Blu-ray Review “Lady and the Tramp: The Signature Collection”

Actors: Larry Roberts, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Bill Baucom, Stan Freberg
Rated: G
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Run Time: 76 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Lady and the Tramp” was the first Disney animated feature filmed in CinemaScope. It is the sixth title to join the Walt Disney Signature Collection, alongside “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pinocchio,” “Bambi” and “The Lion King.” Walt Disney Signature Collection. This new release included three versions of the film, classic bonus material as well as three all-new features!

Official Premise: As one of the greatest love stories ever told, “Lady and the Tramp” is sure to melt the hearts of generations with its beloved characters, brilliant animation, memorable music and sweet sentiment. The animated treasure tells the story of Lady, a lovingly pampered cocker spaniel, and Tramp, a freewheeling mutt with a heart of gold. Through the Signature Collection edition, viewers can relive the pair’s thrilling adventures, sing along with the film’s unforgettable songs like “Bella Notte,” and swoon over one of the most memorable movie moments of all time—the iconic scene in which Lady and Tramp share a plate of spaghetti and an accidental kiss.

“The Signature Collection” includes the film on Blu-ray, DVD and also Digital HD. The audio and video haven’t changed since the last 2012, “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray release. That being said it is not like it is bad though, that release features a near flawless audio/video features. There are three versions of this film included. There is the original theatrical edition, a Sing-Along mode and a lastly a mode called Inside Walt’s Story Meetings, in which as you watch the film you hear reenactments of Walt’s story sessions with animators and see how their ideas were realized on-screen. This version is probably my favorite included here.

The new special features included are not life changing but are worth checking out still. “Walt & His Dogs” includes archival recordings and photos about the dogs Walt Disney owned and loved over his lifetime. Next up is “Stories from Walt’s Office” which takes us on a tour of Walt’s office suite on the Studio lot. Lastly the fun extra is a DYI called “How to Make a Meatball and Other Fun Facts About “Lady and The Tramp”” with teen chef Amber Kelley and Oh My Disney Show Host.

In the classic bonus features, this release carries over a few extras from previous Diamond Edition and also removes a few while moving most of the Diamond Edition’s extras to digital-only format accessible via sites like Vudu and Movies Anywhere. In the end, the means to re-purchase this relies on how much the digital HD copy and digital extras would be worth to you. I personally think it is worth it for myself. In future releases, I would like to see an attempt to upgrade the video and audio or at least attempt a 4K UHD release.

Blu-ray Review “Wishmaster Collection”

Actors: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund, Angus Scrimm, Paul Johansson
Directors: Robert Kurtzman, Jack Sholder, Chris Angel
Number of discs: 3
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Run Time: 370 minutes

Collection: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Wishmaster” is and always will be one of my favorite horror genre flicks. I was one of the many few that saw this in theaters, dragging my father at the time (who still hates me to today over 20 years later). This is a great movie. It is made my horror legends for horror fans. It has everything. Gore. Comedy. Practical Effects. Great cameos including Robert Englund (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”), Kane Hodder (“Friday the 13th”) and Tony Todd (“Candyman”) aka horror icons Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Candyman respectively. This is a must see for all horror fans…the sequels are…watchable but never lived up to the first.

This four film collection on Blu-ray contains the following films: “Wishmaster”, “Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies”, “Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell” and “Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled”. Like I said, I have seen all the sequels but they never really wowed me. I enjoy the character but the limited budgets and production value doesn’t give them potential to reach far.

The A/V presentation on these films vary quite a bit but are all together impressive. “Wishmaster” and “Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell” both feature a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, even though “Wishmaster” claims on the box it comes with a 5.1 surround track. It doesn’t. A little bit of a let down I thought but overall it still impressed me. “Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies” and “Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled” both pack a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks.

“Wishmaster” come stocked with the best special features in the bunch.  There are two audio commentary, first with director Robert Kurtzman and screenwriter Peter Atkins and second with Kurtzman (again) and stars Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren. They are both great and worth checking out. There is also isolated score selections and an audio interview with composer Harry Manfredini.

Next up there are a ton of interviews with everyone from director Robert Kurtzman and co-producer David Tripet to screenwriter Peter Atkins to stars Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren to director of photography Jacques Haitkin and actors Kane Hodder and Ted Raimi. Lastly there are some trailers, spots, vintage featurettes and behind-the-scenes footage along with galleries…and that is only on disc one!

Disc 2 for “Wishmaster 2” has an audio commentary with writer/director Jack Sholder. As well as a trailer and still gallery. Not a whole lot for the sequel. The commentary track is solid. Disc 3 “for Wishmaster 3” features an audio commentary with director Chris Angel and cast members John Novak, Jason Connery and Louisette Geiss. There is also a vintage making-of featurette and a trailer included.

Lastly “Wishmaster 4” which shares disc 3 with the previous film comes with two audio commentary tracks. The first is with director Chris Angel and cast members Michael Trucco and Jason Thompson and the second is with director Chris Angel (again) and actor John Novak. Also included is a featurette called “Wishmasterpiece Theatre” and a trailer included closing out this fantastic set!

Blu-ray Review “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection”

Actors: Walter Catlett, Frankie Darro, Cliff Edwards, Dickie Jones, Charles Judels
Directors: Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton S. Luske
Rated: G
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Run Time: 88 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Pinocchio” has never been one of my favorite Disney movies. It is very dark and intense in certain parts but on the other hand some parts are so classic like the song “When You Wish Upon a Star”. So I will treat this film like a classic and since it is nearly 80 years old give it a break. This is not the first time that “”Pinocchio” has been released on Blu-ray. Back in 2009, it was released as a 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition and now it is getting the “The Signature Collection” release. It is a big of a cash in cause the only major give we are getting is a Digital HD copy (which is definitely cool) and a few new extras. If you have never owned this, now is the time. If you already do it is a flip of the coin to be honest.

Official Premise: Pinocchio tells the tale of wood-carver Geppetto’s beloved puppet who embarks on a thrilling quest – with faithful friend Jiminy Cricket – that tests his bravery, loyalty and honesty, all virtues he must learn to fulfill his heart’s desire: to become a real boy.

Disney is re-releasing this movie as a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy. Nothing has been changed in terms of AV on this release from the previous release. The 1080p transfer looks sharp for this nearly 80 year old movie. The colors are crisp and the animation looks awesome. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is honestly not what I would expect from a 7.1 track, feels like its not getting to its full potential. In terms of special features there is all the previous content included back on the “70th Anniversary Platinum Edition” release, which some of it includes an Audio Commentary By Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg, and J.B. Kaufman, a few making of featurettes, deleted scenes and music videos.

Some of the new content included is worth checking out for sure but I wouldn’t rush out to buy this if I already owned the previous Blu-ray unless I really needed that Digital HD copy. “The Pinocchio Project: When You Wish Upon A Star” is a short two parter looking at the music video featuring JR Aquino, Tanner Patrick, and Alex G and a behind-the-scenes look. “Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island” are taken from the transcripts in the Disney vaults and features sketches and photographs from the design team as well as interviews with Director Pete Docter and Historian J.B. Kaufman. “In Walt’s Words – Pinocchio” is old archived footage from 1956 talking about the film and the times. Lastly, “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit In ‘Poor Papa'” is an all new cut of the vintage black-and-white animated short released special for this Blu-ray. Didn’t really capture the interest of my nearly 5 year old.

Product Feature: LEGO Halloween 2015 Monster Minifigures Collection

Halloween is just around the corner and LEGO is at it again delivering a great collection of collectible minifigures for the season. Halloween is easily one of my favorite times of the year and I look forward to seeing what LEGO has planned for this time of the year. 71010 Minifigures Series 14 is a series of sixteen mini-figures released in September 2015. This new Halloween-themed fourteenth series of LEGO’s Minifigures are a real treat for horror fans and come housed in traditional blind-bag packaging.

We had the chance to check out in advance three of these awesome new minifigures in this collection. The first is the Fly Monster, which looks super slick and had awesome red eyes, a red claw and wings. Really well done. The next is the Plant Monster, which is a really cool number. This has a feel like a plant ate a human and then formed around him against his will. I love the face and the hands. The last one is the Wolf Guy, which doesn’t have nards (ode for all you The Monster Squad fans), but it does have a cool bone accessory and it’s name is Kel. Great quality and detail on these.

The rest of the sixteen minifigures including: Banshee, Gargoyle, Monster Rocker, Monster Scientist, Skeleton Guy, Specter, Spider Lady, Square Foot, Tiger Woman, Wacky Witch, Zombie Businessman, Zombie Cheerleader and a Zombie Pirate. These are overall a great highlight for the Halloween season and I am dying to see what they come up with next either for future holidays or special events. There is something about minifigures that are so cool and even though they aren’t with a specific set you can use your imagination and do anything with them.

Blu-ray Review “Walt Disney Animation Studios Shorts Collection”

Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Run Time: 79 minutes

Shorts: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

We all know that everyone buying this Blu-ray would be mostly for “Frozen Fever”, one of Disney’s biggest hits ever. Honestly, it is an amazing short and we have easily watched it ten times already. The new song is easily one of the best song Disney has ever created. Other than “Frozen Fever”, this Blu-ray contains two never before released on video shorts including “Tick Tock Tale”, and “Lorenzo”. “Paperman” is one of my favorite shorts…probably ever, same goes for “Tangled Ever After”, which is full of laughs and “Feast”, which definitely gets a smile on your face. I can easily watch this shorts over and over.

Official Premise: From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes an extraordinary new collection of award-winning and beloved short films featuring Disney’s Frozen Fever, starring Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Sven and Kristoff, and the Oscar®-nominated Lorenzo (Best Animated Short, 2004). The Short Films Collection includes contemporary shorts starring classic characters, such as the groundbreaking 2013 Mickey Mouse cartoon, Get A Horse! And the holiday treat Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa, as well as celebrated Oscar winners Paperman (2012) and Feast (2014). Enjoy them together for the first time in this must-own collection with all-new extras including an inside look at the Disney Animation shorts, featuring introductions and interviews with the acclaimed filmmakers themselves.

Here are the complete list of the short films included: “Frozen Fever” (2015), originally premiered with “Cinderella”; “Feast” (2014), originally premiered with “Big Hero 6”. “Get A Horse!” (2013), originally premiered with “Frozen”; “Paperman” (2012), originally premiered with “Wreck it Ralph”; “Tangled Ever After” (2012), originally premiered with “Beauty and the Beast 3D”; “The Ballad of Nessie” (2011), originally premiered with “Winnie the Pooh”; “Tick Tock Tale (2010)”, previously unreleased; “Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa” (2010), originally premiered on ABC TV; “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater” (2007), originally premiered with “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”; “The Little Matchgirl” (2006), originally premiered with “The Little Mermaid Platinum Edition DVD”; Lorenzo (2004), originally premiered with “Raising Helen”; and lastly “John Henry” (2000), originally premiered in “Disney’s American Legends”.

Disney delivered a great release with a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD and digital HD copy. The 1080p transfer is flawless as expected from Disney. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is also amazing especially with Paperman’s score and Frozen Fever’s song. There are a few bonus features for nothing great. There are intros from the filmmakers before each short but they are like 30 seconds each and don’t give much info at all. There is also an interview with “Big Hero 6” star T.J. Miller. Lastly there is a final short film, “Runaway Brain” starring Mickey Mouse…but it is only available online using the Disney Movies Anywhere app or website.

Blu-ray Review “The Decline of Western Civilization Collection”

“The Decline of Western Civilization Collection”
4 Disc Blu-Ray and DVD
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Shout! Factory

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The highly-celebrated and long-awaited trilogy known as “The Decline of Western Civilization” is now for the first time available as a one complete collection. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD the great people at Shout! Factory has compiled all three films from the series along with a 4th disc containing tons of bonus footage and interviews. And if that wasn’t enough accompanying the 4 disc collection is a 40 page booklet containing rare stills and an essay by rock historian Domenic Prioret.

Having grown up renting these films from the local video store I was instantly drawn back to the films when I heard they would be being released as a complete collection. Each of the films was just as I remembered. From the classic interviews with Black Flag which shows of their meager rehearsal/living quarters to Germs front man Darby Crash making breakfast and X’s mid tattoo trance like ramblings part 1 of the series had me again clamoring for more. Part 2 transports you back to the late 80’s L.A. metal scene, a scene that will go down in infamy as younger bands like Poison and Motley Crue mixed with long time rock staples like Kiss, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. It’s all here just as I remembered from Ozzy Osbourne spilling his drink to W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes pouring Vodka on his head while barely floating in a swimming pool. Part 3 of the series was never released for home viewing however knowing the film existed I had seen bits and pieces over the years so to have the film available now was a personal highlight. The third film showcases performances by Final Conflict, Naked Aggression and The Resistance while shining a light on important topics such as youth homelessness, alienation and alcoholism.

Fans of both music and gritty documentaries will certainly want to check out this release. If not for the sheer nostalgia of past musical era’s but also for the importance that these films played to an internet-less generation who without these films maybe not have ever known that there were youth out there with similar trials, tribulations and ideas/goals. Though each of the films feature new 2k high-definition scans of the originals that though look sharp and crisp still retain the appeal of the originals. The only negative I found with the release was that often times the sound was quite unbalanced leaving interviews to be quite low while performances were quite loud. Even though this caused me to put some wear and tear on my remote/TV I enjoyed every minute of the 4 discs.

Book Review “Disney’s Storybook Collection: 2015 Edition”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: May 5, 2015

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I think about “Disney’s Storybook Collection”, I travel all the way back to 1999 and I think of the book that I received from my wife (then girlfriend) as a birthday gift. I would really love to praise this latest edition and say that its the bees knees but it really didn’t WOW me. In fact, instead of containing new original stories, it features a bunch of simple retelling of existing Disney stories. So it is great for my daughter, since she doesn’t care about new stories and just loves seeing pictures of her favorite characters and hearing fun stories but not really super exciting for daddy, who is looking for something new and original.

So the only thing that is actually new in this book is that there are some new artwork included and edited text. But otherwise, this includes a lot of older stories taken from previous books. Here is a list of the stories includes in this latest edition “The Lion King”; “Wreck-It Ralph”; “The Princess and the Frog”; “Cinderella”; “Frozen”; “Robin Hood”; “101 Dalmatians”; “Peter Pan”; “Mulan”; “Aladdin”; “Beauty and the a Beast”; “Lady and the Tramp”; “Pinocchio”; “Lilo & Stitch”; “Sleeping Beauty”; “Tangled”; “The Little Mermaid”; “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. If you are looking for a really good and new Disney Storybook Collection, they released a new Christmas last Fall and that one was great featuring new, original stories. Skip this get that!

Disney, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox Announce The Star Wars Digital Movie Collection

/ PR Newswire / — As anticipation builds for the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first new film in the Star Wars Saga in a decade, The Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd., and 20th Century Fox today announced the upcoming release of The Star Wars Digital Movie Collection. For the first time ever, all six epic films in the Saga, from The Phantom Menaceto Return of the Jedi, will be available on Digital HD throughout the galaxy – or at least here on Earth – globally beginning Friday, April 10.

“Since the debut of the first film nearly 40 years ago, Star Wars has become a worldwide phenomenon with legions of fans from every generation,” said Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s only fitting that audiences enjoy this legendary Saga and its many fascinating behind-the-scenes stories on a wide variety of platforms, and we’re very excited to finally bring all six films to Digital HD for the first time.”

“We’re thrilled that fans will be able to enjoy the Star Wars Saga on their digital devices wherever they go,” commented Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “These films broke new ground in technology, design, sound, and visual effects, and we’ve created some very special bonus material which delves into the Saga’s rich history, including new and never-before-released conversations between legendary Star Wars artists – the masters who helped George bring his iconic universe to life.”

With Star Wars: Episodes I-VI available for purchase as a complete digital movie collection and individually, viewers will have the Rebel forces at their beck and call across their favorite devices anywhere – sunbathing at the beach, relaxing in their living room with friends, or waiting to board a flight to Endor (or elsewhere).

Enhancing the movie collection are a host of never-before-seen special features including Star Wars: Discoveries from Inside and insightful Conversations between key contributors from across this celebrated film franchise, plus a curated collection of classic Star Warsextras from each film. These are the droids you’re looking for:

BONUS
*Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer
STAR WARS EPISODE I: The Phantom Menace

  • Conversations: Doug Chiang Looks Back
  • Discoveries From Inside: Models & Miniatures
  • Legacy content includes “The Beginning”; The Podrace: Theatrical Edit; plus eight deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE II: Attack of the Clones

  • Conversations: Sounds In Space
  • Discoveries From Inside: Costumes Revealed
  • Legacy content includes “From Puppets To Pixels: Digital Characters In Episode II”; State Of The Art: The Previsualization Of Episode II; and “Films Are Not Released, They Escape”; plus Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage and six deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE III: Revenge of the Sith

  • Conversations: The Star WarsThat Almost Was
  • Discoveries From Inside: Hologram & Bloopers
  • Legacy content includes documentaries “Within A Minute: The Making Of Episode III”; The Journey Part 1; and The Journey Part 2; plus six deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A New Hope (20th Century Fox)

  • Conversations: Creating A Universe
  • Discoveries From Inside: Weapons & The First Lightsaber
  • Legacy content includes “Anatomy Of A Dewback”; Star WarsLaunch Trailer; plus eight deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • Conversations: The Lost Interviews
  • Discoveries From Inside: Matte Paintings Unveiled
  • Legacy content includes “A Conversation With The Masters” (2010); “Dennis Muren: How Walkers Walk”; “George Lucas On Editing The Empire Strikes Back 1979”; and “George Lucas On The Force: 2010”; plus six deleted scenes.

STAR WARS EPISODE VI: Return of the Jedi

  • Conversations: The Effects
  • Discoveries From Inside: The Sounds Of Ben Burtt
  • Legacy content includes “Classic Creatures: Return Of The Jedi”; “Revenge Of The Jedi Teaser Trailer”; Return Of The Jedi Launch Trailer; “It Began TV Spot”; “Climactic Chapter TV Spot”; plus five deleted scenes.

About The Walt Disney Studios
For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world.

Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Disney|Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

About Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company’s activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. STAR WARS © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

About 20th Century Fox
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, 20th Century Fox Film produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of 20th Century Fox Film: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.

Blu-ray Review “Musicals 4-Movie Collection”

Starring: Howard Keel, Cyd Charisse, Douglas Fowley, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller
Directors: Stanley Donen, Vincente Minnelli, George Sidney, David Butler, Gene Kelly
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

There is something about old time musicals. 1952 and 1953 were big years for musicals. This latest 4-Movie Collection includes “Calamity Jane” (1953) / “The Band Wagon” (1953) / “Kiss Me Kate” (1953) / “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). Other than “Singin’ in the Rain”, the rest of these three films are making their Blu-ray debut in this collection. Personally, the real draw here is the fact that “Kiss Me Kate” is being released in 3D. That’s right, 3D as the film was original made to be seen. Along with these movies, this also includes collectible art cards. If you love musicals, this a must own.

“The Band Wagon” Official Premise: Tony Hunter, a fading film star decides to return to his former glory, the Broadway stage. His playwright-songwriter friends hook him up with Broadway’s hottest director, Jeffrey Cordova, who proves that the “new” theater traditions can be an awkward fit with the old.

“Calamity Jane” Official Premise: When she isn’t tearing up the town, Jane spends her time cussing out Wild Bill Hickok. The plot gets under way when Jane promises the citizens of Deadwood that she can persuade classy Chicago stage star Adelaide Adams to perform at the local opry house. Through a case of mistaken identity, Jane brings Adelaide’s maid Katie back to town. Katie proves to be a success all the same, and out of gratitude promises to make a lady out of Jane, who is sweet on handsome Lt. Gilmartin.

“Kiss Me Kate” Official Premise: At his New York apartment, actor Fred Graham and composer Cole Porter discuss plans to recruit Fred’s ex-wife, actress Lili Vanessi, to star in their new show, Kiss Me Kate , a musical version of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Lili arrives, and after singing the love duet with Fred, agrees to consider taking the role of Katherine. They are interrupted by the arrival of flashy dancer Lois Lane, who has used her wiles on Fred to secure the role of Bianca. Jealous words fly between the two women, and Lili prepares to leave, after informing Fred that she is going to be married soon.

“Singin’ in the Rain” Official Premise: Silent movies are giving way to talking pictures – and a hoofer-turned-matinee idol (Gene Kelly) is caught in that bumpy transition, as are his buddy (Donald O’Connor), prospective ladylove (Debbie Reynolds) and shrewish costar (Jean Hagen). Rediscover the musical masterwork, “Singin’ In The Rain”, with a downpour of celebratory special features that salute not just this all-time favorite but also the musical legacy of its producer, songwriter Arthur Freed.

The 1080p transfer for look great for each of the films. I really enjoyed the 3D transfer for “Kiss Me Kate”. This is cool to see since it has never before seen in this format since its theatrical release. So this is real treat. “The Band Wagon”, “Kiss Me Kate 3D” and “Singin’ in the Rain” have equal DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks. They are all equally impressive. The music really works well and sounds very impressive. “Calamity Jane” only carries a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. It is still solid but lacks the pop of its fellow films.

Blu-ray Review “Time Bandits: The Criterion Collection”

Starring: Michael Palin, Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm
Director: Terry Gilliam
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance)
Studio: Criterion Collection
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Run Time: 116 minutes

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

Terry Gilliam is easily one of the most creative minds ever in film. His have never really been understood and really given the time of day with a mainstream audience but they seem to all become cult classics. “Time Bandits” is one of the best things to come out of 1981, minus myself 😉 This film is one that gets better and better with each viewing and never loses it charm. This latest Blu-ray release is for its addition into the Criterion Collection, which gives us a new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Terry Gilliam. This is the best that I have EVER seen this film. It is a perfect release.

Official Premise: In this fantastic voyage through time and space from Terry Gilliam, a boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery)—but Evil (David Warner) is watching their every move. Featuring a darkly playful script by Gilliam and Monty Python’s Michael Palin (who also appears in the film), Time Bandits is at once a giddy fairy tale, a revisionist history lesson, and a satire on technology gone awry.

Arrow Video recently released a Blu-ray transfer for this film but this is even newer than that edition. Here is the text that is included on leaflet provided with this release: “Supervised by director Terry Gilliam, this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original camera negative. The restoration was overseen by Arrow Video and performed by Deluxe Digital Cinema in London. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI’s DRS. The original soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original 35mm magnetic track.”

Like I said above, this is a flawless transfer. Criterion has been very kind and supportive of Gilliam’s work. I still treasure my 3-disc DVD set of “Brazil” from 1999. This track also comes with a equally flawless LPCM 2.0 surround track. It is definitely much better than the previous 5.1 track that was released in the past. The clarity is easily noticed and the score sounds amazing. The 2K restoration really delivered for both audio and video for “Time Bandits”. This is going to rank as one of the best releases of 2014, no question.

The special features are equally outstanding at the 2K restoration. There is vintage audio commentary track featuring Gilliam, cowriter/actor Michael Palin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner, and Craig Warnock, which was first taken from the DVD release of “Time Bandits” and recorded exclusively for Criterion in 1997.  There is a new piece narrated by film writer David Morgan and featuring production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson “Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits” focuses on creating the film’s numerous historical periods and fantasy worlds.

There is a conversation between Gilliam and film scholar Peter von Bagh which was taken from the Finland’s Midnight Sun Film Festival dating back to 1998. There is an excerpt from a 1981 appearance by actor Shelley Duvall on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow show on NBC, which also features the actress discussing her role in “The Shining” as well. Lastly there is an original trailer and stills gallery included and an illustrated leaflet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt. Even though there is only one new extra on this Blu-ray, I am in love!

CD Review “The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need” Various Artists

“The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need”
Various Artists
Shout Factory
2 Discs
Tracks: 30

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need” is the latest collection release from the good people at Shout Factory. 30 ground breaking tracks spread over two discs which lives up to the releases name. The album draws from the Folk music genre’s rich history including performance from acts such as The Carter Family and Peter, Paul and Mary to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. The compilation really gives folkies a perfect mixture of music that defined a generation. The thing I found most enjoyable about this release was that it the actual artist performances of each track. A lot of times on these larger compilations there will be reinterpretations of the songs. This was definitely not the case here as each artist’s original performance is showcased. Included within the album linear notes is a brief synopsis from journalist Bill Bush on the Folk genre and the included compilation. With genre as rich as the Folk genre you certainly couldn’t include every great song that has been produced over the years however a good portion of them are contained on “The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need” making this a nice addition to any music lovers collection.

Disc 1 Track Listing:
1.) Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye)
2.) Rock Island Line
3.) This Land is Your Land
4.) I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow
5.) Goodnight, Irene
6.) John Henry
7.) Tom Dooley
8.) Silver Threads and Golden Needles
9.) He Was a Friend of Mine
10.) Blowin’ In the Wind
11.) Four Strong Winds
12.) The Last Thing On My Mind
13.) The Times They Are A-Changing
14.) Roving Gambler
15.) Sitting On Top of the World

Disc 2 Track Listing:
1.) I Ain’t Marching Anymore
2.) Mr. Tambourine Man
3.) If I Had a Hammer (Live)
4.) Little Bit of Rain
5.) Catch the Wind
6.) There But For Fortune
7.) Early Mornin’ Rain
8.) I Shall Not Be Moved
9.) Thirsty Boots
10.) If I Were a Carpenter
11.) No Regrets
12.) Turn, Turn, Turn!/To Everything There is a Season
13.) Who Knows Where the Time Goes?
14.) Angel From Montgomery
15.) Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down

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 Review “Disney Christmas Storybook Collection”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 9, 2014

If you are a fan of the “Storybook Collection”, this is a third edition of this series. The holidays are just around the corner and what better way to spend it then with your favorite Disney and Pixar characters. This updated edition includes brand new Christmas-themed stories including new films like “Frozen”, “Wreck-It Ralph”, and “Tangled”. These films just so happen to be three of my daughters favorites. Also included is Cars, Monsters Inc and a Mickey Mouse story.

“Disney Christmas Storybook Collection” features 18 stories focusing on the magic of Christmas. The book is just so colorful and really well done. It is over 300 pages and a nice sturdy hardcover. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are a lot of fun. I noticed a repeat with the “Frozen” stories from previous releases but my daughter doesn’t realized and still loves all of them. This has become a must read in our household and will continue through the holiday season.

Blu-ray Review “Leprechaun: The Complete Movie Collection”

Starring: Warwick Davis, Dylan Postl, Jennifer Aniston, Ice-T, Guy Siner, John Gatins
Directors: Brian Trenchard-Smith, Mark Jones (I), Rodman Flender, Zach Lipovsky
Number of discs: 4
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Lions Gate
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Running Time: 640 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

What horror fan doesn’t love the “Leprechaun” series? Warwick Davis built a career around this role. They are far from perfect films but they are certainly a ton of fun. I may get a role of the eyes but I especially love “Leprechaun 4: In Space” because it is just a blast. Plus who doesn’t love Las Vegas mixed that with “Leprechaun 3” and you have a winner. This Complete Movie Collection includes all seven films from the series including “Leprechaun” / “Leprechaun 2” / “Leprechaun 3” / “Leprechaun 4: In Space” / “Leprechaun: In the Hood” / “Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood” / “Leprechaun: Origins”, the 2014 reboot (and also the weakest title in the series). If you are a horror fan, this release is a MUST BUY!!

The real draw for me besides each of the seven films, is that this Blu-ray collection comes with a Digital HD UltraViolet copy of each of the films. Right there, this is worth the purchase of the release alone. These films don’t really scream high quality but the 1080p transfers are solid and good enough for what I expect from this series. The first six films come with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks. “Leprechaun: Origins” comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. I still absolutely hated this film and almost wish it wasn’t included in this set. In fact it almost ruins this set.

The first Blu-ray disc includes “Leprechaun” and “Leprechaun 2”. There is an audio commentary on track on “Leprechaun” by director Mark Jones and there is an audio commentary on “Leprechaun 2” by director Rodman Flender. Both tracks are good, not outstanding but worth checking out for some decent insight/stories about the films. There is also a making of featurette on both “Leprechaun” and “Leprechaun 2” with never before seen behind the scenes footage and photos. This is a must watch for fans.

The second Blu-ray includes “Leprechaun 3” and “Leprechaun 4: In Space” aka my favorites in the series. So this is my favorite disc for sure. The special features include an audio commentary on “Leprechaun 3 and 4” by director Brian Trenchard Smith. These are fun and light, which is good because both of the films are just plain fun. Again there is another making of featurette for both “Leprechaun 3 and 4” including never before seen behind the scenes footage and photos. I am very impressed with these extras so far, no question.

The third Blu-ray brings us to the hood or when the series jumped the shark..even not as bad as when he went to space. We get “Leprechaun In the Hood” and “Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood”. The first of the two is decent and co-stars Ice-T, so that is cool but the second one is just plain bad. The special features includes an audio commentary on “Leprechaun In the Hood” by director Rob Spera and an audio commentary on “Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood” by director Steven Ayromlooi. Again, there was a making of featurette on “Leprechaun In the Hood” and “Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood” with never before seen behind the scenes footage and photos.

The fourth Blu-ray includes just “Leprechaun: Origins”, which in case I didn’t say yet is terrible. There are two featurettes includes on this disc. “Leprechaun: An Icon Reborn”, which talks about rebooting this franchise. “Leprechaun: Behind the Blood” takes you briefly behind-the-scenes. So despite this film, I absolutely love the series as a whole and I just love how Lionsgate really delivered to their fans here. These movies look great, they come with digital copies and they have some great extras.

New Girl Scouts Collection from Wicked Cool Toys to Feature Girl Scout Cookie Oven

New License Honors Classic Brand by Designing a Full Line of Fun and Creative Role Play, Crafts and Activity Toys For Girls 

Bristol, PA – October 3, 2014Wicked Cool Toys has entered into a licensing relationship with Girl Scouts of the USA to introduce a delicious baking experience with a new Girl Scout Cookie™ Oven, as well as a comprehensive line of role play, craft and activity products inspired by the preeminent girls’ leadership organization in the U.S.

Wicked Cool Toys’ Girl Scout Cookie™ Oven will feature mixes inspired by some of the most popular Girl Scout Cookies® such as Thin Mints®, Trefoils®, peanut butter, and caramel coconut varieties, as well as traditional classics like chocolate chip, oatmeal and even cakes, brownies and more! Wicked Cool is also developing a line of unique craft and activity kits for ages 6 and up called D.I.Y. girl, inspired by the fun projects Girl Scouts engage in, including such diverse offerings as a string art kit, jewelry making kit, collage silhouette kit, garland making kit and more, giving girls the chance to experience some of the fun Girl Scouts have every day. Wicked Cool Toys expects its line to hit mass market retailers throughout the US beginning in Fall 2015.

“We are honored to be embarking on a licensing relationship with Girl Scouts of the USA, one of the most treasured brands in America,” says Michael Rinzler, Co-President and Founding Partner, Wicked Cool Toys. “We hope the line will encourage girls to express their creativity, learn new skills and offer a fun, positive and truly hands-on experience that will have broad appeal. On a personal note, the idea of the Girl Scout Cookie Oven was the subject of my Field Application Project as an MBA student at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. It truly is a dream come true for me, all these years later.”

“We’re pleased to work with Wicked Cool Toys,” said Barry Horowitz, chief merchandise executive, Girls Scouts of the USA. “Their creative approach to toys will help us share the fun and excitement of Girl Scouts with even more girls—both current members and future ones.”

 

About Girl Scouts of the USA

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer or reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org

 

About Wicked Cool Toys

WickedCool, LLC is a Pennsylvania-based toymaker with offices in Pennsylvania, California and Hong Kong. Founded in the Summer of 2012, Wicked Cool has a diverse portfolio of playthings for all ages. The Wicked Cool Toys management team is led by co-Presidents in the US Michael Rinzler and Jeremy Padawer, and in Hong Kong, Thomas Poon. The Company develops and brings to market proprietary lines and licensed product, including, Wild Kratts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, Garfield, The Wiggles, Crashlings, My Girl’s Dollhouse, Vrüm, WWE®, Disney Princess®, Minnie Mouse®, Marvel®, Batman®, Superman®, Iron Man®, Sponge Bob®, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer®, and Monster Jam®. Visit www.wickedcooltoys.com and follow the Company on both Facebook and Twitter.  www.facebook.com/wickedcooltoys    @wickedcooltoys