Headsup: Kids' Corner #1

 

Summertime is well underway, so if you need something to fill the spaces between the pool, summer camp, and building awesome forts outside, check out these kid-friendly titles…...

 

First up is Bunnicula, the new animated series loosely based on the book (of the same name) many of us read and loved as kids by James and Deborah Howe.  The story revolves about a vampiric bunny rabbit who instead of blood thirsts for vegetable juice, which gives him supernatural powers.  In this (comedic) series, Bunnicula (voiced by Chris Kattan) teams up with his adoptive human Mina (a New Orleans teenager, voiced by Kari Wahlgren), Harold (her easy-go-lucky dog, voiced by Brian Kimmet), and Chester (her anxiety-ridden cat, voiced by Sean Astin) for otherworldly adventures with lots of laughs along the way.  The series premiered in February of 2016 and is currently airing on Cartoon Network.

Bunnicula: Season One, Part One is out now from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, which includes the first twenty episodes of the series across two DVDs.  The set is now available on Amazon for $10.86 and you can get a taste of the show with the clip below.

Rating: Not Rated

Episode Runtime: 11 minutes
 

 

 

Tom and Jerry- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryNext we have Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which pairs the rambunctious cartoon cat-and-mouse duo with beloved Roald Dahl icon Willy Wonka and other familiar characters.  Based [...]

By |July 5th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Faces of the Past

 

Out now are two historical documentary series that explore the stories of people from the past, from ancient times through today:

 

Story of China With Michael Wood Blu-rayFirst we have The Story of China, written and hosted by the gold-standard-making historian Michael Wood.  In this six-part documentary about the oldest continuous state on earth, Wood follows the stories of characters who formed China's history and cultural identity, including those who led the Tang, Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties from 1500 BC to the twentieth century along with leaders in science, literature, and revolutionary political movements.  A sprawling and vibrant story (charmingly told in Wood's posh British accent), The Story of China brings viewers face-to-face with the likes of The First Emperor, Xuanzang (famed Buddhist traveler), Su Song (often referred to as "China's Leonardo da Vinci"), Li Qingzhao (a female poet), and Mao Zedong (the Communist revolutionary also known as "Chairman Mao"), among many others.  On his historical journey, Wood also examines the places where these stories took place, taking viewers back in time to see the Silk Road, the Yellow River, the Grand Canal, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and other amazing places that were the backdrop of China's journey over the last four thousand years.  If you just want to check out the series (and haven't caught it live on PBS), you can currently watch it online at PBS.org (although this will most likely be a short-lived option, so if you [...]

By |July 4th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Giggles and Guffaws

 

Out now are two titles to help you get some much-needed laughter:

Hee Haw Pfft You Was Gone

 

First we have Hee Haw, which was actually created as "the rural alternative" to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and ran during some of the same years as its counterpart (1969-1971) before hitting its long-lasting syndication.  A comedy variety show set in fictional rural "Kornfield Kounty" and hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark, Hee Haw was originally made to be a summer replacement series for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  It ended up gaining such popularity that even when it was cancelled in CBS's "Rural Purge" of 1971 (along with other "country" shows shows The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry R.F.D., and Green Acres) in an effort to focus on the network's more affluent/urban viewers, the show was quickly picked up for syndication, where it stayed for a record-setting twenty-one years (making it the longest-running weekly syndicated original series in television history).

Now out from Time Life is the two-disc set Hee Haw: Pfft! You Was Gone!, which includes four rarely-seen episodes from the show which aired between 1969 and 1973.  These classic episodes include sketches such as "Pickin' and Grinnin," "Archie's Barbershop," "Hey, Grandpa, What's for Supper?", "The KORN News," and "Rindercella" and feature guest stars Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, and George Jones, among others.  The set is currently available at Amazon on DVD for $22.44.  No special features on this one, but if [...]

By |June 22nd, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Love, Family, and Otherworldly Powers

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first title featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

 

Out now are two titles dealing with power struggles, sex, sibling rivalry, and other forces that move men's souls...

 

Vampire Diaries Season Eight Blu-rayFirst we have The Vampire Diaries, the story of a love triangle between teenage heroine Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and two brothers, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), which just happens to be set against the backdrop of the world of modern-day vampires.  Based on the L.J. Smith novel series of the same name, the show premiered in September of 2009 and has had a successful run ever since. It garnered 112 award nominations and 37 wins, including multiple People's Choice, Teen Choice, and Young Hollywood Awards.  Season eight follows Damon and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) as they continue to kill people while under the influence of a powerful and evil force, while at the same time Stefan, Caroline (Candice King), Bonnie (Kat Graham), and Alaric (Matt Davis) search for answers about the mysterious disappearance at the end of season seven.  Matt (Zach Roerig) is in the mix as well, as it becomes apparent that an unknown family connection to Mystic Falls may be the key to saving the town from being destroyed.

Now out on DVD and Blu-ray is the eighth and final season, which includes all sixteen episodes plus some bonus features, including a 14-minute featurette ("Last [...]

By |June 20th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Black Phoenix Amuses With Prank Perfumes

Black Phoenix Alchemy Prank Cat

How's your year been? Hopefully better than 2016. I have several friends who were quite glad when January 1, 2017 arrived. Of course, now everyone I know is getting PTSD from the news and physically jump when they get a notification from CNN or BBC on their phone. There is a metric fuckton of anger out there, mostly justified to be sure. Mostly everyone is channeling their anger into town halls, protests, and of course Facebook posts. No one can live by outrage alone... well maybe a certain President. Self-care is the latest trending term. Take a moment, smell a flower, watch some comedy shows, just avoid politics for a bit before you return to fight the good fight. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, as always, is there to help. They have made a perfume line inspired by the old fashioned practical joke devices. So let's see what humorous offerings they have with PRANK.

There are some lovely simple light scents to delight during the summer. This corresponds with the simplistic gags that were the inspiration. Squirting Boutonniere is just that, a fake flower that squirts water (or whatever liquid you can get away with) into people's faces as they try to smell it. The scent is almost literal: a pink rose scent with the aquatic cucumber and water lily. The Joy Buzzer [...]

By |June 9th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: From Across the Pond

 

Out soon are two releases from European artists:

 

Jacques Rivette CollectionFirst we have a collection of some of the lesser-known films of Jacques Rivette, a French film director and critic famed for his work during the New Wave movement in French cinema in the 1950s and 60s.  Rivette began his career as a filmmaker at age twenty and over the course of his career made twenty-nine films (including notable titles L'amour fou (1969), Out 1 (1971), Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), and La Belle Noiseuse (1991) ).  Now available from Arrow Academy is The Jacques Rivette Collection, a trio of films from the latter part of his career.  In 1975, Rivette and Stéphane Tchal Gadjieff (producer from Out 1) again joined forces with the goal of creating a love story, an adventure, a fantasy thriller, and a musical as a quartet of interconnected films dubbed Scènes de la vie parallèle, with each revolving around two central female characters.  Unfortunately, after the back-to-back filming of Noroît (an adventure story of two pirates) and Duelle (a fantasy about the Queen of the Night and the Queen of the Sun) in the spring of 1975, Rivette suffered a breakdown a few days into production for Marie et Julien (which would have been the love story in the series); the director later said that he "broke down physically" and "had overestimated own strength".  After a year of recovery, the idea of the film quartet was abandoned and Rivette turned to Merry-Go-Round (a surreal detective film), which ran [...]

By |June 5th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: MURDER!!

 

** Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first title featured below. The opinions I share are my own.**

 

Out now are two titles that deal with stories of people who have broken that all-important sixth commandment and of those who pursue them for their crime(s):

 

Major Crimes Complete Fifth Season DVDFirst up is the fifth season of Major Crimes, the spinoff of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series The Closer, which ran on TNT from 2005-2012 (ending when its star Kyra Sedgwick decided it was time to pursue other projects).  The storyline and main characters were so well-loved that creators literally didn't skip a beat between the two shows, airing the premiere of Major Crimes on the same night as the finale of The Closer. Major Crimes follows the case-by-case challenges of the (fictional) Major Crimes Division of the LAPD and the interpersonal relationships between its officers.  Starring two-time Oscar nominee Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor, the primary cast also includes G. W. Bailey (as Detective Lieutenant Louie Provenza), Tony Denison (as Detective Lieutenant Andy Flynn), Michael Paul Chan (as Detective Lieutenant Michael Tao), Raymond Cruz (as Detective Julio Sanchez), Kearran Giovanni (as Detective Amy Sykes), Phillip P. Keene (as Buzz Watson), Graham Patrick Martin (as Rusty Beck), and Robert Gossett (as Assistant Chief Russell Taylor).

Major Crimes has enjoyed high ratings from the start: its premiere episode garnered 9.5 million viewers (the largest viewership for a series premiere [...]

By |June 2nd, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Girls Being Super

 

** Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of both of the titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.**

 

Available now are two films from DC/Warner Brothers celebrating mega girl power:

 

Wonder Woman Commemorative Edition Blu-RayOut just in time to wet fans' appetites for the live-action Wonder Woman film hitting theaters this Friday (Thursday in select cities), the feature-length animated film Wonder Woman is available in a commemorative edition DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack.  The film tells the story of Diana, an Amazonian princess who leaves the sanctuary of the idyllic man-free island Themyscira to chase after Ares, the God of War, bent on creating world chaos and eventual extinction. With the help of U.S. fighter pilot Steve Trevor, Diana must navigate the modern world in an attempt to save her own from destruction.  The awards-laden cast includes Golden Globe winner Keri Russell (The Americans, Waitress, Felicity) as Diana/Wonder Woman, People's Choice winner Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) as Steve Trevor, Tony Award nominee Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, Chocolat) as Ares, Rosario Dawson (Daredevil, Sin City) as Artemis, Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman) as Hippolyta, David McCallum (NCIS, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Zeus, Emmy winner Marg Helgenberger (CSI, China Beach) as Hera, Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class, Chicago Med) as Hades, and Vicki Lewis (NewsRadio, Godzilla) as Persephone.

Released direct to DVD in 2009 (the fourth in the line of DC Universe Animated Original Movies released by Warner Premiere and [...]

By |May 30th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: The 4400: The Complete Series

If you're a fan of The 4400, you probably know a lot about the show, but did you realize it's already been ten years since it went off the air?

If you're unfamiliar with the series, it's the story of what happens when 4,400 people who have gone missing over the past several decades suddenly reappear in Washington State (at the same age they were when they disappeared) via a mysterious ball of light.  As the NTAC (National Threat Assessment Command) division of Homeland Security struggles to solve the mystery of what has happened, they are presented with an additional challenge when members of The 4400 begin to develop superhuman powers such as mega strength, telekinesis, and the ability to see through walls.

Starring Joel Gretsch (as Tom Baldwin) and Jacqueline McKenzie (as Diana Skouris), the show was popular with its fan base and was even nominated for three Emmy Awards, but took some creative hits during the Writers Guild strike and was taken off of USA's lineup in 2007.  When the show was cancelled with Season 4 ending in a cliffhanger, disappointment-fueled fans launched a campaign to bring the show back on the air (but, sadly, were unsuccessful).

In October 2008 CBS/Paramount released a complete series DVD collection which included all four seasons of the show along with the bonus features that had been part of the single season releases (including audio commentaries, featurettes, a Director's cut of the episode "The Great Leap Forward", and [...]

By |May 25th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: A Tale of Two Cities

 

Out now are the complete sets of two shows which combine a series-long love letter to their respective cities with crime fighting protagonists who navigate them:

 

Streets San Francisco Complete SeriesIn The Streets of San Francisco, two cops search for perpetrators of homicides in the City by the Bay in deliciously seventies style.  The show kicked off a week before its September 1972 series premiere with a pilot movie (same title) based on Carolyn Weston's detective novel, Poor, Poor Ophelia, and then ran for a straight five years to 1977.  The series starred Oscar winners Karl Malden (as veteran cop Michael Stone) and a very young Michael Douglas (as rookie Steve Keller) along with a heck of a lot of Ford cars (Ford Motor Company being the main sponsor for the show).  Filmed entirely on location, the story revolved around the duo investigating murders in San Francisco and Stone mentoring Keller as he learns about police work.  Guest stars were frequent and impressive, including Dean Stockwell, Pernell Roberts, Tom Selleck, Leslie Nielsen, James Woods, Nick Nolte, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martin Sheen, Dabney Coleman, Desi Arnaz, Jr., John Ritter, Robert Wagner, Dick Van Patten, Mark Hamill, Tom Bosley, and Bill Bixby, among others (even Diana Douglas, Michael Douglas's mother, appeared on the show). The fifth season saw a change in the main partnership when Keller went off to be a teacher (due to Michael Douglas leaving to pursue a career in films after successfully producing Academy-Award winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and was replaced by Inspector Dan Robbins [...]

By |May 25th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments