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'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So'
(Jun Cao, Mei Ying Wang, Ming Yang Jiang, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / NR / 2017 / HBO Originals)

Overview: Due to a conspiracy, the wealthy So Chan loses everything but is saved by the Beggars' Sect. He learns the long lost martial art - Drunken Fist, to defeat the person who framed him.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing going into this film that it was executive produced by the renowned Hong Kong director, Corey Yeun ('The Transporter') and directed by Guo Jian-Yong (who choreographed 'Cradle 2 the Grave', 'Red Cliff', and 'Transporter 1-3'), I had high hopes for it.

Sadly, 'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So' doesn't live up to everything that those two men would normally, visually adhere to, but it still manages to tell a stale, and throw in solid amounts of mighty fine action.

'Master of the Drunken Fist' tells the story of So Chan, a merchant’s son who was in line to become the Emperor’s top Martial Arts Warrior. However, after being dragged into a conspiracy between two political powers, he loses his family and almost his life.

Saved by the Beggar Gang and with some help from their chief, his daughter, and not to mention some Chinese liquor, So Chan is able to find inner peace as Beggar So and sets out on the path for vengeance.

So, for the director of others in this ilk Corey Yeun (and those he surrounded himself with who were familiar with the genre), you could have expected a home run here. But, as mentioned above, not so much, sadly. Not that it is mediocre or terrible or another like that, far from it. Sure it's a B-Movie, but it's of that quality that keeps you wanting to watch it right through to the very end, trust me.

The multiple fight choreography is very decent, and the actors sure know what they are doing when it comes to landing blows and performing their always-impressive high kicks and spin kicks, etc. The overall main cast acting, their dialogue and everything else about the movie, save for the cinematography, which was lovely, made me want to shake my head on more than one occasion though. Which I did.

All that aside, the one main issue I had with this transfer is that the English subtitles are well off the spoken words from all the actors, which is rather disturbing. It kinda makes you bounce from what is being said on screen, in Chinese, to the subtitles, and then realize that the character has stopped talking and yet the subtitles still flow! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So' on Blu-ray+Digital HD on August 8th, 2017

Official HBO Store

'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying'
(Hao Ran Sun, Yang Liao, Ming Yang Jiang, Zhi Hui Chen, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / NR / 2017 / HBO Originals)

Overview: 'Master of the Shadowless Kick' tells the story of Wong Kei-Ying. A quiet and honest physician, he must learn the legendary martial art “Shadowless Kick” in order to take down the treacherous new governor of Canton and put a stop to the opium trade in his city.

Blu-ray Verdict: Knowing going into this film that it was executive produced by the renowned Hong Kong director, Corey Yeun ('The Transporter') and directed by Guo Jian-Yong (who choreographed 'Cradle 2 the Grave' and 'Transporter 1-3'), I had high hopes for it.

Sadly, 'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' doesn't live up to everything that those two men would normally, visually adhere to, but it still manages to tell a stale, and throw in solid amounts of mighty fine action.

'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' tells the story of Wei Kei-Ying, a man who lives alone, lives quietly and doesn't harm nor disturb anyone or anything around him.

An open and very honest physician, he soon comes into contact with the baddy of the piece, the treacherous new governor of Canton. He doesn't like the way this man or his regime operates and so when pushed, Wong Kei-Ying chooses to learn the legendary martial art “Shadowless Kick”. Now with the mission to take down this vile man and his organization, he aims to put a stop to the opium trade in his city, once and for all.

So, for the director of others in this ilk Corey Yeun (and those he surrounded himself with who were familiar with the genre), you could have expected a home run here. But, as mentioned above, not so much, sadly. Not that it is mediocre or terrible or another like that, far from it. Sure it's a B-Movie, but it's of that quality that keeps you wanting to watch it right through to the very end, trust me.

The multiple fight choreography is very decent, and the actors sure know what they are doing when it comes to landing blows and performing their always-impressive high kicks and spin kicks, etc. The overall main cast acting, their dialogue and everything else about the movie, save for the cinematography, which was lovely, made me want to shake my head on more than one occasion though. Which I did.

All that aside, the one main issue I had with this transfer is that the English subtitles are well off the spoken words from all the actors, which is rather disturbing. It kinda makes you bounce from what is being said on screen, in Chinese, to the subtitles, and then realize that the character has stopped talking and yet the subtitles still flow! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying' on Blu-ray+Digital HD on August 8th, 2017

Official HBO Store

'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain'
(Ashlyn Selich, Anais Fairweather, Grey Griffin, Teala Dunn, Tara Strong, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The mind games are only beginning when Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl have no recollection of a series of wrongdoings that they were responsible for.

DVD Verdict: This whole 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls' series is one of the greatest inventions for kids that's come out in the past decade, in my humble opinion!

A fantastic series for girls to start their love of Superheros early, both my girls love this series and so we were very, very stoked to be able to review this new adventure for Exclusive Magazine.

As with the others in this wonderful (and I simply cannot stress that enough) SuperHero Girls series, they not only tell a fun, relateable story, but go out of their way to teach girls that they too can do almost anything they want.

True Girl Power at its finest, I also appreciate that the SuperHero Girls are not scantily clad in their comic book or previous appearance costumes! I know this series is for kids, but they have actual clothes on that are practical. Sure they have their costumes for recognizable battles and such, but they are just, well, regular also.

OK, let's get down to some actual reviewing of this latest adventures, shall we. 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain' is a direct-to-video animated movie from Warner Bros. and features animated incarnations of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee and Katana.

This latest adventure, complete with brain-twisting action comes together because suddenly Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl have no recollection of a series of wrongdoings that they were responsible for.

So, who can the girls turn to when even Bumblebee, Katana and other members of Super Hero High are also up to no good? They then have to use way more than their super powers to untangle the mental mix-up and find out who, or what is behind these mind-bending misdoings! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Own 'LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain' on DVD on August 8th, 2017

Official Trailer

'Shakes the Clown' [Blu-ray]
(Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, Kathy Griffin, Paul Dooley, Adam Sandler, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1991) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Dueling gangs of clowns are pitted against each other in this outrageously funny comedy written by, directed by, and starring Bobcat Goldthwait. Julie Brown co-stars as the hard-working waitress who stands by her clown. Bobcat stars as Shakes, an amiable, alcoholic bozo from Palukaville, USA. But after one particularly wild night, Shakes wakes to find he's been framed for murder.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'Shakes the Clown' follows the exploits of a good-hearted, booze-soaked clown who is trying to make his way in Palookaville; a town populated by denizens of that certain ditch in the entertainment world inhabited by clowns and mimes.

He tries to kick the booze but his demons are hard to face. He gets involved in seedy intrigue with the tough, jaded rodeo clowns, picks on the mimes, and tries to avoid the indignity of doing balloon animals, all while keeping the bottle at bay lest he wake up puking into his fright wig.

Bobcat is always happy to degrade himself on screen, and he does it brilliantly here. Shakes is a total mess. A disgusting mess. A shameful mess. Bobcat sells the drunkenness and depravity, whether he's being peed on (oh never mind, you'll soon see for yourselves!) or stumbling around in a drunken stupor.

Yet he still manages to remain likable and not lose his status as the film's protagonist. My favorite part has to do with the intense hatred the clowns harbor for mimes,(I mean, really, who needs 'em!). The fight scene in the park, with the shout "Learn to Talk", is priceless. The obvious discomfort when Shakes must pose as a mime to avoid arrest is also a blast!

In closing, Bobcat's script sparkles as four-letter poetry. Tremendous cast. Very few movies have had such a stellar line up of comedic actors: the only other ones I can think of are 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World' and 'The Aristocrats', which now I think about it, is actually more of a documentary than scripted film. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
New Audio Commentary with Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, and Tom Kenny.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five'
(Jane's Addiction / Blu-ray+DVD+CD / NR / 2017 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Jane's Addiction performs their 2X Platinum Alt-Rock album Ritual de lo habitual in it's entirety, along with the bands biggest hits. Recorded live at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, during the bands 2015/2016 Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, taking it from the top, and for those not in the know (and shame on you if you are), Jane's Addiction is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1985.

Even today, unlike most bands of their era status and pedigree, the band still consists of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums) and Chris Chaney (bass) - yes, I left Dave Navarro out, as that's the way he likes it to be, sorry!

This truly legendary band, Jane's Addiction have now brought out a stunning Deluxe Edition Combo Pack of live material captured from the moment they hit the stage at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, during the bands 2015/2016 Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour.

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the bands groundbreaking album Ritual de lo habitual (1990), Jane's Addiction performed their 2X Platinum Alt-Rock masterpiece album in it's entirety, along with adding into the live mix some of their biggest hits, of course.

1) "Stop"
2) "No Ones Leaving"
3) "Aint No Right"
4) "Obvious"
5) "Been Caught Stealing"
6) "Three Days"
7) "Then She Did"
8) "Of Course"
9) "Classic Girl"
10) "Mountain Song"
11) "Just Because"
12) "Ted, Just Admit It..."
13) "Jane Says"

Inclusive of a 20 page booklet with grand color photos, plus the aforementioned Blu-Ray, DVD & CD versions of this incredible, simply divine live show, 'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' was not only a beautiful milestone for both 'Ritual De Lo Habitual' and Lollapalooza, but given the bands penchant for drugs and such, a wonderful achievement to be able to play it at this show (hence the tongue in cheek title).

Lead singer and band leader supreme Perry Farrell is at his vocal and stage presence finest here throughout the entire show, trust me. As for the entire live performance of 'Ritual De Lo Habitual,' well, for my money, it was a good follow up to a classic release, 1911's Nothing's Shocking. As has been documented before, nothing really jumps out at you like "Mountain Song" or "Jane Says", which they cover in the four additional tracks after having played the album, butt he album did have some great highlights.

Of course, "Been Caught Stealing" was a huge hit on College and Alternative Rock stations at the time, and here is, perhaps, my favorite live moment. The way Farrell tears his way through the lyrics, orchestrates each and every vocal chord to wrap itself precisely around the words; so that they mean something more to the audience and their fans, is beyond a joke both brilliant and beautiful.

Everyone knows Jane's Addiction are an epic band and this live release is so chock full of their energy that I don't know anybody who could ever watch or listen to this package and say anything other than, "Wow. Well done, guys!" This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' [Blu-ray+DVD+CD] is available for purchase on August 4th, 2017.

'Jane's Addiction - Alive At Twenty-Five' [Blu-ray+DVD+CD] Purchase Link

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition'
(Micheline Presle, Massimo Girotti, Gaby Morlay, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / (1953) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Marie Prieur, a young doctor, decides to settle down on Ushant, a remote island belonging to Brittany. Little by little she manages to be accepted by the population. One day she meets André Lorenzi, a handsome engineer, and it is love at first sight. Life is wonderful for a while, but André wants to marry her only if she remains at home.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what was to be Director Jean Grémillon's last full-length feature film, and that includes the hideously overlooked gem "Pattes Blanches" (1947), 'The Love of a Woman' (aka "L'Amour d'une Femme") is as beautiful a film as I think I've ever cinematically seen before.

Okay, sure, there have been a few in my lifetime, but this was 1953 and Grémillon's cinematographer was working some visual magic here, that's for damn sure. As for the film itself, it is beautiful, but extremely sad. Without giving too much away, it features two funerals and all the depressing looks-instead-of-words scenes that, even in real life, play out from all that.

It also, of course, has it's scattered, but actor invested love scenes, which, and with the exception of the questionable one which takes place when the school teacher is dying, are all done with impeccable taste.

'The Love of a Woman' is, if you haven't guessed it by now, one of those delicious Sunday afternoon movies where the two lovers in question - Micheline Presle as 'Dr. Marie Prieur' and Massimo Girotti as 'André Lorenzi' - talk, but they do not communicate. I hope that makes sense. If you're in a long term relationship or marriage, I think it will.

Anyway, André is an engineer whose ideology is that a woman's job is to man the house, look after all that resides there, both inside and out. So when they get married, Dr. Marie quickly finds out being a Doctor, going out and about, has turned into becoming a housewife.

There's much more to explore here, but I'll leave it all for you to find out on this divine new Blu-ray+DVD release from Arrow Films UK and MVD Visual here in the US. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition presentations of the feature, from materials supplied by Gaumont
Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles
In Search of Jean Gremillon, a feature-length documentary on the filmmaker from 1969, containing interviews with director Rene Clair, archivist Henri Langlois, actors Micheline Presle and Pierre Brasseur, and others
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Ginette Vincendeau

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray + DVD] is available for purchase on July 25th, 2017.

'The Love of a Woman: Special Edition' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard, et al / Blu ray / R / (1998) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: From director John Frankenheimer (Reindeer Games, The Manchurian Candidate) comes 'Ronin', a pulse-pounding, action-packed crime thriller featuring an all-star cast headlined by Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver, Heat) and Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional).

Blu-ray Verdict: For my money, 'Ronin' (1998) is a very well paced, atmospheric thriller. Basically a travelogue through a fantasy France of grimy bars and cobblestoned streets, where shifty-eyed hard cases in dark clothing concoct devious plots over cigarettes and espresso, race around rain-swept night streets in high-powered sedans, and exchange automatic weapons fire with minimal police interference, it never lets go of your inner need to find out how it all will end!

The slender plot concerns a mysterious band of international hired guns brought together by a mysterious mastermind to steal a mysterious package from a collection of mysterious gangsters; as in all such stories, gun play and double-crosses ensue as the bodies of various shady characters (and a few unfortunate members of the public) pile up.

All too routine, and more than a tad silly, but the film is mostly saved from self-parody by the excellent cast (standouts include Robert de Niro, Natascha McElhone and the always-wonderful Jean Reno), beautiful, fluid location camerawork, and superb stunt sequences, all under the veteran direction of John Frankenheimer.

Like spiritual cousins 'Bullitt' and 'The French Connection', 'Ronin' features gritty, realistic settings, handsome actors exuding an air of rumpled coolness, attention to procedural detail and the insertion of a cracking good car chase whenever the action threatens to flag.

Of the latter, special mention should be made of the spectacular centerpiece chase, in which the streets of Paris end up littered with wreckage as competing parties in a BMW and Peugeot chase each other down sidewalks, through tunnels and finally, the wrong way down a traffic-choked highway.

In the end, it's all just another Hollywood entertainment, but afficiando's of the crime thriller will find it a fun ride. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director of photography Robert Fraisse
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
Original English 5.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
Brand new video interview with director of photography Robert Fraisse
Paul Joyce documentary on Robert De Niro
Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette Through the Lens, an archival interview with Robert Fraisse
The Driving of Ronin, an archival featurette on the film s legendary car stunts
Natascha McElhone: An Actor s Process, an archival interview with the actress
Composing the Ronin Score, an archival interview with composer Elia Cmiral
In the Ronin Cutting Room, an archival interview with editor Tony Gibbs
Venice Film Festival interviews with Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Natascha McElhone
Alternate ending
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet illustrated by Chris Malbon, featuring new writing on the film by critic Travis Crawford

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'Ronin: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'The David Lynch Foundation:Charity Begins Within'
(Various / DVD / G / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: In 2009, The David Lynch Foundation staged the Change Begins Within benefit concert at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall. The show helped raise funds to teach at-risk children to meditate to change their lives from within.

DVD Verdict: Hosted by David Lynch and Laura Dern, 'The David Lynch Foundation: Charity Begins Within' was a star-studded sold-out evening that featured unique performances from a cast of stars, including: Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James and, amongst others, comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The culmination of the evening saw sets from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr before they joined forces for a grand finale. This once-in-a-lifetime event is now available to own via Eagle Vision.

1) 'Trouble So Hard' / 'Natural Blues' - Moby, Betty LaVette & The TM Choir
2) 'Rise' - Eddie Vedder
3) 'Under Pressure' - Eddie Vedder & Ben Harper
4) 'My Sweet Lord' - Sheryl Crow & Ben Harper
5) Jerry Seinfeld
6) 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' - Donovan, Jim James & Ben Harper
7) 'Isle Of Islay' - Donovan & Paul Horn
8) 'It Don't Come Easy' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper & Eddie Vedder
9) 'Boys' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper & Eddie Vedder
10) 'Yellow Submarine' - Ringo Starr, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder & Sheryl Crow
11) 'Drive My Car' - Paul McCartney
12) 'Jet' - Paul McCartney
13) 'Got To Get You Into My Life' - Paul McCartney
14) 'Let It Be' - Paul McCartney
15) 'Here Today' - Paul McCartney
16) 'Band on The Run' - Paul McCartney
17) 'With A Little Help From My Friends' - Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr
18) 'Cosmically Conscious' - Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & The TM Choir
19) 'I Saw Her Standing There' - Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, Jim James, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & The TM Choir

From start to finish this live show is amazing. Simply amazing to behold. Colorful, especially the blazingly rose red tunic that McCartney sports for the lovely one-on-one with Lynch in the bonus feature, and very beautiful, with regard Sheryl Crow, her hair, her look, her clothing, this 2009 version of Charity Begins Within was a love fest for me.

I mean, just sitting there watching 'Cosmically Conscious' - which I know has en masse of stars attached to it - with Sheryl Crow taking lead, allowing the great purple-shirted Donovan to bring up the harmonies, was about as good as it musically, and visually gets in life. McCartney on 'Drive Me Car' is as wonderful as it sounds, although it has to be said that a now jacket-less McCartney alongside his Beatle mate Ringo Starr for 'With A Little Help From My Friends' did showcase the latter's crusty throaty vocal performance a wee bit too much.

The David Lynch Foundation has continued to organize Change Begins Within concerts and events since the 2009 show. Past participants include Katy Perry, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Ellen DeGeneres and more.

Filmmaker David Lynch launched his foundation in 2005 with the aim of promoting efforts to eradicate trauma and stress among at-risk populations through Transcendental Meditation. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the special Bonus Feature of:

David Lynch talks to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper.

'Inconceivable' [Blu-ray+Digital HD]
(Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon, Faye Dunaway, Nicky Whelan, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A family befriends a struggling single mother and invites her into their home to be their nanny, and – eventually – their surrogate mother. But soon, strange behavior begins to surface and they realize that things are not what they seem.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Inconceivable' opens up with a dark haired Katie (Nicky Whelan) stabbing a man who is attempted to choke her. Is she the victim or the crime or was it all planned?

Later, and now blonde, Katie meets Brian (Nicolas Cage) and Angela (Gina Gershon) who are both successful doctors. The film tries to then fill in some story line blanks (that they couldn't be bothered to film) by giving us some cheesy flashbacks chock full of information (and red herrings, as it turns out) so that you can quickly decide for yourself where the plot is headed.

And so, as you might well expect from just that, the mystery aspect for the audience is nil come that point, sorry. In truth, there was no real decent character development at all throughout, especially for the couple - and quite why Nicolas Cage is even in this should-have-been-a-Lifetime-TV-film is beyond me!

As the Grandmother, there's none better than the still-looking-gorgeous Faye Dunaway. I mean, considering her age, she still knocks this acting lark outta the park! Oh, and there was this totally weird kitchen scene near the end, that (and not to give it away here) when combined with a murder scenario, one assumes there should/would have been more than enough visual elements to warrant a subsequent police investigation. But, whether there was, as we never get to see, or not, the ending could have been worked on a wee bit more, in my humble opinion.

Finally, one last 'Inconceivable' tidbit you might want to have a chuckle about to yourselves as you watch this movie play out, but it's been made common knowledge that Lindsay Lohan was going to star in and co-produce it! Turns out the studio (LGF) decided not to hire her. A blessing in disguise, for all concerned, one imagines. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the Special Features of:

Director's Commentary
“Behind the Scenes of Inconceivable” Featurette
Deleted Scene
Cast/Crew Interviews
Trailer Gallery

'Dean' [DVD]
(Demetri Martin, Kevin Kline, Gillian Jacobs, Rory Scovel, Ginger Gonzaga, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Demetri Martin and Academy Award® winner Kevin Kline star in this hilarious and heartfelt tale about a father and son coming to terms with love, loss, and everything in between.

DVD Verdict: Demetri Martin has been my favorite comedian for many years, therefore when I learned that we had this DVD in house for review, I begged my Director & Editor in Chief to be the one to sit down with 'Dean' for the night.

Luckily, he complied and so from the man who directed and starred in this film to the home comfort screening of 'Dean' that I was kindly afforded, and not knowing too much about the movie than what had been established online (I don't like spoilers before I watch anything) I locked myself in for the night to enjoy the insanely creative Demetri Martin's comedy film.

To me, the best part of 'Dean' is its usage of Martin's trademark doodles, which accompany the film's scenes in split screens. They feel fresh and were the saving grace when the film started out with a clichéd father and son by a grave that made me worried. The biggest letdown is the film's continual return to cliché, especially in the final act which plays out as a heavy-handed drama with little comedy.

The best thing about Demetri Martin's comedy is that his jokes are presented, the audience gets them, then he moves onto the next joke. In this film there is a lot of unnecessary lingering done. Sadly, a lot of times I felt, personally, they were lost in that very same translation.

The morals are beaten into our heads in four concluding scenes of nothing but exposition re: dialogue. Even when the dialogue is more in line with his comedic styling he allows characters too much time to react to the jokes, therefore explaining them. If Demetri Martin tackled each scene as he did his jokes, it could've been a wholly unique film, but his insistence to make a straightforward narrative greatly hurts the film.

One scene really perfectly exemplifies where the film succeeds and fails. It's a party scene and Dean doesn't know anyone there. He spots a pretty girl across the room, cue slow motion and music. This instantly got me groaning. Then he takes it further, Dean leans onto a counter in the slow motion and knocks a bunch of clutter everywhere.

I groan a little more having seen this joke even taken here before. But then something brilliant happens. He continues the slow motion for just too long. He picks up the clutter, not even looking at the girl anymore, all in slow motion, then he leaves the room. I laugh out loud. It's a perfectly executed defiance of expectations.

But then he ruins it, falling back into cliché. I was really hoping in his embarrassment Dean would never talk to this girl, but instantly in the next scene she approaches him and a love story begins.

From cliché, to defying clichés, but ultimately settling back into cliché. You can almost feel Demetri's reluctance to take risks and that's a damn shame, because if he did it could've been this generation's 'Annie Hall'. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the Special Features of:

This Is a Movie: Making Dean
Drawing on Film: Stories About Dean
Dean: Q&A with Demetri Martin and Rory Scovel

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' [4K Ultra HD]
(Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / PG-13 / 2017 / BVHE)

Overview: Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios' 'Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2: 4K Ultra HD Cinematic Universe Edition' continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and characters from the classic comics come to their aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

Blu-ray Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc - which comes as a two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) - is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the Audio know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. 4K UHD Blu-ray = English Dolby Atmos, English/Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital. 4K UHD Digital = English Dolby Atmos (platform dependent), English 5.1, English 2.0. Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks. DVD = English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks,English 2.0 Descriptive Audio.

This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Subtitles are: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and, well, let's face it, who doesn't like or even simply root for the "heroes" portrayed within the celluloid wonderment of these incredible 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies?

Indeed, both 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies have brought us tremendously funny, highly entertaining films. The movie opens with a lighthearted battle scene in which the Guardians are fighting an alien monster, while Groot (baby sized and with a personality to match in this movie), is playing and dancing to music. Rocket manages to alienate their employers, causing much havoc.

The team later is forced to split into two groups as they deal with Peter's new found father, a broken ship, and troubles with the Ravagers. In the midst of this two of the more interesting supporting characters, Yondu and Nebula, become involved, both of which have considerably more depth added to their characters.

The special effects are generally well done, as is the acting, with Chris Pratt (Star Lord/Peter Quill) having some compelling scenes with a lot of screen time, but others including Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Bradley Cooper (Rocket) also having some nice moments.

The violence is amped up a bit, with a quite one battle having a very high body count (all bloodless to keep it PG-13). There were some genuinely funny lines and scenes, but some of the humor was forced, and dived down occasionally onto a level that was more middle school level , with "bathroom" humor that I did not personally enjoy.

Given some of the content, I was surprised how touching the movie was at times as it explored (superficially of course) ideas of family and of acceptance of others, including a new view into the relationship between Gamora and Nebula.

Partly because of this, as well as some great action scenes and the occasional good humor, I did end up enjoying the move quite a bit, though nowhere near as much as the first Guardians movie. If you liked the first movie, chances are you have already seen this one, and if not you will likely enjoy it when you do.

Chock full with some delightful featurettes, some of my own personal favorites were, in order for me, Guardians Inferno Music Video where the brilliant cheesemeister himself David Hasselhoff (and special guests) got together to sing (and perform) in a FANTASTIC '70s disco-era video for 'Inferno'. The Hoff strikes self parody gold again alongside what looks to be (as they are all dressed for the era) the entire Guardians cast!

The other remarkably entertaining, and very revealing Special Feature is The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes, we get to see that when baby Groot was obviously not there on set (as he is a digital element) he actually was there for the actors to play off against!

Director James Gunn insisted that a 10" high toy version of baby Groot was in every scene that an acor had to talk or make eye contact with him in. Such as when Batista or Pratt (both well over six feet tall), had to interact with baby Groot. So, instead of nothing, Gunn had this toy baby Groot in place, which was tied to the end of a stick, so that it could even move!

Another behind-the-scenes joy to behold is how they filmed Rocket jumping from tree to tree. So, with en masse of soldiers and what-not firing at him repeatedly from the ground, they had eight trees rigged with bullet hits and with the camera on a wire high above, it could also dip and come under Rocket; giving both sides to the tale, so to speak (no pun intended!)

In conclusion, watching it all open up before my very eyes on this 4K Ultra HD it truly is amazing viewing. And together with all these special features included here (although the regular Blu-ray should be pretty nice to watch these on also, I would imagine), this is one NOT to be missed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and comes with the Special Features of:

The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes
Visionary Intro - Director James Gunn provides context on how he continues and expands the story lines of these beloved characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians Inferno Music Video - Join David Hasselhoff and special guests for a galactic retro dance party
Gag Reel - Laugh out loud at all the hilarious off-script shenanigans and bloopers that took place on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, featuring all your favorite Guardians.
Four Deleted Scenes - Check out four specific scenes that had to be cut from the film, including two extended scenes and two deleted scenes
Audio Commentary - Check out a special narration of the film by director James Gunn, who guides fans through an inside look at the making of the movie

All the features listed above plus four extra exclusives:
Three Scene Breakdowns (Digital Exclusives) - We'll reveal the anatomy of a few key scenes from the film. Discover the process in bringing these scenes to life. It starts with a doodle and the rest is film history. Audiences will be given the option to view 5-6 layers of specific scenes in the film. Scenes include 'Eclector Escape', 'Gamora and Nebula', and 'Rocket and Ravagers'
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! (Digital Exclusive) - Get an exclusive sneak peek inside the most anticipated ride at Disneyland, Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! We'll dig into the concepts and inspiration, and talk about what it took to bring the most epic ride at Disneyland to life.

Official Marvel Studios Facebook Page

In loving memory of everyone’s favorite Ravager, come celebrate the Blu-ray™ release of 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' with Yondu himself – Michael Rooker!

On Tuesday, August 22nd from 9:00am-12:00pm, fans around Los Angeles will be able to come pay tribute to the beloved Ravager, Yondu, with a morning of prizes and activities at Shorty’s Barber Shop in West Hollywood!

That's right, Michael Rooker (‘Yondu’ in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) will be on location to commemorate his character and interact with fans!

The first 50 fans will receive a $50 gift certificate to Shorty’s Barber Shop to come back and Get the Yondu look!

Additional giveaways will include Blu-ray Combo Packs and Digital Copies of Marvel Studios’ 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2', posters signed by Michael Rooker and other Guardians themed items

Themed photo opportunity: Get the Yondu look by getting your hair styled into a faux hawk and hair sprayed red!

For those of you hardcore enough to go FULL YONDU*, there will be room for ten lucky Ravagers to get a full hair dye and shave. Those that pledge their loyalty to the captain will not only meet Rooker himself, but will head out with various Guardians loot!

But wait! There’s more, y’all! Two lucky fans will also walk out of Shorty’s with an awesome custom-made Yondu umbrella to keep that new ‘do safe from the LA sun!

* If you volunteer to be one of the 10 fans to get the Full Yondu you will need to be over 18 years of age, be available to get your hair dyed on Monday, August 21st, and shaved or styled from 9:00AM-12:00PM on Tuesday, August 22nd.

To schedule for the Full Yondu, please e-mail your name and mobile number to:

All colors and cuts will take place at Shorty’s Barber Shop:

Shorty’s Barber Shop
755 N Fairfax Ave
West Hollywood, CA

MARVEL STUDIOS’ “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2” Now Available Digitally and Blu-ray on Aug. 22nd, 2017.

Mickey And The Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines
(Bret Iwan, Russi Taylor, Daniel Ross, Tress MacNeille, Bill Farmer, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney Studios)

DVD Overview: Join your favorite characters - and their high-speed transforming Roadsters - as they compete in thrilling races stretching from Hot Dog Hills to Hawaii - and all the way to London, England!

DVD Verdict: I know that we all know who Mickey Mouse is, and we all know who is group of friends are too, but for those lil' 'uns new to the character, well, here is yet another terrific Disney Junior animated show for your kids.

It actually airs on the wonderful Disney Junior channel and can count among its fellow TV shows of the same ilk both Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers' is, in and unto itself, an American computer-animated children's television series produced by Disney Television Animation. It is indeed the successor to the aforementioned Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the series debuted on Disney Junior in the United States on January 15th, 2017.

Indeed, here in 'Mickey And The Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' we experience quite a lot of rather high-octane thrills as Mickey and the gang power up their amazing, transforming cars for races through the town. But it's not just their local town that gets spotlighted here, no, for the gang go globetrotting on a huge scale also by traveling and racing themselves all the way ol' jolly old England!

In this completely fab new edition of the show, we get to meet the world's greatest spy, zoom through the skies in a revved up hot-air balloon race, and even return the Queen's stolen Royal Ruby! I kid you not, Mickey and his pals not only compete in a whirlwind little competition, but gear up to help save the Queen's precious jewels!

1. Agent Double-O-Goof
2. It’s Wiki Wiki Time
3. Ye Olde Royal Heist
4. Abra-ka-Goof!
5. Guru Goofy
6. Going Upppppppppp!

Bonus Episode:
7. Goof Luck Charm

Cast: Bret Iwan as Mickey Mouse; Russi Taylor as Minnie Mouse; Bill Farmer as Goofy/Pluto; Daniel Ross as Donald Duck; and Tress MacNeille as Daisy Duck.

Chock full of funny and highly entertaining moments for the pre-teens, it will 100% keep your kids occupied before dinner or on a sunny week day or even a wet Sunday afternoon.

Bring home the adventures on Disney DVD August 15th, 2017! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs which also comes with a FREE Roadster Racers Flag inside!!

DVD Purchase Link

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' - Exclusive Clip #1

'Mickey and the Roadster Racers: Start Your Engines' - Exclusive Clip #2

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray]
(Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Rod Steiger, Shelley Winters, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1955) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Charles Castle, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, looks like he has it all. But his marriage is falling apart and his wife is threatening to leave him if he renews his contract. Studio boss Stanley Shriner Hoff isn't taking the news too well, and he'll do anything he can to get his man to sign on the dotted line - even if means exposing some of his dark secrets.

Blu-ray Verdict: Just to give you a little back story about this uneven movie, even before 'The Big Knife' went into production, it was hard to get either backers or cast willing to be associated with it.

Director Robert Aldrich eventually took on a supporting actor to play a lead role. But Jack Palance (even at just 36 years-old at the time) is no second-fiddle player. For his looks and demeanor he was usually cast in tough baddie roles, but here he gets to show his considerable dramatic range.

He continually mixes his emotions with exceptional skill – an example being when he snaps angrily at Everett Sloane, showing a hint of vulnerability beneath the surface that is both believable and faintly poignant. This is one of his most impressive performances and he is more than able to carry the picture.

The rest of the cast, while similarly not the most glamorous of choices, are a real box of gems nonetheless. Opposite Palance we have Ida Lupino, not an outstanding actress, but always one who radiated great intelligence and dignity. This is by far the best I have I have ever seen from her, and her character's relationship with Palance's is truly touching. Also at his very best is Wendell Corey, a man who tended to play blandly obnoxious types, as he does here, but capable of demonstrating real humanity and depth when it was required.

Rod Steiger's performance is, at first glance, a little too surreal and theatrical for a straight drama, but as the picture wears on it seems somehow appropriate for the one absolutely despicable villain to be some kind of bizarre caricature. In any case, he is good fun to watch.

The question is begged, if 'The Big Knife' was such a bugbear to the Hollywood establishment, and has such an iconic cast, why has it not been championed by latter-day hipster film geeks? The answer is simple: 'The Big Knife' simply isn't that good, sorry.

Robert Aldrich was a skilled director of dynamic action flicks, and it's clear he now truly wanted to raise his game and make serious dramatic pictures. But good as his intentions are he's out of his depth. He simply doesn't understand the kind of manipulation needed to make a stage play work on the screen, without it seeming like an endless string of talking, and for all his movement of the camera the narrative still remains dull and static.

The production is also scuppered by two seemingly minor factors. First, the set decoration is far too cluttered, and while Aldrich makes some good use of bringing props into view at opportune moments, there is simply too much business there and it upstages the actors.

Secondly there is that score by Frank DeVol, which clearly thinks it is modern and innovative, but is frankly annoying, especially since the poor mixing makes it sound as if DeVol's drumming is actually supposed to be taking place on the set, and you expect a guy with a snare to suddenly walk into the frame.

When you see how badly it is done here, you can appreciate why the Academy gives awards for such "boring" categories as Art Direction and Sound. The ironic thing is, had a major studio dared to pick up 'The Big Knife' and got a better production team to work on it, they could probably have done a fairly decent job. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 2K restoration from original film elements produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p)
Original English mono audio uncompressed LPCM
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by film critics Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton, recorded exclusively for this release
Bass on Titles Saul Bass, responsible for The Big Knife s credit sequence, discusses some of his classic work in this self-directed documentary from 1972
Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nathalie Morris

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'The Big Knife (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

The Poseidon Adventure - The Complete Mini-Series
(Adam Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Steve Guttenberg, Bryan Brown, Peter Weller, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2005) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: As the luxury liner Poseidon slices through the waters of an ocean storm, the greatest danger is already on board - a terrorist with an explosive message for the world. Detonated on New Year's Eve, the blast capsizes the ship leaving a motley crew - the madman among them - struggling for survival in this upside-down life-and-death drama.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'The Poseidon Adventure - The Complete Mini-Series' continues the blockbuster phenomenon and turns it into a precedent-setting new miniseries that raises the stakes and the fear factor tri-fold.

Well, okay, and playing Devil's Advocate here, as being a journalist I cannot sit on the fence. Rather, I'd like to give you both views. So, firstly, yes, the story spread over a mini-series and given some new star movie acting juice does indeed ramp up the excitement of watching another movie/miniseries entitled Poseidon.

But, and that all said, pace is a huge problem with this new (2005) miniseries. 'The Poseidon Adventure' is also incredibly dull when you get down to its nuts and bolts, which is a great shame. I truly wanted it to shine a little, given proven actors such as Baldwin, Hauer, Guttenberg Brown and the brilliant (usually) Peter Weller, but with over an hour of sluggish pacing and little else it falls flat on way too many occasions.

Again, it does try to liven things up towards the end, but in the process tries (noticeably) too hard and in in trying too much convulses the ending badly into a ship-shaking mess. And unnecessarily so also, it has to be said.

As for the actual story line of 'The Poseidon Adventure', well, the plot is very hackneyed and at first it seems as though it never leaves the deck! Seriously, they must have invested a ton of money into building that deck, because everyone came to it! Then later on it feels kinda bloated (no pun intended for those that went overboard and didn't make it back), and whatever suspense they managed to illicit they allowed to drain away.

All foreboding long gone, even by its midpoint, the one massive plot line that didn't make any sense, didn't play out well, and seemed a really big hindrance to the mini-series (and yet it was its focal point, funnily enough) was the terrorist one! It simply added nothing to the story, but without it, well, perhaps the Poseidon wouldn't have had such a bad day after all! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Blackbeard - The Complete Mini-Series'
(Angus Macfadyen, Mark Umbers, Jessica Chastain, Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2006) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In the Golden Age of Piracy, at the dawn of the 18th century, Blackbeard stood out among the lawless rogues as the most fearsome and notorious seafarer of them all. He killed for the reputation, and his reputation has become legend. Now, for the first time, comes the true story of pirate Edward Teach, the man who terrorized the seas.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, 'Blackbeard - The Complete Mini-Series' from 2006 is now ready for you to set sail in - at your peril!

'Blackbeard' is a two-part TV Mini-Series released in 2006 based on the exploits of the infamous pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. The two parts clock in at 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Although 'Blackbeard' obviously features real-life people and other items (like the ship Queen Anne's Revenge and Blackbeard's relationship with the governor), the story is essentially fictional. Those knowledgeable about the life of Blackbeard should know this up front, otherwise it will ruin their experience.

Still, even though this is a fictional story, the film IS realistic in it's presentation of the basic Caribbean pirate lifestyle. Not to mention, it successfully captures the spirit of Blackbeard.

One thing that turns me off to pirate flicks like 'Pirates of the Caribbean' (all of them!) and 'Cutthroat Island' is that they feature such a goofy, unbelievable vibe that the viewer can't take the stories serious for even a moment (and, don't get me wrong, those types of films have their place).

Well, you don't have to worry about that with 'Blackbeard' because, again, this is a believable portrayal of the pirate lifestyle. The film certainly helps the viewer catch a glimpse of what it must have been like to be a pirate back in that era (1700s).

In regards to the historical inaccuracies of the story, how much do we really know about Blackbeard and the many adventures he experienced in his life? Did he have a scribe with him at all times detailing every detail of his life and adventures?

Of course not. The story in 'Blackbeard' features events that very well COULD have happened to him and other pirates of the era. In light of all this, I hope you settle in one rainy Sunday afternoon and enjoy it as much as we did. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Mary Higgins Clark - Original TV Mysteries Vol. 3
(Nicollette Sheridan, Page Fletcher, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: MARY HIGGINS CLARK is one of the most critically acclaimed mystery writers of our time. 'The Queen of Suspense' has sold over 100 million copies of her novels in the U.S. alone. Known for her intriguing, clever and suspenseful writing style, now you can enjoy 3 more of her best-selling works adapted to feature films here in Volume 3.

DVD Verdict: We begin with "Haven't We Met Before" (PG-13, 2002, starring Nicollette Sheridan). Law student Emily Winton survives an assault perpetrated by a man who believes she wronged him in a previous life.

She assists the investigating detective, who suspects that her attacker has already committed murder as a result of his psychosis.

For my money, "Haven't We Met Before?" is one of the better Higgins Clark stories and could have been developed in a richer way. The story, in general, should have been riveting. It wasn't. It did, however, keep me interested due to the plot. And as usual, I sort of figured it out. Why? Because there's something about the way these stories are set up where there's a subtle giveaway. I can't figure out what it is, I don't know if it's the way the scenes are directed or what, but I always know.

Next up is "Try To Remember" (PG-13, 2004, starring Gabrielle Anwar). A supposedly wrapped up murder case comes back to haunt a small town 15 years later when all the witnesses who testified start dying.

Mary Higgins Clark always has a heroine, one very obvious suspect (male), one or two men who might be suspects, and then one or two men who would never be suspected. It wasn't hard to figure this one out.

The cast is very attractive - besides Anwar, there is Max Martini, Diego Wallraff, and David Richmond-Peck, all looking good. Garry Chalk, a familiar face, plays a detective on the force in this much better-than-average thriller.

Lastly, we have "A Crime Of Passion" (PG-13, 2003, starring Cynthia Gibb). When Frederica Dumay (Cynthia Gibb) inherits her father's winery, she has no idea of the sort of intrigue that awaits her at her dad's fabulous estate.

If there's one thing I detest, it's people in movies doing stupid things so that the scriptwriters can put them in danger. Case in point: Freddie gets a line on Arabella's partner and decides to confront him by going alone to a cabin in the woods at night. I doubt even an armed policewoman would do that.

Later, when she's broken her ankle, is in bed and woozy from being given drugs, she decides to get up, take her crutches, and try to get down the stairs. Ridiculous, sorry, but it is. That said, "A Crime Of Passion" does possess some genuinely taut psychological moments - just not enough. Newly released by Mill Creek Entertainment, these 3 TV movies are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'PJ Masks: Time To Be A Hero'
(Jacob Ewaniuk, Addison Holley, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / eOne - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Overview: Join Catboy, Owlette and Gekko on their brand new adventures. Such as Gekko's desire not to take the blame for stealing Cameron's mini-car which allows Luna Girl to almost destroy HQ! Or when Owlette tries to get back at Night Ninja by destroying his masterpiece statue, but learns that two wrongs don't make a right.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, PJ Masks is a British/French animated children's television series produced by Entertainment One, Frog Box, and TeamTO. The series is based on the Les Pyjamasques book series by Romuald Racioppo and debuted on Disney Junior in the United States on September 18th, 2015.

PJ Masks revolves around three 6-year-olds, Connor, Amaya, and Greg, who lead relatively normal lives by day, where they are neighbors, classmates, and friends. However, at night, they become Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko, and fight crime as the superhero team PJ Masks. Together, they go on adventures, defeat villains, solve mysteries, and learn valuable lessons.

Here in 'PJ Masks: Time To Be A Hero' our intrepid trio - Catboy, Owlette and Gekko - learn a few lessons about telling the truth, no stealing, and never, ever trying to make two bad deeds add up to a supposedly good one!

Available August 8th, 2017, this latest PJ Masks DVD features six exciting episodes from the top-rated TV series airing on Disney Junior. In addition, the new release includes the PJ Masks “Feeling Great” singalong music video as well as exclusive activity sheets so those little heroes can have even more “super” fun at home.

Oh, you want more? Well, specially marked packages will also include an exclusive PJ Masks sticker set! Each episode is just over ten minutes long each, with an audio track in English Dolby Digital 2.0.

My 4-year-old twins love PJ Masks. They spend a great majority of their time pretending to be Cat Boy and Owlette. We don't have cable, and therefore do not have the Disney Channel, but my lovely Director and Editor in Chief here at Exclusive Magazine allowed me (and my kids) to review this new DVD for you here today.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the aforementioned Special Features of:

“PJ Masks Are Feeling Great” - Music Video
PJ Masks Printable Activity Sheets

Eagles of Death Metal Live at The Olympia in Paris
(Eagles of Death Metal / DVD / NR / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: In 2009, The David Lynch Foundation staged the Change Begins Within benefit concert at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall. The show helped raise funds to teach at-risk children to meditate to change their lives from within.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, the Eagles of Death Metal is an American rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1998. Founded by Jesse Hughes (vocals, guitar) and Josh Homme (drums), the band also includes a wide range of other musicians that perform both on the band's studio albums and at live shows.

Hughes and Homme are the only permanent members of the band, with Homme rarely performing at live shows due to commitments to his other bands. The band's current touring line-up includes Hughes alongside Dave Catching (guitar), Eden Galindo (guitar), Jennie Vee (bass) and Jorma Vik (drums).

Oh, and despite their name, Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band, and the name is intended to be humorous!

During Eagles of Death Metal's now infamous November 13th, 2015 concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, gunmen entered the venue and opened fire on the crowd, leaving 89 dead. On February 16th, 2016, the band returned to Paris to complete their show as part of The Nos Amis Tour¸ performing at the Olympia Hall.

This I Love You All The Time: Live at The Olympia in Paris DVD (also released as a glorious 2CD set) encapsulates the pure emotion and intensity of that extraordinary Olympia concert and is dedicated to all those who lost their lives at the Bataclan.

Before the show, Eagles of Death Metal co-founder and lead singer Jesse Hughes said: "The people of Paris have always been incredible to us, and our feeling of love towards this beautiful city and its people has been reinforced a million times over this past month. Hearing the stories of the survivors, the injured and those who have lost loved ones has been overwhelming. Not returning to finish our set was never an option."

The line-up for this historic show features Jesse Hughes (vocals, guitar); Joshua Homme (drums); Dave Catching (guitar); Matt McJunkins (bass); Julian Dorio (drums) Eden Galindo (guitar) and Tuesday Cross (keyboards).

1) Intro: Il Est 5 Heures, Paris S'Éveille
2) "I Only Want You"
3) "Don't Speak (I Came To Make A Bang!)"
4) "So Easy"
5) "Complexity"
6) "Whorehoppin' (Shit, Goddamn)"
7) "I Love You All The Time"
8) "Cherry Cola"
9) "The Reverend"
10) "Got A Woman"
11) "I Got A Feelin (Just Nineteen)"
12) "Stuck In The Metal"
13) "Miss Alissa"
14) "I Like To Move In The Night"
15) "Secret Plans"
16) "Wannabe In L.A."
17) "Bag O' Miracles"
18) "Save A Prayer"
19) "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)"
20) "Speaking In Tongues"

Whether or not you are a fan of this band, or you know them from this horrific event that took the world by storm news-wise that very same night, you must appreciate the lengths they went to to make sure that the show must still go on. For not only did they dare to return to the scene of the (literal) crime, they began the show over and ever, by the length of the 20 song set-list, extended it whilst there for all their fans.

Their collective return to the French capital just three months after the tragedy proved to be a resounding success, for both the city and their fans alike as this show is as good, as powerful, as heartfelt as anything I have witnessed live (with my own eyes or via a DVD) within the past decade (or more).

Obvious highlights of the show, for me at the very least, although I'm sure for all those gathered that night also, include songs such as “Complexity,” Don’t Speak (I Came To Make a Bang),” “Cherry Cola,” and an out-of-the-blue delicious Duran Duran cover of “Save a Prayer."! Wow, the way they handle this song is brilliant and together with a rock guitar back beat, it may not swerve too far from the original, but it does make for one of the stand out moments here.

Lastly, it should be made known that for the three (3) live video tracks included as bonus features all feature Josh Homme. He actually co-founded the band with front man Jesse Hughes, but rarely performs with them. So the fact he is playing drums on these tracks is a triple bonus for all their fans, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and as well as the full Olympia concert, the bonus material includes three live video tracks from the band's October 2015 performance at L.A.'s Teragram Ballroom: "Anything Cept The Truth", "Bad Dream Mama" and "Shasta Beast".

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray]
(Sarah Kendall, Frederick Flynn, Carol Kottenbrook, et al / DVD+Blu ray / R / (1982) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Two young couples set off to a secluded island for what promises to be a restful retreat. But the peace is short-lived: as a storm batters the island, troubled artist Kay begins to sense that a malevolent presence is here with them, stalking them at every turn. Is she losing her mind, or are her childhood nightmares of a demonic assailant coming to terrifying life?

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Slayer' follows a troubled avant-garde artist with psychic proclivities who travels to a remote island with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law in order to regroup. Immediately bothered by the atmosphere of the island, she insists something is amiss among the forests and derelict buildings— but the three dismiss her. Unfortunately, they're wrong.

An early entry in '80s horror that somehow got sidelined by history, 'The Slayer' is shockingly good given its lack of notoriety. The set-up is straightforward, and the low character number means there isn't much in the way of the expected body count, but in its brisk eighty minutes, the film manages to achieve a dreadful atmosphere and also boasts some shockingly realistic and disturbing murder scenes.

J.S. Cardone, directed and co-wrote the film—it's his first picture, and he has gone on to work mainly in genre films over the years, giving us the marginalized 2001 vampire flick 'The Forsaken' and 2006's 'Wicked Little Things.' Compared to those films, 'The Slayer' is rather minimalism in its cinematic body, I'll give you that, but there is a unique sense of foreboding in this film that is something that slasher flicks particularly don't always seem to achieve.

The island locale is woodsy and populated with derelict buildings from when it was a resort years prior—an idyllic setting for a horror film. The film in some ways reminded me of a non-wintry 'Ghostkeeper,' another debased '80s horror picture.

The score is quite elegant and ominous, and there are also high-caliber special effects throughout, which are on show during each death sequence, as well as during the monstrous reveal at the finale. Some have argued that the conclusion to 'The Slayer' is a cop out. I don't know if I necessarily feel that way. It is rather abruptly thrown at the audience, but it also has narrative significance, linked to threads that are presented earlier on in the film. If anything, it's a somewhat bold move.

Overall, I was quite surprised by how well-crafted this film was. It's not groundbreaking in any stretch of the imagination, but it's a sturdy exercise in dread that happens to be well-shot and eerie. Serious fans of stalk-and- slash movies may find it a bit slow, but it's worth holding out for the impressively jarring murder scenes and the wild card of a conclusion. This is a Widescreen presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new interviews with cast and crew
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet featuring new liner notes by writer Lee Gambin

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray] is available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

'The Slayer: Special Edition' [DVD+Blu-ray] Purchase Link


'Jumanji - The Complete Animated Series'
(Alan Parrish, Judy Shepherd, Peter Shepherd, Trader Slick, Van Pelt, et al / DVD / G / (1996-1999) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Based on the blockbuster feature film, this exciting animated series continues the amazing saga of two children, Judy and Peter Shepherd, who discover a mysterious and magical board game called Jumanji.

DVD Verdict: I think we have to start at the beginning here and acknowledge that the Robin Williams movie from 1995 was terrific and that even an animated side step such as this was great marketing at the time.

The movie itself had a likable cast, solid acting, great action, terrific special effects (for the time), and some wonderful music from James Horner. Sure the the first few minutes were a tad bit slower and some of the scenes were a little dark, but it sold well, went over well, and Williams was a star on the up.

So, when I saw this TV show adaptation of the movie as a kid, I was just as impressed, it has to be said. Although it wasn't what one would call a classic by any stretch of the imagination, especially given that the third season had some weaker, yet very interesting episodes, when it came to the final episode series wrap (where, of course, now spoiler alert needed, Alan finally gets out of the jungle) it proved to still be an overall winner in my book.

Seeing as how this was made by Klasky-Csupo, the company who made The Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys, I think they did a great job with this show. The story lines for this show are very creative, especially in the first two seasons and they had a charm to them just like the movie.

The pathos from the Jumanji game gave some an atmospheric tone to the environment and it's presented so lively. The characters designs, although weird, are at least tolerable. The voice acting is also pretty good too. Debi Derryberry did great as Judy and Ashley Johnson did great as Peter, as did Bill Fagerbakke as Alan Parish. Tim Curry also did brilliantly, it should be said, as Trader Slick, but overall the other voice actors gave their all too.

I mean, come on now, even the damn theme song was engaging! Again, and overall not a classic, but all 40 episodes of these three seasons here in 'Jumanji - The Complete Animated Series' proved to come together to bring us a fun, colorful and definitely well worth watching show for all the fans of the movie. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'FRONTLINE: Bannon's War'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Trump advisor Stephen Bannon's war with radical Islam, Washington, and White House rivals. The story of Bannon's fight to deliver on Trump s promises, with a confrontational style based on his personal crusade to dramatically transform America.

DVD Verdict: From Michael Kirk and the team behind The Choice 2016 and Divided States of America comes the inside story of Trump adviser Stephen Bannon's war - with radical Islam, Washington and White House rivals.

For those not in the know, Steve Bannon is an American media executive, formerly a film producer, who is currently serving as the White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration.

Drawing on nearly 30 in-depth interviews with political insiders, Bannon's former associates at Breitbart News, authors and journalists, the film tells the inside story of Bannon's fight to deliver on Trump's promises, with a confrontational style based on his personal crusade to dramatically transform America.

From one of the most acclaimed investigative teams in broadcast journalism, the documentary claims to investigate who Bannon is, what shaped his worldview and his influence and footing within the Trump administration.

However, in truth, nothing in this Frontline version of Bannon’s biography affords a glimpse of humanity or warmth in the man, and perhaps that is for the best. Instead Bannon’s War shows its subject as the polarizing, intelligent and power-driven figure that he is. Good or bad, that's what I got out of it, but perhaps you'll read into it something different. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'NOVA: Poisoned Water'
(DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: In this special report, NOVA investigates the water disaster in Flint and unravels a disturbing truth about the vulnerabilities of water systems across the country. Discover the delicate intricacies of water chemistry, the biology of lead poisoning, and the engineering challenge of replacing this ravaged infrastructure.

DVD Verdict: Water. Turn on the faucet and it's always there. Without it we perish. But how safe is our tap water? In this special report, NOVA investigates what happened in Flint, Michigan when local officials changed the city's water source to save money, but overlooked a critical treatment process.

As the water pipes corroded, lead leached into the system, exposing the community--including thousands of children - to dangerous levels of poison. NOVA uncovers the science behind this manmade disaster - from the intricacies of water chemistry, to the biology of lead poisoning, to the misuse of science itself.

NOVA follows ordinary citizens and independent scientists who exposed the danger lurking in Flint's water and confronted those who turned a blind eye. Still, there's a disturbing truth that reaches far beyond Flint--Water systems across the country are vulnerable to a similar fate. How can we protect ourselves from poisoned water?

In my mind, having watched it twice now, this is a must see documentary. It is very educational and informative, but I cannot understand why in the world the producers would allow the footage of such a corrupt individual like the ex-Mayor of Flint Dayne Walling (who got kicked out of the office in his re-election bid) the opportunity to act as a victim! When, in fact, the residents of Flint are obviously the real victims of this story.

All Walling did when in power was to delay resolving the issue for years that harmed so many residents and will cost over a billion dollar just to repair the piping. That said, 'NOVA: Poisoned Water' is fascinating viewing (as a documentary) and yet heartbreaking for all those poor residents of the small MI city. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'America's Test Kitchen - Season 17'
(4-Disc DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Join hosts Bridget Lancaster, Julia Collin Davison, and the cast of America's Test Kitchen Season 17 to reveal the test kitchen's secrets to foolproof cooking at home.

DVD Verdict: My goodness! 'America's Test Kitchen - Season Seventeen' (I know, right!) is a four-DVD set packed with twelve hours of delicious episodes of the most-watched cooking show on public television.

Each of the recipes presented has been fine-tuned and tweaked to virtual perfection by dozens of expert test cooks. In addition to the recipes themselves, episodes offer taste tests of supermarket goods, ratings of assorted kitchen equipment and tools from blenders to personal teapots, and solid grocery shopping advice.

Indeed, watching this for the very first time, it's obvious that cooks of all skill and experience levels, from family meal providers to professional restaurateurs, are sure to appreciate the value, research, and practical wisdom found within 'America's Test Kitchen - Season Seventeen' (or any of the other seasons, of course!)

Disc 1:
Cast Iron Staples
Two Modern Stews
Back to Basics
New England Classics
Flavorful Italian Favorites
Seafood Supper
The Ultimate Sticky Buns

Disc 2:
Hearty One Pot Meals
Outsmarting Thanksgiving
Korean Feast
Big Easy Favorites
Pantry Pastas
Refreshing Desserts

Disc 3:
Baked Alaska Showstopper
Italian Chicken
Autumn Desserts
Chinese Takeout, Revised
Elegant Fall Dinner
Canning Classics
Steak and Veggies

Disc 4:
Mediterranean Grill
A Spanish Affair
Fast Food Makeovers
Summer Dinner Party
Summer Pork Supper
Comfort Classics

As you can guess by now, 'America's Test Kitchen' is always guaranteed to satisfy! My inner geek loves all the research that goes into developing the perfect recipe and so I will most definitely add this to my now-growing collection of cooking-on-DVD sets. Oh, and it also includes printable versions of all the recipes shown! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Fortitude - The Complete Second Season'
(Dennis Quaid, Parminder Nagra, Sofie Grabol, Michelle Fairley, Richard Dormer, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NC-17 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: After last year, the remote arctic town of Fortitude will never be the same again. The islanders have overcome the parasite threat, but swaths of residents are still leaving, and the mainland is trying to suffocate the town by cutting off its funding and supplies. But after another horrendous death, the police must now solve a barbaric crime island, trying now to stop as many from leaving as possible - in case the killer is amongst them!

DVD Verdict: Well, as the tagline for the first season correctly proclaimed, "It's not just the cold that kills!" that is also so very true here in this highly compelling second season.

A town like Fortitude, located in the middle of nowhere, needs to thrive on something, and when one of its main sources of income shows sign of possible loss, the town now relies on another source of income; and this income that could be their hope for the future, comes under threat.

Once again, there are many interesting characters introduced quickly, perhaps too quickly, but enough to let you know you have no idea who is guilty of what, yet. However, the plot gives enough away to throw possible red herrings, and come the end of the last episode it still leaves you wanting more. [The sign of a great show, don't you agree!]

'Fortitude' is not your typical drama. It moves slowly, like the ice locked landscape in which it is set. It's not a series for the impatient. You have to be willing to invest time in this series and accept long periods where partial knowledge and confusion are the norm. If you can do this then you may "warm" to 'Fortitude'.

OK, and without giving away anything plot wise, save for the fact there is a rather horrible, and bloody death that needs investigating, that theme of blood and gore does resonate throughout this season a wee bit more than it seemingly did the first.

The "shock impact" moments, like the killing and distorting of sympathetic characters, is not always a plot pusher, but moreover an attack to your senses. To wake you up to what is coming next, given the slowness of the plot. For my money, the first season was brilliantly plotted and original and had something more to offer than just graphic violence. This second season is, at times, a bloody and incoherent mess, sure, but with Dennis Quaid now at its helm, it manages to steer itself true North come the end.

In closing, some have praised its slow pace, but being that it comes from British heritage, shouldn't have been even a second thought for those watching. For that's who British crime unfolds - slowly. Ergo, 'Fortitude' is a slow-paced, well-made, involving, absorbing, evolving set of story lines - like 'Inspector Montalbano' or 'Wallander' - that features some inspiring lingering shots of dramatic monochrome scenery. Watch this show as soon as you can as you will not be let down, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and it comes with the Special Features of:

The Story So Far
Investigate Fortitude

'Remember Me' (UK Edition )
(Mark Addy, Jodie Comer, Sheila Hancock, Michael Palin, Julia Sawalha, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2014) 2017 / PBS)

Overview: When retiree Tom Parfitt (Michael Palin) stages a fall in his eerie Yorkshire home in order to escape into residential care, a chilling mystery unfolds, challenging police detective Rob Fairholme (Mark Addy) and care worker Hannah Ward (Jodie Comer) to risk everything they hold dear to unravel the truth.

DVD Verdict: One of the major qualities of a good ghost story lies in the ways directors manage to make the familiar seem unfamiliar. They draw viewers into the story and then deliberately frustrate their expectations, and hence encourage us to wonder about what will happen next.

This is certainly true of Ashley Pearce's production, which casts Michael Palin in the central role as pensioner Tom Parfitt. British television viewers are accustomed to seeing Palin as the genial host of a slew of travel programs; apart from his Monty Python involvement, his roles have been largely confined to comedies such as 'The Missionary' (1982).

In 'Remember Me' he has a very different role as someone dying to leave his house and move to a retirement home; but we are not exactly sure why, especially when he seems uncomfortable in his new surroundings of an antiseptic room with large windows. He strikes up a relationship with Hannah Ward (Jodie Comer), but we sense that there is more to Parfitt's character than meets the eye.

He seems emotionally affected, but director Pearce refuses to provide the necessary clues to help us resolve our confusion. Suffice to say that the story revolves around the seaside resort of Scarborough, immortalized in the folk-song "Scarborough Fair."

Stylistically speaking, 'Remember Me' creates a mundane world of an (unspecified) city in the north of England, full of gray terraced houses, damp streets and drab colors. People go about their daily lives, with their ordinary hopes and dreams: Hannah's family hope that their daughter will find a more rewarding career than just being a care home assistant.

The community is a multiracial one, trying their best to look after one another, yet ultimately perplexed as to the reasons for Parfitt's apparently eccentric behavior. Like the viewers, Roshana Salim (Mina Anwar) and her family regard him as an enigma.

The pacing of the three-part drama is kept deliberately slow, alternating memorable visual imagery (for example, water gushing down the stairs of Parfitt's home) with clever use of sonic leitmotifs (the repeated singing of "Scarborough Fair.")

brilliant 'Remember Me' we are not only introduced into an abnormal world, but we are kept guessing right until the final episode as to what the action "means." Like most ghost stories, the plot involves a close interaction between past and present; neither of them can be kept separate. Watch this fantastic ghost story and see how this genre of film can still be updated for today's audiences, with style and simplistic - and a little mystery, of course. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Last Days of Jesus'
(DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Last Days of Jesus' explores how dramatic political events in Rome could have played a crucial role in shaping Jesus' destiny, and examines an extraordinary political alliance that altered the course of history.

DVD Verdict: For almost two thousand years, the story of Jesus' final days has been celebrated by Christians the world over.

From Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, through to his eventual crucifixion six days later, the key moments have been immortalized in countless films, pieces of music, and works of art.

But in recent years, some historians have begun to question inconsistencies in the Gospels' version of events. They believe that the Gospels could hide a very different story; one that casts the historical Jesus in an entirely new light.

Based on a new interpretation of contemporary historical events in Rome, 'Last Days of Jesus' peels back thousands of years of tradition, to explore a new political context to the events in Jerusalem.

In truth, I found this new PBS documentary to be less about Jesus' last days, but much more about his mission. It is not a religious film, for those that either worry or care of such things, but it does have that backbone to it at all times re: spirituality, of course.

'Last Days of Jesus' is filled with speculations, "maybes" and "perhapses" and we have a narrator who states that for the past couple of centuries we have tried to discover the true Jesus without success.

Another says that the “facts” narrated in the Gospels make no sense and the books are filled with contradictions. Ideas are offered such as: Jesus may have been a building contractor who was not at all poor, and lived in a nice stone house.

So, as you can tell, there is a lot here that will spark conversations, gentle arguments even, perhaps. Indeed, the documentary even suggests that Jesus’ mission was caused by a Roman general and a Jewish governor who ruled in northern Israel. The last ideas are new speculations, we know this, for they could be nothing more, but as for this documentary, as a whole, well, I thank PBS for providing me more understanding to enhance my already-strong Christian background. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Lion King - The Circle of Life Edition'
(Matthew Broderick, Niketa Calame, Jim Cummings, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital / G / (1994) 2011 / Walt Disney)

Overview: The wait is over. For the first time ever, experience the majesty of Disney’s epic animated masterpiece as it roars off the screen and into your living room on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. With a spectacular digital picture, spine-tingling high definition sound and immersive bonus features—you will feel the love for this critically acclaimed and universally beloved classic like never before.

Blu ray+DVD Verdict: Just so we're all on the same page here, given that this film has been released oh-so-many-times in the past, Disney recently announced come the end of this month that one of the biggest animated films in history, 'The Lion King' will roar to its rightful place in the Walt Disney Signature Collection (on Digital August 15th and on Blu-ray™+DVD August 29th, 2017).

The coming-of-age masterpiece, filled with humor and heart, breathtaking animation and soul-stirring Academy Award®–winning music (1994: Best Original Score and Best Original Song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”), now joins the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection.

I have to say, first off, that this new Circle of Life Edition 2-Disc does indeed feature some wonderful bonus features, but we'll come to all that much later.

The movie itself, as you ALL should know by now anyway, is just wonderful. Beautiful animations and unforgettable songs combine with a wonderful story line that deserves all of its rave reviews. I saw this on TV once and never forgot it. The characters are all unique and beautifully drawn, the backgrounds are amazing. The film as a whole makes you "believe" it.

The characters' personalities, joys and struggles echo real life. Happiness, grief and humor are wonderfully portrayed and balanced at the right times. The movie has more "action violence" and more of a dark subplot than other Disney movies, so check it out before letting young children watch.

I think the theme of this movie is to remember who you are. After the mournful death of his father, Simba believes that it is his fault and represses the memory of what happened and who he is. He makes new friends, Timon and Pumbaa and begins to act much differently than he did before.

While the Pride Lands were losing all that made them beautiful, he was out in the jungle with his friends, completely disregarding his responsibilities. His father appears in the clouds and reminds Simba of who he is and what his responsibilities as the one true king are. Repeatedly, his father tells him "remember who you are."

Simba remembers what his father wanted him to remember and because of this, he sprints to the Pride Lands. One must not forget who they are and what responsibilities they have.

Although this seems like a children's movie, I recommend this movie to a viewer of any age, for it can be enjoyed by anyone - and SHOULD (still) be! In short, 'The Lion King' is a majestic movie, not without humor, that is for almost all to see.

Taking a look at some of the Special Features, well, we have a real treasure trove of them here, that's for sure! The first one I loved was Visualizing a Villain, where David Garibaldi quite literally paints to the song “Be Prepared.” Wow, simply wow, with regard his beautiful, proud finished portrait!

Another good one for me was watching The Recording Sessions where we get to see some rare footage of the actors recording their roles. Sometimes behind the scenes, recording booth style, sometimes a split screen, most times the final animation for us all to enjoy and work with, the intro from both co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff is also worth its weight in gold.

Lastly, Inside The Story Room is simply DIVINE! It showcases a true flashback set of videos that show us how these now iconic scenes came together - and evolved, right there on their cut-out and stuck up on paper boards!

These animators and more talk about sequences for certain scenes, proposed ideas, including some that never even made it (!) and we even watch as co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff pitch a sequence to Producer Don Hahn! One that subsequently became the emotional heart of 'The Lion King'. I mean, can you imagine if Hahn had been having a bad day and vetoed it altogether?! This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:

The Recording Sessions - Enter the recording booth and watch never-before-seen voice recording sessions
Inside The Story Room - Rare archival footage shows the origins of five iconic scenes
Visualizing A Villain - Performance Artist David Garabaldi creates his own unique interpretation of the iconic villain, Scar
The Lion King Song Selection - All-new sing-along version of the movie:
"Circle Of Life"
"I Just Can't Wait To Be King"
"Be Prepared"
"Hakuna Matata"
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight"

And so much MORE!

'Descendants 2'
(Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, et al / DVD / TV-Y / 2017 / Walt Disney)

Overview: The Villain Kids are back in a high-stakes adventure that's bigger, bolder and badder than before!

DVD Verdict: When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal (Dove Cameron), she flees Auradon and returns to her roots on the Isle of the Lost.

Hoping to retrieve her, Evie (Sofia Carson) and the rest of the gang sneak onto the Isle.

But Mal's former archenemy Uma (China Anne McClain), daughter of Ursula, has seized power. And together with her pirate crew, Uma prepares to unleash havok on the VKs and Auradon!

So, as you can see/read, being an obvious fan of the original movie, this sequel picks up exactly where the last one leaves off. There is no introduction of characters or any kind or recap of the events though, so you might want to delve back into your DVD library and watch the first one again beforehand (never a bad thing to do in these circumstances, I've found).

Here in the sequel the teens are starting to "couple up" with Mal having second thoughts and some self-esteem issues. In this second outing (of which you can only assume three and four are already in the works), Disney takes a stab at diversity.

The famous evil parents are not in this movie and we have a baby Hook who was more inspired by Johnny Depp than Captain Hook. The music is way more hip-hop than before, which not being a fan of that music genre, kinda made me shirk away from scenes that were smothered in such sounds.

But that's just me, and again, this is just my humble opinion, but I actually didn't enjoy this second outing as much as the original. The animation was seemingly off too, not as good even as the original film, but the choreography was spot on, as always.

I thought the plot, which I won't give too much more away about, was not exactly well thought out either. They certainly could have done a better job there given the success of the original, because it just seems like this secondary production may be nothing more than a connection point, a stepping stone to the promise of a much better third chapter, so to speak.

Anyway, regardless of all that speculation and such, 'Descendants 2' was still very alluring in its characters, very colorful in its scenery, and the acting by our now-famous leads was as good, if not slightly better than the first one. They've now grown into their characters and it showed for most all of them on screen.

Also beginning July 1st, visit and enter to win a Disney Channel 5-movie collection including 'Descendants' and 'Descendants 2'! And lastly, don't forget that this new DVD also comes with a FREE Necklace with 5 Villain Icons inside! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Cast Secrets - Personal secrets are revealed by cast members Dove Cameron (Mal), Cameron Boyce (Carlos), Sofia Carson (Evie), Booboo Stewart (Jay) and China Anne McClain (Uma) during the filming of the movie.
Bloopers - The cast cracks up on set during some crazy takes.
Deleted Song and More – Includes an extended song, a deleted song and two alternate endings.
Descendants: Wicked World - A collection of all the animated shorts from season 1.

Bring home all the mischief on DVD August 15th, 2017!

Official Trailer

Cast Secrets


'The Ghoul (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray]
(Tom Meeten, Alice Lowie, Rufus Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Dan Renton Skinner, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2016) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Chris is a homicide detective called to London to investigate a strange double murder. Both victims appear to have continued moving towards their assailant despite multiple gunshots to the face and chest. On a hunch, and with the help of an old colleague and former girlfriend Chris decides to go undercover as a patient to investigate the suspect's psychotherapist, the mysterious Alexander Morland, who has a taste for the occult!

Blu-ray Verdict: Now, for my money, 'The Ghoul' is not a horror tale. Also, being that it was filmed in 2016 and not one of the usual 50+ years old films that Arrow like to bring us fans, you should know by now that just looking at the cover art that 'The Ghoul' is obviously more suspenseful than horror.

Indeed, I might well go more into the descriptive realms of this being a very highly engaging thriller. Sure the story line is in some ways reminiscent of both 'Memento' and 'Fight Club', but trust me when I say that it follows it's own path majestically once that notion has crossed, and then exited your mind.

Not to give anything away, 'The Ghoul' is wonderfully original, something that for this genre ilk is rather hard to come by these days. Starring Tom Meeten as the lead, Chris, Alice Lowie as Kathleen, and Rufus Jones as Coulson, 'The Ghoul' tells the tale about the inner psyche of a paranoid unemployed amateur detective in London (Chris) who's trying to figure out his own life and his increasingly mysterious hallucinations.

When he begins spying on his therapist, he meets another patient, who appears to have severe delusions, and he becomes convinced the therapist is embroiled in an elaborate conspiracy against him.

So, as you may well have picked up on by now, 'The Ghoul' is not an easy watch at all times that it plays out re: dreamy, hallucinatory moments make this thriller one to have to stick with throughout. That said, you will be totally rewarded by the depth of performance from the spiraling lead, the aforementioned Tom Meeton).

Filmed in dark, bleak confines, 'The Ghoul' works on almost every level that it cinematically attempts. It does not over reach, and does not try to conjure we-should-have-known fact out of thin air (which always annoys me). Low budget, sure, but because of that it simply relies on claustrophobic interaction from the players instead - which works tremendously well.

In closing, the UK's 'The Ghoul' (with problem solving perplexities such as "Here's the head scratcher - how's it possible for two people to keep walking after they've been shot three times, one of them in the face?") has a brilliant script and some of the most intense acting that I've come across in the past decade from Meeton. This film will, without a shadow of a doubt, keep on the edge of your seat right up until the very, thought-provoking end. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed 5.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing
Filmmakers commentary
Interviews with the cast and crew
The Baron, a 2013 short film by Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten and Steve Oram (Aaaaaaaah!, Sightseers)
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Adam Scovell, author of Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange

'The Ghoul (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on September 12th, 2017.

'The Ghoul (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

Official Trailer

'The Last Face'
(Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Jean Reno, Jared Harris, Adele Exarchopoulos, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Oscar® winners Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem are international aid workers in Africa fighting for humanity during civil unrest in this moving drama from two-time Academy Award® winner Sean Penn.

DVD Verdict: 'The Last Face' is a deliberately paced film. A satisfying journey of love, justice and self-discovery amidst political/social revolutions.

It displays great feeling and thrills in equal measures throughout its stunning cinematic journey, and provokes melodrama on the lines in between.

The plot is that a couple take on strong choices surrounding humanitarianism and tough lives throughout a civil unrest. Never an easy thing to accomplish, always a hard choice to make, these two are bold and know that, at all times, they are also in a lot of danger.

This brooding film sometimes results to being a little slow in parts, allowing the scenery to change rather than the actors to propel it, but that's okay (for me, at least). Relying heavily on the long love affair, one in which our two leads compliment each other perfectly, we see as time passes it was always their destiny to help the unfortunate natives of African countries.

Chock full, as one would expect of such a film, moral issues and ethics galore, as the stubborn doctors expand accessibility to medical care across national boundaries, irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation, those that oppose their actions soon get fired up (quite literally, at times).

The cast is, quite frankly, brilliant, one and all, but the work Javier Bardem provides his character is just awesome. Every film he's ever been in showcases a man in love with his chosen art, and here he grants his character a self-righteous drive that is made even more poignant by his sheer determination and will to achieve.

There is also a highly magnetic performance by Charlize Theron as member of an aid agency directing efforts to provide medical care in acute moments of crisis. She also gives the right balance of self-righteousness which makes her performance ever the more real. She also ensures no matter what, that her character remains grounded, human throughout, her determination with her chosen destiny evident in every crag on her worn down face.

'The Last Face' contains thrilling and violent scenes, like the breathtaking battle when the military revolutionaries go into the capital Monrovia and cause both blood and fire to ensue. Packs rampage, ravage and the indiscriminate massacres carried out by the extremely violent revolutionary guerrillas are foreshadowed, but luckily for this movie, not overly focused on visually.

Watch this film tonight, with friends, and finally see what a should-be-nominated-but-won't-be "Oscar film" truly looks like! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs comes with the Special Feature of:

“Picturing The Last Face” Featurette

'Megan Leavey' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD]
(Kate Mara, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Will Patton, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2017 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Overview: 'Megan Leavey' is based on the true life story of a young Marine Corporal (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Megan Leavey' is a biographical drama based on the true story of a Marine corporal (named Megan Leavy) and the combat dog (named Rex) that she bonded with. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who also helmed another animal sympathizer film called 'Blackfish' (a critically acclaimed documentary about the horribly inhumane treatment of captive killer whales), the story here is tight, never wavering, and always emotional (especially the ending).

The script, written by Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo and Tim Lovestedt, features Kate Mara in the title role, along with Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Common, Edie Falco, Bradley Whitford and Will Patton.

'Megan Leavey' has received glowingly positive reviews from the critics and rightfully so. It is a truly uplifting war drama with interesting characters, surprisingly tense action sequences, and an Oscar-worthy performance from star, Kate Mara - as well as the many dogs themselves, of course.

As for our hero, well, Megan Leavey (Mara) joined the Marines after failing at many other jobs where she had to interact with people. Due to her motivation and extreme dedication, she exceeded expectations as a Marine corporal, and due to her less than stellar people skills she also became uniquely talented at relating to combat dogs.

Especially a really hard to manage military working dog named Rex. They served two deployments together, in Iraq (2005 and 2006), and bonded quite like nothing ever witnessed before. This, of course, made them both very good at their jobs. Indeed, they were even wounded together on their second deployment, where Rex managed to save Megan's life (can you feel the tears starting to swell now - I can!

So, as you can well imagine now, 'Megan Leavey' is a real emotional roller coaster and, ultimately, a massive tear jerker. If you also happen to have a dog or two in your family, you'll find that this movie is thankfully not overly clichéd, but spot on.

In closing, anyone who watches this movie will really sympathize and relate to both Megan's character and especially to the dog Rex. Their very special and unique relationship is endlessly emotional for us, the viewer to behold, which just means that director Cowperthwaite has done her job perfectly. Very moving and very powerful. Watch it today, but have a box of tissues close by! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Never Give Up (Featurette)
Digital Copy of 'Megan Leavey'

Bring home 'Megan Leavey' on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack this September 5th, 2017.

'Megan Leavey' Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack Purchase Link

'Megan Leavey' Official Website

Official Trailer

Official 'Megan Leavey' Facebook Page

Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season
(Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, David Tennant, Carrie-Anne Moss, et all / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2017 / ABC Studios)

Overview: Raw, riveting and relentlessly compelling, 'Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season' ignites a firestorm of suspense cloaked in the haze of a noir-inspired slow burn.

Blu-ray Verdict: There's certainly a lot to like about Jessica Jones - from the NOIR-ish feel to the expertly cast Krysten Ritter (who gives a performance of her career), to the very human feel female characters, to the interesting and surreal adaptation of Kilgrave, aka the Purple Man.

Not trying to give too much away, Jessica Jones is haunted by a tragedy that broke her world apart and so settles in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. There she opens up her own detective agency called Alias Investigations, with the hope of rebuilding her life and keeping the lights on in her apartment.

She discovers that the source of her trauma, a mind-controlling sociopath named Kilgrave, has resurfaced, forcing her to use her gifts as a private eye to track him down before he causes more damage to her life or to anyone else.

David Tennant (one of my favorite actors) was very scary at the beginning of this series as Kilgrave, but by the end of it the writing had fallen so flat that I just felt sorry for him - and actually hoped Jessica would put him out of his misery!

The rape subtext also gives the narrative power Incidentally one of the first old comics I ever bought was Purple Man's first appearance in issue 3 (I believe) of Daredevil. Sort of this whimsical villain who has evolved over the years into a sadistic rapist and con man; a version made famous by the comic Alias and adapted into this show. A character who never really got to live up to his potential until Brian Michael Bendis recently plucked him from obscurity.

Another great and mysterious character introduced is Luke Cage, aka Powerman, aka Iron Fists partner as a hero for hire. The use of him in the show is a very double edged sword. In the comics and show he is clearly more powerful than Jessica Jones, so they make him more of a background character. An occasional hook up and then future love interest for the main star. Their relationship is the main attraction. I felt their courtship (if that's what we even call it these days) to be very realistic.

Living in a big sprawling iconic American City myself, it was nice to see them deftly avoid the romantic comedy cliché. The will they won't they scenario. Sure they start having sex, it becomes something more, then it doesn't - end of story.

Nice, clean, simple. However we really never get to see him be Luke Cage, a man powerful enough to join both the Fantastic Four and Avengers. His powers are shown, but never really explored, and while this might be because it's Jessica's show, it gives his character a muted feel.

Her junkie friend Malcolm is another great addition. It is both a credit to his acting and the writers for properly showing drug addiction. Carrie Anne Moss as the gender bent Lawyer of Danny Rand also makes a huge splash. Trish "Patsy" Walker however is a tad boring. Why couldn't she have been Hellcat? Or been a former action star who played a movie character called Hellcat? Or even been in a Hellcat costume once?

The only sidestep into a less two thumbs up aspect of 'Jessica Jones' are the fight scenes, which are, quite frankly, horrible. They belong on old episodes of Lois and Clark or the Incredible Hulk. Her super strength consists of picking guys up, then throwing them, and the camera cutting to a distance that is far away (you know, for a girl to throw a guy).

Which is also sort of insulting to the comic character. She ought to be able to throw people a block, instead her powers seem more like "strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger in body of skinny girl". After watching the show I'd pick regular human strength Daredevil over her. She has no style, no grace, no semblance of training, which considering her past you'd have to assume she has some.

Action scenes, like the hallway fight, we're used in Daredevil to break up the tension and monotony of waiting on the shows lead villain, as was the court room drama. I guess I should add that, in my humble opinion, the director just takes huge shortcuts in the portrayal of the powers.

You could almost hear the words "that would be too expensive" as you watch the embarrassing scenes. Just about excusable for a low budget feature film but for a Marvel, Netflix original with so much hype and expectation, it's shameful; sorry.

That said, I think the creators want us to see Jessica Jones as a broken, but ultimately well meaning person - who just happens to have super powers! To make us see the emotional price and burden of being someone with an ability to save people, but one who is in constant conflict with herself.

Jessica Jones is not a super hero though. She doesn't put on a costume and go around the city looking for bad people, stalking crime. Sure she is a person with special powers, but she just wants to lead a normal life. I love the moments in this first season where that shines brightly than all the other mess. But you have to take the good with the band and so overall, this first season of 'Jessica Jones' is still a great, action-packed one. Not flawless, but something to build on in the second season.

1. AKA Ladies Night
2. AKA Crush Syndrome
3. AKA It's Called Whiskey
4. AKA 99 Friends
5. AKA The Sandwich Saved Me
6. AKA You're A Winner!
7. AKA Top Shelf Perverts
9. AKA Sin Bin
10. AKA 1,000 Cuts
11. AKA I’ve Got the Blues
12. AKA Take a Bloody Number
13. AKA Smile

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The complete first season of the Netflix original series 'Marvel’s Jessica Jones' is available to own on Blu-ray™ and DVD on August 22nd, 2017 with 13 exciting episodes for fans to add to their libraries.

'Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season' Blu-ray Purchase Link

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page

'Marvel's Daredevil: The Complete Second Season'
(Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Royce Johnson, et all / 4-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2017 / ABC Studios)

Overview: The razor-thin line between redemption and retribution explodes with a vengeance in 'Marvel’s Daredevil: The Complete Second Season'.

Blu-ray Verdict: As someone who had only been introduced to 'Daredevil' through the 1994 'Spider-man: The Animated Series' and the 2003 movie, I wasn't a fan of the character before watching this series.

But, that said, having binged through both seasons, I can say that this is easily on of my favorite shows of all time! 'Daredevil' doesn't overstay its welcome with a 16 episode format per season. No, sure it takes it's time to really delve deep into the ideologies of of the protagonist Matt Murdock (perfectly portrayed by Charlie Cox), but at the same time it showcases the world that he inhabits.

As well as diving into these complex, dark themes, we unearth a gritty representation of a Hell's kitchen that exists in the same world as the campy 'Avengers'. Sure this show knows when to transition between its harsh realistic tone and when to pull back for lighter comedic moments, but isn't that exactly what we've been missing lately from this universe of theirs.

Whilst the show itself is very dark in subject matter, the visuals still manage to become bright and colorful. Inspiring uses of lighting and reflections of yellows, purples and reds crashing through windows and doorways that morph and shape the sets into stylized masterpieces.

With a solid cast, each actor really selling a realistic world that involves super heroes and how that effects the everyday person, Season One of 'Daredevil' was a well thought out masterpiece that breaks Marvel's bad streak of weak villains with (and who I consider to be the best they've had), Wilson Fisk (aka "King Pin").

However, the shows Second Season, here now on Blu-ray and DVD, though featuring some incredible acting and interesting story arcs with the main three characters, Matt, Karen and Foggy (and John Bernthal's oh-so-perfect "Punisher") does in fact seem to bite off more then it can chew.

Without giving away too much, the Second Season kicks off with Wilson Fisk behind bars. Matt thinks his efforts to bring order to Hell’s Kitchen are succeeding, until chaos reignites with two new arrivals: Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher), an anguished ex-soldier determined to visit bloody, irrevocable “justice” upon his adversaries, and Matt’s volatile old flame Elektra Natchios.

Meanwhile, a lethal, relentless source of ancient evil continues to amass power. Now, as both the stakes and the body count rise, Matt faces a life altering choice that forces him to confront what it truly means to be a hero.

So, yeah, for me, elements have been rushed here in the chock full to capacity Second Season, with, for me, the character of Elektra (Natchios) feeling out of place (despite a great performance from Elodie Yung. But, and again, Vincent D'Onofrio as "King Pin" is an extraordinary actor to bring into the fold. Between him and Berthnal's "Punisher" the two are perfect in their respective characters.

'Daredevil' is an incredible show, with interesting, complex characters, a dark tone with colorful visuals, amazing performance and direction with an iconic title sequence. The Second Season, however, tends to be a little bit hit and miss, but one of the aspects that should get highlighted is the relentless action.

The fight sequences in 'Daredevil' are brutal and are guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. Buy this Blu-ray and DVD box-set today, along with Season One if you already haven't done, and find out for yourselves. You won't regret it, trust me!

1. Bang
2. Dogs to a Gunfight
3. New York's Finest
4. Penny and Dime
5. Kinbaku
6. Regrets Only
7. Semper Fidelis
8. Guilty as Sin
9. Seven Minutes in Heaven
10. The Man in the Box
11. .380
12. The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
13. A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The complete second season of the Netflix original series 'Marvel’s Daredevil' is available to own on Blu-ray™ and DVD on August 22nd, 2017 with 13 exciting episodes for fans to add to their libraries.

'Marvel's Daredevil: The Complete Second Season' Blu-ray Purchase Link

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page

'Gotham - The Complete Third Season' [Blu-ray]
(Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Morena Baccarin, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: The stakes are higher than ever, as Super-Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced, and a realignment of alliances shakes up the fight for power in Gotham. Season three of Gotham peels back the curtain on the infamous criminal organization known as the Court of The Owls. With the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, Jim Gordon must take matters into his own hands, as a bounty hunter in Gotham.

Blu-ray Verdict: To bring you up to date, for those not in the know, the first season of 'Gotham' was a foreshadowing of Bruce Wayne's early years and Detective James Gordon's rise in the corrupt Gotham City Police Department.

An intense telling which succeeds for the most part from beginning to end, the second season witnessed Gordon’s moral compass wavering, as he confronted Gotham’s most notorious criminals. At the same time, he continued his quest to gain the trust of the young Bruce Wayne, who is now on a clear path towards the man he is destined to become, after discovering his father’s deepest secrets.

In this third season, and with the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, Jim Gordon must take matters into his own hands, as a bounty hunter in Gotham. Indeed, he makes it his mission to find Hugo Strange and Fish Mooney.

Meanwhile, GCPD’s Bullock and Barnes remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in the monster-ridden city. And Bruce Wayne discovers still more secrets behind his parents’ murder. As the city sinks deeper into chaos, Gotham’s Super-Villains are soon joined by the future Poison Ivy, a young woman who's harnessed the full power of her charms; the Tweed Brothers; and a talented hypnotist teetering on the edge of madness who goes by the name of the Mad Hatter.

Personally, what works for this show first and foremost is the cast, especially Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin and Cameron Monaghan's Jerome. These guys just steal the show every time their on screen. The rest of the cast does a nice job too, like the talented child actor David Mazouz, or the great British actor Sean Pertwee, but these two aforementioned are the stand alone guys, trust me.

But what I find to be 'Gotham's most impressive quality, is its ability to be innovative within the police-procedural genre, whilst also recognizing the need to provide its audience with a vast array of intriguing characters and sub-plots.

Its innovation derives from its creation of what is essentially a world in which the time period is deliberately unclear, made apparent by the '30s style clothing and the existence of mobile phones. This ambiguity gives Gotham a unique sense of surrealism, a feature that differentiates it from average cop shows like Law and Order and CSI.

I enjoy a television series that I don't have to take too seriously, in which the audience can just escape in to a fantasy world that allows the heroes to survive an onslaught of a dozen criminals and come out on top unscathed, week after week. Of course it is not real drama, but it is superb entertainment and cinematography.

So sit back and relax, and just watch the heroes and an array of villains trying to take control of Gotham - from one another!

Season 3: Episodes - 01. Better To Reign In Hell 02. Burn the Witch 03. Look Into My Eyes 04. New Day Rising 05. Anything for You 06. Follow the White Rabbit 07. The Red Queen 08. Blood Rush 09. The Executioner 10. Time Bomb 11. Beware the Green-Eyed Monster 12. Ghosts 13. Smile Like You Mean It 14. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 15. How the Riddler Got His Name 16. These Delicate and Dark Obsessions 17. The Primal Riddle 18. Light the Wick 19. All Will Be Judged 20. Pretty Hate Machine 21. Destiny Calling / HeavyDirtySoul

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

* The Dark Within the Dark: The Court of Owls
* Madness Rising: the New Villains of Gotham
* Ben McKenzie Directorial Debut
* Gotham: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
* Deleted Scenes

Own 'Gotham - The Complete Third Season' on Blu-ray +Digital August 29th, 2017!

'Erik The Conqueror (2-Disc Special Edition)'
(Cameron Mitchell, George Ardisson, Alice Kessler, Ellen Kessler, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1961) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: In 786 AD, the invading Viking forces are repelled from the shores of England, leaving behind a young boy Erik, son of the slain Viking king.

Years later, Erik (George Ardisson, Juliet of the Spirits), raised by the English queen as her own, becomes Duke of Helford, while across the sea, his brother Eron (Cameron Mitchell, Blood and Black Lace) assumes leadership of the Viking horde.

He then sets his sights on conquering England once again, setting the two estranged brothers on a collision course that will determine the fates of their respective kingdoms.

Blu-ray Verdict: Mario Bava's first credited viking movie (after he worked as an uncredited director on 'Last Of The Vikings', made in the same year and also starring Mitchell and Ardisson), is an above average entry for the genre enlivened by stylish direction from Bava which makes it a cut above the rest.

Indeed, near enough, the plot here for 'Erik The Conqueror' is different and involving and the characters fleshed out enough to make you interested in their actions. Primarily noted as a horror director, Bava can't resist inserting a scene involving a girl chained in a dank dungeon being terrorized by a tarantula held over her face in a glass tank towards the end of the movie, a macabre treat for his loyal horror fans.

Elsewhere, he shoots imaginative scenes involving men climbing up ladders made out of freshly-shot arrows and the like which make for entertaining and surprising viewing.

Cameron Mitchell stars as Aaron, a just and noble viking warrior. George Ardisson is his younger brother Erik (after having also played Mitchell's brother in 'Last Of The Vikings', the film's real hero character, and is surprisingly good in the role.

Meanwhile Andrea Checchi makes for a convincing but underused villain and the addition of real-life twins Alice and Ellen Kessler to the cast makes for novelty value. Bits parts come from the muscular Joe Robinson ('Taur The Mighty') as a viking rival of Aaron's, and Tony Kendall - later a Euro action man appearing in all kinds of genres - amusingly showing up before he was famous, acting and looking very odd.

The photography is as good as ever, the movie is ambitiously made on a low budget and often cuts back and forth between England and Norway, and the music effective. What makes this film work, though, is the inventive plot - as involved as you're going to get with this viking sub-genre - and the characterization, which combined with the strong cast helps to make an intelligent, straightforward, and largely entertaining action-adventure yarn.

Offering up just about everything you could want from the genre without ever resorting to silliness, Bava's final viking movie was 1965's 'Knives Of The Avenger', which throws a unique spaghetti western slant on the genre. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Italian and English mono audio (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark
Gli imitatori, a comparison between Erik the Conqueror and its unacknowledged source, The Vikings
Original ending
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger

Erik The Conqueror (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray+DVD] will be available for purchase on August 29th, 2017.

Erik The Conqueror (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray+DVD] Purchase Link

'Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare'
(Alice Cooper / DVD / 15 / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: This special edition DVD feature from Alice Cooper includes the 1976 concert film "Welcome To My Nightmare" and, appearing on DVD for the first time, the 1975 TV special "Alice Cooper: The Nightmare".

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although surely that must be a mighty small circle, Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over five decades.

With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock".

He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.

Well, not to say that it started here, but it sure kicked off his mayhem trail perfectly on this newly-released by Eagle Vision 'Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare' concert film PLUS a the inclusion now of 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare 1975 TV Special' featuring Vincent Price.

With Alice currently on tour promoting his brand new album, Paranomal (a tour that when it plays 3 dates in the UK will also feature the surviving members of his original band, bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith) all his fans can now add these two celluloid gems to their front room collections.

On DVD for the first time ever, either of them, 'Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare Special Edition' DVD will be released on September 8th, 2017 (via the aforementioned Eagle Rock Entertainment) is as great as you would have imagined / remembered it to be.

1) 'The Awakening'
2) 'Welcome to My Nightmare'
3) 'Years Ago'
4) 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'
5) 'I’m Eighteen'
6) 'Some Folks'
7) 'Cold Ethyl'
8) 'Only Women Bleed'
9) 'Billion Dollar Babies'
10) 'Devil’s Food'
11) 'The Black Widow'
12) 'Steven'
13) 'Escape'
14) 'School’s Out'
15) 'Department of Youth'

The show is set in Cooper's bedroom where we have creatures dancing around only to disappear into a massive toy box, skeletons coming out during Steven, him beating a woman unconscious during 'Only Women Bleed', a giant spider's web, a big furry Cyclops and other weird moments that make up his stage show.

It is a million miles away from the modern rock concerts where songs are performed, pyrotechnics explode and those who are about to rock are saluted etc. Within these weird happenings on stage, Cooper is a good fit. Dressed in a sort of adult romper suit and in his famous black eye makeup Cooper staggers round totally bought into the action he is part of. OK at times I was laughing and unable to take it seriously but to a point I guess that was the aim.

The production of the film as well as the action dates it as it is obviously not up to modern standards. The sound is not as crisp as you would like, which didn't bother me too much but what did bug me was the fact that it had comparatively little crowd noise on the soundtrack.

Similarly the crowd are mostly missing visually and I would have liked to see more crowd shots just to get a feel for how all this stuff was going down with them – it was only in 'School's Out' where we got to see and hear them, which suggests their reactions up till that point had perhaps not been good enough to make it onto the film. Otherwise the action is filmed from several well placed but mostly static cameras – quality is a bit fuzzy, but it comes with the mid-'70s territory.

Then comes the fun TV special 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare', which first aired on ABC in the United States in 1975. Indeed, 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare' showcases every song from the legendary Welcome to My Nightmare album, which had just been released at the time.

1) 'Welcome to My Nightmare'
2) 'Devil’s Food'
3) 'Some Folks'
4) 'Only Women Bleed'
5) 'Cold Ethyl'
6) 'The Black Widow'
7) 'Years Ago'
8) 'Department of Youth'
9) 'Years Ago (Reprise)'
10) 'Steven'
11) 'The Awakening'
12) 'Ballad of Dwight Fry'
13) 'Escape'
14) 'The Awakening (Reprise)'

With Cooper taking on the role of Steven and actor/horror icon Vincent Price serving as “The Spirit of the Nightmare,” the special was a unique introduction to the album, drawing fans even further into the dark fantasy and twisted psyche of Cooper.

Back the '70s, ABC had a late night variety series called "ABC's Wide World of Entertainment." It showed after prime-time, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, and featured a rotating roster of specials, series and concerts. It was this show that first introduced me to Alice Cooper via, of course, 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare'.

Images that, now having rewatched it here today, still stick in my mind are Alice as the fly stuck in a glittery web with glistening, black body-stocking clad beauties during the 'Black Widow' segment; the cool and chilling dance with a dead lover in 'Cold Ethyl,' and the spooky ballerina of 'Only Women Bleed.'

But best of all is Vincent Price lending his ghoulishly gleeful presence as the "Spirit of the Nightmare" from which there is no escape for Alice as "Steven". This is as corny, as cheesy and as fun-filled horror rock as there has ever been and so buy this DVD today - and show your kids just what theatre and rock music combined is all about. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) with a 4:3 Format, enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Born in China' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD]
(John Krasinski / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital / G / (2016) 2017 / Walt Disney)

Overview: Disney's 'Born In China', narrated by John Krasinski, transports audiences to some of the world’s most extreme environments of China where few people have ever ventured to witness wildly intimate and adorable moments in the lives of three animal families - a doting panda bear mother, a 2-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey, and a mother snow leopard.

Blu ray+DVD Verdict: OK, just so we're all on the same page here, 'Born in China' is a 2016 nature documentary directed by Lu Chuan ("The Missing Gun") with a screenplay by David Fowler, Brian Leith, Phil Chapman, and Lu Chuan. The music is by Barnaby Taylor with editing by Matthew Meech and production by Roy Conli ("Big Hero 6"), Brian Leith, and Phil Chapman.

Narrated here for its USA release by John Krasinski ("The Office") when it was originally aired in China it was narrated by actress Zhou Xun ("Suzhou River"). The entirety of this documentary was filmed in unpopulated areas of China, which once you view this stunning work of visual art, will make much more sense to you.

Indeed, and with that in mind, for 'Born in China' to work, various Chinese wildlife were followed for a year, their misadventures and struggles culminating in this document of a film. It was released in China August 12th, 2016, and will now see it's home video release here in the USA on August 29th, 2017 (it also had a limited theatrical run that began April 21st, 2017).

'Born in China' has raised approximately $15.2 million worldwide, runs for 1 hour, 16 minutes and is rated G.

So, now we have the hard facts out of the way (facts I thought you should know, given that they enhance the viewing spectacle of this wondrous documentary, in my humble opinion) lets talk about the documentary itself.

'Born in China' centers on various Chinese wildlife; one being a snow leopard named Dawa struggling to collect the needed food for her two cubs. With increasing competition and food supply decreasing, Dawa struggles to maintain her cubs' health.

The second is that of Tao-Tao, a golden snub-nosed monkey who is constantly plagued by his family's bias to a newborn sister. Tao-Tao joins a group of misfits, referenced as "The Lost Boys," but still finds himself lonely.

The third is a panda named Ya-Ya and her baby daughter Mei- Mei (pronounced "My-My," apparently). As Mei-Mei grows older, Ya- Ya is forced to confront her daughter's maturity and newfound independence.

Finally, there is a herd of chiru, who are there for little plot complexity and more for cinematography. Sadly, many Disney Nature films have fallen victim to this, but 'Born in China' maintains a serviceable, if not entirely balanced, scale between these two conflicting features. That is not to say the film is not without fault though.

Sadly, Krasinski, while of talent, does not do the film justice with mediocre narrating. Most of the jokes are meant to be cute, but with Krasinski's delivery, something goes wrong, leaving a decent quip that may have earned my half-hearted chortle acquainted with silence.

As a whole though, 'Born in China' is deserved of some of the detraction's above mentioned, but, and as a whole, the film is highly entertaining and somewhat educational. I would recommend it as an educational schooling tool and as something to watch as a family on a wet Sunday afternoon. This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:

Panda Suits & Bamboo Shoots – Join the team as they struggle through an almost impenetrable bamboo forest in an effort to capture footage of pandas in the wild.
Walking with Monkeys – The shivering crew bundles up to film the adorable golden snub-nosed monkeys engaged in a surprisingly human activity.
Masters of Camouflage – Go behind the scenes as the filmmakers set out on a quest never before achieved: to find and film a snow leopard family in the wild.
Wading Through Wetlands – A crew travels to far northeast China to catch the first moments of a red-crowned crane chick’s life.
“Everything Everything” - Music Video performed by American Authors
Disneynature: Get Inspired, Get Involved – Join Disneynature and the Disney Conservation as they thank our audiences and the animals who star in the films for helping to make Disneynature and its conservation efforts a success.

'Crane Chicks' Exclusive Clip

'Monkeys' Exclusive Clip

'Batman and Harley Quinn' [4K Ultra HD]
(Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Paget Brewster, Loren Lester, Kevin Michael Richardson, et al / 4K Ultra HD+Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker's sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.

Blu ray+DVD Verdict: Before we begin the review, let's start by acknowledging the INCREDIBLE, brighter, deeper, more lifelike color that these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays bring forth, each and every time. For they are, well, INCREDIBLE and truly allow you to see things that the generic Blu-ray vision simply cannot. I mean, the color alone on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc (1 BD-50, 1 BD-66) is just so crisp, so clear, so crystal.

For those that wish to be in the know, let's break down some of the geeky stats, shall we. This is a Codec: HEVC / H.265, with a Resolution: 4K (2160p), and an overall Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1. The Audio is English: Dolby Atmos + English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 + Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 + French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Subtitles are: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Finally, and leaving the best for last, this 4K Ultra HD movie experience means that we have a 4X sharper picture image than regular HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) means we get brilliant brights and deepest darks within the film, and with Immersive Audio, we get that multi-dimensional sound experience throughout.

OK, on to the actual film review and, well, let's face it, who doesn't love this entire, wonderfully animated Batman series? Always coming up with brand new, inventive scripts that, perhaps, could only come alive within the confines of animation, we now have some big names attached to this latest in the production line.

Paget Brewster ('Criminal Minds') voices "Poison Ivy" / "Pamela Isley" and the lovely, perky voice of Melissa Rauch ('Big Bang Theory') voices the lead character herself, "Harley Quinn" / "Harleen Quinzel" (her real name I never actually knew until now!)

Ok, and with 'Batman and Harley Quinn' officially being the 29th installment of the DC Animated Universe, as a whole, the DC animated universe is full of great content. Chock full of many characters of DC's roster making appearances, Batman and Harley, sadly however does not continue the trend.

Firstly, the film's main character is not Batman, but rather Harley Quinn. The main problem with this is the voice performance. Melissa Rauch, as aforementioned, known most notably as Bernadette from the 'Big Bang Theory', doesn't emulate the character from its previous incarnations that are so beloved.

The second critique I have is the general tone of the film. I don't mind that the film has opted to go for more of a lighthearted approach, but mixing fart jokes with innuendos isn't the finest form of comedy.

The film does have it's upsides however. Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester give great performances as usual as Batman and Nightwing respectively. The aforementioned Paget Brewster and Michael Ray Richardson give solid performances as Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man also.

Also, I genuinely like that the film includes a a classic Batman villain with a more obscure member of the DC rogues gallery. Also the throwback to the Batman The Animated Series animation was a major highlight, but also probably was a factor of me disliking the film as it poorly compares the episodes that the show provided.

I would not re-watch the film and I would also recommend that Nightwing gets his own film as in the DCAU he is literally a punch bag, who always seems to lose fights despite his fighting prowess! Come on now, we followers all can agree to this fact as it happens nearly every time he comes along for the ride, so to speak. This a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Blu-ray Special Features of:

The Harley Effect
Loren Lester: In His Own Voice
A Sneak Peak at DC Universe's Next Animated Movie: Batman:Gotham by Gaslight
2 Bonus Cartons

'Batman and Harley Quinn' [4K Ultra HD] Purchase Link

'Batman & Harley Quinn' Exclusive Clip - "Let's Dance"

'Batman and Harley Quinn,' another installment in the popular, ongoing line of DC Universe Original Movies, arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Ultra HD Combo Pack (including 4K), Blu-ray Deluxe Giftset, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 29th, 2017.

The film is also now available on Digital.

'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker: Special Edition'
(Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas, Dominique Pinon, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1988) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: Adapted from the novella by Joseph Roth, the film tells the story of Andreas Kartack, a homeless man living under the bridges of Paris. Lent 200 francs by an anonymous stranger, he is determined to pay back his debt but circumstances and his alcoholism forever intervene.

Blu-ray Verdict: At a lengthy two hours and fifteen minutes, 'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker' is sdefinitely for fans of this genre and undoubtedly Rutger Hauer himself, that's for sure, but those interested parties that have fallen into watching this movie will all leave very happy, of that have no doubt.

The film is stunningly filmed, albeit telling a simple tale told at a pace which allows the audience time to reflect within the context of the moral challenges it presents. The cinematic, two hour plus long result is a level of engagement far superior to the gamut of empty sophistication in the movie world today, trust me.

Watching 'The Holy Drinker', one is able to explore the implications of the actions and decisions of Hauer's character without leaving the narrative - there is no pressure for post viewing reflection when the spell of the film is broken and thought is colored by a context inappropriate to the narrative.

Sure, I know that all sounds deep and meaningful, but the movie is just that also. Whether it was fully intended to still be some 20+ years later is open for discussion, but here, watching it now on a crustal clear new Blu-ray transfer, this movie is a complete experience. It is movingly profound and visually beautiful throughout.

Hauer play's a street hobo called Andreas Kartak, an alcoholic who appears to be getting on with the grim task of being addicted to alcohol and being homeless. One day, a mysterious old man gives Andreas 200 francs, on the understanding that he repay his debt to the local Church when he is able to do so.

What ensues is a deeply symbolic and religious film that is acted with haunting perfection by the whole cast, with Hauer leading by example with an enchanting depiction of the alcoholic hobo. If only Hollywood could produce cinema of this standard today. If only. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of both the English and Italian versions of the film
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Stereo 2.0 options for the English presentation with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Stereo 2.0 audio for the Italian presentation with optional newly translated English subtitles
Brand-new interview with actor Rutger Hauer, recorded exclusively for this release
Interview with screenwriter Tullio Kezich
Theatrical Trailer
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: New writing on the film by Helen Chambers, author of Joseph Roth in Retrospect: Co-existent Contradictions

'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] will be available for purchase on September 26th, 2017.

'The Legend Of The Holy Drinker (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition)
(Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milianet, al / Blu-ray / NR / (1972) 2017 / Arrow Films UK - MVD Visual)

Overview: In the backward village of Accendura, the boy Bruno Lo Casio goes missing and the police inspector and the local commissioner and the village Captain Modesti investigate the case. When his father receives the request of a ransom, the police arrest the local Giuseppe and realize that he is innocent. Then the boys Michele and Tonino are also murdered and the police suspect of the local witch Maciara, who practices black magic, might be the killer, but they find she is also innocent. So who is it ... and why are they doing it?

Blu-ray Verdict: Originally entitled 'Non si sevizia un paperino' and running at around 90 minutes, the interestingly titled 'Don't Torture A Duckling' is a film that I knew nothing about going in, but that I'm so glad was sent to me for review.

Now, before I go on, you should know going in that because of the film's controversial story line, which criticized the Catholic Church, the movie was blacklisted and received a limited theatrical run throughout Europe and was never released in theaters in the United States!

In 2000, Anchor Bay secured the rights and released the film for the first time in the United States on DVD and now Arrow Films (UK) via MVD Visual here in the States have brought it out on Blu-ray for the first time.

The setting for 'Don't Torture A Duckling' is rather unique and, as always in this genre of movie, the scenery and location is as beautiful as ever. That's where all the action takes place. The victims are not beautiful scantily clad models, but young boys.

Despite a list of suspects the police act as clueless as the Keystone variety so it's up to a reporter and a local woman to work together and solve the crimes themselves. That aspect of the movie I rather enjoyed and all the performances by the cast were convincing, each working well with one another and their given situations.

In what starts off as a murder mystery quickly becomes violent and vicious especially the part where a local woman gets lynched by a mob of angry townspeople! Prolonged and very nasty, it's not a go-to for me, or hopefully anyone, but it does foreshadow the crux of the movie, that's for sure.

The child murders are thankfully not shown in great detail, but still shocking and unnerving off screen, nonetheless, of course. The final showdown was a real highlight and kept me on the edge of my seat too, which I sadly miss the experience of with today's movies. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
The Blood of Innocents, a new video discussion with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
Every (Wo)man Their Own Hell, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
Interviews with co-writer/director Lucio Fulci, actor Florinda Bolkan, cinematographer Sergio D Offizi, assistant editor Bruno Micheli and assistant makeup artist Maurizio Trani
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Timothy Pittides
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Howard Hughes

'Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition)' [Blu-ray + DVD] Purchase Link

'Cartels' [Blu-ray]
(Steven Seagal, Georges St. Pierre, Luke Goss, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: Action legend Steven Seagal headlines this explosive thriller that pits US forces against an Eastern European drug cartel. When crime boss Salazar turns informant, US Marshal Jensen (Luke Goss, 'Blade II') and his team must guard their luxury-hotel safe house. But as cartel under boss Sinclair (UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre) and his hit squads descend to murder Salazar, the situation explodes.

Blu-ray Verdict: OK, to be fair, these days you either love or hate Steven Seagal's work. Back in the day he was leaner, meaner, more action hero than one-liner quip King, whereas these days he is fatter, less mean, less action-orientated and chock full of one-liner's!

That said, 'Cartels' being filmed in Bucharest, Romania does add some visual cinematic weight to the cause here as the background blends perfectly with the sort of slo-mo, standing still whilst the bad guys all come at him and flip-flop over and across his flailing kung-fu arms! Sure we've seen his new stance many times in this recent slew of straight-to-DVD releases, but Seagal still manages to pull them off with a straight face.

Interestingly, this was originally called 'Killing Salazar' and was the first of seven (7) movies released by Steven Seagal in 2016! So, with a wickedly cramped time schedule between the movies, you know his time on screen is always going to be limited - which here it most certainly is. Hey, for those shaking their heads, it's all about quality not quantity for our man Seagal!

Anyway, and again, sure, 'Cartels' is nothing more than a massive cameo role for the big man, but we still see him at his gruff finest - both vocally and fist fighting. He appears in the very beginning and at the very end doing his all-action moves, but in between he sits down and either decides to interview or interrogate Luke Goss' character.

Otherwise we get both Georges St-Pierre and Luke Goss at their action hero finest throughout. True that 'Cartels' is heavy on talk rather than action overall, but Goss (as usual) does provide us some pretty decent action scenes when he's unleashed. It's just we all wanted to see more of Seagal getting angry and into it with the baddies - or the mole, once revealed! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Mummy' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / PG-13 / 2017 / Universal Pictures)

Overview: Tom Cruise stars in this spectacular version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy. Thought safely entombed deep beneath the desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day. Her malevolence has grown over millennia and with it come terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sands of the Middle East through modern-day London, The Mummy balances wonder, thrills, and imagination.

Blu-ray Verdict: Just so we're all on the same page, this latest version of 'The Mummy' is meant to launch an entire new cinematic universe. The trouble is, and as much as it has it's good points, as a whole, sorry, but it's not very convincing as such.

For a start, Tom Cruise is entirely the wrong actor for this role. You needed someone much more self-aware of the ridiculousness of the material he was working with. Someone who could inject the right amount of humor into his lines and even his facial expressions. Someone with decent comedy chops and acting that could do the silliness justice.

Someone like, say, Brendan Fraser! Oh, but wait, they made that version of 'The Mummy' already! So it boggles the mind that this Cruise-led vehicle tried so desperately hard to ape the action-adventure style of that earlier movie.

Cruise is not Fraser. He seems incapable of doing anything but intense. Lighthearted is not his forte. But I can't blame him. It was a big role, with future outings in the contract. A good paycheck and he probably thought it might be a good film.

However, and as it is as far from being that as possible, it does (as aforementioned) have substance and moments of intense, balls to the wall action sequences. None more so that the brilliant plane crashing to earth sequence featuring our two leads. As shown in the Special Features, there was nothing fake about this and Cruise had always wanted to do it on one of his movie sets - so why not now.

Aside from that, 'The Mummy' tries to be that older incarnation badly, but without the humor, it has nothing left but a monster and a load of action set-pieces. Nor did it go the other route and try to make it a tense, scary production. There is nothing frightening in this film. It is about as formulaic and by the numbers as you will get. As a starting point for a new franchise, it is sadly well below par, in my humble opinion.

Also not helping are the deliberate plagiarism of imagery from the Fraser movie. People having the life sucked out of them, a giant face in a sandstorm. It is all rather been there, done that, to be honest. No doubt the makers of this film will call them homages, but let's be honest, if your creativity only extends to thinking about what scenes you can steal from your predecessor, then your creativity is lacking.

So, if we ignore the other (better) 'The Mummy', does it stand up as a film in its own right? Not very well, I'm afraid. So much nonsense. Mercury that flows like water and drips from stalactites; a convenient raise-Mummy-from-the-depths mechanic; underwater crusader tombs where the corpse hasn't rotted away to nothing over the centuries of immersion; air crash sites (in England) that rate no site security and don't have hordes of looky-loo's hanging around, and so much more.

All this, plus a tired looking Russell Crowe who is positioned to be this franchise's version of Nick Fury. In fact, given the nature of this movie, I suspect that Universal is going to try and make this the monster equivalent of the Marvel universe in every way possible.

Crowe heads up an organization of monster hunters that, well, you know where that's going to hear over the next few movies as well as I do, but with everything else in this film, it has been done before. In this case, in the brilliant 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', where at least that movie tried to have fun with its premise.

As the start of a franchise, I can't help but think they would have been better off sticking with 'Dracula Untold'. Not the best movie by far, but at least it tried to be different. However, this new 'The Mummy' is just a textbook example of cut-n-paste film-making and not a hearty one at that. Decent in parts, some great action sequences abounding in others, horrible, cheesy jokes and one-liners from Cruise throughout, 'The Mummy' (2017) should have been reined back and rewrapped before being allowed out into the real world. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Digital Copy of The Mummy (2017)
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation
Rooted in Reality
Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash
Meet Ahmanet
Cruise in Action
Becoming Jekyll and Hyde
Choreographed Chaos
Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul
Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel
Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Alex Kurtzman and Cast Members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Jake Johnson

'Madonna - Rebel Heart Tour' [DVD+CD]
(Madonna / DVD+CD / NR / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: Madonna's record-breaking Rebel Heart Tour comes to DVD on September 15th, 2017 featuring 24 tracks performed around the world on her 10th global trek.

DVD Verdict: Co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, this two hour spectacular is everything (and more) you'd expect from The Queen Of Pop. Also including a lovely 14-track CD with selections from the show, 'Madonna - Rebel Heart Tour' is as flowingly fun, vibrantly fantastic, epicly powerful, and as downright overall wonderful as you have ever hoped for.

That said, the one thing that always pisses me off about these types of live concert shows when put on DVD/Blu-ray is the constant need to flash between shots of the star, their dancers, the equipment, the fans, and back to the star! It's like watching through the eyes of a well-meaning ADHD child and it hurts my head, sorry!

As for the overall live footage it is heavily mixed with video clips that were running on big screens on stage at the time. Most of the time the sound does not match the picture, but we've come to accept that over the years. The thing is though that can be fixed so easily if the people who put these things together would just sync the live audio feed to those visuals, but they (weirdly) don't bother to. It's simply down to artistic editing and because the sound is not form that visuals, of course.

Anyway, moving on, as that's hardly new on live concert presentations with background visuals brought into play on a slight time delay (even live), this Rebel Heart tour was enormous and it was an amazing feat how she toured this show, quite literally around the whole world.

The sights are as important here to note as much as the sounds for the costumes that Madge gets through, let alone her entourage is beyond a joke colorful and imaginative. I couldn't think of a more inspiring set and costumes for this tour, I loved how the stage just jumped out at you with a massive heart at the end. But it's those costumes, which I felt were a nod to the genius Alexander McQueen, that stole the show.

01. Rebel Heart Tour Intro 02. Iconic 03. Bitch I'm Madonna 04. Burning Up 05. Holy Water / Vogue 06. Devil Pray 07. Messiah (Video Interlude) 08. Body Shop 09. True Blue 10. Deeper and Deeper 11. HeartBreakCity 12. Like A Virgin 13. S.E.X. (Video Interlude) 14. Living For Love 15. La Isla Bonita 16. Dress You Up / Into The Groove 17. Rebel Heart 18. Illuminati (Video Interlude) 19. Music 20. Candy Shop 21. Material Girl 22. La Vie En Rose 23. Unapologetic Bitch 24. Holiday

Bonus Features: Extras include An Excerpt from Tears of a Clown and a performance of Like A Prayer.

01. Rebel Heart Tour Intro 02. Iconic 03. Bitch I'm Madonna 04. Burning Up 05. Holy Water / Vogue 06. Devil Pray 07. Deeper and Deeper 08. HeartBreakCity 09. Living For Love 10. La Isla Bonita 11. Rebel Heart 12. Candy Shop 13. Unapologetic Bitch 14. Holiday

This incredible, career-spanning set list features hits from throughout Madonna's discography, as well as reinterpreted renditions of classic tracks, acoustic versions of "Like A Prayer," "Secret" and "Don't Tell Me" and her first ever in-concert performance of "Take a Bow."

Sure the set list leans heavily on newer material than old school favorites, but come on now, she was touring the Rebel Heart album (her thirteenth studio album) so why wouldn't it. The 57-year-old Michigan native makes her grand entrance to "Iconic" (under an incredible medieval-styled setting, and throughout never lets up until the show-ending fun fest of "Holiday."

In between we get snippets of some of her best-known singles, such as "Dress You Up” and “Lucky Star”, whereas they in whole would have been more appreciated. But the Michiganian certainly knows how to hold a crowd in her hand and it truly doesn't matter that she plays the newer Rebel Heart material over full-length versions of the old hits. Because come the end of the show, she has played over 2 hours non-stop, and, well, shit, as the song title clearly states, “Bitch I’m Madonna”!

'Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember'
(Aimee Carrero, Jenna Ortega, Keith Ferguson, Jillian Rose Reed, Jorge Diaz, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney Studios)

DVD Overview: Elena is back with all-new adventures coming to DVD with the release of 'Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember'! Join Elena and her friends and family as they celebrate holidays that honor the past, cherish the present and look forward towards a magical future!

DVD Verdict: My 7-year old daughter saw Disney's Elena of Avalor on the TV screen at a doctor's appointment and asked me to get her some Elena videos. At first all I could find was 'Elena Of Avalor: Ready To Rule', but now my nephew (who works for Exclusive Magazine) has given me this delightful new edition to the series to review - and it's as adorable as anything that's ever gone before it, trust me.

Here in 'Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember' we get to join Crown Princess Elena, along with her family and friends, as they honor the past, rejoice in the present and greet the future with music, laughter and love. Watching it all unfold throughout these wonderful four (4) episodes is a delight for me, let alone my aforementioned young 'un!

Our collective favorite of the episodes is 'A Day to Remember,' where Elena and her family are excited to celebrate their lost loved ones on Dia de los Muertos. Then, and rather out of the blue, accidentally one might even suggets, Elena discovers that her amulet gives her the power to actually see all the ghosts being celebrated! So, amongst others, she sets out to help a grandmother reconnect with her grandchildren, who are having trouble keeping the family restaurant afloat.

Whether celebrating Navidad, Dia de los Muertos or Carnaval, old and new traditions alike play a part. And even though everyone doesn't always agree on the best way to get the party started, one thing is perfectly clear: holidays aren't about what you do; they're about the special people you spend them with!

So, as seems to be a theme running through all Elena episodes, there is a deep moral embedded in each one and this one is no different: be kind to one another, trust in one another, and enjoy the company of one another, especially over the holiday period's.

1. A Day To Remember
2. Navidad
3. King Of The Carnaval
4. My Fair Naomi

Bonus Episodes:
5. Crustal In The Rough
6. Captain Turner Returns

Voice Cast: Aimee Carrero (Freeform's “Young & Hungry”) as Princess Elena; Jenna Ortega (Disney Channel's “Stuck in the Middle”) as Princess Isabel; Chris Parnell (“Sofia the First”) as Migs; Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”) as Luna; Carlos Alazraqui (Disney Pixar's “Inside Out”) as Skylar; Emiliano Díez ( “George Lopez”) as Francisco; Julia Vera (ABC's “General Hospital”) as Luisa; Christian Lanz (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) as Chancellor Esteban; Jillian Rose Reed (“Awkward”) as Naomi; Joseph Haro (“Awkward”) as Mateo; Jorge Diaz (“The 33”) as Gabe; Keith Ferguson (Disney Pixar's “Inside Out”) as Zuzo; Joe Nunez (“Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) as Armando and Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”) as Shuriki.

Chock full of funny and highly entertaining moments for the pre-teens, it will 100% keep your kids occupied before dinner or on a sunny week day or even a wet Sunday afternoon.

Bring home the adventures on Disney DVD September 12th, 2017! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs which also comes with the Bonus Episodes of "Crystal In The Rough" and "Captain Turner Returns" along with a FREE Elena Locket Necklace!!

DVD Purchase Link

'The Real Story: Pirates of the Caribbean'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Pirates of the Caribbean' presents the buccaneer lifestyle as a back-stabbing, high-living, hard-drinking world. It makes for an entertaining series, but is it a true depiction of the times?

DVD Verdict: We all have heard of, and most likely seen the 2003 movie of the same name as this new PBS/Smithsonian documentary, but all these years later, now we get the chance to learn more about these supposedly unsavory characters.

The movie, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' was an instant smash when it hit the theaters back in the early '00s. It told the story of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who arrives at Port Royal in the Caribbean without a ship or crew.

His timing is inopportune, however, because later that evening the town is besieged by a pirate ship. The pirates kidnap the governor's daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), who's in possession of a valuable coin that is linked to a curse that has transformed the pirates into the undead. A gallant blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) in love with Elizabeth allies with Sparrow in pursuit of the pirates.

'The Real Story: Pirates of the Caribbean' goes deep into the mythology of such a Pirate, and wonders, given the basis of the film series, are their unruly descriptions a true depiction of the times?

Evidence shows that amidst the lawless merriment, pirates formed a highly organized society, where democracy ruled and voting and health care preceded England by 100 years. Well, ok, perhaps not all of them, as we begin to learn (I mean, they are Pirates, after all), but as much as they weren't in a Union of sorts, they actually do come across as very well organized.

One assumes they would have had to be as robbing all those seafarers on a daily basis must have taken some form of organizational skills. Here in this brand new documentary, and one that is truly fascinating, they interview historians, weaponry experts, and even one of the film's screenwriters to show how true pirate adventures inspired this blockbuster franchise. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'LEGO Nexo Knights: Season 3'
(Alessandro Juliani, Giles Panton, Ian Hanlin, Brian Drummond, Erin Mathews, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Jestro and the Cloud of Chaos/Monstrox move across the land bringing stone to life and forcing the NEXO-Knights to fight them over possession of the Forbidden Powers which have the ability, when combined, to destroy all of Knighton.

DVD Verdict: Before I begin reviewing this, it should be made known all these LEGO Nexo Knights series are greatly written, featuring great animation, along with great character development. Truly an excellent show that is highly recommended and I think, if you are new to this animated series, you'll fall in love instantly.

Basically, we have two discs here with 10 episodes and focus on these wonderful LEGO Nexo Knights. Not knights in the traditional back in the day setting, but moreover in a more modern setting complete with war machines and such.

Sure, there is mild violence towards the bad guys, but nothing that will make your lil' 'uns put their hands over their eyes or run screaming. Personally I love all the strong female character, but the knights are something to look up to also.

Having watched from the very first season, there has been some good character development, although Lance is too annoying and too over emphasized, in my humble opinion. Sometimes, like the lava monsters, from the first season, we don't get to see things destroy things (I'm trying not to reveal spoilers about this third season!), but that said, with the small ones watching, perhaps that's for the best.

As for the plot and what to expect from season 3, well, Jestro and the Cloud of Chaos/Monstrox move across the land bringing stone to life and forcing the NEXO-Knights to fight them over possession of the Forbidden Powers which have the ability, when combined, to destroy all of Knighton.

Jestro and Monstrox and their army of stone will attempt to gather all the Forbidden Powers – and insert them in the standing stones atop MT. THUNDERSTOX – to bring the STONE COLOSSUS to life. Monstrox will then have the ultimate, indestructible body to use on his quest not to takeover Knighton…but to totally destroy it.

As Jestro and Monstrox scour the land in search of the Forbidden Powers, the NEXO-Knights are blissfully unaware of the danger at first. Peace, it seems, has again come to Knighton (thanks to their efforts.) Once they finally realize the dire threat they face, they rise to fight for their realm once more.

Episodes: 1. The Cloud 2. A Little Rusty 3. Mount Thunderstruz 4. Rotten Luck 5. Storm Over Rock Wood 6. Minor Setback 6. Knight at the Museum 8. Hot Rock Massage 9. Rock Bottom 10. In Charge

Man, these LEGO animated TV series' are just so damn realistic and trust me when I say that nothing here will upset or bother your kids. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season'
(Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Last season, Leonard and Penny went from next-door neighbors to next-door newlyweds with a nuptial excursion to Vegas. This season, they find themselves in a repeating paradigm as they re-create their wedding – this time with family including Penny’s mother (Katey Sagal) and brother (Jack McBrayer) and Leonard’s parents (Christine Baranski & Judd Hirsch).

DVD Verdict: As always with this show, the acting, script and editing are all first-class. Not one line or scene is wasted. But the sets and the characters have unfortunately not changed and the show doesn't take risks with its plots. One thing I still find uncomfortable is its treatment of women. It's good that we now have Bernadette and Amy, both of whom are great, but often they're still portrayed as appendages of their boyfriends, Howard and Sheldon.

Yes, the woman now get their own scenes, but they're often talking about the men, not their own issues. And the portrayal of Penny remains problematic. All the guys objectify her. Yes, OK, the joke is that she is a blonde bimbo, but that's getting a bit old. I hate it when the script compares her with Amy - Amy is always seen as a lesser person because she is not as physically attractive as Penny.

What sort of example are we setting for young viewers? The gang have now been together in their little apartment complex for 10 years. Surely these guys, earning their kind of money, would have moved onward and upwards by now? Big Bang has had a great run for any sitcom, but I feel it's time for a major overhaul. And I don't mean Penny's drastic season 8 haircut "overhaul" either! Perhaps we can add some new characters ... or create a spin-off, perhaps? What's that, there is a Sheldon spin-off coming to TV this Fall season! Bravo, CBS! Bravo.

Anyway, back on point and this tenth season - which, if you remember from the eighth season onward, now has Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki all signed on for a MILLION dollars per episode (!) - there's a reason they're stacking up Emmy's these days, trust me. Particularly Jim Parsons, whose comedic timing and refusal to be a one-note cliché are stellar, but it's Penny's career which takes a different turn here.

Raj and Howard both continue to develop as characters, when don't they, and both Amy and Bernadette are also hilarious characters (as always). Oh, and speaking of Howard, holy cow, give the guy a break! He doesn't have to always be the butt of the joke.

Anyway, and without giving away the core of all 24 episodes, we kick off this wonderful, still vibrant tenth season with 'The Conjugal Conjecture' where scenes from the latter couple of season nine episodes are still being played out and discussed.

We're just getting back into this after three months away, and this episode doesn't tell us anything about what we can expect from the rest of season ten. Call me old-fashioned, but I like for a premiere to set up a few of the ongoing stories coming in the year ahead.

The ceremony itself is a very small part of the episode, with most of the running time filled again with bickering between Leonard and Sheldon's families. We also get to finally meet Penny's family, and they're about what you'd expect. Katey Sagal as Penny's mother (an 8 Simple Rules reference I'm sure you will have all gotten), was a brilliant curve ball, and Sagal plays it all out like the trooper she is.

As for the following 23 episodes, gone are the references to comics and superheroes – now it seems the comic book store is only being used as another setting for the start of a discussion about relationship problems and how being in one means abandoning all of one's interests in order to be accepted by one's partner.

No more comparing superhero powers based on scientific evidence, no more of Sheldon's fascination for Mr Spock to the point when the two blend together, no more guest appearances by cult icons. I was heartbroken to see they had even resigned and decided not to go to Comic Con… If you were one of those people who hated all those things, though perhaps the show wasn't for you to begin with, you might enjoy it now.

While Sheldon becoming more of an extrovert was something which fans would perhaps have wanted to see, it wasn't at the expense of sacrificing what made him Sheldon. Raj and Howard's codependent relationship has also lost any comedic potential, especially since it seems like Raj is genuinely suffering while Howard mocks him, while – call me picky – I don't find Stuart's depression, bankruptcy, anxiety and lack of meaning in life amusing at all.

Rather, his borderline suicidal personality brings quite a dark, sad dimension to the show and the fact that the other characters seem to mock him whenever they get the chance makes me want to watch anything else but TBBT. To me, it seems like the show is beyond saving and should end in one season the most.

But if it does want to retain its oldest viewers it should bring back what made it unique and new – the science references, the physics jokes, the popular culture references and comic book preoccupations. Show life around the campus again, the experiments they're working on (they had something going with the air force experiment, which seems to have come to nothing), make us believe they're physicists and academics again rather than middle-aged soap opera stars. Stop turning this into a second-rate 'Friends' and go back to what worked for the show!

In closing, the show obviously has its ups and downs, just like any other on television, but it manages to keep coming up with new ways to make you laugh. Also the main characters are much different than what you'd normally see. Usually in comedies you have either all perfect poster boys/girls everywhere, or the typical funny fat guy, but the skinny 'nerds' have you cheering for the unsung hero; each and every time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Mad Props
The Ever-Expanding Universe of The Big Bang Theory
Who's the Baby Now?
Best of The Big Bang Theory - 2016 Comic-Con Panel
Gag Reel

Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD September 12th, 2017!

'Modern Family - The Complete Eighth Season'
(Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Winner of 6 Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, 'Modern Family' is a refreshingly hilarious look at what it means to be a family in today’s hectic, unpredictable world.

DVD Verdict: Modern Family's first season was pretty good, I have to say. It was sort of fresh, original, funny. Better than a lot of the shows on TV, to say the least.

But the second season wasn't quite as good, to my mind and for my money, of course. It went to the well of Cam-as-stereotypical-overzealous-diva once too many, and while Ed O'Neill and Rico Rodriguez gave very good performances, some parts of the season just fell flat.

Then, as we progressed, certain story lines were beyond cliched and the show was somewhat overshadowed in my mind by better comedies of its time ('Community', 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Louie,' for example).

So, yeah, for a long time there in its in between years I decided to start watching 'Modern Family' sporadically. Those lingering doubts about quality and originality of the show still harbored, but willing to keep checking in on it from time to time.

Well, now I've just binge watched the entire season 8 and I can not get enough of it again! The story is easy to follow so you can just sit back and enjoy. Instead of binge watching it like me, you can also try having a break from work and just putting on an episode to relax to (if you work for yourself from home, of course!)

Indeed, the thing I was most surprised about after seeing it was the variety of characters. There's a conventional family with three kids. The wife Claire Dunphy is a control and organization freak but she has hers funny outbursts. Husband Phil comes off a bit childlike, always trying to be 'the cool dad', but he also brings the family together and shares valuable life lessons. The oldest daughter Haley is a popular, party girl and her younger sister Alex is very competitive, nerdy girl. Their youngest child Luke is a lot like his dad and they always do funny, odd stuff together.

Claire's father Jay Pritchett makes another family in the show. He remarried a Colombian wife Gloria and took her and her son Manny in. She is very beautiful and also younger than his daughter so people always assume she married him out of interest, but we are soon proved wrong.

Jay's second child, Claire's brother Mitchell, is gay and in a long relationship with his partner Cameron with whom he adopted a Vietnamese baby girl Lily. When the whole family gets together, there's no way escaping drama and that's the case in almost every episode. It's a great comedy source, but it can get a little too familiar from time to time, so that's why I calmed my viewing down before.

As for this wondrous, still on form eighth season, well, it all starts with the Dunphy clan wrapping up a Big Apple adventure. Then, back at home Claire struggles to keep order at Pritchett's Closets while Phil (Emmy® Nominee Ty Burrell) and Jay go into business together.

In the meantime, Gloria's hot sauce business heats up, as Cam and Mitchell deal with their maturing tween, Lily. All the while, Manny and Luke fumble through their senior year of high school. he final episode of the 22 here is a little deeper than normal re: Women's Rights and such, and as much as the show is definitely a comedy, it can lean into the more educational angles for us, the viewers, to take on board. But, that all said, this latest season of 'Modern Family' is still a great one and deserves your full, undivided attention - something that you won't regret afterwards, trust me. Three big, happy families equal one huge season of laughs! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted and Alternate Scenes
Gag Reel

Own it on DVD & Digital Download September 19th, 2017!

'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' [Blu-ray]
(Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, DeRay Davis, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2017 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Overview: "C’mon you apes, you wanna live forever?! I have only one rule. Everybody fights, no one quits. The bugs have breached Mars and the Federation’s Fleet is too far to help. It’s up to us to save the planet. On the bounce, Troopers! The only good bug is a dead bug! Oorah!"

Blu-ray Verdict: Another entry into the 'Starship Troopers' franchise, and, weirdly, it is another CGI animated movie! I can only speculate as to why they opted for a CGI animated movie and not a proper live action movie, money and availability of the actors being that presumption, sadly.

I found 'Starship Troopers: Invasion' to be entertaining and it was a definite improvement on the 'Starship Troopers: Roughneck' animated series, that's fro sure. So I was pleased to see that this brand new 'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' get announced earlier this year (not knowing it was a CGI animated movie, of course).

Regardless, I was very much in the same arena as 'Starship Troopers: Invasion' when it began and so after it had played out I can honestly say that I enjoyed this latest installment. The CGI was great, with lots of detail and great textures in every scene, ranging from characters and bugs to scenery and environment.

Indeed, it very much resembles the likes of the 'Resident Evil' CGI animated movies in style of visual and design. It was nice, of course, to have Casper Van Dien return to reprise his Rico character, although the visual presentation of the character in the movie didn't really look much like Van Dien, it has to be said [save for his eyes, funnily enough!].

'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' is a non-stop action movie with focus on the battle of humans against the bugs. Which, I might add, it has essentially every other 'Starship Trooper' addition to the franchise. So you should not expect a complex and deep story line. Instead, just lean back and enjoy the action of humans fighting big-ass bugs!

This is definitely primarily for the fans of the the 'Starship Troopers' franchise. I was adequately entertained throughout the course of the movie, despite the fact that the story line was unfathomably predictable, and yet kept me watching all the way through. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Traitor of Mars: Inside the Bugs and powered Suits
Traitor of Mars: Inside the Story and the Characters
Photo Gallery
Deleted Scenes
Expanding the Universe: 20 years and Counting
Expanding the Universe: Continuing the Universe
Expanding the Universe: Traitor of Mars

Bring home 'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' on Blu-ray this September 19th, 2017.

'Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars' Blu-ray Purchase Link

'Lycan' [Blu-ray]
(Dania Ramirez, Jake Lockett, Parker Croft, Vanessa Angel, Gail O'Grady, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2017 / MVD Visual)

Overview: When six college kids in a sleepy Southern town are assigned a group project to rediscover a moment in history, one of them sets in motion a horrific fate when he proposes they head into the Georgia backwoods to tackle the legend of Emily Burt, the Talbot County werewolf.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'Lycan' is a Hitchcockian tale of horror set in 1986 that delves into a hundred year old fable where our students are met with very real consequences that go beyond any classroom lessons.

Well, that's the spiel for the plot and, for the most part, it plays out in much that same way - give or take a bloody curve ball or three. For my money, and given that we've all seen enough werewolf films (good and bad) to last us a lifetime in this genre, 'Lycan' isn't actually half bad.

It doesn't set out to be 'American Werewolf ...', nor even 'Silver Bullet', but instead it allows it's unknowns (save for Vanessa Angel, 'Weird Science' TV show) to build upon the werewolf myth and try to come at it all in a different, perhaps slightly 'Blair Witch' kinda way.

Not that it's lost footage or anything like that, but there is definitely a raw energy to these actors and the way the director, Bev Land handles the direction of the plot alongside some truly eerie moments of cinematography.

The set up is calm and casual as the opening fodder characters find their spot to set up their tent in the getting-darker-by-the-second woods. They sleep nearly in the buff, the girl in her skimpy, tight, barely-there underwear, and save for the cheesy claws and subsequent marks that are made by the werewolf as it tears through the side of the first tent, it's all pretty much acceptable as a horror flick of some noted potential.

Then our intrepid sextet learn about the scary, creepy story about the village and the surrounding woods and after turning to look at each other in some form of It would be nuts to even consider this nonsense eye casting, they all just decide it sounds fun! What follows are pigs heads on hooks, bloody, smelly shacks, walks through brightly-lit-in-red swamps, and, all in all, a pretty gruesome 87 minutes worth of entertainment! This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Interviews with cast including Dania Ramerez, Parker Croft, Rebekah Graf and Vanessa Angel
Interview with Director Bev Land
Interviews with Michael Mordler (Co-Writer) and Crystal Hunt (Executive Producer)
Panel discussion with Lycan movie Producers and writer
Original Theatrical Trailer

'Lycan' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on September 26th, 2017.

'Lycan' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1988) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Cleese plays Archie Leach, a weak-willed barrister who finds himself embroiled with a quartet of ill-matched jewel thieves two American con artists played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, Michael Palin's animal-loving hitman and London gangster Tom Georgeson when Georgeson is arrested.

Only he and Palin know the whereabouts of the diamonds, prompting plenty of farce and in-fighting as well as some embarrassing nudity and the unfortunate demise of some innocent pooches!

Blu-ray Verdict: As we are all well aware by now, 'A Fish Called Wanda' is a true work of comic genius. And, like any good film, the screenplay is at the heart of the belly laughs. Every character is given a detailed personality quirk or two, and then it is shamefully exploited for laugh after laugh.

Note for example, John Cleese's speech to Jamie Lee Curtis about how awful it is to be British - the eternal fear of embarrassment. Moments later, he is caught buck naked in a marital tryst in some else's flat by the people to used to live in his own home.

Also, the funny-offensive envelope is pushed to the limit when K-K-K-Ken (Michael Palin), the passionate animal lover inadvertently kills three innocent dogs in his attempt to murder an old woman who would otherwise be a prosecution witness. Now that's funny!

Cleese's character, Archie Leach (Carey Grant's real name) is a likable buffoon of a lawyer, happy in his banal existence until he meets the sexy American, Wanda (Jamie Lee). I cannot even being to describe the plot beyond that point without doing it a grave disservice. It twists and dangles about in a world of double-cross and goldfish-eating for no other reason than to set up a joke.

You cannot speak of this film without mention of Kevin Kline as Otto, a role that won him a richly-deserved Oscar. Otto is the ex-CIA "weapons man" who makes it his business to read philosophy but would be more at home with Curious George. An obsessive, self-indulgent, painfully stupid, violent, deceitful, gullible egomaniac, the character of Otto is amongst the best comedic performances ever delivered.

The film's funniest scene takes place at Leach's (Cleese) house. In a scene that rivals anything that has ever hit the screen for laughs, the film and its scripts looks deep enough into itself to even give Cleese's dry-as-toast wife a laugh or two. Then, later on, this scene proves to be the set up for even more jokes.

Ergo, 'A Fish Called Wanda' is pure comedy and every scene either provides a laugh or sets one up - it graciously does not waste our time trying to be moral or turning into a formula car-chase flick. Now released as a beautiful Special Edition Blu-ray chock full of glorious special features, if you see it and don't laugh, check your pulse! We have only been given a handful of good comedies in the last decade and this is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the very, very best. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by writer and star John Cleese
Brand-new appreciation by Vic Pratt of the BFI National Archive
Brand-new interviews with composer John Du Prez, production designer Roger Murray-Leach, executive producer Steve Abbott and makeup supervisor Paul Engelen
John Cleese's Final Farewell Performance, a 1988 documentary on the making of A Fish Called Wanda featuring interviews with actors Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and director Charles Crichton
Something Fishy, a 15th anniversary retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Cleese, Curtis, Kline and Palin, executive producer Steve Abbott and director of photography Alan Hume
Fish You Were Here, a documentary on the film's locations hosted by Robert Powell
24 deleted/alternative scenes with introductions by Cleese
A Message from John Cleese, a tongue-in-cheek introduction recorded for the film's original release
Photo Gallery
Trivia Track
Theatrical Trailer
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Sophie Monks Kaufman

'A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'Children Of The Corn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, Courtney Gains, John Franklin, R.G. Armstrong, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1984) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A young couple on a road trip find themselves lost in the backroads of rural Nebraska, eventually winding up in the seemingly abandoned town of Gatlin. But the town is far from empty as the pair soon discover, it s inhabited by a twisted cult of murderous children thirsty for another blood sacrifice.

Blu-ray Verdict: Stephen King is often cited to be the father of modern horror, and this view isn't wholly unfounded. King's stories have had a large impact upon the horror genre, and many of them are very good stories in their own right also. However, when it comes to translating King's words onto the screen; many filmmakers have proved that they are not up to the task.

I haven't read the book, 'Children of the Corn', but I'm sure it's better than this movie. While the film isn't especially bad; it's hardly a tour de-force of horror cinema either, and like many Stephen King films; this one could have been a hell of a lot better.

Actually, and in truth, this story isn't one of King's better efforts; it follows a small town whose children murder their parents on the instructions of a mysterious preacher; a little kid calling himself Isaac.

The story picks up three years after this terrible event when a young couple drive into town for some reason. They find the village completely devoid of adults and it isn't long until they discover what's happened and seek to put an end to it!

This film has missed several opportunities, the most glaring of which is the subterranean manifestation that dwells beneath the soil in the cornfields. We get several glimpses of this creature, but we never get to see it properly; and because of this, the monster is about as threatening as a bunch of little kids. Oh wait ...!

Anyway, the film draws parallels with other evil kids films such as 'Village of the Damned' in the way it plays out, but it never really gets out of first gear. While the atmosphere of the town is foreboding and well done on the whole, the plotting isn't very exciting and there's very few moments of real tension or suspense, which ensures the film isn't as engaging as it could have been.

The cornfields and the corn that inhabits said field's makes for an unlikely horror prop, and some scenes within the fields are genuinely creepy. The kids themselves are rather well done also, with both of the main ones having good screen presence.

Anyway, if you were to pigeonhole King's films into 'good' and 'bad', this one would firmly be in the latter side. On it's own, however, it's not all that bad, and if you're a fan of King's work, you'll no doubt find something to like here. Now releases as a new, crisp Blu-ray special edition chock full of special features, 'Children of The corn' is definitely creepy enough not to watch alone on a rainy, dark night. Which alone is still, albeit here just, enough to make it a decently played out horror flick. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with horror journalist Justin Beahm and Children of the Corn historian John Sullivan>BR> Audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn retrospective piece featuring interviews with director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
...And a Child Shall Lead Them a brand new interview with actors Julie Maddalena and John Philbin
It Was the Eighties! an interview with actress Linda Hamilton
Field of Nightmares a brand new interview with writer George Goldsmith
Return to Gatlin brand new featurette revisiting the film s original Iowa shooting locations
Stephen King on a Shoestring an interview with producer Donald Borchers
Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn an interview with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias
Cut from the Cornfield an interview with actor Rich Kleinberg on the infamous lost Blue Man Scene
Disciples of the Crow 1983 short film adaptation of Stephen King's story Storyboard gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by John Sullivan and Lee Gambin

'Children Of The Corn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'Children Of The Corn: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] Purchase Link

'The Suspicious Death of a Minor' (2-Disc Edition)
(Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrerg, Lia Tanzi, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / (1975) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: A young prostitute is found brutally killed and is up to detective Germi (Claudio Cassinelli) the investigation of the case, as the search progress he uncovers a girls trafficking ring with connections to powerful people.

Blu-ray Verdict: In what was originally entitled 'Too Young To Die,' this rarely seen Sergio Martino film is, for the fans that devour such works of cinematic art, a gold mine. As the title presumes, no matter which you plumb for, it starts off like a typical giallo: A man with sunglasses stalks and slashes a young woman.

But after the murder, the movie becomes a film in style of the "poliziescho", the Italian crime movie of the 1970s, as the audience follows an undercover cop searching for the killer and also for the kidnappers of a young boy (SPOILER ... but the audience doesn't know for a long time either that the cop really is one and that the murder case and the kidnapping rely on each other).

All this culminates (within the first half of the movie) in a car chase which offers enough gags to make the scene pure slapstick. Intentional? Sure, I would suggest so, but also a little disarming, given the true nature of the film unfolding.

Regardless, after that the giallo style returns as the sunglassed killer goes on a killing spree. The crime movie is back as the plot unfolds to have its motive in mob-style drug dealing. And let's not forget: The killings have also to do with professional child prostitution and abuse. A really wild mix, even more so if one considers that the film sometimes boosts cheap (if mostly funny) humor, as aforementioned.

I would also like to pay mention to the very cool soundtrack that throughout is reminiscent of the early scores by "Goblin" for Dario Argento's films. It also seems that Ernesto Gastaldi, who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay with director Martino, was influenced by Massimo Dallamano's great 'La Polizia Chiede Aiuto' that was made one year earlier (in my humble opinion, of course).

All in all, this surely is not Martino's best film (his "pure" gialli are more enjoyable), but if one gets used to the unusual concoction of such different topics and styles, it's an entertaining and sometimes hilariously funny, fast paced and thrilling movie that even boosts some harsh, and still brutally-honest-to-listen-to today social commentary. This is a Widescreen presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
New interviews with director Sergio Martino and cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by Barry Forshaw

'The Suspicious Death of a Minor: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] will be available for purchase on October 3rd, 2017.

'The Suspicious Death of a Minor: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] Purchase Link

'Flatliners: Special Edition SteelBook' [Blu-ray]
(Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, William Baldwin, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1990) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Five medical students experiment on "near death" experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.

Blu-ray Verdict: I saw Joel Schumacher's 'Flatliners' during Summer vacation while visiting my father. I was dropped off at the theater and remember the movie being tense and frightening. I was curious how well it would stand up on a watch twenty seven years later.

Five students at a prestigious medical school want an answer to one simple question: "Is there life after death?" After hearing several first-hand accounts from other people, they decide to experiment on themselves. Each one crosses over from life into the beyond and return. Now the question they want answered is, "What have we brought back with us and what do they want?"

The entire cast is terrific. Julia Roberts proved she had more than just star power with her strong showcase. She was able to bring out the perfect amount of guilt from her character, and her character was very sympathetic. Keifer Sutherland is outstanding as the arrogant Nelson. It is hard to feel sympathy for him, especially with what he goes through in the end, but he's so talented, you're able to like him. Kevin Bacon was awesome. However, for my money, the most noteworthy is William Baldwin. His sleazy performance stole the show.

'Flatliners' is rated R for violence, language, adult situations, and nudity. It gets a bit brutal in some places, but nowhere near like most movies today. Without the unnecessary nudity, this very well could have been PG-13.

Boasting a great line-up of aforementioned actors who went on to do great things, 'Flatliners' captures them in all their fresh-faced glory. It's a melodramatic thrill ride that draws you back for multiple viewings.

Although some of the horrors the group members bring back from their near-death experiences seem silly, the concept as a whole is endearing. The Gothic settings, dark ambiance, and elegant lighting add more reasons for you to re-visit the film or see it for the first time.

Being released by Mill Creek Home Entertainment as a wondrous Special Edition Steelbook Blu-ray to tie in with the brand new redo of 'Flatliners' (starring Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev and even Sutherland as Dr. Barry Wolfson), this 1990 original still has a rather eerie feel to it; a psychological edge with each student facing up to a traumatic past - some of it looks a touch camp now, of course! This brand new Special Edition Collectible Steelbook Blu-ray is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and features 5.1 Surround Sound Stereo and English subtitles.

'The Lost Empire - Complete Miniseries'
(Thomas Gibson, Bai Ling, Russell Wong, Ric Young, Kabir Bedi, et al / DVD / NR / (2001) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: In an ancient manuscript written hundreds of years ago lie the answers to all of history's questions. Now, a scholar (Thomas Gibson) has come to seek the truth and save the world.

DVD Verdict: 'The Lost Empire' (aka 'The Monkey King'), a VERY strange title (either one) for a retelling of the old Chinese classic adventure 'Journey to the West', is a mixed bag of a film.

David Hwang's screenplay is in many respects a sequel to the original story, as opposed to being a modern rendition of the original story. I regard this as a mistake as I believe Mr. Hwang lost more by giving up on the original characters than he gained by having a modern setting.

Good points: The lovely Ling Bai did a good job as the Bodhisattva of Compassion (Kwan Yin). Some scenes with Monkey and the "Scholar from Above" went well (mainly the scenes when Monkey rescues his subjects on Flower Fruit Island). Some interplay between "Sandy" and the "Scholar from Above" was funny. Some of the art design for the palace of the Jade Emperor was good (but NOT the throne room, yuk!).

Bad points: Too many explosions. A really ugly and totally wrong portrait of Confucius (I could go on for some time but I'll stick with this key point: Confucius was a materialist. He had no interest in religion and spirits. He was only interested in how a good state was run. The depiction of Confucius in this movie is totally at odds with EVERYTHING that Confucius stood for.) The last half-hour of the movie was anti-climactic, over-wrought, and uninteresting.

Deeper problems: 'Journey to the West' is, at its core, at Buddhist story about the quest to attain enlightenment (along with the fun stuff about beating demons). This story ('The Lost Empire') takes place AFTER Monkey and Sandy have achieved their ultimate state. They are both "supposed" to be enlightened beings.

The problem with this is that a) they don't act like enlightened beings, and b) there isn't much drama possible when you are enlightened. You can really tell the weakness in the writing when Kwan Yin has to tell Monkey's old teacher that "Monkey HAS been blessed by the Buddha".

If you need a third party (a goddess no less) to convince other people that you have become enlightened and have been blessed by the Buddha, well, its clear to me that the story is saying one thing, but doing another.

In fact, none of the characters behaves "in character". At least not like the characters that you enjoyed when reading "Journey to the West"; sorry, but it has to be said.

Deepest problem: the story ('The Lost Empire') is trying to both be and not be 'Journey to the West' at the same time. Indeed, it's actually, actively trying to both be true to original ideas and be "modern" and up-to-date at the same time. Its trying to be a sequel that retells the original story.

In closing, 'The Lost Empire: Complete Miniseries' can be seen at some angles as a mess, but from other angles it's a rather enjoyable, turn-your-brain-off romp. It even manages some spiritual moments that rise from a lovely deep and rewarding level, so for that alone, I would suggest sit back and enjoy both these 'The Lost Empire' episodes for they are exactly what they are - good, clean, albeit all over the place fun! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Secrets and Lies - Season One'
(Juliette Lewis, Ryan Phillipe, KaDee Strickland, Natalie Martinez, Dan Fogler, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Ben Garner (Ryan Phillippe) is about to go from Good Samaritan to murder suspect after he discovers the body of his neighbor's son in the woods. As Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) digs for the truth, town secrets and lies come to the surface and no one is above suspicion.

DVD Verdict: 'Secrets and Lies' is a 10-episode mini-series about a fictional crime in North Carolina, USA. A remake of an Australian series, one that only had 6 episodes, this story follows a married man (Phillippe) with two daughters who finds the body of a young boy, the son of his neighbor (Natalie Martinez) across the street whilst out jogging one day.

And just like that he instantly becomes the main suspect for the Police, and in particular, Detective Cornell, played irresistibly by the sour-lipped Juliette Lewis. His neighbors and overall community also jump on that bandwagon, but soon pieces of the jigsaw fall into place and where the new road leads nobody wants to imagine could be true.

Of course, and much like the second season that also featured Lewis leading the investigation into a murdered woman, 'Secrets and Lies' does exactly what it says on the label: it is made to build up tension in every episode through tales told and yarns spun by all the lead characters. The spotlight of who the killer is changes constantly as more clues float to the surface and that final reveal is, well, heartbreaking.

In closing, what also makes this series great is the direction of photography and overall cinematography. The levels of hue and scenery abounding in all sorts of weather is captured as is it's another central character. Which, come the end, it most certainly is. The haunted atmosphere makes this whodunit thriller a pacey, jaunty affair and one that will have you guessing all the way to the very, very end, trust me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Astronaut Wives Club - The Complete Series'
(JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Yvonne Strahovski, Dominique McElligott, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Based on Lily Koppel's book The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story, this limited series tells the story of the women who were essential players behind big events in American history. As America's astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, the lives of their young wives were transformed from military spouses to American royalty. As their celebrity rose, and tragedy began to touch their lives, they rallied together.

DVD Verdict: I think I should start this review by stating the obvious that the target audience for this show was not anyone that already knew a lot about the U.S. space program. I mean, if you've seen HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon", the 11th episode of that series does a better job in an hour than this ABC-TV series did in 10 hours — and a more accurate one, too.

That being said, the primary actors carry this show and trust me when I say that you will care about the characters and what they go through in support of their husbands and work stuff.

As a period piece of Americana and history, too, the TV series excels. The writers could have toned down the portrayal of Louise Shepard, but otherwise, the other six leads are fantastic. The actors playing the Mercury Seven themselves are completely overshadowed, and rightfully so—this is about the women behind the astronauts.

At times nothing more than a fun rallying call for the writers to try and turn these episodic stories into a soap opera for ditzy 20th-century housewife viewers — which, if deliberate, was a terrible idea - the emphasize on the real, enlightened and liberated 21st-century audience showcased through these actors might have meant the former thought they were being talked down to had it not been for the morally grounded moments galore; luckily.

Basically, 'The Astronaut Wives Club - The Complete Series' is a gem even just two years later and as a companion piece to the HBO series, it's rather okay. But, and again, it fully relies on some fine performances from JoAnna Garcia, Yvonne Strahovski, Odette Annable, Azure Parsons and Zoe Boyle. These five amazing actors carried this series and it was a pleasure rewatching it today to review it due to them. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Night of the Living Dead - 50th Anniversary'
(Judith O'Dea, Duane Jones, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / NR / (1968) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.

DVD Verdict: That's right, boys and ghouls, George A. Romero's cult classic returns for it's 50th Anniversary! The indie horror masterpiece changed movies and the genre forever with its gleaming gore and terrifying twists and now it's been lovingly restored in HD. So prepare for the frightening tale of five strangers struggling for survival against the walking undead, but now in uber crisp Blu-ray!

George A. Romero's 1968 cult classic 'Night of the Living Dead' could arguably be one of the most revolutionary horror films of its time. It may not have been the first zombie film ever made but it's the first one that actually made an impact on popular culture.

On the surface, 'Night of the Living Dead' seems to be a run of the mill horror movie about a group of people hiding out in a farmhouse from these flesh eating beings that have been reanimated from the dead. What's so interesting about this film is its many satirical comments on American culture during the the late 1960's - criticizing society for its racism, its involvement in the Vietnam war, and a general attitude towards women.

George A. Romero chose Duane Jones to play the African-American hero of the film, which up until then was rarely heard of, only to have him [SPOILER!] gunned down in the very end of the film just as he thinks he is finally saved and everything will return to normal.

It's supposed to remind the viewer of all the powerful black males in history that have stood up to their oppressors and revolted against the norms of society only to be assassinated by those who did not agree with their views and beliefs.

The zombies in the film are playing the same role the Vietnamese played in the Vietnam war. They seem to be everywhere and stop at nothing to take over everything in their path. The few humans that are left and trying to survive are the soldiers who were over in Vietnam during the war: they're trapped, they have little resources and have nowhere to run because the enemy they are running from are covering the entire area.

The women in this film are treated as fragile and useless in the situation they are facing. Barbra, portrayed brilliantly by Judith O'Dea begins the film terrified and running from the zombies, only to continue throughout the film helping out in no way possible.

She sits on the couch in shock and rarely responds or has any input to the story line. The only time she ever gets up and takes action is at the end - at which point she is absolutely no help, getting herself taken away (and presumably eaten). Portraying Barbra as silent and unable to help because of her mental state of shock only pointed out how America at the time (and to an extent still does) treat its women as helpless and powerless.

What is so appealing about this film is its ability to have all of these powerful, underlying themes while simultaneously coming off as a meaningless Friday night "Let's go to the drive-in!" B-horror movies of the 1960's. It has the ability to let you just sit down and enjoy it without having to think too heavily about its themes and context. It's a film that can be enjoyed and appreciated by both the brainless teenagers of America and the most analytical of film critics. This is an original Full Screen Presentation (1.37:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and featuring a brand new 2K Transfer.

'Big Pacific' [Blu-ray]
(2-Disc Blu-ray / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: The Pacific Ocean covers one third of the Earth's surface, holds half of our world's water, and hides the deepest place on our planet. It is a place where huge and iconic, rare and dazzling creatures live and where creatures yet to be discovered lurk. Filmed in cinematic 4K, 'Big Pacific' breaks the boundaries between land and sea to present the Pacific Ocean in way never seen before.

DVD Verdict: Simply, and amazingly put, the Pacific Ocean is larger than all Earth's land combined, holds half of our world's water, and hides the deepest place on our planet. It is a place where huge and iconic, rare and dazzling creatures live - and where creatures yet to be discovered lurk.

Indeed, the Pacific sees the most violent storms, creates the most powerful waves, and is powered by the strongest currents. It boasts the largest coral reefs and the richest kelp forests. Its submarine landscape plummets from sea grass prairies to the ultimate abyss, and its tropical seamounts starkly contrast with its massive ice floes.

PBS's stunning new documentary 'Big Pacific' breaks the boundaries between land and sea, moving throughout the Pacific Ocean to present a broad range of locations, species, natural phenomena and behaviors. Each episode focuses an iconic characteristic of the Pacific: Passionate, Voracious, Violent, and Mysterious, to weave stories from across the Pacific that illustrate the multi-faceted character of this ocean.

There is plenty of food in the Pacific Ocean, but it is the challenge of finding that food that drives all life in the Pacific. In the Voracious Pacific every mouthful counts. In the Passionate Pacific, the quest to multiply has spawned a stunning array of unusual behaviors and adaptations. There are forest penguins with a tenuous marriage, the secret rendezvous of great white sharks, and the tale of male pregnancy.

Surrounded by the Ring of Fire, the Pacific Ocean is the epicenter of natural mayhem. In the Violent Pacific creatures must choose whether to avoid conflict?or rise to meet it. Man has explored land, the ocean's surface, and large parts of the solar system?and in the 21st century we are just beginning to explore the depths of the Pacific Ocean. We yearn to unravel the Mysterious Pacific?but she does not give up her secrets willingly.

The scenes in this documentary are out of this world. It is so out of the ordinary that after watching so many documentaries for decades, it is hard for me to see new coverage of anything; and yet I was glued to this documentary. You are even taken behind the scenes whilst we follow along with the adventures of the filmmakers who brought us this deep blue delight. We get to see how certain shots were created, what they went through to get into some bewildering camera angle positions, and how even mistakes can turn out to be happy ones.

This documentary will bring much wealth to your life especially if you happen to be an individual like me who spends so much time in the big Pacific that even every single wave can be mesmerizing time after time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

The Real Story: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(DVD / G / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Separate science fact from science fiction as we re-examine government documents and put old witness testimonies to the test using modern technology.

DVD Verdict: We all have heard of, and most likely seen the 1977 epic movie of the same name as this new PBS/Smithsonian documentary, but all these years later, now we get the chance to watch as a lot of witness testimonies and such are laid bare for today's experts to re-analyze with new technology.

The movie was an instant smash when it hit the theaters forty years ago and reawakened man's obsession with the eternal question: "Are we alone in the universe?" Though a work of fantasy, few realize that Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic was actually inspired by real-life witness testimony, as well as a series of UFO sightings in Michigan in the summer of 1966.

Separate science fact from science fiction as we re-examine government documents and put old witness testimonies to the test using modern technology. Running at only 45 minutes, 'The Real Story: Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is most certainly worthy of all Sci-Fi lovers' time, but originally released in 2011, most all may well have already seen it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Real Story: Scream'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: The gore fest may seem like Hollywood fiction, but it was actually inspired by a real-life killing spree that sent an idyllic Florida town into a panic.

DVD Verdict: We all have heard of, and most likely seen the 1996 movie of the same name as this new PBS/Smithsonian documentary, but all these years later, now we get the chance to learn that it was all based on the true story of a Florida town killing spree - something I actually had zero knowledge about, in all truth!

The movie was an instant smash when it hit the theaters twenty-one years ago and spawned four sequels before it came to a halt in 2011. Word has it though that a fifth 'Scream' has been planned for a while now, but since the passing of Wes Craven, along with a TV series that was good or bad, depending on who you asked, that all seems to have, pardon the pun, died down now, once again.

As for this PBS/Smithsonian big reveal about the real-life crime spree behind the original movie, it focuses on the true events behind the parallels between the fictional serial killer and the real-life serial killer: The Gainesville Ripper.

We quickly learn, given that this documentary only runs for 45 minutes, that Danny Harold Rolling (May 26, 1954 – October 25, 2006) - later to be known as the Gainesville Ripper - was an American who was arrested for being a serial killer who had murdered five students in Gainesville, Florida in 1989.

Indeed, Rolling later confessed to raping several of his victims, committing an additional November 4, 1989, triple homicide in Shreveport, Louisiana, and attempting to murder his father in May 1990. In total, Rolling confessed to killing eight people. Rolling was sentenced to death for the murders in 1994. He was executed by lethal injection in 2006. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'FRONTLINE: Life On Parole'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Frontline: Life on Parole' follows former prisoners through the challenges of their first year on parole. With unique access, the film goes inside the effort to change the way parole works in Connecticut and reduce the number of people returning to prison.

DVD Verdict: Around half of all the inmates put on parole in the U.S. end up violating the terms of their release and are sent back to prison. But across the country, states are trying to change the way their parole systems work in an effort to lower recidivism rates and reduce prison populations.

In PBS's 'Life on Parole', FRONTLINE and The New York Times go inside one state, Connecticut, to examine its ongoing effort to rethink parole: a condition that offers a taste of freedom but comes with strict prohibitions on whom you can live with, where you can go, what time you have to be home, and more.

With unique access inside Connecticut's corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows ten former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole - from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting - and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state.

How it all began is that Matthew O’Neill, a documentary filmmaker at DCTV, and the PBS series FRONTLINE came to The New York Times with a proposal to follow people closely, for a year, as they got out of prison. Connecticut, bravely, had agreed to give Matt unusual access which enabled PBS's Frontline team to follow the aforementioned 10 subjects. Now, I won't give away any of the "results", but people such as Erroll Brantley Jr., whoc was also a headline subject matter for PBS around the same time as this was filmed, make some interesting choices when back oustide, that's for sure.

More than two years in the making, 'Life on Parole' is a remarkable, firsthand look at why some people stay out of jail, why some go back, and how one state is trying to break the cycle of recidivism. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Abacus: Small Enough to Jail'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: From Steve James, 'Abacus: Small Enough to Jail' tells the saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud, the indictment and trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves and their bank's legacy in the Chinatown community over the course of a five-year legal battle.

DVD Verdict: The last time acclaimed filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) collaborated with FRONTLINE, the result was, The Interrupters — the gripping documentary about former street criminals in Chicago who place themselves in the line of fire to stop shootings and killings in their communities.

Now James has turned his lens on people in a different kind of struggle: the Sungs, a Chinese American family whose Abacus Federal Savings Bank was the only U.S. bank indicted for mortgage fraud related to the 2008 financial crisis.

The film examines the case against the bank, hearing from prosecutors, jurors, defense lawyers, and the bank’s founder, Thomas Sung, his wife Hwei Lin, and their daughters, who James filmed over a year as they fought to clear their names.

In truth, the case was little covered at the time, and while its outcome is a matter of public record, James prefers that reviewers not reveal whether the verdict was guilty, innocent, or mixed. That's because his Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a compelling non-fiction thriller. It should engross most viewers, even those who've resisted learning what a subprime mortgage is.

As it happens, Abacus didn't deal in subprime. The Chinatown-based bank also didn't package its mortgages into the sort of financial instruments that made The Big Short's machinations so arcane. In fact, the bank had one of the lowest default rates in the country.

The problem was a loan officer, Ken Yu, who asked borrowers for bribes and falsified income statements for mortgage applications. His activities were hard to track, because, as the film explains, Chinatown residents are more likely to make cash transactions than the average American consumer. Also, Yu spoke a dialect that even most of his fellow Abacus employees didn't understand.

I won't give any more away as there is still a twist and turn to come in this gripping story, a story of whether or a not a whole family never knew if their lives were to be finished in jail. That said, cinematically, the most important piece of the legal story is a juror who was inclined to vote guilty. Her recollections keep the narrative taut until what, in Frank Capra's day, was termed the final reel. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and also comes with Mandarin Subtitles.

'Visions of the Great Cities of Europe'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: From Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Czech Republic, 'Visions: The Great Cities of Europe' samples a variety of cultures like no guidebook could portray.

DVD Verdict: In truth, I've never seen anything quite like this before! Visiting a collection of already-beautiful, stunning even cities is one thing, but to do it all from above, giving us so many wider perspectives to the tight streets and cramped market places is unlike any programming idea that I've ever encountered before.

So a hearty bravo to PBS and whomever came up with this idea as it was a complete and utter doozy of one, that's for sure. Here in 'Visions of the Great Cities of Europe', from the air we see the majestic architecture of Vienna, the incomparable coastline of the Cote d'Azur, the timeless monuments of Rome, and even a spectacular view of Mary Poppins' foggy ol' London town.

OK, sure, there's some boots on the ground footage that brings us a native's view of Amsterdam's bicycle culture and winding canals and Prague's Old Town Square, but the completely, totally unobtrusive narration is like a well-traveled friend giving you insider tips about where to go and what to see. This latest edition to the whole Visions catalogue is a great, and unique one and I hope you'll love it as much as I did. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Great British Baking Show - Season 4'
(Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Follow the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the UK's best here in the fourth season (seventh in the UK) of the show.

DVD Verdict: 'The Great British Bake Off', often referred to as 'Bake Off' or 'GBBO', is a British television baking competition which selects from amongst its contestants the best amateur baker. The series was presented by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and judged by cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood. It has been broadcast under the name 'The Great British Baking Show' here in the United States, as Pillsbury owns the Bake-Off trademark in the US.

Each season follows the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the UK's best. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds, judged by British cooking/baking icons, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

OK, now is where it's going to get even more confusing, so hold on tight. For not only is it well known in the UK as the aforementioned 'The Great British Bake Off', but the recently released "Season 1" DVD set from PBS was actually the UK's Season 5 series! The "Season 2" DVD was actually the UK's Season 4! And in yet another twist in the tale, "Season 3" released over here was actually the UK's Season 6!

So, in this particular "Season 4" (was is actually the UK's season 7, if you're still following along at home), filmed at Welford Park in Berkshire, there are once again twelve amateur bakers taking part. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood return as judges, whilst Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc continue to present the series.

If you love this show as much as the British do, you'll also know that each week the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. Judged by the aforementioned Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, the show is a delicacy of edible viewing quite like nothing I've ever witnessed before. So, do not go into watching it with an empty stomach, trust me!

. The 10 episodes included are: Cake - Biscuits - Bread - Batter - Pastry - Botanical - Desserts - Tudor - Pâtisserie - The Final.

Each episode brings challenges in three categories: a Signature Bake, to test the contestants' creative flair and baking ability; a Technical Bake, in which challengers receive basic recipes with ingredient lists and minimal instruction; and the Showstopper Bake, designed to display depth of skill and talent.

As for some additional fun information, although not included here (sorry), a spin-off UK show 'The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice', hosted by comedian Jo Brand on BBC Two, was also launched as a companion series the same year. Each episode was broadcast two days after the main show, but later moved to the same night. The show includes interviews with eliminated contestants and was a big hit with the British viewers.

As I hope it also does with you, 'The Great British Baking Show' aka 'The Great British Bake Off' has most definitely inspired me and my friends to get several cookbooks for my young daughters. They have enjoyed improving their skills while producing tasty foods also, as I can confirm due to what my own daughter chose to cook for our family last night!

Whenever I watch this show I find it all, in the nicest possible way, all very quaint. And so whilst learning a few new cooking tips you also get entertained and dazzled by the wide range of possible things you yourself could make.

In conclusion, wonderful, informative and witty describes this awesome program from across the pond. I absolutely fell in love with this show because not only are the hosts and judges funny and helpful in their critiques, the contestants bring all sorts of ideas and personalities into the mix.

I have learned so much about classical cakes and baking techniques just by watching the episodes. I love learning about the history of dishes and this PBS show mixes in a little history with each new competition. Here's hoping that PBS can bring out the other seasons of this wondrous show - no matter in what order they choose! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Mouse and Mole at Christmas Time'
(Animation / DVD / G / 2017 / PBS-SkipRope)

Overview: 'Mouse and Mole at Christmas Time' is a beautifully animated story about two friends who live together in a cottage in the country.

DVD Verdict: So, living together in a lovely little cozy cottage made for two, Mouse is the practical and cheerful one whilst Mole always gets himself into trouble and needs looking after.

But they work nicely together regardless and are very, very good friends. After delivering Twelfth Night party invitations to their friends, Mouse makes a "snow-mole" for Mole who dreams that his new snow-mole comes to life and takes him to a land where his every wish is granted!

So, here in this episode, we watch to see if Mole learns to be careful what he wishes for or will it all go according to his plan? Also containing nine other cheerful bonus animated tales (so ten in all, of course), all of them are chock full of wise and witty conversations whilst at the same time being filled with timeless, softly-animated charm.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, which runs for 35 minutes, and comes with the following 10 episodes: 'Preposterous Puddle', 'Daffodil', 'Least Expecting', 'Picnic', 'Whiskers', 'Half a Banana', 'Catch a Falling Leaf', 'Spectacles', 'A Frisky Fluttery Ghost', and 'The Secret of Happiness'.

'It's Potty Time!'
(Animation / DVD / G / 2017 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Tackle potty training with some of your favorite PBS KIDS friends!

DVD Verdict: Yep, it's about that time, boys and girls! For if your kids are just of an age where it's either becoming a chore to teach them how to use their potty, or they are doing it all wrong (!), PBS Kids are here to help!

On this four story DVD we get two (2) episodes that include such a trial and tribulation from Daniel Tiger's friend Prince Wednesday and when Daniel himself first begins to use the potty. Along with that pairing we also get one from Peg + Cat and one from, believe it or not, Dinosaur Train.

So, in the first two we Daniel Tiger's friend Prince Wednesday learns how important it is to stop and go potty right away, whilst in a separate episode Daniel himself shows he knows that a potty is for also. Peg + Cat show Big Mouth the six steps of going potty, and Buddy and Tiny discover that all creatures poop, even really big dinosaurs!

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, which runs for 60 minutes, and comes with the following 4 episodes: 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty', 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Daniel Goes to the Potty', 'Peg + Cat: The Potty Problem', and 'Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Poop!'

Daniel Tigers Neighborhood King Daniel for the Day
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Four-year-old Daniel Tiger invites young viewers directly into his world, giving them a kid's eye view of his life and making them feel like one of his neighbors.

DVD Verdict: For those of you that are not aware, 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' is an animated continuation to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, where all the original characters are now grown up with their own preschool-aged children.

Personally, I loved Mr. Rogers Neighborhood as a kid, and although this is a very different, more modern show, I am pleased to see the good moral underlining and joy that this show brings to him while still keeping true to the same themes.

I love the little songs that have more meaning than rhyme and the lessons in the show along with the story lines.

Contained in this brand new DVD are seven (7) grr-ific tales: 'King Daniel for the Day', 'Prince Wednesday's Happy Birthday', 'The Neighborhood Fall Festival', 'Daniel Takes Care of Snowball', 'Looking for Snowball', 'Sharing at the Library', and 'Daniel Shares with Margaret'.

In the first of these cute and lovely episodes, and an extended adventure at that, we discover what it's like to be royalty with Daniel Tiger! When Daniel is declared "King for the Day" by King Friday, he sends Daniel on a royal mission to Baker Aker's bakery and Music Man Stan's shop.

Whilst out in the neighborhood completing King Friday's list, Daniel learns that the most important part of being king is helping others and being kind to your neighbors!

But there's more, as aforementioned, for also on this rather tigertastic DVD, Daniel also helps celebrate Prince Wednesday's birthday, shares a book at the library with O the Owl, and takes care of the class pet!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood so come join Daniel Tiger and friends as they have a whole lot of fun and learn life's little lessons. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Odd Squad Villains - The Best of the Worst'
(DVD / G / 2017 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Join the agents of Odd Squad as they use their math and problem-solving skills to defeat evil villains and set things right!

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, The Odd Squad is a government agency that’s run by kids! Their mission is to investigate and rectify strange occurrences and to keep everyone safe. All of the agents have names that begin with the letter “O”.

Field agents Otto, Olive, and their boss Miss O., are in each of the four (4) episodes on this 55-minute "best of" DVD. As the title suggests, each episode is villain themed and so as our heroes come up against the best of the worst each time, they have to not only use math logic to solve the perplexing mysteries in their neighborhood, but set themselves free also!

When the Puppet Master turns a group of people including Otto and Olive into puppets, will the Odd Squad agents be able to crack the case and turn themselves back into humans? Three other fun-filled stories find the Odd Squad team trying to stop Odd Todd from turning townspeople and agents invisible, preventing villain Fladam from destroying the city's cubes, and recovering Ms. O's very important briefcase from the Shape Shifter!

'The Odd Squad' is a live-action series with the goal of helping kids ages 5-8 learn math. And for that reason alone, my boy enjoyed this show and its wacky humor tremendously! Besides entertaining, it teaches logic and math concepts like fractions and graphing/charting.

I highly recommend this DVD to all parents of children interested in math, or otherwise. Either way it will definitely, 100% keep them occupied watching The Odd Squad figure things out - and you also, most likely! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Happy Holidays, Garfield!'
(DVD / G / 2017 / PBS Kids)

Overview: In 'Happy Holidays, Garfield!' we join the ever-loveable character Garfield for two fun-filled holiday tales!

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Garfield is an American comic strip created by Jim Davis. Published since 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, the cat Garfield; Jon, his owner; and Jon's dog, Odie.

Having since progressed from those days through life as a car suction toy for your windows, a soft toy to pull the draw string back on to hear talk, and even creating his very own Twitter account, the Garfield universe has expanded year after year.

And now we have a rather fun 50 minute long new DVD from PBS/SkipRope entitled 'Happy Holidays, Garfield!' Containing two (2) adorable tales, we first get "Garfield's Thanksgiving" where Jon Arbuckle invites veterinarian Liz to celebrate Thanksgiving with him, Garfield, and Odie!

But Jon has no clue how to prepare a Thanksgiving meal and even worse - Liz declares that Garfield must be put on a diet ... on the day before Thanksgiving! Will anyone come to the rescue and cook a delicious dinner for Jon and Liz?

In "A Garfield Christmas Special", Garfield gives Grandma love notes he found that were written by her husband, from when they first met. That thoughtful gift shows Garfield that Christmas isn't about eating lasagna or receiving presents - it's about spending time with your family and making others happy!

So do yourself, and your kids, of course, the favor this holiday season of buying this wonderful DVD and settling in for the evening with both these two fun-filled holiday episodes from the beloved Garfield! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Death Grip - 10 Action Movies'
(Sachin Mehta, Kristina Klebe, Kyrie Maezumi, Gina Gershon, Vincent D'Onofrio, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Welcome to 10 examples of bone-crushing, adrenaline-fueled action movies!

DVD Verdict: First off is The Advocate - (2013) - Color - Not Rated - Sachin Mehta, Kristina Klebe, Michael Raynor - Gifted defense attorney Ray Shekar (Mehta) finds himself in the middle of a twisted game of who-done-it when his curiosity prompts him to take on the case of Allyson Daugherty (Kristina Klebe), a socialite accused of murdering her husband.

'The Advocate' is a terrific criminal mystery film produced on a limited budget and excels in both categories. This film was well paced, with continual twists and turns that keep you fully engaged. Sachin Meta agonizes throughout, yet at times is also cool and in charge and at other times determined and doomed in his search for absolute justice.

Is Kristine Klebe a beautiful heroine or is she a murderer; her story plays with you, at times you are sympathetic and at other times you are suspicious or disbelieving. It is a fascinating journey.

The comes Legacy - (2011) - Color - Not Rated - Kyrie Maezumi, Will Wallace, Oscar Torre, Alysa Schulz - Ari Larsen has resurfaced after a five year absence, still harboring the memories of a scarred childhood. Kidnapped at the age of eleven by her serial killer father, Professor David Larsen, and taken on a three week odyssey of murder and savagery, Ari was left abandoned in the desert. One horrifying fact remains; her father has never been captured.

It truly is a fun throwback to the Hitchcock school of suspense. Very little blood, very high intensity. Ms. Brown, a knockout and hugely talented British actress, plays Tandi Lewis, a no nonsense Shock Journalist with a quick wit that leaves everyone she encounters a bit worse for wear. The character of Rick Larsen, the hapless sheriff pulled into a storm of bad news by a hot younger woman, is played with a fine flare by Will Wallace.

Next up is Mall - (2015) - Color – R - Cameron Monaghan, India Menuez, Gina Gershon, Vincent D'Onofrio - Malcom's done with his life. Only the noise of Crystal Meth gives him a reason to keep going. Equipped with a bag full of weapons and self-made bombs, he makes his way to the nearby mall to really stir things up.

Then comes Night Drive - (2011) - Color - Not Rated - Christopher Beasley, Brandon Auret, Corine du Toit, Leroy Gopal - Against the tranquil backdrop of a game reserve, South African thriller Night Drive tracks a group of tourists left stranded during a night-time game drive after their vehicle breaks down.

Next up is the title piece, Death Grip - (2014) - Color - Not Rated - Eric Jacobus, Johnny Yong Bosch, Rebecca Ahn - Johnny Yong Bosch (Bleach, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Broken Path) and Eric Jacobus (Contour, Dogs of Chinatown) star in this year’s hardest-hitting martial arts action thriller!

Featuring action by acclaimed director Eric Jacobus and The Stunt People, “the premier action team” (Kung Fu Cinema), Death Grip is not your typical martial arts action film - it will keep you in its grasp until the very end!

Then we get The New Republic - (2012) - Color - Not Rated - Owen Beckman, Anthony Tyler Quinn, Jake Tawney, Jeremy Ratchford - New Angeles, the isolated crime capitol of L.A., is home to David Kosinski, a young writer expelled from college and sentenced to house arrest. In solitude his politically charged blogging soon strikes a nerve with the leader of an underground nationalist group. Merely stirring the pot the majority of his life, David’s final decision is now a matter of life and death.

Next is Nobody Can Cool - (2013) - Color - Not Rated - Catherine Annette, Nick Principe - This is a suspenseful thriller of a young couple, Susan and David, who travel to the mountains for the weekend where they find their borrowed cabin already occupied. Tensions and secrets fueled by fear, greed, and suppressed hostility bubble over, and the pending arrival of an unknown danger becomes a test of survival.

If you are tired of mainstream Hollywood movies, but afraid of boring indies, here's one for you. Not a remake, reboot, or sequel, this is an ambitious and slick little thriller that sneaks up on you, draws you in, and takes you for a ride. The plot is tight and clever, and the dialogue is snappy and peppered with hard boiled humor.

Then there's Lost Dream - (2009) - Color - Not Rated - Michael Welch, Shaun Sipos - Emotionally distraught and depressed, Perry Roberts (Michael Welch) has lost faith in all the things he held true – and engages in an emotional roller coaster fueled by drugs and a dangerous game of Russian roulette.

Be forewarned, there are scenes that may make people feel uncomfortable. Not-so- glamorous scenes of emotional outbursts, drug use, selfishness and downright "douche bag" behavior! But I still found both characters to be very likable and magnetic to watch and it's all rounded out by a cool, and very befitting soundtrack.

Next is The Silent Thief - (2014) - Color - Not Rated - Toby Hemingway, Scout Taylor-Compton, John Billingsley, Frances Fisher - This is a psychological thriller that examines familial bonds, the human need to belong and the thin line between sanity and insanity.

For my money, and even though this is the weakest of the ten movies, Toby Hemingway does a really good role using not only possibilities of character but his nuances also. The theme will be familiar to people who watch these types of films, 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle' is broadly similar, the stranger who invades a home by stealth and gradually morphs into one of its residents while tearing it apart.

Last, but not least, we have Who is Delsin? - (2013) - Color - Not Rated - Ricky Wayne, Emilio Roso, Steven Bauer, Joseph R. Gannascoli - In July 2009, Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist Gerard Martinez walked into the Tampa Bay Museum of art and opened fire. He mercilessly killed men, women, and children before turning the gun on himself. The event came to be known as one of the bloodiest crimes in Tampa Bay history. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1/1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Purgation - 10 Horror Films'
(Lance Hendrickson, Mandy Levin, Catherine McCormack, Suzy Cote, Kat Johnston, Brian Krause, Matt Thompson, Kimberly Alexander, Jesse Kristofferson, Erica Leerhsen, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Welcome to 10 examples of There's no place like Hell horror films!

DVD Verdict: First off is All Alone - (2012) – Color – Not Rated - Mandy Levin, Suzy Cote, Brice Williams, David Haydn-Jones - Two couples embark on an overnight camping trip to get away from the confines of the city and escape to the solitude of the mountains where secrets are revealed and desperation fuels an irreversible chain of events.

The directing is simple yet has a very distinct beauty. This is a not a movie full of special effects, and eye trickery, but it is a strong thriller built for the soul and the mind.

Next up is the title film The Purgation - (2015) – Color – Not Rated - Tiffany Kieu, Kat Johnston, Kate Dauphin, Tom Walsh - Iris thinks she's going crazy. To stay sane, she must confront her past by revisiting the site of a childhood trauma - the old county asylum.

This was quite the decent, if wholly flawed effort. One of the films' better aspects is the fact that this one goes for the rather strong sense of atmosphere and suspense in this one which manages to really make this creepier than expected.

Among the better aspects of this is the film's great opening, where it shows the making-of one of their home videos in the asylum where the creepy, chilling atmosphere located in the dark, dirty location is taken to a nice extreme. The location and setting alongside the fact that they're shooting the film there does the nice thing of putting kids in danger. Effective from moment number one, but sadly the present day remains of the movie don't follow suit.

The comes Ashes - (2012) – Color – Not Rated - Brian Krause, Kadeem Hardison, Richard Gant, Barbara Nedeljakova - A brilliant, obsessive doctor working on a cure for AIDS unwittingly invents an aggressive new bacteria that deteriorates the body and enrages the mind.

Next up is Bloodline - (2013) – Color – R - Matt Thompson, Kimberly Alexander, Jesse Kristofferson - Seminary student Brett Ethos falls away from the church and his faith, only to find out that his bloodline is sought by real evil.

Originally called 'The Cabin', this is an indie horror flick with something a little more ambitious than the normal nonsense: an 18th century historical back story that makes sense for once. Unfortunately, this part of the film occupies little of the running time, and it all quickly descends into the usual cabin in the woods-type nonsense with lame characters being bumped off by villains unknown.

Then comes All God’s Creatures - (2011) – Color – Not Rated - Josh Folan, Jessica Kaye, Ginger Kroll, Molly Fahey - Creature of habit, Jon Smith (Josh Folan - “All My Children”, Ay Lav Yu, The Graduates) spends his days mindlessly working as a barista in New York City. When night falls, this seeming everyman savagely kills “filthy women” as his social outlet.

Next is Billy’s Cult - (2014) – Color – Not Rated - Debbie Rochon, Lou Martini Jr, Suzi Lorraine, Donovan Kern, Anthony Grasso - Billy’s Cult takes us into the demented mind of Billy, (Donovan Kern) a ruthless killer unlike any other seen before. Detectives Gates (Lou Martini Jr.) and Steele (Debbie Rochon) are in pursuit of this killer, trying to put an end to the killing spree, while at the same time, attempting to exorcise their own inner demons.

Then we get Phobia - (2013) – Color – Not Rated - Erica Leerhsen, Chase Ryan Jeffrey, Matthew Tompkins, Jonathan Brooks - In 1885, a female doctor helping a group of people with their phobias becomes embroiled in a murder mystery surrounding a patient that may or may not be a vampire.

For some reason they wanted to set this film in Paris. Problem is, anybody who has ever been in Paris or watched films that represent it well, like recent Woody Allen one, will have hard time finding this setting believably represented either culturally or historically.

If you get by that part, the fake French accents these people are using are so horrible that even if their acting was not absolutely atrocious it would ruin the film! The worst film of the bunch, as if French accents were not bad enough, "vampires" speak with badly done "Dracula" accent (weird fake Hungarian that sounds nothing like actual Transylvania accent, and more like bad Polish accent!).

Next up is Summer School - (2006) – Color – Not Rated - Simon Wallace, Amy Cocchiarella, Tony D. Czech, Lance Hendrickson - Charlie is a teenage horror buff and even runs his own movie review website. He soon finds himself in a series of all-too realistic nightmares that look an awful lot like his movies. His grip on reality loosens as it becomes impossible to tell whether he’s awake or asleep.

Then comes Vanished - (2013) – Color – Not Rated - Stephen Carracher, Carolyn Bock, Cassandra Magrath - This is a gripping psychological thriller dealing with child kidnapping and how far a parent will go seeking revenge.

In my humble opinion, 'Vanished' is a very well crafted and produced little movie. Anyone that cannot follow the plot should have a second look. I thought for a first time writer /director it was a fine effort. All of the actors are new to me and did their bit admirably. Definitely worth a watch if you like a good who-dunnit movie.

Finally we get Stevie - (2008) – Color – PG-13 - Catherine McCormack, Jordi Mollá, Ida Jorgensen, Silvia Tortosa - After a long and unsuccessful period trying to have a family, Claire (Catherine McCormack) and Adrián (Jordi Mollá) finally adopt a girl. The coming of Isabel is desired by the whole family, but making a six-year-old girl with a past of her own fit into her new life might be something more complicated than they expected. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1/1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Vincent Price Collection - 5 Frightening Features
(Vincent Price, et al / DVD + Digital / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Welcome to five films featuring one of the Masters Of Horror! Delve into the world of Vincent Price – experience films from the man that made Horror a work of art!

DVD Verdict: For those not quite in the horror know, Vincent Price was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and performances in horror films. His career spanned other genres, including film noir, drama, mystery, thriller, and comedy.

He appeared on stage, television, radio, and more than one hundred films. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures, and one for television. Born and raised in the Saint Louis, Missouri, area, Price also has a star on the Saint Louis Walk of Fame.

First off we get the best of the bunch with House On Haunted Hill (1959) - A wealthy man offers a hefty amount of money to a select five people that concur to being trapped in a haunted rental house overnight.

This classic version of 'House on Haunted Hill' is one of the most entertaining examples of the low-budget, black-and-white horror films that used to be such a mainstay for movie fans. It has few frills, but it does have some thrills, and in particular it has a cleverly written story that is told at a brisk pace, with a good deal of interesting and pleasingly macabre detail.

Next up is Last Man on Earth (1964) – Illness reforms any spark of human life into living dead, and the last man left on Earth is forced to set out as a vampire hunter.

The black-and-white cinematography is as stark and minimalistic as the story (and, admittedly, the budget). The exterior scenes set in a deserted Los Angeles - well, actually Rome, shot in the early morning - are often quite effective in mirroring his internal desolation. Cast and crew alike do an excellent job with the material, despite the monetary constraints.

Then comes Shock (1946) – After a woman witnesses a man commit murder, she is locked into a private asylum to face her psychological issues – but the one who admitted her may be the one who indefinitely needs help.

Although somewhat of a potboiler and a bit short on running time per today's standards, 'Shock' is a tightly scripted, directed and acted thriller. As usual, Price is at the top of his game here, and any Price fans who haven't seen this film yet will want to check it out. The rest of the cast is also fantastic, and Anabel Shaw particularly stands out when she's on screen.

Then we get The Bat (1959) – When psycho killer, “The Bat,” escapes, he runs loose in a mansion filled with people.

The Bat, while no Citizen Kane, is still a lot of fun. It gives some very good talent the opportunity to ham it up (Vincent Price made a career of it) while providing some rather rare brutal killings in a 50's movie. Price is brilliant as usual.

Check out the moment when Agnes Moorhead mentions that the Bat is looking for money and that it's probably in the house. Price knows where the money is (talked about early on so no plot spoil) and his eyes lilt ever so slighty when Moorhead talks about it. A great subtle moment from a great actor. Last, but not least is The Jackals (1967) – The heart does in fact, speak louder than the mind – convicted bank robber is after a gold miner, but quickly falls in love with his granddaughter, leading to a change of plans.

'Yellow Sky' (1948) was one of the better American westerns of its era. It was also one of Gregory Peck's better starring roles. So, it's a tall order to try to remake the picture, though 'The Jackals' does a better job than I expected - especially since it mostly stars folks you probably won't recognize.

Aside from Vincent Price (who should not have been listed first in the billing, but goes by the wonderful character name of Oupa Decker), the rest are actors we probably wouldn't recognize here in the States. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1/2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Trick or Treat - Spooktacular Collection'
(Animation / DVD + Digital / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Ghouls, Goblins and Ghosts are Running Amok In This Frightfully Fun Family Collection!

DVD Verdict: This spooktacular collection of 13 tales filled with ghosts, goblins, and ghouls is most definitely one that families can enjoy together this Halloween.

Featuring Casper, the friendly ghost, dragons, mummies, Ichabod Crane, and more, once you unwrap it and slip the disc into your DVD players, prepare for a night of boo-tiful animated fun!

Featuring the voices of James Earl Jones, John Carradine, Claire Bloom, Michael York and so many more, the tales that unfold here in this great Halloween collection are:

The Storybook Series - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ghost in the Shed, Noises in the Night, Misunderstood Monsters, Three Golden Hairs, The Boy Who Couldn't Shiver

Casper - There's Good Boos Tonight , The Friendly Ghost, Boo Moon, A Haunting We Will Go

Fleischer Studio Classics - The Cobweb Hotel, The Fresh Vegetable Mystery, Magic Mummy

These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Coach - The Complete Series'
(Craig T. Nelson, Shelley Fabares, Jerry Van Dyke, Bill Fagerbakke, Clare Carey, et al / 18-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Team up with Craig T. Nelson in his Primetime Emmy® Award-winning role as Hayden Fox, the curmudgeonly coach of Minnesota State University's Screaming Eagles football team, as he tries to navigate his way through the sports world, fatherhood and family life without dropping the ball.

DVD Verdict: OK, for those not quite in the know, 'Coach' was an American sitcom that aired for nine seasons on ABC from February 28, 1989 to May 14, 1997, with a total of 200 half-hour episodes.

The series stars Craig T. Nelson as Hayden Fox, head coach of the fictional Division I-A college football team the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles. For the last two seasons, Coach Fox and the supporting characters coached the Orlando Breakers, a fictional National Football League expansion team.

The program also starred Jerry Van Dyke as Luther Van Dam and Bill Fagerbakke as Michael "Dauber" Dybinski, assistant coaches under Fox. The role of Hayden's girlfriend (and later wife) Christine Armstrong, a television news anchor, was played by Shelley Fabares.

In 2015, NBC ordered a sequel series to Coach, set to focus on Hayden Fox's son, with Craig T. Nelson reprising his role as Hayden. However, on August 31, NBC scrapped its plans to air the series.

So, what about this 21-Disc Box-Set of pure, unadulterated Must See Television do you feel I need to fill you in on, my lovely readers? How about we start at the top and work our way down.

The first episode was dedicated to the memory of John C. Chulay. There, how about them apples! Wait, you don't know who Chulay was? OK, well, John C. Chulay was born on April 9th, 1923 in Indiana, USA as John Cornell Chulay and was an assistant director and production manager for many a TV show.

This was a great show. Craig T. Nelson is a very funny man and this show was deservedly one of the most popular during its long run. Nelson played Hayden Fox, a football coach for the Minnesota Screaming Eagles, at a college, Minnesota State. He had a girlfriend; anchorwoman Christine Armstrong played by veteran singer Shelly Fabares, a daughter Kelly and her boyfriend and later husband Stewart.

The real stars of the show were the people he worked with though. Jerry Van Dyke, brother of Dick van Dyke played Luther, Hayden's assistant coach, Dauber was another assistant coach who was also a student that never seemed to graduate and the not too frequently seen Howard Burleigh the goofy athletic director that let Hayden get by with a whole lot.

Hayden was essentially a nice guy, but he also had many flaws. He was sexist, self centered, obnoxious, basically a football coach. He was an Archie Bunker for his time, but not near as edgy of course. He was always trying to control the lives of his daughter, his girlfriend and his friends at work.

The show had so many great lines. The writing was great as there was never a week character even people that were in one or two episodes. I thought the weakest characters in the show was his girlfriend and his daughter who were mostly just background noise to his work where the real great gags were. Luther was so great. He was such an odd character he almost made the show.

The best episode of the 200 that aired, in my humble opinion, was the one when we learned of Howard Burleigh's society the Society of Loons. The loon is actually a bird the group is named after. I thought I was going to die when I heard the members scream `LOOOOONNNN!' That is classic. I love how Hayden Fox seems to always be at odds with someone whether it is someone that is a bit on the artsy side, an administrator, one of Christine's friends or almost anyone he chooses.

The show works because the dialogue is not forced. The writing was near perfect. All of them had near perfect lines, except for his girlfriend and his daughter who eventually drifted away from the show. The show lost a lot of its charm when Hayden moved to the pros and coached a team in Florida. It was still funny, but not as good as it once was.

Still this is a great show - that also featured special guest appearances by Troy Aikman, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Frank Gifford, Johnny Unitas, Bobby Vinton and so many more - and so I'm thrilled that Mill Creek Home Entertainment have now released it as this insanely great priced 18-Disc Box-Set. It's a classic and I know you will think that also once you have purchased this Box-Set for yourselves.

FYI: 1) The 'Coach' theme song was performed by the Iowa State University Cyclone Football "Varsity" Marching Band. The Iowa State band was the winner of a national contest for the right to play the piece for TV.

FYI: 2) At the beginning of each episode, the phrase "'Coach' is filmed before a studio audience" is said by Shelley Fabares. For the "Pilot" episode, this phrase was spoken by Clare Carey. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Friday Night Lights - The Complete Series'
(Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Taylor Kitcsh, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Porter, Jesse Plemons, Michael B. Jordan, et al / 13-Disc Blu-ray / PG-13 / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Coach Eric Taylor is the newest hire at a small town high school in Dillon, Texas. After a series of events leading to his release, Taylor is forced to build a football team from the ground up at the rival high school.

His wife Tami, high school principal, faces scrutiny of her own as she takes constant blame from angry parents. But even through the hardships at work, challenges at home with teen daughter Julie, and endless drama, only one thing matters: Friday night.

DVD Verdict: OK, for those not quite in the know, 'Friday Night Lights' was an American drama television series about a high school football team in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas.

It was developed by Peter Berg and executive produced by Brian Grazer, David Nevins, Sarah Aubrey and Jason Katims, based on the 1990 nonfiction book by H. G. Bissinger, adapted as the 2004 film of the same name.

The series' primary setting, Dillon, is a small, close-knit community in rural Texas. Team coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his family, Tami, Julie and Grace, are featured. The show uses this small-town backdrop to address many issues facing contemporary American culture, including family values, school funding, racism, drugs, abortion and lack of economic opportunities.

Produced by NBCUniversal, 'Friday Night Lights' premiered on October 3, 2006, and aired for two seasons on NBC. Although the show had garnered critical acclaim and passionate fans, the series suffered low ratings and was in danger of cancellation after the second season.

To save the series, NBC struck a deal with DirecTV to co-produce three more seasons; each subsequent season premiered on DirecTV's 101 Network, with NBC rebroadcasts a few months later. The series ended its run on The 101 Network on February 9, 2011, after five seasons.

Personally, I came to know 'Friday Night Lights' rather late. I first watched parts of the third season when it was shown on Directv, but wasn't familiar with the characters or their stories, but I knew one thing-it was damn good. However, I had a hell of a time trying to keep track of the show and it wasn't until I went to Texas myself and became immersed in the culture that I really began watching the show.

Thus I watched what I could of season 4 online, and then began searching for season 1. I watched it on ABC Family until it was canceled, and then bought the season 1 DVD and have just now completed the ENTIRE series on one massive 10 day long binge watching extravaganza!

The show is so good it gives me chills. Every aspect of this show is absolutely astounding from the music selection, to the editing and shot selection, the story lines, the acting, and of course the characters. These characters stay with you. Each character has so much depth, and it's so beautiful to watch them through their struggle and growth on film.

hey become a part of you, they inspire you, they surprise you, and through them you gain a new perspective about life as you realize that no matter the hand they've been dealt, each character is simply trying to make sense of life and do the best they can for themselves through their mistakes, disappointments and pain. The characters will surprise you as the seasons progress and you see more of each person.

I also love the shots of Texas in between dialogue. One shot of the bright, burning sun or the open skies, or that lone star on the flag remind me so much of why I fell in love with Texas while I was there.

'Friday Night Lights' captures this brilliantly in such a nuanced way. They bring such poetry and realism to viewers, and yes, their portrayal of Football is not only dynamic, it also captures the culture of Texas Football perfectly. In Texas, Football is God. That is a fact.

There are times when I forget that this is actually a television show. Everything is absolutely authentic. The restlessness that the younger characters feel in living in a small town and feeling like you have no way out is something I can relate to.

Buddy Garrity is the epitome of a Texan and at times I'm convinced that he is not actually portrayed by a trained actor. The same goes for Herc, a supporting character who was introduced to us after Jason Street's injury. Throughout much of that season I did not actually believe that Herc was a character. He just felt so real, and that's the beauty of this show. You come to love and appreciate even the secondary characters because they bring so much, everything is so real which is a credit to the writing team.

The best part was the show's ability to evolve and stay positive and life affirming in the effect this couple had on it and, without giving anything away, the way they ended it was very satisfying. One of the best quality family drama's I've seen. Catch this brilliant TV show now from Season 1 through to Season 5 on Blu-ray, for the first time ever. This 13-Disc Box-Set is delightful and is the perfect companion for those closing in Fall/Winter nights.

FYI: Connie Britton and Brad Leland both had roles in the original Friday Night Lights (2004) movie, also directed by series creator Peter Berg. Their roles were identical to those they have in the series, the coach's wife and a football booster respectively. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Watch Around The Clock - 24 Hours of TV'
(Art Linkletter, Groucho Marx, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, Johnny Carson, George Burns, Milton Berle, et al / 5-Disc DVD+Digital / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: This incredible 4-DVD collection features non-stop programming from the Golden Age of Television as if you've gone back in time. Starting with early morning cartoons for the kids, daytime programming which includes all your favorite game shows, then all your favorite prime-time hits during the evening and then into the wee morning hours with star-studded movies all complete with commercials from the era.

DVD Verdict: My oh my, what an incredible, simply incredible 5-Disc Box-Set this truly is. Whoever thought this conception for a DVD release up should be applauded for as much as you may think you don't need it all in one long, 24-hour bundle, trust me, once you start playing that first disc you are transported back to an era that welcomes you with open, loving arms.

Disc One brings us all the early morning TV shows, such as Felix The Cat, Betty Boop, Popeye, Lassie, and Howdy Doody, amongst others. Personally, I was a great lover of all-things both Felix The Cat and Howdy Doody. For those not in the know, Felix is a funny-animal cartoon character created in the silent film era. The anthropomorphic black cat with his black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history.

As for Howdy Doody, well, not everyone's taste, I'll grant you, but this was an American children's television program (with circus and Western frontier themes) that was created and produced in Fort Lauderdale, FL by E. Roger Muir and telecast on the NBC network in the United States from December 27, 1947, until September 24, 1960.

Trust me when I say it was a pioneer in children's television programming and set the pattern for many similar shows. One of the first television series produced at NBC in Rockefeller Center, in Studio 3A, it was also a pioneer in early color production as NBC (at the time owned by TV maker RCA) used the show in part to sell color television sets in the 1950s.

Disc One: Betty Boop, Felix The Cat, Popeye, Calvin & The Colonel, Howdy Doody, The Pinky Lee Show, Time For Beany, Wink Dink and You, Rootie Kazootie Show, Paul Winchell & Jerry Mahoney, Lassie and then Superman.

That's backed on Disc Two by the Afternoon block of programming with such shows as People Are Funny, Who Do You Trust?, Queen For A Day, Twenty-One, and amongst others both You Asked For It and Four Star Playhouse. My favorites were both Who Do You Trust? and Twenty-One. Who Do You Trust? was an American game show which aired from September 30, 1957, to November 15, 1957, at 4:30 pm, Eastern on ABC, and from November 18, 1957, to December 27, 1963 at 3:30 pm, Eastern - which helped garner a significant number of young viewers, like me, coming home from school.

The series was initially emceed by Johnny Carson and announced by Bill Nimmo. A year into the run, Nimmo was replaced by Ed McMahon, and from that point until 1992 the two would spend the majority of their careers together. Carson and McMahon departed in 1962 when Carson was hired to take over from Jack Paar on NBC's Tonight (renamed The Tonight Show under Carson), where they would both spend the next thirty years together. Woody Woodbury took over the hosting position while Nimmo returned to announce. The show was produced at the Little Theater on 44th Street in New York (today known as the Helen Hayes Theater).

Twenty One was an American game show originally hosted by Jack Barry which aired on NBC from 1956 to 1958. Produced by Jack Barry-Dan Enright Productions, the program became notorious for being a rigged quiz show which nearly caused the demise of the entire genre in the wake of United States Senate investigations.

Indeed, the 1994 movie Quiz Show is based on these events. A new version aired in 2000 with Maury Povich hosting, lasting about four months, again on NBC.

Disc Two: People Are Funny, Art Linkletter and The Kids, You Asked For It, What's My Line?, The Price Is Right, Who Do You Trust?, You Bet Your Life, Queen For A Day, Twenty-One, To Tell The Truth, G.E. Theatre and Four Star Playhouse.

Next up is the Evening slot, where we sit back and eat dinner to such classics as The Roy Rogers Show, Dragnet, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and amongst others both The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Beverly Hillbillies. For me, I loved all the shows, but I guess if I had to choose two today to reflect back on they would be The Dick Van Dyke Show and Dragnet.

Interestingly enough, Dragnet was also an American radio show, let alone the hit television and motion picture series. Enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners would hit the stgreets and hunt down the criminals, one by one. The show takes its name from the police term "dragnet", meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.

Dragnet is perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series gave audience members a feel for the danger and heroism of police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers. Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting; he achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media.

The gloriously funny Dick Van Dyke Show was an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961 to June 1, 1966, with a total of 158 half-hour episodes spanning over five seasons. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore.

It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) and was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show's theme song was written by Earle Hagen and played as much a part of the show to the viewer as the actual acting over the years. Rob, watch out for that ... oh dear, never mind, he's tripped over it yet again!

Disc Three: Annie Oakley, The Roy Rogers Show, Dragnet, Make Room For Daddy, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriett, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffiths Show, The Johnny Carson Show, The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show and The Milton Burle Show.

The final fourth disc is the Late-Night portion of this fantastic Box-Set and brings us three stunning films: 'The Strange Love of Martha Ivers', 'Cyrano de Bergerac' and 'The Man With The Golden Arm'. Admittedly, I assumed that this "Late-Night" portion of the Box-Set would be talk show-based, but the three films at least allow you to slink into the night comfortably.

My favorite of the three is 'The Man with the Golden Arm'. Filmed in 1955, this drama thriller, chock full with elements of film noir, is based on the novel of the same name by Nelson Algren. It tells the story of a drug addict who gets clean while in prison, but struggles to stay that way in the outside world.

Although the addictive drug is never identified in the film, according to the American Film Institute "most contemporary and modern sources assume that it is heroin", in contrast to Algren's book which named the drug as morphine.

The film stars Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang and Darren McGavin. It was adapted for the screen by Walter Newman, Lewis Meltzer and Ben Hecht (uncredited), and directed by Otto Preminger. The film's initial release sparked controversy due to its serious, in-depth treatment of the then-taboo subject of drug addiction.

Disc Four: 'The Strange Love of Martha Ivers' (1946), 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1946), and 'The Man With The Golden Arm' (1955).

But wait, there's more! Included as a fantastic Bonus is not only Digital Access, but a Holiday DVD (Volume 2) that comes with seven (7) different TV show Christmas-themed, festive-filled episodes. Included in these 13 episodes are such TV shows as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Jack Benny Program, Sherlock Holmes, Gwen Guild Playhouse, Racket Squad, Dear Phoebe and Telephone Time. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Watch Around The Clock - 24 Hours of TV in COLOR!
(Lucille Ball, Edgar Buchanan, Duncan Renaldo, Lorne Green, Mike Connors, Elizabeth Taylor, et al / 5-Disc DVD+Digital / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: This incredible 5-DVD collection features non-stop programming from the Golden Age of Television as if you've gone back in time, but this time IN COLOR! Starting with early morning cartoons for the kids, daytime programming which includes all your favorite game shows, then all your favorite prime-time hits during the evening and then into the wee morning hours with star-studded movies all complete with commercials from the era. It s an experience like none other!

DVD Verdict: My oh my, what an incredible, simply incredible 5-Disc Box-Set this truly is. Whoever thought this conception for a DVD release up should be applauded for as much as you may think you don't need it all in one long, 24-hour bundle, trust me, once you start playing that first disc you are transported back to an era that welcomes you with open, loving arms.

Disc One brings us all the early morning TV shows, such as Popeye & Friends, Casper, Gumby, Ultraman and, amongst others, Paddington Bear. For me, and easily, my favorite two were Ultraman and Paddington Bear. Man, I couldn't get enough of either of these two polar opposite shows back then. Ultraman was a Japanese tokusatsu science fiction television series created by Eiji Tsuburaya and was actually a follow-up to Ultra Q, though not technically a sequel or spin-off.

The show was produced by Tsuburaya Productions and was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967, with a total of 39 episodes (40, counting the pre-premiere special that aired on July 10, 1966).

A whole other cup o' tea altogether, Paddington Bear was an American/British animated television series. It was the second television adaptation of the children's book series and made by Hanna-Barbera in association with Central Independent Television.

An animated television program based on the Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond, the series was scripted by Bond himself and produced by FilmFair London. It was narrated by actor Michael Hordern, who also voices all characters. Animation in stop motion, Paddington himself is a puppet in a three-dimensional environment, whilst other characters are paper cut-outs. It was so easy to watch, so believable to me at the time.

Disc One: Popeye & Friends, Casper, Gumby, The New Three Stooges, Fraidy Cat/Packy & Wacky, Hoppity Hopper, Clutch Cargo & Friends, Ultraman, Space Angel/Captain Fathom, Paddington Bear and Mr. Piper.

That's backed on Disc Two by the Afternoon block of programming with such shows as Gulliver's Travels, The Borrowers, Rescue From Gilligan's Island and The Over The Hill Gang. Just four (4) shows here, in total, the stand out duo for me are both Rescue From Gilligan's Island and The Over The Hill Gang.

Rescue from Gilligan's Island is a 1978 made-for-television comedy film that continues the adventures of the shipwrecked castaways from the 1964–67 sitcom Gilligan's Island, starring Bob Denver and Alan Hale, Jr. The film first aired on NBC as a two-part special on October 14 and October 21, 1978.

In depicting the long-awaited rescue of the castaways, the film forms a cathartic response to many of the episodes of the series in which "they almost get off the island". The film was directed by Leslie H. Martinson.

The Over-the-Hill Gang is a 1969 TV-movie Western comedy about aging Texas Rangers starring Walter Brennan and Pat O'Brien. Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, Andy Devine, and Jack Elam play supporting roles. The film was written by Richard Carr and directed by Jean Yarbrough.

The plot concerns a young newspaper editor who is conducting a campaign to unseat the town's "tinhorn mayor." The mayor is backed by a "gun-happy sheriff" and a "whiskey-soaked judge." The editor's campaign receives a boost when he is joined by a former Texas Ranger and "three of the fightin'-est straight shooters around." Oh, and the movie premiered on October 7, 1969, as the ABC Movie of the Week.

Disc Two: Gulliver's Travels, The Borrowers, Rescue From Gilligan's Island and The Over The Hill Gang.

Next up is the Evening slot, where we sit back and eat dinner to such classics as The Lone Ranger, Long John Silver, Mannix, Rango, Dusty's Trail, and amongst others, The Lucy Show. The stand out two here for me are both The Lone Ranger and The Lucy Show, of course.

The Lone Ranger was an American western drama television series that aired on the ABC Television network from 1949 to 1957, with Clayton Moore in the starring role. Jay Silverheels, a member of the Mohawk Aboriginal people in Canada, played The Lone Ranger's Native American companion Tonto.

The fictional story line maintains that a patrol of six Texas Rangers is massacred, with only one member surviving. The "lone" survivor thereafter disguises himself with a black mask and travels with Tonto throughout Texas and the American West to assist those challenged by the lawless elements.

A silver mine supplies The Lone Ranger with the name of his horse as well as the funds required to finance his wandering life-style and the raw material for his signature bullets. At the end of most episodes, after the Lone Ranger and Tonto leave, someone asks the sheriff or other person of authority who the masked man was. The person then responds that it was the Lone Ranger, who is then heard yelling "Hi-Yo, Silver!" as he and Tonto ride away on their horses.

The Lucy Show was an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1962–68. It was Lucille Ball's follow-up to I Love Lucy. A significant change in cast and premise for the 1965–66 season divides the program into two distinct eras; aside from Ball, only Gale Gordon, who joined the program for its second season, remained. For the first three seasons, Vivian Vance was the co-star.

The earliest scripts were entitled The Lucille Ball Show, but when this title was rejected by CBS, producers thought of calling the show This Is Lucy or The New Adventures of Lucy, before deciding on the title The Lucy Show. Ball won consecutive Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the series' final two seasons, 1966–67 and 1967–68.

Disc Three: The Lone Ranger, Long John Silver, The Cisco Kid, Judge Roy Bean, Rango, Dusty's Trail, The Lucy Show, Bonanza and Mannix.

The final fourth disc is the Late-Night portion of this fantastic Box-Set and brings us three stunning films: 'The Last Time I Saw Paris', 'The Missouri Traveler', and 'The Proud Rebel'. Admittedly, I assumed that this "Late-Night" portion of the Box-Set would be talk show-based, but the three films at least allow you to slink into the night comfortably.

My favorite of the three is 'The Proud Rebel'. A 1958 Technicolor Western film directed by Michael Curtiz with a screenplay by Joseph Petracca and Lillie Hayward, it was based on a story by James Edward Grant.

It is the story of a widowed Confederate veteran and his mute son who struggle to make a new life among sometimes hostile neighbors in the Midwest. Despite the implications of the title, the main character in "The Proud Rebel" does not dwell much on his Southern past, but finds his life complicated by sectional prejudice.

The film stars Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, David Ladd and Cecil Kellaway and co-stars Harry Dean Stanton (credited as Dean Stanton) in an early film appearance. Indeed, 'The Proud Rebel' influenced the famous Indian artist Kishore Kumar, who remade it as Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein in 1964 starring his real-life son Amit Kumar playing the role of the mute son.

Disc Four: 'The Last Time I Saw Paris' (1954), 'The Missouri Traveler' (1958), and 'The Proud Rebel' (1958).

But wait, there's more! Included as a fantastic Bonus is not only Digital Access, but a Holiday DVD (Volume 2) that comes with seven (7) different TV show Christmas-themed, festive-filled episodes. Included in these 12 episodes, are such TV shows as The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Colgate Comedy Hour, Petticoat Junction, The Paul Winchell Show, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Red Skelton Show, and Family Doctor. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Eyes'
(Megan West, Ana Isabelle, Greg Davis Jr., Nicholas Turturro, Vincent Pastore, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / WowNow Entertainment - Parade Deck Films)

Overview: Six strangers are kidnapped and through governmental technology have proof they have all killed before. They are then all informed that five of them will die this night, one may walk, and that the six have 2 hours to decide who gets to live.

DVD Verdict: Before I begin reviewing this, it should be made known from the off that this was requested purposely to review from the company associated with promoting it, as I'd heard some very encouraging things about it.

That said, and with no bias either way, 'The Eyes' does a very good job at becoming a unique suspense thriller from the off. Shot on location, and not really veering from that office entrapment area, you start to feel as worried for the characters as they do for themselves. Never knowing who will be killed, or for what crime (whether it be theirs or someone else's around the table), the building tension is palpable throughout.

With Nicholas Turturro, doing his best Michael Peña impression, taking gun control of the situation, each one of the six guests is shown via video why they are there. At this point you will start to decide yourself if they should be killed or survive, trust me.

Running at just over an hour and a half, and with camera angles that flash back and forth as the tension rises, it can get a little mid-'90s MTV video-esque, but stay with it as the finale brings with it a fairly decent turn of events.

In closing, as they say about these type of B-movies, it wouldn't win an Oscar, but it doesn't need to, nor does it strive to. It does exactly what it says on the box and scares you and rivets you to the plot in equal measures. Filled with new, and at times interesting music, and with moments of inspired cinematography, 'The eyes' have it for me - and I hope they do for you once you buy/rent this intriguing new movie. This is a Wideescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Rolling Stones From The Vault Sticky Fingers 2015
(The Rolling Stones / DVD+CD / NR / 2017 / Eagle Vision)

Overview: This latest addition to the From The Vault series captures a truly unique event in the long and eventful history of The Rolling Stones. On the May 20th, 2015 at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California, the band performed the entire Sticky Fingers album live in concert for the first and so far only time in their career.

DVD Verdict: As noted above, this unique performance from May 20th, 2015, saw the band perform the entire Sticky Fingers album live in concert for the first – and so far only – time in their career. The show took place at the intimate Fonda Theatre and celebrated the reissue of the Sticky Fingers album and was the opening night of The Rolling Stones ‘Zip Code Tour’ of North America.

Now released on blu-ray and DVD (which include interviews with the band members intercut with full length performances) and also available as DVD+CD (which I'm reviewing here today) and a delightful 3LP+DVD combo set of packages, the CD and 3LP elements feature the full show as performed on the night.

DVD Track-Listing:
1) Start Me Up
2) Sway
3) Dead Flowers
4) Wild Horses
5) Sister Morphine
6) You Gotta Move
7) Bitch
8) Can't You Hear Me Knocking
9) I Got The Blues
10) Moonlight Mile
11) Brown Sugar
12) Rock Me Baby
13) Jumpin' Jack Flash

DVD Bonus Features:
Tracks cut from the concert film: 1) All Down The Line, 2) When The Whip Comes Down, and 3) I Can't Turn You Loose.

CD Track-Listing:
1) Start Me Up
2) When The Whip Comes Down
3) All Down The Line
4) Sway
5) Dead Flowers
6) Wild Horses
7) Sister Morphine
8) You Gotta Move
9) Bitch
10) Can't You Hear Me Knocking
11) I Got The Blues
12) Moonlight Mile
13) Brown Sugar
14) Rock Me Baby
15) Jumpin' Jack Flash
16) I Can't Turn You Loose

Whether it be watching the show via the DVD or listening to the show via the CD player in the car, top down (it's 90 degrees here in MI as we head into the close of September (!), the music is still as good as it gets from these guys.

You would think that studio work would be enhanced to get the best of their vocals and instruments, but that doesn't explain how live they still perform as if they were teenagers - better, perhaps. These guys never put a musical note wrong and Mick never once forgets a mark, or a line at that.

Sure the old interviews inter cut with live footage does get a little in the way at times, but their live performance art is a delicacy, a master class to watch regardless. The rest of this From The Vault series have tracked back to the '70s and such, so this is the very first time that they've released something so, well, modern, shall we say.

Watching the DVD you immediately get a sense of how much of a treat it must have been to be there that night as it's a small venue whose vibe is bouncing off the walls this evening. By the looks of it, as the camera pans, The Fonda Theatre looks like an amazing place, in general, let alone to house a brilliant, stand alone concert such as this one.

Also the subject of a Pledge Music campaign, The Rolling Stones: From The Vault, Sticky Fingers 2015 DVD+CD is a pure delight from start to finish. Of course, and unlike the majority of others released in the same vein, there are no Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman, or even Nicky Hopkins present on deck, but what we do have are the born again originals - and trust me when I say, even though Mick may well try to make them all sound a wee bit "newer", they all still come across as old school musical gems. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Armed Response'
(Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, Dave Annable, Gene Simmons, Mike Seal, et al / Blu-ray+Digital HD / R / 2017 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: A team of highly trained operatives is trapped inside an isolated military compound after its AI is suddenly shut down. The crew begins to experience strange and horrific phenomena as it attempts to uncover what killed the previous team.

DVD Verdict: OK, to be fair, these days you either love or hate Wesley Snipes' films (much like those of Steven Seagal, to be quite frank). Back in the day he was leaner, meaner, more into fighting vampires and demons, sure, but then he had all that tax b/s surround him, bury him, and he jetted off to some far flung country to lay low.

Making just a handful of films since then, he's now back with another B-movie venture that, I'm happy to say, doesn't include a vampire (or does it?!). These days, as you will witness several times throughout the film, he is kinda sorta back to his leaner self, having spent his time abroad not exactly bothering to work out every day (no need to), so this action packed return is somewhat to form for him.

That said, 'Armed Response' is still a B-movie, sure, but it's one with more bang for its buck than your usual straight-to-DVD Seagal ones, that's for damn sure. Snipes leads a team of marines into a prison where a secret government interrogation tool is being held in order to find out why they lost contact with the first half of the team.

As the film progressed, I'm thinking it was going to be some hi-tech, who-done-it mystery as the crew used surveillance to find out what happen to the first team, but as Snipes' team gets picked off one by one, I quickly began to see it as a completely different demographic.

Even though it's not scary, it for sure has elements similar to how the sci-fi/action movie, 'Aliens' (basically a horror movie about marines battling monsters), and how 'Predator' final reveal themselves to be.

I don't mean to confuse you, for this film is nowhere near as good as either of those two cult films, but 'Armed Response' is a very good suspense drama about war, nonetheless. The area where the action takes place is a huge prison that looks like a video game, which you'll either give it more points for or remove them for pure cheese.

Oh, and for those playing spot-the-musician along the way, KISS's long-tongued Gene Simmons (now sporting a bald head - which, in all truth, he's most likely had under a KISS wig for 20 years now!) can be found roaming around here also. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Inside the Minds of Armed Response.

'Mickey Mouse: Merry & Scary'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / Walt Disney)

DVD Overview: Invite Mickey and Donald into your home as they bring laughs and merriment to not one, but two holiday seasons!

DVD Verdict: That's right, folks, we now have a Mickey mouse twofer here from Walt Disney Home Entertainment! Here on the just-released 'Mickey Mouse: Merry & Scary' DVD, we get to ride a tide of holiday hilarity with some contemporary classic shorts starring Mickey and friends.

In 'The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular!', for Halloween, Mickey has tricked out his house like a “tomb, sweet, tomb" and along with his pals Donald and Goofy, plans to tell hair-raising Halloween stories!

However, his attempt at being scary falls flatter than a pancake. Can Mickey conjure up a truly terrifying tale before the stroke of midnight?

As Mickey himself says when trying to scare the his friends, it's the ultimate, scariest Halloween story ever told! He even reveals "vampire teeth marks" on his neck, but is all as it seems? Throughout, Goofy thinks that it's all going to be good, that everything will turn out just fine, but whilst the eyes bug out on stalks, and the characters run all over the place (and into each other), Mickey not only tries to add to the scares, but steer the ship evenly to it's final hair-raising destination!

In Duck The Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special, it’s the most wonderful time of the year - to migrate south for the winter! But Donald wants to stay put and celebrate his first Christmas with his friends.

Mickey creates the ultimate list of everything to make Donald's first Christmas great, but before you can catch a snowflake on your tongue, Donald has turned into a shivering, sneezing duck-cicle!

The moment Donald bursts into Mickey's house as they are trimming the tree and announces that he's going to be home and staying with them for Christmas, and then Mickey gives him a big hug, well, it's game on for the emotions, my friends! Yes, Donald's voice is hard to understand these days, and yes the actual animation here seem a wee bit old fashioned, but that all said, when Mickey says with Donald there it's going to be the "best gosh-darn Christmas ever", you just can't help fall back in love with the whole classic Disney world.

Also included are the Bonus Shorts: "Ghoul Friend", "The Boiler Room", "Black And White", "Entombed", and "Split Decision".

Voice Cast: Chris Diamantopoulus as Mickey Mouse/Vampire; Russi Taylor as Minnie/Huey/Dewey/Louie/The Witch; Bill Farmer as Goofy; Tony Anselmo as Donald Duck; Tress MacNeille as Daisy Duck; and Corey Burton as Professor Von Drake. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'American Horror Story: Roanoke'
(Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lily Rabe, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / R / 2017 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Life imitates grisly reality TV in one of television’s edgiest and most acclaimed shows ever!

Told in gripping true-crime documentary style, “My Roanoke Nightmare” — this season’s show within the show — chronicles shocking paranormal events.

Blu-ray Verdict: The best of 'American Horror Story' are among my favorite television experiences in the past twenty years.

The writing, the production, and the acting combine great shocks, surprising twists, and likable, down-to-earth characters with an over-the-top morbidity.

The most recent season ('Roanoke') is by far one of the weakest. Like the 'Freak Show' season, it takes an effective method so far that it becomes a joke. In 'Freak Show', the writers made the mistake of piling on oddity after oddity until the weirdness of it had become a gimmick.

The same is true of 'Roanoke': the writers embraced the gruesome killing aesthetic, so that, by the eighth episode, I could no longer find any enjoyment in it. That said, I stuck with it, as one should always, if not in the vain hope that it can salvage a mesmerizing climax, but because, well, I just can't watch a series and not finish it (ie: OCD).

The setup is a documentary series, one of those cable shows in which people tell true ("true") stories of the paranormal as viewers watch cheesy re-enactments.

Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. (Marcia Clark and O.J. Simpson from "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J.") are Shelby and Matt Miller, Los Angeles newlyweds who, after a violent crime, move to North Carolina and buy a stately old farmhouse for a stupidly low knock down price.

The premiere episode was stylish and scary enough to make horror fans think this season could be a strong one, especially if it turns out to cover several first-person horror yarns, not just this first. For those following along with me here, feeling what I'm laying down about this sixth season, you'll realize that they had already revealed in the sixth episode that everyone died except for one! So the only thing left is torture porn as they play out the inevitable deaths of the entire crew.

This is further destroyed by the depiction of the rural monster family, who have committed every possible sin expected of outcast rural weirdos: incest, cannibalism, drug addiction and production, and a Faustian deal with a group of sadistic spirits.

In closing, and with all this said, 'American Horror Story' isn't for everyone and even the fan base seems to have varying opinions on which season is the best/worst, but I'd certainly give it a try. Even 'Roanoke', as it does has its AHS suspense moments, but it just seems like the pot is running dry there in the AHS writers room, that's all.

Again though, 'American Horror Story' is most-always fresh, new, and exciting and there isn't anything like it out there, that's for damn sure. It can go on, it can fight its way out of this slump, sure, I believe that to be true, and with 'AHS: Cult' now on our TVs, we'll just have to cross our fingers that the slump has indeed been beaten.

Personally, I've always felt that AHS, at its worst, is still better than any other show at its best and that still holds true even after binge-watching 'Roanoke'. The acting is still good and every recurring actor keeps showing how different they can be from a role to another, which I admire. It ruffled my feathers in seasons 2 and 3, but now I'm used to it - quite like the "family" feeling to the clan of actors, to be frank. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Paley Center for Media: Q&A with Cast and Creative Team from PaleyFest 2017
Collection of 'American Horror Story: Roanoke' Promos

The Sixth Installment of the Acclaimed American Horror Story Anthology Comes to Blu-ray and DVD October 3rd, 2017.

Blu-ray Purchase Link

'Blood Feast (Special Edition)'
(Scott H. Hall, William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / R / (1963) 2017 / Arrow Films - MVD Visual)

Overview: Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw a party unlike any other, and she gets just that when she hires the decidedly sinister Fuad Ramses to cater the event. Promising to provide her guests with an authentic Egyptian feast, Ramses promptly sets about acquiring the necessary ingredients the body parts of nubile young women!

Blu-ray Verdict: Following a series of grisly murders, the Chief of Detectives, (Scott H. Hall) and Detective Pete Thornton, (William Kerwin) are stuck as there's no leads in the case. A wealthy socialite, Mrs. Dorothy Fremont, (Lyn Bolton) tries to get her daughter Suzette, (Connie Mason) off the violent crimes by throwing her a lavish party, and visits the catering service of Fuad Ramses, (Mal Arnold) to deliver an Egyptian style party.

As the series of murders continue, the police are more helpless, as nothing has turned up in the investigation, and Pete decides to blow steam off while attending a lecture on Egyptian history with Suzette. During the course, a mention of a fanatical blood cult from the time period piques his interest, and learning more about it, realizes that the killer is a member of the cult and is trying to carry out the duties by trying to bring it's deity back to life, and race to stop the killer before it goes through.

Well, and in journalistic truth, there's very little good about this film, but there's a lot that they bring in. Director Herschell Gordon Lewis, Florida's pioneering father of low-rent gore, is an Ed Wood-type with a fixation on gushing blood, severed limbs, and ridiculous story lines. Hence, the biggest impact in the film is it's unrelenting and extreme gore! This comes in the form of several incredibly graphic kills. The opening victim not only has her leg cut off, she is first stabbed in the eye!

There's also another victim who has their head smashed open, a leg is baked in an oven, a heart is cut out, a girl is flayed by whipping; and most extreme of all, a tongue is pulled out, roots and all. There is a rare intensity about these scenes, a determination to really rub the extreme violence in.

Even though there are no impact shots of anything, the film instead trades them in their place are lingering "aftermath" shots not easily forgotten, including a bloody stump, complete with bone, sticking up out of the suds in a bathtub, brains spread across the sands of a beach, an empty mouth, and so on.

These hold a really great intensity about them that makes up for their badly-done execution. The only other point worthwhile about it is the lone scene that registers anything resembling horror mood. Searching the killer's hideout, they turn on the lights in a darkened room and find that, in front of them the whole but unnoticed in the dark, is the disemboweled and completely mutilated body of a previous victim.

This is simply the best scene in the film and really serves the film's best shock effect over the blood and gore. The short length also helps, as it's really over before it gets boring and overstays it's welcome. This here really has some good points about it.

Aside from all that Gore stuff, and again, in truth, there isn't a whole lot really wrong with this one. The main thing wrong with the film is that there's way too much here that's incompetent. This is easiest to see in the special effects department. The gore in here, while brutal in design, is hardly anywhere near convincing. The fact that just about all of the graphic blood is so obviously red paint that it's hard to believe it's shocking.

This really renders a lot of the deaths ineffective and give them a really goofy air about them. They're just too fake to be convincing and just come off as ridiculous. It's the same really for every single one of the kills, and that is where the film gets some real negative points. There's also the fact that there's no way around the characters could be as moronic as they are portrayed here. This is sheer stupidity on a massive level, there's really no way else to put it.

The heroes who take all film to make the connection between what's going on that the viewers made in a couple minutes, the investigating police do even less to solve the crimes than the heroes do to think about it, and the fact that they complain about it and can't solve them just makes it all the more frustrating. These are what really hold the film back, but they're big ones.

And so, in closing, 'Blood Feast' does, and is as it says on the label: a very graphic, gory tale that exists only because of how bloody it is rather than how good it is. The blood and guts are good enough for gore-hounds, while those who absolutely hate technically-incompetent films will loathe this one. Me, I actually watched it again two nights later! This is a Full Screen presentation (1:33.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Scum of the Earth - Herschelll Gordon Lewis' 1963 feature
Blood Perspectives - Filmmakers Nicholas McCarthy and Rodney Ascher on Blood Feast
Herschell's History - Archival interview in which director Herschell Gordon Lewis discusses his entry into the film industry
How Herschell Found his Niche - A new interview with Lewis discussing his early work
Archival interview with Lewis and David F. Friedman
Carving Magic - Vintage short film from 1959 featuring Blood Feast Actor Bill Kerwin
Alternate 'clean' scenes from Scum of the Earth
Promo gallery featuring trailers and more
Feature length commentary featuring Lewis and David F. Friedman moderated by Mike Grady
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil

'Blood Feast: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] will be available for purchase on October 24th, 2017.

'Blood Feast: Special Edition' [Blu-ray+DVD] Purchase Link

'Poldark Revealed'
(Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Kyle Soller, Heida Reed, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Join the cast and crew of Poldark to discover the true stories behind the history, books, and characters of Winston Graham's saga. Uncover the passion behind the people bringing Graham' novels to life, with their unforgettable characters, gripping story, fiery passions, and stunning scenery. Dig deep into the history of Cornwall and discover just what makes Ross Poldark the unforgettable hero the world has come to love.

DVD Verdict: Taking you back, if I may, the original Poldark was from what I would describe as the "golden age" of UK television. Poldark sat happily alongside wonderful series like Upstairs and Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke St and War and Peace. I grew up watching it, but moreover because it was set where I was living at the time with my parents re: Cornwall.

Set in 18th century Britain, nay Cornwall, Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner, is a nobleman who shuns social convention. Ross's warmth and his ability to see the true humanity in people, is in stark contrast to the callous, class based snobbery of many of his supposedly, noble peers. Poldark is at its core a romance, but it avoids the "bodice ripper" label by maintaining a very grounded approach to romantic storytelling mixing in a strong social commentary and wry humor.

The cast of this brand new adaptation of Poldark are, to a man and women, truly excellent. Turner is exceptional as Poldark. As is Eleanor Tomlinson who offers up an at times very funny but also deeply touching performance, as Demelza. The remaining cast which is both UK and international, are also extremely talented and well suited to their respective roles.

Given that this is beautiful, coastal Cornwall, we are treated to en mass of the cameraman's preoccupation of showing us said Cornish coastlines from the saddle of Poldark's horse, but we can forgive him for that - as the cinematic visions are beautiful.

Indeed, Poldark is throughout visually stunning and the period enhances the feel of a young man returning from war to an uncertain future and trying to resurrect the family fortune in a disused mine.

And so something such as 'Poldark Revealed' is as much a welcome sight for us fans as anything that has come before it, in truth. We go behind the scenes, on the moors and beyond, listening in on the cast and crew of Poldark, as well as the award-winning creative team behind the series.

Indeed, on this exclusive journey to discover the true stories behind the history, the books, and the characters of Winston Graham's saga, 'Poldark Revealed' begins to reveal the passion behind the people bringing Graham's novels to life, with their unforgettable characters, gripping story, fiery passions, and stunning scenery.

Along with interviews from eminent historians, Andrew Graham, the son of Winston Graham, reveals how his father began writing the Poldark novels when he moved to Cornwall and served as a coast guard during WWII.

In summary, this is a wonderful addition to the series and superb series, in general. It recaptures the golden age of UK television, for those of us old enough to remember it. For those who do not, you are in for a real treat here in the first season of the remake. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Ireland's Wild Coast'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 'Ireland's Wild Coast' is a journey along one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, featuring the wildlife and wild places that make it so special.

DVD Verdict: 'Ireland's Wild Coast' is a documentary directed by Cepa Giblin and John Murray. The latter is most known for his award-winning “Broken Tail” about Indian tigers. After the inevitable stint in the tropics, Murray returned to his native Ireland and help direct two documentaries about its stunning nature and wildlife, the first being “Ireland's Wild River” about the Shannon.

In “Ireland's Wild Coast”, we are introduced to the Irish Atlantic coast, from Skellig Michael in the southwest to County Donegal in the northwest. Animals featured include seals, whales, basking sharks, blue sharks, outcast dolphins (sic), seemingly feral sheep and a wide variety of birds. At Skellig Michael, Manx shearwaters nest in an abandoned medieval monastery. Donegal turns out to be the winter quarters of whooper swans from Iceland - perhaps the only migratory bird spending the winter in Ireland!

I admit that I found 'Ireland's Wild Coast' simply fascinating. The underlying theme of this production is wildlife taking over after humans leaving. In real life, of course, it's the other way around. Murray himself pointed out when interviewed by Swedish television that Ireland, previously regarded as the end of the world, has become one of its most exploited spots, sadly.

But, at least, here on 'Ireland's Wild Coast' from PBS, we get to view never before captured visual wonderment from across Ireland's west coast and wildlife wonders. From the Skellig Rocks; to breaching humpback whales; to golden eagles; to majestic salmon; to the clash of Ireland's last surviving red deer stags, watch this and be amazed. I know I was. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Masterpiece: The Collection'
(Richard Coyle, Frances de la Tour, Tom Riley, Mamie Gummer, Jenna Thiam, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: 1947. A fashion empire rises from the ashes of war-torn Paris, run by the breathtakingly charming and thoroughly ruthless Paul Sabine. But behind the glamour and elegance lies a devastating secret that threatens to destroy the company's delicately built success. Sophisticated and contemporary in tone, this is a story about the price of success, set during a pivotal moment in France's history.

Blu-ray Verdict: 'The Collection', from Amazon, is a series starring the stellar cast of Richard Coyle, Tom Riley, Mamie Gummer, and Frances de la Tour. Set in post-war Paris, Paul Sabine runs a fashion house with the goal of bringing glamour back to Paris and to bring the fashion center of the world back there as well.

His brother, Claude, is the actual designer of the fashions, and the arrangement is that to the public, Paul is the designer and his brother stays in the background. They both barely tolerate their overbearing mother, Yvette, a conniving and manipulative woman.

There are several subplots, the main one being Claude's dalliance with a sailor that leaves him badly beaten and leads to all sorts of trouble for the fashion house. There is also a reporter (Stanley Townsend) digging around for information on what Paul Sabine did during the war. A worker turned model, Nina (Jenna Thiam) has a secret, as does the right hand of the house, Charlotte (Alix Poisson). Meanwhile, Paul's wife (Mamie Gummer) attempts to hold onto her husband and mollify Claude.

For some reason, when a series involving fashion is done - The Time in Between, Velvet, as two examples - the era chosen is post-war. The clothing is dazzling in this, and there's mystery, family dynamics, and intrigue present as well. The first season ends on a real cliffhanger.

There's nothing not to love. I do have one quibble that people who live in France, and who are French are speaking French, but most times in English. So, as much as they are obviously not speaking English with a French accent, the fact that most all of the actors are British, and who speak with British accents some times. Confused? Yes, me too, sorry, but that aside, you get over that pretty quickly. Why? Well, it just doesn't matter. They're speaking French. Job done. I mean, in Chekov's plays, the characters are speaking Russian, but outside of Russia, the plays are performed in other languages. Should those people be speaking with Russian accents?

Moving on, and in wrap, the acting is uniformly good in 'The Collection,' with Frances de la Tour ('Rising Damp') a standout, though the two brothers, played by Coyle and Riley, are wonderful. Another actress, Poppy Corby-Tuech, who plays Dominique, is exquisitely beautiful. Mamie Gummer rocks her elegant outfits and is excellent as Paul's unhappy wife.

And as the desperate model Nina, Jenna Thiam gives a sympathetic performance. Give this series a chance and I think you'll also fall in love with it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Designing The Times
Rags To Riches
Behind The Masks

'The Real Story: Platoon'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning film 'Platoon' brought the true horror of the Vietnam War to the big screen. Based on Stone's own experiences as a soldier in the conflict, the film captivated millions of viewers all over the world. But how much of the film was real and how much was Hollywood fiction?

DVD Verdict: We all have heard of, and most likely seen the 1986 movie of the same name as this new PBS/Smithsonian documentary, but all these years later, now we get the chance to learn more about the basis for the war movie of the year.

The movie features Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaving his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he's on the ground in the middle of battle, his idealism fades.

Infighting in his unit between Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who believes nearby villagers are harboring Viet Cong soldiers, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), who has a more sympathetic view of the locals, ends up pitting the soldiers against each other as well as against the enemy.

Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning film was one for the ages, even back the when it was released just ahead of Christmas Day, December 19th, 1996. It showcased the human effect of the war alongside the manual overload of battle, both in equal measures.

Based on Stone's own experiences as a soldier in the conflict, the film was raw, unadulterated when it came to blood, gore, death, humanity and survival (for some), now PBS wonders just how much of the film was real and how much was Hollywood fiction?

Indeed, to reveal the real story, they recreate scenes, uncover a radio transmission from the battle that inspired the movie's climax, and interview writer/director Oliver Stone and cast member Willem Dafoe.

It's a fascinating documentary that the Smithsonian Channel has put together here and one that should always accompany the watching of the film for generations to come. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'SAS: Rogue Warriors'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Today, the Special Air Service is the world's most famous combat unit with the motto 'Who Dares Wins' but the story of how it came into existence has been, until now, a closely guarded secret.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, the SAS are The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. The SAS was founded in 1941 as a regiment, and later reconstituted as a corps in 1950.[5] The unit undertakes a number of roles including covert reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, direct action and hostage rescue.

The corps presently comprises 22 Special Air Service Regiment, the regular component under the operational command of United Kingdom Special Forces, and 21 (Artists) Special Air Service Regiment (Reserve) and 23 Special Air Service Regiment (Reserve), which are reserve units under the operational command of 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade.

The Special Air Service traces its origins to 1941 and the Second World War. It was reformed as part of the Territorial Army in 1947, named the 21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists Rifles). The 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, which is part of the regular army, gained fame and recognition worldwide after its televised rescue of all but one of the hostages held during the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.

Here in 'SAS: Rogue Warriors', and for the first time, the SAS has agreed to open up its archive and allow Ben Macintyre to reveal the true story of their formation during the darkest days of World War II.

With unprecedented access to the SAS secret files, unseen footage and exclusive interviews with its founder members, this series tells the remarkable story behind an extraordinary fighting force. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Girl In The Box'
(Addison Timlin, Zelda Williams, Zane Holtz, et al / DVD / NR / 2017 / LGF)

Overview: In 1977, a girl is kidnapped and kept in a coffin-sized box. When her captors let her out, it's only to abuse her horribly. Will she ever escape?

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, this TV movie is based on a real case that occurred in Red Bluff, a small town in Northern California roughly 3 hours from the border of Oregon. Once you know that, and then watch this Lifetime Movie, you will have a whole other appreciation for what the central character goes through, trust me.

Based on a true story, 'Girl In The box' is a dark psychological drama. In May 1977, 20-year-old Colleen Stan was kidnapped by a young married couple, Cameron and Janice Hooker.

For the next seven years they kept her locked in a coffin-sized box hidden beneath their bed for up to 23 hours a day. When not imprisoned, Colleen became part of a strange new life as a live-in slave, family child-minder, and victim of Cameron's bizarre and extreme S&M fantasies.

'Girl In The Box' is one of those stories that's so incredibly compelling even glitches in the telling can't sap it of its interest. The biggest area in which I give writer/director Stephen Kemp points is that he's able to make all three principals genuinely interesting characters rather than cardboard heroines or villains.

Ergo, Janice (Zelda Williams) comes off as part-perpetrator, part-victim; Cameron (Zane Holtz) shows off a real personal charm even though we hate him for his actions (one could see why a woman would fall in love with him and go along willingly with at least some of his demands, and the fact that he's a nice person on the surface and a villain only underneath makes him scarier than if he'd been played as a typical looney-tunes movie psycho); and Colleen Stan (Addison Timlin) comes off as a sympathetic victim but also an almost terminally naïve one.

One of the cops who worked on the case called Cameron a "pure psychopath," which for once is technically accurate — the general definition of a psychopath is someone who regards other people as simply objects he or she can use however he or she likes, without any account for their needs or feelings at all — to the point where they can kill people and not feel a shred of guilt or remorse; they were just in the way and she got rid of them. Watch this today, but when out, (sadly) just be wary of your surrounding at all times. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Farewell Ferris Wheel'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Filmed over the span of six years, the film follows a carnival owner, a labor-recruiter, and workers from a small town in Mexico who join the carnival legally on seasonal visas.

DVD Verdict: To be frank, 'Farewell Ferris Wheel' is an honest on-the-ground portrait of the financial, emotional, and physical challenges they all face.

Indeed, I have never, ever seen such a documentary of its ilk before, but I cannot see another one come close to the reveal of this new PBS documentary, that's for sure.

For those that want a wee bit more history to the infamous fun fair Ferris Wheel, well, it is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with multiple passenger-carrying components (commonly referred to as passenger cars, cabins, tubs, capsules, gondolas, or pods) attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, they are kept upright, usually by gravity.

Some of the largest modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on the outside of the rim, with electric motors to independently rotate each car to keep it upright. These wheels are sometimes referred to as observation wheels and their cars referred to as capsules, however these alternative names are also used for wheels with conventional gravity-oriented cars.

The original Ferris Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The generic term Ferris wheel is now used for all such structures, which have become the most common type of amusement ride at state fairs in the United States.

Carnivals have a delightful place in the American imagination, with childhood memories of family fun, fantasy, and summer nostalgia. But rising expenses and changes in U.S. labor patterns have caused many employers to find labor outside of U.S. borders.

'Farewell Ferris Wheel' is an inside look at the struggles of an industry trying to stay alive by employing Mexican migrant workers with a controversial visa.

Filmed over the span of six years, 'Farewell Ferris Wheel' really hits home the fact of how many people it takes to put one of these beasts up, what dangers they behold, and what their lives are surrounding such fun fairs and carnivals, on a daily/yearly basis. It's open, it's honest, and its raw - just like many other PBS documentaries of this type. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Farthest - Voyager in Space'
(Blu-ray / PG / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Launched in 1977, NASA's epic Voyager missions revolutionized our understanding of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and their spectacular moons and rings. In 2012, Voyager 1 left our solar system and ushered humanity into the interstellar age.

Blu-ray Verdict: For those not in the full know, and as always, it's best to start with the complete facts, The Voyager program is a continuing American scientific program that employs two robotic probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, to study the outer Solar System.

They were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and are now exploring the outer boundary of the heliosphere in interstellar space.

Although their original mission was to study only the planetary systems of Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 continued on to Uranus and Neptune, and both Voyagers are now tasked with exploring interstellar space.

Their mission has been extended three times, and both probes continue to collect and relay useful scientific data. Neither Uranus nor Neptune has been visited by any probe other than Voyager 2.

On 25 August 2012, data from Voyager 1 indicated that it had become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, traveling "further than anyone, or anything, in history". As of 2013, Voyager 1 was moving with a velocity of 17 kilometers per second (11 mi/s) relative to the Sun.

Hence the release of this incredible new PBS documentary, 'The Farthest - Voyager in Space'. Directed by Emer Reynolds, The Farthest tells the story of that successful, and record breaking Voyager 1 mission through first-hand accounts from the passionate men and women who built the ships and guided their journeys.

Negotiating a series of perils on its Grand Tour of the outer planets, Voyager beamed back spectacular images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. But their moons offered bigger surprises - volcanoes, geysers, and a liquid water ocean. On the chance of discovery by intelligent aliens, each spacecraft carried a Golden Record with music and spoken greetings.

The mission has earned its place in the pantheon of human achievements. Long after our sun has flamed out, the Voyagers are likely to be sailing on, perhaps the only evidence that we ever existed. BONUS FILM: Second Genesis explores the scientific quest to find life or evidence of it beyond Earth. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Vice Versa' [Blu-ray]
(Judge Reinhold, Fred Savage, Corinne Bohrer, et al / Blu-ray / PG / (1988) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: During an argument, a divorced executive and his 11 year old son casually touch a magical Tibetan skull, releasing a mysterious power that transfers the father's mind to the body of the son and vice versa. Their problems have just begun.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, based on the 1882 novel of the same name by F. Antsey, 'Vice Versa' is a hugely enjoyable comedy.

Indeed, it was one of my favorite childhood films and it held up remarkably well. It has a strong and very witty script by British sitcom veterans Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and it is very well directed by Brian Gilbert.

It may not be on the same level as 'Big', another film from the same year which covers much of the same territory, but it is still enormous fun. I think that it is second only to that film as the best of the many body swapping films of the late 1980s. I enjoyed it considerably more than the underwhelming 1948 British version written and directed by Peter Ustinov.

The film stars Judge Reinhold as Marshall Seymour, an up-and-coming 35-year-old executive vice president at the Chicago department store Vigar and Avery. He is so ambitious and determined to succeed in his chosen profession that he is unknowingly neglecting his 11-year-old son Charlie, played by Fred Savage.

While it is not expressly stated, it is pretty safe to assume that his obsessive work ethic is what lead to the demise of his marriage to Charlie's mother Robyn. Charlie feels a little unloved by his uptight, neurotic and mostly absent father and, while he is disappointed that Marshall misses his concert, he is not terribly surprised as this sort of thing seemingly happens on a regular basis.

However, their worlds get turned upside down when they switch places due to a magical Tibetan skull, as you do.

Reinhold is hilarious as Charlie and his excellent performance perfectly captures the enthusiasm and immaturity of an 11-year-old boy. He brings a great deal of childlike innocence to the role and the awkward way in which he walks suggests that the small for his age Charlie is having a bit of trouble adjusting to life in Marshall's gangly, 6'2" frame.

However, Savage steals the show as Marshall, who gets the short end of the stick. Although he recalled his own childhood with great pleasure, he soon discovers that he was viewing it through rose colored glasses and that life can be tougher for a child than many adults realize.

Savage was one of the best child actors of his generation and it is easy to see why he was given the lead role in a TV series at only 12. Although he is playing a 35-year-old in the body of a child, his performance nevertheless seems very natural.

Savage is able to convey Marshall's maturity and occasionally obnoxious tendencies extremely well. He plays the material straight rather than sending it up, a mistake that many lesser (and older) actors make it comes to comedy. Savage and Reinhold have great chemistry and this makes the film's premise seem all the more believable.

Gilbert's great eye for casting is not only on display with the two leads but with respect to the supporting cast as well. Corinne Bohrer, whom I have always thought deserved bigger roles, is very good as Marshall's girlfriend Sam, who is likewise feeling a little neglected because of his work schedule.

The same is true of Swoosie Kurtz and David Proval as the art thieves Lillian Brookmeyer and Turk, who desperately try to gain possession of the skull throughout the film. It also features great performances from Jane Kaczmarek as Robyn, William Prince as Marshall's boss Stratford Avery and Beverly Archer as Charlie's teacher Jane Luttrell and, in smaller roles, Richard Kind, James Hong, Elya Baskin and Gloria Gifford.

Overall, this is a great feelgood film which entertained me almost as much as it did when I was eleven. There is a nice exploration of the father-son relationship and a few touching moments between the laughs. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Mary Reilly' [Blu-ray]
(Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, George Cole, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1996) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: A housemaid falls in love with Dr. Jekyll and his darkly mysterious counterpart, Mr. Hyde.

Blu-ray Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment and now on Blu-ray for the very first time, the most general problem about 'Mary Reilly' is that people are fooled by the foundation of this story.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a horror story, true, but Mary Reilly is not. What Valerie Martin did with the book was to take the story, and instead of exploring the conflict in Harry Jekyll, exploring the psyche of the broken servant girl, and gives an interesting view into life as it was for the underclass in the Victorian London.

Mary Reilly is the soft spoken and demure chambermaid who works in the house of the rather eccentric Dr. Harry Jekyll. He is a gentle man and shows an interest in Mary's story in a way that she is not used to from her masters. At the same time she is fascinated by the uncivilized and crazed fervor of the master's assistant, Edward Hyde.

The scenery and imagery is eerie and elusive, and at the same time visceral and physical and it is constantly covered in the smog of the industrial age. There is no attempt to pretty up the destitution and the physical and moral corruption of London in the Victorian age, a contrast to many other period pieces as they show the Victorian age as something elegant and romantic.

This is dirt and gold side by side. Examples are the trip down butcher alley with Edward Hyde and the sight of the autopsy slab through the swinging doors. This also counts as some of the most unpleasant scenes to watch, but there is also a few hints of gore in this. The prostitute's bedroom is nauseating.

Julia Roberts is good in this role, dodgy accent aside, I think it is so annoying to hear people continue to rant about it. Yeah the accent is crap, but is easy to disassociate from if you try. I think that Roberts give a very good performance, her eyes are haunted, and her body language speaks of a cowed spirit. There is tuned down from the Hollywood glamour, and it really suits her.

John Malkovich is absolutely spectacular, the lack of attempt on an English accent I barely thought of. He is gentle and soft spoken as Jekyll, yet all the time with a glitter of madness in his eyes, it's wonderful. Yet he is perfect as Mr. Hyde, the madness, the brutality, his coarseness, a man completely enslaved by his urges.

John Malkovich smoothly glides through both roles Other memorable performances is Glenn Close as the greedy brothel owner, and Michael Gambon as Mary's monstrous father, he's a man of one's nightmares.

I thought Mary Reilly such a fascinating film because it is so phycological, a person with a little knowledge of Freud and Jung will be to see that parallels in the story to their theories. Exactly why I don't consider it a problem that Jekyll and Hyde are not difficult to separate in their looks. They are supposed to be two sides of the same person, while they also have a little bit of the opposite in them.

The idea of Jekyll and Hyde being the two projectors for Mary's desire is ingenious, the gentle and the ferocious, the safety drive and the sex drive. Well the story has so many psychological layers that it is hard to dissect them all.

The ending was the perfect round up of the story, very poignant and moving. This film is not for those people who wants a gorish horror movie with everything served. This film is for people who does not mind a slow pace, but likes to savor the characters and the mood of this.

In conclusion, 'Mary Reilly' is a truly underrated psychological drama, and while it's not an actual horror film in my opinion, it does has some very nerve wrecking suspenseful moments. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Mini-Series'
(Anthony Hopkins, Leslie-Anne Down, Derek Jacobi, et al / DVD / NR / (1982) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: A disfigured man is feared and tormented by the townspeople of Notre Dame, but he has a sensitive nature of which few are aware.

DVD Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment on DVD this October 3rd, 2017, 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' brings us the infamous tale that takes place in the 15th Century. In Paris, a young priest named Claude Frollo finds a horribly deformed child abounded in the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Frollo names the child Quasimodo and raises him in the church. 25 years later Frollo has become the Archdeacon of Notre Dame and Quasimodo the bellringer, who amongst the citizens of Paris is also known as "the Hunchback". During the Feast of Fools, a young gypsy dancer Esmeralda unintentionally wakes the carnal desires inside of Frollo. She also gains the attentions of Quasimodo, a poet Gringoire and Captain Phoebus of King's guards.

This 1982 TV movie/mini-series of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is an interesting mix of Victor Hugo's book and previous movies of the story. During some parts of the film the story seems to be very close to Hugo's book, whereas in others it seems to follow the footsteps of the famous 1939 version.

Not only that, but film does include some ideas of its own. Frollo's pupil Philippe never appeared in the book or other movies, and this is the only version along with the Disney movie where Esmeralda gives Quasimodo a kiss.

Technically the movie is quite well done for a TV production. The replica of Notre Dame is extremely well made, but some scenes really suffer. In other versions the Feast of Fools has always been presented as an extremely festive event, but here I see none of it. Almost looks like there's not a single person in Paris who would want to celebrate. Also the Court of Miracles scene is a letdown. On the other hand, the angry mob invading Notre Dame is surprisingly well managed.

As for cast, the film includes two amazing performances from Anthony Hopkins and Derek Jacobi. Hopkins, nearly a decade before his fame as Hannibal Lecter, goes right there with the first Lon Chaney as my favorite Quasimodo. You can hardly recognize the man under all the makeup but he really puts passion to his role and makes a touching performance.

The scene of Quasimodo crying after receiving water from Esmeralda, and later when we see how ashamed he is of his ugliness when near her, are truly heartbreaking ones. Jacobi completely nails the character of Claude Frollo, showing a priest dedicated for God, but who becomes obsessed of a girl who woke his hidden needs.

Jacobi is fantastic in the role, showing a good man on his journey to madness. His scene with Esmeralda in the dungeon shows actual torment and conflict.

Rest of the cast is so and so. I was really excited to see David "Hercule Poirot" Suchet as Clopin, but the film keeps his part frustratingly short and Suchet doesn't really have any chances to explore the role. Pity, because he does look great for the part.

Robert Powell is a great actor and he does capture the egoistic gambler and skirt-chaser that Phoebus is, but he doesn't look right to the part for me. Biggest disappointment comes from Lesley-Anne Down as Esmeralda. Not only is she the weakest link of the cast, but she also lacks the looks. She is pretty, but not pretty enough to make entire Paris drool after her.

Her dance scene is a big disappointment, no thrill whatsoever. Gerry Sundquist is okay as Gringoire but that's it. I certainly fail to see why he should get Esmeralda. Tim Piggot-Smith's invented character Philippe serves no purpose in the story.

The film is lacking in some parts but is decent to watch and it does have two remarkable performances from Hopkins and Jacobi, which alone are worth seeing for. Also during Esmeralda's trial scene you can enjoy cameos of Nigel Hawthorne as Judge and John Gielgud as the Inquisitor. Highly recommended. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'The Five People You Meet In Heaven'
(Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn, Jeff Daniels, et al / DVD / NR / (2004) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: An elderly amusement park maintenance man, Eddie, is trapped in purgatory and the only way out is to confront five people from his past. Unfortunately, dark secrets from his service in the Philippines begin to haunt him.

DVD Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment on DVD this October 17th, 2017, written by Mitch Albom and directed by Lloyd Kramer, due to the success of Mitch Albom's books, it was always a dream of mine that they would one day turn it into movie.

Being that Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven are two of my favorite books, I was rather excited, to say the least, when I discovered they had turned the latter into a Made-For-TV movie.

Being that The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of my favorite books, I was a little disappointed, but I still really liked this movie. As noted above, this is a Made-For-TV movie so it doesn't have the great budget nor quality it deserved. But the cinematography is great, believe me.

'Five People' is about how each person we meet, though appearing insignificant, are part of the vast web of interconnection that affects our life.

Jon Voight plays Eddie, an 83-year old mechanic who has worked at the Ruby Pier Amusement Park all his life except for a stint in the army during World War II. The first thing we learn about Eddie is that he is dead, killed in a roller coaster accident while trying to save a little girl.

The next thing we find out is that, in Heaven, Eddie will meet and talk with five people who were the most influential in his life. People Eddie would probably not think of first, but whose influence becomes slowly and painstakingly revealed.

As he re-experiences traumatic events from the past, it soon becomes clear that what they share with him allows him to complete and illuminate the past.

Eddie meets "The Blue Man" (Jeff Daniels), part of the sideshow at the park, his Army captain (Michael Imperioli), his wife Marguerite (Dagmara Dominczyk) who died after only a few years of marriage, the wife of the original owner of the Ruby Pier (Ellen Burstyn), and a little Filipino girl named Tala (Nicaela and Shelbie Weigel).

In closing, yes, 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' is most definitely well worth the watch and will leave you less worried, perhaps, about your own final moments on this earth. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Man With A Camera - The Complete Series'
(Charles Bronson, James Flavin, Ludwig Stössel, et al / 2-Disc DVD+Digital / NR / (1958-1960) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Charles Bronson stars as Mike Kovac, a veteran combat photographer who is now works as a New York City freelance photographer. Kovac specializes in getting those hard to capture photos that other photographers cannot take. Kovac utilizes his police contacts in learning about those cases that might bring him the perfect picture.

DVD Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment on a brilliant 2-Disc DVD set (complete with Digital) this October 17th, 2017, in truth, I've never been much of a Charles Bronson fan, but boy, 'Man with a Camera' was the role that brought him major attention - and into my world.

This was one of the very early series of the young ABC network, so it suffered from a low budget and poor production values, but was broadly hyped by ABC.

Bronson played Mike Kovac, a former combat photographer now free-lancing in New York City, specialising in getting the photographs that other lensmen can't (or don't have the guts to obtain). Ludicrously, a lot of Kovac's assignments came from the police and newspaper editors, who never seemed to have their own photographers on staff.

As this was a crime show, Kovac's assignments always embroiled him in some caper, usually involving a good-looking woman. Kovac's police liaison was Lieutenant Donovan, well-played by James Flavin but stuck with the implausible cliché (dating back to Inspector Lestrade) of the cop who has to go to the independent free-lance hero for help with all the cases the cops can't handle.

One strong point of 'Man with a Camera' is that it involved the latest photographic technology, which inevitably must seem quaint from our modern standpoint. The boot of Kovac's car was converted into a portable darkroom. After he snapped his pix, he would then peel off his jacket to reveal a short-sleeved shirt (with Charles Bronson's brawny biceps).

Kovacs would then ceremoniously take off his wristwatch, mix the hypo, and develop his negatives on the spot. (Wot, no Polaroids?) For special assignments, Kovac would use a miniature camera, a fish eye lens, a telephoto attachment or various other gimmicks - all technologically accurate for the time.

The dialogue in this series tended towards the gimmicky as well. In a typical climax, Kovac went into the villain's hideout (unarmed, natch), punched the crap out of him single-handed, then threw him into the street. Lieutenant Donovan comes running along just as Kovac ominously reaches into his jacket as if drawing a weapon. "You're not going to shoot him, are you?" ... Kovac: "After all the trouble I went to, you're darn right I'm gonna shoot him." Then he pulls out his camera and he *shoots* the villain. Geddit? Hoo boy!

As played by monotone actor Bronson, Kovac could have been a dull stereotype. He was humanized somewhat by the presence of his immigrant father Anton, to whom Kovac frequently came for advice.

Now we have both seasons of the show here on a great 2-Disc DVD set from Mill Creek Entertainment. The individual episodes of 'Man with a Camera' tended to have photographic titles, such as 'Close-Up on Violence', 'Double Negative', 'The Picture War' and run 15 in the first season and 14 in the second.

In closing, and for those star spotting along the way at home, the series also boasted an impressive roster of guest stars, including Frank Faylen, Grant Williams, Angie Dickinson, Don Gordon, Harry Dean Stanton and (pre-Batgirl) Yvonne Craig. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Harts of the West - The Complete Series'
(Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Harley Jane Kozak, et al / 2-Disc DVD+Digital / NR / (1993-1994) 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: After suffering a heart attack – and a major midlife crisis – a Chicago lingerie salesman (played by Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Beau Bridges) says adios to the big city and pursues his dream of becoming a cowboy.

DVD Verdict: Released by Mill Creek Entertainment on a brilliant 2-Disc DVD set (complete with Digital) this October 17th, 2017, this pleasant, short-lived TV dramedy (only one season and 15 episodes were ever created, sadly) is about Dave, a Chicago salesman who decides to buy a ranch after he has a heart attack.

His family, especially his kids (whom he's named after Western actors and characters), aren't too thrilled about his dream of being a cowboy, but they go along with it.

In the pilot, Beau Bridges' mother is featured in a dream sequence where his character is about to be hanged. Bridges' father Lloyd, had a recurring role as a ranch hand and Diane Ladd appeared occasionally as Dave's crusty mother-in-law.

I remember when this was around and to be honest, the show just wasn't in a good time slot. That can kill shows dead right here, and it did for this quaint on way too soon. Add that to its leisurely pacing and odd characters, and that's probably why it didn't last long.

A great family show with a cast of quirky characters headed by Beau Bridges, his father and a greatly underrated actor in Stephen Root, rewatching it all over again now it sure was a fun show to sit down with at night.

We watch as their family goes through all the normal issues of life growing up, albeit now "stranded" out in the middle of nowhere, but still manage to get to watch some interesting stories and funny story lines along the way too.

None more so than when Dave and his family moved into town and the whole town was happy to see them - due, primarily to the fact that was was finally enough people in town to get the town put on the actual physical map!

Chock full of cattle drives, rodeos and great guest stars such as Mark Harmon as rodeo clown Sunset Sam Carver, if more care had been taken by the network in finding an audience, 'Harts Of The west' might just have been a big hit - and given us more season to now enjoy. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Super Why! Sleeping Beauty & Other Fairytales'
(DVD / NR / 2017 / PBS Kids)

Overview: Reading is power and Super WHY! helps kids learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive story book adventures!

DVD Verdict: For those of you that are not aware, Super WHY! is a new series that contains a breakthrough interactive approach to reading education. Classic fairy tales with an innovative preschool twist and colorful and empowering young heroes, Super WHY! is the only preschool property created to help kids learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive storybook adventures.

In truth, my 22-month old son loves this show. He loves it because of the singing and interactive nature of the show. I love it because I teach reading at an elementary school! I enjoy the premise of the show immensely - the ability to solve "every day" problems with solutions from a book or story. I also enjoy the fact that Whyatt's super power is the power to read and a big deal is made of it each and every time.

Each of the other characters has "control" over one aspect of reading - spelling power, word power, and alphabet power. All of these skills are important for thinking about letters and sounds as connected and a part of the reading process. Kudos to PBS for providing yet another powerful show that helps our kids learn!

The lead fairytale on this wonderful new DVD enables your kids to soar into the tale of "Sleeping Beauty" with the Super Readers! When Sleeping Beauty just wants to snooze all day instead of playing outside with her friends, Super Why and the gang use their literacy powers to encourage her to try new things!

Next up on this lovely adventure-filled DVD is “The Frog Prince”, where Princess Pea wants to do ballet, and Spider wants to spin webs, so how will these two friends play together?

To find some answers, the Super Readers check out The Frog Prince and meet another Princess who can’t see eye to eye with her friend. Will the Super Readers be able to help the Princess and the Frog kiss and make up?

Then comes “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, where Whyatt’s family is acting very sneaky and he wants to know why! The Super Readers waltz into the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses – who are acting just as secretive.

The Super Readers may be hot on the trail of the Princesses to discover what they’re concealing, but will Whyatt uncover what his family is hiding?

And, finally, “Princess Gwennie Saves the Day”, where Princess Pea is feeling dramatic (as usual) and she and Red are staging a play. Princess is pretending she’s a queen, but Red doesn’t know what to be!

The Super Readers fly into the story of a princess with a silly sense of humor and a big job to do. They help Gwennie use her talents to save the day, and Red discovers her own special gifts.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Episodes of:

"Sleeping Beauty" "The Frog Prince"
"The Twelve Dancing Princesses"
"Princess Gwennie Saves the Day"

'Super Why! Sleeping Beauty & Other Fairytale Adventures' will be available on DVD beginning October 31st, 2017 and has a run time of approximately 113 minutes.

'Wild Kratts: Wild Winter Creatures!'
(Martin Kratt, Chris Kratt / DVD / G / 2017 / PBS Kids!)

Overview: Join Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt as they embark on four snowy winter adventures! When Chris loses his creature souvenir collection in the Arctic, will he be able to get his creature treasures back before the evil Zach Varmitech finds them?

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Chris and Martin Kratt are brothers (in real life!) who explore the wild throughout the world to learn more about animals and share conservation information. They have three friends who travel in the Tortuga HQ with them named Aviva, Koki and Jimmy Z.

The brothers have creature power suits that allow them to experience what it's like to be the animals they find. The team helps them by creating power suit creature disks for each animal they study. They also bring them supplies and help them out of tricky situations when their adventures get dicey.

In 'Wild Kratts: Wild Winter Creatures!', Chris loses his creature souvenir collection in the Arctic and suddenly it's a race against time, and Evil, to get back his creature treasures before the evil Zach Varmitech finds them!

Also, Chris and Martin continue to face Zach Varmitech when he kidnaps a polar bear cub and a walrus calf, and again when he threatens to use an entire walrus herd to mine precious pearls for Donita Donata's fashion line!

In short, and containing four (4) entertaining episodes, 'Wild Kratts' is a great cartoon adventure show for kids where they can learn about new animals and why conservation is so important to the world, not just them

Also, we get to learn fun facts, straight from the box cover art work, in this case: Do polar bears hibernate in the Winter? The answer is ... ha, you'll find the answer on the back of the DVD! So go buy it today for your inquisitive young ones as any Wild Kratts DVD is a DVD that will entertain and educate your kids for the longest of times. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the four (4) Wild Kratt adventures of: “Polar Bears Don’t Dance”, “Mystery of the Weird Looking Walrus”, “Journey to the Subnivean Zone”, and “Musk Ox Mania”.

'Friar Alessandro: The Voice from Assisi'
(Friar Alessandro, et al / DVD / G / 2017 / PBS)

Overview: Friar Alessandro performs sacred standards like "Panis Angelicus" and "Ave Maria," in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, as well as songs which share his spiritual message, including "Here I Am, Lord," "Gaelic Blessing," and more, accompanied by the Orchestra da Camera di Perugia, the choir of the Basilica, and the children's choir Coro Aurora in this rousing, inspirational concert.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Friar Alessandro is an Italian Franciscan friar and a tenor singer of religious music. He is also the first religious brother to land an exclusive record contract with a major record label, in this case Universal Music.

Friar Alessandro's debut album is called Voice from Assisi (in Italian La voce da Assisi or in French La voix d'Assise). Released in late 2012, the initial single is actually a double-A side release, featuring the tracks "Panis Angelicus" and "Sancta Maria".

He followed that up with Voice of Joy (in French, Chanter La Joie) in 2013, but has remained quiet, so to speak, with his recording career ever since. But now he has released a beautiful new DVD via PBS Distribution entitled 'Friar Alessandro: The Voice from Assisi'.

In his first major solo concert for television, Friar Alessandro performs sacred standards like "Panis Angelicus" and "Ave Maria," in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, the 800 year-old church that houses the burial place of St. Francis. The tenor also performs songs which share his spiritual message, including "Here I Am, Lord"; "Gaelic Blessing"; and many more.

Against the astonishingly beautiful medieval Life of St. Francis frescoes by Giotti that cover the entire interior of the Basilica's sanctuary, Alessandro is accompanied by the Orchestra da Camera di Perugia, the choir of the Basilica, and the childrens' choir Coro Aurora in this rousing, inspirational concert.

Bonus video! Friar Alessandro: Here I Am - Friar Alessandro speaks candidly about how he became a singer, his vocation, his passions, and more! Trust me when I say that whether you're a fan of Friar Alessandro's music or a casual, yet interested passerby, once you've watched this incredible DVD you'll be hooked. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

'Step' [DVD+Digital HD]
(Paula Dofat, Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, et al / DVD+Digital HD / PG / 2017 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: 'Step' documents the senior year of a girls' high-school step dance team against the background of inner-city Baltimore.

DVD Verdict: OK, it has to be said that having now watched 'Step' (twice) for this review, that it is, and quite easily, now on of my favorite ever documentaries! Directed by Amanda Lipitz and distributed by Fox Searchlight, when I first heard about the film I was rather excited about it anyway, if truth be told.

Mainly because the art of stepping is such an integral part of African-American culture and history. Then when I saw it, twice, as aforementioned, and it completely exceeded every expectation I ever had set aside for it! You will instantly fall in love with all of these lovely young black women, of that have no doubt.

The film follows Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger and Tayla Solomon through their senior year at Baltimore's Leadership School for Young Women. As they navigate the college admissions race while participating in the school's step team, we are given a glimpse of African-American life devoid of stereotype or negativity.

In conclusion, 'Step' is actually a mashup of two wonderfully uplifting films into one. On the one hand, it is a film about the personal struggles and triumphs that three talented black teen girls and their middle class families face. On the other, it is a movie about a step team trying to win its first championship.

I cried, laughed, then cheered and cried with joy again! You will, too, for this powerful film is one for the decades, of that have no doubt. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Director Commentary By Amanda Lipitz
Lethal Ladies Music Video - 'Step Is Life'
The Lethal Ladies Of BLSYW
Inside The Rehearsal Room