Kansas City Film Critics Name “Mad Max: Fury Road” the Best Film of 2015 During Presentation of 50th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards

Mad Max: Fury Road was chosen as the Best Film of 2015 by The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the 2nd oldest critics group in the country. The winners were announced this afternoon during a ceremony at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre in Kansas City. Among the voters were MediaMikes own Michael Smith and Jeremy Werner.

The film, which had been nominated in four categories by the group, also took home the Robert Altman Award for Best Director for George Miller and Best Actress for Charlize Theron. The film was the only multiple winner announced by the group. The directing award is named in honor of seven-time Academy Award nominee and Kansas City native Robert Altman.

Leonardo DiCaprio was named Best Actor for his work in The Revenant. In the supporting categories, Michael Shannon received the Best Supporting Actor prize for 99 Homes while Alicia Vikander was named Best Supporting Actress for Ex Machina. PIXAR’s Inside Out was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.

Below is a complete list of winners:

BEST PICTURE: Mad Max: Fury Road

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

BEST ACTRESS: Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Shannon – 99 Homes

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Inside Out

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Phoenix (Germany)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Amy

VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM: Ex Machina

Kansas City Film Critics Announces Nominees for the 50th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards

Kansas City, Missouri – The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, of which both Moviemike and Jeremy Werner are members, and the second oldest film critic organization in the country, released their nominees for the 50th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards, recognizing the best in film for 2015.

Sicario, a fall release that addressed the war on drugs in both the United States and Mexico, led all films with five nominations including Best Picture and Best Director for Denis Villenueve. The film also earned nods for Emily Blunt for Best Actress, Benicio Del Toro for Best Supporting and Original Screenplay.

Right behind are the summer action film Mad Max: Fury Road and the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Revenant, which each earned four nominations, including Best Picture. Also earning Best Picture nominations: Room and Spotlight. DiCaprio was nominated as one of the year’s Best Actors, along with Steve Carell (The Big Short), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and last year’s Academy Award winner in this category, Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).

Charlize Theron was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. Nominated alongside her and Blunt are Cate Blanchett (Carol), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).

Besides Del Toro, the list of nominees for Best Supporting Actor include Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Shannon (99 Homes) and Sylvester Stallone, reprising his role of Rocky Balboa in Creed. In 1976 the group named Stallone the year’s Best Actor for playing Balboa in Rocky.

Blanchett’s Carol co-star, Rooney Mara, earned a nod for Best Supporting Actress, alongside Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).

Directors joining Villenueve in competition for the Robert Altman Award for Best Director are Alex Garland (Ex Machina), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).

The group also handed out nominations for Best Animated Feature, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Foreign Film, Documentary Feature and for the Vince Koehler Award, which is chosen as the year’s best Science Fiction, Horror or Fantasy Film.

Winners will be voted on and the results released this Sunday, December 20th.

Below is a complete list of nominees:

BEST PICTURE: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Room, Sicario, Spotlight

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: Alex Garland (Ex Machina), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant), Denis Villenueve (Sicario), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

BEST ACTOR: Steve Carell (The Big Short), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Emily Blunt (Sicario), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Shannon (99 Homes), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Ex Machina, The Hateful Eight, Inside Out, Sicario, Spotlight, Trainwreck

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Big Short, Carol, The Martian, Room, Steve Jobs

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Anomalisa, Inside Out, Minions, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the Sheep

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Assassin, Goodnight Mommy, Phoenix, Son of Saul, The Tribe, White God

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Amy, Best of Enemies, The Look of Silence, Where to Invade Next, The Wrecking Crew

VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM: Ex Machina, Goodnight Mommy, It Follows, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian

Blu-ray Review “Viva Las Vegas: 50th Anniversary”

Starring: Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret, Cesare Danova, William Demarest, Nicky Blair, Teri Garr
Director: George Sidney
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Run Time: 85 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Man, I love Las Vegas. I cannot even think about the Sin City without screaming Elvis’ tune in my head. Elvis was not only a musical superstar, he was also a huge blockbuster draw in film and this was his biggest film. “Viva Las Vegas” is being re-released by Warner Bros in a brand new premium Digibook, which includes include rare behind-the-scene photos. Elvis shared the screen with the stunning Ann-Margret, who is a great companion for the King. This film is such a blast and really makes me want to book that flight to Las Vegas. If you are an Elvis fan (And don’t own Warner Bros previous release of this film) then this is a day one purchase.

Official Premise: In his highest grossing movie, Elvis shares the screen with Ann-Margret, easily creating the most electrifying teaming Elvis had on screen. He plays Lucky Jackson, a Grand Prix race driver working at a casino to raise cash for a new engine; she’s a hotel swimming instructor – and the romantic action revs up from their first meeting. George Sidney, who also directed Ann-Margret in Bye Bye Birdie, combines the hormonal heat wave with fascinating sights of ’60s Las Vegas. David Winters (West Side Story) choreographed the 10 musical song-and-dance scenes which also featured his dancers.

“Viva Las Vegas” was released WAY back in 2007 to a very impressive release back then. But yet for this release we still are getting a newly remastered transfer and a near perfect Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The soundtrack is so amazing include songs like the title track, “The Lady Loves Me”, Appreciation” and The King’s version of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.” The music is so important in this film and it is just absolutely amazing. For a film that is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. It has never looked or sounded better. The detail in the 1080p transfer is outstanding and the songs are just perfectly balanced for this Blu-ray release.

Besides the amazing looking Digibook with some great rare photos, the rest of the special features aren’t really that stunning and worthy of the King. There is a commentary track from Steve Pond, rock journalist and author of “Elvis in Hollywood”. This guy knows Elvis better than Elvis did and it was very interesting to get some great insight about the film. Next up is “Featurette Kingdom: Elvis in Vegas”, which goes behind-the-scenes. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

Celebrate “G.I. Joe” 50th Anniversary and Enter to Win a T-Shirt [ENDED]

Media Mikes is teaming up with TVStoreOnline.com to giveaway some great official T-shirt’s to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “G.I. Joe”. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite G.I. Joe character. This giveaway will remain open until June 20th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Yo Joe! You, too, can be a Real American Hero wearing this heather gray 100% cotton t-shirt. You know you want to relive those memories of the classic ’80s action cartoons and knowing is half the battle! Order today, or Cobra wins

Blu-ray Review “The Nutty Professor: 50th Anniversary – Ultimate Collector’s Edition”

Starring: Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens (I), Kathleen Freeman, Med Flory, Norman Alden, Howard Morris (I)
Director: Jerry Lewis
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Video
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014
Run Time: 397 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“The Nutty Professor” is easily one of Jerry Lewis’ best comedies. He directed, stars in, and co-wrote (with Bill Richmond) this very funny film, which is a parody of the classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. 50 years and this film is still a laugh riot and to celebrate that date Warner Bros is releasing this film in a brand-new 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition. In fact this new release also received personal input from Mr. Lewis and he helped compile some of the extra content as well. This film has always been a favorite of mine and it is great to see this wonderful released put out to remind people today of what a real comedy looks like to be honest. Warner Bros has always been a leader of giving films the treatment they deserve. Their “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” releases are like none other and this is no exception. A must have for any Jerry Lewis fan!

Here is the official premise for “The Nutty Professor”: The title’s eponymous professor is Julius F. Kelp (Lewis), a shy, bumbling chemistry teacher who has a mad crush on his student Stella Purdy (Stella Stevens). When he tires of being made fun of, Kelp develops a magic potion that turns him into smooth and smarmy nightclub singer Buddy Love. Stella is drawn to Buddy but unfortunately, the potion’s formula is unstable and Buddy keeps slipping back into Julius at the most embarrassing moments. In the end the professor’s ploy is revealed, but not before he delivers a speech calling for everyone to learn to love themselves first before others can return the favor. Stella realizes she loves him for who he is and, needless to say, the ending is a happy one.

In this release we get not only “The Nutty Professor” on Blu-ray but also in DVD format as well. But wait there is still more we also get DVDs of two other well-known Lewis comedies including “Cinderfella” and “The Errand Boy”. This are great films as well. Obviously, they don’t have relation to “The Nutty Professor” but they are a nice bonus for sure. But wait there is still more…there is also a CD included of “Phoney Phone calls 1959-1972”, which features Lewis’s collection of private prank calls secretly recorded over the years. And since we are on the topic of Warner Bros and Jerry Lewis, if you are looking for more rare films be sure to check out the Warner Archive Collection (www.warnerarchive.com), which has various other Lewis’ films available including, “Family Jewels”, “Cracking Up (aka Smorgasbord)” and “Which Way to the Front?”

Since this film is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, Warner Bros did not take that lightly and really jam-packed “The Nutty Professor” with great extras. “Jerry Lewis: No Apologies” is a brand new intimate look at the legend who has entertained and educated audiences for more than eight decades. There is a “Directors Letter”, which is specially written by Lewis himself to present this new collection. Recreated “Being A Person” is a 96 page book that is made up of drawings and quotes inspired/written by Jerry Lewis and drawn by his personal illustrator. When the first was first made there were only 250 copies of this book made and given to members of the cast and crew of “The Nutty Professor”, so this is cool to be able to own. There is also a 48-Page Storyboard Book and a 44-Page Cutting Script with Jerry’s notes included.

There is an audio commentary track with Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence. There is a great making of look in the film with “The Nutty Professor: Perfecting The Formula Behind-The-Scenes Footage”. “Jerry Lewis at Work” looks into the legend doing what he does best. “Jerry at Movieland Wax Museum” shows the actor visiting the location, which also includes commentary by son Chris Lewis. There are also deleted scenes, promos, bloopers, screen tests, outtakes and trailers included. With the bonus DVD includes, “Cinderfella”, there are special features as well including an audio commentary track with Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence, as well as Bloopers. “The Errand Boy” includes select scene audio commentary also with Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence. Lastly, there are also Bloopers, Promo Spots and trailer included.

The Nutty Professor 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition is available on Blu-ray 6/3/14 at the WB Shop http://bit.ly/TNP50THWBShop

“Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” “Viva Las Vegas” 50th Anniversary Arrive as Premium Digibooks

Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Two Disc Special Edition First Time on Blu-ray™
and Premium Digibook
Remastered Elvis: That’s the Way It Is Set for Special Screening August 16 at Orpheum Theatre in Memphis during Elvis Week

Viva Las Vegas 50TH Anniversary
New as a Premium Digibook

Burbank, Calif., April 22, 2014 – To celebrate Elvis Week, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release of two of “The King’s” fan favorites on August 12 as Premium Blu-ray™ Digibooks.

Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Two Disc Special Edition, which was re-edited and remixed for its acclaimed release in 2000, will now debut on Blu-ray™ as a Premium Digibook, newly remastered, and with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. In celebration of its 50th Anniversary Viva Las Vegas will also be offered as a Premium Blu-ray Digibook. These Premium Digibooks include rare behind-the-scene photos and are available for $27.98 each (SRP).

This year’s Elvis Week will be held from August 9-August 17 in Memphis at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. As part of the festivities, the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis will host the world premiere screening of Warner Bros.’ newly-remastered Elvis: That’s The Way It Is. Fans in town for Elvis Week will be treated not only to the newly-remastered film, but will also get to experience an outtake performance or sequence never before seen on the big screen, along with some special on-stage surprises still to be announced. Tickets will be available for purchase on May 1, 2014 via Ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, at any Ticketmaster outlet or at the Orpheum box office. For more information on this or other Elvis Week events, visit Graceland.com.

About the Elvis Titles
Elvis: That’s the Way It Is Two Disc Special Edition Premium Digibook
With thousands of feet of materials including sequences added to capture with greater intimacy Elvis’ performances and his creative process behind-the-scenes, the previously released Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Special Edition is now being made available as a Blu-ray™ two disc Special Edition Premium Digibook. Denis Sanders (Shock Treatment) directed this “rockumentary.” Academy Award® nominated[1] Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch) was the cinematographer, following the show’s development from rehearsal to stage.

Special Features:
Disc 1 (BD) 2001 Special Edition and Special Features:
Patch It Up: The Restoration of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is
12 Outtakes – song/nonmusical sequences
1970 Original Theatrical Version
Disc 2 (DVD) 1970 Original Theatrical Version and Special Features:
12 Outtakes – song/nonmusical sequences

Viva Las Vegas 50th Anniversary Premium Digibook
In his highest grossing movie, Elvis shares the screen with Ann-Margret, easily creating the most electrifying teaming Elvis had on screen. He plays Lucky Jackson, a Grand Prix race driver working at a casino to raise cash for a new engine; she’s a hotel swimming instructor – and the romantic action revs up from their first meeting. George Sidney, who also directed Ann-Margret in Bye Bye Birdie, combines the hormonal heat wave with fascinating sights of ’60s Las Vegas. David Winters (West Side Story) choreographed the 10 musical song-and-dance scenes which also featured his dancers. Songs include the high-roller title track, the stars’ duet on “The Lady Loves Me,” her sultry “Appreciation” and The King’s version of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.” The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo.

Special Features:
· Commentary by Steve Pond, rock journalist and author of “Elvis in Hollywood”
· Featurette Kingdom: Elvis in Vegas
· Theatrical trailer

Elvis Aaron Presley
(1935 – 1977)
Elvis Presley was one of Hollywood’s top box-office draws, starring in 31 feature films and two theatrically-released concert documentaries over the course of his career. His music was as much a part of his box-office success as his good looks and charisma. In fact, some of his top-selling songs were from the movie soundtracks. Eleven of his soundtrack albums made it into the top ten on the Billboard Album charts and of those, four became number one hits. It is estimated that Elvis has sold over a billion records worldwide, more records than any other artist in record industry history, and even 30 years after his death, Elvis still conquers new legions of fans as even compilations of his RCA recordings, such as “Elvis 30 #1 Hits” and “Elvis 2nd to None,” have both topped the Billboard charts of best-selling albums.

More biographical information is available at the official Elvis Presley Web site, www.elvis.com.

3D Blu-ray Review “Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary Special)”

Starring: Matt Smith, David Tennant, Jenna-Louise Colemanm, Billie Piper, John Hurt
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013
Run Time: 75 minutes

Special: 5 out of 5 stars
3D: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Just when you think that BBC’s “Doctor Who” cannot simple get any better, we get “The Day of the Doctor”, which is series’ 50th Anniversary special. The 75-minute 3D special stars Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt as various regenerations of the Doctor. It also brings back Billie Piper and another surprise guest from the “Doctor Who” history. This special is honestly not just a special it is a feature film. It is so well done and epic that it deserves to be treated like a theatrical feature, it fact it was actually in theaters, in 3D, broadcasted live at the same time the show aired on TV worldwide. Matt Smith has been such an amazing Doctor with his last episode around the corner this month with “The Time of the Doctor”. Tennant came back for the first time since season 4 and it felt like honestly he never left, so amazing. John Hurt was also such a blast playing the Doctor as well. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I literally cheered and also laughed out loud nervous time throughout.

Official Premise: Written by lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, Doctor Who: The Day of The Doctor sees the Doctors (Matt Smith and David Tennant) embark on their greatest adventure across space and time. In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London’s National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. All of reality is at stake as the Doctor’s own dangerous past comes back to haunt him. The special also stars Jenna Coleman (as Clara, the Doctor’s current Companion), Billie Piper (in a surprise role) and Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart, daughter of legendary Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

This 50th Anniversary Special was given the real treatment from BBC with this release. It comes in a solid combo pack with Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD, that’s right the Doctor is in 3D for the first time. I have to admit, this was a really strong fit for the show. The first time we zoomed in the painting and it went 3D, I literally said “Wow” out loud.  I thought it was very well done and added a lot of character to this special. The 1080p transfer overall was very impressive and like I said the show feel like a movie, so everything is amped up. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track also works very well with the action and scale of the film.

In terms of special features, there is some decent content here. But to me the real draw of this Blu-ray has to be the 3D Blu-ray, no question.  There is a “Behind-the-Scenes Featurette”, which takes us on set and on location with interviews with Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, David Tennant, Billie Piper, John Hurt and of course Steven Moffat. In “Doctor Who Explained”, we get the entire 50-year history in one 50-minute special. There are two mini-episodes including “The Night of The Doctor” and “The Last Day”. Lastly there are a trailer for San Diego Comic-Con and the tribute teaser for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary. I am curious if this special is going to be intergrated into future season releases and if so if they are planning to keep the 3D aspect, either way this would make a great holiday gift and a must watch and own for any Doctor Who fan!

Blu-ray Review “Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Ed Wynn, Hermione Baddeley, Karen Dotrice
Directors: Robert Stevenson
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Run Time: 139 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” I am not joking, I must say that word at least once a month and in fact I used it in a sentence earlier today before even receiving this Blu-ray to review! “Mary Poppins” is such an amazing film and I can’t believe that it is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.  This is the first time that this film has ever been released on Blu-ray and it was definitely has never looked better. I never released that “Mary Poppins” was Julie Andrews’ film debut. The film won five Oscars (Best Actress: Julie Andrews, Best Original Score, Best Song: Chim Chim Cher-ee, Best Editing, and Best Special Visual Effects) and has alaways been one of my favorites. Thinking about the film today and having an 18-month old daughter, this film is definitely a tougher sell for today’s generation, especially due to its nearly 2 hour and 20 minute running time. Nonetheless, it is a classic and is no question a must have for any Disney fan!

Official Premise: Releasing from the Disney Vault, creative visionary Walt Disney’s classic shines for the first time on Blu-ray. Starring Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews in her Academy-Award winning role, and featuring iconic toe-tapping songs including “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” Mary Poppins is a movie experience your family will enjoy again and again. An all-new digital restoration adds even more magic, helping bring the award-winning songs and amazing picture to life like never before. Share the music, share the magic, share the joy of Mary Poppins this holiday.

Disney definitely took into account that this was celebrating its 50th Anniversary and delivered a very solid Blu-ray release for “Mary Poppins” with a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy. I am very excited that Disney has jumped on the Ultraviolet bandwagon for their Digital Copies because this is going to get quite a bit of use. The film has received an all-new digital restoration on its 108op transfer and really looks stunning, especially with the half animation/live action scenes. The colors are muted a little but still really pop and look crisp. I am love with the classic line detail on the animation as well. I was also quite impressed that this 50 year old title was equipped with a very high def DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. The film’s timeless songs are really showcased quite well within this track and like the film itself have never sounded better.

The special features are quite impressive as well and definitely a good draw in with some new content included. The star of the show is no question, “Becoming Mr. Sherman”, which also plugs Disney’s new film “Saving Mr. Banks”. It features actor Jason Schwartzman, who portrays half of the famous composing team, the Sherman Brothers, in the new film, sitting down with Richard Sherman. It is a great feature on the films amazing music and also gives us a sneak peak into “Saving Mr. Banks”. The other all-new feature is a “Mary-Oke Sing-Along”, which is a fun and I expect to use this a lot as I introduce my daughter to the film over the years. Next up there is “A Magical Musical Reunion with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman”, this is a must watch for any fan of the film! It is great to see the trio reunited for this and reminiscing about the film. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins” is a featurette going behind-the-scenes on the production. Lastly there is also a deleted song called “Chimpanzoo” included.

David McCallum talks about the 50th Anniversary of “The Great Escape”

Today actor David McCallum is probably best known for his role as Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the long running television series “NCIS.”  If you’re my age you probably remember him best as the smooth secret agent Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  As someone who had, in the 3rd grade, been scolded often by teachers for continually saying “Open Channel D” into his ink pen, it was a great day when I had the chance to speak with Mr. McCallum about the 50th Anniversary of one of the most popular movies of the 1960s, “The Great Escape.”

To help celebrate this event, Mr. McCallum will be appearing at a benefit screening of the film this coming weekend, November 9, in Omaha, Nebraska as part of Bruce Crawford’s on-going classic film salute.  For information on the event head over to http://www.omahafilmevent.com/upcoming.htm

Recently Mr. McCallum took some time to talk to me about “The Great Escape,” why he enjoys voicing video-games and another upcoming 50th Anniversary he looks forward to celebrating.

Mike Smith:  First off, a belated “Happy Birthday!” (Mr. McCallum turned an incredible 80 years old this past September 19).
David McCallum:  (laughs) Thank you.

MS:  How did you get involved with “The Great Escape?”
DM:  Way back then I had an agent in England by the name of Derrick Marr.  I hadn’t been with him long.  I had been doing an awful lot of television…live television, and working in the theater.  He called me and said that I’d gotten a request to meet with the casting director of the film.

MS:  At the time it was probably the biggest film production you’d been involved with.  As a young actor what were your thoughts when you realized you would be working with such international stars as Steve McQueen and James Garner?  Was it overwhelming?
DM:  Well, thankfully, life has never been able to overwhelm me.  I tend to enjoy and take great pleasure in all of the work that I do.  And back then it was no different.  When you’ve decided that your whole life is going to be as an actor, when you get opportunities to do a wonderful thing, like “The Great Escape,” it’s just a colossal pleasure that you look forward to with great anticipation.  And then you start preparing, of course.  You have to learn all about the character…all of the things necessary.  It’s not about just turning up and saying the words.  And the whole thing was such a beautiful experience.  I knew Donald Pleasence.  We had been very good friends for some time.  And you can imagine how it was for the young actors.  Being able to work with all of those people.  I’m not usually star-struck.  I’m fascinated by the number of people I’ve met working in this profession over the years.  That film was a great beginning.

MS:  Both of your parents were very well known and classically trained musicians (his father, David Sr, was the first violinist for the London Philharmonic – his mother, Dorothy, was a cellist).  Were you ever encouraged to make music your profession?
DM:  My father was a professional musician, my mother, who was a cellist, gave it up early to take care of my father.  I played the Oboe from about the age of eight or nine.  I went to the Royal Academy of Music for a short while but then I gave the whole thing up to go on the stage.

MS:  You’ve done a lot of voice work in video games.  Does that take a different kind of preparation as an actor?
DM:  The best thing about that kind of media is that you get to over-act outrageously.  To me that’s the greatest pleasure.

MS:  “NCIS” isn’t your first hit television show.  What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference in working in television between “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and now?
DM:  I think the ability to record sound and the size of the camera and the fact that it’s now digital and not film.  Other than that nothing’s changed.

MS:  Final question, and I understand if you can’t answer it:  next year marks the 50th Anniversary of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  Do you have any involvement in the upcoming “U.N.C.L.E.” film?
DM:  No, right now I have nothing to do with that.  It’s a whole new venture.  But now that you tell me it’s the 50th Anniversary next year I’ll have to set aside a nice bottle of wine and open it.  Maybe I’ll save it until the movie comes out.

A FANS NOTE TO DIRECTOR GUY RITCHIE

Mr. Ritchie:

I hope by the time you read this you will have contacted both Mr. McCallum and Robert Vaughn and found a place for them in your film.  Both men are in great health and acting today.  I don’t care if you have them walk past Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the hallway, you must recognize them.  It is their chemistry that made “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  the show it was.  As Leo G. Carroll has passed away more than 40 years ago I will not lobby for his appearance!

“Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary Official Merchandise Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Media Mikes is teaming up with TVStoreOnline.com to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “Doctor Who” and we are happy to giveaway the following official merchandise below. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Doctor and why? This giveaway will remain open until November 29th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.


Have you ever wanted to travel through time and space? If so, this officially licensed Doctor Who hoodie is a great option! Okay, so maybe this TARDIS isn’t going to work like the one the Doctor uses, but that doesn’t mean this TARDIS hoodie isn’t awesome! Featuring the look and design of the blue police box from the longest running science fiction series of all time, this Dr Who hoodie is perfect for any Whovian!

Yeah, yeah, God save the Queen and all that, but what about the Doctor? Well, here’s a shirt for all you Dr. Who fanatics out there which expresses where your true concerns lie. If that catchy theme music is already playing through your head, then you know what to do. Order this officially licensed Dr. Who shirt, today!

Blu-ray Review “The Sword in the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Ricky Sorenson, Karl Swenson, Norman Alden, Sebastian Cabot, Martha Wentworth
Directors: Wolfgang Reitherman
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Run Time: 79 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Growing up, my sister and I just to watch “The Sword in the Stone” quite a bit and it was always one of our favorites. It has been many years since I’ve seen the film and yet it is still as ever entertaining. I was very impressed to find that I know (somehow) recall all the lyrics to the fun songs like “Higitus Figitus”. The music in this film is so great, I forgot how much I love the score. One thing I can’t come to terms with is the fact that this film is already 50 years old, that just blows my mind. Having watching this as a kid, to now have a daughter of my own, I can’t wait to share this with her.

Disney has been releasing all the animated classics in their library recently onto Blu-ray. Along with this, “Robin Hood” (1973) and and “Oliver & Company” (1988) were released as well. In fact after looking into it they should be coming to an end shortly with only fourteen more theatrically released Disney Animated Classics left with two more set for this year alone. Next up we have “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and “The Little Mermaid”.

Official Premise: Disney proudly presents the 50th anniversary edition of a spellbinding and beloved animated classic. Conjure up magical family fun with the humor, adventure, and Academy Award-nominated music (best score – adaptation or treatment, 1963) of The Sword In The Stone – on DVD and now on Blu-ray combo pack for the first time ever! Take an amazing journey with a young orphan named “Wart” and the extraordinary wizard Merlin. According to legend, only someone with the purest character and inner strength can pull the enchanted sword from the stone and claim the throne of England. Armed with newfound confidence and the power of friendship, Wart discovers his destiny and learns the best magic is the kind you find inside yourself!

Disney is releasing this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy included. I have to admit though, I am a little disappointed in the release overall. The 1080p transfer is not the best, especially coming from Disney. I know the film is 50 years old but I am not sure how much restoration (if any) they did to this film since it looks a little iffy. Overall, it is still very enjoyable and a big improvement from past DVDs but not what I expected from in terms of Blu-ray standards. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track delivers at least very well, especially with the music and action.

Back to disappointing again with the special features. Come on Disney, this is for the 50th anniversary, where are the new and exciting extras? The only new feature is a never-before-seen alternate opening presented in black and white storyboards. “Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers” discuss about the men behind the films music. There is a short excerpt from “All About Magic”, hosted by Walt Disney. There are two classic animated shorts including “A Knight for a Day” and “Brave Little Tailor.” Lastly, there is a sing along with the movie, done in karaoke style.

 

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“Cleopatra 50th Anniversary Edition” Blu-ray Giveaway [ENDED]

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In honor of the iconic film’s 50th anniversary, the 243-minute premiere version of CLEOPATRA has been meticulously restored and presented on Blu-ray for a stunning high definition in-home viewing experience. Artfully packaged with a full-color book featuring rare images from the making of the film, the 2-disc Blu-ray edition is packed with dazzling bonus materials featuring never-before-seen exclusive content including Cleopatra’s lost footage, commentary from Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

Directed by Academy Award winner Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the historical epic shot on 70mm film was the highest grossing film of 1963, bringing in more than $24 million in its initial release. The film cost an unprecedented $42 million to make (equivalent to over $300 million today) and nearly bankrupted Twentieth Century Fox. In addition to elaborate sets and costumes, production delays and the relocation of principal filming from London to Rome added to the skyrocketing budget. A very public love affair between Taylor and Burton that blossomed during the three-year production meant that there was as much romance and intrigue off-screen as on-screen. The film later won four Academy Awards, and was nominated for five more, including Best Picture.

The opulence and grandeur of this epic spectacle has never been more glorious, as it comes to Blu-ray for the very first time. This 2-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition includes a collectible book that provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of this legendary film.

CLEOPATRA Blu-ray Features:
Disc 1
• Cleopatra Through The Ages: A Cultural History
• Cleopatra’s Missing Footage
• Fox Movie Channel presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman
• Commentary with Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky
• The Cleopatra Papers: A Private Correspondence

Disc 2
• Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood
• The Fourth Star of Cleopatra
• Fox Movietone News – Archival Footage of the New York Premiere and Hollywood Premiere
• Commentary with Chris Mankieqicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky
• Theatrical Trailers

For a chance to win a copy of CLEOPATRA 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, simply answer the question below and submit answer though our CONTACT US page.

Elizabeth Taylor had a very public love affair with what Cleopatra co-star?
a) Chris Mankiewicz
b) Martin Landau
c) Richard Burton

This is giveaway will remain open until June 17th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Follow Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on Twitter @FoxHomeEnt

Tippi Hedren reflects on working with Alfred Hitchcock and the 50th Anniversary of “The Birds”

Tippi Hedren is known best for her roles in the Alfred Hitchcock films, “The Birds” and “Marnie”. This year “The Birds” is celebrating its 50th anniversary, yet the film is as popular as ever and still very relevant. Besides acting, Tippi also works with animal rescue at the Shambala Preserve, which is a 73-acre wildlife habitat which she founded in 1983. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Tippi about working with Hitchcock, his films and her work on the Shambala Preserve.

Mike Gencarelli: With “The Birds” celebrating its 50th anniversary, what is your most memorable experience with this film?
Tippi Hedren: There were so many of them, since it was such an overwhelming experience for me. “The Birds” was my first film. So not only having Alfred Hitchcock discover me in a commercial that I had done, but he took me under his wing – you might say. He put me under contract before I had even met him just based on my commercial and photo work. It was a very exciting time for me.

MG: Can you reflect on the film with about today’s audience and why the film is still relevant?
TH: “The Birds” really seems to have a life of its own. So many people are really enchanted with it. The fact that this film was even able to have been done is amazing. Year after year, the film gets introduced to a younger generation. When you watch it with the audience of today, when you see the telephones 50 years ago they start laughing. It is interesting for me. But on the other hand the film holds up so well. Fortunately Hitchcock always had his leading women dressing in very traditional clothes. I could wear that green suit right now and be perfectly in style, which I actually still have six of them today.

MG: I recently saw the HBO film “The Girl”, which was based on the making of “The Birds”; how accurate was the film to what happened?
TH: Yes the film was totally accurate. In fact, the writer Gwyneth Hughes came out to my Shambala Preserve, where I live and she spent an afternoon with me talking about my years with Hitchcock. So, yeah the film is absolutely accurate. Also at the time that she was writing she would also call me and discuss any issues or concerns.

MG: What are your feelings on seeing Sienna Miller playing yourself in the film?
TH: I thought she was wonderful. Sienna also came out to the preserve and I got to spend an afternoon with her as well. She called me several times during the filming, which was done in South America. There was a close comradery between all of us.

MG: In the final attack scene of the film; how many times did you have to shoot that?
TH: When I opened the door to that room and all those birds came flying at me and I was under attack for a full week from Monday to Friday. It was unbelievable and also very exhausting.

MG: How would you compare Hitchcock’s style to other director’s you’ve worked it?
TH: The thing that impressed me so much was that he was always so well prepared. He literally worked 9-5pm. At 5 o’clock, we had the martini shots…every day. Most directors will go into very late at night or tremendously long hours, which is actually the norm. With Hitchcock, he always kept to a schedule. That was pretty amazing.

MG: How did the production of “The Birds” and “Marnie” compare?
TH: They are two entirely different films. In “The Birds” you have the added problem of working with live animals, which is always a difficult situation. They do not care about being in a movie. So there is a great deal of difference. I loved doing “Marnie” since it was such a psychological piece and entirely different.

MG: My site partner told me that if I didn’t ask you about working with Sean Connery that he will quit, so tell us about working with him in “Marnie”?
TH: I was very fortunate having Rod Taylor as my leading man in “The Birds”. I was working with all  consummate actors including Jessica Tandy and Suzanne Pleshette. They were all great. So, it was kind of a surprise for me when they told me I was going to play Marnie. I play a compulsive thief that is so frigid that she screams every time a man comes near her. So when I was asked who would be playing Mark Rutland in the film, Hitchcock told me that it would be Sean Connery. I said “Sean Connery? The Sean Connery that just got out of ‘Dr. No’? Sean Connery, who could melt the iciest of blondes? Mr. Hitchcock, do you remember that Marnie is so frigid that she screams everything a man comes near her? How am I supposed to handle that?” He simply told me “It’s called acting my dear”. And that was the end of that [laughs].

MG: How was it being the topic of the season and guest starring on the season finale of “Cougar Town”?
TH: It was great fun. It was such a short piece. The whole season was about how can they find Tippi Hedren, so then at the very end is when I appeared. I wish it would have been a little longer but it was still a lot of fun.

MG: Tell us about the inspiration behind the film “Roar”?
TH: Well it goes back to 41 years ago when I started rescuing lions and tigers. I had just done two films in Africa. During those years, environmentalists all over the world were saying that if we didn’t do anything right then, which was 1969-70, to save the animals in the wild then by the year 2000 they would be gone. So my then husband (Noel Marshall) and I decided to do a film about the animals in the wild. We choose the great cat, because people are either enchanted with them, scared to death of them or think they should be admired from afar. We had seen an abandoned house while on a photo Safari in Mozambique. The owner had moved out since it flooded during the rainy season. So when he moved out a tide of lions moved in. It was the largest pride in all of Africa. We couldn’t count me but there was somewhere between 25-30 lions of all sizes that were living in this house. We thought that this was incredible. They were sitting in the windows looking like great portraits. There were going in and out of the doors. They were napping on the verandas. So we decided to use these animals as our stars. We then went back to California and got the script written. When we gave the script to the trainers of these Hollywood animals and they all came back to us laughing that this film could not be made. They told me to get my own animals for the movie. All of the sudden I had little lions and cubs all over my house. It was quite an experience and we learned right then and there that they are definitely not pets.

MG: Tell us about continued your work today with the Shambala Preserve?
TH: The preserve is 73-acres and it is very beautiful. We keep the animals that we rescue for the remainder of their lives. We give them huge areas in which to life, many of which are over an acre. It is so expensive though. I have to raise over a million dollars a year, which is quite difficult. I would appreciate if your readers can visit our website, http://www.shambala.org/ and see what we have to do in order to keep this going each year. I am doing everything I can and any help is appreciated since this place is so beautiful and necessary. I am also working on federal bill which will be introduced this month, which will stop the breeding of lions and tigers to be sold as a pets. So please look that up as well.

Blu-ray Review “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?: 50th Anniversary Edition”

Starring: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Anna Lee, Maidie Norman, Marjorie Bennett
Director: Robert Aldrich
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 134 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were known for there feuding both on and off the screen during making “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”. After 50th years, they still deliver some great performances in this film. Warner’s is releasing this film in their trademark Digibook release and it is definitely worth the upgrade for fans of this classic film. Warner Brothers delivers a real nice 1080p video, within its new digital transfer taken from the original camera negative and restored audio elements. This really makes the picture pop off the screen and looks amazing in black and white still after all these years. The original DTS-HD Master Audio Mono also works well with the 50 year old film.

The special features are great but nothing new for this 50th anniversary release. There is a commentary track from Charles Busch and John Epperson Epperson, which is relatively funny. “Bette and Joan: Blind Ambition” looks back on the legendary careers of both iconic actresses. “Behind the Scenes with Baby Jane” is short but neat vintage featurette on the production. The is an excerpt from “The Andy Williams Show” on 12/12/1962, when Bette was a guest on the show. “All About Bette” is a TCM special focusing on Davis and hosted and narrated by Jodie Foster. There is a “Film Profile” on Joan Crawford, which runs just under 30 minutes. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer.

Synopsis: Two icons from the golden age of Hollywood, Oscar® winners* Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, take their famous feud onscreen in Robert Aldrich’s newly restored thriller. In fierce, no-holds-barred performances, Bette Davis portrays aging ex-child star Baby Jane Hudson while Joan Crawford plays Blanche, the crippled sister Jane torments psychologically. As the sisters descend into madness, the tension builds to a shocking ending in this unforgettable Academy Award®-winning classic.

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Blu-ray Review “Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition”

Directed by: William Wyler
Starring: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating: G
Running time: 212 minutes

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Ben-Hur” is such a classic film and it is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. Warner Bros is giving this film the real ultimate collector’s edition. Not only it is packed with great content (which I will get to shortly), for this release, “Ben-Hur” has undergone a $1 million restoration. Warner Bros. performed a frame by frame restoration from the original 65 mm negative making this the highest resolution restoration ever completed by the studio. It is no joke and it really deserves the high praises. To get to the new goodies includes first we get an all-new high-definition feature-length documentary called “Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey”. This chronicles Heston’s life while filming Ben-Hur. The other new feature is called “Charlton Heston: The Ben-Hur Diaries”, which is a first-time exclusive look into an Oscar-winning actor’s experience while making an award-winning film. Along is those feature an actual reproduction of Charlton Heston’s personal diary is includes which dates from January 1958 through April 1960. There is also an exclusive hardbound book with rare photography, production art and reproductions from the original theatrical press book. Wow…right? So amazing!

The Blu-ray itself includes the movie split over two discs and features some really crisp and clear Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio. The special features on those discs are commentary by film historian T. Gene Hatcher with scene specific comments from Charlton Heston. There is also an amazing music-only track showing off the terrible memorable score by Miklos Rozsa. Disc three features “Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey”, which we talked about already. It runs about 80 minutes as well. There is the 1925 Silent Version of “Ben-Hur” includes. Next up is the 2005 documentary “Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema”, which shows Ben Hur’s influence on today’s films. Heading back another decade or so, we then have the 1994 Documentary “Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic Hosted by Christopher Plummer”. A very interesting extra is next called “Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures” it is a travel through the film with stills, music and storyboards…very interesting. There are about 30 minutes of screen tests, which is fun to watch since it is aged 50 years. If you dig vintage, then you will love the old newsreels galleries from the film. Lastly there is highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards ceremony. Great extras on a wonderful Blu-ray release. This really earns the title of Ultimate Collector’s Edition.

Synopsis: Experience the visual splendor, thundering action and towering drama of this record-setting Academy Award-winning film. Charlton Heston, in his Best Actor Oscar-winning role, is Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race and fateful encounters with Jesus Christ. Best Director Oscar-winner William Wyler masterfully grips the reins of an enduring and spellbinding spectacular.