DVD Review “Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids: The Complete Series”

Actors: Bill Cosby
Number of discs: 15
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013
Run Time: 2340 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

If you were an adult or kid in the 70-80′s then you should be aware of “Fat Albert” and the man behind the show Bill Cosby. And no I don’t mean the terrible 2004 live-action film. Bill Cobsy is one of the greatest comedians of our time. Kids these days most likely will not recognize him since he hasn’t done much in the last decade or so. Well, I remember the “Fat Albert” original animated series growning up and it is a riot. Finally, thanks to Shout! Factory we can own the complete series, which includes the best original 36 1972-75 Episodes, all 24 1979-81 episodes and all 50 1984 episodes. If you are a fan of this show and looking to take a trip down memory lane then this would be the set for you to purchase.

Official Premise: Premiering in 1972 on CBS this classic animated series was created, produced and hosted by comedian Bill Cosby, who also lent his voice to a number of characters, including Fat Albert himself. The show, based on Cosby’s remembrances of his childhood gang, focused on the lovable, oversized Albert and his friends. The show always had an educational lesson emphasized by Cosby’s live-action segments, and the gang would usually gather in their North Philadelphia junkyard to play a rock song on their cobbled-together instruments at the end of the show.

“Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” Season 1 from 1972 contains the following 16 episodes: “Lying”, “The Runt”, “The Stranger”, “Creativity”, “Fish Out of Water”, “Moving”, “Playing Hookey”, “The Hospital”, “Begging Benny”, “The Hero”, “The Prankster”, “Four Eyes”, “The Tomboy”, “Stagefright”, “The Bully” and “Smart Kids”. Season 2 from 1973 contains the following 5 episodes: “Mister Big Timer”, “The Newcomer”, “What Does Dad Do?”, “Mom or Pop” and “How the West Was Lost”. Lastly, we get season 3 from 1975 contains 15 episodes including “Sign Off”, “The Fuzz”, 3 Ounce of Prevention, “Fat Albert Meets Dan Cupid”, “Take Two, They’re Small”, “The Animal Lover”, “Little Tough Guy”, “Smoke Gets in Your Hair”, “What Say?”, “Readin’ Ritin’, and Rudy”, “Suede Simpson”, “Little Business”, “TV or Not TV”, “The Shuttered Window” and “Junk Food”.

Next up we have “The New Fat Albert Show” season 1 from 1979 with 8 episodes, including “In My Merry Busmobile”, “The Dancer”, “Spare the Rod Bucky, Weird Harold…”, “Sweet Sorror”, “Poll Time”, “The Mainstream”, “Free Ride” and “Soft Core”. The second season from 1980 is next with 8 episodes including “Pain, Pain Go Away”, “The Rainbow”, “The Secret”, “Easy Pickins”, “Good Ol’ Dudes”, “Heads Or Trails”, “Pot Of Gold” and “The Gunslinger”. The last was season 3 from 1981 with another 8 episodes, including “Habla Espanol”, “Two By Two”, “Barking Dog”, “Water Are You Waiting For?”, “The Father”, “Double Cross”, “Little Girl Found” and “Watch That First Step”

The last series included for this show is “Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert” from 1984 with another 50 episodes including “Have a Heart”, “Watch Thy Neighborhood”, “Cosby’s Classics”, “Justice Good as Ever”, “Rebop For Bebop”, “Sinister Stranger”, “Handwriting On the Wall”, “Busted”, “It All Ads Up”, “Never Say Never”, “Don’t Call Us”, “The Runner”, “Video Mania”, “You Gotta Have Art”, “Long Live the Queen”, ”The Joker”, “Second Chance”, “Kiss and Tell”, “Teenage Mom”, “Film Follies”, “Harvest Moon”, “Read Baby Read”, “The Whisky Kid”, “Millionaire Madness”, “Call of the Wild”, “Funny Business”, “Three Strikes and You’re In”, “What’s the ID?”, “Rules Is Cool”, “The Birds, the Bees, and Dumb Donald”, “Double Or Nothing”, “Hot Wheels”, “No Place Like Home”, “Not So Loud”, “The Jinx”, “You Don’t Say”, “Amiss With Amish”, “Gang Wars”, “Computer Caper”, “We All Scream For Ice Cream”, “Superdudes”, “Painting the Town”, Rudy and the Beast”, “Wheeler”, “Faking the Grade”, “Write On”, “Cable Caper”, “Say Uncle”, “No News Is Good News” and “Attitude of Gratitude”.

For episodes that range from 30-40 years old, these episodes looks damn good. They are presented in full frame and are well represented by Shout! Factory. If you didn’t think that 110 episodes were enough to leave you satisfied, there is still more in the special features. “Hey, Hey, Hey . . . It’s The Story Of Fat Albert” is solid hour long documentary on the show and it’s legacy. There are audio commentary tracks with Show Creator Bill Cosby, Storyboard Artists Michael Swanigan And Tom Tataranowicz, Writer Robby London And Host Wally Wingert, which are definitely worth checking out. Lastly there is a Still Gallery included, as well as DVD-ROM content with Script And Storyboards.

Blu-ray Review “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall”

Directed by: Nick Morris
Actors: Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Hadley Fraser, Wendy Ferguson, Barry James
MPAA Rating Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Run Time: 160 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“The Phantom of the Opera” is the currently longest running show on New York’s Broadway. It is also currently has production playing London, Budapest and Las Vegas.  In October 2011, the show marked its 25th anniversary and took stage on the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London. I have seen the stage production of this show many times and this Blu-ray presentation is such an amazing representation of the show. This show features composer Andrew Lloyd Webber at the helm and really shows the wonderful scale of the stage production. Honestly if you have never seen this show, this is an amazing way to enjoy this whether it is your first time or your 10th time.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score on Blu-ray is so stunning boasting a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Match that with an amazing HD presentation and this is one attractive Blu-ray. The video really captures the beauty and color in this show and really brings it to life in your living room. In the bonus features category, there is only one feature but it is worth watching to take a look into the shows production. “Getting Past the Point of No Return” is a very in depth behind the scenes featurette with the cast and crew.

The 25th anniversary production of this show not only looks beautiful but also includes an amazing cast and orchestra of over 200 and also features some very cool guest appearances like “Phantom” originals, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Taking on the role of the Phantom is Ramini Karimloo and the role of Christine is portrayed by Sierra Boggess, both who are know for their roles in “Love Never Dies” (the sequel to “Phantom of the Opera”). They both do such an amazing job and really bright their own unique specialties to the characters. Speaking of the sequel if you enjoy this Blu-ray do not forget to also check out “Love Never Dies”, which will be released on Blu-ray as well on May 29, 2012.

Film Review “Albert Nobbs”

Starring: Glenn Close, Janet McTeer and Brendan Gleeson
Directed by: Rodrigo Garcia
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 53 mins
LD Entertainment

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In the dining room of a 19th Century Dublin Hotel, the head waiter is seating guests. As he walks past a table a woman remarks to her husband, “he’s such a kind little man.” If only she knew the truth.

A pet project of Glenn Close, who starred in the play almost 30 years ago (Close also co-wrote and co-produced the film), “Albert Nobbs” is the story of a woman who has spent the last 30 years disguised as a man in order to survive. When Albert (Close) meets Hubert Page (McTeer, eerily resembling a very tall k.d. lang), a house painter hired to touch up the hotel, he discovers a kinship he never thought could exist. Albert has been saving his money, longing to one day open a tobacco shop and no longer pretend to be someone he isn’t.

Earlier this week both Close and McTeer were nominated for Academy Awards, and deservedly so. Both women immerse themselves in their roles and create an illusion that makes the film flow easily. Not once do you think, “oh, look, Glenn Close is playing a guy.” When you look at the screen you see Albert Nobbs. The supporting cast also helps keep the illusion going, including Mia Wasikowska as one of the hotel maids, Gleeson as the resident doctor and Aaron Johnson (who was incredible as the young John Lennon in “Nowhere Boy” and also starred as the title character in “Kick Ass”) as the hotels newest employee.

The direction is solid, with the camera capturing old Ireland beautifully. The production design gives the film an authentic look. And kudos to the make up department, also Oscar nominated, for transforming Close and McTeer. I’m a little baffled by the films “R” rating. Except for a quick shot of bare breasts and a humorously implied indication of oral sex there was nothing questionable on screen in my opinion.