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Dark Horse (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Dark Horse” is a fantastic underdog documentary about how a racehorse owned by a group of non-wealthy commoners would not only win a horse race but how the racehorse would make an amazing comeback after a terrible injury to race again and defy expectations. Louise Osmond’s “Dark Horse” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © Darlow Smithson Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Dark Horse

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 86 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1, Anamorphic Widescreen, English, English -Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH and French

COMPANY: Sony Picture Classics

RATED: PG (Some Mild Thematic Elements and Language)

RELEASE DATE: August 23, 2016


Directed by Louise Osmond

Written by Louise Osmond

Produced by Judith Dawson

Executive Producer: Adam Partridge, Anna Miralis, Anna Higgs, Lizzie Francke, Julian Ware

Cinematography by Benjamin Kracon

Music by Anne Nikitin

Edited by Joby Gee


Set in Wales, DARK HORSE is the inspirational true story of a group of friends who decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse. Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the land, before suffering a near fatal accident. Nursed back to health by the love of his owners, he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback.


In 2014, filmmaker Louise Osmond created her 2014 documentary “Dark Horse” about the true story of a racehorse named Dream Alliance.

The story of Dream Alliance is amazing but also the story of how this champion racehorse came to be and how this amazing horse would come back to racing after a terrible racing injury.

“Dark Horse” would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and would win a World Cinema audience award.  And now, “Dark Horse” will be available on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

In a small town in South Wales, a barmaid named Janet Vokes who is known for breeding whippets and racing pigeons decides to breed her own race horse. Overhearing a tax adviser about owning his own racehorse, she is inspired and she and her husband purchase a mare named Rewbell who was sold for cheap because it suffered injuries due to a barbed wire and had a bad temper.

Hiring the tax adviser, Howard Davies to become the racing manager, they bred Rewbell with a stallion named Bien Bien and in 2001, the foal was born.

As the Vokes reared the foal in the Cefn Forest near the town of Blackwood, they pitched to fellow commoners to pitch in money and join the effort to join an ownership syndicate and each member would contribute ten pounds per week to help develop the young horse and train him for racing.

In order to make this work, with 30 people contributing ten pounds, they can pay for the estimated 15,000 pounds a year to keep the horse trained for racing.

And by 2004, the young horse named Dream Alliance would be entered in his first race.  The horse came in fourth and eventually would take part in more races and got better.  And would eventually win his fourth race.

But in 2008, at the preparatory race for the Grand National at the Aintree Festival, Dream Alliance suffered a terrible injury and sliced a tendon.

And as a horse who would suffer such a terrible injury would be put down, Dream Alliance’s owners said that they would rather have him go back home than euthanized.

But when the syndicate made the decision to give Dream Alliance a new type of stem cell treatment, Dream Alliance would heal.  But what would come after Dream Alliance’s healing would become a miracle.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Dark Horse” is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio (Anamorphic Widescreen) in English and English – Audio Description track in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good as one can expect on DVD.  Picture quality is very good, with some race footage looking a tad bit aged but as most documentary archived sources are never pristine, for the most part, picture quality is good.  You also have camera footage of when Dream Alliance was born.

As for audio, the soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue and music.  Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Dark Horse” comes with a photo gallery and a theatrical trailer.


I have watched reviewed documentaries and films about horses, especially about race horses.

And if you are a viewer of horse racing, the story of Dream Alliance is quite fascinating because the horse survived a terrible accident which many horses would often be put to sleep.

But with stem cell treatment, Dream Alliance became the first horse to make a comeback to horseracing after a terrible injury due to the new treatment but also the first horse to win a horse race after stem cell treatment.

In many ways, one can root for the horse and its syndicate because they were the underdogs.

Where most horses come from affluent families and are trained by the top trainers, the storyline of Dream Alliance is fascinating because the horse was trained courtesy of the investment by commoners living in Blackwood in South Wales and it all began with a barmaid named Jan Vokes who overheard a local tax adviser talking about a racehorse he owned.

Jan would eventually be inspired to breed a racehorse and she and her husband would purchase an injured horse named Rewbell, mate it with a stallion named Bien Bien (first year at stud in the UK) and next thing you know, a foal was born.

Jan would make Howard Davies, the tax adviser the racing manager and commoners of Blackwood would donate ten pounds a week as part of a syndicate that would pay for Dream Alliance’s race training.

Of course, because they were commoners and not wealthy, nor were they from families that raised horses and passed down the raising of horses from generation after generation.  The syndicate were looked down by the horseracing community.

Many race horses are bred for many generations and are worth over millions of dollars.  Dream Alliance was born from the injured, chubby and bad tempered mare named Rewbell who only cost 350 pounds.

And so when Dream Alliance raced, not much was expected from the horse because the horse was owned by non-wealthy commoners.  But these commoners believed in their horse and looked at treated him like family and sure enough, the horse defied expectation.

But of course, Dream Alliance would defy any expectation when it bounced back from a terrible injury, spared from being put down and would achieve a miracle.

As for the DVD, picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD, and as for audio, the documentary features crystal clear dialogue and music.  There are not many special features included but a photo gallery and a theatrical trailer.

Overall, “Dark Horse” is a fantastic underdog documentary about how a racehorse owned by a group of non-wealthy commoners would not only win a horse race but how the racehorse would make an amazing comeback after a terrible injury to race again and defy expectations.

Louise Osmond’s “Dark Horse” is recommended!

 

Sweethearts of the Gridiron (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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If you are familiar with the Kilgore College Rangerettes and are curious about them, their rich history and what it takes to make the drill team squad, then look no further, “Sweethearts of the Gridiron” is a documentary that I highly recommend!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Sweethearts of the Gridiron. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Sweethearts of the Gridiron

SERIES DATE: 2015

DURATION: 89 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, 16:9 Widescreen, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2016


Directed by Chip Hale

Story by Chip Hale and Genevieve Pearson

Co-Written by Chip Hale and Genevieve Pearson

Executive Producer: Craig Jaynes, Jan Jaynes, Ronnie Spradlin, Michael S. Wayne

Producer: Mikaela Addison, Chip Hale, Steven Hornstein, Iggy Rodriguez

Associate Producer: Matt Edwards

Cinematography by Alice Brooks

Edited by Mikaela Addison, Iggy Rodriguez

Costume Design by Rochelle Rodriguez


They are athletes, a team, and a cultural phenomenon. They are the world-famous Kilgore College Rangerettes, and when they took the field for the first time on September 19, 1940, they made history, changing the future of football halftime entertainment across their home state of Texas and around the world.


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In 1939, the Kilgore College Rangerettes were created by Gussie Nell Davis in 1939 and would make their official debut in September 1940.

It was the first group of its kind in the world and brought “show business” to the football gridiron.

Since then, the Rangerettes have been America’s premiere American dance/drill team and have performed all over the country and all over the world.  And have performed at 65 consecutive Cotton Bowl halfttimes since 1951, many parades and presidential inaugurations.

While the city of Kilgore is small and the community college has a little over 5,000 students, the Kilgore College Rangerettes have performed with pride, those who served as Rangerettes are literally Rangerettes forever and many have succeed in their professional careers thanks to being a part of the Rangerettes.

And because of the long history and tradition, many young women have traveled long distances to take part in the audition to become part of the next Kilgore Rangerettes.

And to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the organization, filmmaker Chip Hale and along with co-writer Genevieve Pearson, created a documentary titled “Sweethearts of the Gridiron” in which he followed many young Rangerettes throughout the tryout process in hopes to make the team.

The documentary follows several girls within a year who are trying to become a member of the 73rd line of the Kilgore College Rangerettes.

Many young women who traveled far, some who had family who were members of the Rangerettes and some who failed the previous tryouts and are determined to make it this year.

Also, following Rangerettes from the past including current director Dana Blair (Rangerettes 1981-83) and Shelley Wayne (Rangerettes 1985-87).

But with so many young women trying out and only so many spots available, who will be selected for the next line of the Kilgore Rangerettes?


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VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Sweethearts of the Gridiron” is presented in Widescreen (16:9). Picture quality is as good as it can get on DVD. Lighting is well-done, many shots are done outdoors and for the most part, picture quality is good. As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and dialogue is crystal clear, as with the music presented throughout the documentary.  It’s important to note that because this is a documentary, you get archived footage included with the documentary, so some scenes have different picture quality but for the most part, overall documentary looks and sounds good on DVD.

The documentary is presented with English SDH subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sweethearts of the Gridiron” comes with no special features.


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When you see the Kilgore College Rangerettes perform with high kick after high kick, you can’t help but be respectful and yet amazed by the elegance, the choreography and the discipline that each of the ladies of each line, since the Rangerettes inception, have displayed in front of audiences worldwide.

Filmmaker Chip Hale and co-writer Genevieve Pearson, to celebrate the 75th year of the Kilgore College Rangerettes have made a documentary titled “Sweethearts of the Gridiron” to showcase the challenges of young ladies from the local area to some coming from other states to take part of the famous Rangerettes for their 73rd line (2013-2014).

While I have seen the Kilgore College Rangerettes perform, as they are the famous drill team in America that has a strong, rich tradition, I am not an erudite when it comes to the history of the Kilgore College Rangerettes, nor was I aware of the rules and challenges to be a member of the team.

The documentary focuses on various young ladies who try out for the team and watching them go through various challenges but also learning why they wanted to tryout for the Rangerettes and for some of these young ladies, this is their dream, which they have sacrificed and put a lot of hard work in hopes they will make the team.

We see one girl who didn’t do well in one tryout and worked hard to make sure she would make the team for her sophomore year.  We see another who worked so hard but struggles with a health issue that lands her in the hospital.  We see another who traveled from Utah and is determined of making the team.  We see another whose sister made the team previously and is determined to make the team.

But of course, as there are only so many spots open, not all the girls will be selected, so the film does a great job of showing the audience of the anxiety these young women face prior to the final tryout and the final voting selection but also what happens after the vote.

Of course, the film has to show the coaches perspective with director Dana Blair and assistant director Shelley Wayne and their perspective of how things have changed but how they try to stay modern by blending of the dance choreography and the high flying kicks but yet keeping the tradition of the Rangerettes.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a 75th year anniversary documentary without showcasing the tradition of the Kilgore College Rangerettes and this is what I enjoyed about the film, the plethora of interviews with various members from the past.

And to this day, these women have continued to show their passion and demonstrate their pride of being a Kilgore College Rangerette.

For the most part, this documentary was tastefully done. I’m sure it was not easy for some of the young ladies to be focused on, showcased with a variety of emotions and to see them through their highs and lows but because of their participation, it’s what made “Sweethearts of the Gridiron” so special.

The viewing audience can understand through their emotions of the challenges they face and what being a Kilgore College Rangerette means to them.  And for the most part, for people like myself who are unaware of the tradition and what it takes to become a member of the Rangerettes, this film really puts the hard work into perspective.

And these ladies should be proud for taking part in this film and letting the cameras film throughout the year.

As for me being critical, for the film, there are some moments of uneven camera work.  There are a few young ladies that get featured with less time than others and wished the coverage was a little more consistent.  But that’s me being a bit picky because really, this documentary was informative and entertaining and I felt that Chip Hale and crew did a wonderful job.

Overall, if you are familiar with the Kilgore College Rangerettes and are curious about them, their rich history and what it takes to make the drill team squad, then look no further, “Sweethearts of the Gridiron” is a documentary that I highly recommend!

 

Blunt Talk (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

blunttalk

“Blunt Talk” is a refreshing, fun and entertaining series in which audiences who love the performance of actor Patrick Stewart, will see him in a role which many would never expect him to play. Upbeat, hilarious and delightful, “Blunt Talk” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2015 MRC II Distribution Company, L.P. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Blunt Talk

SERIES DATE: 2015

DURATION: 10 Episodes (312 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Widescreen (1:78:1), English SDH

COMPANY: Anchor Bay Entertainment/STARZ

RATED: TV MA

RELEASE DATE: August 30, 2016


Created by Jonathan Ames

Directed by Tristram Shapeero, Michael Lehmann, Bill D’Elia

Written by Kirsten Kearse, Sam Sklaver, Reed Agnew, Duncan Birmingham, Eli Jorne, Jim Margolis

Executive Producer: Jonathan Ames, Stephanie Davis, Seth MacFarlane, Tristram Shapero

Co-Executive Producer: Sam Sklaver, Reed Agnew, Duncan Birmingham, Eli Jorne

Producer: Leanne Moore, Patrick Stewart

Consulting Producer: Jim Margolis

Music by Craig Wedren

Cinematography by Joseph E. Gallagher

Edited by Ivan Victor, Meg Reticker

Casting by Rick Messina, Nicole Abellera, Jeanne McCarthy

Production Design by Julie Walker

Set Decoration by Shauna Aronson

Costume Design by Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko

Art Direction by Jason Zev Cohen


Starring:

Patrick Stewart as Walter Blunt

Adrian Scarborough as Harry Chandler

Timm Sharp as Jim

Dolly Wells as Celia

Jacki Weaver as Rosalie Winter

Karan Soni as Martin

Mary Holland as Shelly

Ken Weiler as Sam

Romany Malco as Bob Gardner

Monika Smith as Sylvia

Richard Lewis as Dr. Weiss

Ed Begley Jr. as Teddy


“Blunt Talk,” a 10-episode half-hour series, set in Los Angeles, follows Walter Blunt, played by Patrick Stewart, a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news.  Through the platform of his nightly news show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave. Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives, children of all ages, and his own well-intentioned, but sometimes misguided decisions,  Blunt’s only support is in the form of the heavy-drinking, devoted manservant he transplanted from the U.K. The cast is led by Patrick Stewart in the role of Walter Blunt, Jacki Weaver as Rosalie, Blunt’s tough and motherly producer-manager and Adrian Scarborough as Harry, Blunt’s manservant. Dolly Wells who plays Celia, Blunt’s senior producer and head writer and Timm Sharp who plays Jim, Blunt’s head writer, round out the cast. The series from MRC is executive produced by Seth MacFarlane, Jonathan Ames (Creator and Showrunner), Stephanie Davis and Tristram Shapeero.


From Jonathan Ames, the writer of “Bored to Death” and “The Extra Man” and executive producer Seth MacFarlane comes the series “Blunt Talk”.

An American sitcom on the Starz cable network, the series stars Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “X-Men” films”), Adrian Scarborough (“The King’s Speech”, “Les Miserables”, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Timm Sharp (“Enlightened”, “Undeclared”, “‘Til Death”), Dolly Wells (“45 Years”, “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, “Morvern Cellar”), Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings”, “Animal Kingdom”, “Stoker”, “The Voices”), Karan Soni (“Deadpool”, “Safety Not Guaranteed”, “Ghostbusters”, “Goosebumps”) and Mary Holland (“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”, “Cinnamon Sugar”).

And now the first season of “Blunt Talk” will be available on DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment”.

“Blunt Talk” revolves around British newscaster Walter Blunt (portrayed by Patrick Stewart) who has moved to Los Angeles and has a show known as “Blunt Talk” which he hopes will do well enough to succeed on the American nightly cable news.

But when Walter picks up a prostitute and is caught by LAPD and ends up hurting one of them badly, his writing and producing team are scared that he may have tarnished his reputation.

But as Walter wants to do good and dominate the air waves, despite his heart being in the right place, not all of his decisions end with the results that he is hoping for.

But to help Walter along the way is Harry Chandler (portrayed by Adrian Scarborough), his fellow soldier compatriot turned servant and his drug-using psychologist, Dr. Weiss (portrayed by Richard Lewis).

Also, there for Walter is his dysfunctional news show production staff which includes Rosalie Winter (portrayed by Jacki Weaver) manages the production staff but is always there for Walter whenever he needs to spoon and is often giving the young Martin (portrayed by Karan Soni) a chance to sniff her bosom.  Rosalie is married to Teddy (portrayed by Ed Begley, Jr.).

Senior Producer Celia (portrayed by Dolly Wells) has always loved Walter since she was younger and is always seeking his approval from Walter (which he tends to not want to give to her), which Walter tends to prefer the other Senior Producer Jim (portrayed by Timm Sharp) to be in his place, whenever he is gone.

Meanwhile, Shelly is an ambitious person trying to seek her sexual identity and find her place among the production staff.  She and Martin are often in competition with each other.

With Walter’s boss Bob Gardner (portrayed by Romany Malco) giving Walter a final chance to boost his ratings, can Walter be relevant to the public and have a top-rated show?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Blunt Talk” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1). Picture quality is as good as it can get on DVD.  Lighting is well-done, many shots are done outdoors and for the most part, picture quality is good. As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and dialogue is crystal clear, as with the music presented throughout the series.

The show is presented in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Blunt Talk” includes the following special features:

  • Inside the World of Blunt Talk – (23:40) Creator Jonathan Ames discusses each of the episodes for “Blunt Talk” and tidbits of behind-the-scenes of each episode.
  • First Look – (1:57) Patrick Stewart and the cast talks about their role on “Blunt Talk”
  • Meet the Newsroom – (1:47) Patrick Stewart and the cast discuss the newsroom staff of “Blunt Talk”.
  • Walter & Harry – (1:05) Patrick Stewart and Adrian Scarborough discuss their characters in “Blunt Talk”.

For anyone who has watched Patrick Stewart in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “The X-Men” related films and other films, plays and TV shows, can easily respect the actor for the many accolades he has accomplished.

Many are fans of his work and for the most part, it’s his intellectual prowess and his delivery which makes him such a fine actor to watch.

And with the TV series “Blunt Talk”, the series takes Patrick Stewart and puts him in a role that no one would expect him to ever play.

Patrick Stewart plays the character of Walter Blunt, the host of the news show “Blunt Talk” for a news network in the U.S. and while he is well-known, his TV show is not succeeding in the ratings compared to other TV news personalities such as Anderson Cooper.

But as we watch Walter Blunt, he is a person that while a veteran of the Falklands War and former Royal Marines Major, he is also a man who tries to enjoy life, may it be eating marijuana chocolate, picking up a prostitute, beating up cops from the LAPD and often getting him in trouble that makes the public wonder if he is a credible journalist or a crazy troublemaker.

And with the help of his servant/valet Harry Chandler (a Falklands War veteran and former Royal Marines lance corporal), Walter finds himself in more trouble, despite having good intentions.

And his “Blunt Talk” production staff which consists of the staff boss, Rosalie Winter, his senior producers Celia and Jim, his junior staff Martin Bassi and Shelly often try to find ways to bail him out (or do whatever he wants).

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at times because the series is so unexpected which leads to the series to be quite fresh and entertaining.

From Walter spooning with Rosalie to come up with ideas, what happens when both Walter and Harry miss their important flight and must work with a porn studio.  Walter driving and sing to hip hop music, throwing a huge party with sex, drugs and alcohol.  And yes, people get to see Patrick Stewart on drugs, in bed with women and so much more!

And so many more entertaining moments that I don’t want to spoil anything else and just would rather have the viewers watch and enjoy this series.

The first season also has guest stars with former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor Brent Spiner, Elisabeth Shue, Jason Schwartzman, Sharon Lawrency, Moby and even Patrick Stewart’s son Daniel has a role as Walter’s son, Rafe.  And each of these characters bring a lot of fun and excitement to the series as well!

But I have to say that with all these fascinating characters, Patrick Stewart fans will be pleased to know that he does an amazing job playing the role of Walter Blunt.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is good as it can get on DVD.  Yes, wished there was a Blu-ray release but for the most part, picture and audio quality is good.  There are a few special features included, especially series creator Jonathan Ames discussing the behind-the-scenes of each episode and more.  It would also have been awesome if audio commentary was included but that’s me being a little picky and wanting to see more.

Overall, “Blunt Talk” is a refreshing, fun and entertaining series in which audiences who love the performance of actor Patrick Stewart, will see him in a role which many would never expect him to play.

Upbeat, hilarious and delightful, “Blunt Talk” is recommended!

 

Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Grey’s Anatomy” season 12 was a well-balanced season with a lot of emotional situations, testing of relationships, forgiveness and if anything, character building episodes to setup for the future seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy”. If you have followed this season for this long and are ready to embrace a “Grey’s Anatomy” without Derek Shepherd, ready to embrace change, then “Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © abc studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine

SERIES DATE: 2015-2016

DURATION: 24 Episodes (1030 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Spanish and French Subtitles, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV 14 DSLV

RELEASE DATE: August 30, 2016


Created by Shonda Rhimes

Directed by Rob Corn, Chandra Wilson, Debbie Allen, Kevin McKidd, Jeannot Szwarc, Marc Jackson, Ron Underwood, Nicole Rubio, Susan Vaill, David Greenspan, Chris Hayden, Tony Goldwyn, Rob Hardy, Zetna Fuentes, Eric Laneuville

Written by Shonda Rhimes, Stacy McKee, William Harper, Meg Marinis, Austin Guzman, Zoanne Clack, Jen Klein, Tia Napolitano, Elizabeth Klaviter, Mark Driscoll, Andy Reaser, Lauren Barnett, Elisabeth Finch, Karin Gist

Executive Producer: Betsy Beers, Shonda Rhimes, Krista Vernoff, Rob Corn, Marc Gordon, Shonda Rhimes, Joan Rater, Krista Vernoff,

Co-Executive Producer: Mark Wilding, Tony Phelan, Joan Rater

Producer: Tammy Ann Casper, Rob Corn, Linda Klein, Zoanne Clack

Consulting Producer: Debora Cahn

Supervising Producer: Jenna Bans

Associate Producer: Chris Van Dusen

Music by Danny Lux

Cinematography by Herbert Davis

Edited by Joe Mitacek, Susan Vaill, David Greenspan, Edward Ornelas, Justin Chinn

Casting by John Brace, Linda Lowy

Production Design by Donald Lee Harris

Set Decoration by Nicole Cramer

Costume Design by Mimi Melgaard

Art Direction by Brian Harms


Starring:

Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey

Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev

Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey

James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber

Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torres

Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt

Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins

Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery

Sarah Drew as Dr. April Kepner

Camilla Luddington as Dr. Jo Wilson

Jerrika Hinton as Dr. Stephanie Edwards

Jason George as Dr. Ben Warren

Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Amelia Shepherd

Kelly McCreary as Dr. Maggie Pierce

Payton Silver as Dr. Knox

Giacomo Gianniotti as Dr. Andrew DeLuca

Samantha Sloyan as Dr. Penelope Blake

Martin Henderson as Dr. Nathan Riggs


Sometimes the life you need to save is your own — especially after a shattering loss, when the bonds of friendship and love at Grey Sloan Memorial are tested like never before. Experience the passion, the drama and every heart-stopping moment with ABC’s GREY’S ANATOMY: COMPLETE TWELFTH SEASON. Television’s favorite doctors now find themselves simmering in a world of sexual politics. Bailey struggles with what it means to be a woman in charge of the hospital… and her own husband, while Maggie faces the challenges of dating a younger man and Amelia battles her own demons. Meanwhile, in the wake of a brutal attack, Meredith finds comfort and love in the most unexpected place, Callie and Arizona find themselves in a fight for their lives, and tensions run high when, Amelia and Meredith come face-to-face with the doctor responsible for Derek’s death. Immerse yourself in the emotion and pulse-pounding romance of GREY’S ANATOMY’s exhilarating twelfth season with this 24-episode collection, and dive even deeper into the thrillingly addictive series — with never-before-seen bonus features available only on DVD!


“Grey’s Anatomy” has been a medical drama series that has remained strong for 12 years straight.

For it’s twelfth season, there were questions of how the series would star anew without lead actor Dr. Derek Shepherd (portrayed by Patrick Dempsey) and how would the character dynamics go with the current cast.

For the twelfth season of “Grey’s Anatomy”, Shonda Rhimes and the many talented writers have found ways to integrate the established characters and the newer cast members with efficacy and we have a wonderful twelfth season that touches upon trust, forgiveness, love, hate and seeing these characters put into positions that they have never been in before.

How would Dr. Meredith Grey do without her husband?  And what happens when Callie introduces everyone to her new girlfriend, Dr. Penelope Blake, who Meredith blames for the death of her husband, transfers to Seattle Grace to become a resident?  And how will Amelia deal with her working in the same hospital?  And that Meredith is her boss?

With Dr. April Kepner and Dr. Jackson Avery’s marriage in shambles, Dr. Kepner is determined to save their marriage, but is it too late?

How will Dr. Owen Hunt deal with Dr. Nathan Riggs coming to Seattle Grace.  A man that he blames for the death of his sister.

And how will Dr. Arizona Robbins deal with Callie considering moving to New York and wanting custody of their child.

All this and more in “Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine”.

What is “Grey’s Anatomy”?

In 2005, “Grey’s Anatomy” became a critically acclaimed television series that would become ABC’s top rated dramas and winner of two Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.

Created by Shonda Rhimes (“Private Practice”), the drama series revolves around a group of doctors and interns and their experience at Seattle Grace Hospital.

Season 11 featured a major change of direction with the death of Dr. Derek Shepherd.  Season 12 picks up with life after the death of Dr. Shepherd and everyone experiencing life changes.

Dr. Meredith Grey is trying to move on, as her sister Maggie and her husband’s sister Amelia is now living with her.

Dr. Bailey has now become the new Chief at Seattle Grace, Dr. Owen Hunt’s relationship with Dr. Amelia Shepherd gets stronger, Callie has a new girlfriend named Dr. Penelope Baker, Dr. April Kepner returns to find her marriage to Dr. Jackson Avery in shambles.

But as relationships begin, troubles arise.

When it is revealed that Callie’s new girlfriend was the resident who was responsible for Dr. Shepherd, Meredith is not thrilled to find out that Dr. Penelope Blake has transferred to Seattle Grace and Amelia is upset with Meredith for allowing Penelope to work under her.

Also not thrilled about changes is Dr. Owen Hunt when he finds out that Dr. Kepner’s friend, Dr. Nathan Riggs is working at Seattle Grace.  Owen blames Dr. Riggs for the death of his sister.

Dr. Kepner returns after working in another country after the devastating loss of her and Dr. Avery’s child.  But because there has been no communication between husband and wife, when Dr. Kepner returns and expect things to be normal, she finds out that Jackson wants to divorce her.  But Dr. Kepner is determined to fight for her marriage…but will these two stay together?

Meanwhile, the rivalry between Dr. Jo Wilson and Dr. Stephanie Edwards intensifies.

And how will custody issues affect Dr. Arizona Robbins and Dr. Callie Torres, especially if Callie moves to another state?

How will these relationships end up?  Find out in the twelfth season of “Grey’s Anatomy”.


VIDEO:

“Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. When it comes to television drama series, “Grey’s Anatomy” is one of ABC’s highly rated dramas that although filmed in a hospital setting. For the most part, the series looks good on DVD, nice good closeups and skintones are natural and during low light scenes, I didn’t see any major noise or compression artifacts. For the most part, the seventh season does look very good on DVD.

AUDIO:

As for audio, “Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the series is primarily dialogue and music driven. Dialogue is clear and understandable, while the music has always played a major part for the series and definitely enhances certain scenes.

The show is presented in English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine” includes the following special features:

  • Bonus Deleted Scenes – Featuring deleted scenes for “You Got to Take It” and “Go! Get Out of Here”
  • In Stitches: Outtakes – (3:44) Season 12 outtakes.

EXTRAS:

“Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine” comes with a slip case.


One thing that I love about Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers is their willingness to takes risks with “Grey’s Anatomy” and with each season, especially a heartbreaking season, the question always remains is how can one bounce back from tragedy.

From season six’s mass shooting at Seattle Grace, to even more deaths in season eight and nine, the departure of Cristina Yang in Season ten and season eleven’s death of Dr. Shepherd, many wondered what will happen to Dr. Meredith Grey?  Considering the series is named after her character, if she was to leave…then what next? And suffice to say, the twelfth season is a season about forgiveness and starting anew.

And now with season nine, needing to bring new synergy to the series, Rhimes and Beers and the writers once again, pull of a wonderful season of “Grey’s Anatomy” by showing growth of Dr. Meredith Grey after the death of her husband but also finding out that the doctor tending to her husband, on the night he died, will now be a resident under her leadership.

Dr. Bailey now becomes the new Chief, Dr. Alex Karev actually is a more neutral character this time around and not starting any major trouble, while Dr. Callie Torres is dating Dr. Penelope Blake, the doctor that Meredith and Amelia blame for the death of Derek.

The twelfth season focuses on relationships as Dr. Avery and Dr. Kepner’s marriage is on the brink of divorce, Dr. Owen not thrilled that a doctor that was with his sister (who died) will be working at Seattle Grace.

Dr. Jo Wilson’s friendship/rivalry intensifies with Dr. Stephanie Edwards, Dr. Arizona Robbins must deal with Callie moving on but also the terms of their custody ruling and more.

We even see Dr. Bailey and her husband Dr. Warren’s marriage being put through a major test.

Fortunately, after many seasons of character’s dying, we are not put through any heartwrenching episodes of cast members being killed.  Season 12 returns to character building episodes, especially for the newer cast members and interns and focusing on good ol’ fashioned writing.  Character building episodes that made me enjoy the series again and giving viewers the opportunity to enjoy these new characters in case Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers or Sara Ramirez are to leave the show.

I really liked the introduction to Dr. Penny Blake and Dr. Nathan Riggs to the show.  I enjoyed what writers did with Maggie’s character for this season and giving actress Kelly McCreary more to work with.

But I really did enjoy this twelfth season because it gave viewers a chance to know more about these other characters that we never saw much of in previous seasons and like baseball has it’s farm league, Dr. Grey’s Anatomy are slowly introducing us to these interns, that may not have much screentime, but sure enough, when the times comes, integrating them to the show and giving them more than a few lines.

As for this DVD set, picture quality and audio quality are good. Although not so sure if we will ever see “Grey’s Anatomy” on Blu-ray like in the past. As for the special features, not as many in this DVD release compared to the past DVD releases. No audio commentary but you get two deleted scenes and gag reel.

Overall, “Grey’s Anatomy” season 12 was a well-balanced season with a lot of emotional situations, testing of relationships, forgiveness and if anything, character building episodes to setup for the future seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy”.

If you have followed this season for this long and are ready to embrace a “Grey’s Anatomy” without Derek Shepherd, ready to embrace change, then “Grey’s Anatomy – Complete Twelfth Season: Let the Sun Shine” is recommended!

 

Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

lhop-legacy

“Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” is a collection for those who are nostalgic or those who never saw how “Little House on the Prairie” ended and the final goodbye to Walnut Grove but also the sad goodbye to the character, Albert. These are very good films that hold up very well decades later and it was delightful to watch these films again but to have them all in one collection is awesome! If you aren’t planning to purchase the final seasons of “Little House on the Prairie” on Blu-ray and DVD, then the “Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” is definitely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 NBC Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection

YEAR OF FILMS: 1983-1984

DURATION: Three Films: Look Back to Yesterday, Bless All the Dear Children and The Last Farewell (5 Hours)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, Fullscreen (1:33:1), English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish and French 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: NBC Studios/Lionsgate

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2016


Little House on the Prairie: Look Back to Yesterday (1983)

Directed by Victor French

Written by Vince Gutierrez, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Produced by Kent McCray

Executive Producer: Michael Landon

Associate Producer: Marvin Coil, Ed Friendly

Music by David Rose

Cinematography by Brianne Murphy

Edited by Jerry Taylor

Casting by Susan McCray

Art Direction by George Renne

Set Decoration by Donald E. Webb


Starring:

Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingallas Wilder

Matthew Labyorteaux as Albert Ingalls

Dean Butler as Almanzo Wilder

Richard Bull as Nels Oleson

Victor French as Isaiah Edwards

Kevin Hagen as Dr. Hiram Baker

Dabbs Greer as Reb. Robert Alden

Jonathan Gilbert as Willie Oleson

Allison Balson as Nancy Oleson

Stan Ivar as John Carter

Pamela Royalance as Sarah Carter

Lindsay Kennedy as Jeb Carter

David Friedman as Jason Carter

Shannen Doherty as Jenny Wilder

Leslie Landon as Etta Plum

Robert Casper as Sherwood Montague

Sherri Stoner as Rachel Brown Oleson

Cooper Huckabee as Vance Reed

Melora Hardin as Michele Pierson

Henry Brandon as Otis Wagner

James T. Callahan as Doctor Houser

Charles Cyphers as Zack Taylor


The story of the Ingalls family concludes with these three heartwarming movies—newly restored and remastered for optimal sound and picture quality. Rediscover the timeless adventure of “Little House on the Prairie” as Albert displays courage in the face of a serious illness; Laura and Almanzo race to find their missing baby daughter; and the community of Walnut Grove unites to defend its town in these inspiring and exciting moments that fans will treasure.


Between 1932 and 1943, author Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote eight children’s novels titled “Little House on the Prairie” about her childhood in the northern Midwest during the 1870s and the 1880s.

Between 1974 and 1982, a TV series adaptation of the same was created.  A loose adaptation form the original books, the series revolved around farmer and mill worker, Charles Ingalls (portrayed by Michael Landon), his wife Caroline (portrayed by Karen Grassle), their four daughters Mary (portrayed by Melissa Sue Anderson), Laura (portrayed by Laura Ingalls), Carrie (portrayed by Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush) and Grace (portrayed by Wendi and Brenda Turnbaugh) and their three adoptive children, Albert (portrayed by Matthew Labyorteaux), Cassandra (portrayed by Melissa Francis) and James (portrayed by Jason Bateman).

For the ninth season, a spin-off was created titled “Little House: A New Beginning” which lasted a season and three made-for-television movies were created between 1983 and 1984.  The major change with this ninth season is that the Ingalls family has moved out of the Little House and relocated to Burr Oak, Iowa and the Carters have moved in to the home.  And the series begins to focus on Laura and Almanzo’s family.

“Little House: Look Back to Yesterday” (1983), “Little House: The Last Farewell” (1984) and “Little House: Bless All the Dear Children” (1984).

In the first film, “Little House: Look Back to Yesterday” first aired back in December 12, 1983.  Charles Ingalls gets a promotion as a Purchasing Agent and because Charles will be on a buying trip to Minnesota, his son Albert is planning to attend the University of Minnesota and discuss the costs of attending the University to study and become a doctor.  And one day return to become a doctor back at the farm.

But while there and also many times later, Albert becomes fatigued and suffers from many nosebleeds to the point that he starts collapsing.  When it gets worse, he is taken to a doctor and is diagnosed with a terminal blood disorder.  He returns to Walnut Grove to spend his last days with his family and friends.

The second film titled “Little House: Bless All the Dear Children” aired back on December 17, 1984 (originally intended to air in December 1983) and is a Christmas film that is set in 1986.

Laura, Almanzo and Mr. Edwards are shopping for gifts in Mankato but Rose is kidnapped by a grieving woman who had just lost her baby.  While Walnut Grove, Nels is trying to get his adopted daughter Nancy to help with the Oleson’s Christmas and will Mr. Montague ever embrace Christmas.

The third film is titled “Little House: The Last Farewell” aired on February 6, 1984 and is seen as the true conclusion to the “Little House” TV series.

The film features Charles and Caroline visiting Walnut Grove and temporarily staying in the Little House they once lived in as John and Sarah Carter go out of town.

But a land development tycoon named Nathan Lassiter has acquired the title to all the Hero Township and wants everyone out.  How will the Ingalls and the other townspeople react to Lassiter’s bullying tactics?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” has received restoration for this Deluxe Remastered Edition.  Picture quality looks very good, considering the television film’s age.  I didn’t see any problems of softness or color problems during my viewing of each of these films.    As for the DVD, the films look as good as one can expect on DVD, but if you do want the best picture and audio quality, you will want to purchase the later TV seasons on Blu-ray.

Each of the films are presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio and Spanish and French 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio.  Subtitles are presented in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” comes with no special features.

EXTRAS:

“Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” comes with a slipcover case and a Digital Ultraviolet HD code.


When I was younger, “Little House on the Prairie” was a big part of my childhood as it was one of my grandmother’s favorite TV shows.

I grew up watching this series and can easily remember certain episodes that really struck a chord in me but I have to admit that two of the three films presented in “Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” really surprised me.

Probably one of the more devastating television film that I grew up watching was “Little House: Look Back to Yesterday” which features the final appearance of Albert.

For anyone who grew up watching “Little House on the Prairie”, Albert was a character that a lot of us, who were children, kind of looked up to.  He was a person that was far from perfect, had to do whatever he could to survive and while a little mischievous, he would eventually become one of the cooler characters of the series.

I could remember watching this film and shedding tears because Albert would be no longer…and watching it again decades later, I was quite pleased of how the writers wrote this film around Albert and give him an appropriate goodbye.  And it was touching to see how the two people that met Albert when he first appeared on the TV series – Laura and Charles, would be the same two people who would be there for him in the end.

The second film “Bless All the Dear Children” features Laura, Almanzo with their daughter Rose and Isaiah Edwards doing some shopping in Mankato.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to a woman who loses her baby and unfortunately is traumatized and then later released from the hospital, afraid to tell her husband the truth that their baby has died.

As Laura goes shopping, she leaves Rose with Almanzo.  And as Isaiah, who is no stranger to fighting, gets himself involved into a big brawl, Almanzo goes to help him out.   And while the two are fighting, the woman who lost her baby ends up getting Rose and then taking her away from Mankato.

When Laura returns, she finds her husband and Isaiah involved in another brawl but is even more distressed when she finds out that Rose is missing and they all go all over Mankato to find her.  As they go to a local orphanage to see if Rose has been brought there, they are greeted by a young boy who wants to be adopted.

When the Ingalls and Isaiah leave, the boy sneaks into their carriage, not knowing the boy has joined them on their search for Rose.

Back in Walnut Creek, with Almanzo gone, the town worries about Christmas.  Nels is frustrated that his daughter Nancy is to vain and not spreading the Christmas cheer and wants her to be giving and thus giving her the task to chop down a Christmas tree.

Will the Ingalls find their daughter and will Nels be able to do something kind for Christmas?

The third film is considered the final to the “Little House on the Prairie” as Charles and Caroline decide to visit Walnut Grove to visit their daughter, Laura and her family.

As the Carters are going on a short leave, Charles and Caroline stay at their former Little House, but immediately they are caught in the middle of major trouble along with the townspeople as a developer comes to town and tells them that they are living on his land.

Many of the townspeople have spent decades building their new homes and farms in Walnut Grove with the assumption that the land is for building homes.

The developer tells them that he would gladly let them live in their homes but they would have to work for him in order to pay for the right to live in their home.

Of course, the townspeople of Walnut Grove are not going to go down with a fight.

The final film is no doubt explosive as it does an amazing job of ending the entire series with a bang! And I’ll leave it at that.

But each of the three films are entertaining and must-watch films for “Little House on the Prairie” fans!

It’s important to note that if you are planning to watch the entire series on Blu-ray, then there is no need for this DVD as it is featured in the final two seasons as special features.

But if you weren’t intending to purchase the later seasons on Blu-ray or DVD, then definitely consider purchasing “Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” for Albert’s final appearance and of course, the explosive conclusion of the “Little House” series for the final film.

As I prefer Blu-ray for better picture and audio quality, the deluxe remastered edition does feature a fully restored picture and looks very good, as it can get on DVD.  There are no special features included but you do get an UltraViolet digital code to watch all three films digitally.

Overall, “Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” is a collection for those who are nostalgic or those who never saw how “Little House on the Prairie” ended and the final goodbye to Walnut Grove but also the sad goodbye to the character, Albert.

These are very good films that hold up very well decades later and it was delightful to watch these films again but to have them all in one collection is awesome!

If you aren’t planning to purchase the final seasons of “Little House on the Prairie” on Blu-ray and DVD, then the “Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection” is definitely recommended!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

supermegaforce

“Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season” is more action-driven and features a story that celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Power Rangers series. Featuring the appearance of previous cast members from past “Power Rangers” series and an action-driven storyline, if you enjoyed “Power Rangers Megaforce”, then this second “Megaforce” season and 20th anniversary series is recommended to you!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-20 (460 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: August 16, 2016


Directed by James Barr, Akihiro Noguchi, Charlie Haskell, Jonathan Tzachor, John Laing, Jonathan Brough, Koichi Sakamoto

Written by James W. Bates, Seth Walther, Jill Donnellan, Jim Peronto, Marc Handler, David McDermott, Jason Smith, Amira Lopez, Samuel P. McLean, David Henry Schneider

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:

Andrew M. Gray as Troy Burrows

Ciara Hanna as Gia Moran

John Mark Loudermilk as Noah Carver

Christina Masterson as Emma Goodall

Azim Rizk as Jake Holling

Geoff Dolan as Gosei

Estevez Gillespie as Ernie

Ian Harcourt as Mr. Burley

Jason Hood as Vrak

Chris Auer as Robo Knight

Rebecca Parr as Levira

John Leigh as Damaras

Campbell Cooley as Admiral Malkor

Mark Mitchinson as Creepox

Sophie Henderson as Metal Alice

Charlie McDermott as Bigs

Jay Simon as Bluefur

Stephen Butterworth as Prince Val


In order to stop ruthless Prince Vekar and his massive alien Armada, the Rangers have only one hope: to unlock the special keys — and harness the amazing powers of Legendary Rangers of the past!


In 2014, the “Power Rangers Megaforce” cast goes super for the series “Power Rangers Super Megaforce”!

The series would star Andrew M. Gary, Ciara Hanna (“Pernicious”, “Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys”), John Mark Loudermilk (“The Best Friends Club”), Christina Masterson (“Monster-in-Law”, “Deadgirl”) and Azim Rizk (“The Republic of Two”).  The series would also feature a new recurring cast member, Cameron Jebo (“The Morning After”, “Killer Coach”, “Hard Sell”).

In the first season, the series begins with five ordinary teenagers with attitude from Harwood County were gathered together by Gosei, an intergalactic wizard who was an apprentice of Zordon.

Gosei has awakened from his sleep and with the help of his robot Tensou, have found five teenagers to save the planet Earth from the Warstar and are given special Power Ranger gear to protect Earth and the humans.

The teenagers – The stoic new student, Troy Burrows (portrayed by Andrew M. Gray) as the Red Ranger, the upbeat Gia Moran (portrayed by Ciara Hanna) as the Yellow Ranger, Gia’s best friend, photographer Emma Goodall (portrayed by Christina Masterson) as the Pink Ranger, the booksmart Noah Carver (John Mark Loudermilk) as the Blue Ranger and the sporty Jake Holling (portrayed by Azim Rizk) as the Black Ranger.

Just when you thought that things would get better for the team, the Armada has invaded Earth and the Power Rangers must take on the powerful X-Borgs.

In order to take on these enemies, Gosei presents them with new Morphers that unlock a Super Mega Mode which allows them to tap into the powers of every previous Power Ranger.

But fighting these enemies will also bring these rangers to meetup with other Power Rangers from the past such as Jayden, the Red Samurai Ranger; Casey Rhodes, the Red Samurai Ranger; Casey Rhodes, the Jungle Fury Red Ranger and more.

But also helping out the team is an alien named Orion from the planet Andresia, which was attacked by the Armada.  Orion joins the team and becomes Super Megaforce Silver Ranger.

But will these Power Rangers Super Megaforce with their new Power Rangers powers and the help of Orion, the Silver Ranger be enough to stop the powerful Armada?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season” 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 Super Megaforce: The Complete Season” features the extended movie version of the final episode “Legendary Battle” and “Power Rangers: A Legacy” (10:20) as the cast members “Power Rangers: Super Megaforce” and cast members from other Power Rangers series talking about their involvement with the series and the legacy of “Power Rangers”.

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season” comes with a slip cover and HD UltraViolet code.


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 Super Megaforce” is rather interesting because the first “Megaforce” season was quite enjoyable as I found it reminiscent of the first Power Rangers series.  The second “Megaforce”

“Power Rangers Super Megaforce” is based on the Japanese series “Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger” and was a special anniversary series in Japan that allowed the Rangers in pirate-themed uniforms change into any member from the previous 34 Super Sentai teams.

This proved to be popular in Japan as that means merchandising for all Super Sentai would be made available as special figure key sets and suffice to say, many fans and collectors were taking advantage of these special toys and sets.

is rather interesting because in some ways, it is reminiscent to the original “Power Ranger” series as the group goes to school, hangs out at a shop and they take part in teenage activities, interact with people at school or in the area and have fun.

But this would be problematic for the U.S. side as not all 34 Super Sentai teams have ever been featured on US television. There was no doubt a challenge that the writers would have to take on when writing for this season.

But with the 20th Anniversary of the Power Rangers series happening that year, it would give writers a chance to create storylines that would bring cast members back, but also give the Power Rangers Megaforce team the opportunity to wear different costumes from Power Rangers past.

But for those who enjoyed “Power Rangers Megaforce”, the sudden switch of storytelling of Earth being invaded and everything now in relation to the costumes and Power Rangers past, took the cast and its storyline consistency to a whole new direction.

This time we see the character-driven storylines, so much is now focused on the battle with the Armada, the cast meeting with past members and also discovering Orion, the Silver Ranger.

Sure, you see some aspects of the first season as the teacher and Brain Freeze store owner can be seen on the show.  But there are a lot of CG scenes this time around.

But what it comes down to is that the series is subjective to the viewer.

I enjoyed the series for the fact that we saw past characters from other Power Rangers series make their appearance, especially in the final episode “The Legendary Battle”.

Compared to other Power Rangers series in which the Power Rangers have always found a way to protect the planet and everything ends with a happy scene, this time around, we have a series which the Armada continues to get stronger and we actually see a ranger team that is nearly defeated, aliens blasting buildings down, people running for their lives.  Situations that you usually don’t expect to see in a Power Rangers series.

But I did enjoy this season but for different reasons compared to the previous season which I enjoyed for it being reminiscent to the original Power Rangers series and having storylines that suited its cast.  Last season had character-driven storylines, this season is primarily about the team trying to work together, with their new power taking on the powerful Armada.

And I have to say, seeing all these past characters having an appearance in “Power Rangers Super Megaforce” definitely made this season worth watching!

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.

While acting is always spotty at times with a Power Rangers series and episodes can get a bit campy at times, for the most part, I’ve been watching and reviewing Power Ranger DVD’s since the first season and the Japanese sentai series before that. And it’s important to remember that these series were created for the children in mind and the young at heart, so for the most part, I’m not too critical of the “Power Rangers” series but I am critical about the writing and other aspects of the series.

As for this DVD volume, you get the entire series, which is 20 episodes, seven hours worth on five discs.

Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and audio quality features crystal clear dialogue and action sequences utilize the surround channels quite well. While special features feature an extended movie edition of the final episode “The Legendary Battle” and a 10 minute featurette with the various “Power Rangers” cast members talking about the legacy of the “Power Rangers” series.  Also, a slipcover and a digital HD code is included.

Overall, “Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season” is more action-driven and features a story that celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Power Rangers series.

Featuring the appearance of previous cast members from past “Power Rangers” series and an action-driven storyline, if you enjoyed “Power Rangers Megaforce”, then this second “Megaforce” season and 20th anniversary series is recommended to you!

 

Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

megaforce

“Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart!  A cool and hip cast and stories and setting reminiscent of the original “Power Rangers” series, definitely a series recommended for “Power Rangers” fans.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE:Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2013

DURATION: Episodes 1-20 (460 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: August 16, 2016


Directed by James Barr, Akihiro Noguchi, Charlie Haskell, Jonathan Tzachor, John Laing, Jonathan Brough, Koichi Sakamoto

Written by James W. Bates, Seth Walther, Jill Donnellan, Jim Peronto, Marc Handler, David McDermott, Jason Smith, Amira Lopez, Samuel P. McLean, David Henry Schneider

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:

Andrew M. Gray as Troy Burrows

Ciara Hanna as Gia Moran

John Mark Loudermilk as Noah Carver

Christina Masterson as Emma Goodall

Azim Rizk as Jake Holling

Geoff Dolan as Gosei

Estevez Gillespie as Ernie

Ian Harcourt as Mr. Burley

Jason Hood as Vrak

Chris Auer as Robo Knight

Rebecca Parr as Levira

John Leigh as Damaras

Campbell Cooley as Admiral Malkor

Mark Mitchinson as Creepox

Sophie Henderson as Metal Alice

Charlie McDermott as Bigs

Jay Simon as Bluefur

Stephen Butterworth as Prince Val


When the evil Warstar aliens plot a massive invasion of our planet, Earth’s supernatural guardian, Gosei, mobilizes a team of five extraordinary teens with the talent and attitude to oppose them: the Power Rangers Megaforce!


In 2013, the latest series of the “Power Rangers” franchise is “Power Rangers Megaforce”.

The series would star Andrew M. Gary, Ciara Hanna (“Pernicious”, “Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys”), John Mark Loudermilk (“The Best Friends Club”), Christina Masterson (“Monster-in-Law”, “Deadgirl”) and Azim Rizk (“The Republic of Two”).

The series begins with five ordinary teenagers with attitude from Harwood County were gathered together by Gosei, an intergalactic wizard who was an apprentice of Zordon.

Gosei has awakened from his sleep and with the help of his robot Tensou, have found five teenagers to save the planet Earth from the Warstar and are given special Power Ranger gear to protect Earth and the humans.

The teenagers – The stoic new student, Troy Burrows (portrayed by Andrew M. Gray) as the Red Ranger, the upbeat Gia Moran (portrayed by Ciara Hanna) as the Yellow Ranger, Gia’s best friend, photographer Emma Goodall (portrayed by Christina Masterson) as the Pink Ranger, the booksmart Noah Carver (John Mark Loudermilk) as the Blue Ranger and the sporty Jake Holling (portrayed by Azim Rizk) as the Black Ranger.

As the five take on various enemies such as the Insectoids which incllude Admiral Malkor, Creepox, Vrak, the Loogies, Zombats and others, they also encounter a mysterious robotic knight known as Robo Knight, who was created by Gosei centuries ago to protect the Earth’s environment.  But having been dormant for so long, Robo Knight has lost some of its memory and is quite cold towards the Power Rangers.

Having difficulty trying to comprehend human nature, Troy and the others try to get Robo Knight to join the team.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season” 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 Megaforce: The Complete Season” features a “Power Rangers” morph through 20 years, a Character Gallery and a Zord Gallery.

It’s important to note that the two specials “Raising Spirits” and “The Robo Knight Before Christmas” are not included on any of the five DVD’s.

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season” comes with a slip cover and HD UltraViolet code.


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 Megaforce” is rather interesting because in some ways, it is reminiscent to the original “Power Ranger” series as the group goes to school, hangs out at a shop and they take part in teenage activities, interact with people at school or in the area and have fun.

Also, you have the three guys with red, blue and black and the girls with yellow and pink.  And it’s a very charismatic cast in which the chemistry and vibe works well with each other.  The series uses footage, costumes and props that were featured in the 2010 Japanese series “Tensou Sentai Goseiger” (the 34th entry of the popular Super Sentai series in Japan).

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.

While acting is always spotty at times with a Power Rangers series and episodes can get a bit campy at times, for the most part, I’ve been watching and reviewing Power Ranger DVD’s since the first season and the Japanese sentai series before that.  And it’s important to remember that these series were created for the children in mind and the young at heart, so for the most part, I’m not too critical of the series but I am critical about the writing and other aspects of the series.

So far, I really enjoy this cast and found them to be hip, cool and and the writing utilizing the characters went quite well for this first season.

As for this DVD volume, you get the entire series, which is 20 episodes, seven hours worth on five discs.

Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and audio quality features crystal clear dialogue and action sequences utilize the surround channels quite well. While special features are limited to character and Zord gallery, a digital HD code was included.

Overall, “Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart!  A cool and hip cast and stories and setting reminiscent of the original “Power Rangers” series, definitely a series recommended for “Power Rangers” fans.

 

Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

scandal-s5

“Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” is worth of its title as scandals are a big running theme of this fifth season. We get to see a new side of Olivia Pope that we have not seen in prior seasons, presidential campaigns in full swing and relationships being tested. For fans of the series, “Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” is recommended.

Images courtesy of © 2013 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season

DURATION: Episodes 70-90 (904 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Television, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: ABC Studios

RATED: TV 14 DSLV

RELEASE DATE: August 23, 2016


Directed by Allison Liddi-Brown, Tom Verica, Oliver Bokelberg,  Tony Goldwyn, Regina King, Jann Turner, Paris Barclay, Scott Foley, Steph Green, Sharat Raju

Written by Shonda Rhimes, Zahir McGhee, Severiano Canales, Paul William Davies, Mark Fish, Mark Wilding, Raamla Mohamed, Peter Noah, Chris Van Dusen, Jess Brownell, Johanna Lee

Produced by Scott Collins, Merri D. Howard, Heather Mitchell, Matt Byrne

Co-Producer: Chris Van Dusen, Noah Evslin

Executive Producer: Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers,

Co-Executive Producer: Tom Verica, Judy Smith, Jenna Bans, Mark Fish, Peter Nowalk, Allan Heinberg, Mark Driscoll, Alison Schapker

Supervising Producer: Roxann Dawson

Associate Producer: Holden Chang

Music by Chad Fischer

Cinematography by Oliver Bokelberg, Michael G. Wojciechowski, Daryn Okada

Edited by Gregory T. Evans, Joe Mitacek, Matthew Pevic

Casting by Linda Lowy, Will Stewart

Series Production Design by Corey Kaplan

Art Direction by Louise Dorton

Set Decoration by Amy Wells, Hernan Camacho

Costume Design by Lyn Paolo


Starring:

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope

Henry Ian Cusick as Stephen Finch

Columbus Short as Harrison Wright

Darby Stanchfield as Abby Whelan

Katie Lowes as Quinn Perkins

Guillermo Diaz as Huck

Jeff Perry as Cyrus Beene

Tony Goldwyn as President Fizgerald Grant

Cornelius Smith Jr. as Marcus Walker

Joshua Malina as David Rosen

Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant

Matt Letscher as Billy Chambers

Dan Bucatinsky as James Novak

Gregg Henry as Hollis Doyle

George Newbern as Charlie

Debra Mooney as Verna Thornton

Norm Lewis as Senator Edison Davis

Kate Burton as Vice President Sally Langston

Scott Foley as Jake Ballard

Matt Letscher as Billy Chambers

Henry Ian Cusick as Stephen Finch

Susan Pourfar as Becky Flynn

Brian Letscher as Tom Larsen

Joe Morton as Rowan Pope

Portia de Rossi as Elizabeth North

Gregg Henry as Hollis Doyle


The hottest show on television takes ruthless ambition to all-new heights of shock and awe in the game-changing fifth season of ABC’s SCANDAL. The Oval Office is up for grabs, and none of the players are playing nice, including Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who now realizes she can never be content as a wifely First Lady. Domestic bliss pales in comparison with holding the reins of the highest office in the land, so when faced with a chance to wield unrivaled influence at any cost, will she continue to wear the white hat… or prove that she is, indeed, her father’s daughter? Prepare for a battle royale as Olivia, the White House politicians and the O.P.A. “gladiators” play an anything-goes game of blackmail, murder and seduction in a bid for that all-consuming, all-corrupting commodity: Power. Succumb to all 22 intoxicating episodes, spiced with exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features. Relive every drop of scintillating drama as you raise a glass to SCANDAL: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON.


If thought the previous were full of scandals, the fifth season proves to be a huge scandal as the affair between President Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia Pope has gone public.

Meanwhile, the First Lady, Senator Melody “Mellie” Grant becomes the Senator of Virginia and is now the Republican presidential candidate.

And life for Olivia Pope will never be the same in the exciting “Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season”!

What is “Scandal”?

In April 2012, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes would create another drama series titled “Scandal” and this time, instead of a medical drama, it would be Rhimes first political thriller.

For Rhimes, this is her fourth series, with the third, “Off the Map” (2011) being canceled in its first season. Fortunately for Rhimes, unlike other ABC drama series that began in Spring 2012, “Scandal” was among the few to be renewed and given a second season.

“Scandal” stars Kerry Washington (“The Last King of Scotland”, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, “Fantastic Four”) as the main protagonist Olivia Pope, who runs a crisis management firm, Pope & Associates. Olivia is the former White House Communications Director for President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III (as portrayed by Tony Goldwyn, “Ghost”, “The Last Samurai”). A President that she happens to be having an affair with.

Known for her intellect and her ability to fix a crisis for the White House and major corporations, although her reputation is constantly on the line, she depends on her associates and employees to help her get the job done. Her staff includes Stephen Finch (as portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick, “Lost”, “Hitman”), a womanizer who can get any information that he needs; Harrison Wright (as portrayed by Columbus Short, “Stomp the Yard”, “Quarentine”) who is loyal to Olivia and is one of her key litigators and a person who tries to keep watch over the staff and lending his advice; Abby Whelan (as portrayed by Darby Stanchfield, “Jericho”), an investigator who is very loyal to Olivia for saving her life; Huck Finn (as portrayed by Guillermo Diaz, “Half Baked”, “The Terminal”), a hacker and former black ops who is a man with his inner demons given a second chance by Olivia and new employee Quinn Perkins (as portrayed by Katie Lowes, “Super 8”, “The Job”) who is trying to learn the ropes at Pope & Associates and how to stay on Olivia’s good side.

For the first season of “Scandal”, Pope & Associates have their hands full as they are taking on various clients that includes a decorated war veteran being accused of murder, a well-known DC madam who is trying to keep her clientele list private (especially since she serves many major players in Washington, D.C.) and defending a deceased pilot (representing her family) who is accused for a commercial plane crash that killed everyone onboard.

But the recurring storyline involves a White House intern who has accused President Fitzgerald Grant of having an affair. And when Olivia Pope and her associates defend the White House intern, the White House employees are going to do all it takes to protect the President and the administration from her client’s accusations. But how far will the White House go to stop Pope & Associates?

In the second season of “Scandal”, the scandals are taken to a higher level in Washington D.C. as Pope & Associates must defend various politicians but internal scandals start to hit Olivia and the others when Olivia is involved in a significant scandal, meanwhile President Grant wants to be with Olivia and wants to leave his wife, who is this Jake Ballard that the president has watching Olivia and what happens when someone within the President’s staff is leaking information to terrorists. But also, what happens when there is an assassination attempt on President Grant?

Season three focused on President Grant’s re-election campaign for a second term and Olivia’s name is leaked to the press as being the mistress of the President.

Season four focused on changes after Olivia was relocated on an island off the coast of Zanzibar and the changes that her staff went through, as they had to seek other employment and Jake being arrested for the death of Jerry Grant.

Which leads us to season five as Olivia has been outed as the mistress of President Grant.  As Mellie wants her marriage to work, the President wants to divorce the First Lady.  And Mellie, now hell bent on getting revenge on her husband by wanting to destroy Olivia Pope.

How will Olivia Cope after being vilified by the media and the public?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1). For the most part, picture quality for “Scandal” is very good for DVD but as expected for a DVD release, you can see a bit of compression but nothing that would hurt your viewing of the film and for the most part, for most viewers, this is a non-issue for a DVD release.

“Scandal” is presented in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. As a drama series, audio is primarily a dialogue-driven track with some use of scenery ambiance for surround channels. For the most part, audio is very appropriate for this style of series and dialogue is clear and understandable.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Extended Episode of “I See You” – An Extended version of episode 83 “I See You”.
  • Outtakes – (3:09) Outtakes from season five of “Scandal”.

EXTRAS:

“Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” comes with a slipcover case.


As political scandals is a running theme for the series, “Scandal”, one of the biggest scandals that many expected to happen is the affair of President Fitzgerald and Olivia Pope.

Olivia is a person who is used to calling the shots, most of the time, calm and collected and her gladiators there with her every step of the way.

But things have gotten a bit chaotic as Olivia has been vilified by the press and the public and while she is stuck at home, trying to avoid the death threats she has been receiving, the First Lady, who is working with Cyrus, now wants her revenge.

And as Mellie is running for President, trust and loyalty becomes a theme for series five as we don’t know who to trust.

And as Abby is busy working at the White House, Quinn trying to keep things together and Huck in a bad state mentally, the team brings in a new gladiator, Marcus Walker, a man who doesn’t follow anyone’s rules but his own.

And just when you think you have heard enough about Rowan Pope or even Cyrus, Rowan has escaped from prison and as for Cyrus, he is secretly working with the Democratic presidential hopeful (while working for the Republican president) as a potential vice presidential candidate.  And as for Mellie, her choice to run for vice president will be a complete shock to everyone.

As for the fifth season of “Scandal”, I felt that the first half of the season was very strong as it focused on the affair of the President and Olivia being made public.  As the second half of the season focuses on the changes that have taken place six months later, it seems like there was a big role reversal as we saw Mellie wanting revenge on Olivia for the affair but then by the second half, the two working together.

Meanwhile, Olivia, who was more interested in President Fitzgerald in the first half of the series, all of a sudden starts to become more interested (and also jealous) in Jake, now that she finds out that he is dating someone new.

Personally, this flip flop of the characters and situations bothered me because it felt inconsistent. And the whole VP running mate for the presidential nominees just felt too farfetched.

If anything felt consistent and a person I started to respect more in the series was Vice President Susan Ross.   A person who holds accountability and most of all, she’s becoming more interesting as a character in the series, especially with her fling with Attorney General, David Rosen.

As for the Gladiators, I liked how in the earlier seasons, there were more storylines that were character building episodes for Quinn and Huck.  With Abby now in the White House, she is featured much more in season five than the others.  The season also introduces us to the newest gladiator in Olivia’s team, with the introduction of headstrong Marcus Walker.

But while I did enjoy the series showing us Olivia’s vulnerable side for season five, I’m not sure how to think about what Olivia did in episode 86’s “Thwack!” and what she did to former Vice-President Andrew Nichols.

As for the DVD, picture quality is as good as you can expect on DVD, with dialogue being crystal clear.  There are not many special features but outtakes and an extended episode, so no audio commentaries or any featurettes are included with this fifth season DVD.

Overall, “Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” is worth of its title as scandals are a big running theme of this fifth season.  We get to see a new side of Olivia Pope that we have not seen in prior seasons, presidential campaigns in full swing and relationships being tested.

For fans of the series, “Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season” is recommended.

 

Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

castle-s8

The eighth season brings back all that we have loved about “Castle” and completes the series with comedy, drama, action but most of all completing the series with its two lead characters and giving fans a finale that was well worth it! If you love “Castle” and have watched the series after all these years, then “Castle – The Complete Eight and Final Season” is  recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: CASTLE – Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season

TELEVISION AIR DATE: 2015-2016

DURATION: Episodes 152-173 (946 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, French and Spanish Subtitles, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV PG DLSV

RELEASE DATE: August 23, 2016


Created by Andrew J. Marlowe

Directed by Rob Bowman, John Terlesky, Bill Roe, Thomas J. Wright, Kate Woods, Jessica Yu

Written by Andrew W. Marlowe, Adam Frost, Terence Paul Winter, Alexi Hawley, Robert Bella, Christine Roum, Chad Gomez Creasey, Jim Adler, Nancy Kiu, Barry O’Brien, Michal Zebede, Stephanie Hicks

Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Rob Bowman, Rob Hanning

Co-Executive Producer: Jose Molina, Matt Pyken, Scott Williams

Producer: D. Howard Grigsby, Marc A. Kahn, David Grae

Co-Producer:  Alexi Hawley

Music by Robert Duncan

Cinematography by Bill Roe, Daryn Okada

Edited by David Latham, Orlando Machado Jr., Amy McGrath

Casting by Kendra Castleberry, Donna Rosenstein, Shawn Dawson

Production Design by Alfred Sole

Art Direction by Robert W. Joseph

Set Decoration by Claire Kaufman

Costume Design by Luke Reichie


Starring:

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle

Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers

Molly C. Quinn as Alexis Castle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito

Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish

Penny Johnson Jerald as Captain Victoria Gates

Toks Olagundoye as Haley Shipton

Arye Gross as M.E. Sidney Perlmutter

Sunkrish Bala as Vikram Singh

Juliana Dever as Jenny Ryan

Lisa Edelstein as Rachel McCord

Yancey Arias as Chief Carl Villante


Their fiery love affair has kept your pulse pounding week after week for the past eight seasons. Now, the heartfelt final chapter of Rick Castle and Kate Beckett comes to an end as one of the most beloved couples in television history match wits with their ultimate rival in a fight that will define their future. Experience every riveting moment and sizzling, emotional encounter with CASTLE: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH AND FINAL SEASON, including exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features! The season begins with a bang as a call from a mysterious stranger puts Beckett on the run and sets off an explosive chain of events. The action heats up when Castle’s daughter, Alexis, joins her father to solve the case of a lifetime. Fresh faces and unforgettable characters from the past join the precinct in a year full of devastating twists and turns. It all leads to the stunning series finale that will keep you on the edge of your seat and close the book on the incredible story of Castle and Beckett.


For eight seasons, we have watched the adventures of Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett.

From partners who were total opposites, to trying to solve the case of who was responsible for killing Beckett’s mother, to getting married and now concluding the final season with a story connected to former politician Bracken and learning of a deeper conspiracy involving LokSat.

Also, Castle’s daughter Alexis is now becoming more involved as an investigator and the series introduces us to British P.I., Hayley Shipton, who is also investigating the conspiracy.

And things are becoming much riskier and deadly for both Castle and Beckett.  What is in the future for both Castle and Beckett?

Find out in “Castle: The Complete Eighth and Final Season”!

What is “Castle”?

“CASTLE” debuted on ABC as a mid-season replacement and began airing on March 2009. Created by Andrew M. Marlowe (“Air Force One”, “End of Days” and “Hollywood Man”) and executive produced by Rob Bowman (“The A-Team”, “The X-Files”, “Day Break”) comes a new drama series on crime solving.

The first season which featured 10 episodes stars actor Nathan Fillion (“Firefly”, “Drive” and “Desperate Housewives”) as Richard Castle. The famous mystery novelist who is adored by many but behind-the-scenes, he is a playboy who has an on-and-off fling with his ex-wife (who is an actress), another ex-wife who is his publisher and lives with his bright teenage daughter Alexis (Molly Quinn, “My One and Only”) and his meddlesome mother and former Broadway actress, Martha Rodgers (Susan Sullivan, “The Nine”, “Dharma & Greg”).

There is a lot of pressure on Nathan to create another book and with him stuck, his luck starts to change when he meets by-the-book Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, “Heroes”, “The Spirit”, “Quantum of Solace”) who is investigating several murders which have taken place and the way that they were done were like the murders featured in several of his novels. Because of his knowledge of how things end up with his books, he gets the opportunity to assist the detectives in their case.

Eventually, Richard Castle discovers that he can do several things in his life. Write his new book based on Detective Beckett, see if he can woo Detective Beckett and most of all to investigate other murders which he can incorporate ideas for his new book. At first, it seems implausible but with Castle being so well-known and friends with the mayor, Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Huds0n) will do what he can to make the mayor and his boss happy, so he allows Richard to tag along with Detective Beckett.

Needless to say, she’s not happy about it but with his skills of mystery writing and her skills as a detective, the two find out that together, they can be an effective duo in crime solving. Also, joining Beckett are Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas), Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) and forensics doctor Dr. Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones).

In the first season, Detective Beckett and Richard Castle have worked together in handling various cases. But one case that Richard would like to investigate is the death of Detective Beckett’s mother but Beckett doesn’t want him getting into her personal business.

In the second season, Richard continues to work with Detective Beckett and together they try to solve a variety of murder cases including one that deals with a serial killer going after Detective Beckett. This season also shows us how Castle and Beckett seem to start showing some affection towards each other but in the process, Beckett becomes closer with Detective Demming.

In this third season of “Castle”, we learn that the murder of Detective Beckett’s mother is much bigger than she can ever realize. As as the sexual tension began to heat up between Castle and Kate, Kate found herself a new boyfriend and as for Castle, well…perhaps it was a one-sided love afterall? But with Captain Montgomery being revealed as a person who knows who killed Kate’s mother and may have been involved himself, the first major character in the series was killed. And the season ended with those trying to put a stop to Kate in continuing her investigation, leading to a sniper shooting her at Montgomery’s funeral and with life slipping away, Castle revealing his true feelings for her.

The fourth season of “Castle” picks up after Kate Beckett is shot. It’s a given that there is no way Castle or Kate Beckett is going to die as they are the primary characters of the series, so what happens next is that Kate must deal with the trauma of being shot and killed and getting back on duty.

While she has told everyone that she does not remember anything after being shot, the truth is that she does remember everything, including what Castle told her. But to protect him and to focus on who killed her mother, not falling in love is her priority, even though she knows she has feelings for Castle as well.

But as Kate tries to find out more of who shot her and why and also finding out more details of her mother’s death, Castle is meeting a mystery man behind Kate’s back, a man who knows a great amount of information that deals with her mother’s death. But the mysterious man warns Castle that Kate should probably step back as she may get herself too far in her investigation and end up dead.

And the fifth season of “Castle”, both Detective Kate Beckett and Frank Castle are finally together. But with their relationship being kept private, how long will they be able to keep their relationship a secret and will it be too much for them?

Meanwhile, the discovery of who is responsible for the death of Kate’s mother is revealed and Castle’s worst nightmare comes true when his daughter is kidnapped.

In the sixth season of “Castle”, will Beckett accept Castle’s marriage proposal?  Meanwhile, someone tries to murder Castle.

In season seven, Castle has been abducted and his memories wiped, but who is responsible?  Meanwhile, the origin of Castle and why he became a writer.

Which leads us to the final eight season.

As the series has followed the storyline of the murder of Beckett’s mother, the person responsible (former presidential nominee Bracken) is in prison but now he is in danger.

And now with the eight season, a deeper conspiracy as Bracken is murdered by his partner known as LokSat.  And now Beckett, who is supposed to start as Captain at the precinct, decides to pursue LokSat without telling Castle or the police force.  And now she has become the hunted.


VIDEO:

“Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The drama series is quite slick as it gives you the feel of New York and like many abc studios related DVD releases, Disney has always done a good job with their TV show transfers. A show that balances outdoor and indoor shots with good lighting, the picture quality for “CASTLE” is pretty solid. I didn’t see any major artifacting issues or low level noise that was distracting.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven with a few episodes (that involve gun fights) utilizing the surround channels. The series does utilize quite a bit of music and for the most, the series is clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” includes the following special features:

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Cool Boys” with actor Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin.

DISC 3:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring two deleted scenes

Disc 4:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Heartbreaker” with actors Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever and writer Barry O’Brien.
  • Deleted Scene– Featuring a deleted scene.

DISC 5:

  • The Great Escape – (10:36) The cast take part in a “Great Escape” game.
  • Bloopers – (6:27) Outtakes from “Castle” season eight.

EXTRAS:

“Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” comes with a slipcover.


All good things come to an end and for the popular ABC series “Castle”, despite the series popularity, the series showed signs that it was in need of new synergy.

But ABC Studios found themselves in a catch 22 when it was announced that in April, series lead Stana Katic who plays Kate Beckett, would not be returning.  As with Tamala Jones who played coroner Lanie Parish.

Needless to say, while “Castle” is a series that focused around Rick Castle, a huge part of the series was focused on the relationship between Rick Castle and Kate Beckett.

The last time I recall a series being affected by removing the bond of two of it’s leads was back in the late ’80s with “Moonlighting” starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.  Granted, the ending of that detective series was due to a number of reason and lack of screen time between its two leads leading to ratings decline.

For “Castle”, Castle/Beckett are the ultimate couple that many watched “Castle” for and to hear that the union would be broken, would be troublesome for fans of the series.

With that being said, “Castle” has also had its share of declining ratings over the past few seasons and the social media backlash would lead to ABC announcing that “Castle” would be ending with the finale of the eighth season.

And I have to admit that it’s sad to see the series end, having reviewed the series year after year, I found myself enjoying the series thanks to its character dynamics, well-written stories and the combination of humor and drama, the writers knew how to captivate the audience.

But I did feel that season seven was its weakest season, making me question if “Castle” should be ending it’s run, but the writers managed to create a storyline bringing back a storyline that relates to Beckett’s mother’s murder and murderer, but now seeing both Beckett and also Castle being the hunted, being targeted and in more danger than ever.  Even making Castle wonder if his nine lives are up.

The eighth season would kick off with a storyline featuring Beckett trying to protect a hacker, who discovered information in relations to major government corruption and sent it to the Attorney General’s special investigations division and those individuals were murdered.

The case is somehow tied to Bracken (who was responsible for murdering Beckett’s mother) and because Beckett went to help the hacker, she has become the hunted.

The series would introduce British P.I., Haley Shipton who would come to the U.S. to investigate a lead.  And all Beckett and others are able to discover is the name, LokStat.

And because the investigation to LokStat leads to a lot of trouble for Castle and Beckett, one can hope that they both survive the ordeal.

While I won’t discuss how the series ends, I do feel that throughout the season, the series tried to delve into the “what if?” segment, if one of the leads were to die.  Specifically Kate Beckett.

It would have made sense of why ABC Studios would not bring back Kate Beckett, if there was a ninth season but as a fan of the series, if they were to kill off Beckett, I don’t know how I would feel about the series.  I don’t know if I would have that interest anymore.

Sure, ABC has series such as “Grey’s Anatomy” where multiple lead characters have been killed off or simply moved away, but “Castle” is a series that has always been about Rick Castle and Kate Beckett.  These two characters complete each other and I’m glad that a ninth season that would break the two apart, did not happen.

I also liked how Castle’s daughter, Alexis was more involved in the investigations and like her father, manages to get involved with the precinct and also a British P.I. investigator.

The new characters were also pleasant to watch and it’s a shame they were not brought in earlier, as it would have led to really cool episodes if they were in it.   Vikram Singh (portrayed by Sunkrish Bala) is a hacker but “Castle” would have benefited from having this technical genius on the show earlier and British P.I., Hayley Shipton was also a cool, kick arse character who fights, is a sniper and was also a breath of fresh air to the series and helps give motivation to Alexis and her private investigator skills.

As for the DVD, “Castle – The Complete Eighth Season” is once again, another solid DVD release. I enjoyed the inclusion of more audio commentary into this DVD set but also the addition of several audio commentary, deleted scenes and outtakes.  I will say that I wish there was a final episode audio commentary and some featurette that would give fans closure, perhaps interviews with the cast.

Featuring solid writing, better production and solid performances and integration of new characters.  And the eighth season brings back all that we have loved about “Castle” and completes the series with comedy, drama, action but most of all completing the series with its two lead characters in a position that was foretold a few seasons back.

While the finale may or may not please everyone, there are multiple ways the series could have ended but the writers prepared just in case the series wouldn’t come back, so I enjoyed how the series ended.  Was it the best ending?  Or was it the right ending?  That’s subjective to the viewer.

In fact, one can interpret the final minute in different ways and already, quite a few have posted their theories of the ending online.

Overall, I did enjoy the eighth season much more than the last season.  The seventh season felt as if the writers were running out of ideas but by the eighth season, the stakes were higher, there was more action and so much more at stake for Castle and Beckett and at times, a bit farfetched as it was part of some sort of action film or against all odds action novel (Note: A hint for those who want to know how I interpreted the eighth season finale’s final minute).

If you love “Castle” and have watched the series after all these years, then “Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” is recommended!

 

The American Side (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

theamericanside

Despite the film’s shortcomings, I still enjoyed Jenna Ricker’s “The American Side” and wouldn’t mind seeing a return of Greg Stuhr’s Charlie Paczynski for a sequel.  It was no doubt an ambitious hard-boiled film that tried to incorporate too much for its own good, but I still found “The American Side” to be entertaining and enjoyable

Images courtesy of © 2015 Knockout Redhead, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: The American Side

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2015

DURATION: 104 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: August 2, 2016


Directed by Jenna Ricker

Written by Greg Stuhr, Jenna Ricker

Produced by Jonathan Shoemaker

Co-Produced by Jenna Ricker

Executive Producer: Mary Henry

Associate Producer: Tracy B. Wilson

Music by David Shire

Cinematography by Frank Barrera

Edited by Robert Grigsby Wilson

Casting by Jen Rudin

Production Design by Debbie DeVilla

Art Direction by Max Wixom

Costume Design by Carisa Kelly


Starring:

Greg Stuhr as Charlie Paczynski

Alicja Bachleda as Nikki Meeker

Camilla Belle as Emily Chase

Matthew Broderick as Borden Chase

Robert Forster as Sterling Whitemore

Janeane Garofalo as Agent Barry

Grant Shaud as The Professor

Robert Vaughn as Silver-Haired Man

Harris Yulin as Tom Soberin

Joe Grifasi as The Serb

Stephen Henderson as Stickney

Norm Sham as Maguire

Kelsey Sipeser as Kat


When Charlie Paczynski’s raven-haired partner is caught in the crossfire of a blackmail scheme gone bad, he trails the prime suspect to the brink of Niagara, only to receive a cryptic warning. Thrust into a world populated by a whiskey-swilling storyteller, strangely bonded siblings, and a dubious government agent, Paczynski joins the quest for a long-lost design by enigmatic genius, Nikola Tesla.


From actress/writer and producer Jen Ricker (“Ben’s Plan”, “The Overlookers”) comes her mystery film “The American Side”.

Co-written with actor Greg Stuhr (“Red”, “M.D. Geist II”, “Urotsukidoji IV”), “The American Side” would star Stuhr, Polish actress Alicja Bachleda (“Ondine”, “Trade”, “Summer Storm”), Camilla Belle (“10,00 BC”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “Push”), Matthew Broderick (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Godzilla”, “Glory”), Robert Forster (“Jackie Brown”, “Mulholland Dr.”, “Me, Myself & Irene”), Janeane Garofalo (“Dogma”, “Mystery Men”) and many more.

The film revolves around private investigator Charlie Paczynski (portrayed by Greg Stuhr), who is secretly working with a stripper named Kat (portrayed by Kelsey Siepser).  Together they blackmail the wealthy as Kat sleeps with the men, Charlie photographs them and uses the photos as blackmail.

But one evening, as the two plan for their next job, while Kat is with a man in a vehicle, you hear Kat screaming, a gunshot and Kat is dead.

Wanting to find out who is responsible for the death of Kat, Charlie must interview any possible leads, which include siblings Borden Chase (portrayed by Matthew Broderick) and his sister Emily (portrayed by Camilla Belle), the wealthy Sterling Whitmore (portrayed by Robert Forster), the mysterious silver-haired man (portrayed by Robert Vaughn) and many more.

But the more Charlie delves deeper into his investigation, he learns that this murder may be entrenched to some conspiracy that goes even deeper than he would ever expect.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The American Side” is presented in 2:35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD but I’m surprised the film was not released on Blu-ray. Audio is crystal clear for dialogue and music but there are times with good use of surround for crowd ambiance.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The American Side” comes no special features.


Paying homage to old gumshoe detective stories, “The American Side” is a detective story that may be too complex for its own good.

The film follows crooked detective, Charlie Paczynski, as his partner-in-crime is killed and he wants to know who is responsible.

Problem is, the investigation brings Charlie into a complex conspiracy involving the Tesla Mystique (for those who are fascinated by Nikola Tesla) that may endanger humankind.

Featuring a strong cast and campy gumshoe dialogue for the modern era, for those who are fascinated by old detective dramas will no doubt be fascinated by what director/co-writer Jenna Ricker and co-writer/actor Greg Stuhr are able to come up with.

For the most part, Ricker and Stuhr were able to create a fascinating homage to old detective dramas, the problem is that everything feels out of place as what was a murder mystery becomes an investigation of great conspiracy. With the many talents featured in the film, the film becomes too ambitious and tries to incorporate too much for its own good.

As for the DVD, picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD.  Audio features clear dialogue and ambiance. Unfortunately, there is no Blu-ray release for this film and it’s a barebones DVD release with no special features.

Overall, despite the film’s shortcomings, I still enjoyed Jenna Ricker’s “The American Side” and wouldn’t mind seeing a return of Greg Stuhr’s Charlie Paczynski for a sequel.  It was no doubt an ambitious hard-boiled film that tried to incorporate too much for its own good, but I still found “The American Side” to be entertaining and enjoyable.

 

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