Starz, Anchor Bay Reveal Release Date, Info For Spartacus: The Complete Series

Courtesy: Starz

Courtesy: Starz

Officials with Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment announced this week that the companies will release Spartacus: The Complete Series this fall.

Courtesy:  Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Spartacus: The Complete

Series will be released on DVD and Blu-ray +Digital HD with Ultraviolet on Tuesday, September 16th. The Blu-ray+Digital HD with

Ultraviolet edition of the box set will come in two formats. The first format will include three new audio commentaries for the series’ first season. The other will include a Spartacus collector’s figurine. All three of the box sets include a handful of bonus material. That bonus material is listed below.

New Bonus Features:           

  • SPARTACUS Fan Favorites With Liam McIntyre                     
  • Scoring A Hit: Composer Joseph LoDuca             
  • An Eye Full: Roger Murray                       
  • SPARTACUS: Paul Grinder                     
  • The Last Word: John Hannah       
Spartacus Special Edition BD Box Set

Courtesy: Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Series creator and executive producer Steven S. DeKnight commented on the series in a recent interview promoting the upcoming box set. He explained just how important the series remains to all that worked on it even today and added a note for audiences. “The gods finally bless us with the complete collection,” he said. “Spartacus was a true labor of love for everyone who worked on it and I’m incredibly proud to present all 39 episodes in stunning High-def for the fans to enjoy at their leisure, but make sure you watch them in the order they first aired to revel in the experience as originally intended.”

Spartacus originally starred Andy Whitfield in the series’ leading role. Whitfield would then be replaced in Seasons Two and Three by Liam Mcintyre. Also featured throughout the series are: John Hannah (The Mummy, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Peter Mensah (300, The Incredible Hulk), Manu Bennett (30 Days of Night), Nick E. Tarabay (Crash), Dustin Clare (Underbelly), Dan Feuerrigel (Home and Away), Simon Werrells (The Wolfman) Todd Lasance (Cloudstreet), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Flashforward), and Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica, Parks and Recreation).

The standard definition box set of Spartacus: The Complete Series retail for SRP of $119.98. Blu-ray+Digital HD with Ultraviolet set will retail for $149.99. The Blu-ray+Digital HD with Ultraviolet and bonus Spartacus collector’s figurine will retail for SRP of $199.99. More information on the upcoming release is available online at http://www.facebook.com/spartacus.starz, http://www.starz.com/spartacus, and http://twitter.com/spartacus_starz. 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.

Advertisements

From Up On Poppy Hill Stands Out Successfully Among The Anime Masses

Courtesy:  Studio Ghibli/GKids

Courtesy: Studio Ghibli/GKids

From Up On Poppy Hill is a surprisingly interesting work from Hayao Miyazaki.  This latest re-issue of the story from one of the masters of modern Japanese anime stands out among the masses as it strays from the typically standard fantasy tales to which viewers have become accustomed from the anime film genre.  It also boasts an equally surprisingly enjoyable soundtrack.  And thanks to the new Special Edition re-issue, fans of this modern anime classic will get even more out of the story than in any previous release.  When set next to the other factors that play into the movie’s success, they come together to make a movie that any anime fan will appreciate no less with each watch.

The most commonly held belied about the anime genre is that its stories are centered in fantastical worlds with stories of equal level fantasy.  From Up On Poppy Hill completely breaks that mold, opting instead for a more real world situation that is sure to keep even the least of anime fans engaged throughout the story’s toughly ninety-minute run time.  The story in question centers on two young high school teenagers living in Yokohama, Japan in 1963.  Both children had lost their fathers when they were much younger.  This leads to a long-held secret that shocks both youths.  And because of just how real the situation is, it will surprise viewers just as much.  The reality of the story makes it so much easier for viewers to suspend their disbelief in watching the story unfold.  Audiences will appreciate the included booklet with story notes written by both Hayao Miyazaki that is included with the upcoming Special Edition re-issue of the movie.  The booklet in question adds even more insight into the movie, and is highly recommended reading before watching the movie.  It’s just one of the bonus features included in the Special Edition re-issue that anime fans will find to be an especially worthwhile addition to the overall package.  It explains both the original story’s concept and its evolution into the story that viewers will have before them in the movie’s Special Edition.

The story behind From Up On Poppy Hill is a very touching and moving tale.  Despite the fact that its main characters are teens, even adults will appreciate the story of the two youths who were ironically enough brought together as a result of a war that tore apart so many families’ lives.  It makes for one of Miyazaki’s more interesting stories.  Just as interesting as the story is the story’s soundtrack.  The largely swing-jazz heavy soundtrack is quite surprising considering the music that backs most of the film maker’s other works.  It fits, though.  This story came right on the early edge of the 1960s.  So the jazz movement that marked the 1950s still had some life.  It adds one more extra touch to a story that already stands out among so many other anime features and helps to make the movie that much more worth the watch.

The music and the story together work quite well in keeping viewers engaged from start to end in From Up On Poppy Hill.  There is one more aspect of the movie’s upcoming re-issue that anime fans will appreciate in taking in this modern anime classic.  That aspect is the collective bonus features included in the movie’s Special Edition.  The Special Edition includes not only the movie on DVD and blu-ray, but also in both English and its original Japanese presentation.  There is also an interview with director Goro Miyazaki included in the set’s bonus features that will both entertain and enlighten viewers.  In the nearly twenty-minute interview, Miyazaki discusses the comparison of the Yokohama that was created in this movie versus the real one.  He laughs as he discusses how those that lived in the real Yokohama disputed so many of the designs intended for the movie.  It leaves him laughing.  And it will leave viewers laughing, too.  In one of the interview’s more moving moments, he becomes introspective in discussing what life must have been like for those that lived in the real Yokohama during the 1960s.  He discusses the importance of getting a feel and respect for what life back then was like.  It shows that while Miyazaki has a sense of humor, he also is human and has emotions.  That would explain why From Up On Poppy Hill is more than just another anime movie.  It’s a movie that although it’s anime, has heart and is worth at least one watch whether one is an anime fan or not.  It will be available September 3rd from GKids and Studio Ghibli and can be pre-ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Poppy-Hill-Blu-ray-Combo-Pack/dp/B00CSYRHG6/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1377654658&sr=1-2&keywords=from+up+on+poppy+hill.  Audiences can find out about even more films from GKids online once they’ve pre-ordered From Up On Poppy Hill at http://www.facebook.com/GKidsfilms and http://www.gkids.tv/films.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Superhero Squad’s Latest (And Last?) Release Is More Kid Friendly Comic Based Fun

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Comic books today aren’t meant for younger readers.  Being a grown up comic book geek, I’ve seen the content in comic books change dramatically over the years.  Perhaps it’s a product of the time, but even the movies on which the comics are based are anything but kid friendly.  Thankfully, Marvel has crated a line of comics that is kid friendly.  And in accordance, there’s even a comics based cartoon called The Superhero Squad Show that is great for young comics fans.

The Superhero Squad Show is great for kids because while it has all the great adventures that have made the characters great over the ages, the general content of those adventures is entirely kid friendly.  It doesn’t have any harsh language, sexuality, etc.  Add in bright, vivid, hand drawn animation, and audiences get another positive in an era when so many “cartoons” are really just a bunch of CG based visuals.   On top of the great artwork and the kid friendly content is a fun comedy element that both kids and parents alike will love, including constantly breaking down the fourth wall.  There are even pop culture references tossed in throughout the show that parents will love, including a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in what seems to be the series finale.

Yes, Season Two Volume Four seems to be the finale volume from this family and kid friendly comic based series.  All research done on the show seems to point out that the show has ended.  If that’s the case, then it has been wrapped up nicely in this volume.  Volume Four picks up where Volume three left off.  Captain America, Mr. Fantastic, and Ms. Marvel are trying to bring the rest of the squaddies back after being captured.  But it’s not as easy as it seems, as they have to face Baron Mordo, when he breaks into the Squad’s base and captures Captain America.  Eventually, the evil Baron is beaten, and Mr. Fantastic gets the base’s satellite dish fixed and brings back the rest of the squad.

Once the whole team’s reassembled, everything eventually leads up to the final confrontation between the Dark Surfer and the squaddies.  And who would have thought, even Dr. Doom inadvertently helps out, though only for his own benefit.  When both Dr. Doom and the squaddies face off against the Dark Surfer, the Squad is able to get each of the stones away from the Surfer’s duplicates and defeat him…or so they think.  Everything comes down to one final battle between Iron man and Dr. Doom over the Infinity Sword.  The conflict leads them to accidentally destroy the sword.  It’s that destruction that finishes off the Surfer once and for all, and returns him to the form of the Silver Surfer.  And while Surfer admits guilt for what he’d done and the Squad still backs him, knowing he was under a spell, he is still taken away by Ronan (voiced by Michael Dorn).  The squad goes back to Earth, where everything is finally back to normal, and the Scarlet Witch is even accepted as a member of the squad.

The Superhero Squad Show is a great kid friendly introduction to the world of comics.  Given, it may upset some hardcore fan boys as it has no link to the comics in general.  But in an age when so many comics are anything but kid friendly, this seemingly final volume from The Superhero Squad Show makes for one more great introduction for young fans to the world of comics.  It’s action packed without being too edgy.  It has lots of bright hand drawn colors, which is equally appealing.  And the comedy and pop culture references are enough for young and old comics fans alike.  Season two Volume Four is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory online at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.