Toy Review: Imaginext Teen Titan Tower

Teen Titans Tower

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

Product Review “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Z-Line Water Tower Washout Playset”

I wish they cool toys like this when I was a kid. With the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Z-Line Water Tower Washout Playset” you can literally build a city and then use your “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” character to zip-Line from wall to wall. It is pretty cool once you get it all setup and going. I have been a fan of the TMNT since the 80’s and I have a two year old daughter and we bought really enjoyed this!

This does not come with any “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” figures but it will most with any of the new Turtles figures or even the old ones as well. I tested my old 1980’s Michaelangelo and it worked perfectly. The directions were easy to put this together, if you are wondering how it holds on the wall, don’t worry there are no screws involved. It is held by 3M tape, which could work well or not well due to your texture on your wall.

The Water Tower Washout is not the only playset available either. There are three other playsets available including a Window Wipeout Playset; Billboard Breakout Playset and Fire Escape Free Fall Playset. These are connectable so you can wire up the entire room with these Z-Lines. Some parents might not dig this too much but I totally think it would be awesome to have the whole room as a Z-line obstacle course.

Here is what is included in the box: Water Tower Play set, 4 Command Strips from 3M, 4 wall clips, 1 gargoyle launcher, 1 C-Clamp, 2 tension cylinders, 2 Z-line pulleys, 1 two-hand handle, 1 one hand handle, 2 48″ Zip-line, 1 72″ Zip Line, 1 Angle Gauge. It definitely requires some parent’s assembly but once it is up and ready. It is very easy to manage and use. Also priced very well, this is a great product for any fan of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, young or old.

Blu-ray Review “Tower Heist”

Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Ben Stiller, Mathew Broderick, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Running Time: 104 minutes

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

At first view of this film, I really had no interest in seeing it at all. My wife on the other hand nudged me into seeing it. I actually happened to enjoy it quite a bit. I mean with a cast like Ben Stiller, Mathew Broderick, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda and Casey Affleck…it would have to be good. Each actors really shines and delivers a great performance. Well the film has some faults but definitely packs the comedy as well as the action. Especially the film gets started, which takes about a solid 40 minutes, that’s when it really shines. When I was watching I couldn’t help but compare this to “Ocean’s Eleven” but in a apartment complex. Although not as good as that film, it still deliver a very entertaining experience.

The follows Josh Kovacs (Stiller) who is the manager of “The Tower”, which is a high-profile apartment location in Manhattan. His job is to make sure that the tower’s residents are perfectly accommodated, including financier Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). Though Shaw gets arrested by the FBI for investing fraud. Kovacs realizes that his staff’s pensions are gone since he asked Shaw to manage them. He confronts Shaw and ends up loosing his job. Kovas devises a plan to help his staff by planning to rob Shaw’s hidden money of $20 million dollars. In order to do that he recruits a motley crew group (including Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe, and Eddie Murphy). Of course things go array on the groups plans and issues arise.

The Blu-ray presentation and package are great. The color are very sharp and really detailed. The audio is also very impressive with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track especially during the heist scenes. Includes in this release besides the Blu-ray, is a DVD copy of the film as well. There is also an Ultraviolet streaming digital copy of the film. Some more great features on this Blu-ray include the “U-Control Experience” which includes a Picture-in-Picture experience and a “Music of Tower Heist” feature. Also if you have an iPad/tablet, PC or Mac you can take advantage of the “Second Screen Interactive Experience”.

The special features are quite impressive for this release. There is a funny yet very informative audio commentary with director Brett Ratner, editor Mark Helfrich and co-writers Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson. “Brett Ratner’s Video Diary” is a very in-depth look inside the production with the director, pretty cool footage included also. “Plotting Tower Heist” is a six part behind-the-scenes documentary, which runs about 45 minutes. The parts are split up into the following: “The Ratner/Grazer Connection, Parts One, Two and Three,” “The Conspirators,” “Set Pieces” and “The Car.” There are a bunch of additional footage including two alternate endings, the first called “15 Months Later” and second called “Lester’s Bar,” which should have made the final cut for sure! There are nine deleted/alternate scenes, which run just over 5 minutes are a hit or miss. Lastly there is a funny gag reel included to top off the great features.

Film Review “Tower Heist”

Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 44 mins

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

To the current generation of filmgoers, Eddie Murphy is best known as the voice of Donkey in the “Shrek” films.

To another, he’s known for some horrible films, including “Imagine That,” “The Adventures of Pluto Nash,” “Norbit,” “Meet Dave”…the list goes on. With the exception of his Oscar nominated performance in “Dreamgirls” (and as much as I love Alan Arkin, I’ve got to say that Eddie was robbed on Oscar night), he hasn’t made a good live-action film in almost a decade.

To my generation, he is remembered as one of the brightest comedy stars to ever hit Hollywood. Beginning with “48 Hours” and then following up with such popular films as “Trading Places,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Coming to America,” Murphy was the standard that all other comedians were compared to. As he celebrates his 50th birthday it gives me great pleasure to say, “Welcome back, Eddie!”

Josh Kovacs (Stiller) is a busy man. As building manager of The Tower, a pricey condo building in New York City, he is constantly making sure his overly pampered tenants stay happy. Especially Arthur Shaw (Alda), who occupies the penthouse and spends his mornings in the rooftop pool. When Shaw is arrested by the FBI for fraud (think Bernie Madoff), Kovacs reveals to his staff that he had entrusted Shaw with their pension fund which, if the FBI is right, is now worthless. Angered and outraged, Josh hatches a plan with some of his co-workers to rob Shaw of the money he’s stolen and, presumably, hidden in a secret safe in his penthouse. Now he just has to find himself “someone who steals.”

Part heist film, part comedy, “Tower Heist” is an enjoyable ride that boasts no less than five Oscar nominees among the cast. Written by Ted Griffin (“Ocean’s Eleven”) and Jeff Nathanson (“Catch Me If You Can”), “Tower Heist” is a film that rides on the shoulders of its talented cast. Stiller is his usual solid self, while Casey Affleck plays a variation of his “Ocean’s Eleven” character. Alda chews the scenery as the architect of the Ponzi scheme that destroys not only a pension fund but the lives it was supposed to fuel. In his second humorous performance this year, following “30 Minutes or Less,” Michael Pena’ continues to surprise on screen. Matthew Broderick, Judd Hirsch and Tea Leoni fill out the main cast, all of them delivering solid work. But it is Murphy, seemingly channeling himself playing Billy Ray Valentine in “Trading Places,” that steals the show here. It’s so nice to see a funny Eddie Murphy on the big screen again. I welcome him back and hope he’s back to stay.

With the current Occupy Wall Street” movement happening in this country, “Tower Heist” is a very relevant film for these times. The script is full of sharp observances and some hilarious scenes, including one where a discussion of the movie “The Doberman Gang” evolves into “The Boys from Brazil” which in turn evolves into “Boys Don’t Cry.”