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"CITIZEN KANE" OR "SPOOKY BUDDIES" -- DECISIONS, DECISIONS...
Blog, Movies
Posted on Sep 19 2011 by Greg
Okay, dress up cute puppies in costumes and give them adorable voices and put them in a fluffy vehicle that shows them off to their adorable-est? Another "Buddies" movie on DVD and Blu-ray, this time Halloween-themed.



Yes, a new special edition DVD and Blu-ray of Citizen Kane was also just released--but look at those little puppy faces in these clips from Spooky Buddies...awww...what to choose, what to choose...

And did Charles Foster Kane have special offer coupons in his newspaper? We'll never know, but here's one for Spooky Buddies.







BBC RADIO PRESENTS A WEEK SALUTING ROALD DAHL, WILLY WONKA AND MORE
Blog
Posted on Sep 09 2011 by Greg


On the daily BBC Radio 4 Extra series The 4 O'Clock Show, all five shows this week covered subjects relating to the world of Roald Dahl, particularly Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, including interviews with Gene Wilder,  Johnny Depp and Tim Burton and a real life chocolate factory tour.



The entire week's shows are here for free, for a limited time.






"THE TWILIGHT ZONE" RADIO DRAMA CD SETS ON SALE
Blog
Posted on Sep 08 2011 by Greg


Over the past several years, classic Twilight Zone episodes have been lovingly recreated in stereo sound with full casts, the original music and celebrity headliners including Lou Diamond Phillips, Blair Underwood, Stan Freberg, Jim Caviezel (below), Shelley Berman, John Ratzenberger, Daniel J. Travanti, Adam West, Cathy Garver and many more.



You can download each show on iTunes, and hear them on certain radio stations, but I like the 10-disc sets, which are being closed out for $10 each right here. Volume One is already sold out.


Luke Perry







"...FERBULOUS!" - The Danville Tri-Stater
Blog, TV
Posted on Sep 02 2011 by Greg
The above critical rave is fictional, but don't you just love the way some reviews make the huzzahs really big and the sources small? ("*****A TRIUMPH!" - The Margate Pennysaver).

In the case of Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, its acclaim was well-earned and the ratings were high. The series is one of the best series on television today, including live action and prime time. And if you follow the series, you can spot references between episodes and learn its "language," so to speak. And it's very easy to do that because Disney Channel and Disney X-D runs the already large library of episodes quite a lot.

This helps in appreciating the first TV Phineas and Ferb movie, Across the 2nd Dimension, especially the spectacular climactic scene that parades elements from numerous episodes within minutes. However, it's not necessary to be a Phineasoid to enjoy the film.

Like the series, it's chock full of eclectic songs that weave through a snappy script. It's not just a padded episode, but a well-constructed story that sets up a logical way for the basic series premise to unravel. For fans of the show, it's the equivalent of Dr. Bellows finding out the truth about Jeannie. How it resets itself to sustain the series' continuity is clever.



The DVD package comes with a bonus digital disc so you can download the movie on an I-device plus eight songs (though I recommend the soundtrack album too). There's one episode from the series with a commentary track, though I wish the feature had a commentary too.







ALL THIS AND "BAMBI 2"
Blog, Movies
Posted on Sep 01 2011 by Greg
It seems that no one who embarked on creating a sequel to one of Walt Disney's most celebrated animated classics went forward with a foolish sense bravado -- as if it were possible to recapture the circumstances that combined Walt himself with a "perfect storm" of artistic talents to bring the 1942 Bambi to the big screen. Add to that, a direct-to-DVD budget that would never match modern-day dollars it would have taken to reach the level of the original. Fortunately, the sequel's creative team were not that foolhardy and instead approached the project with respect, affection and reverence.

What the makers of Bambi 2 did have, however, was digital technology allowing them to fashion vivid settings very much in the painterly style of the first film; some very elaborate animation (particularly for a direct-to-DVD release) and most of all, the supervision of master animator Andreas Deja to keep the standards as high as possible.

The results are remarkably effective. It cannot summon the power and majesty of the original (and it would be outrageous to expect that in any case), but Bambi 2 is one of the most solid and satisfying of the much-maligned Disney video sequels.

In addition to the very sincere adherence to the visual style, it is the sound track that impresses, with the great Patrick Stewart voicing the Great Prince and a spot-on voice cast clearly chosen for their accuracy in reproducing the original cast instead of relying on a lot of celebrity names. The young boy voicing Thumper is especially amazing. It is a triumph of smart voice casting over marketing demands.

Also notable is Joel McNeely's score, which interpolates themes from the landmark music by Edward Plumb and the melody of the Oscar-nominated "Love is a Song." New songs, particularly "There is Life" sung by Alison Krauss, are fine complements to the new story, as were the songs in the original. One might object to the easy-listening contemporary style of these songs, but the 1942 songs were performed very much in the style of their time, as well.



On Blu-ray it all looks even better. But you'll definitely want to pair this with the Walt Disney classic and not worry too much about making comparisons. Just revel in their respective merits.

My only real issue is with the title. "Bambi 2" simply invites comparison and suggest the inherent misgivings of a sequel. I'm sure there was much discussion before the title was selected, but I would have preferred the alternate, Bambi and the Great Prince. Maybe there was a concern that this title might have made some expect that Bambi was going to encounter a rock star or a box of elbow macaroni.









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