Blu-ray Reviews “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween & Madea on the Run”

Director: Tyler Perry
Starring: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Yousef Erakat, Diamond White, and Bella Thorne / Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Yousef Erakat, Diamond White, Bella Thorne, Jimmy Tatro
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films
Release Dates: January 31, 2017
Running time(s): 103 / 134 min

Boo! A Madea Halloween: 3 out of 5 stars
Madea on the Run: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-rays: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

To kick off 2017, we have not one but two new Tyler Perry Blu-ray’s coming out. “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is the first and was had in fact a very successfully run at the box office last year. “Madea on the Run” is a stage play filmed for Blu-ray. I have never seen a Tyler Perry play to date and this was very enjoyable. “Boo!” was silly fun like all Madea films. Worth checking out both if you are a fan of Tyler Perry’s most famous character.

“Boo! A Madea Halloween” Official Premise: Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a hilarious, haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens.

“Madea on the Run” Official Premise: On the run from the law, Madea hides out at Bam’s house, thinking she will lie low. Unfortunately, Bam’s house is packed with rambunctious family and friends, and Madea finds herself needing to lay down her own law and drop the hammer!

Lionsgate is releasing both of these films as a combo pack with Blu-ray + UltraViolet included. For “Boo!”. The AV is average for the comedy genre. Looks good and sounds good enough with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. In terms of special features, only “Boo!” has them included other than the Digital HD copies. We get two behind-the-scenes featurette. The first is called “Why We Love Madea!” and the second is “Boo! From the Crew Montage”, nothing special on either. “Madea on the Run” does not have any additional bonus features.

DVD Reviews “Power Rangers Megaforce & Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Seasons”

Actors: Andrew Gray, John Mark Loudermilk, Ciara Hanna, Azim Rizk, Christina Masterson
Directors: Jonathan Tzachor, Jonathan Brough
Number of discs: 5 (per set)
Rated: Not Rated
Studio: LIONSGATE
DVD Release Date: August 16, 2016
Run Time: 460 minutes (per set)

Seasons: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Some may not know but the “Power Rangers” series has never faded or slowed down in its success over the last 20+ years. The last two seasons were “Power Rangers Megaforce” and “Power Rangers Super Megaforce”. These two DVDs are each of the complete seasons included with a digital HD copy of each and some fun extras.

Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season Synopsis: When the evil Warstar aliens plot a massive invasion of our planet, Earth’s supernatural guardian, Gosei, mobilizes a team of five extraordinary teens with the talent and attitude to oppose them: the Power Rangers Megaforce!

Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season Synopsis: In order to stop ruthless Prince Vekar and his massive alien Armada, the Rangers have only one hope: to unlock the special keys — and harness the amazing powers of Legendary Rangers of the past!

Personally, I haven’t watched “Power Rangers” in a long time but watching these parts of this season I was easy drawn back in. I really enjoyed what they delivered. They were fun, cheesy and action packed. “Power Rangers Megaforce” includes the following special features Character Gallery, Zord Gallery and Power Rangers Morph Through 20 Years’ Video. Power Rangers Super Megaforce” also includes a featurette “Power Rangers: A Legacy”.

DVD Reviews “Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2: Ultimate Edition of Awesomeness”

In order to celebrate this week’s release of “Kung Fu Panda 3” (which is amazing BTW), Dreamworks Animation is re-releasing the first two “Kung Fu Panda” films with over 80 minutes of new bonus content including an all-new 22 minute animated adventure, “Secret of the Scroll,” and an exclusive sneak peek of DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 3 as well as Digital HD copies of each film.

Official Premises: In DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda, Jack Black is perfect as the voice of Po, a noodle-slurping dreamer who must embrace his true self – fuzzy flaws and all – in order to become the Dragon Warrior. Black reprises his role as Po in Kung Fu Panda 2, the fiercely funny Academy Award-nominated sequel. In his biggest challenge since becoming the Dragon Warrior, Po must lead his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five, on a mission of epic proportions to defeat his most threatening rival yet!

This franchise features an all-star voice cast including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride and Jean-Claude Van Damme. There is ZERO shortage of amazing talent in these films!

The special features included are a Martial Arts Awesomeness Music Video which features the best fight sequences in the beat of “Kung Fu Fighting”. “Mash-Up of Awesomeness: Slo-Mo” focuses the franchises more intense action scenes in slow-motion. There is a “Mash-Up of Blunders” which is basically a gag reel of Po’s most embarrassing moments. Lastly there is an all-new Kung Fu Panda 3 sneak peek with introduction by Jack Black rounding out the extras. If you have never purchased these films, might be a good time to pick them up!

Book Reviews “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse/Sofia the First: Board Book Box Sets”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse / Sofia the First
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Dates: June 16, 2015

Our Scores: 4 out of 5 stars

Personally, I am big fan of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, as is my three year old daughter. “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Meeska Mooska-tales” is the latest collection of board books in a nice box set. This contains four board books within the slipcase that showcases all your favorite characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Includes are “Goofy Takes a Vacation”; “On the Go!”; “Perfect Pets”; “Snap Goes the Camera”. If you love “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, these are a must. My daughter got extremely excited when opening this box set and screamed “FOUR BOOKS!, REALLY?” when going through it and since then these have become a must read (during potty time, more on that below).

Next up is another one of my daughters favorite “Sofia the First” in her latest board book collection called “Sofia’s Princess Adventures”. Within this slipcase, there are also four board books that feature Sofia and friends in brand-new stories fit only for your little princess. The stories include “Best Friends”; “Good Sports”; “Magic Class” and “Sofia’s Amulet”. Both of these sets have easily earned themselves as the “go-to” books for potty time. One set is in the upstairs bathroom and the other is in the downstairs bathroom and during every visit these are taken out and read. So they are getting plenty of use from our family! So, I highly recommend.

Book Reviews “Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out” Series

Disney Press has been really pushing their latest movie very hard this summer. There are numerous books on the shelves already for “Inside Out” and they are actually all amazing!! I am really waiting for this new movie and these books only make myself, my wife and most importantly our three year old much more excited to see it. The first book I will be discussing is “Sadly Ever After?”, which is actually an original story placed in the the world of “Inside Out”. I love the two characters of Joy and Sadness and this story really captures the sweetness of both of them. Plus this book, also comes with a Disney eBook called “Lava”…bonus!

Next up, is a simple one yet has become a must have (at all time) for my daughter), “Inside Out Read-Along Storybook and CD”. Here is the official premise: Jump inside Riley’s mind and get to know the Emotions who know her best: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Relive all of the adventure from the Disney*Pixar film, Inside Out, with this storybook-and-CD-set. What I like most about the CD includes with the book is that it has word-for-word narration, thrilling sound effects, and original character voices from the movie! So this is a must own.

by Emotions”. This one is definitely set for an older reader ages 8-12 and hits the 240 page mark. I am impressed that Disney Press released this one One of the most impressive releases, I must add is “Inside Out Driven for the older Disney/Pixar fans as well and not just another novelization. This one consists of a chapter book that reveals unseen stories from “Inside Out”. Each chapter offers a different retelling of the film from one of Riley’s Emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. I highly recommend this one of even for those “big kids” as well.

Lastly, “Inside Out: Box of Mixed Emotions” was the latest of the book my daughter broke into and let me tell you THIS is the set to get to introduce your kids to these characters. It is funny and very cute. My daughter already has picked out her favorite character which is surprisingly Disgust. But this collection includes five storybooks, each devoted to a different Emotion, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust, includes within a very snazzy die-cut slipcase. This is my favorite of the books released for this series just because it is also got my daughter the most excited for the film and also has her already asking for more including the Disgust plush doll we saw at Downtown Disney this week, so congrats Disney Press. You have done well with these books. Now, bring on the movie! Can’t wait!

Book Reviews “The World According to Iron Man” and “The World According to Thor”

Hardcover: 64 Pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Our Scores: 4 out of 5 stars

The World According to…

When I was younger I loved books that came with their own little hidden treasures, pull out letters or drawings from characters, something tangible from the world of the book. In this respect and more I suspect Insight Editions new “The World According to…” set of Avengers books will be greatly satisfying to the young Marvel fan.

Told from the point of view of one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The World According to Iron Man (by Larry Hama and Marc Sumerak) and The World According to Thor (Sumarak) are fun introductions to Tony Stark and Thor Odinson, touching on all the aspects of their respective universes from origins, to villains and allies. Both boast bright, engaging illustrations (by Mirco Pierfederici for Iron Man, and Freddie E. Williams II for Thor) that warrant a closer look to catch some fun background action. You can spot Black Widow rebuffing Hawkeye at Stark’s party or, what I’m 98% positive is Disney’s Cinderella castle in the realm of Alfheim from our “Tour with Thor” (synergy, kids!)

When it comes to the Avengers, my personal favorite is Thor so that likely contributed to my enjoying his story slightly more, although perhaps his Asgardian exclamations–By Odin’s stamp collection!–simply jump off the page louder than Stark’s trademark sarcastic banter does. Author Sumerak also cleverly lets Thor give over narration of his tales to fan favorites The Warriors Three and Loki which contribute to filling out his “World” a little more than Stark’s. That said, the nifty special features that Iron Man’s book come with–Stark Industries Business Cards and Stocks, blue prints of the technology–would definitely excite the young reader looking to grasp onto a piece of the Stark empire. Perfect for the young fan who’s perhaps not exactly ready to square off with Ultron on the big screen.

DVD Reviews “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!” New Releases

Every few months NCircle Entertainment has been releasing a new DVD for one of my daughters (and daddy’s) favorite shows. “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!” is not only fun, it is also extremely education. Kids watching it learn without even knowing that they are learning. Top that off with the outstanding voice work of Martin Short, who really brings the Cat in the Hat to life, this show is a winner!

Over the past four months, they are released three two DVDs. The first and in my opinion the best is “Explore &; Imagine with the Cat in the Hat”. This release is not your typical themed release with 3-5 episodes, this is actually Volume 1 of Season 1 including 20 episodes! This is a huge and very important release for the show. Especially if you are a fan of the series.

“Explore & Imagine with the Cat in the Hat: Season 1 Volume 1”: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they are whisked off on extraordinary voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat. In the Cat’s quintessentially Seussian vehicle, the Thinga-ma-jigger, they fly, float, rocket, and even shrink down to the size of a bee, to explore natural wonders from the bottom of the ocean to the treetops of the rain forest. Along for the ride are the Cat’s zany helpers, Thing One and Thing Two, and one very nervous Fish. In this first volume with the Cat, Nick and Sally, learn about how honey is made, why birds migrate, how whales communicate and so much more! So hop on the Thinga-ma-jigger and let’s explore!

Here are first 20 episodes from Season 1 included: “Show Me the Honey”; “Migration Vacation”; “I Love the Nightlife”; “Oh Give Me A Home!”; “Many Ants Make Light Work”; “Nest Best Thing”; ” Plan for Sand”; “Whale Music”; “Flower Power”; “Snowman’s Land”; “Dress Up Day”; “Bath Time”; “Tress Company”; “Now You See Me”; “Rain Game”; “No SSSweater is Better”; “A Tale About Tails”; “Sticky Situation”; “Night Lights”; “Go Snails Go!”

Next up is “Fun Feathered Friends”: There are actually 9 episodes included on this DVD with an approximate running time of 90 minutes. Usually these DVDs releases are 60 minutes, so this a nice bonus. The episode included are “Fast”; “Fabulous Feathers”; “Biggest Bird”; “Bounce”; “Timmy Tippy Toe”; “Cotton Patch”; “Paper Chase”, “Little Lemmings” and “Polar Adventure”. These are obviously themed focused around animals and teach a great deal about them as well. After watching this DVD and then bringing my daughter to the zoo, she say a peacock and connected it to this show, “Daddy, it’s the peacock from Cat in the Hat”. Mission accomplished.

“Fun Feathered Friends”: Let’s journey with Sally and Nick and the Cat To make feathery friends, imagine that! First, meet the fastest creature in the world! Who is it, you ask? It s Perry the Peregrine Falcon. Watch as he flies up to 150 mph, even when diving for food! Then play dress-up with Sally. Her favorite hat has lost all of its feathers where can she find more? It s time for a trip to Feathery Flats to meet Puranjay the Peacock! He has plenty of feathers and can teach us all about them. Birds are only the start of this trip with the Cat Take a look at what s inside, and hold onto your hat!

The last recent release is “Oh, the Skin We Are in!” or as my daughter called it “The Bones Cat in the Hat” (see the cover above if you are curious why). There are the typical 5 episodes on this DVD, running about 60 minutes. The episodes included are “The Skin I’m In”; “Jiggle Bones”; “Rumbly Tumbly”; “Keep the Beat and Sneezy Riders”. My daughter has really taken to this DVD and has since learned a lot about her body. She hit her elbow after watching it and said “Mommy, I hit my funny bone” and when we asked were she heard that, she said “Cat in the Hat, mommy”. So another score for this show.

“Oh, the Skin We Are in!”: It s time to explore with the Cat in the Hat! What shall we discover today? Ahhh-choo! Why, bless you! Nick can’t seem to stop sneezing. Why is that? Well, let’s find out with the Cat in the Hat! Hop on the Thinga-ma-jigger with Sally and Nick and learn all about the skin we re in the bones we own our beating hearts why our tummies rumble what causes sneezing, and how we can stop it It s a fantastic collection of natural science adventures, deep inside the bodies we live in!

Season 1, Volume 2 is set for a May 5th release date and is titled “Discover & Investigate With Cat in the Hat”. I am really glad that NCircle is releasing this show now in a seasons format. I look forward to that release for sure and also to future themed releases throughout 2015.

Blu-ray Reviews: Disney Presents Studio Ghibli Latest Films

Thank God for Disney since they have been delivering fans of Studio Ghibli films with new Blu-ray ever few months. The following three beloved films have never been available before on Blu-ray in the US. They are POM POKO, PORCO ROSSO and TALES FROM EARTHSEA. These films are not the most notable films in Studio Ghibli’s library but they are still classics. They also come with all-new digital masters featuring HD picture and sound. Having seen POM POKO and PORCO ROSSO back when I was a kid on VHS tape, this was quite the different experience. Almost felt like a different movie. The colors are absolutely vibrant and each films is accompanied with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track for both their original Japanese and English dub tracks.

POM POKO is directed by Isao Takahata know for his work on “Grave of the Fireflies” and “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”). PORCO ROSSO is directed by the king of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki himself (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”). Lastly TALES FROM EARTHSEA is directed by the son of the king, Goro Miyazaki, who also directed “From Up on Poppy Hill”. Like I said these are great films. Personally, I am really hoping my breath for my favorite Ghibli films including “Spirited Away” and “The Castle of Cagliostro” to head to US on Blu-ray but for now, these are a great addition to my Studio Ghibli collection.

POM POKO Official Premise: Studio Ghibli presents a film about the clash between modern civilization and the natural world from acclaimed director Isao Takahata. The raccoons of the Tama Hills are being forced from their homes by the rapid development of houses and shopping malls. As it becomes harder to find food and shelter, they decide to band together and fight back. The raccoons practice and perfect the ancient art of transformation until they are even able to appear as humans. In often hilarious ways, the raccoons use their powers to try to scare off the advance of civilization. But will it be enough? Or will the raccoons learn how to live in balance with the modern world? Celebrate the magic of the forest and the beauty of the creatures who live among us in “Pom Poko”—now on Disney Blu-ray for the first time ever.

PORCO ROSSO Official Premise: Take flight with “Porco Rosso,” a valiant World War I flying ace! From tropical Adriatic settings to dazzling aerial maneuvers, this action-adventure from world-renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki is full of humor, courage and chivalry. When “Porco”—whose face has been trans- formed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell—infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a rival pilot, to get rid of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete for the affections of the beautiful Gina. But it’s in the air where the true battles are waged. Will our hero be victorious? For the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray, “Porco Rosso” is a thrilling ride you’ll never forget!

TALES FROM EARTHSEA Official Premise: An epic animated adventure directed by Goro Miyazaki, “Tales From Earthsea” features the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay. Based on the classic “Earthsea” fantasy book series by Ursula K. Le Guin, “Tales From Earthsea” is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. In the land of Earthsea, crops are dwindling, dragons have reappeared and humanity is giving way to chaos. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard, and Arren, a troubled young prince, on a tale of redemption and self-discovery as they search for the force behind the mysterious imbalance that threatens to destroy their world. Featuring a timeless story and magnificent hand-drawn animation, “Tales From Earthsea” is now available for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray.

POM POKO stars a great US cast including Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Starship Troopers”) as Gonta, J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man,” “The Closer”) as Seizaemon, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (“The Lion King,” “Home Improvement”) as Shokichi, John DiMaggio (“Futurama,” “Adventure Time”) as Ryûtarô and Olivia d’Abo (“The Wonder Years,” “Conan the Destroyer”) as Koharu.

PORCO ROSSO does one up delivering an even better cast with Michael Keaton (“Batman,” “Toy Story 3”) as Porco Rosso, Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride,” “Saw”) as Curtis, Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“According to Jim,” “Father of the Bride”) as Fio, Susan Egan (“Hercules,” “13 Going on 30”) as Gina, David Ogden Stiers (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Pocahontas,” and TV’s “M*A*S*H”) as Grandpa Piccolo and Brad Garrett (TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Ratatouille,” “Finding Nemo”) as Mamma Aiuto Boss.

Lastly TALES FROM EARTHSEA does not disappoint either, especially including a former James Bond to the cast. For this we get the talents of Mariska Hargitay (“Law and Order: Special Victims,” “Leaving Las Vegas”) as Tenar, Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man,” “Finding Nemo”) as Cob, Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights,” “License to Kill”) as Ged, Cheech Marin (“The Lion King,” “Nash Bridger”) as Hare.

The special features on these Blu-ray range a bit with POM POKO delivering the least goods. POM POKO  includes original Japanese storyboards and also original Japanese trailers. PORCO ROSSO also includes original Japanese storyboards and also original Japanese trailers as well as a Behind The Microphone featurette with the US cast and also an interview with the film’s producer Toshio Suzuki. Lastly TALES FROM EARTHSEA also includes original Japanese storyboards and also original Japanese trailers as well as a feature on the film’s score “The Birth of the Film Soundtrack” and a making of featurette with “Behind the Studio: Origins of Earthsea”. Not too shabby for lesser known titles and definitely enough to make these Blu-ray worth the purchase.

Blu-ray Reviews “Demons” & “Demons 2”

Starring: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Bobby Rhodes, David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Bobby Rhodes, Asia Argento, Virginia Bryant
Director: Lamberto Bava
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Synapse Films
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014
Run Time: 88 / 92 minutes

“Demons”: 4 out of 5 stars
“Demons 2”: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

If you love Italian horror then you should be a fan of Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” (1985) and “Demons 2” (1986). These two film have only been previously released by Synapse Films as Limited Steelbook Blu-ray editions. One thing these things have in common are oustanding scores by Claudio Simonetti, and kick-ass 80’s rock/heavy metal songs from Billy Idol, Mötley Crüe, Accept, The Smiths, The Cult, Dead Can Dance, Art of Noise, Peter Murphy and MORE!. “Demons 2” also showcased a young Asia Argento in her very first film role. A must for any horror fan that missed on on the Limited Steelbooks last year and don’t mind the lack of extras.

“Demons” Official Premise: A young woman is invited by a mysterious masked man to a theater screening in Germany. Taking a friend, the two beautiful ladies discover they are watching a gory horror film! When a prop on display in the lobby accidentally cuts a young woman’s face, she begins to transform. People begin mutating into hideous monsters and the cinema is locked up tight! One by one, the audience members are violently attacked and transform into disgusting demons hellbent on spreading their apocalyptic plague around the world. Can they be stopped?

Demons 2″ Official Premise: There’s a scary movie on television and the residents of a luxury high-rise building have their eyes glued to their sets. Unfortunately for a young birthday girl, an eternal demonic evil is released through her TV and partygoers soon find themselves fighting an army of murderous monsters! Acid blood, demonic dogs, possessed children and rampaging zombies wreak havoc for the trapped tenants!

These films come with outstanding high-def 1080p transfers from their original vault materials both presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio, featuring all-new color correction supervised by Synapse Films. These both also include both the “International English” stereo language soundtrack, as well as the “U.S. Mono” English alternate dub soundtrack. They also include newly-translated English SDH subtitles. The bad thing is that there are no special features included on these Blu-rays, there are only original theatrical trailers included for both films.

CD Reviews “Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection”

Just when you think you have a complete collection of Disney soundtracks…think again! “Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection” includes the latest releases of your favorite film soundtracks. The first three that have been released in this collection are “Sleeping Beauty” (55th anniversary), “Mary Poppins” (50th anniversary) and “The Lion King” (20th anniversary)  featuring new and remastered content. These CDs aren’t just a collection of songs, they are an immersive experience. A must for any Disney nut and music collector.

“Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Sleeping Beauty” is a 2 disc set, which features the classic songs and score from the film as well as studio recordings of Princess Aurora’s songs performed by Mary Costa, and never before released demos and tracks. Also included is beautiful new original artwork inspired by the original properties illustrated by Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios (“Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph”).

“The Lion King” was the first of these to be released. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, This sound includes all the classic songs from this film. There is also about 30 minutes of previously unreleased score included. This is a real treat for any fan of the film. It is crazy to this that this has never been released before. There are also liner notes by Don Hahn (producer) and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, which gives great insight in the content included.

Last up for now is “Mary Poppins”, which actually gets a 3 disc set and trumps the others. I love that these Legacy Collection releases come in a book format and not just a crappy jewel case. Along with the wonderful and timeless music from the film, this also includes Mary Poppins Lost chords and excerpts from the P.L. Travers Story Meetings with Don DaGradi and The Sherman Brothers. I had no idea that there was so much extra music for this film but if you are a fan of “Mary Poppins”, this is definitely the ultimate collection. collector should own and enjoy.

“Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection” is going to be expanding over the next few years. Personally, I purchase all my music digitally these days but Disney has just given us a reason to purchase physical CDs again. Next up “The Little Mermaid”, which is being released November 24th. I am very excited for this release and to hear the demo and bonus content.  Beyond that there are plenty of upcoming anniversaries to celebrate including “Pinocchio” (75th), “Fantasia” (75th), “Cinderella” (65th), “Lady and the Tramp” (60th) and “Toy Story” (20th).

Book Reviews “ArtFolds: Christmas Memories”

Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 2 and up
Series: ArtFolds Color Editions (Book 3)
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Reader’s Digest
Release Date: September 30, 2014

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Before receiving this I was not sure what to expect from an ArtFolds book but this is definitely more can just a book. “ArtFolds: Christmas Memories” includes instructions that show you how to fold each page to transform this book into a very amazing colorful Christmas Tree sculpture. Seriously! You fold the book and it ends up being a beautiful piece of art. The only downfall is that this is a one-timer. Once you complete the fold, it is art and cannot be redone. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for the next edition of this series.

Official Premise: An ArtFolds book is a hardcover book that is transformed into a unique paper sculpture merely by folding pages, based on our exclusive, patent-pending instructions. The process is fun and easy and takes surprisingly little time, making it as appropriate for children as it is for adults. Color Editions feature a lovely palette of shades that make a vibrant and eye-catching work of art. Each Color Edition includes some fun and compelling reading that matches its art theme. In “ArtFolds: Christmas Memories”, readers can enjoy classic quotations, poems and lyrics that capture the magic of Christmas.

DVD Reviews “Afterlife: Series 1 & 2”

Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Lesley Sharp
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2014 / October 7, 2014
Run Time: 282 / 370 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Hold on a sec…did BBC just release a series called “Afterlife” starring “The Walking Dead” star Andrew Lincoln?? Wait a sec, this aired back in 2005? This is honestly, the first time that I am hearing about this series. But BBC Home Entertainment is smart for cashing in on the ridiculous success of “The Walking Dead” and releasing the series 1 and series 2 of this psychological thriller. It also co-stars the brilliant Lesley Sharp (“The Full Monty”). This show didn’t last very long on TV and only aired in the United Kingdom when it did, so this is the first time it is crossing over the pond. If you dig Lincoln, this is a pretty solid show. I really enjoyed it and I wish I would have heard back it sooner. Luckily though, the complete series is available and I recommend it for any “The Walking Dead” fan.

Series 1 Official Premise: A medium who has been able to see spirits since she was a child, Alison appears to be the real deal- unable to avoid the dead who seek her aid, she is driven to resolve relationships torn apart by death. Science-minded Robert finds it hard to change his deeply rooted assumptions that such paranormal activity is impossible. When Alison’s readings provoke an adverse reaction in one of Robert’s own pupils, he begins to observe her with the intention of turning his study into a book. Choosing to believe that Alison is imagining her experiences, Robert finds himself caught up as Alison continuously puts herself at risk in order to comfort both the living and the dead… until she sets her sights on helping Robert come to terms with his son’s tragic death.

Series 2 Official Premise: A chilling psychological drama that enters the world of the dead to answer questions about the living. In the terrifying and emotional climax to the first series, Alison (Lesley Sharp, Scott & Bailey) collapsed and nearly died during a séance in which she was inhabited by the spirit of Robert’s (Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead) dead son. Now on the road to recovery, Alison has to accept that the spirits she has seen since she was a child will never leave her. Determined that her life should not be dictated by the dead, she wants to use her gift to help the living. Robert, meanwhile, is in turmoil – once a total skeptic, his beliefs have been shaken by what he witnessed at the séance. He struggles to make sense of his life and turns to Alison for answers… but she is jolted out of her own new-found security by a terrifying presence. For the first time in her life she is being haunted by a spirit from her own past, a ghost she must learn to confront if she is to hold onto her sanity.

The series is only being released on DVD from BBC Home Entertainment. I would have loved to see a Blu-ray release but this show barely looks good on DVD. It is quite grainy throughout. The first series has audio commentary tracks on episodes 1 and 6 with stars Andrew Lincoln and Lesley Sharp, the series creator, Stephen Volk and producer, Murray Ferguson. I like that Lincoln is actually involved here but I am not sure when it was recorded and if it was before his fandom from “The Walking Dead”. The second series only comes with a 45 minutes behind-the-scenes features, which is very thorough and dives into the series’ production.

Book Reviews “Star Wars Art: Illustration & Posters” and “Star Wars Visions”

With “Star Wars Episode VII” in the making and the new animated series “Star Wars Rebels” having just premiered everyone in hyper drive for more “Star Wars”. Personally, I am eat, sleep and drink “Star Wars” and I wouldn’t be happier. Thanks to the amazing people at Abrams, they have been releasing amazing “Star Wars” books for their fans for years. I have a two year old daughter and she already knows all of the characters by name because we would spend time looking through the books and identifying all the characters.

I wanted to go through a few of them and showcase what is out there for fans. The first book, I received was “Star Wars Art: Illustration”, which was originally released in October of 2012. This was the third book in the “Star Wars Art” series. “Illustration” is a collection of the best of artwork from various books, trading cards, magazines, video games, and merchandise. The art in this film is everywhere you turn even still today.

This artwork was also curated by the man himself, George Lucas. It also includes previously unpublished, rarely seen, and fan-favorite art from Mark Chiarello, Dave Dorman, Hugh Fleming, Tim and Greg Hildebrandt, Ralph McQuarrie, Jon J. Muth, Tsuneo Sanda, Drew Struzan, Jerry Vanderstelt, Christian Waggoner, and many others. If you are a fan looking to see “Star Wars” from a wide variety of different styles from many illustrators than this book is definitely for you. Abrams really showcases this art so well and in such an amazing book.

The next one is also the latest “Star Wars Art: Posters”, in fact at the time of this writing it is technically not even released yet as it streets on October 14, 2014. The fifth book in the series is a another great book from Abrams, which simply focuses on that wonderful artwork from the posters in the world of “Star Wars”. Ranging from Tom Jung’s iconic one-sheet for Episode IV to Roger Kastel’s Gone with the Wind–inspired painting for Episode V and beyond, “Star Wars” has delivered some of the best posters in movie history over the last four decades.

This book also not able includes showcases the best artwork from all six Star Wars films’ posters but also the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated television series, and limited-edition prints. Again, George Lucas–curated “Star Wars Art” series, impresses. What I really can’t wait to see is what Disney and LucasFilm are planning for the new Episode VII poster. There have already been tons of outstanding fan posters.

The last book, I am covering today is “Star Wars Visions”, which was originally released November 2010. This book calls out to the fans of “Star Wars” to deliver their inspired art work from the series. It includes over 100 well-known and promising artists artwork devoted to the entire Star Wars galaxy. “Star Wars: Visions” features pieces by renowned artists such as Amano, Allan R. Banks, Harley Brown, Gary Carter, James Christensen, Michael Coleman, Kinuko Craft, Jim Dietz, Phillipe Druillet, Donato Giancola, Ann Hanson, H. R. Giger, Daniel Greene, Ron Kleeman, Arantzazu Martinez, Syd Mead, Moebius, Paul Oxborough, Alex Ross, Anthony J. Ryder, Dolfi Stoki, William Stout, Dan Thompson, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo, Scott Waddell, and Jamie Wyeth

This book is a real tribute to “Star Wars” and really features some amazing alternate artwork. Some of the art included is Kermit the Frog fishing with Yoda or even the manga Leia, which is a quite different look for the character. Other books in this series include “Star Wars Art: Comics”, which I will try and features later this month along with the upcoming “Star Wars Costumes”, which is being released by Chronicle Books later this month.

Book Reviews “Disney Poster-A-Page – Disney Junior: Let’s Play & Frozen: Magical Moments”

Series: Disney Poster-a-Page
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Disney
Release Date: September 2, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Time Home Entertainment Inc has been behind a great Poster-A-Page series featuring some of the most popular Disney franchise characters recently. They feature not only our favorite character but also key story points, and memorable moments. It is what it says it is, this is literally a poster on every page along with nine supersize pull-out posters. that can function as fantastic door signs, room decorations, or background for their fantasy worlds.

Official Premise: “Disney Frozen Poster-A-Page”: Magical Moments relives the magic of the second highest grossing Disney movie of all time. With wintry scenes and cherished characters, this book follows Anna and Kristoff as they encounter Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman, in their epic journey to find Elsa.

Official Premise: “Disney Junior Poster-A-Page: Let’s Play” features the lovable characters from one of the highest rated children’s TV series. This new book introduces us again to the whole Disney Junior team: six-year-old Doc McStuffins; Mickey Mouse and his lovable clubhouse friends Goofy, Donald, Minnie, Daisy, & Pluto; Jake and his faithful Never Land Pirates crew; and Sofia the First along with her family and friends.

“Frozen” has won over everyone in the world with its lovable characters. These are great posters. My daughter already has asked us to hang up at least five different ones. If your kids love Disney Junior, they will love seeing all their favorite characters as well. We get posters of Doc McStuffins, the gang from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the crew of Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sofia the First.

Blu-ray Reviews “The Toho Godzilla Collection, Vol. 2”

Director: Okihiro Yoneda, Kunio Miyoshi, Shûsuke Kaneko, Masaaki Tezuka, Takao Okawara
Rated: Not rated / PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Run Time: 306 / 193 / 107 minutes

Rebirth of Mothra I-III: 3 out of stars
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack: 4 out of stars
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla: 3.5 out of stars
Godzilla 2000: 4 out of stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

With the new reboot of “Godzilla” streeting on Blu-ray this month, we are getting a second bunch of Blu-ray in the “The Toho Godzilla Collection”. This next set including “Rebirth of Mothra”, “Rebirth of Mothra II”, “Rebirth of Mothra III”, “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” and “Godzilla 2000”. Being a hardcore Godzilla fan, I couldn’t be happier to be receiving this latest bunch. I remember rushing out to the theater opening day first show to catch “Godzilla 2000”.

There are 28 films in “”The Toho Godzilla Collection”, even though The Mothra films really aren’t included in that number. After this patch of films that leaves us with only nine films that haven’t been released on Blu-ray including “Godzilla Raids Again”, “Mothra vs. Godzilla”, “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster”, “Invasion of Astro-Monster”, “Son of Godzilla”, “All Monsters Attack”, “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”, “Terror of Mechagodzilla” and “Godzilla 1985”. Here’s hoping that Sony or anyone else has the rights to release these…it would be great to see the complete collection available to fans.

“Rebirth of Mothra I-III” make up the first Blu-ray. I know the Mothra films are super cheesy but they are just plain fun. But Mothra can still kick some major ass for sure. “Rebirth of Mothra II” has a bit of an environmental agenda but still a decent film. It definitely has a certain kid-version of “Indiana Jones” going on as well here, or at least I always thought it did. Same goes for “Rebirth of Mothra III”, which continues its focus towards kids. It is definitely still a decent film and packs a serious battle as well in the trilogy.

“Rebirth of Mothra” Official Premise: Mothra, one of Godzilla’s longtime allies (and sometimes foe) gets her very own movie series in this, the first of a trilogy. When the three-headed Death Ghidorah, an even fiercer cousin of King Ghidorah, begins to destroy the forests of Japan, Mothra leaves her island paradise to help save them. “Rebirth of Mothra II” Official Premise: Two young kids inadvertently unleash a giant sea creature which is somehow strengthened from the abundance of modern-day pollution. Mothra’s keepers, the tiny twins Moll and Lora, quickly rouse the gentle giant in order to combat this latest threat to peace. “Rebirth of Mothra III” Official Premise: In the final film in the new ‘Mothra’ trilogy, King Ghidorah, the most destructive of all the monsters, returns to destroy the Earth. In the end, Mothra is indeed triumphant and takes her place among the greatest of all monsters.

Each of these films actually delivered pretty unexpectedly great 1080p transfers. I was not expecting to see such a clean and impressive transfers. There are two DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround tracks for each film, the original Japanese and an English dub. I am going to stick with the Japanese track each of these films since they generally end up feeling much more natural and an overall a slightly better track, no question. The only special features includes for each film are three teasers (“Rebirth of Mothra III” only has two teasers) and a theatrical trailer included.

Next up is “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, which easily wins the longest title in Godzilla history and “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”. “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah” was made to basically reboot the series since it only pays attention to the original 1954 film and the (terrible) 1998 remake. The film packs a big budget compared to past installments. It is far from perfect but is a fun entry for sure. “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” is a bit cheesy but still fun and has some solid battle scenes.  Plus I am a big sucker for anything Mechagodzilla.

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” Official Premise: Fifty years ago, the Japanese Defense Forces killed Godzilla or so they thought. When a series of terrifying natural disasters begin to plague Japan, including the inexplicable offshore sinking of a U.S. submarine, a mystic old man warns his nation that Godzilla has come back to destroy Japan as revenge for all the souls lost in the Pacific War. When mere military might cannot squash the monster, the mystic man awakens the Holy Beasts of Yamato — King Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon, sleeping giants that protected Japan in ancient times. These untamed mammoth beasts take on Godzilla with frightening supernatural brute power that has been 2,000 years in the making. Tradition and technology collide in this chilling high-tech, cutting-edge fable.

“Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” Official Premise: After four years of scrupulous preparation under the prime minister, a new invincible robot, Mechagodzilla, has now reached completion, armed with various weapons, including the most powerful gun in history that can destroy anything in the world. Akane Yashiro is transferred to join the Mechagodzilla team as an operator who controls the mechanical monster. As soon as Mechagodzilla starts on its test run, the huge shadow of Godzilla begins to rise from the depths of the ocean…The battle of the century is going to take place between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla.

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” delivers yet another solid presentation on Blu-ray.  The 1080p is sharp with its colors and very clean of any grain. Same again goes for “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”, which is slightly less impressive but still quite solid. The same does not go for the audio track though, “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” includes the original Japanese track and an English dub. They are both actually good entries and just depends on your preference. “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” has the same specs but the English dub is not listenable since it is so poorly acted. The Japanese cut is the only way to go here. Both films only contain their film’s Original Trailers as a bonus feature.

Lastly but not least is “Godzilla 2000”, one of my favorites. It is a not a perfect film like many of the “Godzilla” films but is a blast to watch. This Blu-ray also  contains two versions of the film. The 107 minute Japanese cut has never been released in the US before this, so fans should be going crazy over this one. The shorter 99 minutes English dub cut is also included as well. So even though you are not getting a real double feature here like the others or triple in terms of “Mothra”, but we are getting 1.5 movies for the price of one here.

“Godzilla 2000” Official Premise: Get ready to crumble! The king of all monsters is back and bigger than ever! The action heats up when a UFO reveals itself as a massive alien monster with awesome destructive powers. The alien monster heads straight for the behemoth GODZILLA(r) who’s just crushed the entire city for the battle of the millennium. But Godzilla’s furious heat beam may not be enough to destroy the death-dealing alien, and the future of humankind is in jeopardy. Now, it’s a bang-up, threeway, no-holds-barred brawl as Godzilla, the alien monster and the courageous citizens of Japan fight an unprecedented battle for survival in this earth-shattering new sci-fi action adventure that will blow you away.

“Godzilla 2000” Blu-ray presentation is surprising the least impressive out of this new batch of releases. It is not horrible but doesn’t have that clarity that the “Mothra” films pack. The film does have really great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks. both original Japanese and English dub. This Blu-ray actually has some special features included unlike the rest. There is an audio commentary with Writer/Producer Michael Schlesinger, Editor Mike Mahoney, and Supervising Sound Editor Darren Paskal on the English version only. There is a very short “Behind the Scenes” featurette and of course, lastly there is an Original Trailer included.

Even though the special features on these three releases aren’t great. They do all include an Ultraviolet HD digital copy code, which is a worth the purchase of the disc alone. These films maybe not be perfect and some cheesy but Sony defintely still delivered good Blu-rays here. Like I said, I hope to see more of these in next year for sure. We have nine more films in the series and I hope that we can complete out the collection! Keep them coming Sony!