Theatre Review “Slava’s Snowshow” Orlando FL, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tuesday, February 17, 2015–Sunday, March 1, 2015
Walt Disney Theater
120 minutes (2 hours)

“Slava’s Snowshow” is like nothing I have ever seen before on the stage. I have seen a dozen of the Cirque du Soleil shows and since Slava is the original Cirque du Soleil clown, I knew sort of what to expect. Still I haven’t been to a show that literally it has almost been a week since I saw it and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. This award winning international clown show has been touring for 20 years and I hope it goes for another 20 years. Even though this is a circus show, it is really magical. The set is extremely simple yet so effective. There is so much done with so little. The colors are so vibrant and the use of music blends in so beautifully.

Since this show is called “Snowshow”, I also expected the use of snow but never like this. Watch the 30 second clip below to just get a glimpse of what you can expect. You literally have snow exploded at you like a avalanche and it is breathtaking. Before the break, there is also a part with a spider web that takes over the entire theater. Words connect explain how terrifying yet at the same time exhilarating experience it was. to top it off it end with dozens of balls flying into the audience and the kids went crazy for that!

This was the first time that I got to visit the brand new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, FL and it is a marvel it is own. The parking situation is not great at all though and the staff was also quite nasty and rude. I don’t just mean one person either, I mean every single employee that we encountered was unpleasant. Luckily it got overshadowed by this amazing show. If it comes to your city, I highly recommend.

Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute Relese Their New Video, “Still the Same”

Win a Copy of Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute’s Latest CD [ENDED]

They were the guests on the most popular episode so far of our “Behind the Mikes” Podcast and to celebrate, Kansas City rappers Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute have given us three copies of their latest CD, “I’m With Stoopit! 3 1/2” to give away to our readers.

The 16 song CD features the KC duo at the top of their game and includes guest appearances by Mr. Luna, Riff Raff, Dirt Nasty and Andy Milonakis.

All you have to do is let us know below your favorite rap artist. It could be international superstars like Eminem and Dr. Dre or maybe it’s someone that’s starting out and needs a shout out! Three random entries will be chosen to win a CD. This giveaway ends on Sunday, June 1st. Good luck!

Dr. Seuss’ 110th Birthday Official Merchandise Giveaway [ENDED]

Media Mikes is teaming up with TVStoreOnline.com to giveaway some great official Dr. Seuss merchandise to celebrate his 110th birthday! 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 Dr. Seuss book. This giveaway will remain open until March 14th 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.


Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat White Adult Costume Hooded Hoodie with Attached Hat

You can wear it here or there, you can wear it anywhere! Pull off just the right look for the party with ease! Why even bother with an uncomfortable traditional costume? Dr. Seuss has got you covered. Now you can show up as Cat in the Hat just by wearing this awesome hoodie! This hoodie comes with the classic hat attached to the head, making everything just a little bit easier. This hoodie runs a bit small, so you might want to get one size larger than normal.

White
80% cotton/20% polyester
Small Fit: We suggest buying one size larger than you normally would


Dr. Seuss Fishes Swim Vintage Heather Charcoal Adult T-shirt

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! No matter which fish you like best, you can have them all on this awesome t-shirt. This officially licensed shirt features the famous characters from the popular Dr. Seuss book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. If you’re a Dr. Seuss fan, this is the perfect choice for you!

Charcoal Gray
100% Cotton
Print is distressed for a vintage appeal
Officially Licensed
Athletic Fit

DVD Review “Dr. Kildare Movie Collection”

Starring: Lionel Barrymore, Lew Ayres
Distributed by: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
DVD Release Date: January 23, 2014
Running Time: 737 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With all the flashy films being released today with ridiculous large budgets, some times it is great to revisit simple classics from an earlier era of film. Dr. Kildare is a character created by the author Frederick Schiller Faust, under the pen name Max Brand. This movie collection release includes the series of films that he was featured in, which were released in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The character continues right through the 70’s with a radio series in the 50’s, a TV series in the 60’s and 70’s. If you are a fan of this character, then these films are a must to revisit.

The collection included the following 9 films: “Young Dr. Kildare” (1938), “Calling Dr. Kildare” (1939), “The Secret of Dr. Kildare” (1939), “Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case” (1940), “Dr. Kildare Goes Home” (1940), “Dr. Kildare’s Crisis” (1940), “The People vs. Dr. Kildare” (1941), “Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day” (1941), “Dr. Kildare’s Victory” (1942). Also as an added bonus, there DVD set contains the unaired 1960 MGM-TV pilot film for the “Dr. Kildare” series starring Lew Ayres and also co-starring Robert Redford!. This is a real treat for any fan as well.

Official Premise: Although not the first actor to don the scrubs of Max Brand’s idealistic young intern, Lew Ayres owned the role for a series of superlative medical dramas that cemented in place all the ample talent that had long been on display, starting with All Quiet on The Western Front (1930). Ayres’ costar, the needs-no-superlatives Lionel Barrymore, who, as the grumpy, garrulous and brilliant Dr. Leonard Gillespie found a regular supporting role that was roomy enough to showcase his prodigious gifts that would continue in a series of flicks even after Ayres departed the title role.

When it comes to the quality of these films you have to consider that they are all over 70 years old. According to Warner Archives site, they have been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored for this DVD release. So they are not perfect but still have that classic quality about them.  They are also presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.

If you are looking for the more “Dr. Kildare”, Warner Archive Collection have released the TV series available in their Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) sets. “The Complete First Season” was released back in April 16, 2013 and “The Complete Second Season” was just put out this year on January 28 2014. They are available via available via WBShop.com & Amazon.com like this release as well. Like this release since they are MOD, we do not know how long they will be produced so get them while you can!

William Shockley reflects on roles in “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman” and “Showgirls”

William Shockley (born September 17, 1963) is an actor and musician. Shockley was born in Lawrence, Kansas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in political science. Shockley has appeared in many movies and TV shows including Welcome to Paradise, In Justice, Showgirls, The Joyriders, and most notably Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in which he played Hank Lawson. He also appeared in the 2007 film Treasure Raiders.

Mike Smith: You led a rather nomadic lifestyle as a young man. Did that experience help prepare you for the different roles you’ve played as an actor?
William Shockley: Moving around all the time during my childhood actually proved to be a huge plus. I can pretty much travel anywhere and feel comfortable with my surroundings. I was forced to learn how to acclimate and get along with strangers. I’m sure that living in different parts of America and living abroad in Europe gave me insight and perspectives that I have woven into various characters.

MS: You’ve done a lot of episodic television, most notably “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.” Is there a comfort as an actor when you’re adding to the same character each week as opposed to a one-shot film character?
WS: Being a series regular on a television show like “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was a true gift. I loved the privilege of developing a character over a 6-year run. I became very attached to the role of “Hank Lawson”. He was a complex character… lots of layers, which is wonderful. He was one guy on the surface, and a totally different person in his heart. The great writing on “Dr. Quinn” was a huge bonus. I’ve done many films as well, and I seem to always want to do a sequel to a film when I have a character that I connect with and enjoy portraying. I feel this way about “Born Wild”, a film coming out this summer, where I co-star with Barry Corbin, Kix Brooks (of “Brooks & Dunn”), Tanya Clarke, Joe Lando and Justin Deeley. The role in “Born Wild” is “CJ Jennings”… a guy with a wayward, troubled past, who goes back home to reconcile his future. “CJ” has so many issues and so much baggage, yet at the end of the day, he finds redemption. I also got to reunite with Joe Lando, from “Dr. Quinn”, on this film. Joe is a dear friend and it was great to be back on a set with him.

MS: You’re upcoming film, “Reaper,” teams you up with “Starship Troopers'” Jake Busey. Did the two of you get to trade any Paul Verhoeven stories?
WS: I actually didn’t have any scenes with Jake. I worked with Danny Trejo and Vinnie Jones, both great actors and a lot of fun to be around.

MS: In the almost 20 years since it’s release, “Showgirls” has blossomed into a cult hit, with midnight showings ala “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Did you have any idea when you were making the film that it would still resonate all of these years later?
WS: I don’t ever have a preconceived idea of how a film will resonate with the audience. As an actor, all I can do is prepare to the best of my ability, show up on the set, and deliver the goods. The rest is up to the director and producers and other actors in the film. You can only control yourself in this type of setting, and then, anticipate the best.

MS: What do you have coming up next?
WS: I actually have several films coming out in 2014. “Ambush at Dark Canyon”, a western that Team Two Entertainment produced (my production company) starring Kix Brooks and Ernie Hudson, was released January 14 and is available on DVD at Walmart. This summer I’m in two films, “Born Wild” and “Dug Up”, a redneck-stoner-zombie-comedy. Later in the year “Reaper” will come out, followed by “Finding Harmony” with Billy Zane and Allison Eastwood, and a western, “Hot Bath ‘An A Stiff Drink”, with Ronnie Blevins and Grainger Hines. My partners in Team Two Entertainment are Kix Brooks, Dustin Rikert and Eric Brooks. We have a big announcement being made this Spring. There’s a really awesome deal being set up that I’m very excited about. Stay tuned for those details.

Blu-ray Review "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss: Collector's Edition"

Starring: Allan Sherman, Bob Holt, Hans Conried, June Foray, Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones
Narrators: Eddie Albert, Boris Karloff
Directors: Hawley Pratt, Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Number of discs: 5
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Running Time: 132 minutes

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

2013 marks Warner’s celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Seuss’ “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”. What better way to celebrate than give your “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” with this amazing collector’s edition including five of his classic TV specials. The first is “The Cat in the Hat” (1971), “The Lorax” (1972), “Horton Hears a Who!” (1970), “Green Eggs & Ham And Other Stories” (1973) – which was formally titled “Dr. Seuss on the Loose” and includes “The Sneetches”, “The Zax” and “Green Eggs and Ham”.  Lastly “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1966) wraps ups this release. Each of these are available for purchase on Blu-ray previously. If you own these already then this is a simple repackaged box set but if you don’t then it is worth it to check this out. I look forward to sharing these TV specials with my daughter as she grows up.

The Cat in the Hat: It’s a rainy day at home and siblings Dick and Sally have nothing to do. But all of that changes when The Cat and his messy sidekicks, Thing One and Thing Two, burst onto the scene, bringing with them adventure and chaos much to the dismay of a worried pet goldfish. Then, The Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Daisy-Head Mayzie, a girl who mistakenly thinks that the flower blooming on her head will only bring trouble, but eventually propels her to fame and fortune. And finally, blast off to The Hoober-Bloob Highway, where every road from a space laboratory leads to Earth… and eventually to gratitude.

Green Eggs & Ham and Other Stories: Join Sam-Am-I and his persistent attempts at introducing a reluctant fellow to a most delectable dish. Their escapades take them across a zany landscape while assembling a cast of characters that only the imagination of Dr. Seuss can bring to life. Will Sam-I-Am convince his new friend to take a chance and finally try something new? Find out in this timeless tale the whole family will enjoy. Then, meet The Sneetches, who teach us that being yourself is the best way to fit in, while the story of The Zax reminds us that there is nothing to gain from being stubborn.

The Lorax: The award-winning tale of The Lorax tells the story of the greedy, tree-chopping Once-ler and his equally greedy, tree-chopping clan, the brave little Lorax who speaks up for the vanishing forest, and the boy who could right all the Once-ler’s wrongs with a seed and a lesson learned. Then enjoy Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You? and Butter Battle Book, a pair of bonus Dr. Seuss television specials sure to delight.

Horton Hears a Who!: Based on the 1954 book of the same name, the 1970 animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who tells the classic story of an elephant named Horton who just so happens to be the only creature capable of hearing the people of a tiny planet floating on a speck of dust. Or perhaps just the only creature who will listen long enough to hear them. Fully remastered, the special also features Horton Hatches the Egg!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Every who down in Who-ville likes Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT! So the cuddly as a cactus Grinch (with termites in his smile and garlic in his soul) tries to wipe out Christmas for the cheerful Who-villains, only to discover: maybe Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from as store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more! Narrated by Boris Karloff and animated by cartoon legend Chuck Jones, it’s an award-winning Who-roast-beast-feast of a holiday classic.

When it comes to the Blu-ray presentations, each of these are equally very impressive with their 1080p transfers.  The colors are very crisp and really pop out well. You can’t forget that some of these specials have a few years under their belt.  There are various audio tracks on each of these specials.  The best of the bunch gets awards to “The Cat in the Hat”, “Green Eggs & Ham and Other Stories” and “The Lorax” with a nice DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track.  They are clear and work well with the dialogue and music.  Next up are good but not really up to Blu-ray full potential. “Horton Hears a Who!” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” both come with a Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps) track.  Seeing that these are two of my personal favorites, I was a little let down but overall it is not a total letdown.

On the scale of special features, this release delivers a nice collection of extras.  To start their are four additional TV specials including “The Butter Battle Book” (1989), “Daisy-Head Mayzie” (1995), “The Hoober-Bloob Highway” (1975) and “Pontoffel Pock & His Magic Piano” (1980). Other bonus features includes a sing along version of “The Cat in the Hat”, which is fun for the little kiddies (and the big kiddies also).  There is a 1994 documentary “In Search of Dr. Seuss”, which worth a watch.  There is a featurette for “The Lorax” called “The Trees! The Trees! The Voice Of The Trees”.  Another featurette includes “Dr. Seuss and the Grinch: From Whoville in Hollywood” follows the road from the pages to the screen. Lastly there are four interactive puzzles. Also I should mention that this release comes with a booklet of rate Dr. Seuss artwork including a few images of his hat collection.  I wish this was much longer but still very cool.

Author Dallas Clayton talks about new book “Make Magic! Do Good!” and being called the new Dr. Seuss

Dallas Clayton is a children’s book author of “An Awesome Book” series, as well as his new book “Make Magic! Do Good!”. He is also being called the new Dr. Seuss. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dallas about his work and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: What is it about being a children’s author that drives you?
Dallas Clayton: I like being able to share ideas with people who are open, welcoming and in many ways innocent. Also I like having maximum fun at all times.

MG: How does it feel to be considered the new Dr. Seuss?
DC: Flattering. A bit overwhelming at points, but ultimately exciting. I mean, really that’s something I’m never going to be, that dude was a massive force not unlike the Beatles or Jordan. I can only hope to be the best version of myself.

MG: Tell us where you got inspiration for latest book “Make Magic! Do Good!”?
DC:  Make Magic! is just about sharing small simple inspirational silly poems with kids and adults. It’s a real mixed bag of fun thoughts that swirl up in my head coupled with colorful drawings that maybe in some small way can make people’s days a bit brighter.

MG: How does “Make Magic! Do Good!” differ from “An Awesome Book” series?
DC:  Make Magic! is a collection of poems, 50 poems whereas the books in the Awesome Book series are just linear books. One poem vs. 50 poems. When you think of it that way, it’s a steal really!

MG: Tell us what we can expect from upcoming “Awesome Book of Love!”?
DC: Mega radness? I dunno, it’s a book about the idea of love. The concept of what it means to be in love. Ultimately my love poem to the world.

MG: What else do you have in the cards upcoming?
DC: Two books over the next two months, plus three books next year, touring, working on a ton of film and TV stuff, just making as much as possible and trying to hug everyone everywhere.

DVD Review “Check It Out with Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1 & 2”

Actors: John C. Reilly, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Carol Kraft, Doug Foster
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Cartoon Network
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Run Time: 132 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I am a fun fan of anything that comes out of the mind of the comedy duo Tim and Eric from “Tom Goes to the Mayor” to “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”.  So I understand their rare brand of comedy and obviously this is not for everyone.  John C. Reilly is total gold playing Dr. Steve Brule.  “Check It Out with Dr. Steve Brule” is a fantastic spin-off from the madness that was created by Tim and Eric.  The show itself is even more awkward that its predecessors but it works…oh so well.  I recommend this show very highly…for your health! Where’s season three Adult Swim?

“Check It Out” Season 1 and 2 includes all 12 episodes from the series. It is a parody of a local market’s news magazine show starring Oscar-nominee John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule. Each week our host Dr. Brule will introduce his audiences to local celebrities and interesting things around town as well as providing health and lifestyle tips. Produced by John C. Reilly ands Absolutely Productions.

I was hoping for some great special features here but they are most M.I.A. The only present extras are some deleted and extended scenes.  They are a nice continuous of the show but I feel like they could have done so much more.  I would have loved to seen some commentary tracks from Dr. Steve Brule and maybe even Jan and Wayne Skylar all in character.  But nonetheless, this DVD is a must purchase for all fans of Tim and Eric’s work and those looking to see Reilly in one of his most zaniest and funniest performances.

Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen talk about their music project This Girl and “Dr. Horrible” sequel

Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen are the co-writers behind such amazing projects like “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog” and Fox’s Dollhouse.  They recently released an EP album together under the name of This Girl.  Everyone seriously needs to check out this album, it is very fun and catchy.  They also just recently announced that they will be writing Marvel’s upcoming “S.H.I.E.L.D” TV pilot with “The Avengers” helmer Joss Whedon.  Jed & Maurissa took out a great deal of time to do a song-by-song analysis of their album and also discussed the long-awaited “Dr. Horrible” sequel.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how the name This Girl came about?
Jed Whedon: We were trying to present something that wasn’t just us and was trying to put a concept behind it. If you look at the photo shoot we did, it was me pushing Maurissa into the front.  And I think we were just talking and I was like “Hey look at this girl!” and Maurissa said “Hey, that could be the name” [laughs]. So that is how it happened.

MG: How long would you say this album took to complete?
Maurissa Tancharoen: Well it was sort of drawn out over the course of last year. It is a side project to pass the time since we were stuck at home for a long time. I had a rough health year last year. So Jed out of the kindness of his loving-husband heart [laughs], figured to pass the time we should record some songs. We worked on it sporadically over the course of last year. We never pushed to get it done and took our time we it. Right Jed?
JW: Yeah, I would say about a year. We would work on it for a while and then just toy around. When we realized that we were close to being done, then we gave a real push to finish it up.

MG: Tell us the inspiration behind the songs first up “Bombs” Away”
JW: Usually the way we work is music first. We just started building tracks and of course a ton of then never go anywhere. So, I think the general concept of the record was the make something upbeat and fun. Maurissa has a little bit of the R&B background.
MT: [laughs] Yeah, he told me “Let try and make you sing as white as possible.
JW: [laughs] Yeah. Like a androgynous, very vanilla sounding pop record. That was our inital concept.
MT: That was also the concept behind This Girl was that the songs do fall under the indie pop category. But overall they are all over the map. Like “Mr. Electric” is just so different” and “Dangerous” has a little bit of hip-hop and R&B vibe but very subtle. You are this girl on each track basically.

MG: Speaking of “Dangerous”, tell us a little more about that track?
JW: “Dangerous” was our first track. The concept was basically to do a really light vocal about getting your heart ripped out of your chest. The idea was that the music would be so kind and easy-going but the lyrics would be darker.
MT: She is basically a stalker or the quiet voice of the stalker. She is saying take my hard and crush it cause I am watching you and that is all I want.
JW: We had the track and had the idea of a jazz guitar. So I brought my older brother Sam in, he is an amazing guitarist. We recorded for an hour and just riffed on it. The guitar wasn’t meant to be this epic solo. But on one of the takes, I told him to just go crazy with it and that is the one we used.

MG: Next up we have “In Your Dreams”, tell us about that one?
JW: The idea was to make a five song album. We had the five tracks and Maurissa said we should just put it out. I thought let’s just do one more and whatever it is it will end up being our favorite. Your last song always ends up being your favorite.
MT: And it is…it is definitely our favorite.
JW: So, that one was the only one with a chorus before any tracks were laid down.
MT: I just love the story about a guy living a very monotonous life and wanting to be elsewhere.
JW: It is sort of a braggy mean song.
MT: It is a very mean song but again it is sang so gently it tricks you.
JW:  I just love the idea of “Your obsessed with me. You know it. Your pathetic” and then the last line of the chorus is “In your dreams”. Like “Yeah right, you wish”. In general that is something we like to do, which is play the lyrics against the song. It gives it this nice extra layer.

MG: Awesome, I love that song also; next up tell us about where “Second Nature” came from?
JW: That is another one that started with a drum beat feel. We wanted that to be kind of upbeat…
MT: That is also a sad song…all of our songs are sad [laughs].
JW: Yeah [laughs], considering how upbeat we always are.
MT: I guess since we were having a harder year, it came out in the lyrics.
JW: Happy lyrics are boring. Jane Doe is about a girl feeling sorry for herself. The music just grew organically from a general feel and then just sort of evolved.  I know that may seem a bit boring but it is true.
MT: That is the way that Jed has always worked. It is the music first. It is funny when he comes up with the melody. He will sort of half record the melody. It will be a bunch of gibberish and then a line that totally sticks and becomes the actual chorus.

MG: One of my favorites, tell me about “Mr. Electric”?
JW: That was one of the tracks that I had the hardest time with, since it was a hard mix for me.
MT: We almost took it off.
JW: We didn’t like it very much and now of course it’s everyone’s favorite.
MT: It just stuck out and was different from the rest. Up to the very last minute we were going to yank it. It is just unbelievable the response we have gotten about it from fans.
JW: It is basically another dark side of a happy song. I guess it is sort of a 50’s upset, “Mr. Sandman” rip-off. It is about a drug dealer and a girl that keep getting hooked. We also have a cool video concept in mind for it.

MG: “Remains” was previously released a single back in 2009 for “Dollhouse”, tell us about why you chose to close the album with it?
JW: We just wanted to put in on the album. Since we only had one tune out there together, we wanted want to put it on one album. “Remains” is a more genuine track and we  felt like it was a good bridge between “In Your Dreams” and would also work well after “Mr. Electric”.

MG: Any more plans for Jed Whedon and The Willing in the future?
JW: We do have a lot of projects going on right now. If we ever have any downtime, which is where This Girl came from, I will definitely spend time making a new one. That is the plan right now. I hate saying that though since when it comes out in four years people are going to wonder what took so long.

MG: Jed, if your brother can stop making films that gross $1 billion dollars [laughs], where do you guys think that a “Dr. Horrible” sequel lands your timeline?
MT: It is definitely in our timeline.
JW: It is for sure. There are a lot of projects in the works now. Everyone in the world now know how busy Joss is now. We are definitely planning to do it.
MT: We have more of a solid plan to aim to start next year.
JW: Not only do we think we will get it done, we also think it will be pretty great.

photos by kate danson
http://katedansonphotography.com/

Blu-ray Review “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”

Directed by: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Starring: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Betty White, Jenny Slate
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 7, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 87 minutes

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

Dr. Seuss has had a bumpy road on the big screen over the years. I really enjoyed “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey. Though Mike Myers’ turn as “The Cat in the Hat” was barely watchable. Similar to this film, “Horton Hears a Who” was full CGI and was decent but nothing special. “The Lorax” on the other hand is very enjoyable and perfect for kids to enjoy. I originally screened the film in theaters in 3D and I really did enjoy that experience, though watching it on 2D on Blu-ray was still a decent. I thought that this film looks “pretty” in theaters but damn…does it look even better on Blu-ray.

The voice cast is also very impressive. Danny DeVito seems absolutely perfect for the role of The Lorax and easily nails it. Zac Efron and Taylor Swift will both be a big draw to the film with the tweens. Ed Helms is basically the main character besides The Lorax or at least for the first half and he is fun but also easily unlikable. Rob Riggle plays a great baddie and get a lot of laughs.

The 1080p transfer really shines well and I don’t know how but looks so much better than my theatrical experience. Universal delivers a near-perfect video presentation within its original aspect ratio of 1:85.1. The colors were extremely sharp and just overall very pleasant to look at. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track is also very impressive with the score and just overall fun. Easily one of the best audio tracks, I have experiences this entire year! This release also comes in a Blu-ray combo pack covering all plays you can watch this film. It comes with a Blu-ray disc, a DVD disc, a digital copy disc and also an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. Can’t ask for me in that department.

The special features are impressive as well like the film. The directors, Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda deliver one-hell of an extensive audio commentary, definitely won’t keep kids interest though and definitely for the adults. There are three new mini-movies, including “Wagon Ho!”, “Forces of Nature” and “Serenade”. “Making of Mini-Movies” looks behind the scenes on these three shorts. There is one short single extended scene, nothing special here. “O-Hare TV” is the ability to watch “The Lorax” with commercial interruptions advertising O’Hare products. I think this is really cute and fun feature. “Expedition of Truffula Valley” is an interactive tour of Thneedville and the Valley. “Seuss to Screen” is a very short, actually too short look at adapting “The Lorax” from the book to the big screen. There are three kids games called “Once-ler’s Wagon,” “Get Out of Town” and “Truffula Run.” They are all very cute. Lastly there is a sing-along for the song “Let it Grow”.

Dr. Paul Frommer talks about developing the languages for “John Carter” and “Avatar”

When writer/director James Cameron needed someone to create the native language of his Na’vi characters for the film “Avatar,” he turned to renowned linguist Paul Frommer. Impressed by his work the filmmakers behind the recent film “John Carter” asked Dr. Frommer to develop the Barsoomian language for that film as well. Dr. Frommer is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Management Communication at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Prior to joining Marshall, he lived and taught in Malaysia and Iran and completed a doctorate in linguistics at USC. He followed that with a ten-year sojourn in the business world as vice president and strategic planner for a Los Angeles corporation. Returning to USC, he joined the faculty of Marshall’s Center for Management Communication, serving as Director of the Center from 2005 to 2008. His teaching at USC included courses in Advanced Writing for Business and Cross-cultural Business Communication for Non-native Speakers. Dr. Frommer is co-author, with Edward Finegan, of Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics, currently in its fifth edition. To celebrate the release of “John Carter” on DVD, Dr. Frommer took the time to speak with Media Mikes:

Mike Smith: For “John Carter” was it important to incorporate a lot of the Barsoomian words that Edgar Rice Burroughs had created for his series of novels?
Paul Frommer: Yes, it was extremely important. And that’s what made this assignment unique. In the series of eleven books he came up with around 420 words. There is a large fan base out there that regards those texts as sacred and I wanted to respect that. I wanted to incorporate everything that Edgar Rice Burroughs had done so that therewould be no inconsistencies. That being said there was still a lot of guess work that had to be done. Just because you see the written form of a word doesn’t mean you know the exact pronunciation. For example, he had used “ch” in a lot of the words. But what does it mean? It could be “cha” like “chair.” It could also be “ka” like in “chorus.” It could be “sha” like in “machine. Those were some of the decisions I had to make. When you have “th” is it “thh” as in “thin” or “thuh” as in “then?” They both have different sounds. And even though the words were there, there were still a lot of decisions to be made. In terms of grammar we used virtually nothing from the book…it’s just isolating words.

MS: When you’re creating a language for a film do the screenwriters and director contribute their ideas as to how the language should sound or how it should flow?
PF: Yes. In fact, Andrew Stanton (director of “John Carter”) had come up with a few words of his own and when I could I would incorporate those. I had come up with some possibilities as to how the language would sound when spoken and I past those on to Andrew for his approval. In the initial go ‘round there were certain things he liked and certain things he didn’t. So we played around with things until he was happy with how the language sounded.

MS: Using Klingon as an example, since Klingon’s are outwardly very rough…their language is very guttural. When you create a language do you base how it will soundon the character’s perceived on-screen appearance?
PF: For the Na’vi language in “Avatar” Jim Cameron wanted the language to sound appealing and beautiful but also to sound somewhat complicated. In terms of the Barsoomians, they’re kind of a rougher people and so maybe the language reflects that.

MS: Since you brought up “Avatar” are there any new species you’ll be creating languages for in “Avatar 2?”
PF: Well, I wish I could tell you but I’m as curious as anyone. All I can tell you is that the film has been announced and that it’s slated to come out in 2016.

MS: To close on a humorous note, have you ever had a bad experience at a restaurant where you’ve just lambasted the waiter in Barsoomian?
PF: I haven’t done that yet (laughs) but there are times when I’ve said some things to myself in Barsoomian or Na’vi but I haven’t pulled that on any people yet. I’m sure there are fans in the audience for both languages that have done it and I think that’s great!

Film Review “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”

Directed by: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Starring: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Betty White, Jenny Slate
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 95 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Dr. Seuss has had a bumpy road on the big screen over the years. I really enjoyed “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey. Though Mike Myers’ turn as “The Cat in the Hat” was barely watchable. Similar to this film, “Horton Hears a Who” was full CGI and was decent but nothing special. “The Lorax” on the other hand is very enjoyable and perfect for kids to enjoy. I screened the film in 3D and I really did enjoy that experience. It wasn’t overbearing but did add a lot of depth to the film. It is also one “pretty” film, very colorful and vibrant. Overall great family fun and impressive 3D.

The plot definitely aims to deliver a real environmental message but still makes it fun to watch. We follow Ted (Efron), a 12-year-old young boy, who sets out try and win the love of Audrey (Swift) by fulfilling her wish to see a real tree. The city they live in is called “Thneed-Ville”, which does not have any real trees and only artificial. While trying to find a tree for Audrey, Ted meets Once-ler (Helms) who tells him the story of the Lorax. Through the stories we find out what happened to the trees and if there is still hope for this city.

The voice cast is also very impressive. Danny DeVito seems absolutely perfect for the role of The Lorax and easily nails it. Zac Efron and Taylor Swift will both be a big draw to the film with the tweens. Ed Helms is basically the main character besides The Lorax or at least for the first half and he is fun but also easily unlikable. Rob Riggle plays a great baddie and get a lot of laughs.

My main issue with the film is that it has quite a down period where its tone get a little dark.  I understand its purpose due to the film’s message.  Otherwise, it is fun and entertaining throughout. Illumination Entertainment is really showing their muscles and off to a decent start. “Despicable Me” was one of the best films of 2010 and even though “Hop” was a terror to watch, it made money. I am really looking forward to their next film “Despicable Me 2” next summer.

 

Related Content

Book Review “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Book”

Authors: Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Zack Whedon
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: March 29, 2011

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Any fan of “Dr. Horrible” needs to pick up this book ASAP. It is made for true fans and made with love from its authors. The pages are very colorful and packed with great pictures and illustrations. There are great behind the scenes shots during production. It still surprises me how this little web-series went on to become an Emmy award-winning pop-culture phenomenon. Either way it is one of my favorite series and soundtracks of the last decade easily.

Now let’s get to the goodies, this book comes with exclusive new material from Joss and the “Horrible” team. There are great new photos, which are really sharp and also very crisp. The book plays like the read-a-long with the series, including the full shooting scripts. Also If you are a musically inclined there is also sheet music included for every song. Also mega fans, will enjoy full lyrics for “Commentary: The Musical”.

The further and further I go on this book it just feels like the ultimate fan official book for the ultimate web-series. The book also covers the expansion of the series into pop-culture with toys, fandom and even the awards ceremonies. Also fans are going to love the character bios included even for the minor characters in the series. Although the book doesn’t close with hints about a follow-up series, I know we all still have our hopes set out for that and this book will surely hold you over till then.