3D Blu-ray Review “History of the World in Two Hours”

Original Aired on: The History Channel
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: A&E Home Video
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Runing Time: 88 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I don’t know what it is about programs on The History Channel but I am total sucker. Especially about the cool topic like the creation of our world! And especially in 3D! This is not the first time The History Channel has released their specials in 3D, there was “WWII in 3D”, which was released earlier this year. Overall, I was entertained and also learned a little bit as well.

This special focused on everything about our world from the formation of the earth to the creation of life to the growth of civilization. The CGI is very impressive and works really well with the 3D. The visual effects really popped out and really sold the special for me.  I just wish that this wasn’t limited to two hours and lasted longer as a series. Though for what it is it definitely flies through 14 billion years of history quite well and still manages to keep your interest spiked.

There are no special features included on this release, so that is a little disappointing overall but they have the two hours so packed with information and entertainment, I barely realized. The only thing about this film that made me laugh is that it is called “History of the World in Two Hours” but only runs 88 minutes. But of course, it had to be adjusted for commercials on TV.  If anyone related to The History Channel reads this, please produce more specials in 3D, I have really enjoyed them thus far. It is a great way to take learning to the third dimension. In fact, I would actually love to see a full series in 3D like “The Universe”.

Book Review “The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio”

Author: Jody Duncan
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: November 1, 2006

Our Score: 5 out 5 stars

Stan Winston has created some of the most amazing monsters/creatures in films for over the last 30 years. Some of Stan’s work that he is known best for is ranges from The Terminator to Aliens and Predator to the amazing dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. It is just amazing to see some of the detailed process of his work and his team on these films. The copy up for review here is limited edition featuring a variant cover and signed by Stan Winston! So if you are able to pick one of these gems before they are all gone.

In a collaborated with Stan Winston Studio this book is the first-ever to reveal all the behind-the-scenes secrets Stan Winston’s influential artistry and effects work. It features some really detailed sketches, production art, and photographs. The book is split into the years of Winston’s work. “From Emmy to Oscar Nominations” covers 1972-1981 featuring the early work of Stan Winston like “The Wiz” and “Star Wars Holiday Special”. “Something Robotic This Way Comes” ranges from 1982-1984 and features some of his classic work like “The Thing” and “The Terminator”. “Aliens, Predators and Terminators” covers 1985-1991 and what it covers is obvious. This chapter is really the meat of his career and covers the most iconic creatures in his career. The next is called “And Stan Created Dinosaurs” from 1992-1999, “Jurassic Park” is such an important film in history mixing CG with practical effect. Lastly “It’s Not Just a Walk in the Park” covers from 2000-present, featuring “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” to “Jurassic Park III”. It also takes us inside the studio, including a great foldout creature diorama. Lastly we have “Looking into the Future”, which talks about the future of Winston Studio (obviously prior to Stan passing away in 2008).

The photos is this book are extremely high quality. I found myself just starring at certain photos and admiring the scope of his work and the effects that it has had on film and myself as a film fan. This is probably one the best art of book that I have ever read. It is just such a great insight into the life and history that Stan Winston has left and of course it is great to showcase of the amazing creatures that he has left us with over the year. This book is honestly should be owned by every fan of movies…in general.

Book Review “A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival”

Author(s): Harvey Kubernik, Kenneth Kubernik
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Santa Monica Press
Release Date: November 1, 2011

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Before Woodstock, the summer of 1967 brought us the Monterey International Pop Festival. It was the first festival where thousands of hippies went to experience the summer of love. The book provides a really great insight into the event where you feel like you were there. There are such detailed documents including copies of telegrams, contracts, newspaper clippings, line-up posters, and other rare memorabilia from the festival. If you are fan of such music icons, such as Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Otis Redding…than this is definitely a book for you, no question.

Besides all the amazing rare photos provided a great behind the scenes look at the festival, there are also many new interviews with musicians like Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and some members of the Jefferson Airplane and more! The book is split into seven chapters. What I enjoyed most is that it is a chronicle of each act that performed at the event. It is not just the authors telling us about the events. The first takes us through the preparation and leading up the event. The second chapter takes us through the events of the first night on Friday, which features music from Simon and Garfunkel and Lou Rawls. Chapter three focuses on Saturday afternoon with Canned Heat and The Steve Miller Band as a few of the acts giving their comments on the festival. Chapter 4 focuses on Saturday night with The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane for example. Chapter 5 takes us through the events of Sunday afternoon with detailed accounts from Ravi Shankar. Sunday night, the last night, is covered with biggest names like Buffalo Springfield, The Who, Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. The last chapter takes us through “Monterey Pop: The Movie” and follows D.A. Pennebaker’s account of the festival and working on the film.

The photos in the book really captures the essence of this truly amazing event. I feel that the personal account of each night really draw you into the book and if you close you eyes you can see the bands and here there music. I think that is probably the goal for a book like this one. Whether you were there at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June 16-18, 1967 or whether you weren’t even born, this book is a great tribute to the event. It is a must purchase for fans of this era of music.

Book Review “Clapton: The Ultimate Illustrated History”

Author: Chris Welch
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Voyageur Press
Release Date: September 10, 2011

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I am not sure how to start this review with except the fact that the title simply tells it all…this is the “The Ultimate Illustrated History” of Eric Clapton.  It is the perfect book for one of the greatest guitarists ever. The book covers Clapton’s five-decade-long career includes time from the Yardbirds, to Cream to the Plastic Ono Band to his solo career.  This book honestly has everything and it looks “pretty” also.  The layout of the book flows really well with mixing its amazing photos with amazing stories and information about the man himself.

The layout of the book starts with a great note from the author talking about his time that he has spent over the year with Clapton. The first chapter focuses on his childhood and his influence of the blues covering years 1945-1963.  There is coverage of Eric’s time with The Yarbirds from 1963 to 1965.   Of course there is a lot of coverage from the days of Cream from 1966-1969, as this was the real turning point in Clapton’s career.  The years 1969-1974 features quite a bit between his work the Plastic Ono Band through Derek and the Dominoes.  During 1974-1982, the book focuses on Clapton’s amazing solo career, covering everything from his hit record “Layla” to concert appearances at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY.  There is still more as this book also covers 1983-present, with the Cream reunion to his work with the Crossroads Foundation.  Lastly there is a graphic discography included which only expands upon how amazing his body of work truly is.

Speaking of photos, this book is packed with over 400 rare shots, as well as images of his guitars, concert posters, and other memorabilia included.  Honestly I think you can spend hours just looking at the pictures and not even reading anything.   The author/rock journalist Chris Welch is no stranger to Clapton, since he previously authored “Cream: Eric Clapton”.  He really shows his extreme knowledge of Clapton and he does an amazing job of showing it in this book. He has also authored books about other great musicians such as Zepplin and David Bowie. Whether you think you know everything about Clapton’s amazing career or you have never heard of him, this book definitely will provide great knowledge into his life and work.  It is a must purchase for sure!