Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Burn After Reading (DVD)












This is one "intelligent" dark comedy by the Coen Brothers that involves the CIA and its lack of "intelligence" to solve a mystery that is all but “intelligent”. Did you get all that? Good. Now let’s move on.

In Burn After Reading, the lives of the main characters get intertwined after two dim-witted gym employees (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt) find a disc filled with some of the CIA’s most irrelevant secrets and then try to blackmail the disc’s owner, Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich). Little do the two gym employees know is that the disc is nothing more than a useless file containing Cox’s memoir about his life in the CIA. But to the duo attempting the blackmail, they think it’s highly classified information. Thus begins a spiral of events that leave everyone baffled as to what the hell is going on. The funniest parts of the film are seeing the dumfounded reactions from the cast. I would have to say the funniest role goes to John Malkovich. The way his character Osbourne Cox says the line “What the fuck?” out of frustration is downright hilarious. In the end, the film doesn’t really wrap things up the way you’d expect it to. But that’s the great part of watching Burn After Reading. It’s not the type of film where everything gets resolved the way a lot of films do. Instead, the fun comes in seeing everyone make a really big deal about, nothing.

DVD BONUS FEATURES:

FINDING THE BURN: The making of Burn After Reading from inspiration to the big screen.

DC INSIDERS RUN AMUCK: Shows the strength in putting together some of the most amazing talent in the world to create a world of Washington, DC insiders all trying to get ahead or find true love.

WELCOME BACK GEORGE: This is a companion, comedy piece, focusing on Mr. Clooney as he returns for his third collaboration with Ethan and Joel Coen.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection











If you ever got to see the Transformers animated movie from the 80's, then you know that the evil Unicron (who's the size of an entire planet) was defeated by the Autobots. Ten years after that famous battle, the Autobots and Decepticons have formed a secret alliance with the humans. That's where the series called Energon picks up. It's weird hearing that the Autobots and Decepticons are working together. With a shaky relationship like that, you can already predict something will eventually happen. While the Autobots and Decepticons search for the substance called Energon, another evil force has its own plans to find and control all of it. This is where all the action picks up as the fight begins! I never got to see the show when it was out. Now, with the release of Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection on DVD, I can finally watch it from start to finish. For any fan of Transformers or of Japanese cartoons in general, it truly is an "ultimate collection". This awesome set contains 7 discs with a running time of 1092 minutes! With an exciting story and the Japanese 3D style animation, Energon shows the Transformers like never before. If you haven't watched this series yet, or if you're already a fan of it, Transformers Energon: The Ultimate Collection has every minute of this exciting series for you to experience.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Power Rangers Jungle Fury












Here are a couple of DVD’s worth mentioning from Disney’s December releases. Just out this month are the titles Power Rangers Jungle Fury: Into The Jungle (Vol. 1) and Power Rangers Jungle Fury: Way Of The Master (Vol. 2). If you have a son, then it’s almost impossible to not know these guys. These two DVD’s are loaded with some cool action-packed episodes. Volume 1 has the Power Rangers protecting Earth as they try and fight off an army of animal spirits. As brave as they are, this set shows that the Rangers are still learning about teamwork.

In Volume 2, things don’t look too good with the evil Dai Shi forces growing stronger and the Five Fingers of Poison getting thrown in the mix. If they’re going to have any chance against their foes, the Rangers must learn to work together. For something new in this Volume, the Rangers get trained in the ways of the master by members of the Kung Fu clan. And if all of this info has you scratching your head, don’t worry. Even if you don’t really get all the facts about the show, these DVD’s are still fun to watch.

Goldilocks And The 3 Bears












The latest addition to the Unstable Fables series is out now! This time the classic fable Goldilocks And The 3 Bears gets a modern makeover as a hilarious reality TV show where Goldilocks lives in the same house as the 3 bears. This is not the Goldilocks that you may know from the fairy tale. Instead, this one has a strong resemblance to Paris Hilton. And that's not the only pop culture reference in this movie either. There's an owl who resembles Simon from American Idol and a show in the film that mirrors Extreme Makeover. But instead of Ty Pennington, Goldilocks is the host of the show. Goldilocks And The 3 Bears features the voices of Tom Arnold, Brooke Shields, and Jamie Lynn Spears. It’s a smart and funny film that isn’t afraid to poke fun at spoiled celebrities and reality TV. The DVD is out now courtesy of Genius Products and The Weinstein Company.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Swingtown: The First Season (DVD)












I just watched Swingtown: The First Season on DVD and I'm left with mixed feelings. On one hand, the storyline is cleverly written as it deals with all types of issues that come in a relationship. On the other hand, I got mad quite a bit at how stupid the couples were! When you open Pandora’s Box and invite others into your sex life, of course you can expect lots of problems to come. But hey, sometimes hard lessons are learned through dumb choices. Swingtown takes place in the 70's, when the sexual revolution was at its height. Of course, every era has its dark side. And for the couples that dive in the swinger lifestyle here, the dark side is very subtle. Lives are dramatically affected after couples decide to "experiment". When I watch this show, I am reminded that the very things that we sometimes think can make us free, can actually destroy us. To be fair, Swingtown is not only about swapping partners. It deals with problems that are common in a lot of marriages. In the midst of all the drama, there are times when a character will drop a line that'll make you think. I know it's hard to imagine that coming from a show called Swingtown.

Now I'm hearing rumors that the show will be cancelled. We'll have to wait and see...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

THE DEFINITIVE ROD STEWART











"Wake up Maggie, I think I've got something to say to you..."

Who hasn’t heard that opening to the classic song Maggie May before? That song is just one of the many hits by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rod Stewart. Possessing one of the most distinctive voices in music, Rod has been making music since the mid-60s. Recently, a CD collection titled The Definitive Rod Stewart was released. The set contains 30 of his greatest hits and it takes you from his early solo years all the way up to songs he made during the ’80s and ’90s. Personally, I prefer his older stuff compared to what he did in the later years. But no matter what style of his you like, it’s all here on this 2-disc set. On top of that, the deluxe edition also includes a bonus DVD of music videos. Love him or hate him, the guy has made his mark in the music industry. And this set contains all the essential tracks throughout his successful career.

THE DEFINITIVE ROD STEWART Track Listing

DISC ONE
1. “Maggie May”
2. “Mandolin Wind”
3. “Every Picture Tells A Story”
4. “Stay With Me” – the Faces
5. “You Wear It Well”
6. “Sailing”
7. “The Killing Of Georgie, Parts 1 & 2”
8. “Tonight's The Night”
9. “The First Cut Is The Deepest”
10. “You’re In My Heart”
11. “I Was Only Joking”
12. “Hot Legs”
13. “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”
14. “Passion”
15. “Young Turks”

DISC TWO
1. “Tonight I’m Yours”
2. “Baby Jane”
3. “Infatuation”
4. “Same Guys Have All The Luck”
5. “Love Touch”
6. “Forever Young”
7. “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”
8. “Downtown Train”
9. “This Old Heart Of Mine” – with Ronald Isley (1989 Version)
10. “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” – (1989 Version)
11. “Rhythm Of My Heart”
12. “The Motown Song” – with the Temptations
13. “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Waltzing Matilda)”
14. “Have I Told You Lately” – Unplugged Version
15. “Reason To Believe” – with Ronnie Wood (Unplugged Version)
16. “Two Shades Of Blue” – previously unreleased (1998)**


DISC THREE (DVD) – DELUXE EDITION only
1. “Sailing”
2. “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”
3. “The Killing Of Georgie, Parts 1 & 2
4. “The First Cut Is The Deepest”
5. “You’re In My Heart”
6. “Hot Legs”
7. “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”
8. “Ain’t Love A Bitch”
9. “She Won’t Dance With Me”
10. “Young Turks”
11. “Tonight I’m Yours”
12. “Baby Jane”
13. “If We Fall In Love Tonight”
14. “Ooh La La”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PEANUTS HOLIDAY COLLECTION (DVD)












Tis' the season to watch... Peanuts!

Don't forget about Charlie Brown this season. If you can't get enough of Peanuts, Warner Home Video has released the Peanuts Holiday Collection. This DVD set contains A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Although it's a fun tradition to watch them every year on regular TV, it's great to own them and be able to watch at any time. Want to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas in July? How about A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in April? Or, if you just want to get in a festive mood, this set is all you need. With these 3 re-mastered Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas classics all together in one set, this would make an awesome gift for anyone who loves Peanuts. It's definitely worth it to get this collection of these timeless classics.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Churched - Matthew Paul Turner












Things I’ve learned since reading Churched by Matthew Paul Turner:

- Don’t bring a Barbie doll to a fundamentalist Sunday school class (It’ll get lit on fire!)
- Azreal from the Smurfs is apparently an agent of Satan
- Hell is the ultimate “hot topic” in church
- Side effects of growing up fundamentalist can include living a life based on fear

While reading Matthew Paul Turner’s book Churched, I found myself laughing my ass off and feeling sad at the same time. I felt sad hearing about the hellfire and brimstone teachings pushed on him as a kid and how it created such a warped view of God. I didn’t grow up in a fundamentalist Baptist church like he did, but I can relate to the whole fear of hell thing since I was taught about it as a kid in Catholic school. I remember being scared shitless constantly thinking I was headed to hell since I wasn't really a “good kid”. Looking back, I can laugh about all of that now. And apparently, so can Matthew. The whole book is based on his experiences growing up in a fundamentalist environment. As messed up as the experiences were, he writes about them in a pretty funny way. The book’s gotten a lot of praises by writers like A.J. Jacobs and Robert Lanham. But that’s not what makes it good. It’s good because it’s an honest portrayal of growing up fundamentalist, with burning Barbie dolls and all. So if you could use a few laughs (along with reasons why not to become a fundamentalist), then you'd enjoy this book.

Monday, December 15, 2008

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (DVD)












"I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason."

That wise quote is from the film The Day the Earth Stood Still. This classic science-fiction movie was released on DVD this month, just in time for the new version starring Keanu Reeves. After watching it, I must say the original is just as relevant today as it must have been in the 1950's. Doomsday seems to be approaching as a mysterious alien and his robot come to Earth with a friendly reminder that if people don’t learn to get along, then the Earth is toast. Highlighting the fact that we humans are so good at fucking things up, this alien gives us a stern warning to clean up our act, or else. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a thought provoking movie that has a lot to say about war, politics and human relationships. For a movie from the 50’s, I thought the story was ahead of its time. I haven’t had the chance to see the new version yet, but I think it’s a good idea to watch this one first. This DVD contains the classic film and an exclusive first look at the new version. And with all the special features included, it would make a great addition to any sci-fi lover’s collection. Be sure to check it out...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (DVD)












Out of all the Dr. Seuss films made, I think Horton Hears a Who! stayed the most faithful to the book. Even with the advanced CGI they used, it still had that classic Dr. Seuss feel to it. It’s a film that was loads of fun to watch, and what made it better was the all-star voice cast that included Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, and Amy Poehler. I think a lot of people will be satisfied knowing that even the universal message that “A person’s a person, no matter how small” remained an important theme in the film. A lot of classic stories that get made into feature films usually lose a bit of the original theme. But not this one. In staying faithful to the story, the filmmakers wound up making a great animated film, while honoring the original story. The DVD is out now and is packed with extra features. Some of the them are almost as entertaining as the film is! Here’s a list of features that are included:

- Deleted Footage and Animation Screen Tests (w/ Introductions and optional audio commentaries by the directors)

- That’s One Big Elephant: Animating Horton
In an animation-focused featurette, learn how Blue Sky brought Horton to life.

- Bringing the Characters to Life
Watch the animators’ hilarious initial performances recorded as a reference to assist in animating the film.

- Meet Katie
Discover how the character “Katie” was developed by Blue Sky

- Elephant Fun: The Facts
Fun and informative featurette about elephants.

- Our Speck: Where Do We Fit In?
Using interviews with everyday kids, we’ll learn how even small actions can help make the world a better place.

- A Person Is a Person: A Universal Message

- Featuring interviews w/ cast and crew, we will take a closer look at the characters, the story and interpret the meanings of Horton Hears a Who!

- Bringing Seuss to Screen
Learn how Hayward and Martino maintained the authentic look and feel of Dr. Seuss’ world.

- The Elephant in the Room: Jim Carrey
Profile on Jim Carrey voicing Horton

- We Are Here! Game
Memory game in which you have to repeat the correct pattern of Who-noises.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (DVD)












Out of the two Narnia films, I enjoyed Prince Caspian much better than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There was more action, the special effects were better, and the story developed much faster. It is the ideal fantasy film to watch with the family. Well, now that I think about it, it’s a great fantasy film even if you don’t watch it with a family. I still like the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I just think that when comparing the two, Prince Caspian is a step above. Now, we finally get to see it in its DVD format. Disney has released this magical film in a special Collector’s Edition DVD that would really make an awesome Christmas gift. It’s loaded with tons of features. To give you a glimpse of what’s included, there are audio commentaries by the director and actors, a behind-the-scenes interview with the cast and crew, a tour of the film’s locations and sets, an inside view of the technology and production behind the movie, bloopers, and deleted scenes. So if you haven’t had the chance yet to see this film, I highly recommend checking it out. If you already have, now would be the perfect time to see it again...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Dark Knight (DVD)












The Dark Knight

Hype can be a good thing. It can create so much excitement leading up to a film's release. The downside of too much hype is that it could leave you with expectations that are impossible to live up to. In the case of The Dark Knight, the most phenomenal film of 2008, hype worked in its favor. All the buzz surrounding the film and unfortunately, Heath Ledger’s tragic death made the film more intriguing. I feel that The Dark Knight truly deserved EVERY bit of praise it was given, especially Heath’s performance as Joker. (Sorry Jack Nicholson, but your Joker has been bumped off the top spot…) As important as everybody’s role was, this was really the Joker’s show. His presence was undeniable, whether he was physically there or not. Even in the scenes that he wasn’t in, you sure as hell couldn’t ignore his presence. He was the ghost that haunted Gotham and effectively paralyzed the people with fear. For me, one of the reasons the film was so good was the psychological aspect of it. You don’t just see a villain doing crazy things here. You actually go into the depth of the Joker’s psychotic mind. It’s effective because the film plays with your head the same way the Joker got to Batman through his psychological games. This film is loaded with so many themes, that it takes a couple viewings to really take it in. With the DVD out now, it’s the perfect time to experience this awesome film once again. I don’t think anything else can be said about it that hasn’t been already. All that really needs to be said is, “Get a copy now on DVD!” Whether you saw it 10 times in the theater or not, get this DVD. Watch it, and then watch it again. And then when you’re done with that, watch it one more time...

Features on the 2-Disc Special Edition include:

- Gotham Uncovered – How Christopher Nolan and his team developed the new Bat-suit and Bat-pod and composer Hans Zimmer musically characterized The Joker’s reign of chaos.

- The Dark Knight IMAX® Scenes - View these 6 action-packed sequences - shot on the largest format possible - in their original IMAX framing, just as they were intended

- Gotham Tonight - 6 episodes of Gotham Cable’s premier news program

- The Galleries: Poster art and production stills


- Digital Copy of the Feature Film

Monday, December 08, 2008

Fred Claus (DVD)












Fred Claus
Out now on DVD

Some holiday cheer from… Vince Vaughn??

Yep, that’s right. Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti star together in the holiday comedy Fred Claus. You probably never imagined Santa having a dysfunctional family, did you? And you probably never knew he had an older brother named Fred. Well neither did I! With Vaughn starring as Fred, and Giamatti as Santa, Fred Claus is not your typical holiday film. Even though it has Santa in it, the film is really about Fred. Growing up in a family where he was constantly compared to his “saintly” brother Nick has made Fred into a bitter man. Even though their relationship is strained, Fred has no shame in asking Santa if he can borrow $50,000 when he's in desperate need of some cash. Santa agrees, but only if Fred comes and works in his toy factory! When these two get together, it’s funny to see them bicker like kids. One part that stood out to me was when a snowball fight turned into a brawl between the two brothers. That was definitely one of the funniest scenes in the film. Another memorable scene is when Fred Claus attended a support group for "second rate" siblings. There he met the real life characters of Frank Stallone (Sly’s brother), Roger Clinton (brother of Bill), and Stephen Baldwin as they all shared their pain of growing up in the shadows of a famous brother! I know all of this sounds like the film’s such a downer. But if you just stay until the end, you’ll see there’s a heartwarming message there. Did you expect anything else from a holiday film?

For an out-of-the-box holiday film, this one is worth checking out…

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Shiny Toy Guns - Season Of Poison












It’s been 2 years since the last Shiny Toy Guns album. For those of us waiting to hear something new from the band, they recently released the album Season Of Poison. Besides having a catchy album title, the songs here show that Shiny Toy Guns didn’t fall into a sophomore slump like so many artists do. It’s always hard for an artist to capture that same magic that made their debut album work. While Season Of Poison is no We Are Pilots, it is a good album. The band didn’t stray too far away from the sound that made their last album so good. One notable change is new band member Sisely Treasure being added to replace former vocalist Carah Faye Charnow. You’ll remember Carah from songs like Le Disko and You Are The One. With her gone, Sisely does a decent job taking over the role. At first listen, the album didn't really hit me the way I thought it would. But for some reason, after the 2nd and 3rd time playing it, it hit me in a subtle way that it’s really a good album. Maybe it was the song Money For That, or the aggressive sounding Ricochet! that got my attention. But whatever the reason was, I found myself really enjoying it Season Of Poison. With We Are Pilots and now Season Of Poison under their belts, I don’t expect this band to slow down anytime soon…

He-Man!

In celebration of all things He-Man (one of the greatest animated series ever), I want to mention two awesome DVD sets.


The first is He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe Season One, Volume 2.












I reviewed Volume 1 earlier this year, and this Volume 2 collection is a great follow up to that set. There are 32 episodes that continue the epic saga, as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe battle against Skeletor and his crew. With a running time of 688 minutes, Volume 2 is perfect for any fan of the old-school Masters Of The Universe cartoons. There are hours and hours of showtime here to relive this series. The DVD format also makes the cartoons look as good as new. Definitely check this out if you appreciate this classic animated show.


The next one is He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe Volume 2.












Not to be confused with the original, this version of Masters Of The Universe is a modern series that revived the older one. Volume 2 contains the second 13 episodes of the show with a running time of 286 minutes. Maybe I’m biased because I grew up on the older series, so I’ll always enjoy the original. But without comparing the two, this is an exciting series on its own. Lots of action and some great animation make it a series worth checking out. The battle continues on as He-Man and his friends stand in the way of Skeletor’s attempt to rule over the planet!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool




Here's another book review from my associate, Amica Paige. This time, she tackles the book "Screamfree Parenting"...





Are you a parent? If so, then you must be familiar and/or even guilty with one, or more, or all of the following expressions and/or actions, or reactions rather, you’ve directed at your child at some point of madness or another.

    1. “…or I’m going to sew your butt off with a spoon.”

    2. “You won’t like me when I’m mad”

    3. “You’re always/never…” (continue with your own unique verbal ammunition)

    4. use laser eyes to melt the opponent, which is your child in this case

    5. attack opponent, which is still your child, verbally

    6. attack opponent—your child still—non-verbally (silent treatment)

    7. recall (take back) things given such as toys, promises, praises, etc., to the undeserving brat, or imp, also known as your child in this case too

    8. scathingly grind teeth at opponent—you know who this is—in combination with numbers 1 through 10

    9. banish opponent—same person still—to his/her room

    10. and countless other ways to battle the opponent—your child still, of course—with strategies I’d rather not mention…well, one of which is to justify your normal temporary attack of raging insanity clearly out of anger and naturally blaming it on the little devil that is your child of course

Well, quite shamefully, I’ve said and done them all rather shamelessly, and perhaps even a bit more—which I truly hope that I'm honestly mistaken about—except the first one, which is really an original by another mom. But I probably would have saved myself, and incidentally, my family, from a lot of unnecessary chaos, if I had only encountered this book much sooner. But regardless of where you are in your parenthood, this book is a tool that can help you navigate your way through the difficult places, or mazes, of a parent/child relationship and perhaps even assist you in building a safe haven for you and your child’s psychological and emotional health, because it's never too late to start making a change.

Clear and concise, Screamfree provides actual examples of those difficult parent/child interactions and effective strategies on dealing with those situations. Hal Edward Runkel sensibly reminds us, parents, that the only way to positively influence our children is to reclaim control of ourselves and focus on our behaviors, because we are not responsible for our children’s behaviors, but we are responsible to them for how we behave. Remember that.

Pick up this book if you honestly can’t remember the last time you had balance, structure, consistency, calm, and connectedness in your family as you got lost in the its usual madness. Pick up this book even if you’ve never screamed before, verbally or emotionally. You never know when something really trying comes along to make you suddenly stop breathing, even if only temporarily. You'd know how to put on your oxygen mask first to be able to help the one(s) who look to you for help and guidance and love.

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (DVD)












And you thought George Lucas was finished?

Out now on DVD is Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

This computer animated film is the first of its kind in the line of Star Wars movies. The Clone Wars takes place between Episodes II and III, when the war between the Separatists and the Republic is heating up.

For all the crap George Lucas got from the last few Star Wars episodes, I think it was a good move to throw in an animated film in the series. The animation gives you a way of seeing the franchise in a totally different way. First off, the computer animation is really, really good. For a movie like this, you need to have some killer animation to backup all the fierce battles. And as far as action goes, there is plenty of it. From the explosive battle scenes to awesome lightsaber duels, there’s enough action to grab your attention from start to finish. The story is also filled with lots of twists and turns. Some parts are predictable, and some take you by surprise. Then there are parts that bordered on being “cutesy”, especially when they included Jabba The Hutt’s son, also known as “Stinky”. Then again, this movie is also for kids, so there’s no harm done there. All of the main characters such as Anakin, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, and Yoda are here along with some new ones. Characters like Anakin’s new Padawan Ahsoka Tano and the evil bald chick known as Asajj Ventress were the newcomers here. Asajj got lots of screen time as she was given the task of destroying the Jedi’s plan to rescue Jabba’s son. She was a pretty mean chick that gave Obi Wan a good fight. For all the negative stuff that was said about the last few episodes, I think this film restores a little hope in the Star Wars films. It also blows open the door for a new Clone Wars series that we can expect in the near future. Speaking of that series, there are previews on the 2-disc set that give a little taste of what’s to come. Lots of behind the scenes material are also included in the special features, including some great footage of the actors in the studio recording their characters' lines.


Overall, The Clone Wars is an exciting ride of a film that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More Free DVD's To Giveaway!

I'm playing Santa again, and this time I'm running TWO contests where you can win some more DVD's.

The first one is for the Vans Warped Tour 2007 DVD. The largest festival tour currently running in North America, the DVD features live performances, band interviews, and over an hour of bonus songs.











The FIRST person who emails me at societys.elite@gmail.com with the phrase "I want my Vans 2007 DVD" wins.


The next giveaway is for The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1978 and The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1979 DVD's. The footage on these DVDs has been unseen for 30 years, and is being made available through an exclusive agreement between Shout! Factory and the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. To win these two DVD's, be the FIRST person to email me at societys.elite@gmail.com with the phrase "Johnny Cash is my hero" in the subject line.












Good luck!

Wall-E and Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? (Plug and Play)

I'm an old school video game guy from the 80’s, so I can still appreciate easier to play games. That's why I love these Plug and Play games by Jakks Pacific. You don't need a bunch of extra cables, controllers, or software to play them. You just take them out of the box, put in some batteries, and plug them into the TV. That's it.

With holiday shopping already going full speed ahead, I thought I'd mention two new Plug and Play games. I played these at home and both are loads of fun.











The first is Wall-E. Based on the animated Disney/Pixar film, you get to help Wall-E navigate the treacherous trash terrain or help him escape the Axiom ship. What’s cool about this is that instead of a plain old joystick, you play the game using a robot replica of Wall-E. If you enjoyed the movie, then you’ll probably have lots of fun playing this. Also, the graphics and sound are pretty advanced for a little game like this, which is definitely a plus. The target ages are 6 and above, but Wall-E can be enjoyed all the way up to the 30 and older crowd.











Next up is the Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? game. If you want to find out how smart (or dumb) you are, test your knowledge by trying to win the million dollar prize. Based on the game show, this game asks you questions on subjects ranging from math, science, history, geography and social studies. I’m ashamed to admit that this game showed me how much I didn’t know. My 9 year old son faired much better than I did, as he was the first one to make it to the million dollar prize. So if you have kids in the 4th or 5th grade, you’ll notice a lot of the questions asked are exactly what they’re learning in class. Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? is a fun way to brush up on all the stuff you forgot from elementary school. Also, it’s a great opportunity for kids to make their parents look like fools! Haha! It’s all in good fun...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tropic Thunder (DVD)












There are more reasons to laugh your ass off at home now with Tropic Thunder out on DVD. This hilarious film by Ben Stiller is a must see. Not only did Ben star in it, but he directed it as well. Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black join Ben to form a comedy trio that made this one of the year’s funniest films. Downey proves once again why he’s among Hollywood’s best actors, as he pulled off playing an Australian and a black guy all in one film. Halfway through the movie, you’ll forget that he’s really a white dude! There are also cameos galore by some unlikely Hollywood stars. By far, the best surprise came from Tom Cruise in his role as Les Grossman. I never knew Tommy boy was capable of being so funny (except when he’s on Oprah or plugging Scientology in real life). He had me rolling with his portrayal of a selfish son -of-a-bitch movie producer. Overall, it’s a comedy that’s loaded with action and lots of shit blowing up. With a film like this, it pays to have the 2-disc set. The set has an outrageous version not seen in theaters. And the special features? Commentaries, interviews, deleted scenes, extended scenes, and an alternate ending are a sample of what’s included.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Get Smart (DVD)












Get Smart

It was only a matter of time before Get Smart was made into a movie. In this age when every classic show is getting brought to life on the big screen, you had to know this one was coming. Based on the popular 60’s show, Get Smart stars Steve Carell as Agent Maxwell Smart. Along with Carell, the cast also includes Anne Hathaway (Agent 99) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Agent 23). Now I have my reservations about Steve Carell, but I thought he was convincing as Maxwell Smart. From the nasally voice to the mannerisms, he really wound up pulling off the role. The film itself is one that I wouldn’t have paid to see in the theaters. But it is a decent film to pop on for movie night at home. The combo of action/comedy was funny at times, yet seemed forced at others. Had anyone else other than Carell played the main role, it probably would have been a disaster. Like I was saying, it’s a film that is better to watch on DVD than in the theaters. The 2-disc special edition offers extra bonuses such as a digital copy of the movie, interviews with the cast and crew (some were as funny as the skits in the film), and a behind the scenes look at how the film was made (including the task of filming in Russia). So if you’re going to get the DVD, it’s worth it to get the 2-disc edition with all the extra bonuses.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Smashing Pumpkins - If All Goes Wrong (DVD)












The Smashing Pumpkins have just released a DVD set titled If All Goes Wrong. This 2-DVD set features a full concert and a revealing 105-minute documentary. Being a Pumpkins’ fan, this was one that I had to check out. After watching it, I now appreciate their work more than I did in the past. The documentary took you from Billy Corgan doing acoustic songs in his bathrobe, to fans’ thoughts on the band reuniting, to tons of interviews done with the band. On the second disc there’s The Fillmore Residency, a full concert filmed in late July and early August of 2007 over five of the 11 sold-out nights at the famed Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. This concert showcased seven new tracks not available anywhere else, along with new versions of fan favorites. Definitely plan on checking out If All Goes Wrong if you are a fan of this legendary rock band.

Here are the details for both discs...

Disc 1:
*"If All Goes Wrong" documentary
*"Voices Of The Ghost Children" featurette
*Interview with The Who guitarist, Pete Townshend

Disc 2:
*The Fillmore Residency
1. The Rose March*
2. Peace + Love*
3. 99 Floors*
4. Superchrist
5. Lucky 13
6. Starla
7. Death From Above
8. The Crying Tree Of Mercury
9. Winterlong
10. Heavy Metal Machine
11. Untitled
12. No Surrender*

13. Gossamer*
14. Zeitgeist

Bonus Tracks: Live From The Floor Of The Fillmore
*"99 Floors"
*”Peace + Love”
*"No Surrender"
*”Mama”*
*”Promise Me”*

*previously unreleased>



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Best of Dr. Katz (DVD)












To be able to hear your favorite comedians have a therapy session would be priceless. We can thank Dr. Katz for giving us that opportunity to eavesdrop in his animated therapy sessions! On December 2nd, the BEST of Dr. Katz will be released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment and Comedy Central. This DVD includes the funniest moments of this animated series where guests such as Conan O’Brien, Ray Romano, Dave Chappelle, Denis Leary, Sarah Silverman, and Janeane Garofalo come in for therapy. Each “session” turns out to be a hilarious time where you get to see the stars’ neurosis! It’s too bad this show isn’t on the air anymore. At least a DVD has finally been released where you can relive these classic moments! If you do watch it, be prepared to laugh a lot. I think the warning on the back of the DVD cover says it all:

WARNING: This collection of comedic confection contains quite simply the most obsessive, compulsive, and tormented patients to ever grace the good doctor’s couch.

Spin City: The Complete First Season (DVD)












Spin City finally gets its DVD debut with the release of the complete first season. One of the best series of the 90’s, this witty show took you into the life of a quirky NYC City Hall staff. Its depiction of the staff that ran the city was downright hilarious. Things never came easy for Michael J. Fox as he had to keep a bumbling Mayor from looking like an idiot, along with working with a dysfunctional staff. How dysfunctional is the staff? For starters there’s the insecure press secretary, a sexist chief of staff, a gay activist that runs minority affairs, and a man-crazy accountant. It’s the perfect oddball team that was needed to make this sitcom work. This new collection released by Shout! Factory captures all 24 episodes in a 4-DVD set. Along with the episodes there are all new interviews and commentaries with the cast and creators of the show. In case you never got to watch this smart sitcom when it was out, now is your chance. And if you’re a fan that’s been wondering when the hell the show would get put on DVD, the wait is over…

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Long Way Down (DVD)












Hearing the phrase "reality show" leaves a bad taste in my mouth. To me, "reality" TV usually equates to "bullshit" TV. Most of it is like a baaaaad soap opera where people act in front of a camera to show how "real" they are. Even though the show Long Way Down is categorized as "reality" TV, its way above the level of other shows that are in that category. In case you're not familiar, Long Way Down is epic motorcycle adventure TV series that follows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip from Scotland to South Africa. All 10 episodes of the series are out now on a 3-DVD collection. It truly is an eye-opening series. Watching it, you see a side of Ewan McGregor other than the "celebrity". It was an amazing experience to see these guys bike over 15, 000 miles through countries like Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Namibia. For all the excitement that came along with the trip, there were also lots of setbacks and frustrations too. All of the struggles that came with such an exhausting journey were not edited out, which made it much more interesting to watch. If you haven't had the chance to see it yet, the DVD set is available now for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shrek The Halls (DVD)












SHREK the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la…

It’s getting into the Holiday season, and you know what that means. Shopping, get-togethers, and CHRISTMAS SPECIALS! For a while, Rudolph, Frosty, and A Charlie Brown Christmas were the traditional holiday favorites. Well, with Shrek The Halls, the big green Ogre has now joined the ranks of those great ones. Who would have known that Shrek would be included among the classics? Now, this holiday special is out on DVD. I’m sure after you watch it, you’ll agree that it’s one of the better holiday specials. It runs about a half hour long, and no minute is wasted in this hilarious attempt by Shrek to try and make Christmas special for his family. Of course with Shrek, you can expect some sort of chaos to occur. From Shrek getting a copy of a "Christmas for Dummies" book, to Donkey, Puss In Boots and the rest of the gang crashing his sacred family time, nothing goes right for the green guy. However, as in most holiday specials, an important lesson is learned at the end. In the midst of all the holiday madness, make sure to set aside a little time for the green Ogre to bring some laughter to your home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

30 Rock - Season 2 (DVD)












The cool thing about limiting the time you watch TV is that you don’t have to worry about spending too much time on a show. TV shows released on DVD however, feed that addiction. Speaking of addictive shows, I have been spending too much time watching 30 Rock Season 2 on DVD. I love it! It’s smart. The comedy is subtle. And I never knew Alec Baldwin could be so damn funny! Seriously, since Seinfeld went off the air, it’s been hard to find a show that can fill its shoes. Well, 30 Rock comes close to doing the job. The entire second season is out on DVD in a 2-disc set. All the hilarious episodes starring Tina Fey, Baldwin, Tracey Morgan, and Jane Krakowski are here. This season also has guest appearances by people like Jerry Seinfeld, David Schwimmer, and James Carville. If you own it, it’s easy to blow a few hours watching one episode after another. In fact, with this set you may need to detox after getting your 30 Rock “fix”.

Kung Fu Panda and Secrets of the Furious Five (DVD)









It’s been a few months since summer ended, so that means we can expect the blockbusters to be rolling in on DVD. A lot of the biggies have already been released on DVD (except for Dark Knight). This month, we have Kung Fu Panda. Actually, this one comes in a combo pack that includes the film’s follow-up short film called Secrets of the Furious Five. Having just watched these 2 DVD’s, I can say that these are well worth your time. First off, you can’t go wrong with an underdog story about a clumsy panda that is destined to become a Dragon Warrior. On top of that you have the voice talents of Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, and Lucy Liu. It’s been stated that the animation in Kung Fu Panda is more complex than anything DreamWorks had done before. I would have to agree since the animation was nothing short of amazing. As for the story, it’s your typical “unknown character becomes unlikely hero” theme. There are lots of wise quotes dropped throughout the film that are more advanced than most other animated films. You almost feel like a Zen master after watching the film. Overall, this movie is not one to be missed, whether you’re an adult or child.

The other DVD, Secrets of the Furious Five, is one that you have to watch after Kung Fu Panda to fully "get" the story. It is narrated by Po the panda (Jack Black), and goes into detail of how the Furious Five was formed. This one seemed to be targeted more for younger audiences. However, it's got enough laughs for adults to enjoy as well. The only downside is that this short film is really “short”. It’s only 24 minutes long. It could have easily been included on the Kung Fu Panda DVD as a special feature, rather than having its own disc. That might irk some viewers, especially if they expected Secrets of the Furious Five to be a lot longer than 24 minutes. For whatever reason they chose to put this one on its own disc, I have no clue. However, it still is a decent short film.

If you haven’t seen any of these yet, then what are you waiting for! Check them out for their sheer “awesomeness”…

Free DVD Giveaway!












Ch-ch-ch-check this out. I am giving away a FREE copy of the movie The Longshots, starring Ice Cube and Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee). The DVD comes out on DVD December 2nd, but I have a copy available now for one lucky winner!

Based on the real life story of Pop Warner’s first female quarterback, THE LONGSHOTS follows Jasmine Plummer’s journey from misfit to football hero under the coaching of her uncle, former high school football star Curtis Plummer. Blowing away the skeptics and the competition alike with her skills on the gridiron, Jasmine takes control and leads her team to the league’s Super Bowl.

All you need to do is email me at societys.elite@gmail.com with 3 titles of any Ice Cube song that came out before the year 2000. I will notify the winner via email on Monday, November 24th. Good luck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization’s Best Bits












Remember the days when you thought getting the flu was more fun than learning about history? I remember in high school, I caught more naps in history class than a kid gets in pre-school. Well the new book The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization’s Best Bits is here to change that perception of history. This book actually makes going through history fun. Both funny and informative, The Mental Floss History of the World is hard to put down once you start. Going as far back as 60,000 BCE, the guys at mental_floss compiled twelve chapters of some odd historical facts, reminding us that civilization has always been jacked up. Like it says in the book’s intro, “History is full of people who knew plenty about history, but kept on repeating the same stupid mistakes again and again anyway.

Overall, it’s a fun book that helps you brush up on your history and get some laughs along the way.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brocabulary: The New Man-i-festo of Dude Talk












Women aren’t the only ones with a secret language!

The myth that men’s vocabulary consists of one-word answers and grunting is shattered with the new book Brocabulary: The New Man-i-festo of Dude Talk. “Manthropologist” Daniel Maurer compiled this hilarious new dictionary for guy-speak. Brocabulary was written for all types of men to step up their game when talking with other “bros”. This book is not for the easily offended, as it contains terms that should only be used “amongst bros”. Maurer goes to great lengths to define “Barticulation” (articulation that occurs at a bar), “Chilloquialisms” (colloquialisms specific to the art of chilling), and a whole slew of other terms relating to dating, sex, etc. The most taboo topics you can possibly think of are probably defined here. Overall, guys (especially in their 20’s and 30’s) will probably find this book hilarious. Ladies, I’m not too sure about. Then again, it’s not written for ladies, it’s written for dudes...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dead Space: Downfall












Right away, if you see a severed arm floating in space on a DVD cover, you know the movie’s not going to be a “happy” film. Dead Space: Downfall is one of the darkest Anime films I have seen. It’s creepy as hell, and the alien creatures are extremely gruesome. To sum it up, it’s an intense horror/thriller. After a deep-space mining ship known as the USG Ishimura brings an ancient religious artifact on-board, the relic unleashes a race of killer aliens. These are some vicious, bloodthirsty creatures intent on killing every human on the ship. However, there is a small group of humans that will fight these creatures to the death. This fighting crew is led by a tough chick that makes Ripley from Aliens look like Strawberry Shortcake. The fight for survival is on, as the humans try and survive against the aliens. The only problem is that they're outnumbered and stuck in space, where no one can hear their screams...

Dead Space: Downfall is out now on DVD.

Stargate Infinity: The Complete Series












Stargate Infinity, the animated series inspired by the original Stargate film starring Kurt Russell is no longer on TV. That doesn’t mean you can’t watch it anymore though. Shout! Factory, the company that continues to feed people’s pop culture habits, has released the complete series on DVD. The set comes with 4 discs that contain all 26 episodes of this sci-fi cartoon. This series follows Major Bonner and his team of soldiers as they travel to different worlds through the Stargate. Throughout the show, Bonner’s crew has to fight off an evil alien race that is trying to take over the universe. The series is packed with lots of adventures as the team travels to different worlds and meets many races and cultures. Along with the action, there are wise one-liners dropped throughout the show that give bits of wisdom to its viewers. Did you think there wouldn’t be some type of morality lesson in an animated series like this?

Overall, Stargate Infinity: The Complete Series is an enjoyable collection for any fan of sci-fi cartoon adventures.

For more info, click here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

100 Greatest

If you ever found yourself wondering who or what shaped recent history, a good place to start would be Shout! Factory’s 100 Greatest collection. This impressive set consists the following 5 CD’s:

Disc One: 100 Greatest Speeches










Disc Two: 100 Greatest News Stories










Disc Three: 100 Greatest Personalities










Disc Four: 100 Greatest Scandals










Disc Five: 100 Greatest Sports Moments












On these 5 discs, you get a tour through history hearing sound clips of some of the world’s most influential people, notorious scandals, and defining sports moments. The clips contained are from liars and cheaters, heroes and leaders, legendary celebrities, as well as peacemakers and fighters. Think of any major event or person in the last century, and they’re probably on here. I’m not really a history buff, but this set made it quite entertaining to relive these moments.

For more info on this set, click here.


Nightmare Revisited












Even though Halloween is over, you can still enjoy some spooky tunes courtesy of Nightmare Revisited. This album is one that has gotten heavy rotation on my playlist, before and after Halloween. Nightmare Revisited is a collection of songs obviously from the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Top artists in the music industry performed their own covers of the film’s tunes. The artists on the album include Marilyn Manson, All-American Rejects, Flyleaf, Yoshida Brothers, Amy Lee from Evanescence, and Shiny Toy Guns. The songs on here were done with creative integrity, so all you fans of the movie don’t have to worry about the songs getting sabotaged. Even though all the tracks are great, if I had to choose 3 that really stood out, they would have to be Marilyn Manson’s haunting version of “This is Halloween”, Flyleaf’s “What’s This”, and All-American Rejects “Jack’s Lament”. If you’re in the mood for a taste of the bizarre, this album will definitely satisfy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hell Ride (DVD)












Mr. Tarantino, why do you do this to us? You put your name on a film, leading us on to think it’s another one of your films, but in reality it's not a "real" Tarantino film. Sure it says your name on it, but it only says “Quentin Tarantino presents”...

I was looking forward to watching Hell Ride. Just released on DVD, this film follows a tough group of bikers seeking to avenge the death of a loved one by the hands of a sadistic, rival motorcycle gang. Hearing Tarantino’s name included in it had me expecting the next Grindhouse. I watched it with no expectation other than it being another cheesy, over-the-top action film. Even with my expectations low, I was still let down. To sum it up, Hell Ride felt like it was trying real hard to be the next Grindhouse film. Instead, a lot of parts really dragged on only to leave you disappointed. I expected some explosive biker chases, gun fights, etc. But instead there was a lot of tough guy dialogue and random shoot-outs that led to a dead-end. Even the guest appearances of people like Dennis Hopper and David Carradine didn’t help. The only character I enjoyed was Michael Madsen as “The Gent”. His portrayal of the badass biker who wears a suit was one of the high points of the film. I usually enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s style. I just wish that if he puts his name on a film, he actually has a strong influence in the making of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Flight Before Christmas (DVD)












I’m one of those people who can watch Christmas movies in the summer. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, I can always enjoy a good holiday film. Well, with the season fast approaching, I need to mention a new Holiday film that was just released on DVD. This one’s called The Flight Before Christmas. It’s about a reindeer who doesn’t know how to fly, but is determined to learn how, just like his dad. The reindeer’s name is Niko and his dad is one of Santa’s reindeer. The problem is that Niko never met his dad. So he sets off on a journey to the North accompanied by a flying squirrel named Julius (Norm MacDonald). On his trip, he runs into a group of wolves that are planning to eat Santa and his reindeer! So now, not only is Niko on the run for his life, but he has to get to Santa before the wolves and warn him about the danger. The CGI in this movie was great and the story had just the right elements to make it one of the better holiday films in recent years. Definitely add The Flight Before Christmas to your list of movies to watch this holiday season.