s work just as important as that of the series’ writers.  Together with that work, both elements come together to show with even more clarity why this latest installment of Maude is just as enjoyable as the series’ previous seasons.  Even with this in mind audiences will find that the writing and acting incorporated into Season Four are not the season’s only important elements.  The season’s production values round out the season’s most notable elements.

The work of both the writers and actors in Maude’s fourth season are both hugely important in their own right to the season’s overall presentation.  That is because both elements work hand in hand with one another.  Even as important as they are to the season’s overall viewing experience they are not the season’s only important, notable elements.  The season’s production values are just as important as its writing and acting.  It should be noted again that Shout! Factory already released Maude in its entirety in a limited edition full-series DVD early in 2015.  So it wouldn’t take much effort to transfer the material from that set to complete standalone season sets.  Even considering that, the efforts that were taken to originally transfer the season’s footage from its masters to DVD for the full-series set paid off in spades.  And it shows here in the series’ fourth season standalone set.  Season Four is presented here exactly as it was in its original broadcast on CBS so many decades ago right down to the grainy look of the footage and the sound balance.  That original presentation has been cleaned up just enough so as to not lose its original look or the welcome feeling of nostalgia generated through the episodes’ grainy look and standout audio balance.  All things considered here the production values presented in the fourth season of Maude prove just as important to its presentation as the season’s writing and acting.  When all three elements are set against one another, all three work together to make Maude: The Complete Fourth Season one more welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s personal DVD library and that of any of the series’ original fans.

The fourth season of CBS’ classic dramedy Maude is another wonderful installment of episodes from what is one of the true landmark series from TV’s golden era.  Now that it is available in a three-disc DVD presentation it is a collection that will be just as welcomed by classic TV buffs as by the series’ original fans.  That is thanks in large part to the work of the series’ writers.  Once again the writers have crafted a full complement of episodes that expertly balances the series’ comedic and dramatic elements from the season’s premiere to its finale.  Sometimes the tow elements are woven together and at other times are presented by themselves.  Regardless of the situation, the writing stands out in every episode both in regards to the episodes’ stories and their finer details.  The work of the cast in interpreting each episode’s script (both on the macro and micro level) is just as important as the work put in by the show’s writers.  Whether together or by themselves, the show’s cast generates plenty of entertainment in every episode.  The outstanding production values presented in each episode (their look and sound) ads even more enjoyment to the season.  That is because it generates a welcome sense of nostalgia for the series’ original fans.  Each element proves to be important in its on right to Season Four’s overall presentation.  Altogether they make this latest season of Maude yet another welcome addition to any fan’s home DVD library and to that of any classic TV buff.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-four.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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