Blu-ray Review “Robot Chicken: Season 6”

Starring: Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, Jena Malone
Director: Chris McKay
Rated: TV-MA
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013
Run Time: 220 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

Since 2005, “Robot Chicken” has consistently been delivering us with amazing pop-culture parodies in stop-motion animation. When this show first aired, I would not at all thought it would have lasted this long. It is getting better and better though over the years. This Adult Swim sketch comedy series from Seth Green and Matthew Senreich has even won an Annie Award and three Emmy Awards. Season six has been one of the best to date. There hasn’t been word of a seventh season but I am sure that it is not far away from being announced since this show still packs a great punch.

Official Premise: Robot Chicken is back for its Sixth Season of hilariously insane, wackadoodle, totally off the wall stop-motion animation! This season’s 20 brand spankin’ new episodes will flash images across your retinas and flood your brains with an overabundance of mind-melting pop culture spoofery that will most likely cause your head to explode and leave a stain on the couch that will never come out (sorry Mom)!

One thing that “Robot Chicken” is known for is amazing guest stars voicing various characters. Throughout the sixth season, there were some amazing guest stars including Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Chalke, Kat Dennings, Sam Elliott, Ben Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, Lucas Grabeel, Megan Hilty, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Levi, J.B. Smoove, Liev Schreiber, Jon Stewart, Patrick Stewart, Stanley Tucci, Olivia Wilde, and Alex Winter. I just love that this show is able to get such great names and it only makes it more fun trying to pick out who is voicing who while watching.

Like the past seasons for “Robot Chicken”, these episodes are uncut from their original TV airing. The 1080p transfers on these episodes are very impressive. The animation looks great even though it is not meant to be perfect. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track also delivers so well for this series. Also included besides the Blu-ray discs is an HD Digital Ultraviolet copy of the season. I will revisit these episodes quite often via that format, no question.

The special features on this Blu-ray are amazing and worth the purchase of this Blu-ray. There is an extensive episode audio commentaries for each of the 20 episodes.  That’s right there are 20 commentary tracks. Must listen for any fan of the show. There is a great “The Making of Robot Chicken: Season 6” looking into the highlights of these episodes. There are seven amazing featurettes covering all aspects of the season including “They Came to Play”, “Our First Ladies”, “Kirkman on Kirkman”, “My First Time”, “The Dirt on Seth and Matt”, “The Inside Joke” and “Who the F*** is Zeb”.

Those extras would normally be good enough for me and should leave any “Robot Chicken” fan 100% satisifed but wait there is still more. Other great extras include “The Wilson Identity: From People to Puppets”, “The Benefits of Robot Chicken”, “Post-Apolcalyptic Future of Holidays”, “Channel Flips”, “Chicken Nuggets”, Deleted Animatics and Outtakes! Whew! Try saying that in one breath! I really have to commend whoever put this release together because they did it for the fans and really delivered some of the best special features I have ever seen for this show.

Blu-ray Review “Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special”

Created by: Seth Green, Matt Senreich
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Cartoon Network
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Run Time: 23 minutes

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

I will never forget the first time that I saw “Robot Chicken”. I can still watch the first episode and belly-laugh throughout. This Emmy Award winning show has come so far over the last 8 years and 120 episodes. In this latest special no superhero is spared and no one is safe. If you are a fan of this show then this is a no-brainer. But if you have seen this special on TV and wondering why would you purchase this Blu-ray for only a 23 minute episode…well the answer is to get the additional 2+ hours of bonus content! It is easily makes this Blu-ray worth the purchase!

Official Premise: The special, which boasts an all-star cast as well as characters Robot Chicken fans have grown to love, provides a unique take on some of the most iconic superheroes from the DC Comics universe – along with others whose powers can’t really be called “super.” So what happens when Robot Chicken and DC Comics collide — who will survive with their super-dignities intact? NOBODY! In Robot Chicken’s hands, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and even Mr. Banjo could end up dead or naked or both or neither.

Like most “Robot Chicken” specials, this one features an all-star cast including series co-creator and executive producer Seth Green as Batman, Robin and the put-upon Aquaman; Neil Patrick Harris as Two-Face; Alfred Molina as Lex Luthor; Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern; Megan Fox as Lois Lane; series and special writer/voice talent Breckin Meyer as Superman, plus Abe Benrubi, Alex Borstein, Clare Grant, Tara Strong, series co-creator and executive producer Matthew Senreich, series co-head writer/co-executive producer Tom Root, series director Zeb Wells and Kevin Shinick as co-producer, writer and narrator. This special goes all out and it shows!

Like I said this release really shines with its special features. There are two hours of bonus content created by the special’s producers. We get tons of great deleted sketches and outtakes. There are both writers and actors commentary tracks for the special. ”The Making of Robot Chicken DC Comics Special” is a great behind-the-scenes look. “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special’s Aquaman Origin Story” is a fun look at the most hated DC character. “DC Entertainment Tour” is a cool look into the offices. Lastly there are “Stoopid Alter Egos” and “5.2 Questions” to the creators.

DVD Review "Chicken With Plums"

Actors: Mathieu Amalric, Golshifteh Farahani, Jamel Debbouze, Serge Avedikian and Isabella Rossellini
Directors: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

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

What is “Chicken With Plums”? It is the latest film from Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, the Academy Award-nominated filmmakers of “Persepolis”. Like “Persepolis”, this is also an adaptation of a graphic novel by Satrapi.  It is a fun and whimsical film which combines live-action sequences with a blend of genre (expressionism, fantasy, melodrama) with an animated sequence of the classic tale ““Appointment in Samarra”. ”It is one of those films that I just have to say you need to see it.  It is hard to really give it justice otherwise. If you were a fan of the fantastic “Persepolis” or others like “Amelie” then I would recommend checking this out.

Official Synopsis: Tehran, 1958. Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death. As he hopes for its arrival, he plunges into deep reveries, with dreams as melancholic as they are joyous, taking him back to his youth and even to a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of his children. As pieces of the puzzle gradually fit together, the poignant secret of his life comes to light: a wonderful story of love, which inspired his genius and his music.

The DVD presents the film with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. There is only a French (PAR) audio track, boasting a nice 5.1 Dolby Digital. So get ready to reach those English subtitles. The special features are a little light on this film. There is an commentary with with the Directors Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud, it is worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. Then there is a Q&A from 2012’s Tribeca Film Festival again with the directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud”. I was hoping for a featurette on the visual effect aspect of the film, especially the unique animated sequence. Also this would have look much better on a Blu-ray presentation.  I am not sure why Sony decided to only go the DVD route.

Seth Green & “Robot Chicken” Team Reveal New Show “Star Wars: Detours” with Trailer & Clips

Star Wars Detours™ is an animated comedy that explores what daily life is like in a galaxy far, far away. There are no Empires striking back or attacking clones here. Instead, Star Wars Detours focuses on the universe’s regular folks and their everyday problems… which, to be fair, do frequently involve famous bounty hunters, crazed Ewoks, and even a Dark Lord of the Sith.

Welcome to Star Wars: Detours: the other side of the stars, between the wars.

Star Wars Detours™ was revealed during Star Wars Celebration VI last month in Orlando, FL. The new animated series is from the team behind “Robot Chicken”. There is amazing line-up for voices on this show including Seth Green, Catherine Taber, Dee Bradley Baker, Joel McHale, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Seth McFarlane, and Jennifer Hale. The show should be hitting Cartoon Network in 2013.

Check out the trailer and various clips from this show:







Kevin Shinick talks “MAD”, “Robot Chicken” and “The Avenging Spider-Man”

Kevin Shinick is the known best for being the showrunner/writer/main voice talent/voice director on the animated TV series “MAD”, as well as the writer/voice actor/creative director on “Robot Chicken”. He has been nominated for an Emmy on this work for two shows. He also recently co-produced and narrated the “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special”. Kevin took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about those two roles and also what else he has planned like releasing this first issue of “The Avenging Spider-Man” with Marvel.

Mike Gencarelli: How does it feel to be nominated two years in a row for the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program Short-format, last year for Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and this year MAD?
Kevin Shinick: I couldn’t be more excited. Especially since this is our first Emmy nomination for MAD and I know how hard we all work on the show to keep it funny and topical. It’s also surreal, because the last time I won it was for working with my friends on Robot Chicken and this year I’m up against them. But to prove how familial it all is, Seth is actually the main voice in the MAD episode that’s nominated for the Emmy and I just got finished doing more voices for them for their next season. So there’s good blood all around. Although that being said, please vote for MAD.

MG: Out of all the hats you where on “Robot Chicken”, as a writer/voice actor/creative director, what is your biggest challenge?
KS: Being Creative Director over at Robot Chicken meant following a sketch from its inception all the way until you saw it on TV. This meant making sure the costumes, sets and designs all matched what we were thinking about in the writer’s room, so that was the most time consuming, but it also prepared me for running my own show over at MAD. There I’m a producer, writer, director and voice talent and everything in between. In the end I’d say the writing is still the most fun, although also the most demanding. And doing voices is always a blast no matter what show I’m on.

MG: Tell us about working on “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special” on Adult Swim, where you are the co-producer and voice the Narrator and other characters?
KS: As I mentioned before, the Robot Chicken guys and I are really like family so despite the fact that I’ve left to create my own show, I always keep at least one foot in that world. And because my schedule is so tight with MAD it doesn’t leave me time to work on the actual series, but I do make time for the RC specials. And in this case, it was even more rewarding because it also meant working with another great friend of mine, Geoff Johns. It was his idea to do an all DC Comics special and so when we all came back together it was like the perfect storm. And I think you’ll definitely get a sense of the fun we had doing it when it airs tonight. Also, the chance to play the narrator which was originally played by the great comedian/actor Ted Knight was a dream come true.

MG: How do your tasks of showrunner/writer/main voice talent/voice director on “MAD” differ than your work on “Robot Chicken”
KS: It’s very similar, but the tone is different. Essentially the network was looking for a show like Robot Chicken that wasn’t so dark and could air during prime time hours. So right off the bat we’re aiming for a younger demographic. Second, Robot Chicken has a great time focusing on retro things like He-Man and such while MAD tries to stay topical and poke fun at things that are out there currently.

MG: Tell us about MAD’s upcoming Halloween & Christmas Specials and what are we in store for?
KS: Last year’s MAD’s Halloween special is the episode that is nominated for an Emmy this year and it was definitely an awesome episode. So this year I wanted to top it. So far I’m really excited with the bits we came up. Starting off of course with our movie parody, FrankenWINNIE. A spoof of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, only Christopher Robin has to reanimate his beloved Pooh after a horrible accident had destroyed him. It’s coming out great and is some of the finest stop motion I’ve seen.

MG: Not only animated cartoons, tell us about your comic work as well with releasing your first Avenging Spider-Man #12 comic for Marvel?
KS: Again, it seems to be a superhero September for me. Yes, my Avenging Spider-Man #12 comes out this Wednesday, September 12th. I’m incredibly excited for this because I think it’s something that’s going to blow your mind. Not only is Spidey teamed up with everyone’s favorite mercenary, Deadpool, but you’ll also see Spider-Ham and a few other crazy characters from Spidey’s past who will probably not lend the help the webhead is hoping for.

MG: Tell us how you ended up guest staring on NBC’s Grimm and tell us about your experience?
KS: I’ve always been an actor as well, but with so much going on in my writing world there’s not always time to do both. But lately I’ve tried to make time for each because I’m equally passionate about my acting. The Grimm episode was just an audition I got, but when I read the role and saw that this guy was secretly a Porcupine Man I thought, “I have GOT to get this role.” Luckily the universe felt the same. And the cast and the crew were really great so it was a fantastic experience from top to bottom.

MG: You are also planned to guest star with Alfred Molina, Ving Rhames and Jamie Bamber on David E Kelly’s medical drama pilot for TBS, “Monday Mornings”, tell us about that?
KS: I can’t talk too much about that now, but it will air in January and it’s a great medical drama from the wonderful mind of David E. Kelly.

MG: Lastly, what’s the deal about this date with Angelina Jolie?
KS: Ha! This is one of those things that’s surreal in hindsight, but at the time was just a lovely evening. I was performing on Broadway in a production of The Seagull with Jon Voight ages ago and he and I had become close, so when he said to me, “My daughters coming to town. How would you feel about taking her to dinner?” I said, “Sure.” Not knowing this was the same woman who would later become People Magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive, let alone a great actress. So the moral is, never say no to Jon Voight 🙂

3D Blu-ray Review “Chicken Little”

Directed by: Mark Dindal
Starring: Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Joan Cusack, Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris, Mark Walton, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: G
Running time: 81 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I remember seeing “Chicken Little” in theaters in 3D and it was kind of a big deal since it was one of the first animated 3D films using the new Real 3D technology. It even came with collectable green “Chicken Little” 3D glasses. For 2005, this was a great step in the future for 3D animated films. Is it the best film ever…no. But it is also far from the worst. This film runs very short barely hitting 80 minutes but maybe that is a good thing. I think overall it is funny and the 3D is really great. In fact I feel that I enjoyed the 3D experience even more on the Blu-ray. The presentation on this release is very colorful and crisp. The sound is DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and works really well with the action in the film. Overall I will be re-watching this film in the future just to experience the 3D again for sure. If you enjoyed this film in the theaters in 3D, it is worth the re-purchase for sure.

The bonus features includes on the disc are decent but mostly fun kiddie themed. The first is a Q&A with the filmmakers called “Hatching Chicken Little” as they discuss the making of the movie. There is also an audio commentary from them as well. Worth a watch, kids probably won’t dig much. there is the music video for “Shake A Tail Feather” performed by The Cheetah Girls. Another music video includes is “One Little Slip” performed by Barenaked Ladies. There is a karaoke and sing along for that song as well. There are five deleted scenes from the DVD releases and also two alternate openings. Lastly there is an “Alien Invasion Game”, fun but aimed for kids.

Synopsis: Disney’s “perfect family film” (Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood) is now more fantastic than ever! All systems are go for fun, action and adventure as Chicken Little soars off the screen and into your living room in breathtaking, eye-popping Disney 3D! When the sky really is falling and sanity has flown the coop, who will rise to save the day? Together with his hysterical band of misfit friends, Chicken Little must save the planet from an alien invasion and prove that the world’s biggest hero is a little chicken. Experience the wonder of this hilarious egg-stravaganza as it hatches to life right before your eyes! Our 3D Combo Pack offers three ways to watch – Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray and DVD. For out-of-this-world entertainment, the sky’s the limit with Disney Blu-ray 3D – magic in a new dimension.