LONDON - You can’t keep a wicked Cylon down.
Battlestar Galactica is back with another time during William Adama’s life explored. Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome takes us to the early years of the battle between humans and Cylons. Straight out of flight school, Adama (Skins‘ Luke Pasqualina) gets assigned to the Battlesstar Galactica. Instead of getting a Viper to attack the Cylons, he’s stuck on a Raptor with Coker Fasjovik (Stargate Atlantis’s Ben Cotton). They think they’re assigned a boring missions when they take aboard a passenger, but they end up in the heart of the battle. The movie works for people who haven’t sat through all four seasons of the revived BSG.
In an interesting pattern release, Machinima originally ran a cut of the movie as a 10 part webisode series. The movie currently airs on Syfy. A longer cut of the film will be released on February 19th with a home video package with Blu-ray, DVD, digital download via iTunes and Ultraviolet streaming access. There’s no news if you can buy a 4K version for UHD.
To celebrate the release, the Party Favors was invited to join a conference call featuring Luke Pasqualina and Ben Cotton. The duo called in from both sides of the Atlantic. Luke was in England where an ambulance siren dominated part of the chat. Ben was somewhere in North America. Yet you could sense that their time working together on the project had made them good pals as they swapped off answering questions like a doubles tennis team.
This wasn’t Ben’s first time in the Battlestar universe. He played the role of Terrified Man in Battlestar Galactica: Razor. When my question time came up, I asked what was it like to return to project?
“Well for Razor. I mean I was there for a day,” Ben said. “It was fairly short and sweet; I think I was in and out by lunch. I was playing a character. You barely saw my face.”
He gets to show a lot more of his face in Blood & Chrome and had more meals at the studio.
“I think we had 15 shooting days and then we rehearsed for another week before that. So the process was a far greater undertaking for sure. There was a character there.” Viewers won’t confuse his Coker with the Terrified Man.
Jonas Pate directed the film. He and his twin brother Josh Pate had made their mark back in the ’90s with films and the series Surface and Good vs. Evil. Jonas had directed an episode of the revived Battlestar Galactica. I asked what’s it like to work with half of the Pate brothers?
“I’ve only met Jonas,” Ben said. Before he could say too much, an ambulance with sirens blaring went past Luke. The conversation had to take a pause.
“For me I absolutely - I loved it,” Luke chimed in. “I absolutely loved working with Jonas; just from the moment I met him and in the screen test to the day we wrapped on that show. Jonas just gave us nothing but confidence in ourselves and in the show. And he, you know, he’s a big Battlestar fan himself. So he’s so passionate about working and directing us. And, you know, he was just really passionate about the material and to kind of see that passion in someone that’s directing me it really does reflect on you as an actor.”
“Absolutely,” Ben seconded.
“And I think I speak for Ben when I say that as well. It really was,” Luke said.
“Absolutely,” Ben agreed.
“It really was,” Luke said. “You know, he made us feel nothing but entirely relaxed and so cool and calm. He never lost his head and it was just - you know, just to see that kind of level of - kind of security in himself was brilliant. It really did help us with our performances.”
“I thought it was wonderful,” Ben said. “I thought Jonas gave us all kinds of freedom. You know, like Jonas is what I would call an active director. It was about - you know, at some points I thought, you know, he’s allowing us a lot of nuance; a lot of things that you’re allowed to do more in film than in TV because most of the time in TV it’s hurry up, hurry up, hurry up. And you got to talk fast as part of the process. And Jonas would allow us to find it and to do the work and to have relationship that was a little bit beyond just the work which I think really helped to create chemistry between the characters.”
That was the end of our part of the phone conference. But a few interesting points were brought up as answers to the questions of others.
Before assuming the role of William Adama, Luke did swap emails with the second William Adama, Edward James Olmos (Lorne Greene died in 1987). What did the two actors chat online about?
“None of it was about the work in terms of material, script and performance,” Luke said. “It was all about what to expect. I didn’t want any advice in terms of performance from Eddie because seeing Adama at the age I portray him compared to the age Eddie portrayed him is two completely different stages of anyone’s life. I didn’t want anything Eddie said to me to upset my interpretation of material.”
What’s remarkable about Blood & Chrome is the lack of real sets. After the revived series wrapped up, the props and sets were sold or destroyed. The new film was a digital production. What was the biggest challenge to the actors?
“The hardest part was the helmet,” Ben said. “It’s hard to breathe in those helmets. I didn’t find it to be too much of a challenge.
“I was kind of daunted by the whole thing when I first realized the scale of how much green screen we’d be using,” Luke said. “Our props and a lot of the foreground stuff on our sets were props we could touch and move around. The hardest thing for me was the stuff in the space ship. When something hit the windscreen or something flies over our head, we only had a tennis ball to follow. We adapted to it a lot quicker than we thought.”
“It becomes a little bit like a black box theater situation,” Ben observed. You just have to use your imagination.
The lack of scenery to chew allowed the actors to focus on each other.
“It really came from me and Ben becoming such close friends,” Luke said. “We didn’t feel that we didn’t have to hold back on any kind of performance. If I wanted to shout at him, I could shout at him. If I wanted to laugh at him, I could laugh at him. If I wanted to scream in his face, I could scream in his face. We had so much confidence in our performance. Jonas (Pate) gave us a lot of free range as far as improvisation. If anything was out of character, they just didn’t use it in the final edit.”
“It was really fun,” Ben said. “You get to work with an actor who is going to hand it back to you when you hand it to them. It just kind of rises. It keeps going and keeps going. It was cool, really cool.”
Neither actor knew if there would be any further adventures of Adam and Coker, but both sounded eager to work together.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome Blu-ray contains has deleted scenes and a featurette about the visual effects. The Blu-ray also has a DVD, a way to download a digital version and stream from Ultraviolet so you can enjoy the film while being pursued by Cylons.
I’ll admit that I drooled at the news of a 110″ Ultra High Def TV that delivers the 4K image. But then it hit me - what is anyone really going to do with such resolution? My local Fox and ABC stations run their signal at 720P. The same is true for ESPN and dozens of other cable stations. It’s just hard to get excited over a technology that costs more than my house yet provides less content than a doorknob. It’ll be ready for me in a decade.
FULL FRAME PASSES
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is April 4-7 and the passes are on sale. Come on down to Durham, North Carolina for the friendliest film festival. Here’s the info:
Want to get tickets to your favorite docs at Full Frame before they go on sale to the public? Then don’t miss out on your chance to purchase a PASS to our 16th annual festival! Quantities are limited, so act fast - only the 15 PASS and 20+ PASS remain!
THE 15 PASS ($225)
ONE ticket to 15 films/events, EARLY access to tickets (Mar 20-Apr 1), UNLIMITED access via the Last Minute Line, FREE tote bag and festival program book
THE 20+ PASS ($550)
ONE ticket to 20 films/events, FIRST access to tickets (Mar 18-Apr 1), FIRST access to seating, ACCESS to the festival’s Hospitality Suite, UNLIMITED access via the Last Minute Line, FREE tote bag and festival program book
HOW TO PURCHASE A PASS
BY PHONE: 919.684.4444, Mon-Fri 11am-6pm
BY MAIL: 2013 Pass Mail-In Order Form available HERE
IN PERSON: at the Duke University Box Office, Mon-Fri 11am-6pm
The Insider was a rather shocking film back in 1999 when it dared to show how network news would kill a story to not upset powerful corporations. Of course this was done when TV news became a cheap media that overflows with pundits and low hanging fruit stories. Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) is a scientist willing to blow his non-disclosure agreement to expose how cigarette makers spike their smokes with addictive agents. Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) is a 60 Minutes producer eager to bust the story. But the network isn’t too eager to make it a major exposure. Why? Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) isn’t ready to go to the ropes for this story. Early in his TV career, Wallace was the spokesman for Parliament cigarettes, a product of Phillip Morris. Was he tainted by his former paycheck?. The focus of The Insider is how CBS is scared at exposing corporate secrets even if they are destroying the health of Americans. Director Michael Mann gets underneath the conflict between journalism and corporations doing each other a favor. By the end of the movie, you’ll not want to smoke or trust TV news. Crowe gets to show off his acting muscles as he aged up for the role. The film was up for numerous Oscars, but got smoked by American Beauty. The bonus features are a seven minute vintage production featurette and the trailer.
That Obscure Object of Desire comes from the blissful imagination of surrealist Luis Bunuel. Fernando Rey (The French Connection) is a rich man who falls hard for a flamenco dancer. While that part sounds conventional enough, the movie is told in flashback with the dancer being played by Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina with a random swapping. This is a twisted love between the old man and the dancer. She teases him and he pleases her. She claims a man that might be her love is a fake boyfriend. He kind of buys it. But how long can this go on? There are plenty of surreal touches on the screen including the ending. Bunuel didn’t compromise even if the movie could have so easily been a normal romantic comedy. The movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film and Best Adapted Screenplay in 1977. Bonus features include an interview with both actresses that played the dancer and “A Portrait of Luis Bunuel.” This is a fine 1080p transfer of a classic film.
The Hardy Boys: Season Three marks two major changes for the series that was a Dynamite magazine favorite. Fans might be wondering why this boxset isn’t called The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: Season Three. Well it turns out that Pamela Sue Martin quit the show during season two. They had brought in a replacement Nancy Drew for a few episodes. Things had to change just because Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson were no longer teens tagging along with their detective dad. Thus this season Frank and Joe became the Hardy Men. “The Last Kiss Of Summer” starts Joe (Cassidy) falling in love and bent on marriage. But the romance ended quick when they get into a car wreck caused by a drunk driver. Joe recovers from his injuries, but she’s dead. He devotes his life to track down the killer. Turns out the guy is being watched by the feds so they’re not going to cuff him for a mere drunk driving homicide. Joe goes rogue to befriend the killer and bring down his mob empire. Mills Watson best known as Deputy Perkins on Sheriff Lobo gets to play a mean hood. Kevin Tighe (Emergency!) gets to ignore a wreck on the side of the road. Anne Lockhart (Battlestar Galactica) is a confused girlfriend. The end of the show sets up this season as Joe and Frank get hired by their dad to join the Justice Agency. The two teens now have full time jobs as undercover agents. “Assault on the Tower” shows how dangerous the new gig can be when dad vanishes in London. The boys team up with Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) to find the abductors. Macnee has fun with his John Steed image. “Search for Atlantis” gets more adult when the boys join a dig in Greece looking for heroin. John Colicos takes time off playing Baltar on Battlestar Galactica to be a suspected narcotics kingpin. “Defection to Paradise” is a two part special that brings the Bread. David Gates brings all the seventies superhits of Bread when he performs. Frank and Joe are brought onto the Hawaiian show when Gates’ amp is missing after a gig in the U.S.S.R. Nehemiah Persoff isn’t happy about things. They really shot part of this show in Hawaii unlike their other foreign locations. The sad thing is that making the Hardy Boys more adult didn’t snag more viewers from 60 Minutes on Sundays at 7 p.m. The show only made it to 10 episodes before the brother uncovered the axe. What a shame since this is my favorite season of the series even without Nancy Drew action.
Matlock: The Eight Season s the penultimate time that Ben Matlock (Andy Griffith) rule justice with a noble heart and a hotdog addiction. This was his second season shooting out of Wilmington, North Carolina so there’s a pep to Matlock’s courtroom swagger. He enjoyed home cooking even if it was a hotdog. This season marked the end of Conrad Masters (Clarence Gilyard) as Andy’s go to guy. His role was completely taken over by Cliff Lewis (Daniel Roebuck). But don’t feel bad for Gilyard since he’d soon nab a role on Walker Texas Ranger. “The Play” puts Matlock on stage in a small role. The part grows when he has to defend the director. Rene Auberjoinois gets to break the fourth wall. “The Fatal Seduction” involves Jeri Ryan. She’s tied in with a two murders in North Carolina. “The View” puts Matlock in a Rear Window situation. “The Last Laugh” makes Matlock defend a comedian accused of killing the comic that dissed him onstage. This has nothing to do with Joe Rogen versus Carlos Mencia. Milton Berle is involved in the die laughing drama. “The Haunted” is a plastic surgery gone really bad. John de Lancie (Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation) gets to nip tuck. “Matlock’s Bad, Bad, Bad Dream” makes him imagine he’s defending a client in 1932. What makes it a nightmare is the arrival of Jeff Conway (Taxi). “The Murder Game” has Matlock stuck at a murder mystery weekend with the gang. But things turn real fast and Matlock gets to play real lawyer once more. “The P.I.” screws up the photo subject on a stakeout. George Peppard (A-Team & Banacek) gets to tangle with Matlock when is plan falls apart. “The Idol” makes Ben defend a guy who emulates his style. John Beck (Moonpie in Rollerball) is part of the problem. Only one more season until the end.
Gunsmoke: The Seventh Season, Volume 2 has the cast not looking too worn out as their first hour long season comes to an end. What’s the secret to not letting Marshal Dillon (James Arness), Chester (Dennis Weaver), Doc (Milburn Stone) and Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) looks chipper? The show had the guest stars taking up a lot of the extra screen time. The visitors to Dodge City get to carry the plenty of the stories while the cast supports them. Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction) is a drunk rescued from the side of the road in “Old Dan.” He wants to stay clean, but he misses the drink so much. When he loses his reserve, things go out of control. “Catawomper” gets Chester in trouble when the woman he woos turns out to be using his as tool against her ex-lover. Dick Sargent (Bewitched) and Frank Sutton (Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) are mixed in with the yanking. Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo) gets to play Mexican in “He Learned About Women.” Chester gets captured by comancheros and needs to escape. “Reprisal” tells the tale of a rancher who enjoyed leaving the wife at home while he enjoyed getting drunk and gambling with strange women in Dodge City. He goes out of control one night and Matt has to put him down. The nice wife wants a piece of Matt. “Wagon Girls” brings a wagon train of women through Dodge City. They’re off to marry rich miners in Colorado. Matt suspect they’re being scammed. Amongst the brides-to-be is Ellen Burstyn. William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show) is part of the heartbreaking mess. “Cale” makes Carl Reindel a suspect when he wakes up in the barn during a horse theft. All you need to know about “The Boys” is that it features Harry Dean Stanton (Big Love), George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) and Michael Parks (Kill Bill). The transition to full hour worked for Gunsmoke since it allowed the series to be more cinematic than radio drama with pictures. It should also be noted that bartender Glenn Strange had previously played Frankenstein’s monster in House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The bonus feature is a few words from the sponsors.
Bonanza: The Official Fifth Season, Volume 1 & 2 keeps the Cartwrights still battling on and off their huge Ponderosa ranch. “She Walks In Beauty” makes Hoss (Dan Blocker) think Gena Rowlands (Woman Under the Influence) loves him. Turns out she’s got eyes for his brother Adam (Pernell Roberts). Charles Dickens arrives for “A Passion for Justice.” Jonathan Harris (Lost In Space) plays the novelist who has a bumpy stay at the ranch. “Calamity Over the Comstock” lets Calamity Jane(Stephanie Powers) drop by the ranch. She’s looking for Little Joe (Michael Landon). “Journey Remembered” lets Ben (Lorne Greene) tell Hoss about his mother. “The Legacy” lets James Best (Dukes of Hazzard) play evil when he arrives at the ranch after a stay in prison. James Doohan (Scotty on Star Trek) has a bit part. Things get goofy on “Hoss and the Leprechauns.” “Ponderosa Matador” has the boys tangle for the affections of a senorita. They settle it like men with a bull fight. “Alias Joe Cartwright” gets the boy in trouble when an escaped prisoner looks like him. His hope of freedom involves two Kubrick actors: Keenan Wynn (Dr. Strangelove) and Joe Turkel (The Shining). “Bullet For a Bride” turns Joe into a groom thanks to a ricochet. Denver Pyle (Dukes of Hazzard & Grizzly Adams) gets into the wedding action. “King of the Mountain” brings on Slim Pickens (also from Dr. Strangelove). They find another Cartwright in “Return to Honor.” Turns out Guy Williams (Zorro & Lost In Space) is Will Cartwright, Ben’s nephew. He sticks around for several other episodes He’s not as clean cut as the boys. “The Saga of Muley Jones” has the FDA’s allowance of Strother Martin (The Wild Bunch). Hoss gets his order for Chinese fireworks lost in translation. What he gets in back is a Chinese bride played by Marlo Thomas (That Girl). Does he have to return her? “Enter Thomas Bowers” creates an issue when a famous singer arrives to perform at the Virginia City Opera House. The guy looks like a runaway slave since he’s played by William Marshall (Blacula). That’s right: it’s Hoss meets Blacula. “The Dark Past” brings Dennis Hopper (Blue Velvet) into town. There’s 34 episodes spread over two volumes that are sold as a season set. There’s plenty of extras including the original bumpers and ads. Dan Blocker and Lorne mock themselves on The Andy Williams Show. There’s a lot of photos and the review from the New York Times. Lorne Greene chats with the CBC since he’s Canadian.
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams: Season Two is the finale of the beloved ’70s nature show. Grizzly Adams (Dan Haggerty) headed to the wilderness when he was accused of a crime he didn’t commit. The first half season of the show proved popular. Dan himself became a superhero by anchoring the NBC team on Battle of the Network Stars. The 24 episodes bring back the heartwarming charm of Grizzly and his pet bear Ben. Denver Pyle (Dukes of Hazzard) returns as Mad Jack, the pal and biographer of Grizzly. Quite a few people wander past Grizzly’s cabin. “Gold Is Where You Find It” reteams Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker (F Troop and The Ghost Buster). I won’t give away the plot of “The Spolers.” Don Lynch (Mr. Haney on Green Acres) cause the trouble. “The Seekers” spots Keenan Wynn (Dr. Strangelove). “The Skyrider” soars with Russ Tamblyn (Twin Peaks). “Once Upon a Starry Night” glows with Ken Curtis (Festus on Gunsmoke). While the show only lasted a scant season and a half, Grizzly Adams made its mark. Dan Hagerty is as much a ’70s icon as the cast of CHiPs, Love Boat or Welcome Back, Kotter.The show blended a nature special with an adventure series. The show did get resolved with a TV movie years later, but that’s not included here. If you’re a fan of the show, you can call up Dennis Hof’s World Famous Bunny Ranch and get Dan Haggerty to officiate your wedding. Sadly enough Ben the Bear as passed away so you’ll have to
The Bouquet is a heartwarming tale of family that fits perfectly into the spring season. Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Killer) returns home for a family emergency. She’s been a way for quite a while. Her sister (Alberta Mayne) is the one who stayed home and helped take care of the family’s flower business. Turns out things aren’t going to so great on the ledger books. Kristy thinks she has a solution, but her sister is bitter since she never cared about helping anyway. Can Kristy reach a common ground with her sister and do what’s truly the best for the family? Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) gets pulled into the blooming relationship. The bonus feature is a behind the scenes glimpse. It’s a DVD worthy of being sent with a bouquet of flowers.
The Liability brings Tim Roth back to be a buttkicker after his time on Lie to Me. The movie is a flip on his time in The Hit. Except instead of being the assistant to a hitman, he’s not the old timer having to show the ropes of the killing game to the rookie hoodlum. The kid (Skins‘ Jack O’Connell) isn’t supposed to be a hoodlum. He wrecks an expensive car and mom’s boyfriend isn’t happy that the slacker boy doesn’t care. To pay off the car, the boy gets a job as the driver for Tim Roth. Did I mention Tim and the mom’s boyfriend are part of the mobster world? The kid gets a journey into a world of hookers and bullets. Will he bond with mom’s man or end up in a shallow grave? This is my favorite Roth performance in a long while. The bonus feature is a behind the scenes featurette.
Sinister takes us back to the world of 8mm films from the producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious. The movie opens with home movie footage of a family of four being hung from a tree limb. Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise) has moved into the area to write his latest true crime book. There’s a hint that he’s supposed to be Joe McGuiness (Fatal Vision) based on his Bennington t-shirt. What he hasn’t quite explained to his wife and kids is that they’re living in the murdered family’s house. Fred Thompson takes a break from reverse mortgages to play the sheriff who doesn’t like the kind of books Hawke writes. This immersion investigation gets off to a bizarre start when he pokes around in the attic and finds a crate of 8mm films. Turns out they aren’t holiday flicks of the hanging family. There are other families in the footage meeting their demise. Hawke does his best to find clues in the frame. Hawke’s family starts to freak out from being in the dead family’s house. He also freaks out in the dark house that has plenty of creaks and bangs. Who is Mr. Boogie? Best to watch this with the lights out and the surround sound cranked.
The Men Who Built America is the History Channel’s series that covers the icons of the Industrial Revolution in America. Over the course of eight episodes you’ll catch up on all that history you failed to cover in high school when the school year ended right after the Civil War. The series starts with the death of Lincoln so you can finally catch up on your education. The big names are here including Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan and Vanderbilt. The show mixes dramatic recreations with modern experts pontificating about the impact. The show does point out that their empires weren’t forged with a gentle hand. A lot of people got paid the price for them to become the corporate elite. Blood flooded as workers battled with company paid hired goons and detectives. The unions evolved from these struggles. The production is rich in drama for the recreation scenes. The bonus features are sequences clipped from the TV cut.
Swamp People: Season 3 takes us back down to Louisiana for gator hunting season. These men have a limited time to hunt down the reptiles and sell their skins for fashionable clothes. It’s a dangerous profession. They use a lot of ingenuity to capture their prey. Bruce hires an Iraqi war vet to be a sniper. My favorite moment of the season is when two hunters have to figure out a unique way to float the dead gators to their boat on the other side of a levee. Besides the teeth of the gators, the hunting season gets dangerous when a Hurricane is coming at them. They can’t afford to take the day off since that would cut into their quota. Mitchell Guist passed away during this season from a non-gator related incident. The 22 episodes are spread over 6 DVDs. The bonus feature is about a half hour of scenes clipped before broadcast. The new season of Swamp People starts on Feb. 20.
Black’s Game reminds us that a plus for national healthcare is not wondering how your victims will pay their hospital bills when you beat them down. Who would expect Iceland to have a criminal underworld? They’re a land of volcanoes, snow and pixies like Bjork. But they do have an underbelly between the ice and lava. A kid gets in trouble and needs a pal to help bail him out before the law comes down on his ass. Trouble is the cost of the help is membership into his pal’s criminal organization that deals drugs. Turns out the kid has a natural talent for the seedy business and rises fast in the ranks. But is his heart really into it? The movie’s executive producer is Nicholas Winding Refn, the director of Drive starring Ryan Gosling. It has a great look and feel as the camera visits places in Iceland that aren’t shown on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. While there is an English dub track, it sounds like it was recorded by the folks who do the sight impaired description tracks. You’ll want to hear Black Jack in the native tongue with English subtitles. There’s a segment about the film from an Icelandic TV station. The interviews are subtitled.
Storage Wars: Volume 4 has 16 exciting episodes about the people who bid on abandoned storage lockers in California. This is pretty much the beginning of the end for Dave “Yuuuuuuuup” Hester. He’s currently suing the show claiming that it’s rigged and that many of discovered prizes are put into the boxes by the producers. It’s easy to tell that this isn’t just a camera crew following storage auctions. Right off the bat there’s not thousands of out of work actors dressed like Let’s Make A Deal eager to get screen time on a hit series. There’s no stranger with fat wads of bills making Barry Weiss look broke. These auctions are a controlled environment. This fact is perfectly acceptable to me since the highlight of the show isn’t the junk inside the lockers, but the trash tossed between the regular bidders. I’d watch just to see Jarrod and Brandi bicker to the point of murder-suicide. Darrell Sheets and his son aren’t quite so entertaining since they appear to be reality acting when they have issues with each other. Nabila arrives as the new guest bidder. She made a fortune off Paris Hilton’s locker and seems eager to see if Kim Kardashian forgot her bill. The episodes start with the trip to San Francisco that ended season two and the first half of season three. The Bonus feature is about 40 minutes of cut scenes. There’s a lot of great extra Barry moments. Barry should have been made Secretary of State. This guy knows how to chill people out and has experience with drones. Is Storage Wars real or fake? What matters is that it remains the most entertaining of all the Storage auction shows .
The Garfield Show: Spring Fun Collection has six episodes of the CGI cat adventure. Garfield is the lasagna eating cat who hates Mondays and abuses his dog pal. While it doesn’t quite feel like it with the recent blizzards, Spring is about to get sprung. “The Big Sneeze” has Jon (the human) sneezing when he’s around Garfield. Can he really be allergic to his cat? Will he have to send the kitty away? “Farm Fresh Feline” takes the cat and his pals into the country side. Can they really fool the lazy Garfield into doing chores? “The Bluebird of Happiness” sings for his life. Garfield must save his winged friend from being Harry’s dinner. “Stealing Home” isn’t about baseball. A stray cat named Bruno highjacks the house. Can Garfield restore order before Jon gets inside. “The Mole Express” destroys the backyard with the underground critters. “Parrot Blues” upsets people when a talking bird says evil things. There’s 5 bonus extra short cartoons included.
Martha & Friends: Martha’s Magnificent Egg takes the home entertaining Queen into a CGI universe. Not only is she animated, Martha has been turned into a little girl who still has all her crafty skills. She looks ready to hop in the Mystery Machine and expose old men with Scooby-Doo. The episode is just in time for Easter. Martha and her friends make Easter eggs. The person with the best egg gets to visit the White House for the egg roll. Marta and her friends do their best to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While this sounds like a strange concept, my three year old was curious about the crafts and the theme song. There’s also four webisodes about Valentine’s Day, cupcakes, more eggs and cool crafts. There’s even downloadable projects and recipes that make fun times with the kids. This seems to be a great way to get the kids eager to decorate the house for the upcoming holiday.
Slugterra: Return of the Shane Gang has arrived on DVD.
My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic: Pinkie Pie Party is a reason to bake a cake. The episodes included in the collection are “Feeling Pinkie Keen,” “Party Of One,” “Baby Cakes,” “A Friend In Deed” and “Too Many Pinkie Pies.” Who is Pinkie Pie? According to my preschool daughter, Pinky Pie is the best of all the ponies. She sings and has a baby alligator. What more can you want from a horse that knows how to bake? “Feeling pinkie Keen” explores her ability to know when something is going to go bad. “Party of One” has everyone coming up with an excuse to skip Pinkie Pie’s latest party. Are they really all busy? Why would they blow off the promise of a cake with candles? “Baby Cakes” makes Pinkie Pie babysit twins. It’s not an easy job. “A Friend In Deed” brigs a donkey into town. Can Pinkie Pie become a friend to the long ears? “Too Many Pinkie Pies” lets the pony get invited to too many events scheduled at once. She comes up with the right solution: cloning. The daughter was excited at seeing so much Pinkie Pie with the push of the play all button. The bonus features include Sing-Along moments and a Party Activity Kit. The DVD is a Walmart exclusive so Bronies will have to gallop over to get it.
Undefeated was a major surprise when it won last year’s Oscar for Best Documentary. The film about a high school football team had the same title as a lame Sarah Palin movie. This is not about a woman who can see Russia from her front door. This high school is rather troubled. The opening scene has the volunteer coach loses a few starters to gunshots. But this team is able to pull it together to have a great season. The filmmakers follow the players as they attempt to focus on the field and survive in the outside world. One of the kids becomes a hot recruit thanks to a youtube video. The harsh business of high school football really gets explored. You feel the difference between their program and the rich kids’ schools. The kids are really open with the filmmakers talking about their game and dreams. You feel nervous for them since there’s a chance they might get shot in their rough neighborhood. A couple of the kids are positively scary including the seemingly bipolar Chavis. This is so much better than so many of the ESPN documentaries on 30 at 30. The documentary voters of the Academy has come a long way since when they dismissed Hoop Dreams back in the 90s because it was video and not film. The movie gives a fine understanding about the players underneath the helmets. The bonus features include a commentary track with directors TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay discussing their time with the team to create such an intimate portrait. The Blu-ray brings out the texture of their lives.
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