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Winter Sleep (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

wintersleep

“Winter Sleep” is an entertaining, smartly written, conversational film from director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. A film that uses conversation as a way to bring out the characters, in a similar style of Bergman and Rohmer, I was captivated by the film for its intelligence and beauty. “Winter Sleep” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Adopt Films. All rights reserved.


DVD TITLE: Winter Sleep

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 196 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Color, 16:9, Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 with English Subtitles

COMPANY: Adopt Films/Kino Lorber

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2015


Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Written by Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Inspired by the Short Stories by Anton Chekhov

Produced by Zeynep Ozbatur Atakan

Co-Produced by Remi Burah, Mustafa Dok, Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Olivier Pere

Executive Produced by Sezgi Ustun

Cinematography by Gokhan Tiryaki

Edited by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Bora Goksingol

Art Direction by Gamze Kus


Starring:

Haluk Bilginer as Aydin

Melisa Sozen as Nihal

Demet Akbag as Necla

Ayberk Peckan as Hidayet

Serhat Mustafa Kilic as Hamdi

Nejat Isler as Ismail

Nadir Saribacak as Levent

Emirhan Doruktutan as Ilyas


Directed by the Turkish cinema master, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this enthralling, brilliantly photographed film won the top prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was Turkey’s entrant in the Oscar Best Foreign Language Film category. Ceylan’s Once Upon A Time in Anatolia had shared the top prize at Cannes in 2011. Set in the amazingly picturesque Cappadocia region in central Turkey, the exterior scenes strikingly capture the remarkable topography a World Heritage site while the interior scenes bring Rembrandt to mind. A retired actor has inherited a small hotel where he is ensconced with his recently divorced sister, his much younger and growingly discontented wife. A seemingly trivial incident sets in motion a drama of personalities at odds with each other and the paths their lives have taken. The superb cast of actors quickly takes your attention and won’t let it go.


From Award winning Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, “Three Monkeys”, “Distant”) comes his latest film “Winter Sleep” (Kis Uykusu), an adaptation from the short story “The Wife” by Anton Chekhov.

The film would star Haluk Bilginer (“The International”, “Innocence”), Melisa Sozen (“Hunting Season”, “Cenneti Beklerken”), Demet Akbag (“Eyyvah Eyvah”, “Vizontele”), Serhat Mustafa Kilic (“Remember Darling”, “Veda – Ataturk”) and Nadir Saribacak (“Yozgat Blues”, “Sarmasik”).

“Winter Sleep” was the winner of the Palme d’Or and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and now, the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Adopt Films.

“Winter Sleep” is set in Anatolia (western Asia) and revolves around a famous and retiring actor Aydin (portrayed by Haluk Bilginer).  Aydin runs a mountaintop hotel known as Cappadocia and is also a writer for the local newspaper and often researches the history of Turkish theater for a possible book.

He is married to Nihal (portrayed by Melisa Sozen) and lives with her and his sister Necla (portrayed by Demet Akbag).  He happens to be wealthy, educated and quite opinionated.

One day as Aydin and his assistant Hidayet (portrayed by Ayberk Pekcan) are driving to a nearby village, a young boy named Ilyas, throws a rock and shatters his window.  Hidayet takes Ilyas to his father Ismail (portrayed by Nejat Isler), which we learn that Ismail and his family are behind on rent and so Aydi sent a collection agency after them and took away their television and refrigerator and because Ismail resisted, he was beaten by the local police.

As Hidayet tries to get an answer of why Ilyas threw the rock, Ismail slaps his son and breaks his fist on a window to see if they are satisfied with the punishment.  But Ismail’s anger starts to get the best of him and before things get messy, his brother Hamdi (portrayed by Serhat Mustafa Kilic), a local imam (a worship leader in the community), intervenes.

Because of the messy situation, Hamdi repeatedly tries to bring Ilyas in an attempt to make amends with Aydin but because it annoys him, he writes a column of how an imam should be to their community.

But we then gradually get to see how the people close to Aydin resents him because of his critical verbal ways.  His sister Necla feels he uses his power just sitting and writing and criticizing people (and the two often exchange barbs towards one another).  While his young wife Nihal is often disturbed by him and while she tries to give back by fundraising for developing schools, Aydin dismisses her actions as nothing that will result to failure because unlike him, she is inexperienced and not educated.

And this leads to individuals reexamining their relationship to Aydin.

 


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Winter Sleep” is presented in 16:9 and Turkish 5.1 Surround Sound with English subtitles.  If one wants the best picture and audio quality, I highly recommend going for the Blu-ray version of this film, rather than the DVD. With that being said, the DVD does look and sound good, but as best as one would expect for DVD.  I didn’t notice any major compression issues or problems with audio.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Winter Sleep” comes with no special features.


“Winter Sleep” is another wonderful film from filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

But I classify his films, almost in a similar context with French filmmaker Eric Rohmer or Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman in which intelligent conversation dominates the entire film.

I am drawn to smartly written films in which conversations explore one’s perspective towards life and these conversations and their reactions are ways of character development.  Something quite rare to see in today’s cinema.

Earlier in the film, we know of Aydin’s power in the village and how there is a unique divide as he is wealthy, he is very critical and in his mind, his thoughts are almost final and no one can change it.

In showing the character of Hidayet and Ismail or even Hamdi and Ismail, he is not a character that can put himself in the shoes of those who are without money.   He can not and will not care for the poor, he has a set way of thinking.  Why did young Ilyas throw a rock at the window of Aydin’s car?  It’s evident that the young boy despises the landlord who has made his family suffer.

And while Hamdi also despises Aydin, as the imam of his village and also his family is involved, he must try to make sure any friction is calmed before things can get any worse.

But while Hamdi and Aydin’s scenes show the divide between rich and poor, the juxtaposition between Aydin and his young wife Nihal is what I find most interesting.

Nihal’s face shows how distant she is from Aydin, her face shows nothing but discontent of a woman who knows that everything she says to her husband, does not matter.  He is opinionated and everything must go his way and nothing else.  She is not an equal partner in this relationship, she is just a woman that remains with him because of his power, wealth and influence.

But the film wouldn’t be as enjoyable if the women did not at least challenge Aydin in his thoughts and beliefs, both Nihal and his sister Necla do their best to challenge his beliefs, especially of the topic surrounding one should not resist evil.  A debate if one is attacked by something evil, do you let it happen or do you fight back? Will the victim’s choice change the perpetrator if they did not fight back or resist?

But a film examines that for Aydin, does this man have a care, a heart towards the people around him?  Or has his beliefs made him indifferent to others?

As for the DVD, it’s important to note that if you want the best picture or audio quality, a Blu-ray version is available for the film.  The DVD does look good, as one can expect from DVD, and there are no special features included.

Overall, “Winter Sleep” is an entertaining, smartly written, conversational film from director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  A film that uses conversation as a way to bring out the characters, in a similar style of Bergman and Rohmer, I was captivated by the film for its intelligence and beauty.

“Winter Sleep” is highly recommended!

 

Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

naruto-22

“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 212 – Original & Uncut” is a volume featuring both entertaining and action-packed filler episodes but also episodes that deal with the Great Ninja War, so there is a good balance of episodes featured. If you are a “Naruto” fan staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 271-283 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: Rated T for Older Teen

Release Date: April 21, 2015

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Series Directed by Hayato Date

Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino

Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki

Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba

Music Production by Aniplex

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)

Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha

Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka

Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga

Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi

Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato

Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari

Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame

Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

The Fourth Great Ninja War rages on, and danger comes from every angle. Old comrades and enemies have risen from the grave under the control of Kabuto to fight the Allied Forces. While some retain their calm, others must wrestle with their emotions.

Naruto’s training has made him more powerful, but some believe his possession of the Nine Tails makes him a liability. Meanwhile, Sakura and the Medical Ninja face unique danger, as an enemy may be in their midst behind the allied lines. Can the Allied Forces survive assassins and their reanimated friends to win the war?

With the latest 22nd volume of “Naruto Shippuden”, Naruto can sense the nine tail chakra within Kinkaku and Ginkaku and realizes that his fellow leaf ninja are trying to keep him locked up.  With Naruto suspecting something is awry, he wants to leave but his fellow ninja must stop him in order to protect them.

Meanwhile, the Great Ninja War is underway and the enemy has taken the appearance of allied ninja and are intending to slaughter the medical unit.

All this and more in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut”.

What is “Naruto”?

Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.

For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.

Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.

Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.

“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.

What is “Naruto Shippuden”?

Sasuke has aligned with the Akatsuki who wants to destroy the Leaf Village – Konoha. Madara has declared war and thus an Allied Shinobi Force is formed. The elder leaders of all villages, allies to the Leaf Village have realized that the Akatsuki are after Naruto (Nine Tail) and Killer B (Eight Tail Beast). They have since accomplished extracting the beasts (Jinchuriki) from others.

In “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20″, the series now returns back to storyline that is featured on the manga series.

As Naruto tries to control the power of the nine tails, Naruto’s mother enter his consciousness to explain the secrets of his birth and learns about heir hopes and renews his vow to be come Hokage!

All is revealed about what transpired during the day of Naruto’s birth and who was responsible for attacking the Leaf Village with the nine tails. And given the final moments to meet and speak with his mother one last time.

And as Naruto has become the prime target of the Akatsuki, Yamato, Guy and a few other Leaf Ninja, including Killer B have convinced Naruto that he is on an S-Ranked Environmental Mission at an island.

With volume 22, Naruto who has trained with Bee, is starting to feel the chakra of the nine-tail fox and now he wants to know why he is being locked up and why his fellow ninja are acting strangely.

Meanwhile, as Sakura and other medics tend to the wounded, someone has infiltrated the medical unit and is slaughtering them.  And he’s out to kill Sakura.  Will Sakura find out who the culprit truly is?

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Naruto Shippuden” is an anime series that was never known for having spectacular background art, but it’s know for its action and its characters and how it captures emotion and its intense battles. While in this episode, a lot of episodes are contained in areas near lush green trees, water or dirt, it’s not so much of the background but how the characters are design and how well the battles are portrayed. And I can easily say that with “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20- Original Uncut”, the fast-paced action in this volume is great for a TV series and good for what one can expect on DVD.

It’s important to note that in 2014, Viz has went from releasing episodes on three DVD discs to two DVD discs per volume.

As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20″ is pretty much Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Bilingual (Japanese and English). Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.

Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.

Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut” comes with the following special features on disc 2:

  • Storyboards
  • Clean Openings/Endings
  • More from Viz Media – Viz Media trailers

With the release of “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut”, the volume features a balance of filler episodes and episodes that were actually featured in the manga in relation to the Great Ninja War.

The volume features the final episodes of season 12 and the beginning episodes of season 13.

But while some of the filler episodes are just filler, there are episodes that go into more detail in showcasing relationships.  In this case, a lot is focused on the Ino, Shikamaru and Choji team, as they must go against a re-animated version of Asuma.

The main storylines from the manga that relate to the Great Ninja War features Naruto sensing the chakra of the nine tails and wondering why is he feeling it, especially when the training room is supposed to seal all chakra.

And now Naruto, and also Killer Bee, want to escape the training room and help their fellow ninja.

The other storyline features the medical team being infiltrated by a White Zetsu who has taken appearances of various ninja including Ninja in order to kill all medical staff.  Will Sakura be able to find out the culprit?

Meanwhile, we get filer episodes featuring Ino, another featuring Kurotsuchi paying a visit to the fifth division where Deidara is being held as prisoner and Konohamaru and friends trying to protect the village.

As for the DVD set, you get a total of 12 episodes on two DVD’s and special features which include storyboards, clean opening and endings.

Overall, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 212 – Original & Uncut” is a volume featuring both entertaining and action-packed filler episodes but also episodes that deal with the Great Ninja War, so there is a good balance of episodes featured.

If you are a “Naruto” fan staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 22 – Original & Uncut” is recommended!

 

Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

magi-km1a

“Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1″ is a fantastic, action-packed anime series! For now, it kicks off the solo adventures of Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgiana and Hakuryu but no doubt is building to something even bigger. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Shinobu Ohtaka/SHOGAKUKAN, Magi Committee, MBS. All rights reserved.


DVD TITLE: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1

TV SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2013

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 widescreen, Japanese Stereo and English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 13 and up

RELEASE DATE: March 31, 2015


Originally Created by Shinobu Ohtaka

Directed by Koji Masunari

Series Composition by Hiroyuki Yoshino

Screenplay by Masanao Akahoshi

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Toshifumi Akai

Art Director by Ayu Kawamoto

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures


 Featuring the following voice talent:

Kaori Ishihara/Erica Mendez as Aladdin

Yuuki Kaji/Erik Kimerer as Alibaba Saluja

Haruka Tomatsu/Cristina Vee as Morgiana

Darrel Guilbeau/Kensho Ono as Ren Hakuryu

Julie Ann Taylor/Asami Seto as Seishun Li

Keith Silverstein/Yoshimasa Hosoya as Masrur

Kira Buckland/Kana Hanazawa as Ren Kogyuku

Lucien Dodge.Takahiro Sakurai as Ja’far

Marc Diraison/Shinichiro Miki as Ithnan

Matthew Mercer/Daisuke Ono as Sinbad

Patrick Seitz/Toshiyuki Morikawa as Ugo

Sean Chiplock/Jun Fukuyama as Cassim

Todd Haberkorn/Ryohei Kimura as Judal

Trinity Lee/Nana Mizuki as Ren Hakuei

Vic Mignogna/Kenichi Suzumura as Ka Kobun


In order to realize their objectives, the adventurers each embark on a new journey. Aladdin sets his sights on the land of Magnoshutatt to study magic while Alibaba travels to the Leam Empire to challenge the gladiators of the coliseum. Morgiana sets sail towards her homeland of Katarg, and Hakuryu returns to the Kou Empire…

Equipped with a charm to mask his powers as a Magi, Aladdin arrives in Magnoshutatt with another goal – to investigate this nation’s relation with the Al-Tharmen – the power behind the “Abnormalities of the World.”

Meanwhile, the royal family of the Kou Empire is in mourning for their Emperor’s passing, and is shocked when the throne is passed on to someone they had not expected. An ominous cloud looms over the Empire as the flames of revenge burned within Hakuryu. The Magi of the Leam Empire, Scheherazade, also senses this threat from across the sea and grows concerned for her people.

Back in Magnoshutatt, Aladdin is hard at training at the academy when he meets Titus Alexius, a prodigy from Leam. But then Aladdin realizes that Titus is also equipped with the same charm that he has! What is Titus’s true identity!?

With the success of conquering a dungeon, Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgiana and Hakuryu Ren know that they must each embark on a new journey alone.

Aladdin must train to become a stronger magi, Alibaba travels to the Leam Empire to challenge the gladiators, Morgiana heads to her homeland of Katarg and Hakuryu makes his return to the Kou Empire as a different man.

Will each of them learning anything from their training?

Find out in “Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1″.

What is “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic” about?

When it comes to opportunities of becoming a manga writer/artist (mangaka), Shinobu Ohtaka’s story.

She has written about her story of how she became a manga artist, as a person who was the person who would sit quietly in the corner of class and was not really great at anything and often playing a supporting role. But if there was one thing that she was confident in, it was drawing pictures.

And now this shy artist would not only have a hit manga but also anime series!

Her first year in high school, she was submitting manga manuscripts because it was her dream to become a manga author. And like many writers, her submissions were denied and this continued through high school and college. And when she was about to call it quits, she was given the opportunity to do a one-shot and it led to the creation of the series “Sumomo Momomo” in 2004 which would eventually become 22 volume manga series and also a 22-episode anime series.

After completing “Sumomo Momomo”, Shinobu then created “Magi” which would be serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday in 2009 and to this day, the series is till ongoing (currently, at 18 volumes) and a 25-episode anime adaptation which was aired in Japan in Oct. 2012 – March 2013 and a 25-episode second season which was completed in Japan.

And now episodes 1-13 of the second season of “Magi: The Kingdom of Magic” was released on DVD in the United States courtesy of Aniplex in March 2015.

In the second season of the series, the story takes place after Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgiana and Hakuryu have defeated the dungeon.

But with Aladdin wanting to leave and go on his own adventure in order to grow stronger and study magic, the others realize they need to get stronger too and each go on their own direction.

For Aladdin, he knows he must learn how to master his magic and find out what kind of magic he can take control of. But needs to learn the power behind the “Abnormalities of the World”.  He comes across a mysterious prodigy from Lea named Titus Alexius.  But who is this man?

Alibaba must get stronger, so he decides to challenge the gladiators of the coliseum but he learns that he has two magoi in his body that may tear his insides apart.

Meanwhile, Morgiana goes back to her home of Katarg but is told that if she goes to other side of the mountain, she will be unable to come back to the other side.

As Hyakuren goes back to the Kou Empire in hopes that he will be the new leader but someone else has been assigned as leader.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1″ is presented in 16:9 widescreen and Japanese and English Dolby Digital 2.0.

While I was hoping for a Blu-ray release of “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic”, the series is well-animated, well-shaded and tends to feature hilarious character designs during the more comedy scenes, while showcasing emotion and drama during the most serious situations. Action scenes are well-animated, background art is well-detailed and painted beautifully.

Audio on the DVD is front-channel driven but voice acting is well-done for both Japanese and English soundtracks. Dialogue, sound effects and music are clear.

Subtitles are available in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1″ comes with no special features.

EXTRAS:

“Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1″ comes with a slipcase, a two-sided deluxe illustration board and a mini-poster.


 

magi-km1b

With the second season of “Magi: The Kingdom of Magic”, we get a whole season dedicated to the training and growth of each of four individuals: Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgiana and Hakuryu.

As Aladdin’s storyline, we get to see Aladdin grow in his study of magic.  And while we expect the character to grow and become powerful, Aladdin is the one that is most interesting.

Mainly because he arrives to his destination, looking as if he was homeless and malnourished.  With that being said, his story is the most bloody and violent as he must take on gladiators at the Colosseum and must deal with his powers, that may tear his body apart.

Morgiana’s storyline is no doubt fraught with danger but it’s her naivety that may put her in deeper trouble.

And as we expect the primary three characters to learn and grow, the most troubling would be Hakuryu.  With the first season, he was the whiner and the cry baby but by the second season, after finding his true power, we learn that he has had a twisted upbringing.  But somehow he has changed to another person that is more darker and not happy as before.  He is the question mark of the entire crew because of his unpredictability and the way he is behaving, not sure if he’ll be friend or enemy.

For those wondering if the series is safe to watch around children, this is a show for teens. There is quite a bit of violence, maybe not as bloody as some of the episodes of the first half, but there is quite a bit of fighting violence.  Also, you can expect to see Aladdin’s attraction to women with large boobs.

While I wish “Magi: The Kingdom of Magic” received a Blu-ray release, the DVD still looks very good. And the voice acting for both English and Japanese soundtracks are well-done!

The DVD may not have any significant special features but for those who have purchased Aniplex products know by now, the company is known for providing swag. In this case, you get a two-sided deluxe illustration board and a mini-poster.

Overall, “Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1″ is a fantastic, action-packed anime series! For now, it kicks off the solo adventures of Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgiana and Hakuryu but no doubt is building to something even bigger.

Recommended!

 

Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

silentozu42-a

“Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas” is a fantastic DVD release. The Criterion Collection has been a solid supporter of Ozu’s work and to see these three crime dramas finally be released in the U.S., has been a long time in waiting for fans of his films. If you are a big fan of Yasujiro Ozu and his films, then this Eclipse Series set is a no-brainer, “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1933 Shochiku Co., Ltd. 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas

YEAR OF FILM: Walk Cheerfully (1930), That Night’s Wife (1930), Dragnet Girl (1933)

DURATION: Walk Cheerfully (96 Minutes), That Night’s Wife (65 Minutes), Dragnet Girl (100 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Black and White, Piano Score, Optional English Subtitles, 1:33:1 Aspect Ratio

COMPANY: The Criterion Collection

RELEASED DATE: April 21, 2015

 


The great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is best known for the stately, meditative domestic dramas he made after World War II. But during his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, he put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited silent crime films about the hopes, dreams, and loves of small-time crooks. Heavily influenced in narrative and visual style by the American films that Ozu adored, these movies are revelatory early examples of his cinematic genius, accompanied here by new piano scores by Neil Brand.


dragnetgirl

Yasujiro Ozu is one of the world’s beloved directors. Having made many films since the 1920’s, the director is best known today by cineaste for his films about the Japanese family and often its dissolution.

And while the Criterion Collection has released Ozu’s silent films via the Eclipse Series which depicted the Japanese family, during his time working for Shochiku, he also took on the gangster genre which were inspired by Hollywood cinema during the ’30s.

To showcase the films of this era, the Criterion Collection will be releasing “Eclipse Series #42: Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas” featuring the films (please click on the link to read the review):

“Walk Cheerfully” (1930)

“That Night’s Wife” (1930)

“Dragnet Girl” (1933)


walkcheerfully

Yasujiro Ozu’s 14th film “Hogaraka ni ayume” (Walk Cheerfuly) revolves around Kenji Koyama (portrayed by Minoru Takada), also known as “Ken the Knife”, who runs a group of thieves.

While accompanying his right hand man Senko (portrayed by Hisao Yoshitani), he is captivated by Yasue (portrayed by Hiroko Kawasaki), a woman he sees walking to a jewelry store and assumes that she is wealthy.

In truth, Yasue is poor and works hard to pay the bills to take care of her mother and her younger sister.  She hates working for her boss, because each time she is alone in his office, he sexually harasses her, often blocking the exit way, so she can leave the office.

As Ken tries to pretend he is wealthy and tries to learn how to play golf, during a drive with one of his thieves, they nearly run over a young girl.  The girl turns out to be Yasue’s younger sister and Kenji comes to their rescue.

This is the beginning of Ken and Yasue’s relationship as he learns that she is not wealthy but he loves spending every moment with her.

But when Chieko (portrayed by Satoko Date), one of the female thieves becomes jealous of Kenji going after Yasue, she tries to tell her the truth that Kenji is a gangster and that he is using her.

She finds out that Chieko is telling the truth and for Ken, the thought of not being with Yasue hurts him.  Enough for him to want to change his lifestyle and be a man that plays by the rules.

But can this former criminal escape from his past?

It was very interesting to watch an Ozu silent that revolves around a group of criminals but the film is not so far removed from the Japanese family struggles that he tended to depict in his earlier films.

“Walk Cheerfully” is no doubt a story about a man who wants to change his life, get away from crime and do all he can in order to make the girl he loves, respect him.

We see the transformation that the character Ken goes through as being a cold thief to a man with integrity.

A mix of comedy, romance and drama, “Walk Cheerfully” is an easy film to watch because of its characters but you can’t help but root for Ken and his willingness to change for Yasue.  You also want to see Yasue happy because you realized that she came from a poor family and has done all she can to take care of the family and help make ends meet.

Actor Minoru Takada does a great job at playing Ken, but he also becomes a male actor that you eventually see more and more in an Ozu film.  Actress Hiroko Kawasaki also shines as the character Yasue, a character that has to play a wide range of emotions but you also can’t help wanting to see more of her, because she brings vibrancy and innocence to the film.

thatnightswife

“That Night’s Wife” begins with a man committing a robbery at a nearby office.  He beats and ties up everyone in the office and leaves with bags of cash.

As the police are on the lookout for this criminal, when he gets home, we realize that at home, he is hardly a thug.

The criminal is Shuji Hashizume (portrayed by Tokihiko Okada), a married man and loving husband to Mayumi (portrayed by Emiko Yagamo) and has a child named Michiko (portrayed by Mitsuko Ichimura) who is very ill.

The reason why Shuji has been stealing money is primarily for his daughter as he doesn’t have any money to pay for medicine or a doctor.  And she is so ill, that she may not survive the night.

He doesn’t like the fact that he has to steal to pay for his daughters doctor bills but he has no choice.

But when the police detective Kagawa (portrayed by Togo Yamamoto) pays a visit to their home in order to capture him, the detective realizes the criminal’s true intention, but does that pardon him from the crimes that he has done?

And for those who like a little comedy, romance and drama, will surely find Ozu’s “Walk Cheerfully” to be an entertaining silent film!

The second film featured, “Sono yo no tsuma” (That Night’s Wife) is the shortest of this crime dramas and is a film adaptation of a novel by Oscar Shisgall.  It also has a more darker storyline compared to the other two crime dramas.

Watching “That Night’s Wife”, it does have a banal theme of a man driven by bad luck of his daughter’s ill health and now must steal to pay for her doctor’s bills.

While the storyline has been done and redone over again, “That Night’s Wife” is much different in the fact that you get this back-and-forth between characters, not knowing how this film is gong to end.

There is no doubt a message in the film of how crime doesn’t pay but this is a film that tries to have the viewer put themselves in the shoes of the criminal.  How far would you go for your sick child who may die any minute?

In this case, Shuji and also his wife, will do all they can to protect their family.

But as mentioned, it’s rather interesting to see how the three actors, Tokihiko Okada, Emiko Yagumo and Togo Yamamoto interact with each other through the back-and-forth scenes of who will outbest who.

Also, the film shot primarily in the family’s home and so, it’s very interesting to see how Ozu was able to capture the plight of each individual in such cramped quarters.

Once again, this film is another wonderful addition to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas”.  It’s shorter and much darker than the other two films, but still, entertaining and keeps you on your feet as how you think the film may end, may keep changing, because of the way the final 10 minutes is structured.

Still, “That Night’s Wife” is a short, entertaining silent film from Yasujiro Ozu with a wonderful performance by Tokihiko Okada, Emiko Yagumo and Togo Yamamoto.

With his inspiration coming from Hollywood films, as there were films that combined gangster activity, pool playing and even boxing, all those elements can be seen in Ozu’s “Dragnet Girl” which was shot in 1933.

The film revolves around former boxer Jyoji (portrayed by Joji Oka).  Often at the boxing club to spot the latest talent, including rookie featherweight Hiroshi (portrayed by Hideo Matsui), he is often working with his secretary Tokiko (portrayed by Kinuyo Tanaka).

Often seen as the stylish right-hand gal for Jyoji, she quickly becomes jealous when she hears that Jyoji is spending a good amount of time with Kazuko, the nice and gentle sister of Hiroshi.  And her good nature makes Jyoji think about his own life.

Jealous…how far will Tokiko go to keep Jyoji and stop him from messing around with other women.

With the third film featured in the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas”, “Dragnet Girl” has a lot in common with the other two films but also the Hollywood gangster films that Ozu was enamored with.

The recurring theme of criminals wanting to get out of the profession is common. The recurring theme of a criminal changed by another woman outside of their world is common, but where Hollywood would take risks of showing a woman going so far to kill due to their jealousy (and we have seen this happen with many men), “Dragnet Girl” is fascinating in the fact that the jealous woman finds herself taking a liking to the good-natured woman as well.

Similar to “Walk Cheerfully” as the protagonist, a criminal wanting to make a change in their life for the better good, Ozu no doubt makes the viewer (especially during that era) feel that a life of crime doesn’t pay and there is always an escape.

But the obstacle in the film is that the main character, Jyoji, is being tied to that criminal world by the woman that loves him, but it’s the woman he really loves that makes him want to quit and that is the conundrum.

But leave it to Ozu to show that there is always a glimmer of hope, even for those who have committed crimes.

“Dragnet Girl” is a wonderful inclusion to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas”. It’s no doubt a film that is inspired by Ozu’s love for Hollywood film noir.

And with these three films featured in the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas”, this release gives the Ozu cineaste a chance to see more silent films created during the silent era but also another side of Ozu’s oeuvre that we would not be able to see in his other, later feature films.

Sure, they are gangster films with message of hope but you can see a glimmer of the Ozu style that he would exhibit in his later films.  From the way he shoots his characters, the way he is able to utilize small sets but also location shots.

Overall, “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas” is a fantastic DVD release.  The Criterion Collection has been a solid supporter of Ozu’s work and to see these three crime dramas finally be released in the U.S., has been a long time in waiting for fans of his films.

If you are a big fan of Yasujiro Ozu and his films, then this Eclipse Series set is a no-brainer, “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas” is highly recommended!

 

Dragnet Girl (from the Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

silentozu42-a

“Dragnet Girl” is a wonderful inclusion to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas”.  It’s no doubt a film that is inspired by Ozu’s love for Hollywood film noir.

Image courtesy of © 1933 Shochiku Co., Ltd. 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Dragnet Girl (from the Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas)

YEAR OF FILM: 1933

DURATION: 100 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Black and White, Silent with optional score, Optional English Subtitles, 1:33:1 Aspect Ratio

COMPANY: The Criterion Collection

RELEASED DATE: April 21, 2015


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

Screenplay by Tadao Ikeda

Story by James Maki (pen name for Yasujiro Ozu)

Cinematography by Hideo Shigehara

Edited by Kazuo Ishikawa, Minoru Kuribayashi

Art Direction by Yonekazu Wakita

Set Decoration by Takeshi Hoshino

Costume design by Kurenai Saitou


Starring:

Kinuyo Tanaka as Tokiko

Joji Oka as Jyoji

Sumiko Mizukubo as Kazuko

Koji Mitsui as Hiroshi

Yumeko Aizome as Misako

Yoshio Takayama as Senko

Koji Kaga as Misawa

Yasuo Nanjo as Okazaki


This formally accomplished and psychologically complex gangster tale pivots on the growing attraction between Joji, a hardened career criminal, and Kazuko, the sweet-natured older sister of a newly initiated young hoodlum—a relationship that provokes the jealousy of Joji’s otherwise patient moll, Tokiko. With effortlessly cool performances and visual inventiveness, Dragnet Girl is a bravura work from Yasujiro Ozu.


Yasujiro Ozu is one of the world’s beloved directors. Having made many films since the 1920’s, the director is best known today by cineaste for his films about the Japanese family and often its dissolution.

And while the Criterion Collection has released Ozu’s silent films via the Eclipse Series which depicted the Japanese family, during his time working for Shochiku, he also took on the gangster genre which were inspired by Hollywood cinema during the ’30s.

To showcase the films of this era, the Criterion Collection will be releasing “Eclipse Series #42: Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas” featuring the films “Walk Cheerfully” (1930), “That Night’s Wife” (1930) and “Dragnet Girl” (1933).

With his inspiration coming from Hollywood films, as there were films that combined gangster activity, pool playing and even boxing, all those elements can be seen in Ozu’s “Dragnet Girl” which was shot in 1933.

The film revolves around former boxer Jyoji (portrayed by Joji Oka).  Often at the boxing club to spot the latest talent, including rookie featherweight Hiroshi (portrayed by Hideo Matsui), he is often working with his secretary Tokiko (portrayed by Kinuyo Tanaka).

Often seen as the stylish right-hand gal for Jyoji, she quickly becomes jealous when she hears that Jyoji is spending a good amount of time with Kazuko, the nice and gentle sister of Hiroshi.  And her good nature makes Jyoji think about his own life.

Jealous…how far will Tokiko go to keep Jyoji and stop him from messing around with other women.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Dragnet Girl” is featured in 1:33:1 aspect ratio. The film is black and white and Eclipse series are films that do not receive the CRITERION COLLECTION restoration and remastering. Thus, the scratches and slight warping of the original film are very visible. The good news is that the film, despite being 82-years-old is still watchable and very enjoyable.  And of the three films, is in the best of shape.

As for audio, this is a silent film and you can listen to a piano-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Eclipse Series DVD’s unfortunately do not come with any special features. But with each DVD, there is a single page information (on the interior DVD cover which can be read since the DVD slim cases are clear) on the film.


With the third film featured in the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas”, “Dragnet Girl” has a lot in common with the other two films but also the Hollywood gangster films that Ozu was enamored with.

Tthe recurring theme of criminals wanting to get out of the profession is common.  The recurring theme of a criminal changed by another woman outside of their world is common, but where Hollywood would take risks of showing a woman going so far to kill due to their jealousy (and we have seen this happen with many men), “Dragnet Girl” is fascinating in the fact that the jealous woman finds herself taking a liking to the good-natured woman as well.

Similar to “Walk Cheerfully” as the protagonist, a criminal wanting to make a change in their life for the better good, Ozu no doubt makes the viewer (especially during that era) feel that a life of crime doesn’t pay and there is always an escape.

But the obstacle in the film is that the main character, Jyoji, is being tied to that criminal world by the woman that loves him, but it’s the woman he really loves that makes him want to quit and that is the conundrum.

But leave it to Ozu to show that there is always a glimmer of hope, even for those who have committed crimes.

The film features a wonderful, early performance by actress Kinuyo Tanaka (“Sansho the Bailiff”, “Ugetsu”, “The Life of Oharu”, “The Ballad of Narayama”) as the character of Tokiko.  Tanaka gives viewers a glimpse of her ability to take on the face of a woman spurned, a woman committing crimes but also a woman that will do anything for the man she loves.

While the film is about Joji Oka’s character, Jyoji, it is Kinuyo Tanaka’s portrayal of Tokiko that is wonderfully performed!

Overall, “Dragnet Girl” is a wonderful inclusion to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas”.  It’s no doubt a film that is inspired by Ozu’s love for Hollywood film noir.

 

That Night’s Wife (from the Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

silentozu42-a

This film is another wonderful addition to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas”. It’s shorter and much darker than the other two films, but still, entertaining and keeps you on your feet as how you think the film may end, may keep changing, because of the way the final 10 minutes is structured. Still, “That Night’s Wife” is a short, entertaining silent film from Yasujiro Ozu with a wonderful performance by Tokihiko Okada, Emiko Yagumo and Togo Yamamoto.

Image courtesy of © 1930 Shochiku Co., Ltd. 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: That Night’s Wife (from the Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas)

YEAR OF FILM: 1930

DURATION: 65 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Black and White, Silent with piano score, Optional English Subtitles, 1:33:1 Aspect Ratio

COMPANY: The Criterion Collection

RELEASED DATE: April 21, 2015


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

Written by Kogo Noda

Novel by Oscar Shisgall

Cinematography by Hideo Shigehara

Costume Design by Ko Saito

Set Decoration by Ryonosuke Akita, Kojiro Kawasaki and Yoneichi Wakita


Starring:

Tokihiko Okada as Shuji Hashizume, Husband

Emiko Yagumo as Mayumi, Wife

Mitsuko Ichimura as Michiko, Daughter

Chishu Ryu as Policeman

Tatsuo Saito as Suda, Doctor

Togo Yamamoto as Detective Kagawa


In noirish darkness, a man commits a shocking robbery. But, as we soon learn, this seeming criminal mastermind is actually a sensitive everyman driven to desperation by the need to provide for his family. Unfolding over the course of one night, Yasujiro Ozu’s That Night’s Wife combines suspense with the emotional domestic drama one associates with the filmmaker’s later masterpieces, and employs beautifully evocative camera work.


Yasujiro Ozu is one of the world’s beloved directors. Having made many films since the 1920’s, the director is best known today by cineaste for his films about the Japanese family and often its dissolution.

And while the Criterion Collection has released Ozu’s silent films via the Eclipse Series which depicted the Japanese family, during his time working for Shochiku, he also took on the gangster genre which were inspired by Hollywood cinema during the ’30s.

To showcase the films of this era, the Criterion Collection will be releasing “Eclipse Series #42: Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas” featuring the films “Walk Cheerfully” (1930), “That Night’s Wife” (1930) and “Dragnet Girl” (1933).

His film “Sono yo no tsuma” (That Night’s Wife) is the shortest of this crime dramas and is a film adaptation of a novel by Oscar Shisgall.  It also has a more darker storyline compared to the other two crime dramas.

“That Night’s Wife” begins with a man committing a robbery at a nearby office.  He beats and ties up everyone in the office and leaves with bags of cash.

As the police are on the lookout for this criminal, when he gets home, we realize that at home, he is hardly a thug.

The criminal is Shuji Hashizume (portrayed by Tokihiko Okada), a married man and loving husband to Mayumi (portrayed by Emiko Yagamo) and has a child named Michiko (portrayed by Mitsuko Ichimura) who is very ill.

The reason why Shuji has been stealing money is primarily for his daughter as he doesn’t have any money to pay for medicine or a doctor.  And she is so ill, that she may not survive the night.

He doesn’t like the fact that he has to steal to pay for his daughters doctor bills but he has no choice.

But when the police detective Kagawa (portrayed by Togo Yamamoto) pays a visit to their home in order to capture him, the detective realizes the criminal’s true intention, but does that pardon him from the crimes that he has done?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“That Night’s Wife” is featured in 1:33:1 aspect ratio. The film is black and white and Eclipse series are films that do not receive the CRITERION COLLECTION restoration and remastering. Thus, the scratches and slight warping of the original film are very visible. The good news is that the film, despite being 85-years-old is still watchable and very enjoyable.

As for audio, this is a silent film and you can listen to a piano-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Eclipse Series DVD’s unfortunately do not come with any special features. But with each DVD, there is a single page information (on the interior DVD cover which can be read since the DVD slim cases are clear) on the film.


Watching “That Night’s Wife”, it does have a banal theme of a man driven by bad luck of his daughter’s ill health and now must steal to pay for her doctor’s bills.

While the storyline has been done and redone over again, “That Night’s Wife” is much different in the fact that you get this back-and-forth between characters, not knowing how this film is gong to end.

There is no doubt a message in the film of how crime doesn’t pay but this is a film that tries to have the viewer put themselves in the shoes of the criminal.  How far would you go for your sick child who may die any minute?

In this case, Shuji and also his wife, will do all they can to protect their family.

But as mentioned, it’s rather interesting to see how the three actors, Tokihiko Okada, Emiko Yagumo and Togo Yamamoto interact with each other through the back-and-forth scenes of who will outbest who.

Also, the film shot primarily in the family’s home and so, it’s very interesting to see how Ozu was able to capture the plight of each individual in such cramped quarters.

Once again, this film is another wonderful addition to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas”.  It’s shorter and much darker than the other two films, but still, entertaining and keeps you on your feet as how you think the film may end, may keep changing, because of the way the final 10 minutes is structured.

Still, “That Night’s Wife” is a short, entertaining silent film from Yasujiro Ozu with a wonderful performance by Tokihiko Okada, Emiko Yagumo and Togo Yamamoto.

 

Walk Cheerfully (from the Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

   silentozu42-a

“Walk Cheerfully” is a wonderful inclusion to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas”.  And for those who like a little comedy, romance and drama, will surely find Ozu’s “Walk Cheerfully” to be an entertaining silent film!

Image courtesy of © 1930 Shochiku Co., Ltd. 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Walk Cheerfully (from the Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas)

YEAR OF FILM: 1930

DURATION: 96 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Black and White, Silent with piano score, Optional English Subtitles, 1:33:1 Aspect Ratio

COMPANY: The Criterion Collection

RELEASED DATE: April 21, 2015


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

Screenplay by Tadao Ikeda

Story by Hiroshi Shimizu

Cinematography by Hideo Shigehara

Edited by Hideo Shigehara

Set Decoration by Hiroshi Mizutani


Starring:

Minoru Takada as Kenji Koyama

Satoko Date as Chieko

Hiroko Kawasaki as Yasue Sugimoto

Nobuko Matsuzono as Yasue’s Sister

Teruo Mori as Gunpei

Takeshi Sakamoto as Ono, the Company President

Utako Suzuki as The Mother

Hisao Yoshitani as Senko


In Yasujiro Ozu’s Walk Cheerfully, which gracefully combines elements of the relationship drama and the gangster story, small-time hood Kenji, a.k.a. Ken the Knife, wants to go straight for good girl Yasue but finds that starting over isn’t as simple as it sounds. This was the Japanese master’s first true homage to American crime movies, and it is a fleetly told, expressively shot work of humor and emotional depth.


Yasujiro Ozu is one of the world’s beloved directors. Having made many films since the 1920’s, the director is best known today by cineaste for his films about the Japanese family and often its dissolution.

And while the Criterion Collection has released Ozu’s silent films via the Eclipse Series which depicted the Japanese family, during his time working for Shochiku, he also took on the gangster genre which were inspired by Hollywood cinema during the ’30s.

To showcase the films of this era, the Criterion Collection will be releasing “Eclipse Series #42: Silent Ozu: Three Crime Dramas” featuring the films “Walk Cheerfully” (1930), “That Night’s Wife” (1930) and “Dragnet Girl” (1933).

His 14th film “Hogaraka ni ayume” (Walk Cheerfuly) revolves around Kenji Koyama (portrayed by Minoru Takada), also known as “Ken the Knife”, who runs a group of thieves.

While accompanying his right hand man Senko (portrayed by Hisao Yoshitani), he is captivated by Yasue (portrayed by Hiroko Kawasaki), a woman he sees walking to a jewelry store and assumes that she is wealthy.

In truth, Yasue is poor and works hard to pay the bills to take care of her mother and her younger sister.  She hates working for her boss, because each time she is alone in his office, he sexually harasses her, often blocking the exit way, so she can leave the office.

As Ken tries to pretend he is wealthy and tries to learn how to play golf, during a drive with one of his thieves, they nearly run over a young girl.  The girl turns out to be Yasue’s younger sister and Kenji comes to their rescue.

This is the beginning of Ken and Yasue’s relationship as he learns that she is not wealthy but he loves spending every moment with her.

But when Chieko (portrayed by Satoko Date), one of the female thieves becomes jealous of Kenji going after Yasue, she tries to tell her the truth that Kenji is a gangster and that he is using her.

She finds out that Chieko is telling the truth and for Ken, the thought of not being with Yasue hurts him.  Enough for him to want to change his lifestyle and be a man that plays by the rules.

But can this former criminal escape from his past?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Walk Cheerfully” is featured in 1:33:1 aspect ratio. The film is black and white and Eclipse series are films that do not receive the CRITERION COLLECTION restoration and remastering. Thus, the scratches and slight warping of the original film are very visible. The good news is that the film, despite being 85-years-old is still watchable and very enjoyable.

As for audio, this is a silent film and you can listen to a piano-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Eclipse Series DVD’s unfortunately do not come with any special features. But with each DVD, there is a single page information (on the interior DVD cover which can be read since the DVD slim cases are clear) on the film.


It was very interesting to watch an Ozu silent that revolves around a group of criminals but the film is not so far removed from the Japanese family struggles that he tended to depict in his earlier films.

“Walk Cheerfully” is no doubt a story about a man who wants to change his life, get away from crime and do all he can in order to make the girl he loves, respect him.

We see the transformation that the character Ken goes through as being a cold thief to a man with integrity.

A mix of comedy, romance and drama, “Walk Cheerfully” is an easy film to watch because of its characters but you can’t help but root for Ken and his willingness to change for Yasue.  You also want to see Yasue happy because you realized that she came from a poor family and has done all she can to take care of the family and help make ends meet.

Actor Minoru Takada does a great job at playing Ken, but he also becomes a male actor that you eventually see more and more in an Ozu film.  Actress Hiroko Kawasaki also shines as the character Yasue, a character that has to play a wide range of emotions but you also can’t help wanting to see more of her, because she brings vibrancy and innocence to the film.

Overall, “Walk Cheerfully” is a wonderful inclusion to the “Eclipse Series #42 – Silent Ozu: Thee Crime Dramas”.

And for those who like a little comedy, romance and drama, will surely find Ozu’s “Walk Cheerfully” to be an entertaining silent film!

 

Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

naruto21-a

“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut” features filler episodes touching upon Naruto’s past but also episodes that brings us back to the Great Ninja War with the revival of deceased ninjas and criminals from the past. If you are a “Naruto” fan staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 258-270 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: Rated T for Older Teen

Release Date: January 20, 2015

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Series Directed by Hayato Date

Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino

Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki

Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba

Music Production by Aniplex

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)

Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha

Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka

Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga

Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi

Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato

Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari

Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame

Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

The Fourth Great Ninja War has begun and even the strongest fight to survive! The quest for power and struggle for control leads many heroes down hard roads. Sasuke’s revelation of Naruto’s potential and his personal defeat in combat lead him to consider the path of Orochimaru. While Naruto continues to master the power within under the watchful eye of Killer Bee, The Allied Shinobi Forces confront Madara’s army of reanimated shinobi and White Zetsu. Can the alliance hold long enough to stop the army?

With the latest 21st volume of “Naruto Shippuden”, the series takes a look back to see how Naruto has helped his fellow ninjas and changed the hearts of even his enemies.

Meanwhile, the Great Ninja War is underway as Zabuza and Haku are revived to fight against Kakashi and other ninjas.  Meanwhile, Darui and his division must take on the powerful Kinkaku and Ginkaku.

All this and more in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut”.

What is “Naruto”?

Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.

For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.

Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.

Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.

“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.

What is “Naruto Shippuden”?

Sasuke has aligned with the Akatsuki who wants to destroy the Leaf Village – Konoha. Madara has declared war and thus an Allied Shinobi Force is formed. The elder leaders of all villages, allies to the Leaf Village have realized that the Akatsuki are after Naruto (Nine Tail) and Killer B (Eight Tail Beast). They have since accomplished extracting the beasts (Jinchuriki) from others.

In “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20″, the series now returns back to storyline that is featured on the manga series.

As Naruto tries to control the power of the nine tails, Naruto’s mother enter his consciousness to explain the secrets of his birth and learns about heir hopes and renews his vow to be come Hokage!

All is revealed about what transpired during the day of Naruto’s birth and who was responsible for attacking the Leaf Village with the nine tails. And given the final moments to meet and speak with his mother one last time.

And as Naruto has become the prime target of the Akatsuki, Yamato, Guy and a few other Leaf Ninja, including Killer B have convinced Naruto that he is on an S-Ranked Environmental Mission at an island.

But hiding among them is the Akatsuki Kisame (who was thought to be dead) and has been spying on them all this time and now is trying to leak the intel back to the Akatsuki. But in order to stop them, only one man will be to take him on…Guy.

Now, as Naruto is a prime target and has been taken away to a hidden area for training, the Great Ninja war has begun and Kabuto is reviving the great ninjas, good and bad and taking control of their bodies to fight against the ninjas.

Kakashi and his division must take on the revived Zabuza and Haku, who don’t want to fight but are being controlled to fight against their own will.  Meanwhile, Darui and his division are sent to take on the powerful Kinkaku and Ginkaku.

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Naruto Shippuden” is an anime series that was never known for having spectacular background art, but it’s know for its action and its characters and how it captures emotion and its intense battles. While in this episode, a lot of episodes are contained in areas near lush green trees, water or dirt, it’s not so much of the background but how the characters are design and how well the battles are portrayed. And I can easily say that with “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20- Original Uncut”, the fast-paced action in this volume is great for a TV series and good for what one can expect on DVD.

It’s important to note that in 2014, Viz has went from releasing episodes on three DVD discs to two DVD discs per volume.

As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 20″ is pretty much Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Bilingual (Japanese and English). Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.

Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.

Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut” comes with the following special features on disc 2:

  • Clean Openings/Endings
  • More from Viz Media – Viz Media trailers

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With the release of “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut”, the volume features a balance of filler episodes that revisit Naruto’s past and seeing how he has changed people, good and bad, for the best.  While the second half continues with the Great Ninja War as Zabuza and Haku are revived against their will and must fight against the ninjas.

Also revived are Kakuzu, Dan Kato, Hyuga Hizashi, the Gold and Silver Brothers Kinkaku and Ginkaku (the two most feared criminals in the Hidden Cloud).  Sent to fight against the two Silver Brothers is Darui, who brings his division to take on the powerful and evil brothers.

For the most part, the filler episodes are literally to show how Naruto is seen as inspirational, but the goal is to drag out the series to give Masashi Kishimoto time to finish up more manga chapters.   And the fight against the Gold and Silver Brothers is spread out to multiple episodes, but to show the great power Kabuto has of reviving feared ninjas from the past.

As for the DVD set, you get a total of 12 episodes and special features have been reduced to the clean opening and endings.

Overall, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut” is an essential DVD volume for those who have waited for the storyline to get back to the Great Ninja War storyline.  While there are a good number of filler episodes, they go rather quickly and in someways, it’s rather nice to revisit past storylines contained in one episode and see how Naruto inspired people over time.

If you are a “Naruto” fan staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 21 – Original & Uncut” is recommended!

 

Harlock: Space Pirate (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Harlock: Space Pirate” is a stylishly, cool looking CG animated film based on one of Japan’s popular anti-hero characters. The problem lies within the viewer who is familiar with the previous stories of Captain Harlock and can watch this film as a different story. While the film compliments the characters, the storyline has no connection to Leiji Matsumo’s original storyline. Still, the film is smartly written, the CG animation looks wonderful and “Harlock: Space Pirate” is a film worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Leiji Matsumoto/Captain Harlock Film Partners. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE:  Harlock: Space Pirate

YEAR OF MOVIE RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 111 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen, English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1

COMPANY:  Ketchup Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

Release Date: March 31, 2015


Based on the manga by Leiji Matsumoto

Directed by Shinji Aramaki

Screenplay by Harutoshi Fukui, Kiyoto Takeuchi

Produced by Joseph Chou, Yoshi Ikezawa, Rei Kudo

Music by Tetsuya Takahashi


Featuring the following voice talent:

Shun Oguri/David Matranga as Captain Harlock

Harama Miura/Adam Gibbs as Yama/Logan

Yu Aoi/Emily Neves as Miime

Miyuki Sawashiro/Jessica Boone as Kei Yuki

Ayano Fukuda as Tori-san

Arata Furuta as Yattaran

Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Roujin

Rob Mungle as Yulian

Toshiyuki Morikawa as Isora

Chikao Ohtsuka as Soukan

Maaya Sakamoto/Rebekah Stevens as Nami

Mike Yager as Ezra


Captain Harlock is the one man standing between the Gaia Coalition and their quest for complete intergalactic rule. Seeking revenge against those who wronged both mankind and himself, the mysterious space pirate roams the universe in his battle-cruiser, the Arcadia, defiantly attacking and pillaging enemy ships. Gaia Fleet leader Ezra sends his younger brother, Logan, to infiltrate the Arcadia and assassinate Harlock. But Logan will soon discover that things are not always what they seem and that legends are born for a reason.

Harlock pushes his loyal crew forward in his death-defying mission to undo the “Nodes of Time” and reverse the Earth to an age when still inhabited by humans. It is the year 2977 and 500 billion displaced humans long to return to the planet they still refer to as home. The rebellious Captain Harlock and his trusted crew are mankind’s only hope of one day righting the Coalition’s wrongs.


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Back in 1977, manga artist Leiji Matsumoto would create the manga series, “Captain Harlock”.

While the storyline of Captain Harlock has changed from the original “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” to the 1982 “The Arcadia of My Youth”.  While there have been numerous Harlock releases, Toei Animation announced a new Harlock movie in 2010 that would feature a CG-remake of Matsumoto’s manga and anime franchise.

The CG animated film would be directed by Shinji Aramaki, best known for his work on series such as “Megazone 23″, “Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01″, “Genesis Survivor Gaiarth”, “Appleseed”, “Appleseed Ex Machina” and many more.

Considered as one of Toei’s second most expensive film, the story would feature a story that reflected themes of modern society written by Harutoshi Fukui.

And in 2013, “Harlock: Space Pirate” premiered in Japan and in April 2015, the DVD release of the film will be available in stores on April 2015 courtesy of Ketchup Entertainment.

The film begins with the explanation that the human race spread across the galaxy establish colonies but the population exploded and resources were exhausted.  Birthrates plummeted and the human race was in decline.

As humans went back to return to Earth, a bloody conflict of who would return to Earth would lead to the “Homecoming War” as the Earth was too small to hold all humans.  Thus a governing body known as “The Gaia Communion” would bring the war to a close and the Earth was made to an “eternal sanctuary” which no one was granted passage.

There was one man who resisted, an immortal space pirate that plundered Federation starships, the most wanted man named Captain Harlock.

As the film would explain why Captain Harlock is the most wanted man, the current story would be about Harlock and his crew taking 100 detonators from the Gaia Community to start over.  But among the crew is Yama (Logan in the English dub), a young man who is working with the Gaia Community who has worked to infiltrate Harlock’s crew trying to helping his older brother Isola (name is Ezra in English dub) of the Gaia fleet in order to take down and assassinate Harlock.

But will Yama want to assassinate Harlock when he learns the truth about why Harlock wants to return to Earth?


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VIDEO:

“Harlock Space Pirate” is presented in widescreen.  As this film would look magnificent in HD, the best we are going to get of this film is on DVD.  So, while the film was released on Blu-ray in Asia, the best we are going to get in terms of picture quality is the best one can expect to see on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Harlock Space Pirate” comes with an English and Japanese 5.1 soundtrack.  Both soundtracks are well-done and features crystal clear dialogue and music and actions sequences from space battles to weaponry being shot, utilizes the surround channels and LFE.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Harlock Space Pirate” comes with no special features.


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As a fan of the Captain Harlock anime and also a fan of Leiji Matsumoto’s work, “Arcadia of My Youth” continues to be my favorite Harlock film.

The story of aliens enslaving humanity while Captain Harlock and crew fight back has always been an exciting and fascinating film.  So, in many ways, I was highly anticipating the release of the CG version of “Harlock: Space Pirate”.

Having watched the film twice now, similar to how Captain Harlock’s story has continued to change from series to series, the CG film may share similar characters but the story is quite different.

The story takes a look at not the enslaving of humanity but the threat of humanity growing at an alarming rate, colonizing other planets that are dying and for many, the result is to return back to planet Earth, but realizing that the planet is not big enough to host so many humans and thus led to a war.

Captain Harlock’s character will always be seen as a rogue pirate but in the case of this movie, humanity’s hatred towards Harlock is because his decision to save the planet, he released dark matter in a gamble which did not protect the Earth, it decimated it and killed all life on the planet.

While I don’t want to spoil details of the film, the film would go into how the Arcadia would have some artificial intelligence, it would explain how Harlock would become “immortal” but the film would go into details of why Harlock is returning to the Earth and his true mission.

Standing in his way is a young man who sort of looks like Harlock but his goal is to infiltrate the crew on behalf of his brother and the Gaia Community and assassinate Captain Harlock.

While the film features cool CG and a complex, smartly written storyline, the film maybe of the dismay of long time fans who expected the classic story by Leiji Matsumoto.  And “Harlock Space Pirate”, is not that film.

While those who haven’t watched a Harlock anime series or film or have never read the manga series may enjoy the film much more.  The character design and the way Harlock was created no doubt looks awesome in the film, as with characters such as the alien Nibelung known as Miime and Kei, the overall look and feel of the film is its strongpoint.

The film’s story did not win me over despite enjoying it for its smart writing, I still feel that “Arcadia of My Youth” remains to be the best Captain Harlock film ever made.

While I wish the film was also released on Blu-ray and special features were included, the film looks and sounds good as one can expect on DVD.

Overall, “Harlock: Space Pirate” is a stylishly, cool looking CG animated film based on one of Japan’s popular anti-hero characters.  The problem lies within the viewer who is familiar with the previous stories of Captain Harlock and can watch this film as a different story.  While the film compliments the characters, the storyline has no connection to Leiji Matsumo’s original storyline.

Still, the film is smartly written, the CG animation looks wonderful and “Harlock: Space Pirate” is a film worth watching!

 

 

Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin’ (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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With a total of 12 hilarious episodes to keep the children (or the young at heart) busy during Spring Break, “Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin'” is a wacky, strange and hilarious series for those who enjoy dumb comedy!  If that’s you…then this DVD is definitely for you!

Images courtesy of © 2015 by Cartoon Network. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin’

TV SERIES AIR DATE: 2013

DURATION: (6 episodes) 192 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Widecreen, Dolby Digital English Stereo, Closed Caption

COMPANY: Cartoon Network

RATED: TV PG

RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2015


Series Created by Peter Browngardt

Directed by Audie Harrison

Written by Peter Browngardt, Casey Alexander, Audie Harrison, Dave Tennant, Ryan Kramer, Myke Chilian, David Gemmill, Andy Gonsalves, Marc Ceccarelli, Kelsy Abbott, Tom Kauffman, Fred Osmond, Dominic Bisignano, Luke Brookshier, Nick Edwards, Jon Vermilyea, Kenny Pittenger, Jason Reicher, Chris Reccardi

Produced by Rossitzaa Likomanova

Executive Producer: Peter Browngardt, Curtis Lelash, Brian A. Miller, Jennifer Pelphrey, Rob Sorcher

Supervising Producer: Audie Harrison

Music by Tommy Meehan, Mike Conte

Casting by Karie Gima Pham

Art Direction by Bill Flores and Mark Bodnar

Production Management: Tony Tedford


Featuring the voices of:

Peter Browngardt as Uncle Grandpa

Adam DeVine as Pizza Steve

Eric Bauza as Belly Bag

Audie Harrison as Beary Nice

Kevin Michael Richardon as Additional Voices


Uncle Grandpa has been a ratings success for the network since its debut in September 2013. During its inaugural season, the series was the top-rated show on Mondays among kids 6-11 and boys 2–11 & 6–11, and #1 in its 8 p.m. timeslot among all key kids and boys demos, according to Nielsen Media Research. With more than 630,000 Facebook fans, an average of 18.6 million people—including 7.2 million kids ages 6–14—tuned in to watch Uncle Grandpa during its first season run. The series is created by Pete Browngardt (Secret Mountain Fort Awesome) with Audie Harrison (The Golden Compass) serving as creative director and is produced by Cartoon Network Studios.


From American cartoonist and storyboard artist, voice actor and writer, Peter Browngardt, known for his work on “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome”, “Futurama”, “Chowder” and “Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack” comes his Cartoon Network animated series “Uncle Grandpa”.

Originally an animated short of the same name from the Cartoonstitute, “Uncle Grandpa” is a spin-off series of the 2011 Cartoon Network animated series “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome”.  With the award-winning series lasting two seasons, Browngardt went on to create “Uncle Grandpa”, which would be a more lighthearted adaptation for children.

“Uncle Grandpa” revolves around an unusual man who is the uncle and grandpa of everyone in the world.  He visits children’s homes to check on them and tries to help them through their major problems through chaotic and unusual misadventures.  He lives in an RV and hangs out with his fanny pack named Belly Bag, an anthropormorphic dinosaur named Mr. Gus, a photo cutout of a tiger named Giant Realistic Flying Tiger and a talking pizza slice named Pizza Steve.

With the series now in its second season, a total of 53 episodes (each episode is 11-minutes long) have been created.  And now a 12-episode DVD titled “Good Mornin'” will be released courtesy of the Cartoon Network.

Included in “Good Mornin'” are the following episodes (with spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 15: Brain Game – Uncle Grandpa and Pizza Steve try to help Adam become a video game master.
  • EPISODE 5: Mustache Cream – Uncle Grandpa and friends need to find emergency mustache cream.
  • EPISODE 6: Nickname – Uncle Grandpa changes a lightbulb.
  • EPISODE 13: Locked Out – Uncle Grandpa and Belly Bag are locked out of their RV.
  • EPISODE 16: Mystery Noise – Uncle Grandpa try to find out the source of an unusual noise.
  • EPISODE 25: Bad Morning – Uncle Grandpa gets out of the wrong side of the bed.  How will this affect him?
  • EPISODE 28: Bezt Frenz – Uncle Grandpa wants to be Pizza Steve’s true best friend.
  • EPISODE 30: Hide and Seek – Uncle Grandpa tries to show others that hide and seek is not an evil game.
  • EPISODE 31: The History of Wrestling – A documentary about one of the nuttiest wrestling matches in history.
  • EPISODE 33: Vacation  – Uncle Grandpa goes on vacation.
  • EPISODE 34: Bezt Frenz – Uncle Grandpa meets his nemesis…Aunt Grandma.
  • EPISODE 35: Grounded – Uncle Grandpa tries to teach Riley a lesson.

VIDEO & AUDIO

“Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin'” is presented in widescreen format. Animation is crystal clear and incorporates the similar big head, big nose style that was seen in “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome”.  The animate series is no doubt colorful and its character designs are quite hilarious but it’s a vibrant series overall.  And with 12 episodes at 11 minutes long, there were no major issues with artifacts on the DVD.

As for the audio, the audio quality features crystal clear dialogue which is understandable and not difficult to hear.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin'” comes with no special features.


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I have watched “Uncle Grandpa” many times before.  It is one of my son’s favorite animated series and to be perfectly honest, I often wonder why.

The series which resolves around everyone’s uncle and grandpa…Uncle Grandpa behaves a like a doofus and when he goes out to help a child, most of the time he messes up big time and the children pay for the mistakes created by Uncle Grandpa and friends.

The concept of this crazy Uncle Grandpa, a talking pizza and talking pouch, let alone a dinosaur, sounds too surreal but it’s what works for this series.

My son and I would disagree on why “Uncle Grandpa” is so popular and my son would say, it’s because he’s so weird and unpredictable that his dumb style is what people love about the show.

I can understand that… but perhaps the character was way too far out for me to enjoy it.  Uncle Grandpa is such a moronic character that I would tell my son that one can lose brain cells of watching this series.  But nevertheless, he loves this series and can’t stop watching it.

And I suppose that is the charm of “Uncle Grandpa”….it’s wacky situations, his way of helping children, his ways of handling problems is so far out, the writers for each episode no doubt try to up the ante of strange occurrences but yet make it child friendly.

A friend of mind likened it to the days of “Ren & Stimpy” and how that series caught a lot of attention for its moronic humor and crazy ways.  Children loved it, adults loved it because it was unusual and different.

But in one episode, one child wants to be a better video gamer so, Uncle Grandpa and friends shrink in order to go inside the child’s brain and in their minds, control him in a way they think is what a video game is.  Another episode has one child searching for a nickname, so Uncle Grandpa puts him through so many tests before giving him a nickname…and the tests the child must go through is so wacky.  Another features Uncle Grandpa jealous that his pizza slice best friend has chosen a moon buddy as his new best friend and more!

There are other humorous episodes but again, it’s whether or not you dig the humor of the series.  If you don’t dig crazy, moronic style humor..then this series is not for you.  But if you laugh at the stupidity of Uncle Grandpa and friends, then “Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin'” will entertain you.

Sure, the series may not be my cup of tea but for my son, his cousin and his friends…they absolutely love this series.  And the fact that the series has received so much interest by fans worldwide, it goes to show that people dig this style of animated comedy series and its crazy, far-out humor!  And as my son puts it, he loves the series because it’s so dumb and doesn’t require one to think all that much. It’s for one to enjoy because it’s so ridiculous and fun!

With a total of 12 hilarious episodes to keep the children (or the young at heart) busy during Spring Break, “Uncle Grandpa – Good Mornin'” is a wacky, strange and hilarious series for those who enjoy dumb comedy!  If that’s you…then this DVD is definitely for you!


 

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