Friday, January 30, 2009
That poor blockhead. Charlie Brown has never had much luck with anything. If you’ve ever waited to see Chuck finally catch a break, don’t miss You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition. This animated Peanuts classic is out now on DVD for the first time in the U.S. In You’re a Good Sport, watch Chuck go against characters like Peppermint Patty and the Masked Marvel (Snoopy) in a Motocross race! Be amazed as you watch him come close to something he never got before: VICTORY. Get ready to laugh at this funny and entertaining animated classic that shows a great example of what it means to be a “good sport”. This is a must see for any Peanuts fan. The DVD contains the Emmy® Award-Winning You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown AND a bonus episode of You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown. Be sure to check it out!
DVD Special Features also include:
Dust Yourself Off and Pick Yourself Up, Charlie Brown – An original feature that tells the story of how Charles Schulz’ son Craig’s passion for dirt biking inspired his dad to feature it in his comics.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Out of all the horror monsters out there, I always thought the most likeable are vampires. They're passionate and classy creatures, except when they're sucking the blood out of someone. Sure, these bloodthirsty creatures feed on innocent people. But there’s something about them that makes you want to like them. Well if you’re into vampire stories like I am, Moonlight: The Complete Series has just been released on DVD. The show’s main character is a good guy vampire named Mick St. John. Besides being a vampire, he’s a L.A. private eye that doesn’t hunt women, children, or innocents. It’s sad to see that this show is not on the air anymore. I think it had the potential to be great, if given another chance. Even though it’s not on TV, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch it anymore. Warner Home Video just released a four-disc collector’s set containing all 16 episodes. From the opening episode you are “sucked into” a series that is filled with lots of mystery, action, and suspense. If you haven’t gotten the chance to see this show that should still be on the air, I recommend checking out this set.
Out of the many books I've read lately, I'd have to say one of the most impressive is The DC Comics Encyclopedia. This massive book contains practically every fact relating to anything published by DC. Inside you'll find all the well known characters along with ones virtually unheard of (unless YOU are a human DC Comics Encyclopedia). Each character comes with a detailed profile that provides you with more than enough info to fill your mind. Got a favorite hero or villain that you’d like to learn more about? This is your ultimate guide. Comic book fan or not, you can’t help but be amazed at how DK Publishing compiled this Encyclopedia. Overall, it’s a book that can turn someone who doesn’t know anything about DC Comics into an excited new fan.
Check it out...
Monday, January 26, 2009
Here's a review of the Breakfast At Tiffany's - Centennial Collection DVD by my associate, Amica Paige...
What do the movie, Cloverfield, Audrey Hepburn, breakfast, and the high-class store, Tiffany and Co., have in common? Well, the first one mentions the second one’s other movie during a party scene, while the second one had the third one in front of the fourth one’s window in a different movie unmentioned by the first one. And all of them, except the second one’s “other” movie, take place in New York City, with the last one physically standing still, timeless, like the film that featured it. Well if you’ve never had breakfast at Tiffany’s, you can certainly resort to watching Audrey do it with strength and style, as the sassy, flighty escort-girl Holly Golightly in the classic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. While maneuvering her way through shenanigans as fleeting and constant as her caprice, and frequently having her breakfast—coffee and croissants—by the window of a glamorous shop, Tiffany’s, to eye out its glitz, she is also, ironically, in search of a wealthy partner to settle with. She encounters a charming, aspiring writer, who offers her the stability that only true love can afford. Her free spirit and fear of commitment is eventually confronted by his strong affection for her.
This romantic comedy is smart and fun. With special features—on the director Blake Edwards, the Oscar-recipient composer, Henry Mancini, the cast’s reunion party, the star, Audrey, her store, “Tiffany”, and a tour of Paramount Pictures, among a few other treats—that are truly worth watching as much as the film itself, your movie collection can’t do without Paramount’s Centennial 2-CD release of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Or you’d be as sad as Hepburn, or Golightly rather, after she had chased her cats away, her true admirer and her feline alike.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Two buddies in search of a high school sweetheart in the forest makes for some good laughs. Released exclusively to DVD, Without A Paddle: Nature’s Calling is the kind of goofy comedy you can pop on for some easy laughs. I just watched this movie on DVD and it wasn’t as bad as it appeared to be. Direct to DVD releases (especially sequels) sometimes give the impression that they’re going to suck. After watching the first five minutes of this one, I had a gut-feeling I’d actually enjoy it. In the film, best friends Ben and Zach head out into the wilderness with an eccentric Brit named Nigel in search of a dying old lady’s granddaughter. This girl (now known as Earthchild) also happens to be Ben’s high school crush. On their journey into the wilderness they encounter rough waters, vicious squirrels, and Jerry Rice (yes, the one from the NFL). Everything that can possibly go wrong for the main characters does go wrong. And that’s where the fun lies. You don’t watch a film like this to see the characters make it through their journey scratch free. You want to see every frustrating obstacle get thrown their way! And in this film, the main characters have to hilariously bumble their way through each one.
Without A Paddle: Nature’s Calling is out now on DVD. Check it out...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Disney does it again with releasing another great fantasy film. Out on DVD January 27th is The Secret of the Magic Gourd, an inspiring story about a young daydreamer named Raymond who learns an important lesson about life. When Raymond accidentally finds a mysterious Magic Gourd while fishing, he gets more than he ever imagined when the Gourd offers to make all his wishes come true. However, Raymond’s wishes eventually backfire, putting him in some hilarious situations. The consequences of some of his wishes actually get him in trouble, which leads up to one of the film’s lessons that "there's no such thing as an unearned reward." The Secret of the Magic Gourd is based on a Chinese children’s novel and is also Disney’s first Chinese language film. With the DVD release date coming so soon, I would definitely recommend checking it out. The DVD also includes bloopers, behind-the-scenes footage and a game called Too Many Toys (pay attention in the film when the toys follow Raymond home to really get this game).
On the 27th, be on the lookout for this magical film on DVD...
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Twice The Action. Twice The Carnage. Double The Smash.
This DVD is no joke. Out on January 27th is the highly anticipated Marvel feature called Hulk Vs. In this DVD, Hulk battles not only one, but two Marvel powerhouses. I just watched the DVD, and man it is intense! Hulk is matched up this time against Wolverine and Thor in this 2-disc set. For someone expecting a lukewarm DVD version of a comic book, you won't find it here. This is as dark and bloody as an animated show can get. It's definitely not for younger kids, but older comic fans will probably love it. Personally, I thought it was phenomenal. The action was nonstop and both stories were dark and exciting. For all the hype surrounding this release, I'd say the DVD lives up to every bit of it. The DVD set comes with both episodes of Hulk Vs. Wolverine and Hulk Vs. Thor, along with the following special features:
Hulk Vs. Wolverine - Audio Commentary by Supervising Producer/co-writer Craig Kyle and co-writer Chris Yost
Hulk Vs. Thor - Audio Commentary by Supervising Producer/co-writer Craig Kyle and co-writer Chris Yost
“First Look – Wolverine and the X-Men” featurette
“First Look – Thor Tales of Asgard” featurette
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Superman has never been one of my favorite heroes. He always seemed like too much of a "nice guy". But since I always felt guilty for not liking him that much (I know, how un-American of me), I never completely shut the door on the Man of Steel. I was pleasantly surprised with Smallville when it came out, which I enjoy a lot. So I guess you can say that show restored my faith a bit in Superman. Recently, I read the hardcover version of the graphic novel Superman: Last Son. Anyone familiar with the Superman series knows that Clark Kent is the last son of Krypton, or so we thought. This story picks up when a mysterious boy lands on earth and it turns out he’s from Krypton! Superman develops a connection with the boy and goes out of his way to protect him. But he has no clue the secret that the boy holds. Last Son brings back movie director Richard Donner to contribute to the story. There are plenty of great battles that occur here, with Superman fighting against most of his foes. Lex Luthor, Bizarro, and General Zod are some of the forces that threaten Superman and his beloved Metropolis. As for the illustrations, they were awesome. There’s even a pair of 3D glasses included with the book to help read one of the sections done in 3D. Yeah, Superman is always going to be a “nice guy”. But like in this story, he’s a nice guy that can kick some serious ass...
It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing something related to the Transformers anymore. With the movie released in 2007, the popularity of the “robots in disguise” skyrocketed. Walk into any toy store and see Transformers products galore. I’m not one to complain since I have been a huge fan ever since the original Transformers series was out in the 80’s. Now Transformers Animated is nowhere near the original, but it’s a unique and quirky show that I really dig. It’s fast paced, funny, and loaded with action. Season 2 of this extremely fun series has just been released on DVD. If you haven’t watched this show yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. Season 2 continues the Autobots’ battle with the Decepticons for control of planet Earth. This season also introduces the Autobots Elite Guard which is sent to Earth to take possession of the Allspark. This creates some conflict within the Autobots since Optimus Prime and his team is already familiar with life on Earth, and the Elite Guard is not. There’s this feeling of superiority that comes from the Elite Guard that gets pretty annoying. But it does make for some good drama in the show. If you’re a fan of the original series, you’ll notice that some familiar faces such as Ultra Magnus and Jazz show up here. Overall, this Season 2 double-disc DVD set contains all the excitement of the show packed in each of the 13 episodes. Don’t miss it...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Before there was Rush Hour, there was Supercop. Out now in an ultimate edition DVD, this film is a nonstop adrenaline rush. Jackie Chan does what he does best by pushing the limits of how far stunts can go in a movie. It’s amazing what this guy can pull off all by himself. Want some action? In Supercop there are plenty of boat chases, car chases, shoot-outs, explosions, and of course lots of extreme martial arts. This new DVD is released under the Dragon Dynasty label and it makes a great collectible for anyone that loves a good martial arts film. The DVD also gives you the option of watching it in Cantonese or English. Personally, I don’t enjoy watching movies with subtitles because the words displayed on the bottom of the screen distract me. But if you wanted to watch the film in Cantonese, you have that option too.
Other Special Features included on the 2-Disc set:
• Flying High: An Exclusive Interview With Star Jackie Chan
• Dancing With Death: An Interview With Leading Lady Michelle Yeoh
• The Stuntmaster General: An Exclusive Interview With Director Stanley Tong
• The Fall Guy: An Exclusive Interview With Co-Star And Jackie Chan Bodyguard And Training Partner Ken Lo
• Commentary By Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan
Mulder and Scully are back! After waiting over 10 years, we finally get to see a second X-Files film. With the cult following this show had, I think a lot of high expectations were set. Now, if you’re one of those fans that got disappointed after seeing this, I can understand. Waiting this long for another X-Files movie only to find out it has nothing to do with aliens can be a bummer. But wait! I know that the whole alien conspiracy played a big role in the TV series, but that’s not all it was about. Don’t forget that there were lots of other cases that dealt with different types of phenomena. From what I remember, some cases happened to involve psychics. And it’s a psychic that plays an important part in this film. When a FBI agent goes missing, Mulder and Scully are called back in to help with the investigation. Mulder is more reluctant to help, but that changes quickly as he gets more involved. However, they aren’t the only ones who are recruited to assist the FBI. A former priest named "Father Joe" has some kind of psychic connection to the crimes and his visions provide huge clues in this mystery. What follows is a race to save the ones who are missing, leading up to a disturbing twist at the end. Personally, I thought this was a great film. It really had that X-Files feel to it, even without the aliens. If you didn't see it yet, the DVD is out now. Along with the film, the 2-disc set boasts an impressive 3 hours of special features.
Check it out...
Sunday, January 11, 2009
In the mood for a movie to shake you up a bit? Eagle Eye will knock you on your ass. I had no clue how much I would enjoy this movie. Is it farfetched? Yes. Entertaining? Hell yeah! As much as I have my reservations with Shia LaBeouf coming off like a frantic cokehead in his roles, I can forgive him in this one. From start to finish, this film punches you in the gut and leaves you breathless as you wait for the kicker at the end. This blockbuster is loaded with action and a story that'll blow you away. The star of this film is not LaBeouf, Billy Bob Thornton, or any of the other actors. No, it's the one who's watching them in the film. Who (or what) is exactly doing the watching? I can't say with revealing any secrets. Let's just say it's like HAL from 2001 meets government surveillance technology gone bad. If you thought you were paranoid with "big brother" now, this movie takes it to a whole different level. Eagle Eye is out now on DVD and just when you thought you got some resolution at the end of the film, the 2-disc version contains an alternate ending that basically laughs right in your face with yet another twist.
Check it out!
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Here's a review of The Tales Of Beedle The Bard by Amica Paige...
Another enchanting book is The Tales of Beedle the Bard, an accompaniment to the last of the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hollows, created by no other than, J.K. Rowling of course. This time she gave her creative pot half a stir more for a more fanciful take on an otherwise typical fantasy book and brewed a whimsical read with a twist, just like she did with the books Quidditch through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As if Harry's world truly existed alongside ours, yet unseen by us muggles, us commoners who are bereft of any magic like the Dursleys of Privet Drive, we are given a peephole to the wizarding world's children stories, which are comparable to our fairy tales. It's all good. There's nothing wrong with a great imagination.
Anyway, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is rather profound for a brief read. Though concise with only five tales—however, it is, again, a supplement to the Harry Potter story—it certainly isn't lacking in moral depth. Instead, it probes into humanity's heart and soul, as it examines more deeply the same morals which we, common folks, are all too familiar with and oftentimes neglect.
- Tolerance for our differences and compassion for the meek are the underlying lessons in The Wizard and The Hopping Pot.
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune depicts the importance of an active pursuit of ones dreams, wherein real fortune lies, contrary to our fairy tales' princesses, whose inclinations are "taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe" in the words of the author—no, not Beedle, but Rowling. (This role-play is starting to get a bit confusing for my intention.)
- The Warlock's Hairy Heart warns of the dangers of protecting oneself from the pain that goes with loving someone. As in the words of Professor Dumbledore, "To hurt is as human as to breathe." To see love as a weakness makes the heart cold, or worse, leads to destruction.
- Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump exemplifies how blind obsession and ignorance can easily lead to gullibility.
- Lastly, The Tale of the Three Brothers epitomizes what could be perhaps the most difficult truth in life that "wizards and muggles alike…with a lust for power" dare deny, that death is inevitable and that it is futile to even attempt to elude it. (Even Dumbledore, by his own admission fell prey to the temptation of trying to avoid death, when he admitted that he "[remains] just a big a fool as anyone else".)
- But at the core of this book is the hard truth that virtue, not magic, can overcome problems and that "magic causes as much trouble as it cures."
J.K. Rowling has done it again and cooked up a delightful creation. How The Tales of Beedle the Bard is cleverly and meticulously woven into the Harry Potter plot is remarkable, and the clues are certainly brewing in this book. And while Professor Dumbledore's commentary definitely provided the meat, Hermione Granger's translation of Beedle's tales was surely an essential ingredient in this concoction. I must warn you though that The Warlock's Hairy Heart is quite gruesome even for a mature reader like me. So, to the adults with children to share this book with, you've been forewarned.
I usually don't fare well with period dramas (especially ones about British families). The best thing I get out of watching them is that they can put me to sleep in an instant. Maybe it’s just me, but most of them bore me to death. Having said all that, I wasn’t too sure what to expect with Keira Knightley’s film The Duchess. After being surprised with her film Atonement which I wound up liking a lot, I decided to give this one a shot. Well, guess what? I was surprised again. For starters, The Duchess isn’t a bore. Yes, it’s a drama about a young noblewoman named Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightley) who marries into one of Britain’s most powerful families. But don’t let that fool you. There are so many scandals, flamboyant characters, and outlandish costumes in the film that it’s hard to get bored. Take for instance the role of William Cavendish (Ralph Fiennes). Fiennes plays the role of the dreadful Cavendish so well that you almost loathe him as much as his role as Voldemort in Harry Potter. This guy is a first-class asshole! Cavendish has a problem keeping his pants on as he constantly betrays Georgiana, even sleeping with AND inviting her friend to live in their house! It’s no wonder why Georgiana eventually seeks love on her own terms. The Duchess is out now on DVD and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is your chance.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I love that tag for the movie Ghost Town. This romantic comedy stars Ricky Gervais as Bertram Pincus, a NYC dentist who hates people, and ghosts. Ever since he almost died during surgery, he can see and talk to dead people. So since the dead have unfinished business, they all have a ton of favors to ask of him. One of those ghosts is Frank (Greg Kinnear), a smooth talking character who is trying to stop the remarriage of his widow, Gwen (Téa Leoni). Since Frank vows to make Bertram’s life a living hell unless he helps him with his plan, Bertram has no choice but to go along. However, what starts out as a task for Bertram to ruin Gwen’s marriage takes a quick turn as he suddenly develops feelings for her. This is where the “romantic” part of the film comes in. Ghost Town actually turned out to be one of the better romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while. The comedy didn’t feel forced and the entire cast was great in each of their roles. Ricky Gervais was especially funny in his portrayal of the bitter character Bertram. Pay close attention each time he gets ticked off because that’s where he comes off the funniest. If you’re looking for a smart romantic comedy that isn't too sappy, then Ghost Town is just the film.
Here's another book review from my associate, Amica Paige. This time, she reviews the book "Hocus Pocus"...
Wouldn't you just love to use magic to tweak your circumstances to your advantage to slip out of tight and sticky situations and move ahead, or just completely zap the nasty nuisances away with a wink, a spell, or even a wave of a magic wand, such as in magical movies like Harry Potter? Well, I sure would like for my house bores, or chores, to be instantly done with a murmur or a flick of my finger, like when Mrs. Weasley gestured her hand from a distance for the ladle to stir the pot, while she engaged herself in a conversation, or when the Leaky Cauldron tidied itself up, with the chairs hauling themselves onto the table and a sweeping broom independent of any actual hands, save for a spell uttered, or a hand, or a wand flicked upon it by the pub's staff, if my memory holds clearly. However, while magic could be very appealing to some, a lot of us know better, and others consider it as nothing but hokum. Even so, magic certainly makes for great amusement, such as in Paul Kieve's book, Hocus Pocus—that is, only if you don't get enchanted entirely by it, as in the case of a young wizard.
Paul Kieve, who was the magic consultant in the making of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, had apparently captivated Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter—a piece of trivia for those of you who are still uninformed to this day, with his tremendous knowledge and skill in magic that the idea for a book started to brew.
There was indeed a Hocus Pocus book formerly written in 1634. It was considered the first comprehensive book on magic in English, from which lessons on magical skills still fascinate to this day. Paul's book, however, is not just a compendium of magic tips and tricks, but an enthralling tale of a nameless novice who inexplicably finds himself in the tutelage of the greatest of magicians who ever lived and performed at the legendary Hackney Empire Theater in London during the "golden age" of magic in the early 1900s. The master magicians, including The Man Who Knows, The Great Lafayette and his terrible tragedy, the couple, Servais Le Roy and Talma, Robert Houdin, David Devant, Chung Ling Soo, Ionia, and The Great Harry Houdini, not only present their fantastic feats, but also reveal the secret behind magic which sustains it. With Houdini capping the protagonist's beguiling encounters with history's most brilliant magical acts, he eventually discovers the ultimate lesson in magic, which can be applied to life in general. Here's a dash of magical morsels, something of "prestidigitation" and perspiration, along with the other magical secrets in this spellbinding book. Experience the magical realm of Hocus Pocus for mere entertainment or real passion.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The first time I heard "My Name Is", I knew there was something different about Eminem (and it wasn't just his skin color). The way he rhymed along with his nasally voice stood out from the thousands of other rappers in hip-hop after the Biggie/Tupac era. Plus, this was a guy that you couldn't really make fun of, because he already did it to himself in his music. He's controversial, outspoken, and extremely crafty with his lyrics (Guess what! His lyrics aren’t supposed to be taken seriously!) Overall, this is a guy that has singlehandedly taken rap music to new levels. Now, the very misunderstood artist also known as Slim Shady has an autobiography out called The Way I Am. This is a raw account of Em’s life from growing up with nothing to becoming a rap legend. The book shows a side of him that you won’t see on TV or hear about on the radio. As you’d expect from him, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything here about his life. He talks about growing up in a dysfunctional home, having to deal with bullies in school, his close friendship with Proof, and the hard work he had to put in to get where he is now. Through his story, I also got to see that he’s a dad who loves his daughter a lot and deals with the same shit that anyone else has to deal with in life. In the end, he’s just a regular guy who’s been gifted with some great lyrical skills. Along with his life story, The Way I Am comes with previously unpublished lyric sheets, tons of photos, and a documentary DVD showing lots of clips of Eminem and his crew goofing around.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Look closely. The guy you see on the cover has no belly button.
Kyle XY The Complete Second Season - Revelations is out now on DVD. In case you're not familiar with this hit show, Kyle is a mysterious teen with seemingly superhuman powers. The difference between Kyle and most other heroes is that he was scientifically created. In Season 2, Kyle tries to piece together his mysterious past while he balances life as an average teenager and as a superhuman at the same time. There have been plenty of recent shows with the "super character" theme. While it would be too easy to label Kyle XY as just another one of those shows, it's far from being a copycat. Even though the show's main character is a teen, Kyle XY takes itself more seriously than any other series that focuses more on the main hero being a hipster. Overall, each episode of the series is as intriguing as the mysterious Kyle. If you missed Season 2 at all, the DVD set has every minute of it (Approximately 994 minutes!) The 6 discs contain each episode along with the following bonus features. Check it out...
· Alternate Ending
· Livin’ with the X’s
· Facing the Future
· The Science of Kyle XY
· Deleted Scenes
· Audio Commentaries – Featuring the Cast, Writers and Producers