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Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether or not you are a Bob Hope fan or a person who wants to own the earlier films of one of Hollywood’s true Kings of Comedy, will no doubt want to check out “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection

YEAR OF FILM: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938), College Swing (1938), Give Me a Sailor (1938), Thanks for the Memory (1938), Never Say Die (1939), The Cat and the Canary (1939), Road to Singapore (1940), The Ghost Breakers (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Caught in the Draft (1941), Nothing But the Truth (1941), Louisiana Purchase (1941), Star Spangled Rhythm (1942), My Favorite Blonde (1942), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1946), Monsieur Beaucaire (1946), Variety Girl (1947), Where There’s Life (1947), The Paleface (1948), Sorrowful Jones (1949) + America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2017)

DURATION: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1 hr. 31 min.), College Swing (1 hr., 26 min.), Give Me a Sailor (1 hr., 20 min.), Thanks for the Memory (1 hr., 15 min.), Never Say Die (1 hr., 22 min.), The Cat and the Canary (1 hr., 12 min.), Road to Singapore (1 hr., 25 min), The Ghost Breakers (1 hr., 25 min.), Road to Zanzibar (1 hr., 31 min.), Caught in the Draft (1 hr., 22 min.), Nothing But the Truth (1 hr, 30 min.), Louisiana Purchase (1 hr, 38 min.), Star Spangled Rhythm (1 hr., 39 min.), My Favorite Blonde (1 hr., 18 min.), Road to Morocco (1 hr., 22 min.), Road to Utopia (1 hr., 30 min.), Monsieur Beaucaire (1 hr., 33 min.), Variety Girl (1 hr., 33 min.), Where There’s Life (1 hr., 15 min.), The Paleface (1 hr., 31 min.), Sorrowful Jones (1 hr., 28 min.) + America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2 hours)

RATED: Not Rated

COMPANY: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

AVAILABLE ON: November 14, 2017


Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection features 21 of the funniest movies from the legendary comedian. As a recognized genius of American comedy, Bob Hope has no equal. From his early days in vaudeville to his years as a top Hollywood box-office draw and star of radio, TV and live performances, Bob Hope’s innocent charm and lightning-quick wit have delighted millions of fans throughout the world. Co-starring some of Hollywood’s greatest stars including Lucille Ball, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Paulette Goddard, Jane Russell and, of course, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection will entertain longtime fans and introduce a whole new generation to the unforgettable style of one of the most famous comedians of all time!


Bob Hope is an American comedian and actor who has had one of the most successful careers in Hollywood.

A career that spanned 80 years and starring in more than 70 short and feature films, a longtime host of the Academy Awards, appeared in many stage productions and television roles and also authored 14 books.

Bob Hope has no doubt left a legacy of films and television specials and music that will entertain many generations of people interested in classic Hollywood but also wanting to experience the comedy of one of the true Kings of Comedy.

To celebrate Bob Hope’s career, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” which contains “Bob Hope: The Comedy Essentials Collection” (15 Classic Movies + 1 Documentary) and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby: The Comedy Essentials Collection (6 classic movies).

Included are:

  • The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938) – A musical starring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope and features Bob Hope’s signature song, “Thanks for the Memory”.  Featuring a race between a new $40 million dollar “Radio powered” ocean liner S.S. Gigantic vs. the smaller S.S. Colossal.  Who will win?
  • College Swing (1938) –  A comedy starring George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye and Bob Hope.  A college founder of the powerful Alden Family leaves his will to the first female who will graduate from college, unfortunately no one has since 1738.  200 years later, Gracie Alden is the last girl of the line and is having problems with her studies, so she hires Bud Brady (Hope) to help her.
  • Give Me a Sailor (1938) – Starring Betty Grable, Jack Whiting, Martha Raye and Bob hope.  Two brothers, Jim (Hope) and Walter (Whiting) who are sailors of the US Navy love the same woman, Nancy (Grable).  Jim tries to get Nancy’s sister to help break Walter and Nancy’s relationship.
  • Thanks for the Memory (1938) – Starring Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.  A story about an out-of-work writer who stays home and plays a husband at home while his wife goes to work for her former fiance.
  • Never Say Die (1939) – A remake of the silent film, multi-millionaire hypochondriac John Kidley (Hope) is told he only has a month to live.  So, he breaks up with his fiance and heads to the Swiss spa of Bad Gaswasser where he meets a young Texas heiress, Mickey Hawkins (Raye).
  • The Cat and the Canary (1939) – A horror comedy, Cyrus Norman is a millionaire who lived in the Louisiana bayou with his mistress Miss Lu.  His will is to be read and a group meets at the mansion for the reading from the will but someone has removed the will from the safe and tampered with it.
  • Road to Singapore (1940) – Starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Josh Mallon (Crosby) and Ace Lannigan (Hope) are best friends working on the same ship.  After seeing their fellow sailors being mistreated by their wives and girlfriends, the two vowed to never get involved with women again.  The two head to Singapore but can they stay true to their vow?
  • The Ghost Breakers (1940) – Starring Bob Hope, Paulette Godard and Richard Carlson, what happens when a radio broadcaster, a manservant and an heiress investigate a mystery in a haunted castle in Cuba.
  • Road to Zanzibar (1941) – The second “Road to…” film starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Chuck (Crosby) and Fearless (Hope) go on a jungle adventure but what happens when these con-men find themselves attracted to two con-women.
  • Caught in the Draft (1941) – Vain Hollywood actor has a big fear of being drafted into the US army, afraid of loud noises, accidentally joins the army.
  • Nothing But the Truth (1941) – Starring Bob Hope and Paulette Godard.  When stockbroker T.T. Ralston promises his niece Gwen (Godard) to double the amount if she can raise $20,000.  So, she asks Steve Bennett (Hope) to raise the money.
  • Louisiana Purchase (1941) – A senator investigating graft in Louisiana is the target of a scheme involving a beautiful woman named Marina (portrayed by Vera Zorina).
  • Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) – An all-star musical.  What happens when former silent movie star Pop Webster (portrayed by Victor Moore), who works as a security guard at Paramount Pictures, tells his son Johnny (portrayed by Eddie Brack), from the Navy that he is the studio’s Executive VP in Charge of Production.  But what happens when Johnny surprises his father with a visit to Hollywood.  When Johnny offers to put on a variety show, can he get Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to perform?
  • My Favorite Blonde (1942) – Starring Bob Hope and Madeleine Carroll. What happens when a vaudeville performer gets mixed up with British and German secret agents?
  • Road to Morocco (1942) – Starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.  What happens when two castaway on a desert shore are sold into slavery by a beautiful princess?
  • Road to Utopia (1946) – Starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, what happens when two vaudeville performers go to Alaska to make a fortune?  Received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) – Starring Bob Hope and Joan Caulfield.  What happens when a barber of King Louis XV masquerades as a nobleman engaged to the princess of Spain?
  • Variety Girl (1947) – What happens when two hopeful actresses (portrayed by Mary Hatcher and Olga San Juan) come to Hollywood and exchange identities.
  • Where There’s Life (1947) – Starring Bob Hope and Signe Hasso. Michael Joseph Valentine is an American radio announcer who finds out that he is the new king of “Barovia”, but a secret society known as Mordia (who assassinated the previous ruler) targets him.
  • The Paleface (1948) – Starring Bob Hope and Jane Russell.  Calamity Jane (Russell) finds out who is smuggling her rifles to the Indians.  After marrying a dentist named Peter “Painless” Potter (Hope), can he keep her identity a secret.
  • Sorrowful Jones (1949) – Starring Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.  A remake of Shirley Temple’s film, “Little Miss Marker”.  A young girl is left with the very cheap Sorrowful Jones (Hope). When her father doesn’t show up, he has to take care of the child, which interferes with his lifestyle.
  • America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2017) – The unabridged director’s cut of the film.  Voiced by Billy Crystal and featuring interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, daughter Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens and biographer Richard Zoglin (author of “Hope: Entertainer of the Century”).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Bob Hope and the Road to Success – (14:12) Author Randall G. Mielke discusses Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road to…” films.
  • Entertaining the Troops – (6:17) Bob Hope biographer Richard Grudens reflects on Bob Hope entertaining the troops.
  • “Sweet Potato Pie” Sing-A-Long
  • “The Road to Morocco” Sing-A-Long
  • “The Buttons and Bows” Sing-Along
  • Command Performance 1944 – (6:46) From “Command Performance USA” from 1944.
  • Command Performance 1945 – (5:02) Excerpt from Army-Navy Screen Magazine of Bob Hope’s appearance on “Command Performance USA” in 1945.
  • Hollywood Victory Caravan – (19:44) A 1945 short about a girl trying to get to Washington D.C. to be with her lonseom brother, a wounded G.I. and she persuades Bing Crosby to let her join his caravan.

With the release of “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection, fans are no doubt getting one of the best sets featuring a collection of Bob Hope films.

Bob Hope emerged as an actor as early as 1934 in numerous shorts, but it wasn’t until 1938 when he starred in “The Big Broadcast of 1938” when Bob Hope would appear in a feature film and the song “Thanks for the Memory” would become his trademark.  And from that first film and on, he would grow into a comedic actor and would become one of America’s most beloved onscreen actors and entertainers for many decades.

And with the collection of films in “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection”, included are nearly all the films that Bob Hope starred in from 1938-1949. This includes his first feature film,  four of his successful “Road to…” films with Bing Crosby and many films that help define Bob Hope as one of the best American comedians of all time.

Of the 28 films Bob Hope made from 1938-1950, 21 films are included in this set.  Two of his film in the early ’40s were created for MGM (and can be found in the DVD set “Bob Hope MGM Movie Legends Collection”) while others have not been released on DVD.

The majority of the early Bob Hope films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and in 1955, MCA (Music Corporation of America) purchased the pre-1950 sound films from Paramount.  In 1958, MCA purchased Universal (and currently, all of MCA, Universal, NBC are owned by Comcast).  So, that is how many of the pre-1948 Paramount films made it to this set.

Many may wonder how could this be considered an “Ultimate Movie Collection” when four of the seven Bing Crosby/Bob Hope “Road to…” films are included in the “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Collection” and that three films were left out.   Paramount actually let the copyright expire for “Road to Rio” and “Road to Bali” and so they are available via Public Domain (so, many companies have released inferior versions on DVD), while the seventh film “The Road to Hong Kong” is owned by MGM.  Fortuantely, Paramount licensed the rights to Kino Lorber for a few pre-1950 (and later) Bob Hope films such as the 1947 film “My Favorite Brunette”, “Road to Rio” and “Road to Bali” for Blu-ray release.   So, now people can watch much better versions of these films in terms of picture quality.

So, for the most part, this set is not 100% complete but you do get a huge majority of these earlier Bob Hope films in this DVD box set. In my opinion, it’s the classic black and white Bob Hope films that I tend to favor the most.  But if you are a serious Bob Hope fan, he has created many hilarious and entertaining films throughout his career.

And for an actor with so many films created, it’s great to see Universal Studios Home Entertainment releasing a DVD set with nearly two dozen films.

Prior to the release of “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection”, it was a little costly to purchase Bob Hope sets.  For example, the Universal release of “Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection” only featured six films and you were paying a little less than $25. The four film “The Bob Hope and Big Crosby Road to Comedy Collection” was over $15.  And now you can get this 21 movie set plus the “American Masters: This is Bob Hope” documentary plus a few Bob Hope shorts for under $42.  So, it’s an amazing deal!

For those who owned prior Bob Hope DVD releases, it’s important to note that there are no new special features and there is no new remastering or restoration that were done with each film.  There are 10 DVD’s are provided with two to three films per DVD.

I wished that Universal would have considered releasing this set on Blu-ray, because it would have given more fans, especially those who owned the previous DVD’s, to upgrade to better quality versions of the film.  But until then, this DVD set with 21 films featuring Bob Hope is magnificent!

Overall, whether or not you are a Bob Hope fan or a person who wants to own the earlier films of one of Hollywood’s true Kings of Comedy, will no doubt want to check out “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection.  Recommended!


 

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Rasengan Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “Naruto” fan, this DVD is worth it, as it carries four of the feature films in one collection. But if you want the best picture and lossless audio quality, I recommend purchasing the Blu-ray releases. But for many people, to pay a low price for four films will no doubt get “Naruto Shippuden” fans to become interested in purchasing this collection. Recommended if you don’t own these four films on Blu-ray!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2008 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden The Movie – Rasengan Collection

RUN TIME: 360 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16×9, 1:85:1, English and Japanese soundtrack, English subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: 14+

Release Date: October 3, 2017


The Will of Fire

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Directed by Masahiko Murata

Screenplay by Junki Takegami

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio

Anime Production by Studio Pierrot

Bonds

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Hajime Kamegaki

Screenplay: Junki Takegami

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi/Theme Song by Home Made Kazoku

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio

Art: Hitoshi Nagasaki, Yuji Ikeda

Chief Animation Director: Mamoru Sasaki

Anime Production: Studio Pierrot

The Lost Tower

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Masahiko Murata

Screenplay: Junki Takegami

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Theme Song by Kana Nishino

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki

Anime Production: Studio Pierrot


The Will of Fire – 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

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka

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

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee


Naruto faces a prediction of death as he confronts an evil spirit in Naruto Shippuden The Movie; ninja from the long-forgotten Land of Sky resurface to menace the Hidden Leaf in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Bonds; another war between Shinobi looms in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire; and Naruto is thrown back in time in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Lost Tower.


Just in time for the holiday season for the “Naruto Shippuden” fan comes the “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Rasengan Collection” collecting four feature films on DVD!

Included in this set are “The Movie”, “Bonds”, “The Will of Fire” and “The Lost Tower”.

The Movie

Back in 2007, “Naruto Shippuden the Movie” was released.

The film begins with a prediction that Naruto will die fighting a monster which will impale him and a funeral will be held for him.

The film then shows what happens a few days previous when a man named Yomi has attacked a shrine to steal the spirit of Moryo (a demon that wants to conquer the world and create his “Thousand Year Kingdom”.  But a priestess named Shion will do what she can to prevent the demon from conquering the world but when Yomi raises a stone army, Sakura, Rock Lee and Neji must guard Shion and deliver her to the shrine where Moryo’s body is kept.

The Will of Fire

To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of “Naruto” back in 2009, the third “Naruto: Shippuden” film titled “Gekijoban Naruto Shippuden Hi no Ishi wo Tsugumono” a.k.a. “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire”) was released in theaters (the sixth “Naruto” film overall).

As the “Naruto” manga series has begun the “Fourth Great Ninja War” arc and the anime series now gaining momentum in regards to the Akatsuki arc, “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire” has been released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire” begins with Kakashi giving Naruto a bell for him to fix. The bell is a reminder to both Naruto and Sakura that a person who betrays his friends is the worst ninja out there. And that memory of him and Sakura training with Sasuke enhances his resolve to find Sasuke because despite him being an enemy, he was their friend.

The film revolves around the potential outbreak of the Fourth Great Ninja War courtesy of a ninja known as Hiruko, a former friend of the legendary Sannin Orochimaru, Jiraiya and Tsunade.

When ninjas with Kekkei Genkai abilties begin to disappear from various villages with the exception of Konoha, villages start to suspect that Konoha may be involved in the disappearances of the missing ninjas. And as troops start to threaten an invasion of Konoha, the Feudal Lord of the Land of Fire orders Tsunade to capture the real culprit or else the Land of Fire will break the peace and attack the village.

As for Hiruko, he is a missing ninja who left Konoha and developed the Chimera technique which allows him to absorb the chakra and kekkei Genkai of other ninja. Having a few followers protecting him in Mount Shami, Hiruko is intent of obtaining the Kekkei Genkai of the Land of Fire to gain invincibility and to cause the Fourth Great Ninja War in order to conquer the world. And to do that, she intends to use Kakashi, as she put a puppet curse on him over a decade ago and plans to use his Sharingan.

Before leaving to face Hiruko and risk his life, Kakashi asks Shikamaru for a favor and that is to tell Naruto not to follow him. In fact, worried that Naruto would do something rash, Naruto is placed in a jail cell as Kakashi goes out to find Hiruko. He also asks Tsunade to put a special seal on him if Hiruko attempts to absorb him. Kakashi disappears under Hiruko’s influence of the puppet jutsu.

Meanwhile, Tsunade brands Kakashi a missing nin and orders everyone to stay away from Kakashi.

When Sakura overhears this, she goes to visit Naruto and Naruto begs for her to release him from the cell. He reminds her of the bond that they had with Sasuke and Kakashi and that friends would never betray their friends and to protect one another and to this day, he intends to keep that promise he gave Sakura that he would rescue Sasuke. Hearing this, Sakura releases Naruto and both head out to find their teacher, Kakashi.

Upon hearing this news, Tsunade sends out Team 8, Team 10 and Team Guy to retrieve them and immediately some of the team members get into an argument when Shikamaru tells them that they may need to use lethal force against Naruto, while Rock Lee defends Naruto about protecting their group and his friends and he believes in Naruto. But for Shikamaru, he intends to carry out the promise left to him by his teacher, the late Asuma Sarutobi who told him that he must protect the children of Konoha village. And if Naruto threatens that, he will need to kill him.

As Sai is now part of the team and joins Naruto and Saura on their mission to find Kakashi, waiting for them are Hiruko’s followers, Ichi, Ni and San. But also, hot on their trail are Team 8, Team 10 and Team Guy who are trying to stop them as well.

Will Naruto be able to save his teacher?

The Lost Tower

The fourth Naruto film “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” features Naruto being whisked into the past trying to save a queen and her village from a powerful foe, but this time Naruto gets some help by someone he may be close to.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” is the seventh “Naruto” film and the fourth “Naruto Shippuden” film that was released in Japanese theaters in July 2010.

Naruto begins with Yamato, Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno and Sai are sent to the ruins of Loran to capture Mukade, a ninja that has great control of puppets. As the group pursues him, they see Mukade approaching some seal and in the process he opens the seal unleashing a powerful beam of light which sucks Naruto and Yamato inside, while Sakura and Sai manage to escape, wondering what happened to them.

Back in time 20-years ago, we see Minato Namikaze (who would later become the fourth Hokage but is also the father of Naruto) in Konoha and Jiraiya trying to show his friend that he had mastered the rasengan. With the Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi having heard news of Anrokuzan’s evil plan, he sends out Minato, along with Shibi Aburame (father of Shino) and Choza Akimichi (father of Choji) plus a young teenage Kakashi Hatake, all on a mission to stop Anrokuzan.

Naruto awakes and sees a mysterious girl singing, he is then approached by three men with masks who reveal themselves to be Konoha ninjas and they tell him that he must leave the city as they have a mission to follow. Naruto also has a mission to follow and that is to stop Mukade but first, he must find his teammates.

As he arrives to the town center, where a festival is takng place, he realizes the young girl that he saw singing was the Queen of Loran, Sara. As she greets the people, someone pushes her and the balcony that she was standing on begins to break apart. Fortunately, Naruto is able to rescue Sara, who accidentally mistakens him as a bad guy.

But he tells her that he is responsible for saving her and when asking her how she fell, she felt that someone pushed her. When he asks if someone is after her, she tells them no.

Meanwhile, Minato, Shibi and Choza arrive and find out that Naruto is from the future. Naruto jokes that Minato looks like the fourth Hokage but Minato tells him to not speak about anything as it could disrupt the present time. But believes that if they can defeat Mukade, he can go back to his time period. He gives Naruto his Flying Thunder God Kunai which allows him to transport to Naruto’s place if he uses it.

But for now, they believe the man they are after, Anrokuzan is the same as Mukade and that Anrokuzan is the minister of Loran. Saara who hears this feels they are wrong as Anrokuzan would never do anything to hurt her and annoyed by their claims, she leaves. Minato tells Naruto that as they go after Anrokuzan, his duty is to protect Saara at all costs.

As Naruto goes after Saara, Saara is struck from behind and taken to a dark room where she sees threatening figures. When Naruto finds her, he is about to attack but the figures reveal themselves to be women and children who are looking for their brothers or husbands who have been taken away after they followed an order by the Queen to be enlisted to work for the city. Saara claims that she gave no such order and nothing bad can happen in the city because people are all cheering.

But when Naruto sees that the people cheering are actually puppets, Saara sees a puppet version of herself saying hi to the crowd on the balcony. She realizes something bad is going on and decides that she will help the people find the missing men of her city and get to the bottom of what is going on.

But what they don’t know is that with the seal open in Loran, there is a chakra source that feeds on to Anrokuzan/Mukade that gives him unlimited power, making him invincible. Can Naruto protect the Queen and can Minato and others stop Anrokuzan/Mukade?

Bonds

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. And now the storyline has picked up years later in “Naruto Shippuden” as Sasuke is now the enemy but Naruto and Sakura continue to hold out hope that they can save their old friend and partner.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” is the fifth “Naruto” film and the second “Naruto Shippuden” film that was released in Japanese theaters in August 2008. And many fans have come to see the film as a special “Naruto” film because it features Sasuke and also Naruto and Sasuke working together once again.

The film begins with a mysterious Sky Ninja Clan which were defeated by the various ninja villages during the second Ninja War and now they want revenge. We see many of the Sky Ninja flying towards Konoha and immediately attacking the city, causing destruction and death everywhere.

As Shikamaru and friends try to defend the city, Naruto tries to fight in the battle but is stopped by an older man who tells Naruto that he needs his help taking care of the wounded. When Naruto brings the wounded to the emergency room, Sakura is shocked to see how well they were taken care of and Naruto tells them it was a doctor named Shinno who saved them.

A famous doctor, we see a young boy named Amaru looking for him. The boy collapses and when he wakes up, Shinno is with Naruto. Amaru asks for Shinno’s help as their village have been targeted by the Sky Ninja, so Tsunade assigns Naruto, Sakura and Hinata to accompany Dr. Shinno and Amaru to their village.

Meanwhile, Shikimaru along with Kakashi and Sai plan their retaliation against the Sky Ninja who are regathering for their next round of destruction. But far away, a sick Orochimaru and Kabuto are greeted by Sasuke and we learn that Dr. Shinno is responsible for teaching Orochimaru the regeneration technique long ago and that because he may have learned a lot since then, he sends Sasuke to bring Dr. Shinno to him.

As Naruto and group make their way to Amaru’s village, Naruto gets to learn that Amaru is a dedicated apprentice but also learns that Amaru is not a boy but is in fact a girl and that she has a crush on her sensei.

When the group arrive to Amaru’s village, they see it burning. As Amaru rushes to check on the people of her village, all are gone. But she hits a tripwire which sends daggers towards her, before she is hit, Dr. Shinno risks his life to save her and ends up getting killed in the process.

As Hinata goes to look for survivors using her jutsu, Sakura goes back home to request for reinforcements. But as Amaru is dealing with the death of Dr. Shinno, a beast known as the Zero Tail attacks Naruto and Sakura.

Can Naruto defeat the Zero Tail and who is the person responsible for having the Sky Ninja attack Konoha? Also, what happens when Naruto and Sasuke confront each other once again?

 


VIDEO & AUDIO:

Before I begin, it’s important to remind people that a Blu-ray release is available for each of these four films, so if you want the best picture and audio quality, the Blu-ray is the way to go.

As for the DVD, the film tends to have this look that is appropriate for television, but for a summer movie in Japan, you expect better, detailed artistic backgrounds and the good news is that is what you get with this film. Presented with an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, the film looks very good. A lot of detail in the trees, the ground and surrounding environments but also the amount of shading and detail on the characters. As “Naruto” films become more recent, there is an obvious increase in detail in overall look of the films look very good!

As for the audio, the audio is presented in Dolby Digital English and Japanese. 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.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” comes with the following special features:

  • Movie Trailers – Featuring various “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” theatrical trailers.
  • Special Opening – Featuring a compilation of clips from the film that was actually used as the opening theme for episodes 70-73 of “Naruto Shippuden” in Japan.
  • Production Art – Featuring the film’s concept art that can be viewed by using your remote or keyboard’s left or right directional button

“Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” comes with the Japanese theatrical trailer.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” comes with the following special features:

  • Naruto and the Three Wishes – (14:46) An animated short that was shown after “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” in Japan, the short takes place when Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura were training and discover a genie lamp willing to give three wishes.  But when the other groups hear about this, everyone wants the lamp to make their own wish.
  • Japanese Trailers – Japanese theatrical trailers for “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower”.
  • Production Art – Featuring the film’s concept art that can be viewed by using your remote or keyboard’s left or right directional button.

 

The Movie

A film that showcases a prediction of what if Naruto died in battle fighting a demon.  Can a priestess named Shion and Naruto and friends do all they can to prevent the prediction from happening?

An entertaining film but of the Shippuden films, this film is the weakest in terms of storyline.

The Will of Fire

When it comes to “Naruto” related films, for the most part, a lot of the films are not canon and really have no affect on the main storyline of the manga or anime series.

But what I enjoyed about “Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” is that it brings up three important plot lines that Naruto fans who are watching the anime series have just seen. Important plot lines that do play a big part in the future of “Naruto Shippuden”.

Those three plot lines revolves around Naruto’s ongoing promise to Sakura that he would bring Sasuke back. The second revolves around Shikamaru’s promise to Asuma about protecting the children of the village and the third which revolves around Kakashi’s past of how he obtained the Sharingan and from who.

The first two are ongoing promises that are mean to be kept, while the third plays a much bigger part in the “Naruto Shippuden” series which is now being featured in Japan (note: America is a few years behind in storyline via anime series, and a few manga volumes behind from Japan).

But “The Will of Fire” is important to show the bond between the Konoha ninjas and as always with Naruto, he is never the type of person that would let anyone be hurt. He is a protector and his goal to be Hokage means protecting everyone from harm’s way.

And when both his goal and Shikamaru’s goal clashes, it’s quite interesting to see how their fellow teammates respond when they must stop Naruto, as some believe in what Naruto is doing and others knowing they have a mission to do and the mission is priority.

There is also another cool addition to this film and that is another fight between Naruto and Gaara which I was not expecting. It’s one thing for Naruto, Sakura and Sai to go after Kakashi and get into a duel with Hiruko’s protectors and also his own fellow ninja from Konoha, but to see Gaara involved and possibly meant to stop Naruto as well, that was cool to see another skirmish between the two, despite their admiration towards each other.

Suffice to say, this is an action-packed film and definitely one of the better summer “Naruto” films created because it has a stronger connection to the series when it comes to the characters and what they are fighting for. While the previous film “Bonds” was great to see Naruto and Sasuke fight against each other and briefly work together, “The Will of Fire” is much more exciting due to the amount of characters and battles involved.

Overall, “Naruto” fans will surely enjoy this movie. Naruto vs. Gaara, Naruto vs. his teammates in the hopes of saving Kakashi. Exciting, action-packed and definitely one the best “Naruto” films yet!

The Lost Tower

In the “Naruto Shippuden” anime and manga series, the Naruto storyline unveiling his family was one of the biggest surprises but for those following the series, we have gotten short glimpse of the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze.

And with “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower”, the fourth “Naruto Shippuden” film tries to show us more of Minato and his abilities but also giving fans a chance to see Minato and Naruto together but also to see familiar faces of characters (who are younger) who would be important during Naruto’s timeline.

“The Lost Tower” is one of the better “Naruto” animated films as the story is well-structured but as most animated summer films tend to be non-canon, at least the writers use the storyline to show a connection between Naruto and Minato but most importantly featuring an antagonist that is so powerful that even the Konoha ninja elite have a problem fighting him.

The story contains what you love about a Naruto film. His ability to have an impact on a person through his positive attitude but his character as a person who will protect the people that he cares about. And this film makes things extra special when you see both Minato and Naruto together in a film.

In Japan, the film aired with a special short which is included on this Blu-ray release. A fun storyline that involves Naruto finding a lamp with a genie that gives three wishes, what happens when everyone wants to make their own wish and try to get the bottle away from Naruto. As one can expect, hilarious moments and just a fun animated short that fans will no doubt be happy to see.

Bonds

When it comes to anime films, especially one based on a major anime series, most of the time, these films are not canon. They are typically summer films that are action-driven films that fans of the series tend to expect each year but whether or not they are good, it’s all subjective.

Of course, with the films, you get the bigger production and the films are much more beautiful too watch compared to the TV series, but one thing that “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” does right is bringing back Sasuke, in another confrontation with Naruto which is pretty exciting as we know that Sasuke is an enemy to the Leaf Village.

Also, the film has a twist as the villain may surprise many people.

But the efficacy of this film is that it’s a well-written, action-driven storyline where Konoha Village is attacked and literally almost destroyed by the Sky Ninja. And aside from having Naruto and Sasuke together again, the coolest part of the film is seeing the awesome strategist Shikamaru once again leading the battle against the Sky Ninja and possibly my favorite is seeing Sai in battle but also one of our favorite Konoha ninja’s making his return in battle for this film.

And that’s not it, you also get to see Naruto change into the Nine Tail Fox as he goes against the Zero Tail Fox. We rarely get to see Naruto showcase his awesome power, but we get to see it in this film.

And whether or not this film is canon to the overall series, I’m not sure if it is or not but I’m guessing by the way things are playing out, the answer is possibly a yes.

So, there are a lot of positives going for this film! Full of action and drama!

Overall, if you are a “Naruto” fan, this DVD is worth it, as it carries four of the feature films in one collection.  But if you want the best picture and lossless audio quality, I recommend purchasing the Blu-ray releases.  But for many people, to pay a low price for four films will no doubt get “Naruto Shippuden” fans to become interested in purchasing this collection.  Recommended if you don’t own these four films on Blu-ray!

 

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

October 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Three” is another action-packed but also a more serious and darker volume that explores the Fishman Pirates and the division between Hordy, Arlong and Tiger and how this hatred towards humans manifested to where it is today plus a death of a character.  If you are a One Piece fan, definitely watch this story arc and check out this latest volume of “One Piece” on DVD!

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Three

DURATION: Episodes 541-552 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: October 10, 2017


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

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

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Kazuya Nakai/Christopher Sabat as Roronoa Zoro

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


Fish are not friends when they’re violent pirates!

Gathered in the tranquil Sea Forest, Luffy and his crew learn the history of Fish-men and their struggle against oppression. Back then, the queen of Fish-man Island called for peaceful talks with surface-dwellers while others sought vengeance for years of slavery at the hands of cruel humans. But with every step of progress, an unforeseen tragedy deepened the cycle of hatred. Now, ignited by the flames of the past, the New Fish-man Pirates continue their crusade and threaten anyone who dares to ally with humans. Swallowing a mouthful of steroid drugs, their bloodthirsty captain, Hordy Jones, becomes an unstoppable force ready to decimate the royal guard. Determined to save the island and his crew, Luffy makes a decision that could turn a good friend into foe.


Tiger has attacked Mariejois and Hordy and Arlong go to kill humans, despite Tiger’s objections.   As Arlong kills a marine, this puts him at odds with Tiger.

Tiger tells his Sun Pirates to not seek vengeance against humans and that violence begets violence but Arlong is not willing to listen and when a group of Marines led by Strawberry tragically wounds Tiger, this leads to Arlong vowing to return to Foulshoot Island to kill all humans.  Meanwhile Jimbei becomes a warlord.  And Hordy sends out a message that he will kill all fishman who is affiliated with humans.

All this and more in “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Three”!

What is “One Piece”?

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

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 19th season and a total of 809 episodes have been aired in Japan.

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


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO :

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

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 541 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring Joel McDonald (ADR Director), Amanda Lee (voice Queen Otohime) and Gabe Kunda (voice of Tiger)
  • EPISODE 543 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring Joel McDonald (ADR Director), Chris Raeger (voice of Arlong).

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 552 Video Commentary – Video Commentary featuring Joel McDonald (ADR Director), Jim Foronda (voice Vander Decken) and Larry Brantley (voice of Hordy)
  • Textless Opening Song

With the release of “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Three”, the episodes continue the Fishman Island arc (featuring episodes 541-552). Note: In Japan, this arc of episodes is season 15.

In this latest volume, the episodes featured are less about the Straw Hat Pirates but about the history involving Hordy, Tiger and Arlong.  How the war between the Fishman pirates versus the pirates took place and the division within the pirates about the murdering of humans.

And as Hordy issues this declaration, he plans to execute King Neptune, killing the Straw Hat Pirates including Luffy for defying Arlong’s ambitions and meanwhile, a joyful Princess Otohime has collected signed petitions from the Celestial Dragons supporting her cause and as she tries to get the island to sign the petition.  But tragedy strikes and a character is killed.

While I don’t want to spoil anything else, I will say that Hordy uses the character’s death to use on the citizens for his own agenda.  While Luffy is intent on rescuing his crew, this will set a precedence in which Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates on a collision course with the Fishman Pirates.

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 a video commentary.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Three” is another action-packed but also a more serious and darker volume that explores the Fishman Pirates and the division between Hordy, Arlong and Tiger and how this hatred towards humans manifested to where it is today plus a death of a character.  If you are a One Piece fan, definitely watch this story arc and check out this latest volume of “One Piece” on DVD!

 

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

October 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Two” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates are accused of conspiracy of wanting to destroy Fishman island, while the true antagonists wanting to destroy the island,  Hordy and Decken enact their plans to cause major chaos.  Another entertaining volume of “One Piece”! 

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


DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Two

DURATION: Episodes 529-540 (Duration: 300 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: August 15, 2017


Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

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

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Kazuya Nakai/Christopher Sabat as Roronoa Zoro

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Ian Sinclair as Brook

Travis Willingham as Portgas D. Ace

Edward Newgate as Whitebeard


The rough landing on Fishman Island has scattered the Straw Hats throughout Ryugu Kingdom, but a good deed earns them an invitation to the royal palace. Everything goes swimmingly until a psychic’s prophecy turns the whole island against Luffy and the crew. Backs to the wall, their honorable hosts become their hostages, but the timing couldn’t be worse.


Hordy seeks revenge against Luffy for destroying Arlong’s ambitions and threaten to destroy the Ryugu Palace.  Meanwhile, what happens when the citizens of Fishman Island thinks that Luffy had kidnapped Shirahoshi?

Meanwhile, Zoro vs. Hordy and Luffy vs. Decken.

All this and more in “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Two”!

What is “One Piece”?

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

The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is in its 19th season and a total of 809 episodes have been aired in Japan.

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


The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VIDEO :

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

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

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 532 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring Doug Jackson (Minister of the Right) and Francis Fuselier (Minister of the Left).
  • EPISODE 534 Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by Larry Brantley (voice of Hordy) and Jim Foronda (voice of Decken).

DISC 2:

  • One Piece Cast Goes to Matsuricon 2016: Q&A Panel – (32:41) The One Piece cast attend Matsuricon in Columbus, Ohio for the Q&A.
  • Textless Opening Song “We Go!”

With the release of “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Two”, the episodes continue the Fishman Island arc (featuring episodes 529-540). Note: In Japan, this arc of episodes is season 15.

In this latest arc, things go a little troublesome for the Straw Hat Pirates as Sharley has a prediction that the island will be destroyed by Luffy.  And with this prediction, there is a feeling that the Straw Hats must be stopped.  So, the Minister of the Left accuses the Straw Hat Pirates for the conspiracy to destroy the island and to kidnap mermaids.

But from that prediction on, things go crazy as Hordy destroy Gyro’s ship and Hordy is intent in killing Neptune and making the fishman a superior race over humans.

Meanwhile, Vander Decken IX intends to marry the princess and in order to accomplish his plans and wanting Hordy to accomplish his goals, both fishmen form an alliance in order to destroy Fishman Island.

What will happen when Hordy and Decken come across the Straw Hat Pirates?

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 the Q&A at Matsuricon 2016.

Overall, “One Piece: Season Nine, Voyage Two” is another fun, action-packed volume as Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates are accused of conspiracy of wanting to destroy Fishman island, while the true antagonists wanting to destroy the island,  Hordy and Decken enact their plans to cause major chaos.  Another entertaining volume of “One Piece”!

 

Ancient Aliens: Season 10 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 3, 2017 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” Season 10.

Image courtesy of © 2017 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Ancient Aliens: Season 10

AIR DATE: 2017

DURATION: Episodes 119-126 (8 Episodes total – 5 Hrs., 44 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 17, 2017


Directed by Susan E. Leventhal

Written by KJoe Escalante, 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


On this season of ANCIENT ALIENS®, we uncover more astonishing new evidence of extraterrestrial intervention on Earth than ever before, including an aluminum object that resembles the foot of a lunar lander…but inexplicably dates to over 40,000 years ago. In India, a thousand-year-old mask is discovered that looks identical to the face of a grey alien. Newly uncovered records from Russia indicate that in 1948, an ancient rocket was discovered in Kiev. Is it possible that we are on the brink of a reconnection with our alien ancestors? Watch and find out!


In 2010, “Ancient Aliens” made its debut on the History Channel and now it’s on its tenth 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 first part of the tenth season which aired from April – June 2017 and features the following episodes:

  • Episode 119: The Alien Hunters – Ancient astronaut theorists discuss the existence of alien hunters and the existence of extraterrestrials.
  • Episode 120: Forged by the Gods – How metals that fell out of the sky may be connected to alien visitation.
  • Episode 121: The Mystery of Rudloe Manor – Is there a UFO held in the underground rooms of Rudloe Manor?
  • Episode 122: The Alien Architects – Comparison of structures in different parts of the world that are very similar?  How is that possible?
  • Episode 123: The Pharaoh’s Curse – Could the Ark of the Covenant be related to King Tut’s Curse/The Curse of the Pharaohs?
  • Episode 124: The Science Wars – Are extraterrestrial artifacts being dismissed by scholars?
  • Episode 125: City of the Gods – Do exotic technology exist in various pyramids?  And was there an advanced culture that lived there back then that established that technology?
  • Episode 126: The Alien Frequency – Is there sensory information that exist in sound and can learning about sound lead to extraordinary things?

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ancient Aliens: Season 10” 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 10” 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 10 of “Ancient Aliens”. There are no doubt a lot of plausible things and the arguments are good, although of course, the series is more biased towards possible alien interaction and are outspoken about government cover-ups.

The “Alien Architects” episode is also interesting because we know there are a lot of similarities of pyramids and structures across the globe and no one knows if there is a connection but the presentation on this episode alone is quite interesting.

The episode about the Phaaoh’s Curse has been ongoing for decades and many people believe there is a true curse involved with the opening of King Tut’s tomb.

And as for “The Science Wars”, I also understand about extraterrestrial artifacts being dismissed by scholars.  Scholars will always be skeptical as they want to see evidence and facts and the episode does its best of showing the what if…

I found the episode “Forged by the Gods” to be interesting in that it deals with the Betz Mystery Sphere and how the sphere reacted to music and followed people around, it is interesting how many other metal balls have fallen in different countries.  While NASA disproved other metal spheres as propellant tanks, the Betz Mystery Sphere is interesting as it was ovserved, tested and then suddenly it disappeared after being tested by the US Navy.

The Rudloe Manor episode is also very interesting because the location is mysterious and no one, even to this day, knows what is going on in there and there are a lot of beliefs that there are underground facilities under the manor.  But no one but those working inside there know the truth.

Season 10 only comes with the first eight episodes, not the complete season. The episodes were well-produced and 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”.

 

Lady Macbeth (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Filmmaker William Oldroyd has done a good job with “Lady Macbeth” and the film is made much better thanks to the performance of actress Florence Pugh.  A dark film that is much different from the original story by Nikolai Leskov, and has its flaws.  “Lady Macbeth” is a sinfully, dark, entertaining drama worth watching.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Lady Macbeth

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 90 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

RATED: R

COMPANY: Lions Gate

AVAILABLE ON: October 17, 2017


Based on the novel “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” by Nikolai Leskov

Directed by William Oldroyd

Written by Alice Birch

Producer: Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly

Executive Producer: Lizzie Francke, Christopher Granier-Deferre, Steve Jenkins, Christopher Moll, Jim Reeve

Associate Producer: Dan Jones

Music by Dan Jones

Cinematography by Ari Wegner

Edited by Nick Emerson  

Casting by Shaheen Baig 

Production Design by Jacqueline Abrahams 

Art Direction by Thalia Ecclestone 

Costume Design by Holly Waddington


Starring:

Florence Pugh as Katherine

Cosmo Jarvis as Sebastian

Paul Hilton as Alexander

Nami Ackie as Anna

Christopher Fairbank as Boris

Golda Rosheuvel as Agnes

Anton Palmer as Teddy

Rebecca Manley as Mary

Fleur Houdijk as Tessa

Cliff Burnett as Father Peter


Rural England, 1865. Katherine (Florence Pugh) is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, whose family is cold and unforgiving. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her, so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.


Long ago, Russian novelist Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov would write one of his most famous works “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” in 1865.  Published in Epoch Magazine, while ignored by contemporary critics, it was praised decades later as a masterpiece.

Fastforward to 1934 and the film received an opera adaptation by Dmitri Shostakovich.  But because of its story which revolved around a lonely woman in 19th Century Russia who falls in love with one of her husband’s workers and is driven to murder, the opera was watched by Stalin and the opera was banned and wouldn’t be seen again by 1961.

Championed as a story about the oppression and liberation of a woman, director William Oldroyd and writer Alice Birch worked to bring the film to the big screen.  While not a loyal adaptation and the fact that the film is set in 1865 in rural England, the storyline was changed.  And what was a story about oppression and liberation, goes to its darker depths of becoming a film about a woman who is driven to be with her lover, even if it means murder.

The film stars Florence Pugh (“The Falling”, “Marcella”, “The Commuter”), Cosmo Jarvis (“The Naughty Room”), Paul Hilton (“Wuthering Heights”, “Dragon’s World”, “Klimt”), Naomi Ackie (“Doctor Who”, “I Used to Be Famous”), Christopher Fairbank (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “The Fifth Element”, “Pirates of the Carribbean”, “Alien 3”), Golda Rosheuvel (“Luther”, “Silent Witness”, “Rev”) and Anton Palmer.

And now “Lady Macbeth” will be released on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.

The film is set in 1865 rural England and Katherine (portrayed by Florence Pugh) is married to an older man, Alexander Lester.

She moves to a country estate of Alexander’s father, Boris (portrayed by Christopher Fairbank) and quickly learns that her new home will be strict.  She is unable to leave the house, her servant Anna (portrayed by Naomi Ackie) is strict and follows her employer’s rules.  And each time, she is forced to undress in front of her husband, but he does nothing.  Meanwhile, Boris admonishes Katherine for not giving him a son.

One day, as Boris and Alexander leave for business, Katherine leaves the home and sees the men in an outhouse forcing Anna to undress and having her suspended from the ground.  When she tells the men to let her down, a man named Sebastian (portrayed by Cosmo Jarvis) laughs.  When she asks him to guess her weight, he immediately grabs her and carries her, not caring that she is the wife of his boss.

As Katherine leaves, she starts walking in the field and sees him and she begins to have an attraction towards him.  When Sebastian goes to visit him, she invites him in and they have sex.

Anna knows what is going on and informs the local priest, who warns Katherine but she sends him away.  When Boris arrives, he is informed about the affair and he beats and locks Sebastian in the stable.  When she demands his release, he threatens her, so Katherine responds by poisoning his food and chokes on it.

Anna is terrified by what has happened and becomes a mute and with Alexander still gone, he has Boris buried, she manages his estate and she has her affair openly.

But when Alexander returns home, this leads to Katherine doing the unthinkable.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Lady Macbeth” is presented in 2:35:1 and is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. While I wished the film was released on Blu-ray, the film looks very good on DVD as picture quality is good, dialogue is clear and for the most part, this is a dialogue-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Lady Macbeth” comes with a five minute behind-the scenes featurette, photo gallery and theatrical trailer.


There was no doubt that Nikolai Leskov’s “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” was ahead of its time.  A novel depicting a married woman, bored at home, sick of her husband’s cold demeanor and being scolded, decides to have an affair with one of the workers.

The story was bold as it depicted a married woman planning murder and wanting to be liberated and no longer being oppressed.

In some ways, the original novel is reminiscent of an Edgar Allen Poe novel, while the film adaptation by filmmaker William Oldroyd and writer Alice Birch tends to eliminate any prison stories, finding no need to extend the storyline as featured in the novel which leads to a closing finale and that evil never wins, this film ends with no such closure but while Katherine loses, she also wins.

The film is also changed to showcase a white woman having an affair with a poor man of mixed-race. And while Florence Pugh’s performance is what makes “Lady Macbeth” an entertaining film, the film has its share of problems.

I have a problem with the servant Anna suddenly turning mute, more to make the ending stick.  But it was a bit hard to accept as it seems a bit contrived.

Another problem is that while the original novel is no doubt crimes of passion, “Lady Macbeth” is a film that goes beyond that and it seems that the oppressed and liberated Katherine is possibly a serial killer.  A person who kills because she wants to, because she can and the leadup from this pure woman who just got married descending into the darkness so quickly, things just seem to happen too quickly and yes, situations appear to be contrived.  Perhaps if the film tried to show a sick, amoral individual and we see glimpses of that sick, deranged mind of hers, it would have worked effectively.

And as the novel ends with closure, is there any closure that one gets from watching the ending of “Lady Macbeth”?

As for the DVD, picture quality is good, although I wish the film was released on Blu-ray.  Dialogue is clear and there is a small behind-the-scenes featurette, photo gallery and theatrical trailer.

Overall, filmmaker William Oldroyd has done a good job with “Lady Macbeth” and the film is made much better thanks to the performance of actress Florence Pugh.  A dark film that is much different from the original story by Nikolai Leskov, and has its flaws.  “Lady Macbeth” is a sinfully, dark, entertaining drama worth watching.


 

L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” is a major step for China in creating a fantasy/adventure CG animated film that looks awesome.  The problem is, too many characters are squeezed into 118 minutes that the storyline is hampered by it.  It may get a little confusing, so it may be a film that one will watch more than once.  Still, “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” has its own charm and cool, stylish visuals that make it work watching.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 118 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:39:1 widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

RATED: Not Rated

COMPANY: Lions Gate

AVAILABLE ON: September 26, 2017


Directed by Jingming Guo

Line Producer: Xu Xiaoling

Co-Produced: Qin Zhou

Music by Yuki Kajiura, Ronald Ng

Cinematography by Randy Che


Starring:

Fan Bingbing as Guishan Lian Quan (Disciple to the Fifth Degree)

Kris Wu  as Yin Chen (Lord to the Seventh Degree)

Cheney Chen as Qi Ling (Disciple to the Seventh Degree/Lord to the Zeroth Degree)

William Wai-Ting Chan as You Ming (Lord to the Second Degree)

Amber Kuo as Thalia (Lord to the Fourth Degree)

Yun Lin as Tianshu You Hua (Disciple to the Sixth Degree)

Mi Yang (Disciple to the Second Degree)

Roy Wang as Cang Bai Shao Nian

Yikuan Yan as Guishan Feng Hun (Lord to the Fifth Degree)

Duo Wang as Qi La (Lord to the Third Degree)

Aarif Rahman as Ni Hong (Disciple to the Fourth Degree)


Supernatural warriors clash with dark forces of evil in this electrifying fantasy-adventure. In a distant time, seven lords who wield powers beyond imagination share dominion over a world. But when one lord falls from grace, the others must summon all their magic to stop an epic war that is ravaging the land – and threatening the order of the universe.


In 2016, the Chinese computer animated motion capture action fantasy film “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” was released in theaters.

Directed by famous author Guo Jingming, the film stars Fan Bingbing (“Iron Man 3”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “My Way”), Kris Wu (“xXx: Return of Xander Cage”, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”, “Mr. Six”), Cheney Chen (“The Great Wall”, “Tiny Times”), William Wai-Ting Chan (“Triad”, “As the Light Goes Out”), Amber Kuo (“Au revoir Taipei”, “Keeper of Darkness”), Yun Lin (“The Mermaid”, “Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back”) and Mi Yang (“Gorbaciof”, “Painted Skin: The Resurrection”, “The Bullet Vanishes”).

And now the film will be released on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate.

The film begins with an introduction to the Odin Mainland which is separated into four countries with soul masters protect their own country utilizing their own soul powers.  And the most powerful, seven of them are known as Noble Lords (Dukes).

The film begins with a busboy named Qi Ling (portrayed by Cheney Chen), when the jovial young man goes to work at the inn, he sees a group of spirit warriors at the inn who came from the capital to the area to hunt a spirit beast.

Immediately, the land starts freezing and many people are frozen to death and are killed.  While many in the inn are killed, the female spirit warrior is targeted by a huge white lion with wings who has the power to freeze and control the elements.

Meanwhile, Yin Chen, the Silver Priest (portrayed by Kris Wu) working for the Lord of the Seventh is ordered by the Silver Priest (portrayed by Roy Wang) to take in a disciple. Lady Knox (Talia), Duke of the fourth, is ordered to work with the Duke of the Second to hunt down the Duke of the Fifth, Guishan Feng Hun (portrayed by Yikuan Yan) and his disciple, Guishan Lian Quan (portrayed by Fan Bingbing) for treason.

We then see Guishan Feng Hun running away with a blonde individual and then fighting against himself (a body double that came out of a mirror).

The film then goes to Qi Ling awakening and being taken in by Yin Chen and is told that he was brought back from the dead and that he will now become trained as his disciple.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” is presented in 2:39:1 and is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. The original mandarin dialogue is not included and thus, if you are looking for information on this film, you will notice the names used in the English release versus the Chinese release differ.  For the most part, picture quality is good as it gets on DVD. It’s amazing to look at it because, for example, fans of Fan Bingbing know how she looks and to see a CG version of her is pretty cool.  The motion capture and how the characters look are really well-done, some may feel very video game like but for the most part, the picture quality and animation is very good.  The soundtrack features quite a bit of action and utilizes the surround channels fairly well!

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” comes with no major special features.


“L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” is no doubt an ambitious project showcasing China’s CG animation.  While Japan and Korea have been the focal point for years, it’s good to see a film showcasing how far China has come in CG animation and “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” looks great!

But like a video game, graphics are only a part of it and a storyline is important.  While “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” is a film that I found fun, humorous and action-packed at times, there are too many characters that may confuse viewers.

The film starts off with Qi Ling and then we are introduced to the Lord of the Seventh, Yin Chen.  But then we are introduced to Tianshu You Hua of the Sixth and then we find out that Thalia of the Fourth and You Ming are after Guishan Feng Hun of the Fifth and his disciple Guishan Lian Quan.

Confused?

Yeah, it can get confusing. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if one watched this film multiple times.

I mention video game because in some ways, it reminds me of a JRPG (Japanese role playing game) like “Final Fantasy”, where you start off with an initial character and then the game branches to introduce many other characters.

Where RPG’s have many hours of gameplay with relationships to build upon, movies don’t have that luxury (unless they are built upon a series or comic book preceding the film).

Think of series of warring states or leaders and can you imagine “Game of Thrones” being limited to 118 minutes?  “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” is a film that tries to introduce too many characters and what is considered a primary character for the first half of the film, may not be the primary character of the second half of the film.  The film starts off showcasing Qi Ling (Cheney Chen’s character), but somehow the film ends up being more about Guishan Lian Quan (Fan Bingbing’s character).

While I can’t deny that I enjoyed the film for its visual presentation and action, especially to see Fan Bingbing in CG.  If the film was made into a trilogy or even a two-parter, perhaps the story could have been fleshed out a bit more and character dynamics would come into play more efficiently.

As for the DVD, picture quality looks great as it can on DVD, although I wished it was released on Blu-ray.  Audio is good as the English dub is crystal clear including the film’s action sequences but I admit that I was hoping for special features, which there are none included.

Overall, “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” is a major step for China in creating a fantasy/adventure CG animated film that looks awesome.  The problem is, too many characters are squeezed into 118 minutes that the storyline is hampered by it.  It may get a little confusing, so it may be a film that one will watch more than once.  Still, “L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” has its own charm and cool, stylish visuals that make it work watching.


 

3 Idiotas (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Carlos Bolados’ “3 Idiotas” is a film that grows on you, a comedy that makes you laugh but for the most part, it’s a film with a lot of heart and I found it to be quite delightful and very entertaining!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Pantelion LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: 3 Idiotas

YEAR OF FILM: 2017

DURATION: 106 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 widescreen, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

RATED: PG-13

COMPANY: Lions Gate

AVAILABLE ON: September 26, 2017


Directed by Carlos Bolado

Adaptation by Antonio Abascal, Carlos Bolado, Cory Brusseau, Martha Higareda

Produced by Miguel Mier, Jimena Rodriguez, Bernardo Rugama

Co-Produced: Alexis Fridman, Marco Rodriguez

Executive Producer: Vinod Chopra, Matthias Ehrenberg, Martha Higareda, Ricardo Kleinbaum

Music by Alvaro Arce Urroz

Cinematography by  Javier Moron

Art Direction: Alejandro Garcia

Costume Design: Lupita Peckinpah


Starring:

Martha Higareda as Mariana

Alfonso Dosal as Pancho

Christian Vazquez as Felipe

German Valdez as Beto

Vadhir Derbez as Isidoro

Sebastian Zurita as Emiliano

Paulina Davila as Diana

Enrique Singer a Don Diego

Rodrigo Murray as Escalona


Martha Higareda shines in this laugh-out-loud comedy about two nerdy friends who set out to find their long-lost pal, Pancho, and reunite him with the love of his life (Higareda).


In 2009, the Indian film “3 Idiots” directed by Rajkumar Hirani would become the highest grossing film of that year and would become the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in overseas markets for several years.

So popular, the comedy received various adaptation in Tamil, Telugu, and in 2007, a Mexican adaptation directed by Carlos Bolado known as “3 Idiotas”.

The film was co-adapted, produced and also stars actress Martha Higareda, who had achieved success in Mexico and starred in American film such as “Borderland”, “Street Kings”, both “Smokin’ Aces” films, “Hello Herman” and”McFarland USA”, Higareda has now continued as an actress, writer and producer with hit films such as “No Manches Frida” and now “3 Idiotas”.

The film also stars Alfonso Dosal, Christian Vazquez, German Valdez, Vadhir Derbez, Sebastian Zurita, Paulina Davila, Enrique Singer and Rodrigo Murray.

And now “3 Idiotas” will be available on DVD in September 2017.

The film revolves around three friends: Pancho (portrayed by Alfonso Dosal), Felipe (portrayed by Christian Vazquez) and Beto (portrayed by German Valdes III).

The beginning of the film begins with Beto narrating about how he and Felipe met Pancho. And the two going to meet Isidoro (portrayed by Vadhir Derbez), for information of where Pancho may have disappeared to.

Beto being a photographer who’s successful father wants him to learn and become an engineer, while Felipe is the first in his family to attend college, often carrying a lucky rabbit’s foot for luck.

One day, Felipe is being teased by bullies in college about carrying the rabbit’s foot and it is taken by Isidoro.  Out of nowhere, Pancho is able to get the rabbit’s foot back and give it back to Felipe but in a situation involving Isidoro, they are able to get medical help through med student Mariana (portrayed by Martha Higareda).

As Pancho is interested in Mariana, she happens to be dating a materialistic jerk named Emiliano (portrayed by Sebastian Zurita).

What Pancho doesn’t know is that the main professor of engineering is Don Diego (portrayed by Enrique Singer) is her father and Pancho, often challenges Don Diego’s style of teaching and becomes a thorn in his side.  And because Pancho and his friends tend to get into problems, Don Diego calls them the “three idiots”.

But as Pancho and Marian grow closer and the guys get into various shenanigans but yet have fun, what would lead to Pancho to go missing for several years?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“3 Idiotas” is presented in 2:40:1 and is presented in Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. For the most part, picture quality is good as it gets on DVD. Closeups show good detail, outdoor scenes are vibrant and for the most part, I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues during my viewing of the film. The soundtrack is primarily dialogue and musically driven

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“3 Idiotas” comes with no major special features.

 


Carlos Bolado’s coming-of-age comedy “3 Idiotas” is a film adaptation of a popular Bollywood film that manages to be entertaining and a lot of fun thanks to its humor, its characters and for the most part, showcasing Mexico’s educated, who are trying to make the country a better place.

And yes, staying true to similar Bollywood adaptations, you get a Bollywood-style dance theme at the end of the film.

While some may be turned off by the film’s multiple fart scenes, the lack of respect the three students have towards their cold professor and questionable situations that are a bit far-fetched.  If one managed to move past all that and just take the film as is, a comedy with imperfections, yet a film that focuses on character relationships between the friendship of three guys trying to make it in college, guys trying to live their life and find their place in life, while you get a rom-com storyline between Pancho and Mariana.

There is a lot to enjoy of “3 Idiotas”.

The chemistry between actor Alfonso Dosal and Martha Higareda is well-done and they captivate the audience onscreen but its the many shenanigans that people will see throughout the film, that will make you laugh but also surprise you.

I have to admit that seeing the title, I automatically assumed that this film was going to be a “Dumb and Dumber” style of storyline.  Thankfully, the “3 Idiotas” is a name given by a professor after the three mess up his daughter’s wedding by doing stupid, idiotic things.

But aside from that, where are you going to see a film where friends and family try to nurse one of the guys back from a coma, classes emptying out due to one student’s unfortunate bout of flatulence but also a mysterious turn of events when one of the guys disappears.

At the ending credits, because the film focuses on engineering students, the film showcases the engineering progress in Mexico and what some of these individuals have created for the betterment of life in Mexico.

As for the DVD, picture quality is as good as it can get on DVD.  Audio features plenty of music, but most importantly, dialogue and music are crystal clear through the front and surround channels.  Unfortunately, there are no special features on this DVD.

Overall, Carlos Bolados’ “3 Idiotas” is a film that grows on you, a comedy that makes you laugh but for the most part, it’s a film with a lot of heart and I found it to be quite delightful and very entertaining!


 

The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

thegoldbergs-s3

“The Goldbergs” is nostalgic, hilarious, fun and addictive! “The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season” marks a season of change and setting up the next stage for season five.  Overall, a series that is highly recommended!

© 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season

YEAR OF TV SERIES: 2017

DURATION: Episodes 72-95 (518 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), English, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

RATED: NOT RATED

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: September 12, 2015


Directed by David Katzenberg, Jay Chandrrasekhar, Victor Nelli Jr., Lew Schneider, Richie Keen, Jon Corn, Richie Keen, Joanna Kerns, Kevin Smith, Peter B. Ellis, Christine Gernon, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Lea Thompson, Jason Blount, Anton Cropper, Jude Weng

Written by Adam F. Goldberg, Lacey Marisa Friedman, Lauen Bans, Aaron Kaczander, Annie Mebane, Dan Levy, David Guarascio, Adam Armus,Josef Adalian, Kerri Doherty, Brian Hennelly, Rob Lieber, Matt Esdall, Matt Mira, Hans Rodionoff, Erik Weiner

Executive Producer: Adam F. Goldberg, Seth Gordon, Doug Robinson, David Guarascio, Adam Armus

Producer: Dan Levy, Annie Mebane, Rob Lieber, Dan Levy

Co-Executive Producer: Annette Sahakian Davis, Lew Schneider, Chris Bishop, Stephen Basilone, Andrew Secunda, David Katzenberg, Brian Keith Etheridge

Co-Producer: Mary Rohlich, Billy Wee, Mac Marshall

Consulting Producer: Michael J. Weithorn

Cinematography by Jason Blount, Scott Browner

Editing by Ruthie Aslan, Peter B. Ellis, Kevin Leffler, Jon Corn, Dave Canseco, Robert Lanford

Casting by Leslie Litt

Production Design by Cory Lorenzen

Art Direction by Bill Brownell

Set Decoration by Suzette Sheets, Donald Krafft

Costume Design by Keri Smith


Starring:

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg

Sean Giambrone as Adam Goldberg

Troy Gentile as Barry Goldberg

Hayley Orrantia as Erica Goldberg

George Segal as Albert “Pops” Solomon

Jeff Garlin as Murray Goldberg

Patton Oswalt as the Narrator

AJ Michalka as Lainey Lewis

Virginia Gardner as Lexy Bloom

Sam Lerner as Geoff Schwartz

Natalie Alyn Lind as Dana Caldwell

Kenny Ridwan as Dave Kim

Stephn Tobolowsky as Principal Ball

Jackson Odell as Ari Caldwell

Jacob Hopkins as Chad Kremp

Matt Bush as Andy Cogan

Noah Munck as “Naked” Rob Smith

Bryan Callen as Mr. Mellor

Sean Marquette as Johnny Atkins

Alex Jennings as Carla Natali

Tim Meadows as Mr. Glascott


The VCR-loving, mixtape-making, spandex-wearing Goldbergs are back! For geeky and movie-obsessed youngest child Adam, his wonder years were spent documenting the hilarious and awkward antics of his colorful family. This season finds the siblings fighting off huggies, snuggies and nubbies as they navigate what it means to grow up as a Goldberg. .


In 2013, the series “The Goldbergs” created by Adam F. Goldberg (“Breaking In”) aired on television.

Starring Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Brides Maids”, “Reno 911!”), Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Daddy Day Care”), George Segal (“Look Who’s Talking”, “The Cable Guy”), Haley Orrantia, Troy Gentile (“Nacho Libre”, “Drillbit Taylor”, “Good Luck Chuck”), Sean Giambrone (“I Heart Shakey”, “Clarence”) and narration by Patton Oswalt (“The King of Queens”, “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”).

With a fifth season set to air on ABC, the third and fourth season will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The Goldbergs” is a comedy set in the 1980’s and is based on the life of series-creator Adam F. Goldberg (at the end of each episode are real life video camera footage that Adam filmed of him and his family from the ’80s).

The series takes place in Jenkinstown, Pennsylvania and features Murray Goldberg (portrayed by Jeff Garlin) as the furniture salesman and family patriarch, the intruding but loving mother Beverly (portrayed by Wendi McLendon-Covey).

Both Murry and Beverly are parents to the popular and rebellious Erica (portrayed by Hayley Orrantia), the always trying hard but very naive, mama’s boy Barry (portrayed by Troy Gentile) and the young but mature for his age, Adam Goldberg (portrayed by Sean Giambrone).

The family are often visited by the children’s grandfather Albert “Pops” Solomon (portrayed by George Segal), who tries to help when he sees his daughter Beverly getting too involved in the kid’s lives. And what happens when Murray’s father and brother come to Thanksgiving?

The following is a spoilerless summary of the fourth season of “The Goldbergs”:

  • EPISODE 72 – Adam dresses like John Bender of “The Breakfast Club” for his first day in High School, while Beverly tries to be a substitute at her kids HS.
  • EPISODE 73 – What happens when Lainey, Erica and Beverly find a video dating service in the mall.
  • EPISODE 74 – What happens when Adam wants to ask the cute “Waffle Girl” for date?
  • EPISODE 75 – What happens when Murray buys an answering machine?
  • EPISODE 76 – What happens when Adam tries to write a horror novel?
  • EPISODE 77 – Adam tries to convince his father to fund his own action movie.
  • EPISODE 78 – Adam wants to go to the Gimbels Thanksgiving Parade after finding out K.I.T.T. of “Knight Rider” will be there?  But how will he get to the parade?
  • EPISODE 79 – What happens when Mrs. Cinoman changes the play from “The Wizard of Oz” to “Phantom of the Opera”?
  • EPISODE 80 – Murray has tickets to a Harlem Globetrotters and wants to take Barry.  But when Murray has amnesia, what happens when he takes Adam?
  • EPISODE 81 – What happens when Adam gets a rare VHS bootleg copy of “Star Wars Holiday Special”?
  • EPISODE 82 – Inspired by “Dead Poets Society”, what happens when Beverly gets a one-month substitute teacher’s job?
  • EPISODE 83 – Due to heavy snow, the Goldberg children have to figure out what to do on their day off?
  • EPISODE 84 – Adam is upset that his buddy Chad Kremp can’t devote more time to “Chadam Productions” due to tennis.
  • EPISODE 85 – What happens when Barry and Erica try to get a mob at Spencer’s Gifts store?
  • EPISODE 86 – Adam wants to become famous but when a casting agent sees Adam playing a nerd role, Beverly feels her son deserves a better part.
  • EPISODE 87 – When Adam reads the other Adam Goldberg’s review of “The Karate Kid”, he challenges him to a fight.
  • EPISODE 88 – What happens when the guys want to induct Deadhead into JTP?
  • EPISODE 89 – Lainey is accepted to a fashion design school in Savannah, Georgia and Barry panics of what he will do after high school.
  • EPISODE 90 – With prom night approaching, how will Erica and Geoff continue their relationship?
  • EPISODE 91 – Murray wants his daughter Erica to attend his alma mater, Penn State University.
  • EPISODE 92 – What happens when Barry gets a job at a local country club?
  • EPISODE 93 – What happens when Barry, Lainey and the JTP watch “The Day After” with Murray?
  • EPISODE 94 – Barry and Lainey vs. Erica and Geoff compete for “Cutest Couple” in the yearbook.
  • EPISODE 95 – It’s graduation day.  How will the lives of Erica, Geoff, Lainey and Barry change after graduation?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality on DVD is very good as the series is broken up in three discs. Audio quality is good with clear dialogue. I did not notice any artifacts or any problematic issues during my viewing of the series.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring 20 deleted scenes.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “The Kara-Te Kid” with Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson, Lew Schneider, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Troy Gentile.
  • Gag Reel – (4:45) Season four gag reel.
  • The Goldbergs Trailer

EXTRAS:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season” comes with a slipcover.


With the fourth season of “The Goldbergs”, the season marks a change as Erica graduates high school and plans to go to college, while finding herself more emotional as she notices that she has developed feelings for Schwartz.

As Lainey is about to graduate and go to fashion school, Barry knows that things are changing and he starts to learn that he is good and math and has interests of becoming a doctor.  But will he pursue career or trying to be close to Lainey?

Meanwhile, as season three was a change for Adam as he experienced puberty, for season four, Adam and friends begin high school.

And just when life for these three teens are difficult enough, they are shocked when they find out their mother, Beverly has gotten her substitute teaching license and she intends to teach at her children’s high school and show offer her love for her children in front of all the students.

All this and more in season four of “The Goldbergs”!

As a child of the ’80s and having experienced the fads, the music, the clothing, the toys of that time period, how awesome and fresh is it to find a TV show that incorporates the pop culture of that timeline but making it accessible for today’s generation and also for those who grew up during that time period.

And to find out that the Goldberg’s are modeled after series creator, Adam F. Goldberg’s life and being treated with actual video camera footage, how cool is that?

But there is so much to enjoy about this coming-of-age comedy series. Many of us can sympathize with young Adam Goldberg because we grew up with the amazing toys of the ’80s such as the Transformers (in season two, Adam anguishes over the death of Optimus Prime after watching “The Transformers: The Movie”) and also grew up watching movies such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, which both the character Adam and Barry try to re-enact and also the well-known scene from “Say Anything”.

But while the series does jump different years during the ’80s, it still tries to capture the ’80s through music and pop culture.

This is pop culture that I grew up with and it’s brought to the masses tastefully to the point that you can’t help but be entertained. In fact, my wife and my teen son are now addicted to the series and watching “The Goldbergs” is family night for us!

But what makes this series work so well is its characters.

While Adam is the level-headed, trying to figure out life young teen, Barry is that awkward guy that many of us guys had seen or had similar experiences that were just as awkward. Trying to fit in, trying to be cool, being a wannabe breakdancer or rapper, Barry is that awkward side that many of us get embarrassed by watching, but knowing that he’s cool in his own way at times, despite others thinking that he is a bit uncool.

Both Goldberg brothers make major headways in the second season as they both get girlfriends and it’s interesting because of the shenanigans that take place.

And you have the popular sister, the often medling mother and the father who just wants to be cool, relax after a hard day at work (and likes to drop his pants before sitting and watching television) but is also more than often having to be the husband trying to prevent his wife from doing something embarrassing to their children, as she wants to often meddle in their affairs. And of course, you have the cool grandfather with “Pops”, who also tries to play things cool with the kids.

Each of the talent does a great job in portraying their character and all episodes of “The Goldbergs” have been nothing but entertaining and fun and definitely one of my favorite comedy series on television.  And as everyone grows older in the series, the show reflects that and this season no doubt marks change among the characters.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is good and you get an audio commentary, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

Overall, “The Goldbergs” is nostalgic, hilarious, fun and addictive! “The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season” is highly recommended!

 

The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

thegoldbergs-s3

 “The Goldbergs” is nostalgic, hilarious, fun and addictive! “The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season” is highly recommended!

© 2014, 2015, 2016 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season

YEAR OF TV SERIES: 2016

DURATION: Episodes 48-71 (539 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1), English, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

RATED: NOT RATED

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: September 12, 2015


Directed by David Katzenberg, Jay Chandrrasekhar, Victor Nelli Jr., Lew Schneider, Richie Keen, Jon Corn, Richie Keen, Joanna Kerns, Kevin Smith, Peter B. Ellis, Christine Gernon, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Lea Thompson, Jason Blount, Anton Cropper, Jude Weng

Written by Adam F. Goldberg, Lacey Marisa Friedman, Lauen Bans, Aaron Kaczander, Annie Mebane, Dan Levy, David Guarascio, Adam Armus,Josef Adalian, Kerri Doherty, Brian Hennelly, Rob Lieber, Matt Esdall, Matt Mira, Hans Rodionoff, Erik Weiner

Executive Producer: Adam F. Goldberg, Seth Gordon, Doug Robinson, David Guarascio, Adam Armus

Producer: Dan Levy, Annie Mebane, Rob Lieber, Dan Levy

Co-Executive Producer: Annette Sahakian Davis, Lew Schneider, Chris Bishop, Stephen Basilone, Andrew Secunda, David Katzenberg, Brian Keith Etheridge

Co-Producer: Mary Rohlich, Billy Wee, Mac Marshall

Consulting Producer: Michael J. Weithorn

Cinematography by Jason Blount, Scott Browner

Editing by Ruthie Aslan, Peter B. Ellis, Kevin Leffler, Jon Corn, Dave Canseco, Robert Lanford

Casting by Leslie Litt

Production Design by Cory Lorenzen

Art Direction by Bill Brownell

Set Decoration by Suzette Sheets, Donald Krafft

Costume Design by Keri Smith


Starring:

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg

Sean Giambrone as Adam Goldberg

Troy Gentile as Barry Goldberg

Hayley Orrantia as Erica Goldberg

George Segal as Albert “Pops” Solomon

Jeff Garlin as Murray Goldberg

Patton Oswalt as the Narrator

AJ Michalka as Lainey Lewis

Virginia Gardner as Lexy Bloom

Sam Lerner as Geoff Schwartz

Natalie Alyn Lind as Dana Caldwell

Kenny Ridwan as Dave Kim

Stephn Tobolowsky as Principal Ball

Jackson Odell as Ari Caldwell

Jacob Hopkins as Chad Kremp

Matt Bush as Andy Cogan

Noah Munck as “Naked” Rob Smith

Bryan Callen as Mr. Mellor

Sean Marquette as Johnny Atkins

Alex Jennings as Carla Natali

Tim Meadows as Mr. Glascott


Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the ‘80s. For geeky Adam Goldberg, these were his wonder years, and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. Barry and Erica get into some “risky business,” Adam uses “Weird Al” Yankovic and magic to his advantage in dating, Murray learns to dance and Beverly begins a new “Super Hanukkah” tradition. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other — just with a lot more yelling.


In 2013, the series “The Goldbergs” created by Adam F. Goldberg (“Breaking In”) aired on television.

Starring Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Brides Maids”, “Reno 911!”), Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Daddy Day Care”), George Segal (“Look Who’s Talking”, “The Cable Guy”), Haley Orrantia, Troy Gentile (“Nacho Libre”, “Drillbit Taylor”, “Good Luck Chuck”), Sean Giambrone (“I Heart Shakey”, “Clarence”) and narration by Patton Oswalt (“The King of Queens”, “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”).

With a fifth season set to air on ABC, the third and fourth season will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The Goldbergs” is a comedy set in the 1980’s and is based on the life of series-creator Adam F. Goldberg (at the end of each episode are real life video camera footage that Adam filmed of him and his family from the ’80s).

The series takes place in Jenkinstown, Pennsylvania and features Murray Goldberg (portrayed by Jeff Garlin) as the furniture salesman and family patriarch, the intruding but loving mother Beverly (portrayed by Wendi McLendon-Covey).

Both Murry and Beverly are parents to the popular and rebellious Erica (portrayed by Hayley Orrantia), the always trying hard but very naive, mama’s boy Barry (portrayed by Troy Gentile) and the young but mature for his age, Adam Goldberg (portrayed by Sean Giambrone).

The family are often visited by the children’s grandfather Albert “Pops” Solomon (portrayed by George Segal), who tries to help when he sees his daughter Beverly getting too involved in the kid’s lives.  And what happens when Murray’s father and brother come to Thanksgiving?

The following is a spoilerless summary of the third season of “The Goldbergs”:

  • EPISODE 48 – Barry, Erica and Lainey are planning a “Risky Business” style of party.  Meanwhile, Beverly becomes a temporary smother for Lainey.
  • EPISODE 49 – Adam is going through puberty and is a soloist for “A Chorus Line”.
  • EPISODE 50 – Adam tricks his father to assist him in a learning-based project building a robot.
  • EPISODE 51 – Adam is failing in P.E.  How can his mother make him feel better and for him to take part in P.E.
  • EPISODE 52 – What happen when Erica has Barry dressed like Boy George to stay with Lainey.
  • EPISODE 53 – Adam wants to spend time with Dana during Halloween and they dress up as Alien and Ellen Ripley.
  • EPISODE 54 – Erica throws her annual Troop Beverly Hills pajama party.
  • EPISODE 55 – It’s Thanksgiving and Beverly invites Murray’s estranged father, Pop-Pop.
  • EPISODE 56 – Barry is inspired by “Top Gun” and he enlists in ROTC.
  • EPISODE 57 – Beverly wants her family to be like the Kremps during Christmas.Erica is not happy that Barry is spending
  • EPISODE 58 –  Beverly wants to remodel her kitchen after visiting the Kremps’ home.
  • EPISODE 59 – Barry and Erica sign up to be part of the “Hands Across America” and Beverly wants to be in charge.
  • EPISODE 60 – What happens when Adam and Emmy finds out that “Double Dare” is hosting auditions at their school.
  • EPISODE 61 – Barry wants to do anything crazy for Valentine’s Day and is inspired by Lionel Richie’s music video of “Hello”.
  • EPISODE 62 – Dana comes back to town and wants to spend a romantic weekend together with Adam.
  • EPISODE 63 – Barry thinks he is “Student Athlete of the Year” but when he is dejected and embarrassed, he tries to find a way to become a champion of something.
  • EPISODE 64 – Erica and her mother are inspired by “Dirty Dancing” and want the next school dance to become a “Dirty Dancing” theme.
  • EPISODE 65 – Adam is inspired by Dave Kim’s tape collection as a member of the Columbia House music service.
  • EPISODE 66 – Barry avoids the PSAT test and is disappointed when he finds out that Lainey and his friends are planning to take the test.
  • EPISODE 67 – Adam is tired of being humiliated because he since he is not athletic and often picked last, but what happens when Coach Mellor makes him a team captain.
  • EPISODE 68 – Barry is jealous that his mother is playing favorites with her children and making Adam “World’s Best Son”.
  • EPISODE 69 – What happens when Barry and Erica forget Mother’s Day.
  • EPISODE 70 – Tired of seeing Barry always wearing his “Big Orange” Philadelphia Flyers jersey, his mom Lainey accidentally ruin his jersey.
  • EPISODE 71 – Adam is a freshman and is scared of “Freshman Fear Week”.
  • SPECIAL: The Goldberg’s: An ’80s Rewind – A special episode on the making of “The Goldbergs”.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality on DVD is very good as the series is broken up in three discs. Audio quality is good with clear dialogue. I did not notice any artifacts or any problematic issues during my viewing of the series.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 3:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “The Dirty Dancing Dance” with Adam F. Goldberg, David Katzenberg, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Troy Gentile.
  • Gag Reel – (5:07) Season three gag reel.

EXTRAS:

“The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season” comes with a slipcover.


With the third season of “The Goldbergs”, Beverly does all she can to make her family perfect and making sure she’s part of her children’s lives. While her husband Murray, tries to be part of his children’s life and help whichever way he can.

Barry and Lainey are boyfriend and girlfriend (and Lainey becoming like another member of the family) and he wants to prove his love for her.  Adam is going through puberty and going through body and vocal changes.  Erica is not wanting her brother Barry to one up her and wanting to find love, while Schwartz does all he can to see if he can get Erica’s attention.

More shenanigans, fun and snuggies in season three of “The Goldbergs”!

As a child of the ’80s and having experienced the fads, the music, the clothing, the toys of that time period, how awesome and fresh is it to find a TV show that incorporates the pop culture of that timeline but making it accessible for today’s generation and also for those who grew up during that time period.

And to find out that the Goldberg’s are modeled after series creator, Adam F. Goldberg’s life and being treated with actual video camera footage, how cool is that?

But there is so much to enjoy about this coming-of-age comedy series. Many of us can sympathize with young Adam Goldberg because we grew up with the amazing toys of the ’80s such as the Transformers (in season two, Adam anguishes over the death of Optimus Prime after watching “The Transformers: The Movie”) and also grew up watching movies such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, which both the character Adam and Barry try to re-enact and also the well-known scene from “Say Anything”.

But while the series does jump different years during the ’80s, it still tries to capture the ’80s through music and pop culture.

This is pop culture that I grew up with and it’s brought to the masses tastefully to the point that you can’t help but be entertained. In fact, my wife and my teen son are now addicted to the series and watching “The Goldbergs” is family night for us!

But what makes this series work so well is its characters.

While Adam is the level-headed, trying to figure out life young teen, Barry is that awkward guy that many of us guys had seen or had similar experiences that were just as awkward. Trying to fit in, trying to be cool, being a wannabe breakdancer or rapper, Barry is that awkward side that many of us get embarrassed by watching, but knowing that he’s cool in his own way at times, despite others thinking that he is a bit uncool.

Both Goldberg brothers make major headways in the second season as they both get girlfriends and it’s interesting because of the shenanigans that take place.

And you have the popular sister, the often medling mother and the father who just wants to be cool, relax after a hard day at work (and likes to drop his pants before sitting and watching television) but is also more than often having to be the husband trying to prevent his wife from doing something embarrassing to their children, as she wants to often meddle in their affairs. And of course, you have the cool grandfather with “Pops”, who also tries to play things cool with the kids.

Each of the talent does a great job in portraying their character and all 25 episodes of “The Goldbergs” have been nothing but entertaining and fun and definitely one of my favorite comedy series on television. I really enjoyed this third season a lot!

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is good. While you get an audio commentary, a gag reel but also included with season three is the special, “The Goldbergs: An ’80s Rewind”!

Overall, “The Goldbergs” is nostalgic, hilarious, fun and addictive! “The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season” is highly recommended!

 

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