Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Friday, March 31, 2017

Counting Down The Beatles Their 100 Finest Songs

Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret.

I’m so old that I remember watching The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964.

I was there when they transformed from a Bubble Gum Rock Group to a trend-setting quartet to icons of Rock Music.

From mop top, teenage troubadours to cutting-edge musicians, The Beatles captivated America and the world with their music and lyrics.

Throw in their evolving lifestyles, drug use, questionable morals and their often tumultuous inner personal lives and you have one of, if not the number one, Rock and Roll group that changed music forever.

Their influence on culture (or should I say-counterculture?), fashion and pop culture was second to none.

Every Beatles fan has their favorite songs, from the early love song days to their more introspective work, the Beatles changed the world.

It’s been said that they introduced the singer-songwriter era and help culminate a wide spectrum of musical styles.

In author Jim Beviglia’s new book from Rowman & Littlefield: ‘Counting Down The Beatles Their 100 Finest Songs’ readers learn the how and why behind each top 100 song.

Expertly researched and chronicled the authors’ delving in to the meaning behind each tune and their lyrics reveal the inner workings that led to the creation of each masterpiece.

As a Beatles fan I was both amazed and surprised by much of what I read.  The entire book is a penetrating and poignant breakdown about the creative surge that The Beatles possessed.

Gary Burghoff: To M.A.S.H. And Back and Honey West

Radar.  Mention that simple two-syllable word and any dye-in-the-wool M.A.S.H. fan immediately knows of whom you speak.

Radar (Walter O’Reilly) as portrayed by actor Gary Burghoff, was the company clerk for the Korean War M.A.S.H. (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) seen in both the M.A.S.H. movie and TV series.

In fact, Gary was the only actor that appeared both in the movie and TV series.  He left the series after eight years to pursue other interests and because he was physically, mentally and spiritually worn out.

Gary slowly transformed the character of Radar from a snide, mischievous and somewhat lecherous Army clerk to an innocent, naive, clairvoyant, hometown boy who basically ran the camp.

While childlike Radar possessed a strong moral and trustworthy character, could be fiercely determined and often was the voice of reason in situations than often saw the worst of mankind.

In ‘Gary Burghoff: To M.A.S.H. And Back –My Life In Poems and Songs (That Nobody Else Wanted To Publish) Gary recounts his life from his early days in Wisconsin to his meteoric rise to stardom as one of TV’s most beloved characters.

Brutally honest and candid Gary details both the ups and downs of his personal life and career while maintaining a delightful humorous attitude.

Often touching and funny, the book, published by BearManor Media, offers an up-close-and-personal examination of the actor.

Few people realize how talented Mr. Burghoff really is.  Considered by many to be a modern Renaissance Man, Gary acts, is a musician, writer, artist, poet, songwriter, inventor, environmentalist and more.

The book makes for a delightful and eye-opening read that fans of both Gary and M.A.S.H. are sure to cherish.

Ahhh-Honey West.  I was a mere 12 years old when Honey West, starring Anne Francis premiered on TV. 

Her striking figure, lush blonde hair, birthmark and sultry eyes set my young heart to aflutter.  She was my first TV starlet crush.  There would be others, but Honey West was the first.

‘Honey West’ written by John C. Fredriksen, chronicles TV’s first liberated female.

 As a role model for modern women, Honey demonstrated that anything was possible for a female in a man’s world.

Smart, resourceful, fiercely independent and proficient with weapons, the martial arts and subterfuge, Honey West took on spies, bad guys and underworld scum.

Interviews with both cast and crew shed light on the making of the series and just how groundbreaking it was. 

Full episode descriptions are also provided sprinkled with interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits of information.


Laced with photos, the book brings back pleasant memories of the series that redefined women on TV.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wonder Crew

Times have changed.  The American family has transformed.  No longer is the traditional mother and father and kids, nuclear family the norm.

Kids have to deal with living in single parents homes, stepparent environments and other non-traditional homes.

It’s tough on kids-especially boys.  Too often they develop their image of manhood from what they see in the movies or on TV.  Either they are super-macho or overly emotionally sensitive.  Finding a good balance in today’s topsy-turvy world can be a challenge.

Speaking as a man who was raised by a single mom I can state with great confidence that the presence of a strong man role model is key to a young boy’s maturing into a man.

I was one of the fortunate ones.  I had good friends whose father’s treated me as one of their own and taught me what it meant to be a man.

Believe it or not.  Boys and girls are different.  Not just physically, but emotionally.

Neither sex is better than the other-quite the opposite-they are equals.

Growing up to be a man does not mean you are domineering or gruff.  Neither does it mean that you are all teary-eye and weak.  It is a balance of the physical and emotional.

If there was one thing I learned: respect everyone.  Treat others, as you want to be treated.

It’s so important for a young boy to have someone to place his confidence in-to talk to-to buddy around with-even when it comes to the things he does or plays with.

That’s why I am so impressed by Play Monster’s new Wonder Crew collection of 12-inch soft and huggable boy dolls.

Yeah, you heard right-dolls.  Who says little boys can’t have dolls-especially when they are boy dolls dressed as any rough and tumble boy would dress or would dress depending on what they like?

It can be a superhero, chef, explorer or construction worker-whatever he fancies.

The Wonder Crew collection of four figures includes boys from all ethnic groups.  They come dressed in different outfits.  My example happens to be Marco decked out in his bright red superhero outfit with belt, mask and cape. 

Marco also comes with a red cape and mask that fits a young boy so they can play superheroes together.

As a team they can right wrongs, save innocents and rescue the world from disaster.

Other figures are also available that include appropriate outfits for their boy owners.

Additional Wonder Crew outfits include doll and matching boy attire.

In this case it’s the Explorer set with a t-shirt, pants and hat along with a matching hat for the boy explorer.

Wonder Crew’s creator, Laurel Wider, was inspired by the way play impacts child development.  Wonder Crew encourages kids, especially boys, to be their full selves—kind, emotionally connected and creative.

I believe she has accomplished her goal.  I can’t wait to share Marco with my soon to be born grandson for him to play with when he gets older.


Go anywhere.  Be anything.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Michonne’s Katana and 9-In-1 Utility Tool

The TV series ‘The Walking Dead’ is one of the most popular TV shows on the air.  Its fan base starts from the very young up to the very old.

Noted for its stellar scripts, outstanding character development and intensity of its content, the show does not appear to be slowing down despite being on TV for a number of years.

One of the show’s most popular characters is Michonne, the Katana brandishing ‘bad mama’ is no one you would want to mess with.

Buzz Bee Toys/Alex Brands has faithfully recreated her weapon of choice: a Katana-a ritualistic sword used by Japanese Samurai.

Michonne is a master at the Katana and it, like its master, are extremely popular with ‘The Walking Dead’ fans.

Recreated in scale, the Michonne’s Katana is a soft, pliable recreation of the deadly weapon that fans and kids of the TV show can play without the worry of decapitating or injuring anyone. 
From its characteristic black and gray diamond grip to its single-side blade, the Katana toy looks exactly like the real deadly weapon right down to its size and color. 

Here’s an interesting little tidbit.  While the upper section of the Katana is sealed in a colorful, illustrated ‘The Walking Dead’ themed, clear-plastic hanger, the Katana itself (if you pull it gently, slides out of the bubble pack without destroying the display pack.  Pretty nifty!

That way you can pretend to ‘kill’ those nasty, flesh-eating, zombies and afterward gently put the Katana back into its display bubble pack.

My daughter, who is a big fan of ‘The Walking Dead’ has already laid claim to the Katana.

I never knew she was a zombie killer!

I’m a big believer of being prepared for anything.

That’s why I have a special pack in the trunk of my car where I keep survival supplies like food packs, a small stove, a shovel, tools, matches, a first aid kit and so forth.

You never know when you might find yourself out in the middle of nowhere, with a broken down vehicle , with no cell phone reception and without food or shelter.

It’s important to be prepared-not afraid-just prepared.

With Backyard Safari Adventures’ 9-In-1 Utility Tool kids get a real sense of what it is like to thrive and survive in even the harshest conditions.

While the plastic toy has no sharp or dangerous parts it is a great way for kids to understand and use survival tools even though they are plastic recreations.

The Utility Tool looks like an oversize pocketknife with nine fold out accessories, just like a real survival tool.

Accessries include a Brush, Knife, Screwdriver, Magnifying Glass, Safety Whistle, Spoon, Fork, Tweezers and Signaling Mirror.

A handy Hanging Loop with Carabiner is also included.

Other than the knife, all of the accessories work.  Junior campers and explorers are sure to love this Utility Tool.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cop Shows, Booking Hawaii Five-O and Quinn Martin, Producer

Ever since the dawn of TV Cop Shows have been around.  Dragnet, The Naked City, The Untouchables, Hawaii Five-O and literally dozens, if not hundreds, of Cop Shows have filled the airways for decades.

What is it about Cop Shows that so captivate audiences?

Surely it’s not escapism as most Cop Shows revel in tracking down killers, rapists, kidnappers and other such dastardly bad guys.

In ‘Cop Shows: A Critical History Of Police Dramas On Television’ authors Sabin, Wilson, Speidel, Faucette and Bethell, along with publisher, McFarland & Company, Inc. present an in-depth analysis of what makes Cop Shows tick and why they are so popular.

Reflections of their times, COP Shows, examine and portray societal changes, struggles and crime.  The shows tend to examine the cops themselves from the fiercely independent loner to the troubled, walk the line between justice and revenge individuals to the strong group dynamic of a particular police force.

Whatever the reasons the book provides a thorough look at the phenomenon of the Cop Show and its many manifestations.

One of my all-time favorite classic Cop Shows is Hawaii Five-O.  Introduced to TV viewers in 1968 the show lasted 12 years making it one of the longest running Cop Shows on TV.

Hawaii Five-O centered on the police exploits of the Hawaii Five-O police task force headed up by ex-naval officer Steve McGarrett, as played by Jack Lord and his assistant Dan (Danno) Williams, portrayed by actor James MacArthur.

What made the show so unique is that it was filmed entirely in the Hawaiian Islands.

At that time Hawaii had no film studios so Hawaii Five-O, created by Leonard Freeman, had to start from scratch including securing a studio, hiring non-actor locals and persuading Hollywood’s talent to travel to Hawaii to guest star on the show.  Needless to say, a free trip to Hawaii was a great incentive.

Karen Rhodes’ ‘Booking Hawaii Five-O’ provides a critical episode guide and history of the popular Cop Show including photos, behind-the-scenes secrets, cast and crew interviews and much more.

‘Book ‘em Danno!”
One of the greatest (if not the greatest) TV producers of Cop Shows was Quinn Martin.  

Although he was also known for a plethora of other genre series.

In ‘Quinn Martin, Producer’ author Jonathan Etter, delves into the long and illustrious career of Martin and the many shows he produced.

Readers will learn all about his battles with the networks, hiring and firing practices, his guidelines for writing and directing his shows and most importantly learn about the man himself.

Each show he produced is examined in detail from its conception to it cancellation.


 If you love classic Prime Time TV shows as produced by one of the giants of the industry then this book is like a hearty meal to a starving man:  it’s filling, full of meat and satisfying.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Previews, April

COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Jimmy’s Bastards #1 l AFTERSHOCK COMICS
The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show #1 l AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY PRODUCTIONS
Mercury Heat Volume 2 TP l AVATAR PRESS
The Unsound #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Clueless Original GN l BOOM! STUDIOS
Valerian: The Complete Collection Volume 1 HC l CINEBOOK
Lady Death Rules! Volume 1 TP/HC l COFFIN COMICS
Game of Thrones: Clash of Kings #1 l D.E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Mighty Mouse #1 l D.E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
GWAR: Orgasmageddon #1 l D.E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Volume 47 SC/HC l GEMSTONE PUBLICATIONS
Another Castle #1 1 Dollar Ed l ONI PRESS
Courtney Crumrin #1 One Dollar Ed l ONI PRESS
Mighty Zodiac #1 1 Dollar Ed l ONI PRESS
Space Battle Lunchtime #1 1 Dollar Ed l ONI PRESS
The Lost Fleet: Corsair #1 l TITAN COMICS
Normandy Gold #1 l TITAN COMICS
Millennium: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo #1 l TITAN COMICS
Secret Weapons #1 l VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT
Golden Kamuy Volume 1 GN l VIZ MEDIA
Manga: In Theory & Practice HC l VIZ MEDIA



BOOKS
Garfield: The Original Art Daily & Sunday Archives l ART BOOKS
Spider-Man: Inside the World of Friendly Neighborhood Hero Updated l COMICS
Wonder Woman: Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior HC l COMICS
Manga Art: Inspiration & Techniques from an Expert SC l HOW-TO
Doc Savage: The New Adventures: Empire of Doom SC l PULP HEROES

CALENDARS
Art of Olivia 2018 Wall Calendar l FEATURED CALENDARS
Darth Vader & Son 2018 Wall Calendar l FEATURED CALENDARS
Deadpool 16 Month 2018 Wall Calendar l FEATURED CALENDARS
Doctor Who Diary 2018 Ed l FEATURED CALENDARS
Harley Quinn 2018 l FEATURED CALENDARS
Vintage DC Comics 2018 12 Month Wall Calendar l FEATURED CALENDARS
The Walking Dead 2018 16 Month Wall Cal l FEATURED CALENDARS
Women of Marvel 2018 16 Month Wall Cal l FEATURED CALENDARS

MAGAZINES
Cartoons Magazine #9 l CARTOONS
Comics Revue Presents Jun 2017 l COMICS-THEMED MAGAZINES
Doctor Who Magazine Special #46: Toys And Games l DOCTOR WHO


TRADING CARDS
Topps 2017 Baseball Complete Set l TOPPS COMPANY
Topps 2017 Stadium Club Baseball Trading Cards l TOPPS COMPANY
Topps 2017 Doctor Who Signature Series Trading Cards l TOPPS COMPANY

APPAREL
Previews Cover: Marvel Secret Empire Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE APPAREL
Previews Logo Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE APPAREL
Previews Logo Heather Blue Trading Cards l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE APPAREL
Wonder Woman: Amazon Trading Cards l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Wonder Woman: Amazon Women’s T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Batman: Heat T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS

TOYS & STATUES
The Nightmare Before Christmas Select Series 3 Action Figures l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS
Pulp Fiction Select Serues 1 Action Figures l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS
Harley Quinn: Waiting For My J Man Statue l DC HEROES
Living Dead Dolls: DC Comics: Classic Harley Quinn Doll l DC HEROES
POP! Mass Effect Andromeda Vinyl Figures l FUNKO
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: XPV R/C Rock N Roll Groot Figure l GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Marvel Comics: The Infinity Gauntlet Desk Monument l MARVEL HEROES
One-12 Collective: Marvel: Deadpool Action Figures l MARVEL HEROES
Predator 30th Anniversary Action Figures l MOVIE/TV
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Legacy: Red Ranger Power Sword l POWER RANGERS
Star Wars: The Black Series 40th-Anniversary Action Figures l STAR WARS

IMPORT TOYS
Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Battra 1992 Figure l GODZILLA
Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Godzilla 1954 Train Biting Figure l GODZILLA
Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Godzilla 1992 Sakai Yuji Figure l GODZILLA
Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Terror of Mechagodzilla 1975 Figure l GODZILLA
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Han Solo & Chewbacca ArtFX+ Statue 2-Pack l KOTOBUKIYA
Final Fantasy XV Play Arts Kai: Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Figure l FINAL FANTASY
Kingdom Hearts III: Sora Bring Arts Figure l KINGDOM HEARTS
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Link Vs Scervo Diorama Statue l LEGEND OF ZELDA
The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen “Mockingjay Part 1” 1/6-Scale Action Figure l MOVIE/TV
Star Wars Rogue One: EAA-047: Chirrut Imwe Action Figure l STAR WARS
Star Wars Rogue One: EAA-048: Baze Malbus Action Figure l STAR WARS
Overwatch: Tracer Nendoroid Classic Skin l VIDEO GAMES

COLLECTIBLES & NOVELTIES
Marvel: Thanos Head Molded Mug l MOVIE HEROES
Power Rangers Movie: Red Ranger Adult Helmet l POWER RANGERS
Power Rangers Movie: Pink Ranger Adult Helmet l POWER RANGERS
Star Wars: Foundmi Bluetooth Trackers l STAR WARS
Nintendo Switch: Joy-Con Controller Charging Dock l VIDEO GAME ACCESSORIES
Nintendo Switch: Joy-Con Controller Comfort Grips l VIDEO GAME ACCESSORIES
Nintendo Switch: Hybrid Protective Cover W/ Built In Stand l VIDEO GAME ACCESSORIES
The Walking Dead: Lucille 36-Inch Foam Replica Bat l THE WALKING DEAD

GAMES
Adult Mad Libs: The Game l FULLY BAKED IDEAS
Ghosts Love Candy Card Game l STEVE JACKSON GAMES
Magic the Gathering TCG: Hour of Devestation l WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Marvel Heroclix: The Mighty Thor l WIZKIDS/NECA
Sonic the Hedgehog 25th-Anniversary Art Book l CASK & BECKER

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Women In Uniform 1939-1945 and Japan At War 1931-45


“I just love a (wo)man in uniform!”

I have to admit that the attire women wore while serving in the armed forced from 1939-45 fascinates me.

It doesn’t matter whose Army, Navy, Air Force or other military or military affiliated branch they were in, women’s uniforms during that period were especially dapper, sharp and eye-catching.
In ‘Women In Uniform 1939-45’ part of the ‘Militaria Guide from Sophia Histoire & Collections’ the book goes into great detail about each uniform accompanied by full-color photos of contemporary models dressed in the uniforms.

From officers, enlisted soldiers, civilian volunteers and military affiliations, each photo also is accompanied by insignia and other accessories photos. 

Any WWII history lover is sure to want this book for their collection and research library.

In ‘Japan At War 1931-45’ by David McCormack and published by  Casemate Publishers/Fontwill Media, readers get a first-hand look at the war with Japan from Japan’s point of view, its allies and its enemies.

It’s easy (as an American) to develop a slightly prejudicial view of the war with Japan, as they were our sworn enemy during WWII.

However, it’s always wise to know your enemy (or in this case a former enemy) to understand their point of view, motivations and culture in order to comprehend what prompted Japan’s aggression and led ultimately to its downfall and defeat.

The author successfully fills in the historical gaps often left by contemporary war memorial books and delves intensely into the Japanese society and military.

Complete with archival photos, the book offers a well-rounded and comprehensive look at the military and political forces that shaped ‘The Land Of The Rising Sun’ during those turbulent war years.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Escape Room the Game

Do you like playing games but are tired of board games the offer little more than rolling dice and moving game pieces!

Do role-playing games test your patience when they drag on for hour, days and sometimes weeks and are so complicated they take all the fun of competition?

Are you tired of video games that drain all the imagination out of players, instead only offering stunning graphics and pre-determined outcomes?

If so, then Escape Room The Game from Spin Master (Identity Games International BV) is the game for you to end those boring game blues!

In Escape Room time is either your friend or enemy depending if you put in the right code in the Chrono Decoder.  Put in the wrong code and you loose precious minutes.  Put in the right code and you’ll proceed to part 2 and in part 3 you can even stop time itself!

Four keys are needed for each section.  Put them in the right order and you proceed.  Put them in the wrong order and time suddenly slips away!

No man is an island, as you’ll quickly learn, as players must work together to solve puzzles and find clues.

The Chrono Decoder starts ticking off 60 minutes.  Will you take away your time or add to it.  The intensity increases as players rush to move from part 1 to part 2 to part 3 and ultimately win the game. 

Will you escape during a ‘Prison Break’? Avoid the ‘Virus’?  Successfully outrun the “Nuclear Countdown’? Or find your way out of the ‘Temple Of The Aztec’?

Be sure to examine every clue from important documents to puzzles and floor plans so you can successfully escape and proceed to an even harder level.

With a little teamwork, quick wit and few hints dropped here and there you’ll survive—maybe.
Included with the game are:

An Electronic Chrono Decoder
A Hint Card Decoder
16 Keys
32 Hint Cards
4 Different Adventure Pack
Game Rules.

Additional Expansion Sets will be available in 2017.  And don’t forget the download the Escape Room App for some real ‘mood’ music.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Good Day In The Neighborhood



Try to imagine the amount of toys, comic books and model kits that I accumulated after 25 years of writing reviews.  

After clogging up and filling my garage with 'stuff' I decided to have a yard sale to sell off at least a part of it-a small part. 

A lot of  'stuff' I have safely packed away in the garage not counting the 'stuff' in my Man Cave.

Originally I had decided to have a yard sale on Friday and Saturday but had to limit it to Saturday since Friday turned out to be too cold.  I posted the yard sale on Craigslist, along with some photos.

Friday evening I set up my garage with a boatload of toys, diecast, model kits and comic books. 

At 7:30 Saturday morning I opened up the garage and prepared to set out the 20 long boxes of comic books on the driveway.

I needn't have bother.  Waiting outside my door were two individuals.  Within 15 minutes one of them bought all the comic books at a great price (for both him and me) and the other gentleman bought a bunch of toys.

Within 3 hours I had sold a large percentage of my toys, most of the model kits, a smattering of diecast and all of the comic books.

 After 11:30 people stopped showing up so I closed up shop, thrilled at the money I had made.

Both the people who bought the 'stuff' and I were satisfied with the transactions.  What made it even better was that the people who bought the 'stuff' were collectors and were excited about what they had bought.

I made a lot of new friends, acquired future contacts and had a great time and of course my wife was pleased that I had finally cleaned out a lot of my 'stuff'.

It was a great day and I have God to thank.  He has been so good to my family.  I don't deserve all the blessings, but I sure am glad he is providing them.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Cheer up Harry Potter fans!  Harry may be gone but Warner Bros. and Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowlings are far from finished with the wizardly world of Harry Potter and his friends and foes.

Taking place several decades before the escapades of Harry and his friends, ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ takes place in the United States, specifically New York City in the 1920s.

Something is rampaging through the streets of New York causing destruction and threatening the existence of the non-magical community (No-Majs).

Whatever is causing the destruction must be stopped and the fanatical Second Salemers are hell-bent on stopping it at all costs.

To make matters worse a powerful dark wizard has disappeared in Europe at just about the same time the mysterious devastation takes place.

Unbeknownst to Newt Scamander of the current dire circumstance, Newt arrives in the United States to corral and rescue some magical creatures that have escaped from their alternate dimension, some through his nondescript suitcase.

But, when some of Newt’s creatures are accidentally(?) let loose its up to Newt and his newfound allies to gather them all up before they come to harm.  Simple, right?  Not so fast!

There are dark forces at work that threaten to upend the wizard/magic world and community resulting in war.  Will the unlikely band of heroes save the day?

Included in the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack from Warner Bros. are several featurettes about the making of the film, deleted scenes and more.

For a ‘magical’ tour of the pre-Harry Potter world of wizard and magic be sure to check out this visually stunning, engrossing and thrill-a-minute and imaginative film.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Collateral Beauty

Actor Will Smith continues to thrill and amaze moviegoers over the decades with amazing range of his acting.

One moment he can be hilariously funny and the next take on a dramatic role that will tear your heart out.

In Collateral Beauty, from Warner Bros., Will plays a despondent and devastated man who has suffered an incredible, tragic loss in his life.

His friends try to console him but he retreats and in his isolation he looks for answers. 

So distraught and shattered he begins to question life and is own existence and in a final act of despair he writes three letters to Love, Death and Time.

To his utter surprise and amazement, all three answer him!

Slowly, painfully, he begins to gather his life together and soon discovers, with the aid of Love, Death and Time that his life, and the lives of those around, him, are intermingled and ultimately lead to joy, contentment and purpose.

Collateral Beauty is a tour de force of a film helped along by the stellar cast.  Sure to be a tearjerker, the film is available on Blu-ray and includes a Special Feature: A Modern Fable.

Sing Special Edition

When Buster Moon, a down on his luck koala, decides to put on a singing competition to drum up some business and save his old theater, he gets more than he bargained for.

This delightful computer animated film from Illumination and Universal Studios, stars a plethora of animal talent wannabees.

Five finalists belt out the tunes all voiced by famous actors and actresses.

Get ready to tap your feet, wave your arms and sing along as every genre of music is represented in this animal menagerie of talent gone wild.

Rock and Roll, Country Western, Rap-you name it, the talented troupe of animal kingdom Carusos are sure to delight you as they sing, swing and do their thing!

It’s a hilarious, hi-jinx filled, high-note hullabaloo that’s brimming with puns, fun and tons of slapstick humor.

If music fills your very soul, then Sing has a whole lot of soul to share.

Included with the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack are three additional Mini Movies, a music video, featurettes and much more! 

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 and Martian Successor Nadesco

Containing episodes 1-13 from the Stardust Memory storyline RightStuf!’s Blu-ray collection: Mobile Suit Gundam 0083, starts things off with a bang!

The Earth Federation has successfully triumphed in the One-Year War but has grown lazy, complacent and too sure of itself.

Complacency in time of war can be deadly; especially when your enemy is planning a new attack-in this case the Zeon forces are planning one final stand.

Zeon pilot Anavel Gato has been given the daunting task of stealing a new prototype Gundam from the Federation.  Miraculously he succeeds.

Shocked and furious that such a daring robbery occurred the Federation sends out its top Gundam ace pilot: rookie Kou Uraki and the Federation ship Albion to retrieve the stolen nuclear-equipped Gundam at all costs.

Be prepared for epic space battles, edge-of-your-seat excitement and nail-biting suspense.
Special Features include the animation shorts "the Mayfly of Space 1" and "The Mayfly of Space 2" along with Clean Openings and Japanese Promos.

In the Martian Successor Nadesico Blu-ray you’ll find all 26 episodes of the TV series and the Prince of Darkness movie across 4 Blu-rays plus an entire DVD of extras including the Gekigangar 3 OVA!

It’s bad enough that the Earth, the Moon and the Martian Colonies are under attack by a reptilian, Jovian, alien invasion, but the Earth military is woefully unprepared!

So incompetent is the Earth Military Forces that a private and independent arms manufacturer: Nergal, decides to build its own space battleship in order to launch a counter offensive against the warring aliens.

The only problem is there is a serious shortage of soldiers, especially those trained to run a space battleship, so the company resorts to using a most ‘unusual’ and ‘unorthodox’ crew of misfits.

Does the Earth, the Moon and the Martian Colonies stand a ghost of chance of surviving when this ragtag, slightly kooky and off-kilter crew of geeks, freaks, misfits and Anime fans are running the show?


It’s space opera like you’ve never seen it before: the inmates have escaped the asylum and are now running the place!  In space no one can hear you laugh!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Moana

Meet Moana-a high-spirited Polynesian teenage girl whose indomitable spirit sends her on a danger-filled and exciting adventure to save her people from starvation and extinction.

Determined to retrieve a sacred object from the demigod Maui, Moana manages to convince Maui to return it.  In return Moana agrees to help Maui retrieve his magic fishhook that he lost when he initially stole the sacred object.

Maui’s on-screen shenanigans are sure to make you laugh, gasp in astonishment and gasp in amazement.

Along the way the courageous duo meet some unusual friends and foes.  There’s plenty of magic, mystery, danger, intrigue, surprises and musical numbers to satisfy any Disney film fan.

Delightful characters, a well-thought out and orchestrated plot and absolutely stunning 3D animation, eye-popping vistas and a memorable soundtrack make Moana from Disney a sure-fire hit for the whole family.

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack extras include a Maui mini-movie, a short animated film, deleted scenes, a music video, featurettes a about the making of the film and loads of other ‘extras’ are a real treat to watch.

Loads of fun, exciting and a real heart tugger, Moana is a classic.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I Spy, Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel and TV Westerns


As I’ve mentioned many times in past book and DVD reviews I love the TV series from the 1950s and 1960s-primarily because I was a young boy during those turbulent years.

A lot changed in the United States during those two decades and indeed, a lot changed around the world.

But, that’s subject for another time.

McFarland & Company, Inc. presents two books in its Classic series that offer a wide-spectrum of information on TV Westerns during the 1940s through the 1970s. 

In ‘Television Westerns Major and Minor Series 1946-1978’ author Richard West provides a short, alphabetically arranged listing of the Westerns seen on TV during these four decades.

Accompanied by photo,s the book includes short descriptions of each series along with interesting tidbits about their time slots, cast and storylines.

It’s a real treasure trove for any TV Western fan.

‘Television Western Players Of the Fifties’ from Everett Aaker is a large softbound book that is ‘A Biographical Encyclopedia Of All regular Cast Members In Western Series, 1949-1959’.

For a real meat and potato examination and elaboration on the actors and actresses starring in 1950s Westerns this book is filled with loads and loads of professional and personal information along with each actor or actress’s list of TV credits.

The granddaddy of all TV Westerns: Gunsmoke, is given a two-volume treatment in  SuzAnne Barabas and Gabor Barabas’ ‘Gunsmoke Volume 1 and 2, A Complete History and Analysis of the Legendary Broadcast Series with a Comprehensive Episode-by Episode Guide to Both the Radio and Television Programs’.

I could not have said it better myself!

Jam-packed with episode breakdowns, behind-the-scenes information, photos, biographies and listings this two-volume set is the ‘ultimate guide ‘ to the TV Western by which all other TV Westerns were compared.

It’s a wonderful excursion down Memory Lane that is sure to bring back fond memories.
One of my all-time favorite TV Westerns is Have Gun-Will Travel starring Richard Boone.

Unlike other TV Westerns of the time, Have Gun-Will Travel was a real showcase for Boone’s incredible acting ability.

The show offered more than bullets and fisticuffs and often delved into social issues, philosophy, religion and man’s struggles.

In ‘Art and Politics in Have Gun-Will Travel’ author Kathleen L. Spencer explores the TV Western series that was filled with ‘Ethical Drama’.

The book is more that a listing of episodes and credits it is an examination of the times the Have Gun-Will Travel was popular, its influences and most importantly how it reflected its time.  It makes for a fascinating and thought-provoking read.

The 1960s saw a plethora of TV Spy series brought about by the popularity of the James Bond films.

While many of the TV Spy series played it for laughs or the melodramatic and were ridiculously high-tech, I Spy, starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, took an entirely different approach.

To be sure it had its tongue-in-cheek and satirical moments but overall it took itself seriously and never sugar coated the dangerous spy profession.

I Spy was the first prime time TV series to star an African American actor.  While groundbreaking in its creation, race never played a part inn the series.  The show successfully sidestepped race and racism by ignoring both.

I Spy simply starred two men as spies-end of story.

In ‘I Spy, A History And Episode Guide To The Groundbreaking Television Series’ authors Marc Cushman and Linda J. LaRosa, have written a fascinating book filled with compelling information and filled with photos.

Learn how each episode came about, their content, censorship battles, actor and crew tweaks and changes, rewrites, locations and much more.

Robert Culp provides the foreword that leads into this thorough examination of the TV series that changed everything.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Board Games and Cartoon Figural Toys


Games.  I’m not talking about video games or online games or even card games.  I’m talking about good, old-fashioned board games that I used to play when I was kid.
 
Board games such as Monopoly, Twister, Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Mousetrap and hundreds of other well-known and obscure board games based on TV shows, movies, cartoons, sports and other popular pop culture subjects.

Imagine families and kids sitting around playing board games for hours and having a blast doing so!  No TV, internet, video games, Blu-rays, cable, I-Pads, cell phones, computers or other digital distractions.

There were games just for fun, educational games, strategy games, skill games, games for two people or more, racing games, mystery games and so much more.

Schiffer Books and author Desi Scarpone present ‘Board Games’ the book that explores and remembers board games of all genres complete with full color photos, brief histories of all genres along with prices.

You’ll spend hours flipping through the book’s pages reminiscing.  Are you game?

Jameson Scoot and Jim Rash present ‘Cartoon Figural Toys’ a book all about plastic and cloth figures fashioned after famous cartoon personalities from funny animals to humans.

Pages are filled with full-color photos of figures such as Popeye, Bullwinkle, the Looney Toons, Saturday morning cartoon characters, Peanuts, puppet figures, Disney characters and much, much more.  

Throw in a little history and prices and you’ve got a wonderful excursion in times past when kids could collect their favorite cartoon characters.