Toy Review: Imaginext Teen Titan Tower

Teen Titans Tower
Imaginext

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Fans of Cartoon Networks “Teen Titans Go” can now bring the fun of the show into their playrooms with Imaginext’s new “Teen Titans Go” line of figures and play sets. At the center of the series is the Teen Titans Tower a, multi tiered play set which features transforming couch launchers, a movable elevator and a gym area complete with sparring dummy. The Tower is a great addition any growing Imaginext collection or as your first introduction to the Imaginext toy line.

Toy Tester Ian w/ the Teen Titan Tower

Included with the set are three figures (Robin, Mammoth & Silkie) which allow you to jump right in and start playing without the need for additional purchases. This was something our 5 year older tester Ian really liked as the figures are just as much fun as the play sets they accompany. Another cool feature was the couch launchers which are nicely hidden within the third level of the tower. With a turn of the Power pad the couches transform in to projectile launchers complete with pizza shaped missiles ready to defend the tower from whatever Mammoth can throw at it.

Though the Teen Titan Tower might not pack as many features as some of Imaginext’s more elaborate play sets it’s still a fun toy that fans of the television series will want to get their hands on. The colors and details of the set are spot on and the included three characters is a great bonus. With only a few shopping days left until Christmas the Teen Titan Tower is a toy that you can’t go wrong picking up for that special someone on your list.

Toy Review: Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme

Blu-ray Review “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract”

Starring: Christina Ricci, Miguel Ferrer, Taissa Farmiga, Jake T. Austin, Kari Wahlgren, Sean Maher
Director: Sam Liu
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Running Time: 84 min
Rated PG-13
Release Date: Apr 18, 2017

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” is the sequel to “Justice League vs. Teen Titans”. The DC Universe animated original movies have been stepping up their games. This one had a slightly more grown-up feel for our Teen Titans. The voice cast is great Stuart Allan returns as Robin, Taissa Farmiga as Raven, Brandon Soo Hoo as Beast Boy, Jake T. Austin as Blue Beetle, Kari Wahlgren as Starfire and Sean Maher as Nightwing. Some new talent includes Christina Ricci as Terra, Miguel Ferrer as Deathstroke, which is also his last role since he died earlier this year, Gregg Henry plays Brother Blood, Meg Foster as Mother Mayhem and even Kevin Smith plays himself in the film. It was a fun film and “Teen Titans” as a product is very hot right now! I give it a thumbs up for sure!

Official Premise: Led by Starfire, the Teen Titans – Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, Robin and the just-returned Nightwing – have built a cohesive team in their never-ending battle against evil; but their newest teammate, the mysterious, and powerful Terra, may be altering that dynamic. Meanwhile, an ancient evil, Brother Blood, has awakened, and familiar foe Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows – both waiting to pounce. Ultimately, the Teen Titans will need to battle their enemies and their own doubts to unite and overcome the malicious forces around them, in this twisting tale of intrigue, adventure and deception.

“Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” comes as a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack. Special features are not jam-packed but worth taking a look. First up “Titanic Minds: Wolfman and Perez” is a documentary exploring the relationship of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez talking about Teen Titan history. “Villains United: Deathstroke” is a short featurette on the villain. There are two bonus cartoons in “From the DC Comics Vault”. Lastly, there is a sneak peek at the next DC Universe Original Movie, “Batman and Harley Quinn”, with the creators and voice cast.

 

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Jeffrey Hornaday talks about directing Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie”

Jeffrey Hornaday has work choreography with tons of great talent including Madonna and Michael Jackson, as well as tons of films including “Dick Tracy”, “Flashdance”, “A Chorus Line”. His latest film is  the Disney Channel film “Teen Beach Movie”, which he is toke on the role of both director and choreographer.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jeffrey about “Teen Beach Movie” and its impact on pop culture this summer.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you became attached to the Disney Channel film “Teen Beach Movie”?
Jeffrey Hornaday: I had worked with Disney Channel before on a film called “Geek Charming”. It wasn’t a musical but it was a romantic comedy. It got really good ratings and I got nominated for a Director’s Guild Award. So we all came away very happy with how it went. So when this came up given Disney’s background and mine also with musicals, it was a natural fit.

MG: Tell us about your approach to making this a true summer film?
JH: When you look back at the old beach party movies from the 60’s, you think about those and get this sort of nostalgia and warmth. If you go back and look at them now, they are kind of flat [laughs]. The choreography is kids basically dancing a little at the beach. They are not full blown production numbers. We decided instead of trying to clone what those used to be, let’s do something that makes you feel like when you think about that nostalgia feeling. We sort of took the gloves off and gave ourself the right to go past what the original genre was. We really tried to tap into what it is feels like to think about those movies.

MG: Tell us about your approach to the music in the film?
JH: The music department was really great and wanted to approach it like a Broadway show. Rather than giving them a laundry list of catalog songs, we got together with the composers on number and really talked about it and work-shopped the ideas. It was really like we were putting on a Broadway show and that was really fun.

MG:  How was it taking on the role of both director and choreographer on this project?
JH: Because my background is in choreography in Los Angeles not Broadway, I learned about design choreography for camera, which is a very different world. I was lucky that I got to work with really good directors in the past. So it is kind of coming full circle and having more control it actually made the process easier to translate to someone who doesn’t have the choreography experience. I also had help with the choreography from a brilliant young guy, Christopher Scott, he was just incredible to work with. It was a great collaboration and we had this unspoken connection. He came into the project with a lot of ideas. That made it really fun and easier to share the load.

MG: What was your most challenging song to film?
JH: The physical aspect of just shooting on the beach was first a big challenge. Working with sand is not easy. It is hard enough to walk or even run on the beach yet alone dance. There is a number called “Crusin’ for a Brusin'”, which was challenging but in a fun way. There is a song from “West Side Story” called “Cool” and I had that as a prototype in my mind. You could really feel the cinematographer’s hand in the song and it was an homage to that. It was very carefully designed and quite the challenge.

MG: Let’s talk about the success of the film since it has aired on Disney Channel?
JH: It is hard to predict that type of success, especially in pop culture. I remember when I choreographed “Flashdance” at the time and we just thought we were doing this little movie but had no idea that it was going to touch a nerve on pop culture. The thing that was interesting to me was the connection of the old school American musical. You wonder about if the younger audience was going to be able to connect to this, especially since this film deals with aspects from the 60’s. But they have been really able to connect to it.

MG: Any plans to for a follow up to “Teen Beach Movie”?
JH: There has been no confirmation yet. I know that they are certainly thinking about it and their story department has it in development. It would be a no-brainer for me. So I am on-board. I am also currently writing a screenplay for Disney right now. It will have music but is also a contemporary piece. So I am hard at work right now.

DVD Review “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels: The Complete Series”

Created by: Joe Ruby, Ken Spears
Voices of: Mel Blanc, Laurel Page, Marilyn Schreffler, Vernee Watson
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Warner Archive Collection
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2013
Run Time: 440 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I just loved Captain Caveman! When was I kid, I would run down my hallway screaming the “Captain CAAAAAVEMAAAAAAANNNN!” The show was originally aired as a segment on “Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics” (1977-79) for the first 24 episodes and after that the remaining 16 episodes shown in its own timeslot in 1980. Captain Caveman’s voice was provided by none other than Mel Blanc (aka voice of Bugs Bunny and hundreds others). There is just something about Hanna-Barbera’s cartoons that always bring my back to a great time from my childhood. They seem all very similar yet they are just so much fun. If you grew up with this show like myself or just discovering it, I would highly recommend this latest addition to the Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection.

Official Premise: As originally announced by Gary Owens’ stupendous stentorian tones: “Set free by the Teen Angels from his prehistoric block of glacier ice, comes the world’s first superhero, Captain Caveman! Now the constant companion to the Teen Angels, Brenda, Dee Dee, and Taffy, in their hilarious, and sometimes scary mystery missions. Get ready for Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels!” Originally a segment on Scooby’s All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (and utility player on the field for The Scooby-Doobies), the Mel Blanc-voiced Neolithic Wonder became a Saturday super-star in his own right, and he and the Teen Angels graduated to headliner status on their own show. This 2-Disc, 40-Episode collection contains every mystery solved by the Teen Angels and the Captain. So, beware villains and miscreants, the trademark battle-cry of “Caaaptain Caaaavemaaaan!!!!” is heard across the land again!

Thanks to Warner Archive, we finally get all 40 episodes of “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels” for the first time. The episodes looks amazing for a show that is nearing 40 years old. They have been newly remastered and very impressive. They are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The audio is also impressive with a Dolby Digital track. There are no additional special features included. Warner Archive has been a big proprietor of Hanna-Barbera’s cartoons and I can’t wait to see what they have planned next. Sorry just need to scream it one more time…”Captain CAAAAAVEMAAAAAAANNNN!”. Ok I am done…for now!

 

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  • DVD Review “Teen Beach Movie”

    Actors: Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell, Grace Phipps, Garrett Clayton, John DeLuca
    Director: Jeffrey Hornaday
    Rated: G (General Audience)
    Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
    DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013
    Run Time: 91 minutes

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

    Ever since “High School Musical” aired on Disney Channel seven years ago, it has brought back the musical and delivered it to a younger audience. I grew up watching musical like “Grease” and I cannot say not to a fun and excited film with great music. Well “Teen Beach Movie” definitely delivers some major fun for the entire family. I watched this film with my 14 month old daughter and she literally had a blast and was running around screaming. It may be cheesy and but I feel that it is exactly what it should be. Ross Lynch is known best for his role in Disney Channel TV series, “Austin & Ally” and really does great singing and dancing. Maia Mitchell is an Australian newcomer, who is going to be very big in the coming years. It delivers some really catchy fun musical, along with a cute young very talented cast and comes together into a very entertaining 90 minutes. Most importantly the film also packs an important message for kids. Highly recommended.

    Official Premise: “Teen Beach Movie” centers around two teen surfers, Brady and Mackenzie, who are magically transported into a 1960’s beach movie where they must try to blend in until they can find their way out. They soon discover that there is an intense rivalry between the local surfers and bikers. Things don’t go according to plan when our modern-day duo accidentally change the plot of the movie, and the two lead characters fall for them instead of each other! As everyone around them starts singing and dancing, and a fight between the bikers and surfers breaks out, Brady and Mack must attempt to get out of the movie and back to present day.

    There twelve brand new songs within for this film with each one being more fun than the next. Sure they are cheesy but still fun. “Surf Crazy” is a great energtic song. “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin'” is easily my favorite.  I love the dance choreography during this song.  Same goes for “Like Me”, which is ultra catchy and really fun. All I can say is that the minute, we finished watching this movie, I immediately when on iTunes and purchased the soundtrack and I am sure that you will be doing the same. Speaking of “Grease” BTW, fans of the Broadway production, should keep an eye out of stage veteran Barry Bostwick (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”), who plays Maia’s uncle. I only wish he could have gotten a few line in during a song.

    The biggest thing that I am disappointed with this release is the lack of a Blu-ray release.  Come on Disney, I know DVDs are still marketed primarly towards kids but this film would have really benefited with its music and colors sets on a Blu-ray disc.  The DVD does include some decent special features. There is exclusive Rehearsal Footage, which is fun to watch.  I saw a spot for the film on Disney Channel and they said that actors make the best dancers and these kids really have a lot of life in them. I would love to been able to move like they do. There is also a Never-Before-Seen Song included, which is a must for any fan of the film. Lastly, I would have loved to seen a sing-along version available but we can still hold our breath if they ever come out with a Blu-ray release. Can’t wait till “Teen Beach Movie 2”!

    Hynden Walch talks about voicing Princess Bubblegum in "Adventure Time" & Starfire/Blackfire in "Teen Titans"

    Hynden Walch is know best for her voice work including Princess Bubblegum in “Adventure Time” & Starfire/Blackfire in “Teen Titans”. She also voiced Penny Sanchez on the Nickelodeon show “ChalkZone” and Elsie on the Disney Channel show “Stanley”. Hynden took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the fandom craze behind “Adventure Time” and her return of Starfire in “Teen Titans Go!”.

    Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with doing voice work?
    Hynden Walch: I always knew I was going to be an actress my whole life. I have been doing professional theater since I was 11. So the natural progression to that was to go on and do film and television, which I did. But I always loved the idea of doing voice over for animation, a lot! But I was never in the right city for it. I lived in Chicago and there is no animation work there at all. Then I lived in New York, there was a tiny bit of work but I think I got my first animation job in that city the day I was moving to Los Angeles. So I didn’t end up doing. So finally, I ended up in LA and I had built up my resume and told my agent and manager out here that I wanted to do animation voice over. They said I would be perfect for it but it would be very hard to get into. They were not kidding about that. I got an voice over agent quickly but then came the very slow process of auditioning for roles. Literally it took years. It is such a tight knit group of people that do every voice. After a while, I felt like my auditions were going into a black hole. So I went out for the weirdest role I could and I ended up getting it. This was Penny for “ChalkZone”. The craziest voice ever came out of me when I went to the call back at Nickelodeon. I also started getting cast at the same time for the animated movies at MGM like “The Secret of NIMH 2” and “Tom Sawyer”. So that was how it all started.

    MG: What do you enjoy most about voicing Princess Bubblegum in “Adventure Time”?
    HW: This came about the same way. It is nice when you get offered roles but almost always for new series they want to have you audition. So I went to Cartoon Network for a call-back and I really wanted this role. I knew “Adventure Time” from the YoutTube shorts and though it was BRILLANT! I loved the whole idea of the show. It was dangerous since I went it really wanting to get the role. I tried to give them the most put together yet out there princess that would fit into their world. So I am very happy that I got the role and I love playing her.

    MG: Can you reflect on the popularity of your character and the show with fans?
    HW: I am not surprised honestly. When we first started recorded, I knew it was going to be HUGE! As it was! So I am not surprised at all. I think “Adventure Time” is written in such a new, visionary and incredible way. Not to mention that the artwork is just gorgeous. The colors and the design are amazing. Pen (Ward) is such a creative guy. I am so excited to be able to work with him on his vision. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. It is rare that you get a project when you just feel so damn proud to be apart of it. If I wasn’t I would be a huge fan of it anyway. So to get to get add my own imprint to it is really fun. With animation the characters do become us.

    MG: How does “Adventure Time” compare to your other roles like Starfire/Blackfire in “Teen Titans”?
    HW: “Teen Titans” that was a show of love. It was a real joining of people that really loved each other. It was such a great show. So with “Teen Titans” and “Adventure Time”, I feel that the key for their success is that the appeal crosses every age. You don’t have to be a 9 year old boy to love this. You can be a 37 year old woman [laughs].
    MG: Or a 30 year old man, hint hint.
    HW: Totally! Both shows have really massive appeal. “Teen Titans” was very dramatic. I got to really feel like an actor. All of the other Titans are such great actors and we got to play off each other. There is also “Teen Titans Go!” that is coming out.

    MG: I was going to ask you, what can we expect for the new reboot “Teen Titans Go!”?
    HW: It is broad comedy. It is hilarious I worry a little bit about the hardcore fan base from the first show. But here is the think, they are going to be very angry for one week and then they are going to love it beyond all reason. That is what happened to me. The shows are so well-written and hilarious They also give us a lot of room for improvisation So we, who know the characters like our ownself are really contribution to the content of the show. It will be the same characters that everyone knows and loves from the first series but being very funny and on their day off. We are not fighting villains, we are fighting about laundry or stuff like that. Some of the episodes have been so outrageous, so I can’t wait.

     

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    Carey Means talks about voicing Frylock in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”

    Carey Means is known for voicing the character Frylock  in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, renamed this season to “Aqua Something You Know Whatever”.  With the show going on 12 years and over 100 episodes, Media Mikes took out some time to chat with Carey about voicing Frylock and what he enjoys most.

    Mike Gencarelli: Over 100 episodes, what do you to keep voicing Frylock fresh?
    Carey Means: They usually call me the day of and say can you be at the studio at 2pm and it’s 1pm. I think on my feet! I improv. This show is actually 60% improvised. I just keep coming to work until they fire me and they did once [laughs].

    MG: You ever get recognized for voicing the character?
    CM: When I was homeless between 2008-2009 for seven months, stuff happens, I was on the train, and I don’t wear a sign saying that I am Frylock. Though today I am wearing a Mooninites shirt, but that is a different story. So I am on this train car and it is filled with Stromtroopers from a parade and all of the sudden, I hear “Frylock” called out and it was the Emperor. I gave him a fist-pound and I nealed before him and he told me to “Rise! Darth Means”. True story. I play a lot of video games online under the name “Darth Means”.

    MG: Besides Frylock, you ever voice any other characters throughout the seasons?
    CM: I am just Frylock, dude! Actually I also voiced a tree also when Carl was getting his back skin ripped off. Besides “Aqua Teen”, I got asked to try out for a few characters on “Squidbillies” but they used someone else of course.

    MG: How long does it take you to record one entire season?
    CM: It depends. They might call me for one show and it might take only 20 minutes and I might only have one line. They will also call me something for four shows and I like those since that means more money.

    MG: When you record are you with anyone else?
    CM: Usually I am with Dave Willis. Matt is on the phone. Dana does his stuff seperately.

    MG: What can we expect from the show going forward?
    CM: I hope this show lasts longer than “The Simpsons”. They need to do another movie. I hope Frylock isn’t abroad again, since I wasn’t a fan of that. We need to start a viral bug to get that made.

     

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    “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” co-creator Matt Maiellaro chats about new season

    Matt Maiellaro is the co-creator of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, titled “Aqua Something You Know Whatever” this season.  Matt was also the producer/writer on such Adult Swim shows as “Space Ghost Coast to Ghost”, Sealab 2021 and “12 Oz. Mouse”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about the new season and what we can expect.

    Mike Gencarelli:
    Tell us about the title change for this season to “Aqua Something You Know Whatever”?
    Matt Maiellaro: We had four baskets filled with pieces of paper with one word on them. We just reached into each basket and whatever we picked was going to be the title [laughs]. Our ratings have been so incredibly high that we’ve been embarassing the other shows. So we decided to change the title of the show and no one will be able to find it, which would cause our ratings to drop. It didn’t work though, we are still doing good. People are seeking us out despite the title change [laughs].

    MG: What we can expect from this season of show?
    MM: Just making fun of everybody’s stuff [laughs]. Seth MacFarlane was going to re-imagine “The Flintstones” and we did a whole parody on that. We did a parody of “Titus Maxium”, because we love the show. We are spoofing “The Human Centipede”. We are kind of all over the map but we they are really good this year. It is the first time we reached out and messed with other peoples material but we are having fun with it.

    MG: After 100 episodes, what did you find was your biggest challenge to overcome this season?
    MM: There is no challenge. This show is so easy to make. Well, the biggest challenge is actually what hotel I am going to stay at when I fly into Atlanta to meet with Dave (Willis) [laughs]. That is pretty much it.

    MG: What is your favorite episode this season?
    MM: Shoot man, everyone is so good. We got to work with Queensryche and Mastadon, so that was pretty cool. That is a hard call though honestly.

    MG: What has been your favorite voice to do for the show to date?
    MM: Well, doing Err is pretty fun because he is just drunk and yells stuff. He has really bad ideas. In fact when we write a show we don’t even write Err in the script. I just go in and hell stuff out. I haven’t done the Cybernetic Ghost in a while. My fee has gone up enormously for that character, since it really hurts my throat [laughs].

    MG: What can we expect from the future of the series?
    MM: We are just going to continue making the thing till America realizes that they don’t want to watch it anymore. We are digging it.

    MG: Are you shocked that it has been on for so long?
    MM: I do, when I tell someone about it and they go “Shit, 12 years?!” I am just glad we are still at it. It is fun to do. Whatever makes Dave and I laugh we just do it and it’s been successful. It is one of the longest running shows…I mean we beat “M.A.S.H” [laughs].

    MG: Any update on the second “Aqua” movie “Death Fighter”?
    MM: It is all written and great. We are just trying to convince the network do it again. The first one was such a cash cow for them, not just box office but also ad sales in the movie. So it is kind of a no-brainer. So hopefully one day.

    MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
    MM: I have a pilot with Disney XD that is real kid friendly. My show is broke the mold with pilots, it is went really well. So right now it is testing and it is called “Shred Force”. So keep an eye out hopefully.

    DVD Review “Teen Wolf: The Complete Season One”

    Directors: Russell Mulcahy, Toby Wilkins, Tim Andrews
    Starring: Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Holland Roden, Tyler Hoechlin, Linden Ashby, Jill Wagner, Eaddy Mays, Melissa Ponzio
    Episodes: 12
    MPAA Rating: Not Rated
    Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
    Release Date: May 22, 2012
    Running Time: 522 minutes

    Season: 2.5 out of 5 stars
    Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

    When it comes to “Teen Wolf”, there is really only one version the 80’s film with Michael J. Fox…and well maybe Jason Bateman in “Teen Wolf Too”, just for fun. This MTV version of this franchise feels a lot like a Twilight-infused version of the series.  The first episode is rather hard to get through and the series doesn’t particular get much better from there.  It is not unwatchable but definitely not a show that I would brag how good it is to watch.  The show will probably be loved by it’s core audience teenage girls or crazy “Twi-moms”.  Either way I will stick to the 80’s for “Teen Wolf”

    This series takes us back to the beginning, unrelated 80’s franchise, of how one night will forever change or transform (literally) one teenager’s life.  Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) gets bit by a werewolf bite which introduces him to amazing supernatural powers. He has to deal with everyday angst in High School, keep his identity a secret while dealing with being a werewolf. “Teen Wolf” stars some of a hip young cast, including Tyler Posey (Scott McCall), Crystal Reed (Allison Argent), Tyler Hoechlin (Derek Hale) and Holland Roden (Lydia Martin).

    For a DVD set, this contains some decent special features. There is an Extended Finale for “Code Breaker”. There is a bunch of Deleted, Alternate and Extended Scenes, as well as a Gag Reel. There is also a Behind-The-Scenes featurette. The cast provide commentary on select episodes. Teenage girls will go crazy for the Shirtless Montage. “Following The Pack: Meet The Cast Of Teen Wolf” introduces this new young cast and feature them talking about the show. Lastly there is footage from the red carpet in “Teen Wolf: Working The Red Carpet”. If you are a fan of this show, this set is for you definitely and don’t forget to tune into season two June 3rd 2012.

    Season One Episodes:
    “Wolf Moon”, “Second Chance at First Line”, “Pack Mentality”, “Magic Bullet”, “The Tell”, “Heart Monitor”, “Night School”, “Lunatic”, “Wolf’s Bane”, “Co-Captain”, “Formality” and “Code Breaker”