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

December 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Four” is an another fun, action-packed volume as it goes into how Luffy and Ace met and how they would become brothers. Recommended!

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Four

DURATION: Episodes 493-504 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: November 8, 2016


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

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

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


A glimpse of the past, how Luffy and Ace met!

The battle at Marineford has come to a close, but the story of Luffy and Ace’s past has yet to be told! As a boy of only seven, Luffy is reluctantly taken in by the Dadan family of mountain bandits at his grandfather’s request. After many failed attempts, he finally befriends Dadan’s other charge, the moody and reckless Ace. Together with their friend Sabo, the boys loot the junkyard known as the Gray Terminal and battle mighty beasts of the forest.

 Dreaming of becoming pirates, the three form inseparable bonds of brotherhood. But the impending arrival of a Celestial Dragon throws the kingdom into a frenzy as they try to hide the garbage that has shamed their noble city. Playtime is over when Sabo’s family takes their son away and a sinister plan to destroy the Gray Terminal unfolds.


In the last volume of “One Piece”, we witnessed the tragic death of Ace.  As Luffy mourns the death of his brother, the latest episodes featured on “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Four” features on how Luffy and Ace met and how he, Ace and Ace’s friend Sabo would grow up together as children with dreams of becoming pirates.  But how tragedy would eventually lead them to train harder.

As Luffy remembers the past, he knows that he must train harder, become stronger and making a tough decision.

What is “One Piece”?

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

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 18th season and a total of 767 episodes have been aired in Japan.

Despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are in 2016, now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Four” (Episodes 493-504), available now, courtesy of FUNimation.

NOTE: Episode 492 featuring Luffy teaming up with Toriko is not included for the North American DVD release.

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


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO :

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

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 495 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Jessica Cavanagh (voice of Curly Dadan) and Newton Pittman (voice of Magra).

DISC 2:

  • Episode 503 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Chris Burnett and Morgan Garrett.
  • Inside Look: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World – (14:41) Funimation staff discuss Ace’s death and why it was a tragic story that affected viewers worldwide.
  • Textless Opening Song – “Fight Together”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Four”, the episodes are from the Japanese 14th season (featuring episodes 493-504) as this volume features another heartbreaking story but one that gives people a breather from the shocking and tragic death of Ace but now going back in the past to show how Luffy and Ace have a special bond, but also how there was another character which Luffy and Ace considered as brothers.

With episodes 493-504, as Luffy mourns the death of Ace, we get to watch flashback episodes when he and Ace were young and how Ace was really bad towards Luffy but eventually they became brothers, along with another person named Sabo.

The three made a decision to become pirates and trained hard to become stronger.  But most importantly, to show how Ace was an important figure in Luffy’s life and how Luffy really had no one but Ace and Sabo.  But the three get in trouble and are captured by the pirate, Bluejam.

While the last DVD volume was truly epic, heartbreaking and no doubt an emotional rollercoaster, we learn that both Ace and Luffy had also faced a major heartbreaking tragedy that would set them on a new path to become stronger and achieve their goals to become pirates.

For “One Piece” fans, this latest volume does showcase Luffy and Ace as children but it’s still action-packed, full of humor but also tragedy, so prepare yourself for another sad tragic demise of a character.

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

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

Unfortunately, episode 492 is not included on this DVD as it’s a collaboration episode between Luffy and Toriko (of the “Toriko” anime series). And possibly due to licensing issues, this episode was not included in this volume.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Eight, Voyage Four” is an another fun, action-packed volume as it goes into how Luffy and Ace met and how they would become brothers. Recommended!

 

Texas Rising/Sons of Liberty Double Feature (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Both History/A&E mini-series were entertaining, informative but also exciting!  Definitely one of the best re-enactments and historical mini-series to be featured by History, “Texas Rising/Sons of Liberty” Double Feature on DVD is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2015 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Texas Rising/Sons of Liberty Double Feature

AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: Texas Rising: 7 Hrs., 30 Minutes; Sons of Liberty: 270 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Texas Rising: 2:40:1 Widescreen Presentation, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish; Sons of Liberty: 1:78:1 Widescreen Presentation, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate/History/A&E Networks

RATED: N/A

Release Date: November 22, 2016


Texas Rising

Directed by Roland Joffe

Written by Darrell Fetty, Leslie Greif, George Nihil

Produced by Herb Nanas, Joanne Rubino

Co-Producer: David Marion Wilkinson

Executive Producers: Leslie Greif, Adam Reed

Co-Executive Producer: Barry M. Berg

Supervising Producer: Jose Ludlow

Music by Bruce Broughton, John Debney

Cinematographer: Arthur Reinhart

Edited by Don Cassidy

Casting by Fern Champion

Production Design by Salvador Parra

Art Direction by Francisco Blanc, Chris Gallipoli, Nicolas Scabini

Costume Design by Karri Hutchinson, Michele Michel

Sons of Liberty

Directed by Kari Skogland

Written by Stephen David, Kirk Ellis, Zachary Herrman, Jordan Rosenblum, Kari Skogland, David C. White

Produced by Peter Feldman, Mitch Engel, Mathew Stillman

Executive Producer: Stephen David, Elaine Frontain Bryant, Matthew Gross, Dirk Hoogstra, Russell McCarroll

Co-Executive Producer: Tim W. Kelly, Kari Skogland

Associate Producer: Brandy Crawford, Jeff Robinson

Associate Producer: Brandy Crawford

Music by Lorne Balfe

Cinematography by George Steel

Edited by Sean Albertson, Paul Trejo, Jonathan Soule

Casting by Laura Grosu, Amy Hubbard, Avy Kaufman

Production Design by Rob Gray

Art Direction by Vraciu Eduard Daniel, Servan Porupca, Vlad Roseanu

Set Decoration by Andreea Hillerin, James Wilcock

Series Costume Design by Donna Zakowska


Texas Rising

Starring:

Bill Paxton as Sam Houston

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as “Deaf” Smith

Olivier Martinez as Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

Thomas Jane as James Wykoff

Crispin Glover as Mosley Baker

Jeremy Davies as Ephraim Knowles

Rhys Coiro as Vern Elwood

Christopher McDonald as Henry Karnes

Max Thieriot as Jack Hays

Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Emily West

Robert Knepper as Empresario Buckley

Chad Michael Murray as Mirabeau Lamar

Jeff Fahey as Thomas Rusk

Sarah Jones as Pauline Wykoff

Joe Egender as Beans Wilkins

Robert Baker as Big Foot Wallace

Stephen Monroe Taylor as Gator Davis

Trevor Donovan as Kit Acklin

Rob Morrow as Colonel James Fannin

Kris Kristofferson as Andrew Jackson

Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson

Ray Liotta as Lorca

Gerardo Taracena as Manuel Flores

Raul Mendez as Juan Seguin

Jacob Lofland as Colby Pit

Antonio de la Vega as Almonte

Darrel Fetty as Doc Ewing

Sons of Liberty

Starring:

Ben Barnes as Sam Adams

Marton Csokas as General Thomas Gage

Ryan Eggold as Joseph Warren

Henry Thomas as John Adams

Michael Raymond-James as Paul Revere

Rafe Spall as John Hancock

Jason O’Mara as George Washington

Dean Norris as Ben Franklin

Shane Taylor as Thomas Preston

Emily Berrington as Margaret Kemble Gage

Kevin Ryan as John Pitcairn

Diarmaid Murtagh as Tim Kelly

Darren Connolly as Seargeant Urquhart


HISTORY(R) brings to life the true story of how the people of Texas fought for freedom against the mighty Mexican military that had overtaken the Alamo. The legendary Texas Rangers assembled for the first time against General Santa Anna’s massive military might. United under the leadership of Sam Houston (Paxton) and with the help of his ragtag army, they passionately battled for life and country and the Lone Star State.

Anarchy rules in 1776 as a secret group of radical young Americans join together in the fight for independence from the sovereign roll of a king and his empire. They test authority. They incite protest. They create the blueprint for modern democracy… as they Sons of Liberty.


In 2015, HISTORY/A&E released two thrilling mini-series, “Texas Rising” and “Sons of Liberty”.  And now, both will be released on DVD as a double feature!

“Texas Rising” is a 10-hour television mini-series based on the Texas Revolution against Mexico and a backstory of how the Texas Rangers were created.

Directed by Roland Joffe (“The Killing Fields”, “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Mission”), the miniseries was co-written by Darrell Fetty, Leslie Greif and George Nehil.

The series would feature an all-star cast which would include Bill Paxton (“Titanic”, “Apollo 13”, “Edge of Tomorrow”), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”, “The Losers”, “The Possession”), Olivier Martinez (“Unfaithful”, “S.W.A.T.”, “Taking Lives”), Thomas Jane (“The Mist”, “Deep Blue Sea”, “Dreamcatcher”), Crispin Glover (“Back to the Future”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Charlie’s Angels”), Jeremy Davies (“Saving PRivate Ryan”, “Lost”, “Secretary”), Christopher MacDonald (“Happy Gilmore, “Thelma & Louise”, “Harry’s Law”), Max Thieriot (“Jumper”, “Bates Motel”, “The Pacifier”), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“The Accountant”, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, “Colombiana”) and many more.

After the defeat and executions of those defending The Alamo on March 7, 1836 by Mexico’s Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (portrayed by Olivier Martinez) and his soldiers, having executed all men, Santa Anna allows a few of the women to survive: Emily D. West (portrayed by Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and Susana Dickinson (portrayed by Alixandra von Renner).

At the outpost in Texas, Sam Houston’s (portrayed by Bill Paxton) men grow weary that they do not go to the Alamo to fight against the Mexican army, but hearing the grave news, he decides to keep his soldiers in Texas and not fight just yet, which many of the men start to resent Houston as they want revenge.

As a few soldiers go to check on the Alamo, they discover a few Mexican soldiers being pursued by Karankawa Indians and the soldiers go to rescue the women from both the Mexican Army and the Indians.  When they bring the women back to camp, the women reveal what happened at the Alamo and why they were the only survivors.

Because Houston feels his army is still limited and not ready to fight against Santa Anna’s army, and abandon their stronghold in Goliad and join forces with others in Victoria.  But Colonel Fannin and his men refuse to listen and end up being ambushed by General Urrea and are all massacred by Colonel Po0rtilla’s soldiers.

When will Sam Houston allow his restless men to fight against Santa Anna’s army?

Meanwhile, Houston’s Texas Rangers which include hero “Deaf” Smith (portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan), half white/Indian Billy Anderson (portrayed by Brendan Fraser) and other men try to fight the Indians and rescue others in need.

“Sons of Liberty” is a three part miniseries about the start of the Revolutionary War, the negotiations of the Second Continental Congress in Boston, Massachusetts and the signing of the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The series follows people from the British Colonies and British America who shows their allegiance to Great Britain.  But others in the Colonies are not supportive of the British and with their resistance, the Sons of Liberty are created.

Directed by Kari Skogland (“White Lies”, “The Stone Angel”, “Fifty Dead Mean Walking”) and co-written by Stephen David, Kirk Ellis, Zachary Herrmann, Jordan Rosenblum, Kari Skogland and David C. White, the series would star Ben Barnes (“The Chronicles of Narnia” films, “Stardust”), Marton Csokas (“Lord of the Rings” films, “The Equalizer”), Ryan Eggold (“The Blacklist”, “90210”, “Bloom”), Henry Thomas (“E.T.”, “Gang of New York”, “Legends of the Fall”), Michael Raymond-James (“Jack Reacher”, “Black Snake Moan”, “The Finest Hours”), Rafe Spall (“Prometheus”, “Life of Pi”, “Shaun of the Dead”), Jason O’Mara (“Resident Evil: Extinction”, “One for the Money”), Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”), Shane Taylor (“Band of Brothers”, “The Day of the Triffids”) and Emily Berrington (“The Inbetweeners 2”, “The Last Showing”).

The mini-series is a rough telling of the American revolutionary and focusing on Samuel Adams (portrayed by Ben Barnes), John Adams (portrayed by Henry Thomas), Benjamin Franklin (portrayed by Dean Norris), John Hancock (portrayed by Rafe Spall), Paul Revere (portrayed by Michael Raymond-James), George Washington (portrayed by Jason O’Mara) and British General Thomas Gage (portrayed by Marton Csokas).

The series begins in 1765 and showing how the colonies are living under British oppression.  As local gangs fight in Boston and Samuel Adams, a tax collector and pub owner is not paying his own taxes, the Crown puts a warrant out for his arrest. But when a young boy is killed during an altercation between the British loyalists and the Colonists, the conflict is further escalated when the Redcoats begin massacring colonists.

As the Colonist fight back and destroy 600,000 pounds of tea in the Boston Harbor in 1773, King George sends General Thomas Gage to Boston to restore balance.  But the Colonists are unaware of how much a tyrant General Gage truly is and are forced to fight back.  But can the Colonists succeed?


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Texas Rising” is presented in 2:40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and “Sons of Liberty” is presented in 1:78:1 widescreen presentation and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio.

The film is presented in DVD format but for those who want the best picture quality, may want to seek out the Blu-ray release.  But on DVD, the picture quality is very good, as best as it can get on DVD.  Audio quality via its dialogue and sound effects (gunshots to explosions) are crystal clear through the front and surround channels.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Texas Rising” comes with the following special features (on the final disc of the mini-series):

  • Capturing the Revolution: Filming Texas Rising – (14:33) The making of “Texas Rising”.
  • Sam Houston: A Man of the Revolution – (13:57) A featurette on Sam Houston.  Actor Bill Paxton playing Sam Houston and how he is related to the real Sam Houston and more.
  • General Santa Anna: Leading Mexico – (12:19) A featurette about General Santa Anna.

“Sons of Liberty” comes with the following special features (on the final disc of the mini-series):

  • Lensing Liberty – (9:36) A featurette on the making of “Sons of Liberty” and how to incorporate many people and scenes.
  • Choreography of War – (9:08) A featurette on creating the battle scenes and special effects for “Sons of Liberty”.
  • Men of Independence – (16:31) A featurette on the historical figures featured on “Sons of Liberty”.

Having been a fan of History Channel re-enactments, in 2015, A&E/History Channel did a magnificent job in creating two mini-series from two different era’s in American history.

“Texas Rising” is possibly the most ambitious and most exciting miniseries from the network yet.  From a talented cast featuring a plethora of stars, the amount of different storylines featuring various characters running concurrently and everything from direction, writing, production and set design, costume design and of course, the acting lent to the success of the miniseries.

Epic in scale and so much featured in the various episodes of the miniseries, I was absolutely astonished by how well-done “Texas Rising” was created.

Featuring romance, tragedy, violence but also showing various perspectives from Sam Houston and his men, General Santa Anna and his soldiers and the many different characters and how their lives interwine among one another and capturing the despair but also the politics of that era.  It was a well-done miniseries!

“Sons of Liberty” is also a series featuring a lot of talent. Unlike “Texas Rising” which runs about 7 hours and 30 minutes, this series which focuses on Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, George Washington and others, may run only 270 minutes but the writers did a wonderful job trying to tie everything together, although many scenes were inspired by the events of that time, it is not 100% historically accurate, as the writers aim were to incorporate a lot of these events into one.

But the storyline of the colonists under an oppressive British ruler and how the plans to create a nation separate from the British was actually quite fascinating to watch and there are characters and situations that I was not even aware about until I watched the series.

Similar to “Texas Rising”, the writing, the acting and production and costume design are well-done.  But could have probably have been better with several more episodes to build character dynamics and relationships than the few episodes featured.

As for the Blu-ray release, it’s important to emphasize that this release is only a DVD release but if you want the best picture quality, the Blu-ray release for both miniseries released in 2015 can still be found online.

Nevertheless, both History/A&E mini-series were entertaining, informative but also exciting!  Definitely one of the best re-enactments and historical mini-series to be featured by History, “Texas Rising/Sons of Liberty” Double Feature on DVD is recommended!

 

Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For “Power Rangers” fans who wants to take part in the Christmas spirit, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” is a DVD that I recommend for the young fans and also the young at heart!

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


DVD TITLE: Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Breakout

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2015

DURATION: 92 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: July 5, 2016


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

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

Produced by Sally Campbell

Executive Produced by Judd Lynn, Brian Casentini, Haim Saban

Music by Noam Kaniel

Cinematography by Kevin Riley, D.J. Stipsen

Edited by Allanah Milne

Casting by Iris Hampton

Production Design by Tracey Collins

Art Direction by Davin Voot

Costume Design by Sarah Voon


Starring:

Brennan Mejia as Tyler Navarro/Red Dino Charge Ranger

Camille Hyde as Shelby Watkins/Pink Dino Charge Ranger

Yoshua Sudarso as Koda/Blue Dino Charge Ranger

Michael Taber as Riley Griffin/Green Dino Charge Ranger

James Davies as Chase Randall/Black Dino Charge Ranger

Claire Blackwelder as Kendall Morgan/Purple Dino Charge Ranger

Campbell Cooley as the Mecha Voice

Davi Santos as Ivan

Estevez Gillespie as Wrench

Paul Harrop as Fury

Eve Gordon as Keeper

Adam Gardiner as Sledge

Jackie Clarke as Poisandra

Ryan Carter as Heckyl


Join the Power Rangers on a quest for a new hero! Get set for dino-charged adventure and nonstop thrills as the Power Rangers discover their newest ally, the Purple Ranger! But when the Purple Ranger decides to leave the team, it will take all of the Power Rangers’ skills combined to battle the villainous Sledge – and find a new hero fit for the Purple Energem – in this action-packed collection that features the bonus episode, “Race to Rescue Christmas.”


With the holidays around the corner, fans of “Power Rangers: Dino Charger” will no doubt be looking forward to the release of the upcoming DVD titled “Hero” which comes with a special Christmas episode.

What is “Power Rangers: Dino Charge”?

In 2015, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” debuted on television.

The 22nd season of the “Power Rangers” series, the series would star Brennan Mejia, Camille Hyde, Yoshua Sudarso, Michael Taber, James Davies, and Claire Blackwelder.

The storyline begins with the opening narration:

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

As Sledge continues to look for the Energems, a team of Power Rangers form to find the the Energems first and fight various enemies.

As “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” features a total of 22 episodes, “Hero” is the fifth “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” DVD to be released and contains episodes 17-20 + the Christmas special.

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

  • Episode 17 – “World Famous (in New Zealand)” – The Power Rangers come in contact with a Purple Ranger.
  • Episode 18 – “Deep Down Under” –  Sledge is after the Plesio Zord…the Rangers must find it first!
  • Episode 19 – “Wishing for a Hero” – Kendall and the Rangers must find one who can bond with the Purple Energem.
  • Episode 20 – “One More Energem” – Sledge has two Energems and the Rangers and Kendall must find a way to defeat him.
  • Christmas Special – “Race to Rescue Christmas” – Poisandra steals Santa’s tablet and the Rangers must get it back to save Christmas.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

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

Closed Captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” 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: Dino Charge” is rather interesting because of the dinosaur angle.

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

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

As for this DVD volume titled “Hero”, these episodes revolve around who can be the Purple Ranger.  And trying to stop Sledge, who has managed to get two Energems.

With this volume being a Christmas DVD release, included is a Christmas special which features scenes from past episodes, but most importantly, the Power Rangers trying to save Christmas by retrieving Santa’s stolen tablet.

While I wished there are more episodes than just the standard four, it does help to have the extra special included.   Fans of the series or parents of children who love “Power Rangers: Dino Charge”, will no doubt enjoy this DVD.

As for the DVD, picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and there are no special features. Fortunately, an UltraViolet digital HD code was included.

Overall, for “Power Rangers” fans who wants to take part in the Christmas spirit, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” is a DVD that I recommend for the young fans and also the young at heart!

 

Ancient Aliens: Season 9 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Anything is possible and there are so many unexplained things in our planet, let alone the entire galaxy and universe. If these unexplained mysteries interest you, then you will no doubt enjoy “Ancient Aliens”.

Image courtesy of © 2016 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Ancient Aliens: Season 9

AIR DATE: 2016

DURATION: Episodes 104-118 (15 Episodes total – 10 Hrs., 30 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4×3 Full Screen, 1:78:1 Presentation, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate/History/A&E Networks

RATED: N/A

Release Date: October 25, 2016


Directed by Susan E. Leventhal

Written by Kaylan Eggert, Eric Murphy,

Executive Producers: David Silver

Local Producer: Stanislav Solovkin

Archival Producer: Marianna Yarovskaya

Line Producer: Michelle Gorski

Music by Alex Khaskin

Edited by Eric Sievering


Starring:

Narration by Robert Clotworthy

Giorgio Tsoukalos

David Childress

Jonathan Young, Founding Curator Joseph Campbell Archives

Erich von Daniken

Jason Martell

George Noory

William Henry

David Wilcock

Michael Dennin

Mike Bara

Nick Redfern

Linda Moulton Howe

Richard Rader

Robert Bauval

Kathleen McGowan

Domic Steavu

Deepak Shimkhada

Hugh Newman

Ariel Bar Tzadok


Pyramids . . . hidden beneath the ice of Antarctica. Egyptian hieroglyphs of flying ships . . . carved on sandstone walls in Australia. As technology advances, scientists and archaeologists are making new, groundbreaking discoveries at an unprecedented rate. According to Ancient Astronaut theorists, these discoveries may reveal not only that extraterrestrials visited Earth in the distant past, but that they may still be among us today. On this season of Ancient Aliens® the search for answers strikes out into uncharted territory, examining the least explored corners of the Earth, the farthest reaches of space, and even the mysteries that lie within us.


In 2010, “Ancient Aliens” made its debut on the History Channel and now it’s on its ninth season.

A documentary style series which presents hypothesis of ancient astronauts and how historical texts, archaeology and legendary stories may contain evidence of past-human extraterrestrial contact.

The ninth season which aired from May – September 2016 features the following episodes:

  • Pyramids of Antarctica – Ancient astronaut theorists discuss the ice-covered structures on Antarctica and the Piri Reis Map.
  • Destination Mars – Could manned missions to Mars reveal an existence of extraterrestrial intervention?
  • The Next Humans – Could cybernetics or robots be the next step of human evolution?
  • The New Evidence – New evidence of extraterrestrials through the use of satellite, radar and thermal scanning.
  • The Visionaries – Could Steve Jobs, Srinivasa Ramanujan be subconsciously influenced by extraterrestrials.
  • Decoding the Cosmic Egg – The symbolic use of the egg as a symbol throughout cultures worldwide.
  • The Wisdom Keepers – Do the Aboriginal Australians have a connection with extraterrestrials via Dreamtime?
  • The Mysterious Nine – The recurrence of the number nine in religious, cultural, philosophical and occult materials.  Can it be connected to extaterrestrials?
  • The Hidden Empire – The possibility of a mysterious country of China that may contact extraterrestrial civilizations and materials.
  • The Prototypes – Did extraterrestrials influence or alter the development of the Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo floresiensis.
  • Space Station Moon – Experts and non-experts speculate that the moon may not be a natural celestial object.
  • Russia’s Secret Files – Were there otherworldly visitations that predate the establishment of the Russian nation?
  • Beyond Roswell – Did the FBI hide evidence of extraterrestrials after the Roswell UFO incident?
  • The Returned – About the alien abduction phenomenon and those who claim to be abducted and returned.
  • Shiva the Destroyer – Does the Hindu deity Shiva have a link to extraterrestrials and atomic energy?

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ancient Aliens: Season 9” is presented in widescreen (1:78:1 aspect ratio). For the most part, the series is well-edited with great use of modern to archived sourced footage, great use of visual effects and also for the most part, combined with modern interviews, picture quality looks good as one can expect for DVD.

As for audio, the series is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio and narration and interviews are clear and understandable.

The show is presented in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ancient Aliens: Season 9” comes with no special features.


During my college years, I used to work at a job doing data entry in the wee hours of the morning.  And I would often listen to AM radio for talk shows that aired late at night to early morning and would listen to Art Bell and other scientists and those involved in the field discussing extraterrestrials, government coverups, to other unexplained mysteries.

And I could see why many people would be interested in pseudoscience (a term or practice presented as scientific method.  Claims that are contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable).

But let’s take a look at season 9 of “Ancient Aliens”.  The first episode deals with pyramids that were found in Antarctica.  There is a fact that there are pyramids all over the world, but the question is why?  If pyramids are found in Antarctica, (others believe they are rock formations), does this prove a basis that life existed in Antarctica before it became frozen?

The episode brings up a 1513 map known as the Piri Reis map compiled by the Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis.    The map shows with great accuracy the western coasts of Europe, North Africa and the coast of Brazil.  Including various islands.  But it has become a focus for pseudohistoric claims because it shows Antarctica.  Others feel this is not Antarctica and the map is not fully accurate because it utilized multiple maps and thus the locations were distorted.  I see things in both perspectives and episodes such as this is quite intriguing because I always see potential of what-if’s.

The “Destination Mars” episode is debatable and this goes into rock formations that people have seen in photos and are quick to say they are sculptures.  Scientists say rock formations, there are no human sculptures on Mars.  The debates go on and really, the only way these debates will ever stop is when we have the technology to have humans colonize the planet.

Which brings up the episode “The Next Humans” and while I understand the discussion of robots and the the concern of robots being the final step in human evolution, the part I found interesting is humans traveling and how the body changes with gravity, as we have seen with astronauts.  If people were affected by gravity, eyes getting bigger, heads growing longer, bodies becoming more elongated, that would be quite interesting and another topic that I found intriguing.

While episodes such as “The Visionaries” and saying Steven Jobs may be subconsciously influenced by extraterrestrials being a bit too farfetched.

I do find “The Wisdom Keepers” interesting about the Aboriginal Australians and Dreamtime and the stories passed down from their ancestors.

The episode titled “The Prototypes” is also very interesting as humans can not find a link to various Indian cultures and Europeans. There is a missing link.

The episode “Beyond Roswell” and “The Returned” are topics you often hear about.  That FBI hid evidence of extraterrestrials from the Roswell UFO incident and how science greatly changed after Roswell.  To the returned and the discussion of Betty and Barney Hill.

There are a lot of episodes featured in season nine that was really well-edited and goes into detail supporting a new perspective or various perspectives that is suggested, not made as fact but left for the viewer to come to their own conclusion.

Whether or not you believe each episode, it is quite intriguing to hear from theorists who really believe in such things, may it not be based on true scientific evidence but may it be art etched by ancestors in caves long ago, stories passed down from ancestors or discoveries with new modern technology but “Ancient Aliens” does a great job in presenting it and making viewers wonder if such perspectives, ideas are possible.

Anything is possible and there are so many unexplained things in our planet, let alone the entire galaxy and universe.

If these unexplained mysteries interest you, then you will no doubt enjoy “Ancient Aliens”.

 

Guilt: Season One (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Guilt” is a series that had potential to be an entertaining and captivating mystery drama series, but by trying to incorporate too much, the series ends up being too farfetched for its own good. “Guilt: Season One” is entertaining but a series with lost potential.

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


DVD TITLE: Guilt: Season One

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 10 Episodes (420 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Widescreen Presentation, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Lions Gate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: October 18, 2016


Created by Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price

Directed by Larry Shaw, Mairzee Almas, Gary Fleder, Elizabeth Allen Rosenblaum

Written by Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price, Tegan Shohet, Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, Shaina Fewell, Fredrick,Kotto, Bryan Q Miller, Nelson Soler, Elle Triedman

Produced by Suzanne Reid, Gideo Amir

Co-Producer: Shaina Fewell, Kari Hobson, Gerry Gavigan

Executive Produced by Stephen McPherson, Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price, Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer

Co-Executive Producer: Elle Triedman, Ildiko Kemeny, David Minkowski

Music by Daniel Licht

Cinematography by Theo van de Sande

Edited by Anthony Pinker, Kevin hale, Jason Hellmann

Production Design by Laszlo Rajk

Art Direction by Monika Esztan

Set Decoration by Rebecca Gillies

Costume Design by Sam Perry, Peggy Stamper


Starring:

Daisy Head as Grace Atwood

Emily Tremaine as Natalie Atwood

Cristian Solimeno as Detective Sergeant Alex Bruno

Naomi Ryan as Gwendolyn Hall

Simona Brown as Roz Walters

Zachary Fall as Luc Pascal

Kevin Ryan as Patrick Ryan

Sam Cassidy as Prince Theo

Billy Zane as Stan Gutterie

Robbie Gee as DCI Pike

Amber Jean Rowan as Kaley


When a young woman is brutally murdered in her London flat, the search for her killer leads to scandal and intrigue stretching all the way from underground sex clubs to the highest levels of the Royal family.


In June 2016, the first season of “Guilt”, a British/American mystery drama aired on Freeform.

Created by Kathryn Price (“The Game Plan”, “The Mole”, “Fallen”) and Nichole Millard (“The Game Plan”, “Fallen”), the series stars Daisy Head (“The Last Seven”, “Underworld: Blood Wars”, “When Calls the Heart”), Emily Tremaine (“Vinyl”, “The Blacklist”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Cristian Solimeno (“Rush”, “Mother of Tears”, “Highlander: The Source”), Naomi Ryan (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Honeytrap”, “Mile High”), Simona Brown (“Man Up”, “Murdered by My Boyfriend”, “The Night Manager”), Zachary Fall (“Allies”, “Margo Learns French”), Kevin Ryan (“Copper”, “Laredo”, “Paddy’s in the Boot”), Sam Cassidy (“Yeti”, “Stella”) and Billy Zane (“Titanic”, “Back to the Future” films, “The Phantom”).

And now “Guilt: Season One” will be available on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.

The series begins with Grace Atwood (portrayed by Daisy Head), an American student in London and her roommate Molly Ryan (portrayed by Rebekah Wainwright) having a party at their flat.

While Grace is with her boyfriend Luc Pascal (portrayed by Zachary Fall), Molly is drunk and enters her room and is murdered.

The following day, Grace, Luc and her other roommate Roz Walters (portrayed by Simona Brown) discover the body of Molly. Immediately, Grace and Luc become the prime suspects.

We are then introduced to Boston-based Assistant Direct Attorney Natalie Atwood (portrayed by Emily Tremaine) who is brilliant at her job.  She receives a call about her sister and leaves to London immediately.

Pursuing the case is D.S. Alex Bruno (portrayed by Cristian Solimeno) who is the lead investigator, along with crown prosecutor Gwendolyn Hall (portrayed by Naomi Ryan) who are trying to find out if Grace and Luc killed Molly.

When Natalie arrives in London, she knows that Grace can’t possibly murder anyone.  But when media and lawyers unearth video footage of Grace’s past, her affair and her argument/fight with Molly, Natalie tries to keep the faith that Grace didn’t, but Grace’s actions make her seem guilty.

Meanwhile, Grace and Natalie’s father James (portrayed by Anthony Head) has hired notorious lawyer Stan Gutterie (portrayed by Billy Zane) to represent Grace.

Also, Molly’s older brother Patrick Ryan (portrayed by Kevin Ryan) wants retribution for Molly’s death and Prince Theo, a member of the British Royal Family may have a connection with Molly.

As the media start to point the finger at Grace, can Natalie and investigators find a way to prove that Molly is innocent.

Who really murdered Molly?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Guilt: Season One” is presented in 1:78:1 widescreen presentation and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD.  The series features crystal clear dialogue and music and surround channels are primarily for ambiance.

Subtitles are in English SDH..

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Guilt: Season One” comes the following special features:

  • “Guilt”: Sex, Sin & Scandal – (8:13) The themes for “Guilt”, featuring interviews with cast and crew.
  • Deleted Scenes – (7:48) featuring deleted scenes from the series.

EXTRAS:

“Guilt: Season One” comes an UltraViolet digital code.


Upon watching the first episode of “Guilt”, one may find themselves thinking of the Amanda Knox case and the death of Meredith Kercher.

But as the show progresses, “Guilt” becomes a series that involves conspiracies, royalty, family out for revenge, a media circus, crooked lawyers, bad parenting, and a convoluted story of too much deviations from the original plot, many characters while trying to remain hip and cool for the audience.

While the series takes a long time to answer the question of “Who is responsible for a major murder?”.

As the series starts off with pointing the finger on Grace Atwood, the problem is that the story gets away from that plot and tries to introduce others that may be involved and one of the primary characters, Boston-based assistant D.A., Natalie sees her role minimized unfortunately due to writers wanting to incorporate other key players.

Also, another problem is that the character Grace is hardheaded and does so many ridiculous things that writers tried to incorporate characters that have their own problematic issues that the storyline strays away too much for its own good.

I lost faith in Grace’s character (and other characters) by the end of the series, so much that I didn’t care if she was guilty or not.  And focusing on characters Natalie Atwood (portrayed by Emily Tremaine), detective sergeant Alex Bruno (portrayed by Cristian Solimeno) or even Stan Gutterie (portrayed Billy Zane) would have made a more interesting storyline, but then it would be a bit banal and too similar to American mystery drama series.

Overall, “Guilt” is a series that had potential to be an entertaining and captivating mystery drama series, but by trying to incorporate too much, the series ends up being too farfetched for its own good.

“Guilt: Season One” is entertaining but a series with lost potential.


 

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If Frank Zappa’s legacy is going to extend through the next generation of music fans, one would hope that this documentary reaches out to existing, the new, the curious and those who are open to discovering Frank’s music. “Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Les Films Du Poisson, UFA Fiction, ARTE France and SWR. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Eat That Question

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 93 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:33:1 Full Screen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (Language, Some Sexual References and Brief Nudity)

AVAILABLE ON: September 27, 2016


Directed by Thorsten Schutte

Written by Lorene Scafaria

Produced by Estelle Fialon

Co-Producer: Arte France, Jochen Laube

Executive Produced by Thorsten Schutte, Ahmet Zappa, Gail Zappa

Associate Producer: Markus Brunnemann, yael Fogiel, Laetitia Gonzalez, Nico Hofmann, Joachim Kosack

Cinematography by Brett Pawlak

Edited by Willibald Wonneberger


Starring:

Frank Zappa

Gail Zappa

Steve Allen

Angel

Chuck Ash

Arthur Barrow

Adrian Belew

Theodore Bukel

Jimmy Carl Buck

Pierre Boulez

Thomas Braden

Napoleon Murphy Broc

Tom Brokaw

Wally Bruner

Paul Carman

Del Casher

Connie Chung

Vinnie Colaiuta

Katie Couric

Robin Denselow

Mike Douglas

George Duke


Told solely through rare and never before seen historic footage of Frank Zappa’s highly acclaimed 30-year career, this unique 90 minute documentary is an energetic celebration of an often outspoken and brilliant musician. Unforgettable Zappa interviews and performances from one of rock and roll’s most legendary self-taught musicians have been painstakingly gathered across decades by director THORSTEN SCHÜTTE from the obscure vaults of TV stations around the world to create this unparalleled look at one of the brightest minds popular music has ever witnessed.


Frank Zappa, the American musician and songwriter who created lyrics which reflected his iconoclastic views of the social and political establishment and was quick to challenge politicians as an advocate for the freedom of speech and the abolition of censorship.

Considering the fact that he was counterculture and was against the music industry, he was a highly productive music artist and was respected for his ability to not be controlled by the music industry, worked as an independent artist for the majority of his career and did things on his own.

Voted by “Rolling Stone Magazine” as one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” (voted #71) and “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” (22), Frank Zappa is well-respected not just by admirers in the United States but found commercial success in Europe.

In 2016, filmmaker Thorsten Schutte would create a film to pay respect to Frank Zappa and his highly acclaimed 30-year career with his documentary “Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words”.

Featuring a culmination of interviews, rare footage, archived news and television performances, concert footage and more, Schutte’s film is a wonderful collage showcasing the musical oeuvre and also the philosophy of one of the greatest music artists, musicians, producers despite that had his supporters but also detractors for his outspoken brilliance.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words” is presented in 1:33:1 and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.

The documentary is a culmination of archived interviews, concert performances, television appearances and more.  So, while archived sources vary depending on the scene, for the most part, picture quality is good and audio which also comes from various archived sources, is very good.

Subtitles are in English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words” comes with a theatrical trailer.


When it comes to Frank Zappa, while I discovered his music thanks to “Valley Girl” in the ’80s, I discovered more of his philosophy and his music through following the music of his son Dweezil Zappa and seeing Dweezel and Moon Unit on MTV and then also following Ahmet Zappa later on.

But what led me to Frank Zappa’s music is the Los Angeles radio station, KROQ.  Where I listened to a lot of alternative rock music and Frank Zappa’s music would be played on the station throughout the ’80s and early ’90s.

But while a lot of us who saw Frank Zappa on television was mostly about music censorship, which he was vehemently against, I’ve always wanted to know more about Frank Zappa beyond what one can find on YouTube and this is where Thorsten Schutte’s documentary, “Eat that Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words” does remarkably and that is creating a timeline but also a context of Frank Zappa showcasing his music, his philosophy, his feelings towards commercial success up to his final TV interview before his death.

And what we have is a fantastic documentary that really show us how bold, how intelligent and how brilliant Frank Zappa really was.

While I am very proud of what Thorsten Schutte was able to accomplish with this film, I hope its brilliance is not overshadowed by the drama (or here) that is ongoing between the Zappa brothers.  Watching this documentary, I can only picture in my mind of how Frank Zappa would react to what’s going on with his family right now and its unfortunate.

If Frank Zappa’s legacy is going to extend through the next generation of music fans, one would hope that this documentary reaches out to existing, the new, the curious and those who are open to discovering Frank’s music.

“Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words” is highly recommended!


 

Sherpa (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Jennifer Peedom’s “Sherpa” is an insightful and wonderful documentary on Sherpa culture, big business, high tension, unfortunate tragedy but also hope for changes in the system after the avalanche tragedy of 2014. “Sherpa” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2015 Felix Media Ply Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Sherpa

YEAR OF FILM: 2015

DURATION: 96 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 2:35:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Lions Gate

RATED: N/A

Release Date: October 11, 2016


Directed by Jennifer Peedom

Written by Jennifer Peedom

Produced by Bridget Ikin, John Smithson

Executive Producer: John Maynard, David Griffin, David Gross

Music by Antony Partos

Cinematography by Renan Ozturk, Hugh Miller, Ken Sauls

Edited by Christian Gazal


Every year, Western mountain climbers make news ascending Mount Everest. But the compelling stories of the Sherpas, the Nepalese guides who risk their lives to provide for their families, have gone untold — until now. SHERPA chronicles a fateful 2014 expedition and the tragic avalanche that spurred the Sherpas to make a stand for human rights and respect. SHERPA will forever change the way you look at the world’s most famous mountain — and the brave guides who navigate it.


Sherpa.  They are an ethnic group in eastern Nepal and are the guides that have helped climbers accomplish their Mount Everest expeditions.

The importance of the Sherpa people as guides have been well-documented on film, including the 1924 J.B.L. Noel documentary “The Epic of Everest” about English mountaineers Andrew Irvine and George Mallory to Eric Valli’s documentary “Himalaya” about the life of villagers in the area.

We know that life is difficult, making money is difficult in Nepal.  But while many large expeditions every year on Mount Everest has led to multi-million dollar industry, the government makes the money, while the Sherpa risk their lives by being guides to those on an expedition.

In 2013, the Serpa people showed how they were not subservient people to the foreigners as a fight had broken out.  But what one would not expected is the deadly 2014 expedition due to a tragic avalanche and what came after the fatal expedition.

Documenting events that have happened in the area from 2013-2014, filmmaker Jennifer Peedom and her film crew were there to document the expeditions of 2013 and 2014 for her 2015 film, “Sherpa”.

“Sherpa” is a film that follows Phurba Tashi, a Sherpa who has made 21 Mount Everest ascents and is trying to go for the world record.  His family dislikes Phurba taking on this risky job, fearing that he will never come back, but Phurba enjoys it and feels its the only way to make good money.

His latest job is for New Zealand’s Russel Brice who runs one of the more reputable expedition company’s for Mt. Everest, Himex.

Phurba gathers a team of Sherpas to take these foreign climbers up Mt. Everest, but what they are not aware or prepared for is a major ice avalanche which would kill over a dozen Sherpas.

As Brice and his crew feel the expedition must go-on and feels that mountaineering has its risks, for business, he wants to continue with the expedition.

Meanwhile, after the deaths of their own people, the Sherpas stage a protest and in solidarity, want to hit back at the government for their unfair treatment of Sherpa guides who hardly make money versus the government who are pocketing millions from these expeditions.

Will this expedition continue?  Or will there be a resolution among the Sherpa people and their government?


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sherpa” is presented in 16:9 anamorphic (2:35:1 aspect ratio) and English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD. The film is primarily dialogue driven.  Dialogue and music is crystal clear.

If anything, I wish this documentary was released on Blu-ray!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sherpa” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Sherpa – (11:49) Interviews with filmmaker Jennifer Peedom and her film crew especially filming a traumatic moment.
  • Deleted Scenes

EXTRAS:

“Sherpa” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet Digital code.


I have watched films, read many articles about the importance of the Sherpa guides in expeditions to Mount Everest.

From the 1924 J.B.L. Noel documentary “The Epic of Everest” about English mountaineers Andrew Irvine and George Mallory which was the first film to document an expedition to Mount Everest, the film would feature a major tragedy.

Fastforward to 2016 and Jennifer Peedom’s “Sherpa” not only shows us how expeditions have become big business in Nepal and tensions have grown between westerners and Sherpa.  Peedom’s crew wanted to document this and what she got was more than she expected, with the tragic avalanche of 2014.

Far often, what we read are the challenges of climbing Mount Everest.  The challenges of altitude and finding experienced Sherpas.

But while we have read the communal respect of climbers and the Sherpa, things changed in 2013, which had been detailed in various news sources and publications (read this interview from National Geographic).  And situations became hostile, as customs and miscommunication reared its ugly head.

While, “Sherpa” goes into that and the avalanche tragedy of 2014, this is not a film about how much of a mess things have become due to commercialization and money.  But filmmaker Jennifer Peedom also goes into detail of showing us Nepal culture but paying respect to people such as Tenzing Norgay, one of the first two individuals to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Edmund Hillary.  And also, now retired, Sherpa mountaineer Phurba Tashi Sherpa Mendewa (who was featured in the 2009 Discovery Channel series, “Everest: Beyond the Limit”) and learning of the challenges he faces as a father, who’s family wants him to quit being a mountaineer.  But also knowing that when it comes to being a Sherpa guide, it’s the only job that pays well.

The film also features Russel Brice, owner of Himex guide firm responsible for organizing expeditions to Mount Everest.  And the challenges he feels as the middleman of having to work with the Sherpa, especially after the 2014 tragedy and within days, knowing the troubles that surround the Sherpa as many want to continue with the expedition, but were threatened by other Sherpa that if they do so, they would be beaten.

It’s obvious that watching “Sherpa”, there has been lingering tensions as the need of Sherpa guides have grown exponentially and has been a huge business for organizers of expeditions and the Nepal government.  Because of the big money involved, there is a lot of competition, a lot of anger and tensions over lack of pay, lack of government willingness to pay compensation to victims families.

So much has changed and I never knew the extent of tensions and how competitive things are until I watched this documentary.  And the thing is, you can put yourself in the shoes of the Sherpa, Phurba Tashi, Russel Brice or his clients and you can understand what they are going through.

The Sherpa guides are doing a high risk business where there are a number of casualties and they know how much each client pays to be part of an expedition (as of 2016, the estimated range is $60,000 – You can see a financial breakdown here.).  Phurba Tashi is a man who wants to provide for his family and has a passion for the mountains. Russel Brice is a man with a business and his business survives on expeditions but having to please both the Sherpas and his clients.  And the clients, for many, Mount Everest is their dream.  Many save up and sacrifice their job, leave their families for two months to pursue this expensive dream.

You can read about the tensions, but nothing really compares to when you see the tensions up front and Jennifer Peedom’s “Sherpa” does a magnificent job of showing us how bad things have gotten in 2013 and 2014.  To make matters worse, in April 2015 was the Nepal Earthquake which killed 9,000 people and injured 22,000.  On Mount Everest, the earthquake would trigger an avalanche that would kill 21.  And to this day, aftershocks in different areas of Nepal have continued.

While how things will go for Mount Everest Expeditions from 2016 and on, no one knows.  But there are obvious issues that have been slowly burning, almost similar to a situation of gentrification in inner cities, between the haves and have nots, things are much more complicated as exhibition organizers want to build a business but work with the Sherpa and their clients.  Clients want to accomplish a dream of climbing Mount Everest and while the government pockets from these expeditions and more Sherpa guides are wanted, thus bringing a new and unknown set of people without experience into the mix, it’s hard to not think that while tensions were elevated in 2013, there is a boiling point that has not yet been fully reached.

And that can be scary.

Overall, Jennifer Peedom’s “Sherpa” is an insightful and wonderful documentary on Sherpa culture, big business, high tension, unfortunate tragedy but also hope for changes in the system after the avalanche tragedy of 2014.

“Sherpa” is recommended!

 

 

Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is a film that many Godzilla fans have wanted to see released on Blu-ray and DVD.  Especially its uncut/uncensored version.  I absolutely enjoyed this film and if you are a kaiju film fan, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1984 Toho, Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla

YEAR OF FILM: 1984

DURATION: 103 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Kraken Releasing/Toho

RATED: PG-13 (For Sci-Fi Violence and Brief Mild Language)

Release Date: September 13, 2016


Directed by Koji Hashimoto

Written by Hideichi Nagahara

Produced by Norio Hayashi, Kiyomi Kanazawa

Associate Producer: Fumio Tanaka

Executive Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka

Music by Reijiro Koroku

Cinematography by Kazutami Hara

Casting by Tadao Tanaka

Edited by Yoshitami Kuroiwa

Production Design by Akira Sakuragi

Art Direction by Akira Sakuragi

Set Decoration by Akio Tashiro

Costume Design by Kenji Kawasaki


Starring:

Ken Tanaka as Goro Maki

Yasuko Sawaguchi as Naoko Okumura

Yosuke Natsuki as Dr. Hayashida

Shin Takuma as Hiroshi Okumura

Keiju Kobayashi as Prime Minister Mitamura

Eitaro Ozawa as Finance Minister Mitammura

Taketoshi Naito as Takegami, Chief Cabinet Secretary

Mizuho Suzuki as Foreign Minister Emori

Junkichi Orimoto as Director-General of the Defense Agency


With a higher budget and more advanced special effects than any previous film in the series, THE RETURN OF GODZILLA® returns Japan’s greatest monster to his intended role as an epic force of destruction and the film’s spectacular success re-launched the Godzilla® franchise after nearly a decade in suspended animation.

Unfortunately for North American audiences, this direct sequel to the original 1954 feature film has previously only been available in a highly edited version that cut over twenty minutes of original footage and effects, changed key plot points and altered the dark dramatic tone and narrative by inserting additional scenes and humor in an attempt to “Americanize” the film. But now, at long last, the acclaimed kaiju masterpiece finally hits American shores in all its uncut original glory! Get ready for the biggest Godzilla® epic that you’ve never seen as Kraken Releasing unleashes the complete and unedited THE RETURN OF GODZILLA®!


With a string of Godzilla films since the original 1954 film, Toho decided to do a reboot of the Godzilla franchise for its 1984 release.

The 16th film in the Godzilla franchise and the first film in the Heisei series, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” was created to be a direct sequel of the original 1954 film.

So, as many of the Godzilla films became lighter toned and featured Godzilla taking on other kaiju monsters, the 1984 film is a return to the darker tone of the film and featuring Godzilla as the antagonist of Japan.

While the film was released by New World Pictures as “Godzilla 1985” and re-edited to feature footage with Raymond Burr (to connect to the film, “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!”), the original Japanese version will be released for the first time in the US uncut and uncensored courtesy of Kraken Releasing.

The film begins with the crew of the Yahata-Maru Japanese fishing vessel being caught in strong currents after a volcanic eruption on Daikoku Island.

As the fishing vessel drifts into shore and the island erupts, a giant monster comes out of the volcano.

A few days later, we see journalist Goro Maki (portrayed by Goro Maki) sailing in the area and spotting the vessel.  As he goes inside, to his shock, he finds nearly everyone killed.

He finds a survivor inside a locker, Hiroshi Okamura (portrayed by Shin Takuma) who has been wounded.  What Goro doesn’t know is inside the boat is a giant Shockirus sea louse which attacks him immediately.  To Goro’s suprise, a sea louse which is usual a few inches long is several feet tall and nearly kills him until he is rescued by Okamura.  Okamura tells him of the huge monster he and the crew had come across.

As Goro and Okamura are rescued, Goro writes an article but his editor refuses to publish it because the huge monster has been reported to be Godzilla and if they publish the news that Godzilla has returned, it may cause widespread panic.  Meanwhile, the Japanese government continues to find out how to protect Japan in case Godzilla attacks, knowing that he needs radiation to recharge.

Meanwhile, when a Russian submarine spots an anomaly in the ocean, it tries to attack it with torpedoes, thinking it may be the Americans.  The anomaly turns out to be Godzilla who destroys the submarine and killing the crew inside it.

This causes the Russians to go on full alert and accuses the Americans and World War III could possibly erupt.  This forces the Japanese government to lessen the tensions by announcing that Godzilla has returned.

As the Japanese, the American and Russian government have their own thoughts of stopping Godzilla, one which the Americans and Russians feel is necessary is to nuke Godzilla, the Japanese government want to find ways to destroy Godzilla their own way.

Professor Makoto Hayashida (portrayed by Yosuke Natsuki), Hiroshi Okumura and his sister Naoko (portrayed by Yasuko Sawaguchi) and Goro Maki try to find ways of stopping Godzilla and observing Godilla being distracted by birds.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government puts their trust into their superweapon, Super X to take on Godzilla.

Can anyone stop the terror of Godzilla?


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is presented in 16:9 anamorphic and English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD. The film features quite a bit of action sequences, so there is good use of the surround channels during these moments. Dialogue is crystal clear.

It’s important to note that the film will be available on Blu-ray for those who want the best in picture and audio quality.

The film is presented with optional English subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” comes with the Japanese theatrical promo.


As a fan of kaiju films and also having watched many of the Godzilla films.  May it be from the Showa Series, Heisei Series, Millennium Series to the recent Shin Godzilla release in Japan this year.

While the original film from the Showa timeline that debuted in 1954 still remains my favorite Godzilla film as it introduces us to Godzilla and the terror the behemoth brought to the people of Japan, somehow the films have went to a more lighthearted storyline.

While we would see Godzilla taking on Mothra, King Ghidorah, Biollante, Mechagodzilla to name a few, and also to see Godzilla’s son, Minilla and humans helping Godzilla, while entertaining its own way, it departed from the original dark storyline of the original film.

To remedy that, Toho rebooted the series with “The Return of Godzilla” and is known as the Heisei series (only one Godzilla film was released during this time).  The film is a direct sequel to the 1954 film and ignores the lighthearted films in the series from the Showa era.

And for me, this return of Godzilla was entertaining, especially how it incorporated the real life tensions between the U.S. and Russia during the early 1980’s.  And Godzilla was a true antagonist and we would see the Japanese trying to find ways to defeat Godzilla, but now seeing other countries interfere and wanting to nuke it.  No doubt a message about the nuclear arms race that scared everyone in the early ’80s.

While the film was acquired by New World Pictures, the film was recut and re-dubbed with the addition of American shot scenes with Raymond Burr.  The film was only released in VHS and LD and has not been released on video since.

In 2015, Toho struck a deal with Kraken Releasing to release “The Return of Godzilla” and the version to be released is the uncut/uncensored version and it’s definitely the version of the film that I wanted to see.

As the picture quality and the audio is good as it can get on DVD, for those wanting the best picture quality and lossless audio will want to go for the Blu-ray release of the film.  Included is the Japanese and English dub in 5.1 Surround Sound.  And while I’m not a big fan of ’70s and ’80s English dubbing of kaiju film (or Asian martial arts films), it was great to watch this film in its original Japanese audio presentation.  Unfortunately, there is no major special features aside from the theatrical promo but aside from the first film, Godzilla films DVD or Blu-ray releases never really had any major special features at all.

Overall, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is a film that many Godzilla fans have wanted to see released on Blu-ray and DVD.  Especially its uncut/uncensored version.  I absolutely enjoyed this film and if you are a kaiju film fan, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is highly recommended!

 

Feed the Beast: Season One (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you enjoyed “Feed the Beast”, then you will definitely want to check this series out on DVD.  But to be truthful, it’s hard to recommend a series that was canceled and ends with an episode that gives no true closure.

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


DVD TITLE: Feed the Beast: Season One

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: Episodes 1-10 (432 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 1:78:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English SDHand Spanish

COMPANY: AMC/Lionsgate

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: October 11, 2016


Directed by Steve Shill, Daniel Attias, Jon S. Baird, Dennie Gordon

Written by Clyde hillips, Kim Fupz Aakeson, Becky Mode, Tony Saltzman, Robin Shushan, Marisa Wegrzyn, David Babcock, Hilly Hicks Jr. Liz Sagal

Produced by Brad Carpenter, Michele Giordano

Executive Producer: David Babcock, Clyde Phillips, Piv Bernth, Malene Blenkov, Henrik Ruben Genz

Co-Executive Producer: Liz Sagal, Steve Shill

Supervising Producer: Hilly Hicks Jr.

Music by Pat Irwin

Cinematography by Joe Collins

Edited by David Leonard, Gary Levy

Production Design by Eric Weiler

Set Decoration by Linda Louise Sheets

Art Direction by Michael Ahern

Costume Design by Abram Waterhouse


Starring:

David Schwimmer as Tommy Moran

Jim Sturgess as Dion Patras

Lorena Izzo as Pilar Herrera

Michael Gladis as Patrick Woichik

John Dorman as Aidan Moran

Christine Adams as Rie Moran

Elijah Jacob as TJ Moran

Vickie Warehime as Jensen

Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Andre

Evan Leone as Gekko

Michael Rispoli as Detective Guy Giordano

Erin Cummings as Marisa Bruno

Jacob Ming-Trent as Mose

Ella Rae Peck as Anna Davis

David Patrick Kelly as Ziggy Woichik

Demosthenes Chrysan as Uncle Stabros

Joel Marsh Garland as Fiasco

Mousa Kraish as Habib


For Tommy (Schwimmer) and Dion (Sturgess), two friends on the brink of losing everything, a dusty pipe dream of opening an upscale restaurant in their hometown of the Bronx is all they have left to turn their lives around. Together, Tommy and Dion take on the insanity of the New York restaurant world, navigating its underbelly of petty criminals, corrupt officials, and violent gangsters.


In 2016, producer Clyde Phillips (“Dexter”, “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”, “Suddenly Susan”) would create an American adaptation of the Danish series “Bankerot” titled “Feed the Beast”.

The series would star David Schwimmer (“Friends”, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”), Jim Sturgess (“21”, “Cloud Atlas”, “Across the Universe”), Lorena Izzo (“Knock Knock”, “The Green Inferno”, “Aftershock”), Michael Gladis (“Mad Men”, “Terminator Genisys”, “Eagleheart”), John Doman (“The Wire”, “Blue Valentine”, “Mystic River”) and Christine Adams (“Batman Begins”, “TRON: Legacy”, “Submerged”).

Unfortunately, the series only lasted one season as it was canceled by AMC.  But for those who enjoyed the series, “Feed the Beast: Season One” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.

“Feed the Beast” revolves around Thomas “Tommy” Moran, a former sommelier and an alcoholic who has been trying to get his life in order after the death of his wife, Rie (portrayed by Christine Adams).  An optimist who has made an impact on everyone she meets.

As Tommy tries to sell wine to local vendors and raises his 10-year-old mute son TJ (portrayed by Elijah Jacob) but he always wanted to open a restaurant with his buddy Dion Patras (portrayed by Jim Sturgess).  TJ is mute because he witnessed his mother’s death and he stopped talking.

Meanwhile, Tommy attends a grief group and it is where he meets Pilar Herrera (portrayed by Lorenza Izzo) who has fallen for Tommy.

But Dion is not exactly a good or clean guy.  While he is a talented chef and also wants to open a restaurant with Tommy,  he just got out of prison and in major debt with the Polish Mob and is being hunted down by Patrick Woijchik (portrayed by Michael Gladis) and his men.  But despite his troubles, Dion still dreams of becoming the best chef in New York.

But to make things worse, his friendship with Tommy hasn’t been the best.  Tommy never visited Dion, while he was in prison because Dion was hardcore into cocaine and he was responsible for burning down a restaurant which led to Rie’s death.  But now because he is in big trouble and is in debt, he wants to open up a restaurant with Tommy but not to help out his old friend but to have a restaurant and then get it burned down, so he can use the money to pay his debt off.  So, Dion is trying to hide how bad things are with him to his friend.

Tommy’s father is Aidan Moran, a ruthless businessman and a racist.  He was against Tommy marrying a Black woman and has his own code of business ethics and is involved in the criminal underworld.  While Tommy doesn’t like to talk to his father, because they need an investor for a restaurant.

Will Tommy agree to help Dion and create a restaurant?  And how will Tommy continue to be a single father and businessman?  And will Dion be able to get Patrick and the Polish Mob off his back?

While one can easily


VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Feed the Beast: Season One” is presented in 1:78:1 widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio with optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD but if you really want the best picture quality, the Blu-ray version of the series is recommended.  The series features crystal clear dialogue and music and surround channels are primarily for ambiance.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Feed the Beast: Season One” comes with the following special features:

  • Fate, Friendship and Food: Crafting Season One – (11:38) The cast and crew discuss the theme (Fate, Friendship and Food) of the series.
  • The Food Under the Fancy – (9:45) A featurette about the importance of food featured in the series.
  • Building the Beast – (7:17) A featurette about the making of the restaurant, Thirio.  Production and set design are discussed and why the series is set in the Bronx.
  • Pilot Light – Audio Commentary – Showrunner/writer Clyde Phillips, executive producer Steve Shill and actress Lorena Izzo.
  • In Lies the Truth – Audio Commentary – Showrunner/writer Clyde Phillips, executive producer Steve Shill and actress Lorena Izzo.
  • Deleted Scenes – (7:07) Featuring seven deleted scenes.
  • Gag Reel – (4:24) Gag reel for “Feed the Beast”.

EXTRAS:

“Feed the Beast: Season One” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet Digital code.


Quite often we come across television series made in another country and receive an adaptation in the United States.

While series such as “The Office” have done well, unfortunately, the fact is that many of them don’t.  And I don’t know how many times I have seen series canceled after its first initial episodes, some don’t even make it past the third episode.

Unfortunately, “Feed the Beast”, which is an adaptation of the Danish series “Bankerot” joins the list of series that unfortunately have failed to gain an audience.

Perhaps people have been to used to seeing AMC shows like “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, “The Walking Dead”, “The Killing”, “Hell On Wheels” and “Preacher” that execs are still hoping to find another ratings hit on their hands.

And no doubt, AMC has been on the forefront of creating series that shock the heck out of people or showcase a story unique, violent, bloody or is quite shocking.

“Feed the Beast” is neither unique, not bloody nor is it shocking.  If anything, the story revolves around a former sommelier named Tommy, who is an alcoholic who has been in the dumps as a wine salesman, grieving over the death of his wife and trying to raise a 10-year-old mute son.  His father Aidan is a racist, makes his own business rules and was never approving of his son marrying a Black woman.

Tommy’s buddy Dion just got out of prison and is in need of cash or else he’s going to get killed by the Polish Mafia led by a tooth-pulling hothead named Patrick, a criminal who has his own father issues.

But Dion is a conman and a talented chef and trying to get his friend Tommy to continue their dream of starting their own restaurant.  While Tommy thinks his buddy is doing it because that is their dream for a long time, Dion is hiding the truth that his goal is to have the restaurant built and then to have it catch fire, so he can use the insurance money to pay Patrick back.

The story is convoluted, we often watch in hopes for Tommy to get out of his funk and be smart about being around Dion.  He knows he is bad news, yet he wants to open a restaurant with him.  Not smart.

And as much as the series tries to focus on the building of a restaurant and showcase the food, it just seems off balance as we try to look at cuisine as something beautiful and enjoyable, meanwhile there is so much crap that happens with these two characters that it dampens any positive vibes one can have about the restaurant business and the food.

But I kept with an open mind while watching this first season and I was hoping for better character progression but the lack of growth of these characters, I just felt the writing let people down.

Unfortunately, the difficult about watching this series on DVD is knowing that you’re not going to get any closure. The series has been canceled by AMC, so viewers are not going to get any finality.

As for the DVD, the picture quality and audio is as good as one can expect on DVD but if you want the best quality, go for the blu-ray release of this series.  As for the special features, you get two audio commentaries and three solid featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

I was hoping to get some tidbits from showrunner Clyde Phillips or even executive producer Steven Shill about the cancellation of the series and possibly how they would imagined the series would end with these characters.  The audio commentary is only for episode 1 and 8, so unfortunately there is nothing major to be said about the cancellation of the series.

Overall, if you enjoyed “Feed the Beast”, then you will definitely want to check this series out on DVD.  But to be truthful, it’s hard to recommend a series that was canceled and ends with an episode that gives no true closure.

 

75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” is features six episodes that are very different but examine many different aspects of the the tragedy that took place in Pearl Harbor.   While the majority of the episodes are older and were created back in 2001-2009, for historical information and insight to what happened at Pearl Harbor, how it happened and more, will no doubt find “75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” on DVD to be worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

AIR DATE: 2001-2009

DURATION: 6 episodes (245 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4×3 Full Screen, 1:33:1 Presentation, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Lionsgate/History/A&E Networks

RATED: N/A

Release Date: October 18, 2016


Written by Craig Constantine, Christopher Cassel, Tom Jennings

Executive Producers: Robert Dean, Dean Kekoolani, Vincent Kralyevich, Lou Reda, Charle Maday, Matt Chan

Produced by Julio Molin, Christopher Cassel, Sammy Jackson, George Butts, Susan Youth, Matt Ginsburg

Associate Producer: Roberto Rosales

Supervising Producer: Kristine Sabat, Dolores Gavin

Music by John Nordstrom

Edited by William Haugse, Jennifer P. Honne, Sammy Jackson


Starring:

Hosted by Josh Binswanger & Joan Lunden, Arthur Kent, John Chatterton, Michael Norwood

Narration by John Chatterton, Hugh Morgan


From the facts and stories that are widely known to the unsung heroes, this 75th anniversary set delivers the definitive chronicle of the attack on Pearl Harbor. With archival combat footage, gripping personal accounts, and detailed historical analysis, six documentaries explore one of history’s most devastating events — as seen through the eyes of the Japanese attackers and the U.S. forces on the ground. Take an unprecedented journey back in time to commemorate the day that will live in infamy.


From 2001-2009, the History Channel has aired several episodes celebrating the anniversaries of Pearl Harbor and in 2016, to celebrate the 75th anniversary, Lions Gate will be releasing a DVD titled “The Presidents Collection”75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” featuring six episodes (on two DVD’s) that have aired on the History Channel from 2001-2009.

The series features the following episodes:

  • Live from Pearl Harbor – The remembrance of Pearl Harbor (aired back in December 7, 2001). Hosted by Josh Binswanger & Joan Lunden, this special features highlights from the 2001 event (60th anniversary) and featuring interviews with survivors and showcasing ceremonies at Pearl Habor and at the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans.
  • Unsung Heroes of Pearl Harbor – A documentary which goes into the detail of the attack on Pearl Harbor as told by WWII historians, the survivors that were stuck inside ships that were attacked and the unsung heroes of Pearl Harbor.
  • Pearl Harbor – A documentary about the bombing of Pearl Harbor but what is the technology behind the bombing of Pearl Harbor utilized by the Japanese?  And how the U.S. utilized the technology (from the captured submarine) that is used today.
  • Pearl Harbor: What Went Down – Pearl Harbor historian Dr. Don Goldstein, Ph.D (co-author of “At Dawn We Slept”) and survivors discuss the bombing at Pearl Harbor and an examination of how one bomb sunk the USS Arizona.  Goldstein hires a production team to bring the bombing to life of what really happened and telling how the attack happened then and to present it via CG.
  • Japanese Sub at Pearl Harbor – Near the entrance to Pearl Harbor, an American dive team goes searching for a Japanese submarine that sunk and to prove that America saw the Japanese submarine an hour before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
  • The Other Tragedy at Pearl Harbor – In 1944, a second deadly disaster (known as the West Loch Disaster) in Pearl Harbor took place and why was it shrouded in secrecy for so many years?  Four WWII veterans revisit the location of the LST-480 for the first time since they were teenagers.

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” is presented in full screen 4:3 (1:33:1 aspect ratio). For the most part, as one can expect from a series that covers presidents in history, there is a lot of use of archived video footage. With the majority of the footage used were in good shape, present modern day footage featuring land scenery or interviews with historians and politicians look even better.

As for audio, the series is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio and narration and interviews are clear and understandable.

The show is presented in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” comes with no special features.


For any history buff, “75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” is an entertaining, insightful collection of six episodes featuring the bombing of Pearl Harbor and more.

As most of the time, we are presented with information in regards to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the “75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” features so much more, as these episodes produced between 2001-2009 and aired on the History Channel, have been included on a two-DVD set for the 75th Anniversary of “Pearl Harbor”.

The 2001 60th anniversary celebration featuring many survivors of Pearl Harbor are featured in the first episode.  The 2001 celebration features memories from the survivors and the ceremonies that took place.

For those wanting a more detail situation of what took place on December 7, 1941 will enjoy the information presented in “Unsung Heroes of Pearl Harbor” but also the unsung heroes who rescued lives or sacrificed their lives to save others.

The third episode focuses on the technology that the Japanese used to bomb Pearl Harbor, from the vehicles and artillery used and how America would use this technology and how it’s used today, from microwave technology to Internet encryption.

One of the most interesting episodes is “Pearl Harbor: What Went Down” and how there are inaccuracies of how or where the bombing of the USS Arizona had happened.  This episode fully explores how the bombing happened but also trying to recreate the event using CG technology.

The fifth episode focuses on the search of a Japanese sub that was sunk and an American dive team in search of this submarine.

And the final episode deals with another fateful disaster at Pearl Harbor, but in 1944, which was an accident shrouded in secrecy for many years.  And examining what may have happened that led to the deaths of dozens of young military personnel.

Overall, “75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” is features six episodes that are very different but examine many different aspects of the the tragedy that took place in Pearl Harbor.   While the majority of the episodes are older and were created back in 2001-2009, for historical information and insight to what happened at Pearl Harbor, how it happened and more, will no doubt find “75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” on DVD to be worth watching!

 

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