Wicked Cool Toys Wins Christmas With Amazing New Products!

Wicked Cool Toys has quickly become the winner of the holiday season in 2016. They have put out some of the best products for kids of all ages. One of the hottest items of 2016 is the brand new, Cabbage Patch Kids Baby So Real! This is one of the most coolest gifts that you can give to your kids. Check out all the amazing features below, they never had toys like this when I was a kid!

“New for Fall 2016 and for the first time ever, CPK Baby So Real allows you to enjoy one of the most magical and interactive experiences in the history of the baby doll category. These life-like babies combine traditional play patterns with groundbreaking technology. Baby So Real’s interactive sweet baby sounds and random reactions are designed to surprise and delight. With your touch, Baby So Real comes to life with beautifully animated LCD eyes that open, close and look around. Loaded with realistic features that encourage interactive nurturing play, Baby So Real has sensors for peek-a-boo and tickle play, feeding from a special bottle, burping, diaper changing, and rocking to sleep. If your baby should develop a fever, you can calm those red cheeks by administering TLC from a magical spoon. Just like the original Cabbage Patch Kids, Baby So Real is soft and cuddly with removable clothes.

And for advanced play, Baby So Real has its own free app that allows your phone or tablet to simulate a baby monitor. The online mode allows you to see the virtual nursery where you can play with your baby, feed, diaper burp and administer TLC. You can also play games, watch video clips and earn baby points for additional virtual accessories and new features. Baby So Real comes with a fully removable outfit and diaper, a special interactive bottle and medicine spoon, birth certificate and adoption papers and a free baby monitor style app for additional virtual play. Ages 3+”

If the CPK Baby was for the girls, then the next gift is sure to please the boys in the world. Remember how I just said above that I never had toys like this when I was a kid? Well, with the new Xtreme Cycle Moto-Cam, I will say those words again! This is not just your average remote control motorcycle. This is suped up for the 21st century and comes stocked with a “wicked cool” camera, so the kids can have run with their toy and then also record what it sees, which is just the awesomeist idea! Check out the features below:

“Now kids can kick it up a notch with Xtreme Cycle Moto-Cam which features an awesome built-in helmet camera! With Extreme Cycle Moto-Cam, young cyclists can capture flips, tricks and sharp turns just like they do in extreme cycling! The patented gyroscopic stabilization system is made up of a flywheel mounted in the rear, as well as an all four bar linkage steering system. This system allows for ramp jumping, driving on various terrains, and even recovering from crashes. The cycle is specially designed to always right itself after it falls so it has non-stop action and has front and rear shock system to absorb bumps and rocky terrain. The remote control not only steers the cycle but it also allows cycle enthusiasts to start and stop the video at any time – even in mid-jump!

Moto-Cam has 640×480 VGA resolutions and allows kids to record video at 30 frames per second and store 60 minutes of video. The set includes the cycle with Moto-Cam, a remote control, 12” USB cable to download and share video online or watch on TV, stunt ramp and a removable 4GB SD card. 9V rechargeable and 2 AA batteries included! Ages 8+”

DVD Review “As Dreamers Do: Amazing Life of Walt Disney”

Actors: Olan Rogers, Travis Tritt, Mark Stuart, Walt Disney
Directors: Logan Sekulow
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Vision Films
DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014
Run Time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

If you are a Disney fan, than you probably have heard of “As Dreamers Do: Amazing Life of Walt Disney”, which looks into the early years of the man behind the mouse. The film features country singer Travis Tritt as the narrator of the story and Olan Rogers plays Walt Disney, who doesn’t a decent job in the role. The film never really takes off for me (limited by its budget) but it is still rather entertaining for the whole family…especially Disney fans. Worth a rent.

Official Premise: Behind every great mouse there is a man. Armed with an ever-growing imagination and eternal optimism, Walt begins to develop skills as an animator early in life. He overcomes a variety of hardships to become one of the biggest icons in the world: Walt Disney.

In case you didn’t know, this film is not the only film based on the early years of Walt Disney. There is also the upcoming “Walt Before Mickey” coming out, which stars Thomas Ian Nicholas and Jon Heder. I am anxiously awaiting that film since I have heard it is a close adaption to the Timothy S. Susanin’s book of the same title. “As Dreamers Do: Amazing Life of Walt Disney” is available now on VOD, online at Amazon.com and Walmart in stores on September 23rd.

3D Blu-ray Review “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Colm Feore
Director: Marc Webb
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Running Time: 142 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of stars

After the first “Spider-Man” in 2002, I was not a huge fan of the other two sequels, so when the reboot came around, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, I was not thrilled. When I finally saw it though, I was very pleasantly surprised, flawed but definitely a cool flick. So I had a some going into the second one. I have to admit, the film has got it all. This is what a Spider-Man flick should be like. It is a visual marvel and just a shit-ton worth of fun. There is a bit too much going on her but overall, it works out and makes this film a slick action-packed summer popcorn flick. The villains are good but since there are technically three of them in the film it gets a little crowded. Even though, I liked this film, though like the first one it is also a bit flawed and think Sony knows they need to reboot this series again if they want to keep everyone happy. More importantly, I say bring on the “Sinister Six” guys!!

Official Premise: We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) finds that a greater conflict lies ahead. For him, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Whether you like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” it is easily one of the best Blu-ray’s release to date this year. Sony really knows how to deliver and amazing release for it’s films without fail. This film comes as a combo pack with a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital HD copy. The 3D in this film is absolutely amazing. When I saw this in theaters, I was literally blown away. With the Blu-ray, I was curious how it was going to transfer to home release but holy smokes it is just as amazing. This 3D Blu-ray was the first film that I used on my Playstation 4 with the newly added 3D support on my also new curved 65′ TV and I literally was blown away by the presentation. The depth is outstanding and really works with the non-stop action scenes, especially the finale.

In 2D, this film also stands up, it loses that certain depth but it is still watchable for sure. So 2D or 3D, this film just has some unbelievable visual effects and looks just amazing. The clarity is perfect and the colors are so crisp. What I don’t like about this is that the box stated that this Blu-ray was mastered for 4K video but if you read closely it is only for the 2D, which is a bit of a downer to be honest.  For such a big film, I was expecting a 7.1 track but I remember Sony wasn’t as big on them, luckily the given DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround track is just perfect. From the action to the music to the dialogue, everything here is spot on and really makes this film even better.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” comes stocked with some great special features as well. They even have an audio commentary available on the 3D disc, as well as a trailer for the first film in 3D, so that is something at least. The audio commentary is with Writers Alex Kurtzman and Jeff Pinkner and Producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad. If you liked the film you need to listen to the track because it is quite entertaining and educational about the series.  Next up are nine Blu-ray exclusive deleted & alternate scenes with one of them has Peter meeting his father, so that is an interesting aspect that was not included in the film. These are available with optional commentary from Director Marc Webb. “The Music of Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Director Marc Webb” has the director talking about the score and working with Hans Zimmer. There is a music video for “It’s On Again” by Alicia Keys.

The real winner of this release is “The Wages of Heroism: Making The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, which is over 100 minutes long and comprised of six parts looking into the making of the film. The first is “Lessons Learned: Development and Direction”, which goes into the characters and design. “Heart of the City: Shooting in New York” talks about the city being a character of its own. “Triple Threat: Attack of the Villains” simply looks into the films baddies. “A More Dangerous World: Transforming Goblin and Electro” did a little deeper into the work taken to create these characters. “Bolt from the Blue: Visual Effects” goes into the visual effects used for many of the film’s major scenes. Lastly “Spidey Gets His Groove Back: Music and Editing” looks again into the film’s music and how it works with the film.

PlayStation 3 Video Game Review “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Platform: Playstation 3
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genre: Action
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Look Out! Here comes the Spider-Man…again. While I enjoyed the film “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, as any video gamer knows the game adaptations next to always disappoint. Unfortunately, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” suffers the same fate. The game feels rather lazy and not very exciting. Pretty much feels like the took the last game, tweaked it a little and slapped a “2” on it. Like this film which is fading fast from theaters, I also see myself not going back to revisit this game anytime soon.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” allows you to free-roam through New York City web-slinging from here to there. Before the game play even started, I was let down to find that the story doesn’t even follow the movie. It is follows a more generic Spider-Man story that lightly includes the film’s villains and a few other characters that aren’t even in the film. The controls are decent but I found myself continuously referring to the options since there are a ton of different commands for each buttons.

Speaking of generic story, the same goes for the combat. I felt like I was just attacking, blocking and web shooting my way through each battle once I got a hang of the controls. The visuals are decent and probably the best part of the game. Who doesn’t love web-slinging through the city. My wife walked in at one point and said “This is a game?”, so I guess it looked good enough for her. I did keep running into some issues with the video jumping on some cut scenes but nothing major. Overall, I enjoyed this game the first time and less and less thereafter. So unless you are a hardcore Spidey fan, I would probably steer clear.

Film Review “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Running time: 142 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

After “Spider-Man 3”, which was probably one of the worst films I have ever seen, I really wasn’t screaming for another Spider-Man film. At first I was hesitant but overall I was very impressed with 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and thought it left great potential for a new rebooted franchise. Well, I was not disappointed at all with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, which kicks things into high gear and delivers a very strong sequel for this web-slinging action hero.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” dives deep into even more back story for the story of Spider-Man and what happened with his parents. I feel that it connects a lot more dots that the past films have left out. It really fleshes out the story much more and sets this franchise up for much bigger things. There is already a third film set for release in 2016, as well as a fourth for 2018…but wait there is still more, in addition, “Sinister Six” and “Venom” spin-off films have also been announced. So the future is very bright for Spider-Man and I will be first in line!

The story picks up with Peter Parker (Garfield) and his on/off girlfriend Gwen Stacey (Stone) graduating high school and going on to college. Peter finds himself haunted by Gwen’s father (Leary) since he asked him to keep Gwen out of Spider-Man’s life. In the process of figuring out his love life, Spider-Man is called to face-off against the likes of Electro (Foxx), who is transformed into an electric monster during an accident at, guess where, Oscorp. Also following the death of his father Norman Osborn, Harry (DeHann), also old friend of Peter Parker, returns from boarding school to take over the company but ends up falling right into his father’s evil ways. So it is up to Spider-Man, as always, to save the day while also dealing with his personal love situation and old friends.

I was really blown away with the visual effects in this film. This film that costed over $250 million to make and you can literally see where every single penny went in use. A few of the scenes were so epic that literally, I just said “Wow” out loud in the theater. The 3D effects also really add a lot to the film, especially in the many action scenes, which are all eye-popping. When it comes to Sony, they have always been the best when it comes to adding the third dimension to their films. From Spidey swinging through the streets of NYC to the electricity being shot through the air, I even found myself forgetting to blink afraid it miss anything.  I would no question recommend seeing this on the biggest screen possible, preferable IMAX 3D.

When I kept seeing reports of “new villains” popping up for this film, I was hoping this wasn’t going to be like another “Spider-Man 3” with too many villains but this was very well balanced. The main focus is on the character of Electro, which developed very well. Jamie Foxx does a great job of adding a lot of emotion and feeling to this already electric character. Next, Dane DeHann really steps into the shoes of Harry Osbourn’s and goes head first in for a complete transformation. We have definitely not seen the last of him in this role luckily. Eat your heart out James Franco, this guy can actually act. I had the privilege of chatting with this young talent actor a few years ago (click here) and he is going to do big things (obviously, this being one of them). Paul Giamatti also has a fun cameo as the villain Rhino in this film. Didn’t get to see much of him but I hope we will in future films.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten Andrew Garfield who has done things with the character of Spider-Man that Tobey Maguire could have never done.  He is funny and really adds a lot of charm to the character. I think he was meant for this role and in this sequel has he has settled in quite well. Same goes for Emma Stone, who is so sharp and strong in this sequel. The only main downfall for me was that I felt that there was just a little too much focus on their romance throughout. I felt like it broke up the flow a bit but since it does comes together in the end it balances itself out. Overall “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is fun, action-packed and a great way to kick off the 2014 summer season! Also be sure to stay after the credits for a very surprising crossover (possible mutant of nature) appearance!

Blu-ray Review “The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse”

Actors: Lee Perkins, Marshal Hilton, Maria Olsen, Michael Villar
Directors: Justin Paul Ritter
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Run Time: 88 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

“The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse” is a feature film version of the cult underground Dynamite comic series, “The Living Corpse Exhumed” by Ken Haeser and Buz Hasson. I have been to many comic conventions and have seen these guys there. The animation is terrible. The voice cast is amateur and almost laughable. The zombie genre has some pretty high standards recently and this film just doesn’t meet those. I found myself actually tempted to turn the film off many times as well, which is rare for me. This might work well with the convention scene but otherwise steer clear!

Meet John Romero, the decaying corpse with a conscience, wracked with guilt and ready to kick ass. In his first frenzy of undead hunger, he’ll infect his own wife and slaughter his young daughter. But now this reluctant brain-eater must brawl his way through the wretched fiends of Hell itself to protect his surviving son from the horrors of the living. Get ready for a limb-ripping, flesh-chomping animated battle from beyond the grave, based on the hit underground graphic novel from Dynamite Entertainment.

The Blu-ray presentation of “The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse” is not as bad as the film itself. Even though I was not a fan of the animation the CG still looks decent despite its very low production feel. The Dolby True HD 5.1 audio track also works well with the film’s sound design, but nothing that blows you away for sure. The score is very mellow and not that memorable either. The only special feature on the release is a downloadable PDF for a “The Living Corpse: Haunted” comic. Come on people, this is an example of a good comic series getting ruined by a low quality poor film version.

Shirley Jones reflects on her career, musicials and plans for upcoming memoirs

Depending on your age you’ll have different memories of Shirley Jones. For my parents era they will be of her roles in some of the most popular movie musicals of all time, including “Oklahoma,” “Carousel” and “The Music Man.” If you’re my age you remember her best as Shirley Partridge, working mom and vocalist on the popular television series “The Partridge Family.” Young people today remember her as the randy Grace in the comedy “Grandma’s Boy.” No matter your memory, it’s safe to say that Shirley Jones has had one of the most incredible careers in the history of entertainment.

Born outside Pittsburgh, a lucky bus ride put Ms. Jones on the path to stardom. Intending to become a veterinarian, she instead walked into an audition for the musical team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. So impressed was the casting director that he called both gentlemen at their homes and had them come listen to her sing. Two weeks later she was on Broadway and the rest is history. Twice married (to the late Jack Cassidy, father of her sons Shaun, Patrick and Ryan) and currently celebrating almost 36 years with comedian Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones has certainly lived an incredible life.

Media Mikes spoke to Ms. Jones recently in conjunction with two upcoming events. The first is a benefit screening of the film “Carousel” in Omaha on May 24th. The second is the upcoming release of her autobiography to be published next month by Gallery Books.

Mike Smith: How does a young girl from Pennsylvania end up becoming an Academy Award winning actress?
Shirley Jones: (laughs) It’s a stroke of luck. I was very fortunate at my first audition in New York. I was actually on my way to college to become a veterinarian. I wasn’t going to be in show business I was going to be a vet. I had graduated from a small town high school. I went to an audition for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s casting director and he called both Rodgers and Hammerstein to hear me. I sang for them and two weeks later I was in my first Broadway show. That’s how fast it happened. I spent three months in the Broadway production of “South Pacific.” Then they flew me to California to screen test for the role of Laurey in “Oklahoma,” and that’s how that happened. And it all happened in less than a year.

MS: And they say show business isn’t easy!
SJ: (laughs) I know. But you know something, I’m not sure that could happen today. It was just the time…where I was…it was one of those things that happen rarely. I was the only person put under personal contract to Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was never under contract to a studio.

MS: What was that experience like…to have your career guided by two genuine legends?
SJ: incredible. It truly was incredible. It was so great for me. I did three shows while under contract with them. By the time I got into movies the studio system was over so in a way it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because then I went on to do everything, from television to films and everything else. And Rodgers and Hammerstein were so wonderful to be with and work with. They produced the movie version of “Oklahoma,” not the studio. We did some shooting at MGM but the majority of it was shot at Nogales, Arizona. They were on the set every day for seven months.

MS: You’ve appeared in some classic movie musicals. “Oklahoma.” “The Music Man.” “Carousel.” Do you have a favorite among them?
SJ: My favorite score is “Carousel.” Without a doubt, of all the things I’ve done, that’s my favorite. I think it’s some of the most beautiful music ever written. In fact, Richard Rodgers always claimed it was his finest work. When I perform in concert I always open with “If I Loved You” and I close with “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” To me it’s the most beautiful music. The movie is wonderful, though I thought it could have been a little bit better. We had a very old director (Henry King, director of films like “Twelve O’Clock High” and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”) but a great cast. Frank Sinatra was scheduled to play Billy Bigelow. We had done all of the rehearsals…even all of the pre-recordings, which is what we did back then. We had spent three months in pre-production. We were going to shoot the film in two separate processes – regular Cinemascope and Cinemascope 55 – and when Frank got to the set in Maine he asked why there were two cameras. Henry told him we would be shooting each scene twice. Frank told him, “I signed to do one movie, not two,” got in his car and drove back to the airport. So I got Gordon MacRae on the phone, who was in Lake Tahoe doing a nightclub act with his wife, and I said, “how would you like to play Billy Bigelow in “Carousel,” and he said “give me three days I have to lose ten pounds!”

MS: What a great call. I’m a big Sinatra fan but I can’t see anyone but Gordon MacRae in that part.
SJ: Me too. And that voice. Nobody sang like Gordon. He had the best voice of all time.

MS: You won an Oscar for your role in the film “Elmer Gantry,” a role many of your musical fans may not have expected to see you in. How did that part come along?
SJ: It was an incredible role. Burt Lancaster fought for me to play that part. By the time I’d finished doing musical motion pictures – “Music Man” hadn’t come out yet – Hollywood had stopped making musicals pretty much because the European market wasn’t very receptive to them. My career was pretty much over. When you were a singer at that time they didn’t consider you an “actress” so to speak. I went and did some television, which was looked at as a big step down for movie actors. They were doing some wonderful dramatic shows like “Playhouse 90” and “The Philco Playhouse.” But I had some wonderful roles. I had a great part opposite Red Skelton in a “Playhouse 90” show called “The Big Slide” and Burt Lancaster happened to have seen me in that part, playing an alcoholic “Sunshine” girl in the Mack Sennet era. And he loved my performance. And after he saw me he fought for me to play the role of Lulu Bains in “Gantry.” He called me while I was in San Francisco doing a nightclub act with my husband Jack Cassidy. I pick up the phone and I hear, “Hello, Shirley, this is Burt Lancaster.” I said, “sure it is” and I hung up! (laughs) Thank heaven he called back and said, “No, this IS Burt Lancaster.” He told me to go get the Sinclair Lewis novel “Elmer Gantry” and look at the role of Lulu Bains. On your day off he asked me to fly to Los Angeles and meet with the films writer/director, Richard Brooks. Of course I did as he asked. I flew in and met with Richard Brooks, who originally did not want me for the part. He had somebody else in mind. He was the writer/director but Burt was the co-producer and he was very definite about having me play Lulu, which was so great. I got the part. Richard Brooks would always shoot his films in sequence so I wasn’t due on set until the middle of the film. But Burt would have me come on set every day to watch the other actors and to watch how Richard Brooks directed. On my first day of shooting I had to do the hardest scene in the film – standing in the house of prostitution and telling the other girls how I had met Elmer Gantry – and I didn’t have one bit of direction from Brooks. He sat in his chair smoking his pipe like I wasn’t even there. I went home that night in tears thinking he was going to fire me. I didn’t have to work the next day and they screened the rushes of what had been shot the day before. Brooks called me afterwards and said, “Shirley, I owe you an apology. Not only are you going to be great in the film but I predict you’re going to win an Academy Award.” And that’s how that happened. Burt was the one that got me the part and it changed the course of my whole career. My career would have been literally over had that not happened. But I went on to do 20 more feature films after that.

MS: And now, of course, it’s time for the obligatory “Partridge Family” question.
SJ: (laughing) Of course.
MS: What do you think it is about the show, and the music, that it is still popular some four decades after it first premiered?
SJ: Well, it was really a new definition of a television series. I was the first working mother on television. I was actually offered “The Brady Bunch” first and I said “no” because I didn’t want to go into a television series and play a regular mom taking the roast out of the oven. But when I was offered “The Partridge Family” I thought it was very unique. The fact that the whole family was working together musically but you still had stories about the kids and the mama…I loved the idea. And the fact that David, my stepson, was going to play my son was just great. It also gave me an opportunity to stay at home and raise my kids, which was something I couldn’t do making films because I was constantly away on locations everywhere. When they were younger I could take them with me but now they were school age, which was another reason I wanted to do a series. And the agents and managers at that time were all telling me, “Don’t do a television series, Shirley, because if it is successful you’ll BE that character for the rest of your life.” They were pretty right about that but it was still great for me to do.

MS: They don’t make as many film musicals today as in the past, but some of the them are pretty well done. “Les Miz” comes to mind as a recent achievement. What is your opinion on the movie musicals of today?
SJ: I thought “Les Miz” was wonderful, but I’d also seen the Broadway show and thought it was divine. Everybody in the film was wonderful. Hugh Jackman is one of my favorite performers. When I was visiting Australia he and I did bits from “Oklahoma” together on stage. (NOTE: Jackman starred as Curley in an Australian production of “Oklahoma” in the late 90’s) He was just great. But they don’t do that many musicals anymore, as you know. But the ones they do do I think have been successful.

MS: You’re publishing your memoirs next month. What was it like to sit down and review your career?
SJ: It wasn’t easy (laughs). In fact I thought “do I really want to do this?” But it came out very quickly and easy. All of the things that have happened I was fortunately able to recall for the most part. And all of the people that I worked with…I worked with some of the greatest movie stars of all time. I’ve had two incredible husbands. Both crazy, but wonderful. I’ve got three incredible sons and an incredible stepson. I’ve got twelve grandchildren now. And I was an only child which makes it even more interesting.

DVD Review “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott
Directors: Marc Webb
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: November 9, 2012
Run Time: 136 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I received “The Amazing Spider-Man” to review, I was both excited and disappointed. I had missed the film in the theaters due to the birth of my daughter. So I have been highly anticipating this release. The film was originally released in theaters in 3D and IMAX. So I was not thrilled to find a standard DVD to review. Would anyone even buy just the DVD anyone especially with all the Blu-ray combo packs that are released? Either way let’s get to the film itself. It was actually pretty freaking kick-ass. The plan to reboot this series has worked and now I also can’t wait for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” in the summer of 2014.

When “Spider-Man” came out in 2002, it was something new and really kicked off the whole superhero phase that we are in today. The sequels, well are a different story, I was never a big fan of them. In general, I was not never a fan of Tobey Maguire specifically in the role of Peter Parker. He spent more time crying, moaning…and even dancing (boy, I wish I skipped “Spider-Man 3”). “The Amazing Spider-Man” really did the franchise up right. I actually wish in fact that this was the first in the series and replaced the first three.

Andrew Garfield was quite awesome as the web-slinger and really owned it. Emma Stone was also very charming in the role of Gwen Stacy, count me in. Denis Leary was a nice addition to the series, as well. Let’s get to the topic of the villain, The Lizard was an interesting choice but I feel that it really worked out. I am a big fan of Rhys Ifans (and have even rode a rollercoaster ride with him) and he also nailed this role. The film had some good comedy but wasn’t campy at all. There was a real darker feel to the story as well, which I enjoyed. Not as dark as “Batman Begins” but still a good re-start for the franchise.

When I saw “Spider-Man 2 & 3”, I thought it had way to much special effects and lack of stories. This film was packed with special effects but were all effective and worked well with the film. It would probably be even better on Blu-ray and in 3D. A few other aspects that I enjoy from the reboot was the finding of the mask and even his web shooters. “The Amazing Spider-Man” also featured the best Stan Lee cameo yet out of any superhero film yet.

The special features are quite disappointing. There is much more included on the 3D/2D Blu-ray combo packs. Yes there are even 3D extras, which is also extremely rare. But all we get here on this release are less impressive. There is an audio commentary track from the filmmakers. There are a few short deleted scenes and stunt rehearsals. Lastly there is a production art gallery, which focuses on The Oscorp Archvies. OVerall, I give high thumbs up the film but highly recommend skipping this DVD release and picking up the 4-disc combo pack for sure!

CD Review “The Amazing Spider-Man” Soundtrack

Composer: James Horner
Label: Sony Classical
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Tracks: 20
Running Time: 73 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to “Spider-Man” the score is very important. The film is a big-budget super-hero action film but it also has a very senitive side to it, especially with this film going back to the beginning. Danny Elfman composed the past scores from “Spider-Man 1 & 2” and they are pretty amazing. But this one comes pretty close for sure and definitely trumps all over the mess that is “Spider-Man 3”. James Horner is one of my favorite composers, I mean the guy scored freaking “Titanic”, one of the best scores ever! He really delivered a score that I totally not expecting and I ended up really enjoying it.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” definitely ranks up their as one of Horner’s best compositions. It is powerful yet original and has this really unique feel. It definitely portrays the super-hero angst and action without coming off as a loud and pushy with over-the-top orchestrations. Some of the tracks really bring the action and but their is also a very soft side to the score, especially with the piano in “Ben’s Death”. “Metamorphosis” was also an incredible track. For powerful yet subtle tracks like “Making a Silk Trap”, I feel it completely captures the essence of the genre.

Fans of super-hero comic book movies will definitely want to give this score a listen, especially if they enjoyed the film. James Horner really captures the film in his score and I think it shows. . This is also one of those scores that gets better and better with each listen, so Danny Elfman get ready to move over. I also want to comment that the score really does not rush itself, it runs well over 70 minutes and that is definitely a major plus for me personally.

Track Listing:
1. Main Title – Young Peter
2. Becoming Spider-Man
3. Playing Basketball
4. Hunting for Information
5. The Briefcase
6. The Spider Room – Rumble in the Subway
7. Secrets
8. The Equation
9. The Ganali Device
10. Ben’s Death
11. Metamorphosis
12. Rooftop Kiss
13. The Bridge
14. Peter’s Suspicions
15. Making a Silk Trap
16. Lizard at School!
17. Saving New York
18. Oscorp Tower
19. “I can’t see you anymore”
20. Promises – Spider-Man End Titles

“The Amazing Spider-Man” Cast Interview Series

One of the world’s most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man™. Focusing on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story, the new film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures, which will open in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with a few of the film’s cast over the last few months including Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben), Max Charles (Young Peter Parker), Miles Elliot (Billy Connors) & Rhys Ifans (Dr. Conners/The Lizard). Enjoy the interviews!


Chris Zylka

Martin Sheen

Max Charles

Miles Elliot

Rhys Ifans

Miles Elliot talks about working on “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Miles Elliot plays the role of Billy Connors in “The Amazing Spider Man”, the son of Spider-Man´s arch nemesis, Dr. Connors aka The Lizard. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Miles about the role and what it was like behind the scenes of the film.

Adam Lawton: How did you become interested in acting?
Miles Elliot: I had done some work with a music theater group where we put on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat”. I was just part of the ensemble but I started talking to other people in the production who had appeared in various films and television shows. I asked them how I could start doing that and then I asked my parents about it. They told me if it was something that I really wanted to do I could go ahead and do it. I have been acting now for about two and a half years.

AL: What was it that interested you in auditioning for “The Amazing Spider Man”?
ME: At first I didn’t even know what film the role was for. The movie was only listed as a teen action film. I did a scene where my characters dad gets mad at me. After that we found out they were casting for “The Amazing Spider Man”. As things got bigger and bigger I realized that I had gotten into a really big movie. Things just kept getting more exciting as they went on.

AL: What was the audition process like?

ME: I had to do a couple auditions. After the first one the lady who was running it chased me down after I left and asked me if I would talk/meet with another casting person. When I went to meet with this other lady she was on the phone and told me we would have to meet a different time. I said “that went well”. When I went back I ended up reading with director Marc Webb and I got the part.

AL: Can you tell us about your character?
ME: I play Billy Connors who is the son of Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard which is played by Rhys Ifans. I have about 3 scenes in the film and I am just your normal everyday kid whose dad is a lizard.

AL: What was it like working on the set?
ME: When I got there I thought everything was really big. There were just trailers all over the place. I was amazed that there was even one for me. This was my first time ever experiencing that. Even the catering was big. I remember one night they had lobster, crab and there was even an ice sculpture. I got to meet Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone which was also really great.

AL: What was it like being able to watch such a great group of actors work?
ME: It was cool! On one of the nights I got to watch them shoot a scene where Spider Man jumps off a parking garage. They had all this stuff going on to make the scene happen and it was great to be able to watch that. Another night I was on set they had a bunch of green scenes set up to shoot Andrew swinging back and forth.

AL: Can you tell us about some of your other work?
ME: I recently finished a project in May titled “Camp”. The film is about a camp for troubled kids and my character Eli gets paired up with a reluctant counselor who is there just for the money. It was a fun shoot as we shot in the Sequoya National Forrest for three weeks. I will also be on an episode of Disney’s “Austin & Ally” as well as “The Mentalist”.

 

Film Review “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
Directed by: Marc Webb
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 16 mins
Columbia

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Even in this age of Hollywood re-boots, it seems odd that, only five years after “Spider-man 3,” a new Spidey-flick, with a new, but familiar, origin story would be made. But the powers that be at Columbia, seeing how well the “Batman” franchise has done, have given us a darker look at Peter Parker and company.

We first meet Peter as a four year old (Max Charles). He’s in the middle of playing a game of hide and seek with his father, Dr. Richard Parker(Campbell Scott). While looking for his dad he discovers that someone has made a shambles out of the doc’s office. Discovering the damage, the good doctor gathers up his wife, young Peter and a leather briefcase. He rushes over to his parents house and asks them to look after Peter. In a final moment, Dr. Parker tells Peter the words he will always try to obey: Be Good.

Other then this prologue, “The Amazing Spider-man” is a pretty much by-the-(comic) book telling of the story most people know. Peter (Garfield) is accidentally bitten by a spider who has been exposed to radiation and begins to take on that creatures characteristics. He also has a crush on a girl from school – Gwen Stacy (Stone) – and uses his superior smarts to meet a doomed fellow braniac. This time it’s his father’s old lab partner, Dr. Curt Connors (a well cast Ifans). He still lives with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), who dote on him as if he were their own child. However, circumstances and bad luck combine to pit Peter – and his alter-ego, Spider-man, in a battle that will affect those he knows and loves.

First the good stuff. The casting here is top notch. Garfield, so good in “The Social Network” and just winding up a run where he appeared opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Willy Loman on Broadway as Biff in “Death of a Salesman, gives Peter a dimension that wasn’t really stressed in the original trilogy – darkness. Like Timothy Dalton playing James Bond, some fans may not realize that this is how Peter is in the comic books. He’s not your friendly neighborhood web slinger…he’s a revenge bound vigilante. And this is how he is regarded by the public, including a local police Captain (Denis Leary) who also happens to be Gwen’s father. Garfield is solid in the role and should grow even more comfortable in what I’m sure will be a sequel or two. Stone does what she can in what is really a small supporting role and Ifans is very surprising in a dramatic role. And kudos to both Sheen and Field for making Uncle Ben and Aunt May three dimensional characters with emotions…not just kindly old people.

Now the not so good stuff. There is almost too much background filler here. Even though he goes out of his way to let the public know he’s doing good things Spider-man is still deemed a bad guy. If the public isn’t rooting for him why should we? Peter is shown carrying a camera around and often gets bullied for it. However, he goes to a SCIENCE High School…seriously, how bad could the “bullies” be? The visual effects are fine, especially when Spidey is flitting from building to building, but the advertised 3D was nothing spectacular. And there was a great point of view (POV) segment when Spider-man first learns to use his webs for swinging but, sadly, it wasn’t utilized more. The transformation of Dr. Connors to the Lizard is pretty impressive, as is the Lizard as an enemy. James Horner’s score is played loudly but not very memorable. And no J. Jonah Jameson?? Stop the presses!

DVD Review “The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan: The Complete Series”

Created by: Earl Derr Biggers
Directed by: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Voices of: Keye Luke, Robert Ito, Brian Tochi, Don Messick, Gene Andrusco, Jodie Foster
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Episodes: 16
Running time: 344 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan” was not a long-running show from Hanna-Barbera but its certainly a fun show. It had an original run from September 9, 1972 – December 30, 1972, which included only 16 episodes. The show resolves Mr. Chan, his ten children and their dog Chu Chu. They go around the world and solve mysteries with the children helping their father in every episode. In fact it actually reminds me a lot of “Scooby-Doo”. They also even travel around in a van, but their’s is much cooler since it can transform into other vehicles with the push of a button. For a show that is aged 40 years, the DVD presentation looks sharp and very impressive.

The voice of Mr. Chan, Keye Luke is the only actor of Chinese descent.  Also another notable voice on the show is Jodie Foster as Anne Chan, that’s right THE Jodie Foster.  I love the cross-overs between about Hanna-Barbara shows like their is one of the characters  disguises themselves as Yogi Bear and their car reminds a lot of Hong-Hong Phooey’s car.  This show was also spoofed in Adult Swim’s “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law”. Props need to go to Warner Archive Collection for releasing this manufacture-on-demand (MOD).  If you are a fan of classic Hanna-Barbara series, this is a no-brainer to pick up!

The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan: The Complete Series is now available: (http://bit.ly/M9VnMH)

Synopsis: Chinese-American supersleuth Charlie Chan made his cartoon transition with his customary grace, only this time he brought along the clan. Maintaining Hanna-Barbera’s winning formula (kids, mysteries, canine, van), the hit kid show also introduced some innovations (the van transforms, a double-sized team, HOWdunnits not whodunits). Most significant among these is the casting of the amazing Keye Luke (Kato, Master Po) as the voice of Charlie Chan. Not only was this the first time that an Asian-American would play Charlie Chan, it marked an apropos “graduation” for Mr. Luke, the original “Number One Son” Lee Chan of the classic Warner Oland Chan mysteries. Among those joining Mr. Luke on voice duties are Jodie Foster (Anne Chan), Lennie Weinrib (Stanley Chan) and Don Messick (Chu-Chu) in this complete 16-episode, two-disc collection.

Stand Up to Cancer and “The Amazing Spider-Man” T-Shirt Giveaway [ENDED]

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“BE AMAZING, STAND UP TO CANCER!”

 STAND UP TO CANCER  AND COLUMBIA PICTURES’ NEW FILM “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN™” COLLABORATE ON A SPECIAL CO-BRANDED T-SHIRT LINE 

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is proud to collaborate with the upcoming Columbia Pictures film, The Amazing Spider-Man™, for a line of special co-branded t-shirts.  Launched May 18th, and just in time for the movie’s summer debut on July 3rd, these exclusive new designs feature both the iconic The Amazing Spider-Man artwork and hero messaging encouraging everyone to take action against the disease.  The co-branded t-shirts also feature Stand Up To Cancer’s signature upward arrows logo with slogans such as, “Be Amazing, Stand Up To Cancer.” The full line of tees, in youth’s, men’s and women’s sizes, will be available for purchase online at store.standup2cancer.org/shop with proceeds benefiting SU2C.

Media Mikes is excited to offer our readers a chance to one of these amazing shirts that support a wonderful cause. We will be giving away one each of the shirts above.  If you would like to win one of these great prizes below, all you have to do is “LIKE” our Facebook page and then post “SU2C/Spider-Man” and also be sure to “LIKE” this post on  SU2C’s Facebook page or tweet with #SU2C.  If you do not use Facebook leave us a comment below. This giveaway will be open until Friday June 22st at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

About Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)—a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization—raises funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. SU2C facilitates collaboration among the best and the brightest in the cancer research community. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., conduct rigorous, competitive review processes through which SU2C’s grantees are selected. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C generates awareness and builds grassroots support for this new approach to ending cancer.

Members of the SU2C Executive Leadership Council include Katie Couric; the Entertainment Industry Foundation, represented by Board of Directors Chairperson Sherry Lansing (Founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation), CEO Lisa Paulsen and Senior Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; Pam Williams, partner at Laura Ziskin Productions; and nonprofit executive Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin, a legendary film producer who executive produced the 2008 and 2010 SU2C telecasts, was also a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer.

About The Amazing Spider-Man™

One of the world’s most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man™.  Focusing on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story, the new film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field.  The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves from a story by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures, which will open in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012.  The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field).  Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today.  Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets.  As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner.  As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

Max Charles chats about playing Peter Parker in “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Max Charles is only 8-years old but is having on heck of busy year. He is co-starring in “The Three Stooges” and even playing the role of a young Peter Parker in this summer’s reboot “The Amazing Spider-Man”. He is also voicing Sherman in the upcoming animated film “My Peaboy & Sherman”. Max took our sometime to chat with Media Mikes about this busy year and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about experience on the film “The Three Stooges”, must have been a fun time?
Max Charles: “The Three Stooges” was so much fun to film. We were in Atlanta all summer and since my scenes are with Will (Sasso), Sean (Hayes) and Chris (Diamantopoulos), I got to hang out with them in the green room. They are so funny and we were always laughing even in between scenes.

MG: What did you enjoy most about playing the young orphan Peezer?
MC: Peezer is the Three Stooges little buddy so that was fun!! I really like the character because he seems like a nice and fun kid. He really cares about his friends especially his best friend Murph. Peezer also encourages the Stooges to do the right thing and try to save the orphanage.

MG: How was it working on the upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man” and playing a young Peter Parker?
MC: Amazing!! I still can’t believe I am Peter Parker and got to work on this film! The Amazing Spider-Man was my first feature film so it will always be REALLY special to me. Whenever I saw Andrew on set he would come over and sit with me and we would talk about the movie and acting. I thought that was really cool. When we were in New York filming we saw him riding his bike when we were walking in our hotel and when he saw me he rode over to talk to me. Nice is cool!

MG: Was it exciting to play such a notable superhero?
MC: Spider-Man has ALWAYS been my favorite superhero! When I was like three years old I was even Spider-Man for Halloween! I think I wore that costume ALL YEAR! I had NO idea I would EVER get to be Spider-Man in a movie!

MG: You are set to voice Sherman in the upcoming animated film “My Peaboy & Sherman”, tell us about that?
MC: Sherman is a GREAT character and SO much fun. He has a big heart but he seems to accidentally get in a ton of trouble. Mr. Ty Burrell plays Mr Peabody who is a very smart Dog who is always getting Sherman out of the trouble he makes. It’s awesome because they get to travel in a time machine and go to fun places. Sherman would be a fun kid to be friends with!

MG: What do you like most about voice work?
MC: Voice work is great because you can get crazy with your voice and acting. I like getting into the character when we are recording a session instead of just standing there saying the words. They said they are getting some pretty funny behind the scenes footage too.

MG: What other projects do you have planned upcoming?
MC: I play Max Weaver in an ABC comedy pilot called “Down To Earth”, so we hope that gets picked up for Fall. It’s a really funny show. I’m working on “Peabody and Sherman” right now and doing several voices for other tv shows like “Family Guy”, “American Dad” and “Robot Chicken”. I have a movie called “Unstable” coming out soon that I am one of the leads in and I did a guest spot on “Scent of The Missing” for TNT and I got to play the missing. I’m also working on some music with my brothers.