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Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

callmecrazy

“Call Me Crazy: A Five Film” is a fascinating project with an all-star cast plus celebrity directors. But if anything, people who have contributed in taking on the subject of mental illness for the greater good. And I do hope that this film does inspire or help those who have a mental illness or knows of those who have it and need their support. Recommended.

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Call Me Crazy: A Five Film

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 89 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2014

Directed by Laura Dern (Grace), Bryce Dallas Howard (Lucy), Bonnie Hunt (Eddie), Ashley Judd (Maggie), Sharon Maguire (Allison)

Written by Stephen Godchaux (Eddie), Howard J. Morris (Allison), Deirdre O’Connor (Lucy), Jan Oxenberg (Grace), Erin Cressida Wilson (Maggie)

Executive Producer: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Chinoy, Kristin Hahn, Marta Kauffman, Francesca Silvestri

Producer: Jeff Freilich

Co-Producer: Jayme Lemons

Music by Alex Wurman

Cinematography by Dermott Downs (Eddie), Andre Lascaris (Lucy), Karl Walter Lindenlaub (Maggie), Gale Tattersall (Grace, Allison)

Edited by Don Brochu, Tessa Davis, Monty DeGraff, Byron Smith

Casting by Scot Boland, Victoria Burrows

Production Design by Johannes Spalt

Art Direction by Roland Rosenkranz

Set Decoration by Kelly Berry, Dorit Hurst

Costume Design by Allyson B. Fanger

Starring:

Jennifer Hudson as Maggie

Sarah Hyland as Grace

Melissa Leo as Robin

Mitch Rouse as Eddie

Octavia Spencer as Dr. Nance

Sofia Vassilieva as Allison

Brittany Snow as Lucy

Ernie Hudson as Percy

Jason Ritter as Bruce

Jean Smart as Claire

Leah Thompson as Julia

Ken Baumann as Luke

Melissa Farman as Izzy

Melanie Griffith as Krisin

Chelsea Handler as Alex

Aimee Teegarden as Olivia

Like its first breast cancer-themed installment, Call Me Crazy aka Five 2/Five More will feature five short films featuring A-list talent both in front and behind the camera. The sequel will address mental illness. Directors include Laura Dern, Bonnie Hunt, Ashley Judd and Bryce Dallas Howard.

In April 2013, a made-for-television movie titled “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film” aired on Lifetime.  With the project executive produced by Jennifer Aniston and would feature five stories directed by actresses Laura Dern (“Jurassic Park”, “Inland Empire”), Bryce Dallas Howard (“The Help”, “Spider-Man 3″), Bonnie Hunt (“The Bonnie Hunt Show”, “The Green Mile”), Ashley Judd (“Heat”, “Double Jeopardy”) and director/producer Sharon Maguire (“Bridget Jones Diary”, “Incendiary”).

The movie would feature five stories that would go into the subject of mental illness.  Three short films that would be based on the character Lucy (portrayed by Brittany Snow, “Pitch Perfect”, “Hairspray”, “John Tucker Must Die”), while the two other short films are stand alone.

“Lucy” is a story about a law student named Lucy who stops taking her medication for schizophrenia and is having difficulty believing that she must depend on medication to make her better. After having a bout where she hears voices telling her they hate her or she is a terrible person, she is put in a mental hospital.

She meets a young man named Bruce (portrayed by Jason Ritter, “Joan of Arcadia”, “Freddy vs. Jason”) who she connects with and tries to help her become better.  As she receives guidance from Dr. Nance (portrayed by Octavia Spencer), can someone like Lucy become a lawyer and have a professional career despite her illness?

In “Grace”, Grace (portrayed by Sarah Hyland, “Modern Family”) is a teenager who’s mother, Robin (portrayed by Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”, “Oblivion”, “The Fighter”) has a mental illness.  Her mother who is bi-polar must rely on her meds and as her father left them when she was younger because he could not deal with her illness, Grace has been taking care of her mother since.  But now as a teenager, will the responsibility of taking her mother, who has not been taking her medication, becoming too much for her?

In “Allison”, Allison (portrayed by Sofia Vassilieva, “My Sister’s Keeper”, “Medium”) and her boyfriend Luke (portrayed by Ken Baumann, “Secret Life of an American Teenager”) are going to visit Allison’s mother.  But what her mother Claire (portrayed by Jean Smart, “Designing Women”, “Garden State”) didn’t tell her is that her sister Lucy (portrayed by Brittany Snow) is coming as well.  Allison has harbored negative feelings towards Lucy because when they were younger, Lucy tried to kill her because of her mental illness.  What will happen during this awkward family reunion?

In the short film “Eddie”, Eddie (portrayed by Mitch Rouse, “Without a Paddle”, “Employee of the Month”) is a standup comedian who has severe depression.  His wife Julia (portrayed by Leah Thompson, “Back to the Future, “Caroline in the City”) does not know the extent of his depression, neither does comedy club owner Alex (portrayed by Chelsea Handler, “Chelsea Lately”).  But when Julia starts to discover the severity of Eddie’s depression, what will she do?

In the final short film “Maggie”, Maggie (portrayed by Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”, “Sex and the City”) is a woman who serves her country in the military.  When she comes back home to visit her son and her father Percy (portrayed by Ernie Hudson, “Ghostbuster” films, “Oz”, “The Crow”), she finds out that a man that raped her repeatedly in the military has died.  When asked to go to his funeral, she suffers post-traumatic stress and unfortunately loses it and when she has a vision of her attacker, she is unaware that the person she is attacking is her father.  Losing her son in the process because of what had happened, a lawyer who also has a mental illness, named Lucy (portrayed by Brittany Snow) comes to her defense.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Call Me Crazy” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen, English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Picture quality for the most part is good on DVD.  A lot of the scenes are well-lit and are shot outdoors.  But I didn’t notice a lot of artifacts or any other issues.  Picture quality is very good from what you can expect on DVD.  The soundtrack is dialogue driven and with some areas where I did notice some ambiance, the film is primarily center and front channel driven.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Call Me Crazy” comes with no special features.

“Call Me Crazy” is a made-for-television movie that tries to show a natural look at mental illness in America and tries to show how a person dealing with mental illness can live a good life, especially when they have the support of love ones and close friends.

The film tackles mental illness in showing how it affects the person and those around them, especially when the person does not take their medication, the feelings other family members may have towards a sibling with mental illness but also tries to show positive sides that people living with mental illness can live productive lives.

There is a correlation with these films that people are in need of help if family members/friends notice a problem.  For “Lucy”, Lucy is an intelligent young woman pursuing law school but she tries to stop taking her medication because she has a hard time believing that medication is the only way to help herself.  And when voices of hate start bothering her to the point that she loses it, she learns how she must deal with her illness but prove that she can live a productive life as a lawyer and become a person of hope that one with a mental illness can have careers.

For “Grace”, this was a bit heartbreaking because there are probably many children out there who have parents or a parent with mental illness.  And literally, they don’t live their childhood because they end up having to take care of that parent.  For the story of “Grace”, a young girl who has to take care of her mother with bi-polar and seeing what happens when she starts to stray from her medication.

In “Eddie”, we see how depression can affect love ones and how important it is for a family member or friend to try to get that person help.  If there was one sign of mental illness that I have seen with people in my life, I have seen severe depression and how it can affect one’s life.  And even I noticed it, that I had to help one get help they needed because it was too much.  But it was through learning that depression is a mental illness and similar to the storyline, how a loved one started to notice the signs and had to take action.

For “Allison”, this is more or less of a family that had to deal with Lucy’s illness and everything coming out.  How one’s illness has changed the family and affected the family but also, how fears of mental illness of the family could must be discussed.

And “Maggie” deals with post-traumatic distress and how one must get help to overcome the illness as some may pass it off as nothing, when it is very much a mental illness that a person must receive help.

If anything, these five short films are fascinating because the approach towards these films featured many film/TV celebrities and the fact that so many took part in these short films about mental illness is in one way cool.  But also the approach of handling these stories is quite interesting because you just don’t see films taking on various types of mental illness ever.  You may see a film with a person with mental illness but not taking on a variety of illnesses such as “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film”, so that is why I found this film quite fascinating but also helpful.

In many ways, I hope the film does help people, families or friends notice how mental illness can affect the person and those around them but to take a pro-active stance by showing their support and if needed, helping them get help or just being there for them.  But most importantly, perhaps giving that person who has an illness the courage to get the help they need and to show how important, taking their medication is.  But also, having a mental illness does not mean one can’t live a productive life.

Overall, “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film” is a fascinating project with an all-star cast plus celebrity directors.  But if anything, people who have contributed in taking on the subject of mental illness for the greater good.  And I do hope that this film does inspire or help those who have a mental illness or knows of those who have it and need their support.

Recommended.

 

Bonnie & Clyde (2013) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

bonnie-clyde

“Bonnie & Clyde” may not have been the factual mini-series that some may have hoped for, but as a romanticized, crime drama mini-series that is loosely based on real events, I suppose it works perfectly in that way.

Images courtesy of © 2013 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bonnie & Clyde

TV AIR DATE: 2013

DURATION: 174 Minutes

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

RATED: Not Rated

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: January 28, 2014

Directed by Bruce Beresford

Written by Joe Batteer, John Rice

Produced by David A. Rosemont

Executive Produced by Neil Meron, Craig Zadan

Music by John Debney

Cinematography by Francis Kenny

Edited by John David Allen, David Beatty

Casting by Richard Hicks

Production Design by Derek R. Hill

Art Direction by John Richoux

Set Decoration by Phil Shirey

Costume Design by Marilyn Vance

Starring:

Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow

Holliday Grainger as Bonnie Parker

Sarah Hyland as Blanche Barrow

Elizabeth Reaser as P.J. Lane

Lane Garrison as Buck Barrow

Dale Dickey as Cummie Barrow

Austin Hebert as Ted Hinton

Holly Hunter as Emma Parker

William Hurt as Frank Hamer

Desmon Phillips as Ray Hamilton

Carl Palmer as Tender

David Jensen as Henry Barrow

Though Bonnie Parker (Holliday Grainger, Jane Eyre) & Clyde Barrow’s (Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild ) crime spree is legendary, their story has never been told quite like this. Fueled by their passion for each other and Bonnie’s obsession with fame, the couple committed increasingly dangerous robberies, leaving a trail of blood – and headlines – behind them. Aided by Clyde’s sixth sense, they stayed one step ahead of the law until their final, fateful showdown. Also starring Academy Award® winners Holly Hunter (Best Actress, 1993, The Piano) and William Hurt (Best Actor, 1985, Kiss of the Spider Woman), Bonnie & Clyde is powerful, gripping entertainment.

In Dec. 2013, the television mini-series “Bonnie & Clyde” was simultaneously shown on three networks, A&E, History and Lifetime.

Best known as celebrity outlaws, the two and others members of their gang killed nine police officers and several civilians.

Their crime spree was heavily reported on newspapers and radio and also featured in news reels at the theater.  But part of the reason why their lives were glamorized and not heavily depicted as mass murderers was because of the media was because Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was a small town girl who wanted to be in the movies and tried to become an actress for Columbia Pictures, while Clyde Chestnut Barrow was a young man who got caught up in a gang during the Great Depression.

And also, photos taken from their hideout by police and released to the press would showcase a loving couple, dressed up fancy, smoking a cigar and carrying a gun.  But also, news of a young woman who has never been divorced, having an affair with another young man, living a wild life.  Something that went against the current conservative norm in society.

The mini-series would be directed by Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”, “Double Jeopardy”) and would be written by writing duo John Rice and Joe Batteer (“Blown Away”, “Windtalkers”).

The mini-series would star Emile Hirsch (“Milk”, “Speed Racer”, “Into the Wild”), Holliday Grainger (“Jane Eyre”, “The Borgias”, “Anna Karenina”), Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”, “Geek Charming”), Lane Garrison (“Shooter”, “Prison Break”), Holly Hunter (“The Piano”, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and William Hurt (“Into the Wild”, “Dark City”, “The Incredible Hulk”).

And in Jan. 2013, the mini-series will be released as one entire film on Blu-ray and DVD.

“Bonnie & Clyde”, the 2013 miniseries revolves around Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow during the early 1930′s.

Bonnie (portrayed by Holliday Granger) was a smart student in school and known for writing poems and was a mama’s girl, often depending on her mother Emma (portrayed by Holly Hunter), who raised the family after the death of her husband.  But as a sophomore, she dropped out of high school to marry Roy Thornton.

As for Clyde Barrow, he came from a poor farming family in a small town and when he and his brother Marvin “Buck” Barrow were younger, they would steal chickens, but Clyde would have dreams of his older brother being shot.

As they grew older, both would work as farmers in the fields and one day, the two tried to crash the wedding part of Roy Thornton (portrayed by Dean J. West) and his young wife Bonnie.  It was love at first sight for Clyde, who stood their looking at Bonnie but is told to leave by Bonnie’s friend, Sheriff Ted Hinton (portrayed by Austin Hebert).

While Clyde and Buck had fun shooting rifles in the field, Buck has met his love of his life, Blanche Barrow (portrayed by Sarah Hyland).  But Clyde and Buck continue their illegal activities which include safecracking, stolen vehicles and more.

Meanwhile Bonnie’s life was unraveling. Roy was rarely at home due to business and in trouble with the law, while Bonnie had hopes to make it into showbiz.  As a big fan of talking pictures, she imagined herself on the big screen and wish she should become a superstar.  But after a rejection letter from Columbia Pictures, not only did her dreams of becoming an actress end, but her divorce was over as she would never see Roy again.

Hearing that Bonnie’s husband has left her, Clyde goes to Bonnie’s home to ask her out on a date and he takes her to a pub which is raided by police.  Clyde is arrested but for Bonnie, seeing Clyde make it into the newspaper, this gives Bonnie the idea of how she can become well-known and possibly a star.

And immediately, she decides to partake in criminal activity and helping Clyde escape from jail and immediately, they begin a life of crime together.

Often teaming up with other gang members that Clyde was involved with, the two begin robbing banks, Bonnie invades local reporter P.J. Lane (portrayed by Elizabeth Reader) and begins branding the name “Bonnie & Clyde”.  And as the two continue their robbery attempts, P.J. Lane’s articles begin to become front page news.

But when they start robbing and killing innocent individuals and seeing their crimes now being made into news film reels at the movie theater, this begins Bonnie’s attraction of being in the limelight and finding a way for her poetry to get read by the public but also making her and Clyde celebrity outlaws.

While their parents deal with their children becoming criminals, one man, a former Texas Ranger named Frank Hamer (portrayed by William Hurt) is determined in bringing them down.

As Bonnie & Clyde’s crimes continue to worsen, will Frank Hamer catch the two most wanted criminals in America?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Bonnie & Clyde” is presented in 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and audio in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Cinematography for the mini-series is very well done and it helps to have awesome costume design and also having various pieces (such as classic automobiles) to make the film feel like it took place in the 1930′s.

But it’s important to note that if you want the best quality for this film on DVD, “Bonnie & Clyde” will be available on Blu-ray.  But for the DVD release, I didn’t see any major compression or issues during viewing.

As for audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Dialogue and music is clear and and understandable.

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

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bonnie & Clyde” comes with the following special features:

  • Iconography: The Story of Bonnie & Clyde(15:31) Director Bruce Beresford, the crew and cast discuss the making of “Bonnie & Clyde”.
  • Becoming Bonnie – (10:35) Holliday Grainger talks about playing Bonnie.
  • Becoming Clyde – (5:38) Emile Hirsch talks about playing Clyde.

EXTRAS:

“Bonnie & Clyde” comes with a slipcover.

With the 2013 mini-series of “Bonnie & Clyde”, I was expecting dramatization of the actual story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Afterall, it was premiering on Lifetime, A&E and also the History Channel, which has the benefit of showcasing shows that can actual document the true story of America’s celebrity outlaws.

I wasn’t expecting 100% accurate depictions of the two criminals as I’m sure to attract the viewers, there would be some major use of dramatization and somehow focus on the couple.  But part of the problems with “Bonnie & Clyde” is the fact that the writers strayed too far from the facts.

Bonnie uses her beauty to free Clyde from jail and become his getaway car, she orchestrated Bonnie & Clyde because of her love of talking pictures and wanted to see herself on the big screen.  One scene shows her blasting the face of a painting in the bank.  This Bonnie Parker was a femme fatale that benefited from Holliday Grainger’s beauty and sexiness, Emile Hirsch as Clyde was a good match for Grainger, who ditched the British accent and was able to learn how to speak ala Texan via watching Sissy Spacek films.

But both individuals came from different locations and upbringing and as a farm worker, I suppose the true facts of how the two met would not be as striking than to do what they did in the mini-series by having Clyde and his brother crashing Bonnie’s wedding party out of the blue.

Also, the introduction of a journalist named PJ who would help created media stories about Bonnie and Clyde and hype them up to be celebrity outlaws is also not true.  Media did play a part of hyping Bonnie and Clyde in the newspapers and also the news reels at the theater, many thousands of people attended the funeral of both Bonnie and Clyde.

But there is no doubt that critics and viewers were not so appreciative of the fact that Bonnie was made to be the person that orchestrated the crimes because she was the ultimate fame whore.  And changed the facts to steer people towards that primary focus throughout the mini-series.

But the problem that I had with the film is that the mini-series does glorify these two criminals who shot and killed a number of people.  Yes, media made them out to be more than they are, courtesy of Bonnie Parker’s poetry and the photos that the two abandoned at their hideout (in the mini-series, she mails the photos, so they would stop using her high school photo).

But while this mini-series is nowhere near the romanticized 1967 adaptation, what made the original a much better film is that Bonnie and Clyde were shown as psychopath killers.  And while the film benefited from a Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway paring and of course, a Hollywood romance, these two made you sick for what they did and by the film’s end, you felt that it was justified.

It also was a film that shocked audiences by incorporating heavy violence into a film that had a romantic comedy angle.

But “Bonnie & Clyde” is far from a terrible mini-series, it’s actually quite entertaining.  For one, it does no good for writers Joe Batteer and John Rice to copy any work of what has done so far about Bonnie & Clyde.

And coming up with something different and appealing for the A&E audience, especially a new generation of viewers not familiar with the 1967 film or have never heard of “Bonnie & Clyde”, there would have to be something new and different to appeal to the audience and with the stylish presentation of the series and the casting of Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger, and sure enough, the series received 9.8 million total viewers with its simulcast.

As for the DVD, it’s great that the two-part mini-series was combined as movie as everything flows smoothly.  Cinematography was very good and loved the costume design and the fact that director Bruce Beresford and crew were able to recreate the ’30s, especially finding the vehicles used for the film.

Picture quality is good but for those who want to see a much better version, an HD release on Blu-ray will be available.  Audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital and subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.   A second DVD for the special features are included featuring three featurettes to round out this DVD release.

No, “Bonnie & Clyde” is not a mini-series/film that will make history buffs happy and unfortunately, descendants of victims that were murdered in cold blood by Bonnie & Clyde will not gain any solace for the film’s upbeat portrayal of both characters.  But at least we know the end result to the crime spree by Bonnie & Clyde and how satisfying to see karma work in mysterious ways.

“Bonnie & Clyde” may not have been the factual mini-series that some may have hoped for, but as a romanticized, crime drama mini-series that is loosely based on real events, I suppose it works perfectly in that way.

Geek Charming (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s one thing to review “Geek Charming” and enjoying the film but when you add ten episodes of “Shake It Up” as extras to this DVD release (which is unheard of when it comes to Disney releases), all I can say is that “Geek Charming” fans are getting their money’s worth. A solid DVD release that is definitely recommended for Disney Channel fans!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Geek Charming

DURATION: 98 Minutes + 10 Episodes of “Shake It Up”

DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, Dolby Digital – English Stereo, Closed Captions

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2012

Geek Charming

Directed by Jeffrey Hornaday

Screenplay by Hilary Galanoy, Elizabeth Hackett

Based on the Book by Robin Palmer

Executive Producer: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Paul E. Shapiro

Music by Nathan Wang

Cinematography by Robert Brinkmann

CAsting by Natalie Hart, Jason La Padura

Costume Design by Rebekka Sorensen

“Shake It Up”

Directed by Shelley Jensen, Joel Zwick, Eric Dean Seaton

Written by Chris Thompson, Rob Lotterstein, Eileen Conn, David Tolentino, John D. Beck, Ron Hart, Jenny Lee, Ron Zimmerman

Executive Producer: Frank Pace, Chris Thompson, Rob Lotterstein

Co-Executive Producer: Eileen Conn

Associate Producer: Steve Sandoval, Brenda Teague, Trevor Kirschner

Consulting Producer: Howard J. Morris, Ron Hart, Ron Zimmerman, John D. Beck

Music by Michael Corcoran, Eric Goldman, Zed Kelley

Cinematography by Bryan Hays

Edited by Kris Trexler, Kelly Sandefur

Casting by Howard Meltzer, Suzanne Goddard-Smythe

Production design by Greg Richman

Set Decoration by Daryn-Reid Goodall

Costume Dsign by Jessica Replansky

Cast of “Geek Charming”:

Sarah Hyland as Dylan Schoenfield

Matt Prokop as Josh Rosen

Sasha Pieterse as Amy Loubalu

Jimmy Bellinger as Steven

Jordan Nichols as Asher Dumetz

Vanessa Morgan as Hanna Mornell

Lili Simmons as Lola Leighton

David Del Rio as Ari

Andrew Airlie as Alan Schoenfield

David Milchard as Farley

Kacey Rohl as Caitlin

Andrea Brooks as Nicole Paterson

Brenda Crichlow as Nicole Paterson

Brenda Crichlow as Guthrie

Erica Van Biel as Amber

Cast of “Shake It Up”:

Bella Thorne as Cece Jones

Zendaya as Rocky Blue

Steve Monroe as Ralph

Davis Cleveland as Flynn Jones

Roshon Fegan as Ty Blue

Adam Irogoyen as Deuce

Kenton Duty as Gunther

Caroline Sunshine as Tinka

R. Brandon Johnson as Gary Wilde

When Dylan Schoenfield (Sarah Hyland), Woodlands Academy’s top girl, accidentally drops her expensive “it” handbag into the mall fountain, she is surprised that film geek, Josh Rosen (Matt Prokop), retrieves it for her. In exchange for rescuing her bag, Dylan must agree to be the subject of Josh’s documentary film. Dylan hopes the film will help her campaign for Blossom Queen – she claims that winning is her only life goal. Josh plans to make a hard-hitting expose about popularity, but, as he gets to know Dylan, he learns that the real Dylan is much more interesting than the persona she’s created. At the last minute, Josh decides that his film should introduce this awesome girl to the world, but how will Dylan react when she sees it?

It’s double the fun with Disney’s double DVD release of the 2011 Disney Channel Original Movie “Geek Charming” and 10 episodes of Disney Channel’s hit sitcom “Shake It Up”.

“Geek Charming” made its debut on November 11, 2011 and was watched by 4.9 million viewers, the fifth largest number for a cable show that entire week.  The film is an adaptation of Robin Palmer’s book “Geek Charming” and is directed by Jeffrey Hornaday (“Shout”, “Madonna: Ciao, Italia! Live from Italy”) and written by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy.

The film stars Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”) as Dylan Schoenfield, a rich, spoiled, self-centered and popular girl at Woodlands Academy.  She and her friends love sporting the latest fashion but also dislikes anything that isn’t cool.  Sarah’s goal is to become this year’s “Blossom Queen” and with her popularity, she hopes she can win!

One day, while Dylan and friends were going to eat lunch, film club president and fellow student Josh Rosen (played by Matt Prokop, “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”, “Furry Vengeance”) accidentally runs into her and needless to say, all three girls get food all over them.

Sarah cries out that popular people should not have to be in the same school as geeks.

Meanwhile, Josh is in a lot of pressure as he needs to submit his film/documentary for the school’s film festival.  After watching and observing Dylan, he decides to create a movie about the life of a popular girl and to explore if she’s actually that shallow of a person.

Dylan is delighted to be a star of a film but sees it as an opportunity for her to get more votes and be crowned Blossom Queen.

As the two try to make a film, Josh is turned off by her diva-attitude as they both fight over who’s move it is.  As Josh fires her, he eventually reconsiders when he finds out that Dylan had watched the sci-fi film “Flight of the Navigator”.

Despite Dylan feeling that popular girls and geeks can’t co-exist, like cats and dogs are too different, the two start spending more time each other while making the movie.  And that is when Josh starts to see the true Dylan, a teenager who is driven to win the “Blossom Queen” because her dead mother was also “Blossom Queen” back in high school.  She admits to Josh that she feels more of a connection to her mother when she accomplishes similar things that she did.  And being “Blossom Queen” makes her feel more connected to her mom.

But as she continues to film the movie, her popular boyfriend and her popular friends start to distance themselves away from her because she is spending more time with a “geek”.  Dylan feels so comfortable around Josh, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to lose her status as the most popular girl in school.

What will she do?

Disney’s “Shake It Up” is a sitcom which premiered back in November 2010 and was created by writer/producer Chris Thompson (“Laverne & Shirley”, “Bosom Buddies”, “The Larry Sanders Show”).

The film series focuses on two friends CeCe Jones (played by Bella Thorne, “My Own Worst Enemy”, “Dirty Sexy Money”, “Big Love”) and Rocky Blue (“Frenemies”), both are stars of a local show known as “Shake It Up Chicago” and somehow these two tend to get into a bit of trouble on and off the set.

Together with their friend Deuce Martinez (played by Adam Irogoyen), the three have big dreams of becoming professional dancers and with being hired on “Shake It Up, Chicago!”, they want to go big!  Meanwhile, CeCe’s little brother Flynn (played by Davis Cleveland) and his antics tend to get them into some trouble and are often in competition with brother and sister dance duo, Gunther (played by Kenton Duty) and Tinka (played by Caroline Sunshine).

A total of ten episodes (of the 21-episode first season) are included in the “Geek Charming” DVD release.

Included on this DVD are:

DISC 1:

  • Season 2, Episode 24A: A Shake It Up, Up and Away (Part 1) – CeCe and Rocky are touring but during a stop, CeCe and Rocky end up taking the wrong bus and the two including Flynn are stuck in Texas.
  • Season 2, Episode 24B: Shake It Up, Up and Away (Part 2)  – CeCe and Rocky agree on taking on a Texas performance but they find out their performance will take place in air.
  • Season 2, Episode 28: Double Pegasus It Up – CeCe and Rocky are excited that their idol, choreographer Theodore Vangorious  and creator of the dance move, the “Double Pegasus”, is a person that Deuce delivers pizza too.
  • Season 2, Episode 23: “Three’s a Crowd It Up” – A dancer named Julio comes to perform on “Shake It Up, Chicago!” and Rocky, CeCe and Tinka fall for him.

DISC 2:

  • Season 2, Episode 25: “Beam It Up” – Ricky and CeCe attend a Halloween party at the “Shake It Up, Chicago” and both CeCe and Rocky meet guys at the party.
  • Season 2, Episode 26: “Doctor It Up” – Rock’s father, Dr. Curtis Blue, returns from his trip overseas and is unhappy to find his daughter dancing on television.
  • Season 1, Episode 21: “Throw It Up” – CeCe and Rocky have the opportunity to perform a dance number with the English dance crew, “The Highlighters”.
  • Season 1, Episode 19: “Twist It Up” – CeCe and Rocky start a new dance craze and also start organizing Dina’s birthday party.
  • Season 1, Episode 10: “Match It Up” – Deuce and Savannah are in love but when Savannah finds someone who makes more money, she dumps him.
  • Season 1, Episode 6: “Age It Up” – Rocky and CeCe get the opportunity to dance with teen star, Justin Starr.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Geek Charming” is presented in widescreen 1:78:1 – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions and audio is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital.  The film looks good on DVD and considering it’s a newer film, picture quality is good especially since there are a good amount of outdoor scenes, and scenes are are well-lit.  Picture quality is also good for   “Shake It Up” which is comparable to the quality of series such as “Hannah Montana” and “Sonny with a Chance” and what one can expect from a DVD release.

Subtitles are presented in English sDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Geek Charming” comes with 10 episodes of “Shake It Up”.

“Geek Charming” is charming, heartwarming film, but be prepared to laugh but also shed some tears!

When I first began watching “Geek Charming”, the first thing that came into my mind was “is this another ‘Mean Girls’ type of film?”.   After all, the film focuses on a popular, self-centered girl who could care less about those who are not popular and her friends are the same.

But things start to change when the popular girl Dylan and the passionate film fan Josh (who Dylan thinks is a “geek”), decide to work together.  For Josh, he needs to submit a film before deadline and for Dylan, this is her chance to earn some points in order to become this year’s “Blossom Queen”.

The film is a high point in the career of “Modern Family” actress Sarah Hyland as it gives her the opportunity to play a character with a variety of emotions.  While in school, she does take the “popularity” diva-ish attitude to the extreme, it’s when she allows Josh into her life and he starts to discover that outside of school and her popular friends, she’s a kind, intelligent girl who wants to feel a connection with her mother that died years ago.

I enjoyed how the film transitioned from Dylan’s more obnoxious side to showing a more kinder and gentler person, and we see how she changes through her time spent with Josh, despite her thinking that popular people and geeks can’t get along.

But “Geek Charming” may seem like your typical banal teenage film, popular girl falls for geek guy and vice versa, but it’s how things come together for both people that I found heartwarming and endearing.

And as for the DVD release, this is what makes “Geek Charming” much more enticing and its the fact that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment included not one, not two but ten episodes of  Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up”.

I’ve been reviewing Disney video releases for a long time and you never get a DVD release which includes more than 2 bonus episodes, and the fact that you get ten episodes from season 1 and 2 of “Shake It Up”, definitely makes this DVD release even more enticing.

Granted, it would have been nice to have special features of some kind with the talent of the show but Disney made up for it by including these bonus episodes.

As for “Shake It Up”, it’s actually an interesting TV series.  Whereas “Hannah Montana” focused on a teenage pop star living two lives and hanging out with her best friend, “Shake It Up” features two dancers who dream of making it big!  And when both are cast for the local teenage dance show, we see the crazy antics that happen on and off camera. And similar to “Hannah Montana” which had Miley’s brother and Rico often being the clowns of the series with their crazy antics, “Shake It Up” has Ty Blue and Deuce who often get into trouble at the local pizza shop where they work at.

The episodes are fun, but also a bit farfetched as one episode features Cece and Rocky being strapped to an airplane while performing dance moves.    But at the same time, these episodes are full of humor and dancing that children will definitely enjoy this series.

Overall, it’s one thing to review “Geek Charming” and enjoying the film (as I do feel it is a good Disney Channel Original Movie) but when you add ten episodes of “Shake It Up” as extras, which is unheard of when it comes to Disney releases, all I can say is that “Geek Charming” fans are getting their money’s worth. Because this is a pretty solid DVD release.

Double the fun!  Disney’s “Geek Charming” + “Shake It Up” is a fun and exciting combination and a Disney DVD release worth recommending!


MARY J. BLIGE TEAMS WITH LIL WAYNE FOR THE 2011 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (5/22/2011)

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Far*East Movement Takes the Stage with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and Snoop Dogg, Plus a Performance from Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo and Nayer
Bret Michaels, Sarah Hyland, Randy Jackson, Lucy Hale and Eric Stonestreet Set to Present from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo and Nayer perform “Give me Everything,” Far*East Movement with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder perform “Rocketeer,” Far*East Movement with Snoop Dogg perform “If I Was You (OMG),” and Mary J. Blige with Lil Wayne perform “Someone to Love Me” all live on stage at “The 2011 Billboard Music Awards,” hosted by Ken Jeong, airing live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on SUNDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Bret Michaels, Sarah Hyland, Randy Jackson, Lucy Hale and Eric Stonestreet join previously announced Kylie Minogue, Matthew Morrison, Joe Jonas, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Tim Allen, Keri Hilson, Kelly Rowland, NAS, Rico Rodriguez, Scott Weiland, Travis Barker and Trey Songz as presenters. Collaborating musical acts Mary J. Blige with Lil Wayne, Far*East Movement with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and Snoop Dogg, and Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo join previously announced performers Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, Keith Urban, Pitbull, Lady Antebellum, Far East Movement, Ne-Yo, OneRepublic and Taio Cruz. BeyoncŽ will receive the 2011 Billboard Millennium Award for her work as an innovative artist who is currently defining her times. Neil Diamond will receive the 2011 Billboard Icon Award to honor an enduring legend in music.
Mary J. Blige has sold over 50 million albums worldwide since her 1992 debut, “What’s The 411?.” Among her many accolades, Blige can claim 8 multi-platinum albums, 9 Grammy Awards (she has been nominated for a staggering 29) and 4 American Music Awards. She is the co-founder of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), whose mission is to empower women from all walks of life to reach their full individual potential. On July 31, 2010, Blige sold over 60 thousand bottles of her “My Life” perfume on the Home Shopping Network. Her perfume was the first to sell over 60,000 bottles in one day on HSN, and $1 from each purchase was donated to FFAWN. Blige has announced plans to release her highly anticipated new album, “My Life II, The Journey Continues,” on September 20th, 2011. The album’s first single, “Someone to Love Me (Naked)” featuring Diddy and Lil Wayne and produced by Jerry Wonda (Black Eyed Peas, Estelle, John Legend), is already a Top 40 hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart Ñ marking her 42nd Top 40 R&B hit.
Pitbull was announced as a finalist for three Billboard Music Awards, including Top Latin Artist, Top Latin Song — “Bon Bon,” and Top Radio Song — Usher featuring Pitbull “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love.” Besides playing around the globe, Pitbull has also collaborated with some of music’s biggest stars, including Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Shakira and on Jennifer Lopez’ current hit “On The Floor.” Pitbull’s new album “Planet Pit” comes out June 21 and features a host of pop music luminaries plus the Top 5 Billboard Hot 100 single, “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor),” featuring T-Pain and his latest Top 5, “Give Me Everything” featuring NeYo, Afrojack & Nayer.
Far*East Movement found mainstream success after building a following in the Downtown Los Angeles club scene. They triumphed when their song, “Girls on the Dance Floor,” co-written by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Bruno Mars, found success across radio stations across the country. The success led to a record deal with CherryTree/Interscope Records and release of their debut album,”Free Wired,” in October 2010. The album’s lead single, “Like A G6,” exploded on radio and sales charts, reaching triple platinum-plus status and the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, making them the first Asian-American group with a No. 1 song in the country. “Rocketeer,” the second single featuring Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, became another platinum selling Top 10 Billboard charting single that connected with new fans of all ages. They are nominated for the Billboard Award for Top Rap Song.
OneRepublic formed in 2002 and achieved massive success on MySpace. Their first single, “Apologize,” was No. 1 for eight weeks on the Billboard Pop 100 chart and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They followed up “Apologize” with another top 10 Pop 100 hit, “Stop and Stare,” before going to work on their second album. The 2009 set “Waking Up” spawned the Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits “All the Right Moves” and “Secrets.” In 2009 OneRepublic was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Ne-Yo has claimed 10 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including his debut effort, “So Sick,” which spent two weeks at No. 1 in 2006, and two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart. His most recent album, 2010′s “Libra Scale,” hit No. 9 Ñ marking his fourth consecutive Top 10 set. He’s earned multiple Grammy nominations and awards in his career, including trophies for Best Contemporary R&B Album in 2008, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song in 2009. Besides being an accomplished performer, Ne-Yo has also assisted other musicians in achieving success as a songwriter. He wrote “Let Me Love You” for singer Mario, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on top for nine weeks. In addition he also wrote Rihanna’s Top 10 singles “Unfaithful” and “Russian Roulette,” her No. 1 hit “Take a Bow,” and BeyoncŽ Knowles’ Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, “Irreplaceable.”
Tickets prices begin at $57.75 for Upper Level, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are now on sale and available at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Finalists are based on key fan interactions with music, including album, single and digital sales, airplay, touring, streaming and social interactions on MySpace, Facebook and many of the other most popular online destinations for music. The awards will be based on the reporting period of February 28, 2010 through March 1, 2011.
“The 2011 Billboard Music Awards” is a production co-executive produced by Richard D. Beckman, CEO Prometheus Global Media and Don Mischer Productions. Louis J. Horvitz is directing. David Wild and Jennifer Mischer are the writers.
The special will be shot in high definition and broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s HD format, with 5.1 channel surround sound. This program carries a TV-14 D, L,S parental guideline.
Visit www.Billboard.com/BBMA.com for a complete list of finalists and to apply for media credentials. Music fans can also follow news about the show or related events on Twitter at www.twitter.com/billboarddotcom or Facebook at www.facebook.com/billboard.

NEXT WEEK ON THE VIEW (2/14-18)

February 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

PATTI STANGER, NICOLE RICHIE, SARAH HYLAND, KADEE STRICKLAND AND DENISE RICHARDS TO GUEST CO-HOST ON “THE VIEW,” FEBRUARY 14-18
The Hosts Dish About Their First Appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” February 14, Followed by Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Footage, February 17

“‘The View’ Third Annual Mutt Show Presented by Pedigree™” February 18

“Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger, Sarah Hyland (ABC’s “Modern Family”), Kadee Strickland (ABC’s “Private Practice”) and Denise Richards are all scheduled to make their first guest co-host appearances next week on ABC’s “The View,” FEBRUARY 14-18 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET). Nicole Richie, a prior co-host, returns to the signature “Hot Topics” table for one day, live, Tuesday, February 15.

The hosts have returned from Chicago following their first ever appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and are ready dish the gossip, backstage buzz and give the inside scoop, Monday, February 14. On Thursday, February 17, it’s an exclusive all access backstage pass of the appearance that is must-see TV.

In addition, the hosts will welcome guests Geoffrey Rush (Academy Award™ nominee, “The King’s Speech”), television personality/author Steve Harvey, Michael Chiklis (ABC’s “No Ordinary Family”), Marcia Gay Harden (“The Amanda Knox Story”) and, making his first appearance since February 2006, Tom Selleck (“Blue Bloods”).

The third installment of “V-Mail: Ask ‘The View’. . .” on Tuesday, February 15 features hair, makeup and wardrobe experts from “The View” who will answer questions from viewers.

Friday, February 18 marks “‘The View’ Third Annual Mutt Show presented by Pedigree™” with guest David Frei (host of “The Westminster Kennel Club”), who judges the best viewer mutts, adoptable mutts and will crown “Best Mutt in Show.”
Scheduled guests the week of FEBRUARY 14-18 are as follows (subject to change):

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – The hosts dish, post their first ever appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” with backstage buzz and the inside scoop; celebrity guest co-host Patti Stanger (“Millionaire Matchmaker”); Academy Award™ nominee Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”); television personality/author Steve Harvey.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – Celebrity guest co-host Nicole Richie; Michael Chiklis (ABC’s “No Ordinary Family”); “V-Mail: Ask ‘The View’ . . . hair, makeup and wardrobe experts; Andrew Mikel, Jr., a freshman honor student who is facing criminal charges for shooting spitballs, his father, Andrew Mikel, Sr., and John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, who is representing the Virginia teen.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – Celebrity guest co-host Sarah Hyland (ABC’s “Modern Family”); Marcia Gay Harden (“The Amanda Knox Story”); supermarket guru Phil Lempert; Wayne Rogers (author, Make Your Own Rules).

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – Exclusive behind the scenes of the co-hosts’ first ever appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”; celebrity guest co-host Kadee Strickland (ABC’s “Private Practice”); Tom Selleck (“Blue Bloods”); how to prevent the spread of germs.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – Celebrity guest co-host Denise Richards; “‘The View’ Third Annual Mutt Show presented by Pedigree™” with guest David Frei, host of “The Westminster Kennel Club,” who will judge the best viewer mutts, adoptable mutts and will crown “Best Mutt in Show.”

“The View” features Daytime Emmy Award-winning hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd. It’s the original forum in which real women discuss everyday issues, share their opinions and engage in colorful conversations. “The View,” broadcast in HDTV and produced in 2-channel stereo sound, is now available to watch online daily at 4:00 p.m., ET/1:00 p.m., PT on the ABC Digital Full Episode Player at ABC.com. “The View” is produced by ABC Daytime and Ms. Walters’ Barwall Productions, with Ms. Walters serving as executive producer along with Bill Geddie, who also serves as executive producer for “The Barbara Walters Specials.” “The View” is directed by Mark Gentile.

For breaking news and updated videos follow “The View” (@theviewtv) and hosts Barbara Walters (@BarbaraJWalters), Joy Behar (@JoyVBehar), Elisabeth Hasselbeck (@ehasselbeck) and Sherri Shepherd (@SherriEShepherd) on Twitter™.

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