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Smurfs: The Lost Village (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

July 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who enjoy the Smurfs and videophile/audiophile parents looking for an animated film that looks great in 4K Ultra HD, who also want to entertain their children or the entire family, you can’t go wrong with “Smurfs: The Lost Village”. Recommended for the entire family!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Smurfs: Lost Village

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Compatible), English – Audio Description Track, Catalan, Cantonese, Mandarin, Danish, Dutch (Netherlands), finnish, French, German, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese 5.1 Dolby Digital, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (Some Mild Action and Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2017


Based on the Characters by Peyo

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Written by Stacey Harman, Pamela Ribbon

Producer: Mary Ellen Bauder, Jordan Kerner

Co-Producer: Veronique Culliford, Mandy Tankenson

Executive Producer: Raja Gosnell, Ben Waisbren

Co-Executive Producer: Ben Haber

Music by Christopher Lennertz

Edited by Bret Marnell

Casting by Mary Hidalgo

Production Design by Noelle Triaureau

Art Direction by Dean Gordon, Marcel Vignali


Starring:

Demi Lovato as Smurfette

Rainn Wilson as Gargamel

Joe Manganiello as Hefty Smurf

Jack McBrayer as Clumsy Smurf

Danny Pudi as Brainy Smurf

Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf

Dee Bradley Baker as Monty

Frank Welker as Azrael

Michelle Rodriguez as SmurfStorm

Ellie Kemper as SmurfBlossom

Julia Roberts as SmurfWillow

Ariel Winter as SmurfLily

Meghan Trainor as SmurfMelody

Bret Marnell as Snappy Bug

Brandon Jeffords as Cauldron

Kelly Asbury as Nosey Smurf

Jake Johnson as Grouchy Smurf

Gabrielle Iglesias as Jokey Smurf

Tituss Burgess as Vanity Smurf


In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a roller coaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of THE biggest secret in Smurf history!


Back in the late ’50s, Belgian cartoonist Peyo created the comic strips featuring small blue fictional characters known as the Smurfs. A big success in France, the Smurfs would receive various adaptations.

The first were in Belgium via TV animated shorts that were created in 1961-1967, a few of the shorts would be featured in the 1965 in the black-and-white animation “Les Adventures des Schtroumpfs” and then followed by a 1976 animation titled “La Flûte à six schtroumpfs” (The Smurfs and the Magic Flute) which would receive an English version that would inspire more full-length Smurf animated films.

But in America, where the Smurfs gained its popularity is through the 1981 animated TV series which was nominated many times for a Daytime Emmy Award and won the “Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Series” for 1982-1983. The animated series would broadcast on television through 1989.

In 1997, producer Jordan Kerner has been trying to get a “Smurfs” film created but it wasn’t until 2002 when Peyo’s heirs accepted Kerner’s offer and people were able to get their first look at the film via leaked footage on the Internet in 2008.

And in 2011, the first live-action/CG Smurf film of a planned trilogy was released in theaters in 2011. The film which was budgeted for $110 million received lackadaisical reviews from film critics but the film was popular among the younger viewers and earned over $559 million in the box office ensuring the film as a success for Columbia Pictures which would ensure a sequel.

In 2013, “Smurfs 2” would go on to earn over $374 million in the box office, making it another success.

But wanting to create a full 3D CG animated film, the film series was rebooted (now no longer featuring the live action portion), this film (unrelated to the previous two films) is directed by Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2”, “Gnomeo & Juliet”) and co-written by Stacey Harman (“The Goldbergs”) and Pamela Ribon (“Moana”, “Samantha Who?”, “Bears”) and the film would go on to make $194.7 million in the box office.

And now “Smurfs: The Lost Village” will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD in July 2017.  The version I am reviewing is the 4K Ultra HD version which comes with the Blu-ray and an UltraViolet Digital Code.

In this latest film, we are introduced to the story of Smurfette, the only girl in the Smurf Village and how she was created by the wicked wizard Gargamel from a lump of clay.  Despite being created for the purpose of evil (as he in search of the Smurf village to steal all of their essences to become the most powerful wizard in the world), she was given a chance by Papa Smurf and became part of the village.

One day, Brainy Smurf is creating an invention that can determine one’s energy.  As Hefty Smurf was tested, the invention showed that his energy was strength and Brainy was able to extract that into a liquid.  But when tested on Smurfette, because she isn’t a true Smurf, she drew in energy and so the invention didn’t work on her.

As Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy Smurf go out for some playtime, while flying out with a leaf, a gust of wind carries her to the Forbidden Forest where she crashes.  Smurfette sees a smurf watching her and it runs off past the wall leading to the Forbidden Forest.

But when Smurfette tells the three of what she saw, she is grabbed by Gargamel’s vulture, Monty back to his lair.

This leads Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy to go on a rescue mission to save Smurfette and when they get her out to go to the village, they want to tell Papa Smurf about her discovery.  But when Papa Smurf forbids them and punishes them for going out there, the four sneak out to search if there is a “LostVillage”of Smurfs aside from theirs.


VIDEO:

“Smurfs: Lost Village” receives its first 4K Ultra HD release and this latest animation is fantastic.  Presented in 2160p (1:85:1 aspect ratio), it’s a different style compared to the previous two films which tries to add skin texturing but for the most part, the animation is done very well with great hair physics and for the most part, it’s an animation style that is respectful to Peyo’s original work and also for those who remember the animated series.   Meanwhile, environments are well-rendered with amazing detail.  The picture quality of this film is fantastic!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Audio quality is equally impressive. Presented in English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Compatible), English – Audio Description Track, Catalan, Cantonese, Mandarin, Danish, Dutch (Netherlands), Finnish, French, German, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Considering that this animated film has a good number of action sequences, the lossless audio utilizes the surround channels.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear, while action sequences sound magnificent through the surround channels.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Smurfs: The Lost village” on 4K Ultra HD comes with the following special features:

  • Emoji Sneak Peak – (2:04) A sneak peek for the upcoming “Emoji” film.
  • Filmmaker Commentary– Featuring audio commentary by director Kelly Asbury and Allan Hawkins (Animation Supervisor) and Brandon Jeffords (Head of Story).
  • Deleted Scenes – (7:35) Featuring four deleted scenes.
  • Kids at Heart! The Making of Smurfs: The Lost Village – (9:09) The making of “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and behind-the-scenes at Sony Pictures Animation.
  • The Lost Auditions – (4:07) Voice talents auditioning for other Smurf roles.
  • Demi Lovato Meets Smurfette – (:58) Smurfette interviews Demi Lovato.
  • Lost Village Dance Song  – (3:10) Featuring children dancing to the “Lost Village Dance Song”.
  • Smurfify Your Nails – (2:18) A featurette on how to smurfify nails.
  • Baker Smurf’s Mini Kitchen – (4:05)  A featurette featuring Baker Smurf narrating one preparing a baked dish.
  • Meghan Trainor “I’m a Lady Music Video”
  • Making the Song “You Will Always find Me In Your Heart” – (3:00) Christopher Lennertz discuss making the music for a certain scene.
  • The Sound of The Smurfs – (3:42) Kelly Asbury and Christopher Lennertz discuss the music for Smurfs: The Lost Village”.
  • Draw Your Favorite Smurfs – (7:40) How to draw various Smurf characters.
  • See More Smurfs! – (5:48) “Smurf” film trailers

EXTRAS:

“Smurfs: The Lost Village” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


Having grown up with watching “Smurfs” on television and reading the comics, and since 2011, it was cool to watch the films alongside my young son who pretty much grew up not with the animated films but the two previous films.

And he were are now in 2017, we have an animated film which will no doubt entertain families but I feel it’s a film that is much easier for me, as an adult to watch, versus watching Smurf and human collaborations onscreen.

Part of the entertaining factor of the original series is the adventures that the Smurfs are involved in and the various characters to work with.  While “Smurfs: The Lost Village” features primarily Smurfette, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf and Clumsy Smurf, the film does a great job of incorporating other Smurfs but most importantly answers a question of what if there is a village of other Smurfs out there?

What if Smurfette wasn’t the only female Smurf around?

And sure enough, “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is quite fun to watch because we see another village but instead of all male, it’s all female.  And similar to Papa Smurf and his village of male smurfs, we see Mama Smurf and her village of female smurfs.  And needless to say, it makes for a fun, entertaining story.

As always, Gargamel is the primary antagonist.  Still trying to search for Smurfs to capture their essence in order to make him a powerful wizard.  Sure there is quite a bit of peril and rude humor (thanks to Gargamel) that raises the rating to PG but parents watching alongside their children need not worry at all.  It’s a great animated film that the entire family can enjoy!

As for the 4K Ultra HD presentation, animation is fantastic.  While much different compared to the previous two films, this time around, the animated film is much truer to Peyo’s work.  Especially for those who grew up watching the animated series.  Movements and hair physics to the way the characters move were well-animated and the detail of environments are full of detail.  In fact, this film looks absolutely vibrant in HD.

The lossless soundtrack is just as impressive.  Featuring crystal clear dialogue and music but also great use of the surround channels during the action sequences.  And last, there are a good number of special features included as well.

Overall, for those who enjoy the Smurfs and videophile/audiophile parents looking for an animated film that looks great in 4K Ultra HD, who also want to entertain their children or the entire family, you can’t go wrong with “Smurfs: The Lost Village”.  Recommended for the entire family!

 

Demi Lovato – Skyscraper (a J!-ENT World Groove Digital Single Review)

August 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Lovato’s most personal but also the best single for her to showcase her awesome vocals!  A wonderful return for the talented young artist!


ARTIST: Demi Lovato

DIGITAL SINGLE: Skyscraper

LABEL: Hollywood Records

DURATION: 3:42

RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2011

  1. Skyscraper

I have reviewed Demi Lovato music and also her films and TV show for several years now and there is no denying that she is a wonderful talent with a beautiful voice.

But we all know how Lovato has had difficulty in her personal life and having to deal with being diagnosed as bi-polar.  There was a point in time that I wondered how her career can rebound as people know, the industry is ruthless and sometimes unforgiving.

But when it comes to this young starlet, she has a lot to give and with that beautiful voice, its best not wasted.

Her latest single “Skyscraper” not only is a testament to the actresses courage but also her determination to not falter and “Skyscraper” is a single that not only catches your attention, but you realize not only is it a personal song for the talent who has went public of having to deal with bullying throughout her life but it’s also a single that showcases her vocals.

“Skyscraper” is perhaps the best single to come from the talent thus far.  Yes, I enjoyed “Here We Go Again!” and I have many other singles from Lovato, but this single has so much heart and soul, you can hear those true emotions coming out from her beautiful vocals and by the end of the single, I was quite impressed.

“Skyscraper” is a wonderful return for Lovato to what she loves doing and for fans of her music, it’s a single definitely worth checking out!

Demi Lovato unveils her bikini body

May 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Actress/singer Demi Lovato has been working out a lot since leaving her treatment and now, Lovato reveals her beautiful bikini body.

Lovato tweeted, “I’ve been working so hard to get healthy and fit.. I can’t believe I’m about to do this but I’m so excited.. Here’s … http://say.ly/kQIkzb“.

Looking great Demi!

Demi Lovato: “I was Bipolar”

April 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Demi Lovato talked about her three-month treatment but also revealed that she is bipolar.

The singer/actress told the publication, “Looking back it makes sense. There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I’d be up until 5:30 in the morning.”

Lovato said, “I feel like I am in control now where my whole life I wasn’t in control.”

TEEN SENSATION DEMI LOVATO SPEAKS CANDIDLY TO ABC NEWS’ ROBIN ROBERTS IN FIRST TELEVISION INTERVIEW SINCE LEAVING TREATMENT

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Exclusive Television Interview to Air on “Good Morning America”
And “20/20” on Friday, April 22

With her own hit television show and starring roles in popular movies, gold records and an international concert tour, Demi Lovato appeared to have it all. But during her tour last fall, the 18-year-old star slowly began to unravel and, after a family intervention, checked into treatment. Now Demi sits down for her first television interview since spending three months in treatment. She speaks candidly to ABC News Anchor Robin Roberts about her struggles with cutting and food addictions, and, for the first time, talks about the depression that has plagued her since childhood — and how she’s learning to find her smile again.

A portion of Robin Robert’s exclusive interview will air FRIDAY, APRIL 22 on “Good Morning America” (7:00-9:00 a.m., ET) and the full interview will air that night on “20/20” (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

More details on what happened with Demi Lovato and the argument that took place

November 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Press Conference to announce the Nominations for The 2010 American Music Awards held at The JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live , California on October 12th, 2010. Demi Lovato                                               Fame Pictures, Inc

As stories are coming out of what may have happened at the airport in regards to an argument that took place between Demi Lovato and her dancer which led to her seeking treatment, People Magazine has received some juicy details from a source.

The source tells the publication that Lovato and part of her crew went did some partying but when the tour manager and her step-father questioned her conduct, she felt that someone had ratted on her and she accused one of her dancers.

According to the source, their was a short, physical altercation on the airplane and told PEOPLE Magazine, “Afterwards, Demi felt awful about her behavior and realized she needed to take personal responsibility for it,” says the family source. “Because of this, and because of the battles Demi has fought throughout her life, both she and her family realized she needed to take steps to get help immediately.”

Demi Lovato enters treatment, pulls out of concert tour

November 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Press Conference to announce the Nominations for The 2010 American Music Awards held at The JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live , California on October 12th, 2010. Demi Lovato                                               Fame Pictures, Inc

Demi Lovato has always been public about how she had a hard time growing up, being bullied and just trying to fit in. But the young actress/singer has entered treatment for “emotional and physical issues she has deal with for some time” according to her rep and because of that, she had to drop out of the Jonas Brothers tour.

Her rep has said in a statement, “Demi has decided to take personal responsibility for her actions and seek help. She is doing just that. Demi and her family ask that the media please respect their privacy during this difficult time. She regrets not being able to finish her tour, but is looking forward to getting back to work in the near future.”

Lovato was currently with the Jonas Bros. in Peru and sources say that her non-stop schedule since “Camp Rock 2” had taken a toll on her.

We wish Demi the best!

Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Fun, energetic and entertaining!  The sequel has a much better musical soundtrack and a more upbeat and improved choreography compared to the original film.  “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” features never-before-scenes and songs and fans of the film, Demi Lovato or the Jonas Brothers will definitely want to pick this one up!

Images courtesy of © Walt Disney Studios Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition

YEAR OF FILM RELEASE: 2010

DURATION: 104 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround Soun, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED:  TV G

RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2010

Directed by Paul Hoen

Written by Daniel Berendsen, Karin Gist, Regina Y. Hicks

Characters by Karin Gist, Regina Y. Hicks, Julie Brown, Paul Brown

Executive Producer: Alan Sacks

Producer: Kevin Lafferty

Cinematography: David A. Makin

Casting by Jason La Padura

Production Design by Doug McCullough

Costume Design by Shelley Mansell

Starring:

Demi Lovato as Mitchie Torres

Chloe Bridges as Dana

Joe Jonas as Shane Gray

Nick Jonas as Nate

Meaghan Martin as Tess Tyler

Kevin Jonas as Jason

Alyson Stoner as Caitlyn Geller

Maria Canals-Barrera as Connie Torres

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle as Ella

Frankie Jonas as Trevor

Jasmine Richards as Peggy

Matthew “Mdot” Finley as Luke

Abigail Chu as Erin

Roshon Fegan as Sander

Daniel Fathers as Brown Cesario

Jordan Francis as Barron

Shaun Shetty as Counsellor Bob

Mitchie (Lovato) can’t wait to return to Camp Rock and spend the summer making new music with her friends Shane, Nate and Jason (Joe, Nick and Kevin Jonas). But the slick new camp across the lake,Camp Star, has drummed up some serious competition—featuring newcomers Luke (Finley) and Dana (Bridges). With Camp Rock’s future at stake, will Camp Star’s flashy production and over-the-top antics win the sensational battle of the bands, or will Camp Rockers prove that talent, teamwork, and spirit are what truly matter?

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In 2008, “Camp Rock” had its premiere on the Disney Channel and at the time, it became the second highest viewed Disney Channel Original Movie behind “High School Musical 2” and bringing in 8.9 million viewers.

The movie featured the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato and the film would catapult the acting and singing careers of both the band and Lovato who would go on to have their own Disney Channel show and for Lovato, would establish herself as a pop star.

Needless to say, with the success of the first film, there was no doubt that there would be a sequel and sure enough, in 2010, “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” would air on the Disney Channel on Labor Day weekend and a few days later, would be released on Blu-ray and DVD.  The film is directed by Paul Hoen (“Jonas”, “Beyond the Break”, “South of Nowhere”) and features a screenplay by Daniel Berendsen (“Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie”, “The Cheetah Girls: One World”, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”), Karen Gist (“One Tree Hill”, “Girlfriends”, “Camp Rock”) and Regina Y. Hicks (“Camp Rock”, “Girlfriends”, “Sister, Sister”).

“Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam” takes place a year after the first film as Mitchie Torres (played by Demi Lovato) and her mother and camp caterer Connie (played by Maria Canals-Barrera) return to Camp Rock for the summer.  For Mitchie, she’s excited to spend time with Shane Gray (played by Joe Jonas), who is coming back to Camp Rock for the summer with his brothers Nate (played by Nick Jonas) and Jason (played by Kevin Jonas) who are all members of the band Connect 3.

But as Mitchie and her mother are driving towards Camp Rock, they see a sign promoting Camp Star.  Why would another music camp be created right across Camp Rock?

When Mitchie arrives to Camp Rock, she is greeted by her friends Caitlyn (played by Alyson Stoner), Margaret (played by Jasmine Richards), Ella (played by Anna Maria Perez de Tagle) and also friend/rival Tess (played by Meaghan Jette Martin).  Everyone seems to notice that there are less people this summer at Camp Rock.

Camp Rock owner Brown Cesario (played by Daniel Fathers) tells everyone that another camp has opened across the stream.  But Brown wants to make sure everyone has a fun time and with the people they have this year, they can still have some fun.  But as quickly as Brown announces it,  immediately Camp Star makes their presence known.

Camp Star is owned by Axel Turner (played by Daniel Kash), owner of the famous record company, Star Records.  He is also a former member of the rock band, the Wet Crows (which Brown was a member of) and was kicked out of the band by Brown (despite Axel believing that he left on his own terms).  But Axel does have a grudge of what happened and is determined in closing Camp Rock and getting revenge on Brown.

Camp Star invites the people and staff of Camp Rock to a bonfire and Brown knows that Axel is up to no good.   When the Camp Rock people arrive to the bonfire at Camp Star, they are shocked to see an actual performance/concert area.   The night begins with Camp Rock performing.  Mitchie and friends perform a song on stage but when it is Camp Star’s turn to perform on stage, Axel reveals pop star Luke Williams (played by Matthew “Mdot” Finley) and goes all out with a concert/lighting spectacle.  The performance area is lit up like a major concert arena with lighting and a much more glitzier arena than what the Camp Rock performers are used to.

And what Brown had worried about Axel comes true.  Axel has used the bonfire to take the time to steal staff and people away from Camp Rock and using the presentation on their turf as a way to make them switch.  Axel offers tents with air conditioning and is willing to pay staff at Camp Rock double if they come to work for him.  And he starts inviting Camp Rock people to his camp and sure enough, as nearly all Camp Rock staff switch to Camp Star, a few Camp Rockers including Tess decide to make the switch to Camp Star.

Brown and members of Camp Rock are devastated.  Not only did they lose staff but without them, the camp will not function and would have to close down.

But Mitchie, the Grays and friends decide to step up and prevent the camp from closing and become part of the staff to save the camp and to make sure that Camp Star does not get the best of them.  Meanwhile, Nate Gray (played by Nick Jonas) starts to take a liking towards Axel’s daughter Dana (played by Chloe Bridges) and she becomes interested in him.  But because they are from rival camps, they try to find ways to be with each other without anyone finding out.

As Axel is determined to close down Camp Rock, Axel issues a challenge to Camp Rock.  A battle of the camps in a televised musical performance.  Brown knows its a ploy for Axel to shut down Camp Rock but without consulting him, Mitchie and friends agree to the competition and now both camps prepare to square off in a musical competition.  Will this be the end of Camp Rock?

“Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” features the extended version of the film which includes never-before-seen songs and scenes for “Different Summers” and “Waking in My Shoes”.

VIDEO:

“Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  Because the majority of the film is shot outdoors, the film looks vibrant and colorful in HD.   Especially during the performances at the Camp Star stage.  Cinematographer David A Makin (“Drop Dead Diva”, “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie”) did a good job in capturing the overall performance area.  The lighting was very well done during these performances and looks great in HD.

The accompany DVD is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) – enhanced for 16×9 television.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround Sound and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.   Dialogue and music is crisp and clear through the center and front channels and there was a good amount of crowd ambiance coming through the surround channels.  Actually, the lossless soundtrack really takes advantage of the surround channels for this musical.  I was expecting more of a front and center channel driven soundtrack, so I was amazed to hear the surround channels utilized.

I actually dig the musical soundtrack for this film compared to the last film.  It’s all subjective to the listener but I enjoyed the addition of the pop R&B performances and a good balance of music this time around.

The accompanying DVD features a soundtrack in English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.

As for subtitles, the film is presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” comes with the following special features (in 1080p HD and standard definition and presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital):

  • Rock-AlongWhile watching the film, you can watch “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam” via “Rock-Along” in which you can sing along with the tunes (karaoke style titles for the lyrics are shown at the bottom of the screen).
  • Music Videos from Camp Rockers Around the WorldWatch music videos of performances for “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam” in other countries which include France (3:03, Lea Castel – N’abandone pas (Can’t Back Down), Spain (2:47, Lucia Gil – Tu ere mi cancion), Benelux (3:25, Dean en Sita – I Wouldn’t Change a Thing), Germany (3:31) and Italy (3:36, FINLEY – Per la vita che verra’).  Presented in standard definition.
  • Getting to Know the Camp Stars(5:44) Alyson Stoner interviews Matthew “Mdot” Finley and Chloe Bridges about how they got the part and what they did in their audition.  Also, their experience on filming “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam”.
  • Disney LiveDownload the latest trailers for upcoming Disney films or learn what is out on Disney Blu-ray.

EXTRAS:

This version of “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” comes with a slipcase cover and also comes with a DVD and digital copy of the feature film.

An awesome, fun and energetic sequel!

“Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” is another enjoyable musical from Disney that stays true to the tradition of the original movie (and other Disney musicals) featuring kids having fun, singing, dancing and of course, you also get some of that camp drama as well.

What I enjoyed about the film is that remains consistent to the first but also improves upon the original. Since 2008 with “Camp Rock”, both Demi Lovato and the members of the Jonas Brothers have improved vocally as pop stars. When I first watched Demi Lovato, her vocals worked with her character since she was not as established yet as an actress nor as a singer but now, watching her in “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam”, you can see the confidence. Also, I like the pop/R&B addition of  Mathew “Mdot” Finley.  This guy has star potential and definitely brings another dimension to the “Camp Rock” music soundtrack.

I also enjoyed the choreography for the sequel.  You have awesome choreographers Rosero McCoy (“Shake It Up!”, “Step Up”) and Chuck Maldonado (“Stomp the Yard” films) really taking the dancing to a new level with this sequel and in fact, when I started to see some stepping during the film, the first thing that came to my mind was “Chuck Maldonado” must be involved with this film and sure enough he was.

A major highlight of the film was the performance by everyone as they were singing the song “It’s On”.  It’s a very cool song that incorporates everyone into that musical scene and was similar to the “High School Musical” style of choreography of taking many people and having fun with the choreography but making it slick and cool and having an awesome song behind it. It was great to see everyone so involved and even seeing the main and supporting characters really going all out in the choreography. I was impressed.

The pop tracks “Fire” and “Walkin’ In My Shoes” were also pretty cool and it was good to see Meaghan Martin and Matthew “Mdot” Finley performing together. I thought the scene with Nate (Nick Jonas) singing to Dana (Chloe Bridges) was pretty charming and fun as Nate is a shy guy but he best communicates through his music.

And of course, for Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato fans, there are plenty of cool songs in this film especially with “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” by Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato as a song that is a solid ballad and awesome follow up to their 2008 “Camp Rock” hit “This Is Me”.

Now which film did I enjoy the most?  I have to say that I enjoyed the first film for its storyline. Mainly for the fact that Mitchie was an underdog and I enjoy films in which the underdog proves that she can be the best.  I enjoyed that about “Camp Rock” and Demi Lovato’s inexperience really helped make her stand out. We hardly knew anything about her then and when we saw her sing, we knew she had star potential. This time around, we have seen Demi emerge as an actress and singer and the same goes for the Jonas Brothers who have matured as well. But when it comes to the music and choreography, “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam” was much better than the original. The songs are catchy, well-produced and the choreography, as mentioned, is much, much better than the original.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” does come with the Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy of the film.  But also, for fans who did enjoy the sequel, the extended version does have the never-before-seen scenes and songs for “Different Summers” and “Walking in My Shoes”.

Although, not a release that comes with a lot of special features and unfortunately no audio commentary or featurettes (would have loved to see the making of or even the training that went into creating the film), it’s still a solid release for fans of the film, Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers or those who enjoy Disney musicals. Picture and audio quality is solid and I think that fans will love this extended edition Blu-ray release.

Overall, “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam: Extended Edition” is another entertaining musical following the success of the original “Camp Rock” but also improves the film with its music soundtrack and choreography.  If you loved watching “Camp Rock 2 – The Final Jam” on the Disney Channel, then you’ll definitely want to pick up the extended version of the film!

Demi Lovato gets into a fender bender

May 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Revival Vintage Boutique Grand Opening

Disney star/singer Demi Lovato got into a car accident today. Fortunately, the actress is fine but Lovato as expected is bummed about what happened. Lovato posted on her Twitter account:

Today hasn’t started off so great… I was so sleepy this morning I got in my first little accident in my car. 🙁 blahhh

To everyone who asked, yes – I’m totally fine! Thank you! Haha just was a huge bummer.. :/

Sonny with a Chance: Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“Absolutely entertaining and all-out fun!  ‘Sonny with a Chance’ is definitely recommended!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Sonny with a Chance: Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1

DURATION: 89 Minutes (23 minutes per episode)

DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen (1:33:1), Dolby Digital Stereo Sound, Spanish Language Tracks.  Subtitles: Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: TV G

RELEASE DATE:  August 25, 2009

Directed by Eric Dean Seaton and Lee Shallat Chemel

Written by Phil Baker, Drew Vaupen

Producer: Patty Gary Cox

Associate Producer: Chris Phillips

Consulting Producer: Amy Engelberg, Wendy Engelberg

Music by Christopher A. Lee

Cinematography by Wayne Kennan, Kenneth D. Zunder

Edited by Brian Schnuckel

Production Design by Garvin Eddy

Costume Design by Julie Rhine

Starring:

Demi Moore as Sonny Munro

Tiffany Thornton as Tawni Hart

Sterling Knight as Chad Dylan Cooper

Brandon Smith as Nico

Doug Brochu as Grady

Allisyn Ashley Arm as Zora

Michael Kostroff as Marshall Pike

Nancy Mckeon as Conny Munroe

Jillian Murray as Portlyn

Brent Tarnol as Josh

Vicki Lewis as Joy

Four episodes of the latest smash-hit Disney Channel Original Series are now available on DVD. Meet Sonny (Camp Rock’s Demi Lovato), a talented Midwestern girl who relocates to Los Angeles to join the cast of the most popular sketch comedy show for teens and tweens, “So Random!” But life behind the scenes on a Hollywood set is not as idyllic as Sonny imagined, especially because of her fellow performers: the selfabsorbed Tawni (Tiffany Thornton), suave Nico (Brandon Mychal Smith), funnyman Grady (Doug Brochu), quirky Zora (Allisyn Ashley Arm) and dreamy Chad Dylan Cooper (Sterling Knight), star of the teen drama “Mackenzie Falls” that films in the adjacent studio, and his simmering rivalry with the cast of “So Random!” Sonny With A Chance: Sonny’s Big Break comes with bonus features as well as a bonus world premiere episode on the DVD!

From the writer and producer who has worked on popular animated titles such as “The Fairly Odd Parents”, “Danny Phantom” and “Family Guy” comes the Disney Channel series “Sonny with a Chance” starring pop star Demi Lovato.

The series started airing on February 2009 and I have to admit that among the Disney Channel shows that I have watched with my son, “Sonny with a Chance” is actually quite enjoyable and highly entertaining.

The series revolves around an Internet star named Sonny Munroe (Demi Lovato) who is from Wisconsin.  She and her mother Connie (Nancy McKeon, “Facts of Life”) move to Hollywood for Sonny’s first major television role, to be part of the popular sketch comedy show “So Random!”.  Joining her on the show is the diva Tawni Hart (Tiffany Thornton), the comedic best friends Nico (Brandon Smith) and Grady (Doug Brochu) and the youngest member of the group, and also quite odd at times, Zora (Alllisyn Ashley Arm).  Along with the show’s producer Marshall Pike (Michael Kostroff), the group comes up ideas for their sketch show for the week and trying to maintain their grades in school.

But all is not easy for Sonny, which she soon discovers.  Her castmate Tawni who likes all the attention to her self is not so thrilled she has to share the show with another girl and also, the cast of the teen drama “Mackenzie Falls” led by actor and teen hearthtrob Chad Dylan Cooper (Sterling Knight) have been at war with the cast of “So Random!”.  Testing Sonny’s allegiance since she is a big fan of Chad but now part of a show despised by him and his castmates.

For “Sonny with a Chance: Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1”, the series comes with the following episodes which are not in broadcast or production order.  Here are spoiler-less summaries:

  • EPISODE 1 – SKETCHY BEGINNINGS – Sonny joins the cast of “So Random!” and meets her castmates for the first time.
  • EPISODE 2 – WEST COAST STORY – Sonny meets actor Chad Dylan Cooper (who she admires) of the teenage drama “MacKenzie Falls” but quickly learns of the rivalry between the cast of “So Random!” and “MacKenzie Falls”.
  • EPISODE 5 – CHEATER GIRLS – Sonny and Tawni have a great idea for a sketch for “So Random!” but because of Sonny’s bad grade in a class, she is pulled off the show unless she shows improvement.
  • EPISODE 3 – SONNY AT THE FALLS – Chad Dylan Cooper and the cast of “MacKenzie Falls” come up with an idea to get back at “So Random!” by causing friction with Sonny and her castmates.

“Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1” also comes with a bonus episode:

  • UNAIRED EPISODE – SONNY IN THE MIDDLE – Sonny buys Nico and Grady a video game chair as a present for their birthday but the guys get into an argument over who will play in the chair that their friendship becomes torn and each of them look towards Sonny to be their new best friend.  As of this time, this episode is only on this DVD and has only been shown on Delta flights and has not aired on television yet.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Sonny with a Chance: Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1” is presented in full screen (1:33:1) and audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo Sound (and also includes the Spanish language track).  Subtitles are in Spanish.

It’s important to note that “Sonny with a Chance” is the first Disney Channel Original Series to be shot and aired in High Definition.  It would be great to see Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment possibly release the whole series on Blu-ray in the near future.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sonny with a Chance: Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1” includes the following special features:

  • A BONUS EPISODE – The DVD comes with an episode titled “Sonny in the Middle”.
  • Demi’s Big Break – (3:28) Before Demi Lovato did “Camp Rock” and became a big pop star, she auditioned for “Sonny with a Chance” in July 2007.  This clip features Demi auditioning for the role.
  • Mackenzie Falls Season Finale Cliffhanger – (7:03) Literally the cliffhanger finale starring Chad Dylan Cooper and fellow cast members.
  • Dylan & Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray is Suite – (5:57) A promotion for Disney’s Blu-ray featuring the Sprouse twins and Kim Rhodes (who plays their mother Carey on their show).

When I first watched “Sonny with a Chance”, I was actually quite impressed.  Personally, the whole show based around a sketch comedy was quite intriguing, especially since I grew up watching shows like “You Can’t Do that on Television” and it helps that one of the executive producer’s for the show also was involved with a real sketch comedy show “All That”.  The characters are fun and wacky and the rivalry with another teen show also makes up for interesting storylines for the show.

So, as an adult watching this comedy series, I was highly entertained.  As for children, my son absolutely loves the show and the fact that the cast has many hilarious moments definitely keeps the series fun and entertaining from beginning to end.

For the most part, I think fans of “Sonny with a Chance” or the stars of the show will enjoy the DVD.  If I had one thing to nitpick, its the fact that other DVD releases include two bonus episodes, for this release, you only get one.

But other than that, I really enjoyed the series and of the majority of the teen or children comedy shows that I have watched and reviewed, “Sonny with a Chance” is high on my list for recommendation!

Parents looking for a safe and hilarious show for their  children or fans of Demi Lovato or the cast members of the show, “Sonny with a Chance: Sonny’s Big Break Vol. 1” is highly recommended!

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