Top

One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

August 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates reunite two years later and demonstrate their new skills that they have learned.  But what happens when the crew travels to their destination…Fishman Island?  Another entertaining volume of “One Piece”! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One

DURATION: Episodes 517-528 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: June 20, 2017


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

Script by Hirohiko Uesaka, Hiroshi Hashimoto, Junki Takegami, Michiru Shimada, Naoki Koga, Ryota Yamaguchi, Suminori Takegami, Yoshiyuki Suga

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Kazuya Nakai/Christopher Sabat as Roronoa Zoro

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


The human-hating Hordy Jones and his army of 100,000 troops has Fishman Island’s royal family by the gills. Luckily, the Straw Hats make it in time to show off a boatload of powerful new moves! But just when Luffy kicks into gear, an ancient ship nearly twice the size of the island heads straight for Shirahoshi. Only the cowardly mermaid can guide the vessel away before it crushes them all.


It has been two years since Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates has been together and now, the promised day of reuniting has arrived and the group head back to the seas.  But when they find out a group has been impersonating them, the group has chance to show how much they have improved in the past two years.

Also, what happens when the Straw Hat Pirates head to their latest destination….Fishman Island?

What is “One Piece”?

“ONE PIECE” is a popular anime series based on the popular manga series serialized in Shonen Jump by Eiichiro Oda. Suffice to say, “ONE PIECE” is the highest selling manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and its popularity has extended to various anime (via the TV series, OVA and films) and video games in America and also worldwide.

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 19th season and a total of 799 episodes have been aired in Japan.

“ONE PIECE” is an adventure anime about a 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained enormous strength (and stretching abilities) after eating a magical demon fruit. He eventually teams up with a group of pirates and have the name “The Straw Hats”. Luffy’s driven to one day obtain the most sought out treasure known as “One Piece” and eventually become the King of the Pirates.


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “ONE PIECE” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts, loves to eat but always believes and fights for his friends.

Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.

Nami – The navigator of the group. The main female crew member and really good at weapons.

Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great. He quit the Straw Hat Pirates and took on a new identity.

Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.

Tony Tony Chopper – A reindeer with a blue nose. Ate a devil fruit known as human-human fruit which makes him human in someways but keeping his reindeer look. Able to speak to humans, walk upright and also able to have transformations to become a huge beast. But his talent is his medical skills as he was trained by the Doctrine to become a doctor. Has very low self-confidence because he had been treated badly not only by his kind but also by humans and has not really had a friend but the Doctor and Doctrine.

Nico Robin – The former Vice President of Baroque Works who has become the newest member of the Straw Hat Pirates despite some of the crew not trusting her since she was a former enemy. Has the ability to use her body parts and project them elsewhere and other mysterious abilities not yet known.

Franky – A cyborg who can rebuild his body using pieces of metal and his dream is to build a ship and become its shipwright and sail to the end of the world.

Brook – A pirate from before the time of Roger, he was killed but because of the Paramecia-type-Revive-Revive Fruit, he rose again as a skeleton. An excellent musician, he becomes a member of the Straw Hat Pirates.


VIDEO :

For most television series, because they are created nearly before they are aired on television, unlike film and OVA’s, there typically is not much detail involved in a Japanese animated television series. “ONE PIECE” is probably one of those rare exceptions in that it has really cool character designs and very detailed artistic backgrounds. Of course, since it is on DVD, you will see some artifacting, combing and edge enhancement but it’s not so noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

The anime series is presented in standard 4:3 definition but for a television series, “ONE PIECE” sports cool and unique character designs and beautifully painted artistic backgrounds. Definitely one of the better looking anime series that has remained consistent and has not downgraded since it first aired on television. Character designer Kazuya Hisada (who worked on the “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball GT” series) and Noboru Koizumi (who worked on “Giant Robo”, “Dragon Ball GT” and “Tenchi Universe”) have been very good of capturing “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda’s unique style.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “One Piece” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English Stereo and Japanese Stereo. Of course, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound is the better audio choice to listen to, although one who has a receiver that can set their audio to all channels can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track as well. But both audio tracks are done very well and I have to admit that “ONE PIECE” has one of the most solid English dub tracks for an anime TV series. Very well done on both audio tracks but again, have been very impressed by the voice talent for the series thus far.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 519 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR Director/Voice Actor Mike McFarland, Christopher Sabat (voice of Zoro), Brina Palencia (voice of Chopper) and Eric Vale (voice of Sanji).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece Cast Goes to Matsuricon 2016: Live Dub – (18:59) The One Piece cast attend Matsuricon in Columbus, Ohio as the even is celebratine a pirate theme and the cast take part in a live dub in front of their fans.
  • EPISODE 526 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR Director/Voice Actor Mike McFarland, Sonny Strait (voice of Usopp) and Ian Sinclair (voice of Brook).
  • Textless Opening Song “We Go!” Ver. 1 and 2

With the release of “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One”, the episodes feature the reunion of the Straw Hat Pirates (featuring episodes 517-528). Note: In Japan, this arc of episodes is season 15.

Two years have passed since the War at Marineford and as the Straw Hat Pirates promised, they will reunite after they train for two years.  But the group finds out that someone has been impersonating them.  What happens when the Straw Hat Pirates come across the Fake Straw Hat Pirates?

The next storyline features the group together and go on aboard the Thousand Sunny to their destination, Fishman Island.  But they are being pursued by a pirate named Caribou and his crew.  But waiting for them in the sea is a large Kraken known for crushing ships, but what happens when the Straw Hat Pirates and the Kraken confront each other?

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good on DVD, audio is also crystal clear with both voice acting soundtracks are well done, as “One Piece” is one of the best cast anime series, everyone is right for their role and considering that Toei was strict on the casting for the English dub, FUNimation did a fine job in their cast selection and I was pleased with both Japanese and English dub soundtracks. As for special features, you get two audio commentaries but possibly the coolest inclusion is the Matsuricon 2016: Live Dub.  One can hope that Funimation continues this for upcoming releases of “One Piece” or other titles!

Overall, “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage One” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates reunite two years later and demonstrate their new skills that they have learned.  But what happens when the crew travels to their destination…Fishman Island?  Another entertaining volume of “One Piece”! Recommended!

 

Amar Akbar & Tony (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Atul Malhotra’s “Amar Akbar & Tony” is an entertaining comedy film that touches upon culture and contemporary life in London without having to become deep or banal.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2015 AAT Films Limited. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Amar Akbar & Tony

FILM RELEASE: 2015

DURATION: 96 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1:85:1 aspect ratio, English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

COMPANY: Kino Lorber

RATED: N/A

Release Date: June 28, 2016


Directed by Atul Malhotra

Story and Written by Atul Malhotra

Produced by Victoria Barrell, Atul Malhotra

Executive Producer: Rohit Kumar, Sandeep Puri

Associate Producer: Martin Delaney, Rez Kempton

Music by Rishi Rich

Cinematography by Jorge Luengas

Edited by Gareth Blower, Alex Morgan

Casting by Shakyra Dowling, Kristina Erdely

Production Design by Damien Creagh

Art Direction by Annalisa Andriani

Costume Design by Julie Jones


Starring:

Rez Kempton as Amar

Sam Vincenti as Akbar

Martin Delaney as Tony

Karen David as Meera

Laura Aikman as Samantha

Goldy Notay as Sonia

Meera Syal as Honey

Nina Wadia as Seema

Tanveer Ghani as Uncle Jay

Amrita Acharia as Richa

Mark Moraghan as George Williams


A Sikh, a Muslim and an Irish Catholic take stock of their lives in contemporary London in Atul Malhotra s coming of age romantic comedy drama Amar Akbar & Tony. The title is an homage to a 70s Bollywood classic and sets the tone for a unique film marrying the storytelling styles of British Independent cinema with that of the Bollywood narrative as Amar Akbar & Tony come of age, cause chaos and fall in love in multicultural London.


From filmmaker Atul Malhotra (“Card Shark”, “Lethal Attraction”) comes his British comedy “Amar Akbar & Tony”.  A title that pays homage to the ’70s Bollywood action film but in this case, a comedy.

The film stars Rez Kempton (“The Mummy”, “I Can’t Think Straight”), Sam Vincenti (“Alfie”, “Brothers”, “I Can’t Think Straight”), Martin Delaney (“Now You See Me 2”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Beowulf & Grendel”), Karen David (“Once Upon a Time”, “Cold Feet”, “The Scorpion King 2”), Laura Aikman (“Casualty”, “The Mysti Show”, “Keith Lemon: The Film”), Meera Syal (“Doctr Strange”, “The Jumars at No. 42”, “Beautiful Thing”), Goldy Notay (“Sex and the city 2”, “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife”), Amrita Acharia (“Game of Thrones”, “The Devil’s Double”) and more.

And now the film will be available on DVD courtesy of Kino Lorber.

The film follows three friends from childhood, a Sikh named Amar (portrayed by Rez Kempton), a Muslim named Akbar (portrayed by Sam Vincenti) and an Irish Catholic named Tony (portrayed by Martin Delaney).

Amar is a law student who is about to graduate and is engaged to Richa (portrayed by Amrita Acharia) and life is looking great for him. His family owns a restaurant and are proud of his son who is embarking on a new chapter of his life.

Meanwhile, Akbar is pursuing a career in real estate and hopefully inheriting his father’s business and loves flirting with the women.  But unfortunately, their buddy Tony isn’t so good at girls.

So, the guys often try to get their friend Tony to go after a beautiful woman but her overprotective brother ends up giving Tony a black eye.

Meanwhile, Tony finds out that the woman goes jogging at the park and unaware that her brother is nearby and sees Tony trying to get close to his sister and once again, chases him down, but Tony manages to escape.

As the group celebrate Amar’s engagement and have fun, afterward, Amar and his fiance, Akbar and Tony all head to a club where the man (whose sister Tony keeps trying to flirt with), spots him going to the bathroom and the man and his friends beat Tony up badly and are near killing him until Amar and Akbar intervene.

Amar spots the man pulling out a knife and is about to hurt Akbar, but Amar jumps in and a fight ensues and the man ends up getting stabbed in the belly.

Amar ends up getting arrested and goes to prison for three years.  Losing his career, losing his fiance and literally losing everything.

Fast forward three years later and, Amar’s sister Sonia (portrayed by Goldy Notay) is driving her father’s brother, her Uncle Jay (portrayed by Tanveer Ghani) and his wife Meera (portrayed by Karen David) to their home.  Meera is sad about leaving her home and visiting England.

Meanwhile Amar’s father and mother and Jay discuss Amar’s upcoming release from prison and his father could only hope he holds his head up high.  No one has seen Amar since he went to prison, as he didn’t want anyone to see or visit him.

As for Akbar, he now is a doing well as a real estate agent and he meets Samantha (portrayed by Laura Aikman) and often flirts with her.

And as for Tony, he wants to meet a woman and tries to go to a business that arranges weddings.  And when he is assigned to a possible wife who just came from India, he finds out that it’s an older woman named Honey (portrayed by Meera Syal), who turns out to be too much for him.

After his release from prison, Amar has changed.  Harboring anger towards Tony for all that has happened, he tells his Tony that he wants him to feel sorry for what he had done.

When Amar goes to visit his father’s restaurant, he meets Meera and finds out that his Uncle Jay has taken over the family business.

When Amar meets his father, his father tries to give him wise words to hold his head high and explains to him why the restaurant didn’t go to him and his father tells him that he wants him to work hard to earn his own self-respect.

As Amar is unemployed, and when he meets up with Akbar, Akbar tells him that a restaurant defaulted and he wants Akbar to run it, since he has restaurant experience and that there is a room upstairs that he can live in, rent free as payment for saving his life from the attack three years ago.

But with Amar out of prison, how will life work out for Amar, Akbar & Tony?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Amar Akbar & Tony” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio) and for the most part, picture quality is as good as it can get on DVD.  While I wished the film was released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber, for the most part picture quality is very good.

The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and while dialogue is crystal clear, the film features a lot of music which sounds great on DVD.  Surround channels are reserved for ambiance and crowd-based scenes.

 

Closed Captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Amar Akbar & Tony” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Director Atul Malhotra
  • Cast commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Karen David, Laura Aikman, Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti and Martin Delaney.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage – (3:34) Featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – (9:22) Deleted scenes from the film.
  • On Location – (2:50) A featurette featuring the crew and talent on location.
  • Premiere Footage – (1:20) Featuring the premiere of “Amar Akbar & Tony” and cast and guests posing for photographers.
  • Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Amar Akbar & Tony”.

In America, we are often introduced to buddy films that involve the banal, sex, drugs and hilarious (or really dumb) comedy.

But with Atul Malhotra’s “Amar Akbar & Tony”, we have a buddy film that has the sex and comedy but most importantly, it showcases three friends, a Sikh, a Muslim and an Irish Catholic.

A homage to the classic 1977 Indian action comedy film “Amar Akbar Anthony” about friends who were also raised in three different faiths but a much different setting (and also deals with criminal syndicates and revenge), “Amar Akbar & Tony” is a film that begins like comedy.

Almost reminiscent to a scene in the ’80s film “The Wanderers” where friends cajole their buddy to take part in a game to talk to women, Akbar gets their buddy Tony to talk to a beautiful woman, who happens to have an overprotective brother that will kill anyone who gets near her.

But the direction of the film changes when law school graduate and newly engaged Amar gets caught up in Tony’s mess, when the brother comes to a club where the friends are at and a fight ensues.  The man pulls out a knife but before anyone can get hurt, Amar grabs the mans arm and while struggling, the man ends up getting stabbed.  And poor Amar, who just celebrated his engagement party and a celebration to his new job in law, now sees everything disappear  as he is arrested and eventually serves three years in prison.

While Tony serves as the film’s source of comedy due to his hijinks of trying to find a woman, Amar finds himself getting closer to his uncle’s wife, while Akbar finds himself falling for a Caucasian woman named Samantha.

And the film does explore race relations because Akbar is Muslim and his family as Samantha’s family is curious about Akbar’s family and how they feel about Muslim extremists and terrorism.

But for the most part, I found it fascinating of how writer/director Atul Malhotra was able to craft a multicultural film that touches upon race relations, family, arranged marriages, marriage, homosexuality, honor and losing face within society for a crime or something troublesome to the culture.

There are a variety of topics that the film touches upon and while it seems those topics can get too deep and serious, Malhotra manages to keep things loose, enjoyable and entertaining.

Picture quality and audio is as good as one can expect on DVD.  But as for special features, while there are numerous featurettes and deleted scenes, the film also comes with two audio commentary tracks.

Overall, Atul Malhotra’s “Amar Akbar & Tony” is an entertaining comedy film that touches upon culture and contemporary life in London without having to become deep or banal.  Recommended!

 

With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” is a fantastic documentary honoring the comic book legend who has created many characters that many generations have grew up and loved. His legacy will continue to live on forever and at 94-years-old, while Stan Lee continues to appear at conventions and appear on film, its amazing how he continues to touch the lives of many today, as he has done many decades earlier. “With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” is highly recommended. ‘Nuff said.

Images courtesy of © 2015 True Believer Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story

YEAR OF FILM: 2010

DURATION: 80 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:33:1, English 2.0, English Closed Captioning

RATED: N/A

AVAILABLE ON: July 18, 2017


Directed by Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes, Will Hess

Written by Nikki Frakes, Will Hess

Produced by Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes, Will Hess, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis

Co-Produced: Max Work

Music by Kostas Christides, Minos Matsas

Cinematography by Keyan Safyari

Edited by Nikki Frakes, Nicholas Stich

Art Direction by Pierre Buffin


Starring:

Stan Lee

Joan Lee

Avi Arad

Sean Astin

Dick Ayers

Tobey Maguire

Frank Miller

Bryan Singer

Joe Quesada

Kevi Smith

Patrick Stewart

John Romita Sr.

Seth Rogen

Kenneth Branagh

Ian Bryce

Nicolas Cage

Gill Champion

Michael Chiklis

Thomas Haden Church

Paris Hilton

Gene Colan

Roger Corman

Grant Curtis

Tom DeSanto

Ramin Djawadi

Kirsten Dunst

Danny Elfman

Harlan Ellison

Mark Evanier

Jon Favrewau

Kevin Feige

Lou Ferrigno

James Franco

Evan Goldberg

Jim Goodkind

Michael A. Helfant

Samuel L. Jackson

Kenneth Johnson

Jason Lee

Jim Lee

Ralph Macchio


WITH GREAT POWER: THE STAN LEE STORY explores the vivid life and imagination of Stan Lee, the 89-year-old comic book legend who co-created over 500 legendary pop culture characters including Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk. Featuring interviews with both fans and colleagues including Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Samuel L. Jackson, and Eva Mendes, the film is the tale of one man’s determination to tell incredible stories that have enchanted the world for over 40 years.


When it comes to comic books, Stan Lee is a true legend.

Known for writing comic books and was an editor and publisher for Marvel Comics, but known for co-creating Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, thor, the X-Men and many other characters.

Known for his humor and also challenging the comic industry’s censorship organization, the Comic Code Authority, Stan Lee was inducted to the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the National Medal of Arts in 2008.

Back in 2010, the Epix documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story” was aired.

Directed by Terry Douglas, Nikki Frakes and Will Hess

While released in DVD in 2012, the DVD will be re-released, the documentary honors Stan Lee’s legacy, his working relationship with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, the challenges of making Marvel television series and earlier films, his appearances in the superhero movies but also the personal lasting relationship between him and his wife Joan, raising a daughter and also the pain of losing a child and more.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” is presented in 1:33:1 and in English 2.0.  As with most documentaries, the footage utilizes footage from a variety of sources from different periods of Stan Lee’s life, so picture quality varies for certain footage.  For the most part, picture quality is good as one can expect on DVD and dialogue is clear.

Closed Caption in English is included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by filmmakers Terry Dougas, Will Hess, Nikki Frakes, cinematographer Keyan Safyari and co-producer Max Work.
  • Disc 1 Special Features – Featuring the following:  A Star is Born, Stan Lee’s Love Story, The Biggest Fan, Music is the Story, Pow! Zip! Boom! The Sound of cinema, Heroes Helping Heroes!, Stan Lee at UCLA with Kevin Smith & Joe Quesada, A Coffee with Stan Lee: Slamdance 2012, Further Thoughts from Stan, An Unsung Partnership, SDCC 2007 Q&A, Characters Stan Co-Created, Trailer, Stan Lee Biography
  • Disc 2 Special Features – Additional Extended Interviews – Featuring extended interviews with Avi Arad, Sean Astin, Dick Ayers, Kenneth Branagh, Nic Cage, Gill Champion, Michael Chiklis, Gene Colan, Roger Corman, Tom Desanto, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Evanier, Jon Favreau, Kevin Feige, Lou Ferrigno, James Franco, Thomas Haden-Church, Paris Hilton, Sam Jackson, Jim Lee, Paul Levitz, Tobey Maguire, Todd McFarlane, Jim McLauchin, James Marsden, Frank Miller, Jeremy Piven, Joe Quesada, Seth Rogan with Evan Goldberg, John Romita Sr., Joe Simon, Bryan Singer, Joe Sinnott, Kevin Smith, Ringo Starr, Flo Steinberg, Patrick Stewart, Mel Stuart, Roy Thomas, Michael Uslan

I am a huge comic book fan.  I grew up reading comic books with his name gracing the front or interior pages, hearing his voice on “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” and pretty much, part of my childhood, college years and even my adulthood.

I credit Stan Lee for creating these wonderful superhero characters that have been part of my life but also millions of people from different generations.

Watching “With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” (and I probably have watched this documentary a dozen times as it is one of my favorites) is something that I feel that true comic book fans should watch in their lifetime.

The filmmakers not only get to interview the legendary writer/editor/publisher and entertainer and audiences get to see the comedic side but also the personal side.  But most importantly, many people from the comic book industry and entertainment industry who were just as moved by Stan Lee and grew up reading comic books, are part of this documentary.

It’s one thing to read about Stan Lee in the many interviews featured online or comic book magazines from the past, but this DVD gives us a perspective of Stan Lee that I haven’t seen before and that’s Stan Lee, the loving husband and father but also hearing his heartfelt answer when asked about his relationship with Jack Kirby.  Prior to this documentary, many people assumed there was bad blood between Lee and Kirby, but we realize it’s admirable respect that both men had with each other.  Part of the problem was that Stan Lee was famous for being Stan Lee and as a writer, the media covered him more, while Jack Kirby the artist wasn’t.  Which would eventually lead to Kirby leaving Marvel Comics.  (You can read more about the dispute on this article from Vulture.)

The documentary does an amazing job of showing the wonderful career of Stan Lee, which one would expect from a documentary about the legend.  But the filmmakers also knew that they would have to take on the more challenging questions, from the failed TV series of the ’70s and terrible films of the ’80s and early ’90s, which Stan Lee said he tried, but entertainment company execs wouldn’t listen.

And also, the filmmakers showcase the scandal involving Stan Lee Media and the company’s bankruptcy, one of the dark clouds that hovered over Stan Lee in his career.

But for the most part, this documentary is a positive document showcasing the career and respect that people have towards Stan Lee.

As the film is being re-released on DVD, a lot has changed since the release of this documentary.  The loving wife of Stan Lee passed away earlier this month.  Joan, died at the age of 93, and watching this documentary, you realize how in love these two are.  As Stan Lee is featured prominently in the documentary, in order to get to the personal side of Stan Lee, the filmmakers also chose to feature Joan Lee and Joan’s vibrance and love towards Stan is frequently featured.

While the documentary is pretty much safe for the entire family to watch, this DVD release contains two DVD’s with hours of special features including appearances at Stan Lee at various conventions and Q&A’s, to extended interviews with many big names from the comic book industry taking part.  These are not family friendly, especially the interviews with Kevin Smith (hilarious, but expect a lot of profanity and sexual discussions).

Overall, “With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” is a fantastic documentary honoring the comic book legend who has created many characters that many generations have grew up and loved.  His legacy will continue to live on forever and at 94-years-old, while Stan Lee continues to appear at conventions and appear on film, its amazing how he continues to touch the lives of many today, as he has done many decades earlier.

“With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story” is highly recommended.  ‘Nuff said.


 

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” is a fascinating film and possibly one of the best performances in Richard Gere’s career.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Oppenheimer Strategies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 110 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English, English SDH – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese (Traditional), French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (Some Language)

AVAILABLE ON: July 11, 2017


Directed by Joseph Cedar

Written by Joseph Cedar

Produced by Miranda Bailey, Lawrence Inglee, David Mandil, Oren Moverman, Eyal Rimmon, Gideo Tadmor

Executive Produced by Michael Graidy, Caroline Kaplan, Jim Kaufman, Amanda Marshall

Co-Producer: Luca Borghese, Carrie Fix

Associate Producer: Racheli Sternberg

Music by Jun Miyake

Cinematography by Yaron Scharf

Edited by Brian A. Kates

Casting by Jodi Angstreich, Laura Rosenthal, Hila Yuval

Production Design by Kalina Ivanov, Arad Sawat

Art Direction by Barbara Matis

Set Decoration by Joanne Ling

Art Direction by Barbara Matis

Costume Design by Michelle Matland


Starring:

Richard Gere as Norman Oppenheimer

Lior Ashkenazi as Micha Eshel

Michael Sheen as Philip Cohen

Charlotte Gainsbourg as Alex Green

Dan Stevens as Bill Kavish

Steve Buscemi as Rabbi Blumenthal

Jonathan Avigdori as Lior Keshet

Yehuda Almagor as Duvy

Caitlin O’Connell as Sister Agnes

Hank Azaria as Srul Katz

Harris Yulin as Jo Wilf


Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) lives a lonely life in the margins of New York City power and money, and strives to be everyone’s friend. His incessant networking leads him nowhere until he ends up befriending a young but charismatic politician, Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), at a low point in his life. Three years later, the politician becomes the Prime Minister of Israel. Norman uses Eshel’s name to leverage his biggest deal ever: a series of quid pro quo transactions linking the Prime Minister to Norman’s nephew (Michael Sheen), a rabbi (Steve Buscemi), a mogul (Harris Yulin), his assistant (Dan Stevens) and a treasury official from the Ivory Coast. Norman’s plans soon go awry, creating the potential for an international catastrophe he must struggle to prevent. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer is a comedic and compassionate drama of a man whose downfall is rooted in a human frailty all too easy to forgive—a need to matter.


Have you ever met a person, seems like they know everyone, seems like they are very well connected but in truth, they probably are not.

This is the premise of director/writer Joseph Cedar’s “Norman”.  Cedar, best known for films such as “Footnote”, “Beaufort” and “Campfire” has crafted a fascinating film which stars Richard Gere (“Pretty Woman”, “Days of Heaven”, “Hachi”, “Primal Fear”), Lior Ashkenazi (“Big Bad Wolves”, “Walk on Water”, “Footnote”), Michael Sheen (“Kingdom of Heaven”, “Midnight in Paris”, “Underworld”), Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Nymphomaniac” films, “Melancholia”, “Antichrist”), Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”, “The Guest”, “Beauty and the Beast”), Steve Buscemi (“Fargo”, “Armageddon”, “Reservoir Dogs”), Jonathan Avigdori (“The Blacklist”, “Elementary”, “The Unit”) and Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”, “, “The Smurfs”, “Godzilla”).

And now “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

The film revolves around a man named Norman Oppenheimer (portrayed by Richard Gere), a persistent consultant who claims to know everyone important, name drops consistently and always offers to introduce a person to major players in the city.

But does Norman really know these people and do they really know him?

We often see Norman talking with people but the only one he truly has conversations with is with his nephew, Wall Street lawyer Philip Cohen (portrayed by Michael Sheen).

But with everyone else, Norman talks as if he has known people for many years, knows when to take advantage of opportunities but when asked of how he knows these individuals, he clams up and becomes vague.

In truth, Norman is a person who networks to know end, wanting to be part of an important circle, wanting to be important.  And Norman would get the opportunity when he meets an Israeli politician named Micha Eshel (portrayed by Lior Ashkenazi), who happens to be visiting New York.  Seeing the man as great potential to further his networking abilities, Norman offers to pay for expensive Lanvin shoes that Eshel was lookinga t.

Remembering the generosity of Norman, three years later, Micha Eshel has become the Israel Prime Minister.  And because of that generosity that Norman gave to him three years ago, Eshel introduces Norman to the political elites, to the chagrin of Eshel’s political aides.

Seeing this as a way to use his contacts, Norman begins to make promises to New York’s Jewish community, including rabbi Blumenthal (portrayed by Steve Buscemi) and the more exaggerations that Norman creates, especially towards an investigator Alex Green (portrayed by Charlotte Gainsbourg), the more problems he creates for himself as he is unable to keep those promises.  Or can he?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” is presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or problems with video. Dialogue is primarily dialogue-driven with surround channels is primarily used for ambiance.  But for the most part, picture and audio quality on DVD is very good.

Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, Chinese (Traditional) and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” comes with the following special features:

  • Making the Connection: Norman on the Red Carpet – (4:35) The cast and crew discuss working on the film and interviews on the red carpet.
  • An Evening with Norman – (22:48) A post-screening Q&A with director Joseph Cedar and actor, Richard Gere.
  • Theatrical Trailer

I think that many people have met a person like “Norman” in their lifetime, in fact there are those who probably have that generous side of “Norman” within them.  Wanting to help people, making promises that they may or may not keep and happen to know a lot of people.

Having worked in the political and also the entertainment industry, meeting people like Norman is commonplace.  Doing things that Norman would do is commonplace ala “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mentality of giving favors and expecting a favor back.

That’s all good and normal but in the case of Norman Oppenheimer, we have a man who lives his life consistently meeting people, networking with people, claiming to know everyone, trying to connect anyone with those people.  They are fueled by it, they are consumed by it and they make promises and never think of the ramifications of what if it doesn’t pan out?

Filmmaker Joseph Cedar has managed to create a great character study of Norman Oppenheimer but what makes this film work is the wonderful acting performance of Richard Gere.

Norman is a man that is persistent.  Finding ways to get invited to top politicians parties (or just showing up and getting inside their homes), knowing the routines of politicians or leaders when they are on their morning jog or just knowing when to strike when the opportunity is hot.  He’s out there, he knows his role and for the most part, Norman does a great job of meeting people and name dropping.  But when he is asked how he knows certain individuals, he clams up.  He doesn’t know what to say, so he plays naive, as if he’s a man that doesn’t want to reveal anything but in truth, he doesn’t know much about the person and vice versa.

And life for Norman changes dramatically when he helps a politician from Israel, Micha Eschel (portrayed by Lior Ashkenazi) by buying him expensive shoes.  It was a major risk but the generosity is remembered by Michael three years later once he becomes the Israel Prime Minister and all of a sudden, Norman is jettisoned into Eschel’s inner circle and meeting key politicians, leaders.

Problem is…he then starts to use these contacts to make promises towards his fellow Jewish community leaders.  And even worse, he starts spouting exaggerations to an investigator named Alex Green (portrayed by Charlotte Gainsbourg) who specializes in political corruption.

Needless to say, Norman is not aware of how his exaggerations are causing problems nor does he know how badly he has screwed up.  Or has he?

It’s a fascinating and fresh film that you don’t usually see all that much but writer/director Joseph Cedar did a solid job in crafting this film.

The DVD looks great but if you want the best quality, you definitely will want to watch this film on Blu-ray.  The DVD also comes with a few special features as well including a Q&A with Cedar and Richard Gere.

Overall, “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” is a fascinating film and possibly one of the best performances in Richard Gere’s career.  Recommended!


 

K: Missing Kings (a J!-ENT Anime on DVD Review)

June 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

K: Missing Kings” is an action-packed sequel which “K” fans have waited a few years to be released in America.  And the animated film sets things up for the upcoming TV series, “K: Return of Kings” (to be released by Viz Media in July 2017).  If you loved the original series, then definitely give “K: Missing Kings” a try!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Viz Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: K: Missing Kings

DURATION: 75 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Widescreen, English & Japanese 5.1 & Stereo Audio, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 14, 2017


Originally created by GoRA

Series Director: Hiromitsu Kanazawa

Directed by Shingo Suzuki

Series Composition by GoRA

Music by Mikio Endo

Character Design by Shingo Suzuki

Art Director: Ken Naito

Chief Animation Director: Makoto Furuta

Mechanical Design: Hiroshi Okubo

Animation Production by GoHands


Featuring the following voice talent:

Daisuke Namikawa/Sam Regal as Yashiro Isana

Daisuke Ono/Matthew Mercer as Kuroh Yatogami

Kenjiro Tsuda/Keith Silverstein as Mikoto Suoh

Mikako Komatsu/Stephanie Sheh as Neko

Tomokazu Sugita/Patrick Seitz as Reisi Munakata

Hiro Shimono/Quinton Flynn as Kotosaka

Jun Fukuyama/Ben Diskin as Misaki Yata

Kaori Nazuka/Cherami Leigh as Dōhan Hirasaka

Kazuyuki Okitsu/Robbie Daymond as Nagare Hisui

Mamoru Miyano/Johnny Yong Bosch as Saruhiko Fushimi

Masakazu Morita/Chris Hackney as Yukari Mishakuji

Miyuki Sawashiro/Carrie Keranen as Seri Awashima

Satomi Satou/Janice Kawaye as Kukuri Yukizome

Takahiro Sakurai/Todd Haberkorn as Izumo Kusanagi

Yui Horie/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Anna Kushina

Yūichi Nakamura/Grant George as Rikio Kamamoto

Yuuki Kaji/Lucien Dodge as Tatara Totsuka


Silver Clan members Kuro and Neko are on a mission to find their king, Shiro, who went missing after the battle on the School Island involving four of the seven colored kings. During their search, the two discover that Red Clan member Anna Kushina has become the target of the mysterious Green Clan, which intends to use the girl’s special power to track down Shiro. Now the Silver and Red Clans find themselves joining forces to protect Shiro and Anna from this new threat. But will this unexpected alliance be enough to counter the Green Clan’s top fighters, as well as its king?


In 2012, the anime series “K” produced by the studio GoHands aired on television.

The series focused on Yashiro Isana, a normal guy who lives in the technologically advanced Shizume City and attends Ashinaka High School.  But when Tatara Totsuka, a prominent member of the well-known HOMRA is killed, many are curious of who killed him.  With the mysterious killer (known as the “Colorless King”) being identified, he looks almost exactly like Yashiro Isana.

And now the Red Clansmen of HOMRA led by the Red King, Mikoto Suoh, wants Yashiro dead and everyone is suspecting him as the killer of Tatara Totsuka.  Can Yashiro and others find out who is responsible for killing Tatara?

The series continues in the animated film “K: Missing Kings” which was released in Japan back in 2014.  The film takes place a year after the events of the TV series and a year after the disappearance of Shiro, the Silver King.  Kurou Yatogami and Neko are searching for Shiro and they run into members of the recently disbanded red clan HOMRA.

Rikio Kamamoto and Anna Kushina are being pursued by the Green Clan who will stop at nothing to get Anna and use her power.  With Anna being kidnapped, Kuro and Neko join forces with members of Scepter 4 in hopes to rescue Anna from the Green Clan.  But what is their true purpose of wanting Anna?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

It’s important to emphasize that if you want the best video quality of this animated film, it is available on Blu-ray.  I am reviewing the DVD version of the film and for the most part picture quality is as good as it can get on DVD.

“K: Missing Kings” is presented in 16:9 Widescreen and is presented in English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital and stereo.  Picture quality is vibrant and with this being an animated film, much better production when it comes to backgrounds and overall character designs.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

K: Missing Kings” comes with trailers.


For those who have watched the “K” anime series, the first animated film “K: Missing Kings” is a worthy sequel as we see Silver Clan members Kuro Yatogami and Neko continuing their search for the Silver King and we see the disbanded HOMRA (Red Clan) dealing with the kidnapping of Anna Kushina.

With the Green Clan causing more problems and causing mass destruction, deaths and kidnapping Anna, the Silver clan, members of the HOMRA and members of Scepter 4 do all they can to get Anna back and stop the Green Clan.

For the most part, this animated film is action-packed and quite entertaining.  It’s a worthy sequel for the anime series but for those who have never watched the TV series, will definitely want to watch it in order to understand the characters.

Anime production by GoHands is magnificent and the voice acting in both the Japanese and English soundtracks are well done.  While I reviewed the DVD version and not the Blu-ray release, for the most part, the DVD looks very good.  But I wish there were special features included aside from the basic trailers.

Overall, “K: Missing Kings” is an action-packed sequel which “K” fans have waited a few years to be released in America.  And the animated film sets things up for the upcoming TV series, “K: Return of Kings” (to be released by Viz Media in July 2017).  If you loved the original series, then definitely give “K: Missing Kings” a try!  Recommended!

 

Land of Mine (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Martin Zandvliet’s “Land of Mine” is a thought-provoking post-war film with a strong message for humanity that militaristic actions which happened after World War II with enemy POWs should never be repeated. “Land of Mine” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Nordisk Film Production. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Land of Mine

YEAR OF FILM: 2015

DURATION: 101 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, German, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (Violence, Some Grisly Images and Language)

AVAILABLE ON: June 6, 2017


Directed by Martin Zandvliet

Screenplay by Martin Zandvliet

Produced by Malte Grunert, Mikael Chr. Rieks

Executive Produced by Daniel Baur, Oliver Simon, Henrik Zein

Line Producer: Arno Neubauer, Louise Birk Petersen

Music by Sune Martin

Cinematography by Camilla Hjelm

Edited by Per Sandholt, Molly Marlene Stensgaard

Casting by Simone Bar

Production Design by Gitte Malling

Art Direction by Malina Ionescu

Set Decoration by Katja Schlomer

Art Direction by Seth Turner

Set Decoration by Kay Anthony

Costume Design by Stefanie Baker, Claudia Maria Braun


Starring:

Roland Miller as Sgt. Carl Rasmussen

Louis Hoffman as Sebastian Schmann

Joel Basman as Helmut Morbach

Mikkel Boe Folsgaard as Lt. Ebbe Jensen

Laura Bro as Karin

Zoe Zandvliet as Elisabeth

Oskar Bokelmann as Ludwig Haffke

Emil Belton as Ernst Lessner

Oskar Belton as Werner Lessner

Leon Seidel as Wilhelm Hahn

Karl Alexander Seidel as Manfred

Maximilian Beck as August Kluger

August Carter as Rudolf Seike

Tim Bulow as Hermann Marklein

Alexander Rasch as Friedrich as Schnurr


As World War II comes to an end, a group of young German POWs is captured by the Danish army and forced to defuse and clear 2 million land mines from the Danish coast. With little to no training, the boys soon discover that the war is far from over. Inspired by true events, LAND OF MINE exposes the untold story about the young men who faced overwhelming odds in a post-war world.


Fight the monsters who you are against in war.  But does one turn into the same kind of monster that you are fighting against when your country has the other country’s Prisoner of War (POW)?

For the Danish-German film “Land of Mine”, filmmaker/screenwriter Martin Zandvliet (“A Funny Man”, “Applause”, “Teddy Bear”) takes on that question in his war film that sympathizes with the prisoners of war.

As Nazi German soldiers buried around two million mines around the Danish Coast during their occupation and because of the danger these mines were to the public, the Danish Army used German POWs (a decision by the British military who controlled the area and a violation of the Geneva Convention), the majority of the POWs who were boys to defuse and clear as many mines.

Hated because they are German, there was no sympathy towards these boys because they were German soldiers.  And nearly half of the German POWs were killed or injured with permanent or serious disabilities during the operation.

Today, the subject is still debated as others say the POWs, despite their young age, were experienced soldiers who participated in Nazi atrocities, while others argue that these were kids that were innocent and inexperienced.

For Denmark, it was their belief that the Germans put the mines in the area, they should be responsible for removing them.  And most believed that Germans had no rights and could not expect any mercy after the war’s end.

“Land of Mine” is set days following the surrender of Germany in May 1945 and German POW’s were handed over to Danish authorities out to the West Coast of Denmark where more than two million mines were placed by Germans in the sand along the coast.

Danish Sgt. Carl Leopold Rasmussen (portrayed by Roland Moller) receives a group of 14 German POWs, expecting a group of men but instead they are teenage boys.  These boys were trained for three days by the Danish Army and sent to take on the job by crawling in the sand with their bare hands and removing the pin and explosive from each mine.

Sgt. Rasmussen and many of the locals and soldiers of the Danish army have no sympathy towards the Germans and these boys are rarely fed and work long exhausting shifts.  Because the training was insufficient, we see these young soldiers beg for a break because they are ill, some who feel they rather die because they feel they will never go back home.

But because these boys are not men, should they be treated inhumanely, especially if they have nothing to do with the German occupation of Denmark?  This is the conflict that Sgt. Rasmussen must deal with.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Land of Mine” is presented in 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen and in German/English 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.

Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or problems with video. Dialogue is primarily dialogue-driven with surround channels is primarily used for ambiance and mine detonations.

But for the most part, picture and audio quality on DVD is very good.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Land of Mine” comes with the following special features:

  • In Conversation with Director Martin Zandvliet – (17:50) Post-screening Q&A with director/writer Martin Zandvliet.
  • Theatrical Trailer

For anyone who has experienced, watched or learned about war, we often learn about the dirty things about war.  Especially for one’s home country, you learn through school or through cinema of the atrocities committed by the enemy in World War II.

For those of us who grew up in America, we learn about the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.

But in the case of Denmark, given thousands of German POWs, with the majority of them being young teenage boys, the Danish Army didn’t look at their ages, they pretty much felt that because Nazi German buried over two million mines throughout the Western Coast, the Germans should be responsible for removing them.

And because of the large influx of German POWs, these teenage boys would be responsible for removing them.

What filmmaker/screenwriter Martin Zandvliet does well is showing sympathy to these German POWs.  There is no denying that Nazi Germany did a lot of atrocious things but when you watch “Land of Mine”, you think that these are just children.  Teenagers who were either led to believe they should join the military for the good of their country or their evil leader.  But many of these kids, can they be blamed for what the adults have done?  Are these kids to be seen in the same light as the adults?

We see the change within Sgt. Carl Rasmussen, a hard-edge soldier who could care less about the Germans but when he gets children not men, who are assigned to him to clear out the mines, we see how he’s hard on them, he could care less if they are sick and makes them work.  But when he sees these children dying, getting their bodies blown up, seeing brothers separated and the look on their faces of no hope but death, it gets to him.

This is the ugliness of war.  Even with the Geneva Convention, after World War II, these countries despised the enemies and could care less of their POWs and it was unfortunate that Allied forces were doing some of the things that Germans were being prosecuted for.

Overall, Martin Zandvliet’s “Land of Mine” is a thought-provoking post-war film with a strong message for humanity that militaristic actions which happened after World War II with enemy POWs should never be repeated.

“Land of Mine” is recommended!


 

Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live from Sin City (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live from Sin City” may not be for everyone, but for those who are entertained by vulgar, profane and not overly sensitive, then definitely give this latest DVD a chance! You may enjoy it!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live from Sin City

YEAR OF FILM: 2017

DURATION: 91 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Presentation, 16×9 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: May 23, 2017


Executive Produced by Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Parris, Quincy Newell, Jeff Clanagan

Producers: Anthony C. Hall, Tamra Goins, Leslie Small

Produced by: Valarie Benning Barney

Edited by Julian Gooden, Leslie Small


Starring:

Shaquille O’Neal

Lavell Crawford

K-Dubb

Cocoa Brown

Donnell Rawlings

Earthquake


Shaquille O’Neal presents host Lavell Crawford (”Breaking Bad,” MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES, and AMERICAN ULTRA) with special guests K-Dubb, Cocoa Brown, Donnell Rawlings, and Earthquake to deliver one of the funniest nights of comedy yet. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL’S ALL-STAR COMEDY JAM: LIVE FROM SIN CITY was filmed live at the Penn & Teller Theater in Las Vegas.


From the ’80s “Kings of Comedy” to the ’90s of “Def Comedy Jam” and in recent years of Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy”, each have provided a venue to see up-and-coming or established African American comedians.

With “Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy – Live in Sin City”, Lavell Crawford (“Breaking Bad”, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”, “American Ultra”) now takes the stage as the host and joining him are comedians K-Dubb, Cocoa Brown, Donnell Rawlings and Earthquake.

Filmed live at the Penn & Teller Theater in Las Vegas.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

Picture quality is presented in 1:78:1 and English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio with Spanish subtitles.

Picture quality is good as it can get on DVD and overall soundtrack is crystal clear.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy – Live in Sin City” comes with no special features.


For those who grew up watching “Def Comedy Jam”, “Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam” takes the similar path of featuring established or up-and-coming African American comedians and letting them go full-force in unabashed rawness and profanity.

Sure, there are those who may have a problem with some of the comedy content, may it be too adult in content (ie. discussion of sex) and there are some who feel that the comedy may be demeaning to people who are African American, but this debate has gone long and for some performers, comedy is an outlet to express themselves and how they grew up.

For “Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live from Sin City – Live in Sin City”, the host is a much slimmer Lavell Crawford.  Discussing everything from growing up with a cranky grandma, Black Lives matter, the killing of Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo, the light-skinned Golden State Warriors and more.

K-Dubb’s comedy routine talks about relationship, Cocoa Brown tears it up with her comedy about an ex-boyfriend, getting back into dating, men and female body parts and more.

Comedian Donnell Rawlings talks about ISIS, wanting to be light-skinned, reading out loud in school and more.

The show ends with Earthquake talking about Lamar Odom, Bill Cosby his love for women.

The latest offering of “Shaquille O’Neal Presents” is no doubt humorous, but at the same time, I know that there has been a growing resistance towards this form of adult comedy and it’s the same arguments that existed when “Def Jam Comedy” was often profiled in media.

Is “Shaquille O’Neal Presents” vulgar?  Yes.  Are people going to find the comedy routines to be insensitive.  I’m sure there are people that are.  But it all depends on the people watching it.  If you don’t like this type of comedy, then don’t watch.

One thing that I did notice watching this latest “Live from Sin City” is seeing audience reactions.  There are those who are laughing hard and you’ll see someone barely laughing, almost like they didn’t get the joke or didn’t care for it.  This is how comedy is and there are those who dig it and some who don’t.

Overall, “Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live from Sin City” may not be for everyone, but for those who are entertained by vulgar, profane and not overly sensitive, then definitely give this latest DVD a chance! You may enjoy it!


 

Toni Erdmann (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It is very common for us cineaste to go back into the past and select films that shocked us, that surprised us and enjoing cinema that inspires us. Films that we are truly passionate for, because of the director’s vision, a film’s creativity and originality and for some auteurs that have created such films, we have regarded these films as a masterpiece. I feel that I can watch Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” over and over, enjoy it and know that I have watched a masterpiece. Each time you watch “Toni Erdmann”, you gain a deeper appreciation for the film and it’s a true feeling that makes you proud that cinema is still alive! “Toni Erdmann” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Komplizen Film. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Toni Erdmann

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 133 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, German, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (Strong Sexual Content, Graphic Nudity, Language and Brief Drug Use)

AVAILABLE ON: April 11, 2017


Directed by Maren Ade

Screenplay by Maren Ade

Produced by Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Michel Merkt

Co-Producer: David Keitsch, Sebastian Schipper, Antonin Svoboda, Bruno Wagner

Executive Produced by Ada Solomon

Line Producer: Ben von Dobeneck

Cinematography by Patrick Orth

Edited by Heike Parplies

Casting by Viorica Capdefier, Nina Haun, Amanda Tabak

Production Design by Silke Fischer

Art Direction by Malina Ionescu

Set Decoration by Katja Schlomer

Costume Design by Gitti Fuchs


Starring:

Sandra Huller as Ines Conradi

Peter Simonischek as Winfried

Michael Wittenborn as Henneberg

Thomas Loibi as Gerald

Trystan Putter as tim

Ingrid Bisu as Anca

Hadewych Minis as Tatjana

Lucy Russell as Steph

Victoria Cocias as Flavia

Alexandru Papadopol as Dascalu

Victoria Malektorovych as Natalja


Winfried rarely sees Ines since she left for a high-powered corporate job. So when he drops by to visit, the two quickly find themselves at odds as his quirky antics clash with her slick lifestyle. Determined to be part of her world, Winfried reappears as alter ego “Toni Erdmann,” an outrageous life coach who turns his daughter’s career plans upside-down. In the course of all the madness, the two discover that maybe they have more in common than they imagined.


From filmmaker, writer and producer Maren Ade (“Everyone Else”, “The Forest for the Trees”) comes the German/Austrian comedy-drama “Toni Erdmann”.

The film stars Sandra Huller (“Requiem”, “Uber Uns Das All”, “Brownian Movement”), Peter Simonischek (“Oktober November”, “Geburtig”, “Saphirblau”), Michael Wittenborn (“Wir Sind Die Neuen”, “Ein Freund Von Mir”, “Yella”), Thomas Loibl (“Ende der Schonzeit”, “3096 Days”, “Like a Cast Shadow”), Trystan Putter (“Phoenix”, “War Horse”, “Passion”), Ingrid Bissu (“Outbound”, “BloodRayne”), Hadewych Minis (“Borgman”, “Bloed, Zweet & Tranen”) and Lucy Russell (“Following”, “The Lady and the Duke”).

The film has received critical acclaim and was named “Best Film of 2016” by “Sight & Sound” and won five awards at the 29th European Film Awards for “Best Film” (the first for a film directed by a woman), “Best Director”, “Best Screenwriter”, “Best Actor” and “Best Actress”.  The film was also nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 89th Academy Awards.

And now “Toni Erdmann” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

The film begins with the introduction of Winfried Conradi (portrayed by Peter Simonischek), a divorced music teacher and often likes to pull pranks, take on different personas and sport fake teeth.

Since the divorce, he hasn’t had much of a relationship with his daughter Ines (portrayed by Sandra Huller), a business consultant  and is currently working on an outsourcing project in the oil industry and so, she is always busy and doesn’t have much time for anyone, including her family.  That even Winfried makes jokes that he wants to hire a replacement daughter to cut his nails.

After the death of his dog, Winfried decides to travel to Bucharest, Romania spontaneously without letting Ines know that he is coming.

Surprised by the visit, Ines allows her father accompany him to a reception at the American Embassy with Henneberg, a German oil company CEO and Ines is desperate in trying to secure a consulting contract with him.

While at the reception, Winfried ends up talking to Henneberg and jokes about hiring a replacement daughter to cut his nails and because of this, Henneberg ends up inviting both Ines and her father for drinks.

Winfried gets to see how life is for her daughter as she is constantly stressed out, doesn’t get much sleep and when she oversleeps one day, she gets upset and gives her father a hint that she’s too busy and they will meet up when she has the time.

After a difficult day of trying to win a contract with Henneberg, Ines goes out with her two friends for dinner but out of nowhere, a man approaches and offers them drinks.  He introduces himself as Toni Erdmann and to Ines’ shock, the man is her father in another disguise.  Toni tells the women that he is in Bucharest to attend the funeral of his friend’s turtle.

And this is just the beginning as Ines starts to see Toni Erdmann at major parties and also near her office but she allows her father to continue with his jokes and not acknowledging to anyone that he is her father.

But will this odd behavior from her father push her away, considering how frustrated and unfulfilled she is with work?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

It’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality, a Blu-ray release of “Toni Erdmann” is available.  With that being said, the film is presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen and in German/English 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.

Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or problems with video.  Dialogue is primarily dialogue-driven with surround channels primarily ambiance (especially during scenes with crowds).

But for the most part, picture and audio quality on DVD is very good.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Toni Erdmann” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with actress Sandra Huller, actor Peter Simonischek and producer Janine Jackowski.
  • Toni Erdmann at AFI Fest – (16:04) Featuring scenes from the red carpet and Q&A.
  • Theatrical Trailer

Whenever one can watch cinema that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you want to watch it over and over again, you know that film is truly special.

Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” is no doubt a special film free from banality, creative and original and not predictable.

It’s one thing to have a film about a father wanting to reconnect with his busy, stressed-out daughter and as the film slowly introduces us to Winnfried and Ines in the first half of the film, showing us how the father is literally a class clown but just wants to be a part of his daughters life.

While Ines is always frustrated, feels underappreciated and literally does whatever she can to win a contract, even if it means meeting a client’s wife to help her with shopping.  You can literally feel the tension, the frustration that she is on a verge of a nervous breakdown.

So, when her father shows up spontaneously to Bucharest without letting her know and during a time she is trying to win a major client, it’s one thing as daughter gives her father a chance to see how her life is.

By the second half of the film, we then start to see her father taking on the persona of Toni Erdmann and somehow ending up at posh parties that she is attends and somehow seeing him continue with this a ridiculous persona but yet letting him continue.

But it’s certain scenes, while very sexual or have a lot of nudity that come out of nowhere and just shows us how Ines is dealing with her life and literally giving a message of “I don’t give a f*ck anymore!”.

And as for Winnfried, as a father knowing that despite her busy and tough nature, somewhere inside her, she still daddy’s little girl.

The performances by actress Sandra Huller and Peter Simonishchek was truly amazing.  Huller gives us a performance of a lifetime and she just gets better and better with each film that she stars in.

Overall, it is very common for us cineaste to go back into the past and select films that shocked us, that surprised us and enjoing cinema that inspires us.  Films that we are truly passionate for, because of the director’s vision, a film’s creativity and originality and for some auteurs that have created such films, we have regarded these films as a masterpiece. I feel that I can watch Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” over and over, enjoy it and know that I have watched a masterpiece.

Each time you watch “Toni Erdmann”, you gain a deeper appreciation for the film and it’s a true feeling that makes you proud that cinema is still alive!

“Toni Erdmann” is recommended!


 

One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates must become stronger and train harder for the next two years before reuniting. But will they be able to get the training to become stronger?

Image courtesy of © 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five

DURATION: Episodes 505-516 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: December 13, 2016


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

Script by Hirohiko Uesaka, Hiroshi Hashimoto, Junki Takegami, Michiru Shimada, Naoki Koga, Ryota Yamaguchi, Suminori Takegami, Yoshiyuki Suga

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


The tragedy at Marineford sends shockwaves around the world, and the Straw Hats struggle desperately to meet again in Luffy’s most heart-wrenching time of grief.

Incapable of protecting his friends, Luffy questions his ability to become the King of the Pirates. His crew members, scattered to the farthest reaches of the globe, are more determined than ever to keep their promise and return to Sabaody Archipelago in three days. But when ”Dark King” Rayleigh offers Luffy a stern suggestion, Luffy must choose between reuniting with his friends or joining Rayleigh in training. Luffy’s decision drives him back to Marineford, where he pays his respects to the fallen and sends a secret message to his friends. The news stirs enemies from all walks of life. Monkey D. Luffy is ringing in the New Age!


As Luffy mourns the death of his brother, the latest episodes featured on “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” features on the aftermath as Luffy wants to train harder for the next two years, so he can protect those he cares about.

As news of Ace’s death starts to reach the Straw Hat Pirates, they also know that with two years left, until they all meet again, they must get stronger and train.

Meanwhile, Luffy’ makes a daring appearance at Marineford to deliver a message throughout the world.

What is “One Piece”?

“ONE PIECE” is a popular anime series based on the popular manga series serialized in Shonen Jump by Eiichiro Oda. Suffice to say, “ONE PIECE” is the highest selling manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and its popularity has extended to various anime (via the TV series, OVA and films) and video games in America and also worldwide.

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 18th season and a total of 776 episodes have been aired in Japan.

“ONE PIECE” is an adventure anime about a 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained enormous strength (and stretching abilities) after eating a magical demon fruit. He eventually teams up with a group of pirates and have the name “The Straw Hats”. Luffy’s driven to one day obtain the most sought out treasure known as “One Piece” and eventually become the King of the Pirates.


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “ONE PIECE” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts, loves to eat but always believes and fights for his friends.

Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.

Nami – The navigator of the group. The main female crew member and really good at weapons.

Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great. He quit the Straw Hat Pirates and took on a new identity.

Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.

Tony Tony Chopper – A reindeer with a blue nose. Ate a devil fruit known as human-human fruit which makes him human in someways but keeping his reindeer look. Able to speak to humans, walk upright and also able to have transformations to become a huge beast. But his talent is his medical skills as he was trained by the Doctrine to become a doctor. Has very low self-confidence because he had been treated badly not only by his kind but also by humans and has not really had a friend but the Doctor and Doctrine.

Nico Robin – The former Vice President of Baroque Works who has become the newest member of the Straw Hat Pirates despite some of the crew not trusting her since she was a former enemy. Has the ability to use her body parts and project them elsewhere and other mysterious abilities not yet known.

Franky – A cyborg who can rebuild his body using pieces of metal and his dream is to build a ship and become its shipwright and sail to the end of the world.

Brook – A pirate from before the time of Roger, he was killed but because of the Paramecia-type-Revive-Revive Fruit, he rose again as a skeleton. An excellent musician, he becomes a member of the Straw Hat Pirates.


VIDEO :

For most television series, because they are created nearly before they are aired on television, unlike film and OVA’s, there typically is not much detail involved in a Japanese animated television series. “ONE PIECE” is probably one of those rare exceptions in that it has really cool character designs and very detailed artistic backgrounds. Of course, since it is on DVD, you will see some artifacting, combing and edge enhancement but it’s not so noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

The anime series is presented in standard 4:3 definition but for a television series, “ONE PIECE” sports cool and unique character designs and beautifully painted artistic backgrounds. Definitely one of the better looking anime series that has remained consistent and has not downgraded since it first aired on television. Character designer Kazuya Hisada (who worked on the “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball GT” series) and Noboru Koizumi (who worked on “Giant Robo”, “Dragon Ball GT” and “Tenchi Universe”) have been very good of capturing “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda’s unique style.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “One Piece” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English Stereo and Japanese Stereo. Of course, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound is the better audio choice to listen to, although one who has a receiver that can set their audio to all channels can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track as well. But both audio tracks are done very well and I have to admit that “ONE PIECE” has one of the most solid English dub tracks for an anime TV series. Very well done on both audio tracks but again, have been very impressed by the voice talent for the series thus far.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 506 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Brina Palencia (voice of Chopper) and Christopher R. Sabat (voice of Zoro).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece Outtakes: Part 1 – (10:50) Featuring outtakes with the English dub talent for the Straw Hat Pirates.
  • Episode 515 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Ian Sinclair (voice of Brook) and Sonny Strait (voice of Usopp).
  • Textless Opening Song – “Fight Together”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five”, the episodes are the final episodes of the Japanese 14th season (featuring episodes 505-516) as this volume features the aftermath of Ace’s death and Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates know they have two years until they reunite, but with the two years, they must do all that’s necessary to become stronger.

As Luffy needs to get a message to the Straw Hat Pirates, he must take a bold trip to Marineford. Meanwhile, Luffy must learn a new skill in order to become a stronger leader and fighter. And Rayleigh, will do whatever is possible to get Luffy ready.

Chopper must train in Birdie Kingdom and learn more medicine, on Weatheria, Nami must learn on how to become a better navigator and learn from the scientists, on Kurakiri Island, Franky must learn new skills from Dr. Vegapunk’s inventions, on Kamabakka Kingdom, Sanji must learn from Ivankov about newkama cooking, in the Tehna Gehna Kingdom, Brook must train himself to reach 40 degrees and in the Bowin Islands, despite gaining a lot of weight, Usopp is trained by Heracules to become stronger. And Robin joins up with the Revolutionaries at East Blue’s large bridge to improve herself before returning to the group.

As this DVD volume prepares viewers for Season 15 (Japan) and fastforwards two years later, the volume focuses on Luffy and the Strawhat Pirates and their commitment to get stronger and train harder for the next two years.

The episodes also bring back footage from the past as they remember why they joined the Straw Hat Pirates and how Luffy was there for them. But also seeing pirates and even admirals who will become significant characters in the series.

For “One Piece” fans, this latest volume finally showcases the Straw Hat Pirates and seeing what they have been up to since each of them went their separate ways and making a vow to reunite a few years years later.

Needless to say, “One Piece” fans will not be disappointed!

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good on DVD, audio is also crystal clear with both voice acting soundtracks are well done, as “One Piece” is one of the best cast anime series, everyone is right for their role and considering that Toei was strict on the casting for the English dub, FUNimation did a fine job in their cast selection and I was pleased with both Japanese and English dub soundtracks. As for special features, you get two audio commentaries and an outtakes featurette.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Five” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates must become stronger and train harder for the next two years before reuniting. But will they be able to get the training to become stronger?

 

Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge vol. 2 – Extinction (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart with the final ten action-packed episodes of the second and final season. If you love the first season of “Power Rangers Dino Charge”, definitely check out “Power Rangers Dino Super Charge” on DVD!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge vol. 2 – Extinction

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2016

DURATION: Episodes 11-20 [Episodes 33-52] (2 Hrs. and 12 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Lions Gate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: March 7, 2017


Directed by Charlie Haskell, Peter Salmon, Mike Smith, Jonathan Brough, Peter Burger, Karl Zwicky, Michael Duignan

Written by Judd Lynn, Haim Saban, Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Mark Litton, Jeffrey Newman, Peter Wiseman, James W. Bates, Tanya M. Wheeler, Marc Handler, Ann Knapp

Produced by Sally Campbell

Executive Produced by Judd Lynn, Brian Casentini, Haim Saban

Music by Noam Kaniel

Cinematography by Kevin Riley, D.J. Stipsen

Edited by Allanah Milne

Casting by Iris Hampton

Production Design by Tracey Collins

Art Direction by Davin Voot

Costume Design by Sarah Voon


Starring:

Brennan Mejia as Tyler Navarro/Red Dino Charge Ranger

Camille Hyde as Shelby Watkins/Pink Dino Charge Ranger

Yoshua Sudarso as Koda/Blue Dino Charge Ranger

Michael Taber as Riley Griffin/Green Dino Charge Ranger

James Davies as Chase Randall/Black Dino Charge Ranger

Claire Blackwelder as Kendall Morgan/Purple Dino Charge Ranger

Campbell Cooley as the Mecha Voice

Davi Santos as Ivan

Estevez Gillespie as Wrench

Paul Harrop as Fury

Eve Gordon as Keeper

Adam Gardiner as Sledge

Jackie Clarke as Poisandra

Ryan Carter as Heckyl


The action is supercharged and the adventures are out of this world as the Power Rangers call upon their teamwork and abilities to protect the Energems!


The second season of “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” concludes with the final ten episodes as the Power Rangers must take on a new enemy, Lord Arcanon.

Meanwhile, the Power Rangers prepare for their final battle against Sledge and the team gets assistance from the one person that would least likely to help them in the past.  But with the threat of the Dark Energem, can the Power Rangers endure and defeat their enemies?

What is “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” about?

In 2015, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” debuted on television. And as usual with Power Rangers series, a second season follows and in January 2016, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” made its debut.

The 23rd season of the “Power Rangers” series continues with the same actors as season one: Brennan Mejia, Camille Hyde, Yoshua Sudarso, Michael Taber, James Davies, Claire Blackwelder and Davi Santos.

And new antagonists with Heckyl and Snide.

The storyline begins with the opening narration:

Millions of years ago, the evil Sledge tried to steal the greatest power in the universe. But an alien named Keeper entrusted them to dinosaurs. As for Sledge… He was blasted deep into space. Now the Energems have been found, and Sledge returns to battle a new team of heroes; they are…Power Rangers Dino Charge!”

As Heckyl and Snide continues to look for the remaining two Energems, a team of Power Rangers form to find the the Energems before their enemies can and prepare themselves for the battle ahead.

Power Rangers Dino Charge consists of:

  • Dino Charge Red Ranger – Tyler Navarro (portrayed by Brennan Mejia) – The leader of the team and works as the chef at Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum’s restaurant, the Dino Bite Cafe. He commands the T-Rex Zord. His father had gone missing when he was a child and Tyler hopes one day he can find him.
  • Dino Charge Pink Ranger – Shelby Watkins (portrayed by Camille Hyde) – A waitress at the Dino Bite Cafe and knows a lot about Dinosaurs. She commands the Tricera Zord.
  • Dino Charge Blue Ranger – Koda (portrayed by Yoshi Sudarso) – A Cro-Magnon caveman who found the Blue Energem a hundred thousand years ago in a Stegosaurus fossil. He was unfrozen by Kendall and Chase and becomes the Dino Charge Blue Ranger. He works as a dishwasher for Dino Bite Cafe and Amber Beach Museum digger. He commands the Stego Zord.
  • Dino Charge Green Ranger – Riley Griffin (portrayed by Michael Taber) – Works as an intern at the Amber Beach Museum and as a waiter at Dino Bite Cafe. He is calm and very intelligent. He commands the Raptor Zord.
  • Dino Charge Black Ranger – Chase Randall (portrayed by James Davies) – The flirtatious and laid-back member who likes to ride a skateboard. Works as a janitor at Amber Beach museum and is an expert paleontology digger. He commands the Para Zord.
  • Dino Charge Gold Ranger – Sir Ivan of Zandar (portrayed by Davi Santos) – A Mideival knight who served the royal family of Zandar 800 years ago. He commands the Ptera Zord.
  • Dino Charge Graphite Ranger – Prince Phillip III (portrayed by Jarred Blakiston) – The wealthy crown prince of Zandar and descendent of Prince Colin. He is helpful and cares about the environment and wants to become a Power Ranger. He commands the Pachy Zord.
  • Kendall Morgan (portrayed by Claire Blackwelder) – A 26-year-old scientist who manages the Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum and heads the paleontology digging group.

As “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” featured a total of 22 episodes, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” features the last ten episodes of the second season.

Here is a spoilerless summary of “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Extinction”:

  • Episode 33 – “Love at First Fight” – Can Beauticruel use Poisandra’s magic to make men fall for her?
  • Episode 34 – “Catching Some Rays” – When the team discover Koda’s old cave, they ignore Koda’s grandfather’s warning.
  • Episode 35 – “Recipe for Disaster” – Food Critic Catherine Allister visits the Dino Bite, but what happens when Chase’s dish doesn’t come out as he expected.
  • Episode 36 – “Silver Secret” – The Silver Ranger lands on Earth.
  • Episode 37 – “Wings of Danger” – Doomwing comes to challenge Zenowing.
  • Episode 38 – “Freak Fightday” – What happens when a monster switches the rangers bodies around?  Can the team get back at being their original selves?
  • Episode 39 – “Worgworld” – Why is everyone turning into zombies?
  • Episode 40 – “The Rangers Rock” – What happens when Badussa turns the Rangers into stone?  Can Shelby and Zenowing save the day?
  • Episode 41 – “Edge of Extinction” – The rangers discovers a Greenzilla Egg, meanwhile the team receives help from an unlikely person.
  • Episode 42 – “End of Exctinction” – The final fight against Sledge.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” is presented in 1:78:1 Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot outdoors, picture quality is good. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

Closed Captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” features no special features.

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” comes with a slip cover.


For over 20-years, many people have grown up watching “Power Rangers”.

Sure, a lot of the stories are campy but for those who enjoyed the action, the costumes and the good old story of good vs. evil, that concept has remained consistent season after season.

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Extinction” continues the trend that Lions Gate did with the last released “Roar” by including the final ten episodes of the season instead of the standard five (note: the two specials are not included and will most likely be released for the complete collection).

As one who has grown up watching the Japanese sentai series and also the original “Power Rangers” and now having a child and nephews that are interested in them, one thing that I am glad to see is that the series retains its action and family-oriented storylines.

Nothing too violent and nothing that would make parents wince. Granted, some may object to the fighting but personally, costumed heroes vs. monsters (people in rubber suits), it’s not exactly something that I worry about in terms of fighting action. As parents, it’s how we teach our children and to not practice Power Rangers moves on other people.

As for this DVD volume, it’s pretty much the final ten episodes of season two and feature stories revolving around each character. From Kendall’s grandmother visiting the area, Chase trying to cook a dessert recipe for a renown food critic, Tyler and Shelby getting closer but the focus is on the return of Sledge and a new enemy, Lord Arcanon.

And as the team are in for the fight of their lives, they receive help from the person they would never expect to help them.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and there are no special features. Unfortunately, unlike previous DVD releases, there is no digital HD code included.  But usually, a complete collection is typically released and with those, one should expect all episodes including the two specials episodes.

Overall, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart with the season’s final ten action-packed episodes. If you love the first season of “Power Rangers Dino Charge”, definitely check out the second season on DVD!

 

Next Page »

Bottom