Home
Latest updates!
USTownhall RealStories presents: DAVID GIUNTOLI & RUSSELL HORNSBY of GRIMM
Written by Scott Katz   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 12:41

NUP_136398_0072-resizeOne of the few bright spots on NBC's 2011-2012 primetime television schedule as far as genre televsion fans were concerned was Grimm, which stars David Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby as homicide detectives Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin who work for the Portland Police Department trying to solve murders with a decidedly supernatural bent to them.  NBC has announced that the series will return for a second season, and we talked with them recently as NBC gets set to broadcast the first season finale.  Also, the network has announced that the show will temporarily move to Tuesdays with reruns of Season 1, which will begin on May 29 following America's Got Talent.

 

USTOWNHALL SPEAKS TO DAVID GIUNTOLI AND RUSSELL HORNSBY OF GRIMM:

 

USTH: The first season finale will be airing soon, so let's have you reflect on this past year and how it's been for each of you in terms of your personal career and how the show has been going for you and the fan reaction and the network support.

DAVID GIUNTOLI: Appreciate it, absolutely. From a standpoint of an actor, I've grown leaps and bounds. I've learned so much. You really get thrown into it, and you don't stop running until 22 episodes are done and 9 months has passed.
And I've been very fortunate to get to work alongside guys who are youthful veterans of the entertainment industry like Russell Hornsby and Silas Weir Mitchell. These guys have really been great and gracious and have taught me a lot just so I kind of lock it in every day.
And the fans have been unbelievable. I've had fans in the past, but genre TV fans are passionate fans. They're completely active. They watch the episode, and then next thing, they're writing fan-fiction or creating more scenarios and asking questions, and they really hold you accountable. And the whole experience has been wonderful.

RUSSELL HORNSBY: Well, for me this experience has been rather surreal. I guess I don't consider myself a veteran of television. This is like the first time I've been on a show that people actually watch [David laughs] and so, just sort of getting used to the hubbub and fanfare and being the first time recognized. It has been crazy.
And so I really thought that I had sort of made it five years ago, and I realized, "Oh, no, I didn't." The work schedule has been very intense like I've never experienced – just all the hours that we've had to put in, being on location, being in Portland and shooting outside in the rain and at night.
I've just learned to appreciate this whole experience and as an actor learning just new things about myself – as an actor and as a performer, all the stuff that I can handle. I never thought I could up to this point.
And again, the fans have been crazy. I mean in a good way. Genre fans are nuts about their shows that they've loved and they follow them. And they're very interactive and very smart.
So, I'm just really curious to see what the next season is going to bring as far as the show's concerned, but also from a fan perspective.

 

NUP_145984_0073-resize NUP_145984_0965-resize

(l-r) David Giuntoli (as Nick Burnhardt), Russell Hornsby (as Hank Griffin) on NBC's Grimm

[Image credit: NBC]

 

USTH: Okay, and speaking of next season, what would you like to see happen with each of your characters?

DAVID GIUNTOLI: I'm excited for Nick to become more of a badass, so to speak. Throughout the Season 1, he's [gone] from [being] a very passive observer of what was taking place to a real kind of go-getter where he tried to work the politics of what Wesen [pronounced "Vessin," the series' mythological creatures] were against him and who was for him and who was going after his loved ones, who was his friend. And I think that certain events will make him a little more aggressive.

RUSSELL HORNSBY: My hope is that Hank sort of finds out what's behind door number one. And, if that's the case, then just sort of seeing an opportunity for the relationship to develop, I think, between the three of them – Nick, Monroe and Hank, as they try to solve these crimes together. And I guess the drama that could possibly ensue between the three of them.
You know, I did a little joke today that there's a chance for a nice love triangle, you know. And, Monroe might settle for fighting for the affections of Miss Burkhardt. So it'll be fun.

 

USTH: In the season finale, there is a new character introduced called "The Woman in Black,"  who will be played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.  I know you can't reveal any spoilers to the episode, but will the character continue on into next season or will she appear in just this one episode?

DAVID GIUNTOLI: I don't have a definitive answer to that, but I would imagine that yes, she would continue on to next season.

 

USTH: Our thanks to Nick Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby for speaking with us today.  The season finale to Grimm will air on Friday, May 18 at 9pm Eastern. 

Also, remember that beginning Tuesday, May 29, NBC will be airing reruns of the entire first season following America's Got Talent in an effort to attract a wider audience heading into Season 2.

 

 
Bronx Opera returns with HANSEL & GRETEL
Written by Scott Katz   
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:44

The Bronx Opera returns for its Spring performances with something of a departure from its norm.  To be sure, it adheres to its customary template of presenting a well-known opera in the Spring, yet by choosing Hansel and Gretel as its focus, the Bronx Opera makes an inspired decision to perform a piece that could serve to introduce the world of opera to the younger generation.

One of the best known and most beloved fairy tales, Hansel and Gretel was published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812 in a volume containing scores of other legendary short stories such as Snow White and Cinderella.  By 1893, Engelbert Humperdinck – no, not the Las Vegas schmaltz-meister, the original German composer – turned the beloved story into a full-blown three-act opera to largely rave reviews.  It is this version that the Bronx Opera adapts for its May session.

The Bronx Opera's rendition of Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel is brilliantly brought to life by the Bronx Opera's founder, Michael Spierman who draws lush, room-filling sound from his full orchestra of almost three dozen extremely talented musicians.  Spierman's son Benjamin serves as Stage Director and translated the opera so that it could be fully performed in English while maintaining the integrity and wit of the original.

As is usual for a Bronx Opera production, there are standout and noteworthy performances aplenty.  In the cast we saw, Allison Pohl was charming and charismatic as Gretel and Bronx Opera vet Hannah Rosenbaum makes a memorable impression in a brief but pivotal role as the Sandman.  It should be noted that this rendition of the opera continues the tradition of the original in that the role of Hansel is performed by a female – a so-called "pants" role – and Jennifer Caruana does a fine job as the mischievous Hansel.  On the technical side, the many projections used to suggest the forest, the witches flying across the sky, and the gingerbread house are clever, colorful, and inventive and were quite effective tools in the school of doing more with less.

 

IMG_0129-resize HG-sand-resize
Image credit: The Bronx Opera Company

 

If we have one critique of Hansel and Gretel, it is with the third act, which follows the intermission.  At this point, the children are awakened by the Dew Fairy and soon find themselves at the mercy of the evil Gingerbread Witch.  This is where the story should kick into high gear and the action should rise toward a satisfying climax, but in spite of the fact that the children are captured and Hansel is being fattened in preparation for his eventual fate as a tasty morsel, no sense of underlying tension is ever achieved.  Therefore, when the children find the courage and resourcefulness to outsmart the witch and push her into her own oven, the thrill of giddy catharsis that shoud be felt by the audience is somewhat diminished.

Much of the problem is with the underlying source material.  Humperdinck, in trying to lift Hansel and Gretel from its childhood folk tale origins to an opera worthy of serious consideration by adults may have succeeded all too well.  The composer's Wagnerian influences are apparent, but are structurally too rigid, serving to deflate much of the playfulness and imaginative spark inherent in the concept.  In the past, we've seen fantastic results where the Bronx Opera stayed extremely close to the source material they adapted and did not take too many liberties, but in this case with such kid-friendly material, why not?

The staging of this production was perhaps too well-mannered where a little cutting loose would have worked wonders.  The production design was fun and colorful, and we would have liked to have seen things taken even further.  Having the witch's entrance moved off-stage and directly into the audience where she could pop up unexpectedly, for example, might have provoked shrieks of laughter from the many children that were in attendance.  Or use the many video screens adorning the stage to have the witch's ugly mug projected in large size on four screens simultaneously as she sings her entrance number.  On a similar note, the witch's performance could have been made more broadly campy as her presence comprises the money shots of this oft-told tale and therefore needed to make much more of an impact than they do here.  Everything about the witch, from the costume to the entrance to the performance should have been bigger, grander, and just plain more fun. 

 

HG-Ginger-resize HG-witch-resize
Image credit: The Bronx Opera Company

 

While remaining faithful to the original, it might have been a canny idea for Spierman to have another story in the back of his mind that uses much the same template: lost child trying to get back home, but running afoul of an evil witch and singing songs along the way – The Wizard of Oz – to try to attain the same larger-than-life tone particularly in the witch's performance.

Humperdinck's opera ends up being a creation that is neither fish nor fowl – not weighty enough to engage a fully adult audience, yet not cartoonishly preposterous enough to have the kids leaping out of their seats in excitement.  Still, the Bronx Opera does a commendable job in bringing this flawed gem to the stage and it is a largely effective gateway to the world of opera for the little ones – a nice night out for the entire family.

There are still two more performances left to the Bronx Opera's Hansel and Gretel, and tickets should still be available for their Long Island shows at Hofstra University.  Please visit the Bronx Opera's website for more information and to keep up with future projects and their ongoing mission to make classical opera affordable and accessible to everyone.

To listen to our previous interviews with the Bronx Opera Company's Ben Spierman, click here.

 

 
2011-2012 TV Season Cancellations
Written by USTownhall staff   
Saturday, 12 May 2012 14:07

Now that the 2011-2012 television season will be coming to an end in a couple of weeks, we thought it would be a good time to summarize the announcements that the five broadcast networks have made regarding the fates of their television schedules.  Some shows are still undecided, but the fates of most of their lineups are now known:

 

STATUS ABC CBS FOX NBC The CW

CANCELED

• Charlie's Angels

• Cougar Town (but new episodes will air on TBS)  

• Desperate Housewives

• Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

• GCB

• Man Up!

• Missing

• Pan Am

• The River

• Work It

• CSI: Miami

• A Gifted Man

• How to Be a Gentleman

• NYC 22

• Rob

• Unforgettable

• Alcatraz

• Allen Gregory

• Breaking In

• The Finder

• House

• I Hate My Teenage Daughter

• Napoleon Dynamite

• Terra Nova


• Are You There, Chelsea?

• Awake

• Bent

• Best Friends Forever

• Chuck

• The Firm

• Free Agents

• Harry's Law

• The Playboy Club

• Prime Suspect

• H8R

• One Tree Hill

• Remodled

• Ringer

• The Secret Circle


RETURNING

• The Bachelor

• The Bachelorette

• Body of Proof

• Castle

• Dancing with the Stars

• Don't Trust the B- in Apt. 23

• Grey's Anatomy

• Happy Endings

• Last Man Standing

• The Middle

• Modern Family

• Once Upon a Time

• Private Practice

• Revenge

• Scandal

• Shark Tank

• Suburgatory

• 2 Broke Girls

• The Amazing Race

• The Big Bang Theory

• Blue Bloods

• Criminal Minds

• CSI

• CSI: NY

• The Good Wife

• Hawaii Five-O

• How I Met Your Mother

• The Mentalist

• Mike & Molly

• NCIS

• NCIS: Los Angeles

• Person of Interest

• Rules of Engagement

• Survivor

• Two and a Half Men

• Undercover Boss

• American Dad

• American Idol

• Bob's Burgers

• Bones

• The Cleveland Show

• The Family Guy

• Fringe

• Glee

• Kitchen Nightmares

• New Girl

• Raising Hope

• The Simpsons

• Touch

• The X Factor

• 30 Rock

• Betty White's Off Their Rockers (midseason)

• The Biggest Loser (midseason)

• Celebrity Apprentice (midseason)

• Community

• Fashion Star

• Grimm

• Law & Order: SVU

• The Office

• Parenthood

• Parks & Recreation

• Smash

• Up All Night

• The Voice

• Whitney

• 90210

• America's Next Top Model

• Gossip Girl

• Hart of Dixie

• Nikita

• Supernatural

• The Vampire Diaries

 

 

 
Review: CHUCK JONES: THE DREAM THAT NEVER WAS
Written by Scott Katz   
Monday, 26 December 2011 00:00
ChuckJones-DreamNeverWas-resizeThroughout his life, Chuck Jones was a dreamer.  He was always able to tap into the child within himself as part of his creative process, and children and dreams are both ever-present themes and inspirations to Jones during his long career.  That much is evident to anyone who had ever met the man or even those of us who were only fortunate enough to be entertained by his deep catalog of animated cartoon classics.  In addition to creating the Roadrunner and Pepe Le Pew series, Jones is responsible for some of the most famous Warner Bros. cartoons in their canon: "What's Opera, Doc?," "One Froggy Evening," the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/Elmer Fudd Hunting Trilogy, and literally scores more.  Of course, children and dreams are perfectly encapsulated in Jones' two Ralph Phillips cartoons.  But from a mind as active and creative as Jones' was, not all dreams could be realized.  In Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was, we are taken on a remarkable journey through a twenty-year period in Jones' life that was a mere footnote in most texts about the man – if it got a mention at all. 

Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was weighs in at about 280 pages, and there's not a wasted paragraph among them.  The book is neatly divided into six sections that chronicle the full story of Crawford in all its various iterations over two decades – but this project's ambitions don't stop there.

The book opens with a massive 43 page essay by Kurtis Findlay that not only outlines Chuck Jones' various attempts to get Crawford before the public – both successful and not – but also covers his entire career with a particular emphasis on his post-Warner Bros. accomplishments.  That makes this book especially valuable as this period is less well-documented than his salad days as one of the guiding forces behind Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.  Findlay's prose is at once thorough, enlightening, and entertaining, and he guides us expertly through the highlights of Jones' tenure at MGM and beyond.  Chuck Jones is justifiably one of the premier figures of the Golden Age of Animation, and his career at Warners has been discussed in great depth in any number of tomes, but his post-Warner career remains scarcely-mined territory so there are many stories just waiting to be told of this period.  Truthfully, Jones had such a long and prolific creative life that every day was likely a new adventure and each phase of Jones' career could without a doubt support a book of its own.  Even Jones' supposed misfires and failures are more interesting than the highlights of many other animators and warrant an in-depth study. 

Chuck Jones passed away in 2002, and while his immense body of work does speak for itself, it is always interesting and instructive to hear the stories behind the story – the story of the gestation process of a project and how it finally saw completion – or not.  That's what makes well-written text pieces like Findlay's such crucial reading.  Findlay doesn't give us a dry recitation of the facts; he successfully captures the essence of who Jones was as a person and as a creator.  Through the anecdotes chronicling his time as head of MGM animation and his later stint at ABC children's programming (where's that book?), we are shown a Chuck Jones who wants more than anything to push the boundaries of what is possible in the television animation format.  Jones never gives up this goal even in the face of continued ambivalence our outright apathy from the studio and network executives.

Upon being dismissed from Warner Bros. due to his moonlighting as writer of the screenplay for UPA's Gay Purr-ee, Jones was quickly snatched up by MGM where he created a series of Tom and Jerry shorts that played throughout the 60s. 

To his credit, Findlay doesn't try to whitewash the past; he gives full details about how much of Jones' post-Warner work was not unanimously well-received – both his Tom and Jerry series and the other projects he created for MGM.  For instance, although Jones won an Oscar for his classic short, "The Dot and The Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics," the author of the book it was

 

Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was

 

    

MSRP: $49.99

ISBN: 978-1613770306

reprints full Sundays and dailies run

of Crawford 1978 newspaper strip

280 pp, Available now

www.libraryofamericancomics.com

based upon, Norton Juster, reportedly hated the result.  Juster had a similar reaction to Jones' feature-length treatment of one of his other books, The Phantom Tollbooth.  To one degree or another, Jones met with dissatisfaction from the authors of other works he interpreted while at MGM including Dr. Seuss on the adaptations of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who, Frank Tashlin (the director whose animation unit Jones took over upon Tashlin's exit from Warner) on "The Bear That Wasn't,"  and the great Walt Kelly whose signature creation was brought to television by Jones in 1969's Pogo's Special Birthday Special.  Perhaps the heart of the problem was that Jones was adapting other people's material and in fleshing them out for the very different media of television and film, imprinted too much of his own voice and sensibilities on stories that were very personal to their authors.  This is in marked contrast to the Looney Tunes stars who were really committee characters and thus malleable enough to withstand the differing interpretations of multiple directors.

Findlay weaves a fascinating tapestry delineating how Jones began developing the character and world of Crawford in 1967 for a proposed television animated series, and how he worked on it with his wife through various refinements until it was ready to pitch to MGM in 1969.  However, nothing came of it as Jones' busy schedule coupled with the closing of MGM's animation unit after the completion of The Phantom Tollbooth scuttled any plans to bring Crawford to television.

However, in 1977, another opportunity arose to bring Crawford to life albeit not on television, but in the pages of the daily newspaper comic strips.  In 1977, Robert Reed (no, not the Brady Bunch dad) of the Tribune Company approached Jones with the idea of creating his own comic strip for his group of newspapers that would feature a set of kids to compete with Peanuts, the hugely successful strip that was part of the United Features Syndicate stable.  To that end, Jones dusted off his Crawford proposal and reworked it and the characters for the daily newspaper strip format.  The strip premiered in January 1978 in the New York  Daily News and a handful of smaller papers.  It is unknown why the Chuck Jones name did not have enough star power to get his strip picked up by more papers, but our own analysis of the results show a lack of cohesion and continuity in the seven months the strip was in existence.  Jones had a lot of ideas, but failed to take the time to create distinctive and convincing characters to execute those ideas.  Jones' trademark witticisms and wordplay are in full effect, make no mistake.  But with few exceptions, the dialogue could be exchanged between characters with little to no effect on the outcome.  The biggest obstacle to the public's being able to embrace the strip is that the titular character is actually the least interesting in the bunch.  In the first few weeks of the strip, Crawford serves merely as straight man to his buddy Morgan, who initiates much of the action.  On the whole, the Crawford cast is less interesting than their Peanuts counterparts: Crawford, Morgan, and Libby never engage, provoke, or touch us the way Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy do.

Also, during the course of the strip's life, its stars Crawford and Morgan undergo radical shifts in character traits and even physical appearance.  The gang seems to age several years overnight again proving that the concept needed more thought and development time before seeing print.

Still, as a collected work, this book is a marvelous achievement by all involved.  The Library of American Comics – spearheaded by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell – already have such a deep catalog of hit books to be proud of that, from an editorial perspective, it must be a daunting task to keep coming up with projects to top themselves.  We're glad to report that with Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was, they really have upped the ante on what has come before. 

 

DRGL-01-019_cr-resize

Image from Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was

[Image credit: The Library of American Comics]

 

This book is a must-have for any fan of comic strips, animation, or Chuck Jones himself.  Chuck's strips, storyboards, and sketches – and there are heaping gobs of it published here to drool over – occupy the lion's share of the book.  That signature angular style Jones developed in the 1950s is here on display in all its charm.  Chuck Jones, the artist, ranks up there with the best cartoonists that the newspaper or animation media ever produced.  He had a mastery of body language – including the iconic sideways glance to the audience – which few artists could match and it was always effectively employed to convey character, mood, and subtext.  With the precision of a surgeon, Jones always knew how big or small he needed the action to go in order to get the reaction from the audience that he wanted.

The Library of American Comics is no stranger to accolades for their works, which have won Eisner Awards in the Best Archival Collection category three times already.  While the recent Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim volume 1 (reviewed elsewhere on this site) is the more obvious Eisner-bait for this year's awards, we think Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was is the more deserving and hope it at least gets a nomination.  Chuck Jones is the kind of book that needs to see print because it gives full detail and context to a period in the artist's life that had heretofore been a footnote at best.  Just when you thought you knew all you could about Jones, this book comes along and provides an exciting opportunity for discovery that adds a thrilling undercurrent to each turn of the page and makes the reading experience that much more rewarding.  Yes, the stories on the page are fun, whimsical, and charming, but the story behind the story is the bigger prize and one that will make The Dream That Never Was a go-to reference for both animation and Chuck Jones aficionados now and for decades into the future.

 

 
Reviews: New Anime REDLINE & FIRST SQUAD: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Written by Scott Katz   
Sunday, 15 January 2012 22:51

Anime fans are in for a treat as two signficant new films make their debut on Tuesday, January 17.  From Manga Entertainment comes Redline and First Squad: The Moment of Truth.  Both films are exciting, fun, eye-popping spectacles, but each could not be more different from the other.

Redline comes to us from Madhouse, the animation studio whose crazed, over-the-top style has won accolades from fans all over the world.  Some of Madhouse's previous efforts include television series and feature films such as Black Lagoon, Death Note, Demon City Shinjuku, Paprika, Record of Lodoss War, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and literally scores more.  American audiences have seen their work in The Animatrix, Batman: Gotham Knight, Hulk Vs., and the new Marvel Anime series currently airing on G4.  If you're an anime fan, the name Madhouse on a project automatically makes it must-see viewing.

Set in the far future, Redline tells the story of the biggest, baddest, most cutthroat racing event in the galaxy.  Only adrenaline junkies with a death wish even consider trying to qualify for the competition, which is held once every five years.  At the center of the swirling chaos, we find JP, our lanky, leather-jacketed young hero with a pompadour that is akin to Elvis' cranked up to 100.  One of his main rivals is the sweet-natured, but headstrong female racer Sonoshee.  Romance blossoms on the track, but the murderous cyborg rulers of Roboworld, where the Redline event is being held without their permission, threatens to crash this coupling before it can cross the finish line.

In a way, Redline is a throwback to the old ways of animation.  It's completely and gorgeously hand drawn – over 100,000 individual drawings make up this film, which runs a generous 1 hour and 42 minutes – about a half hour longer than most anime films.  The result of this seven year effort is immensely pleasing and the racing sequences provoke genuine giddy thrills.  This is not a film which takes itself seriously at all, so don't you dare try to.  It's admittedly barely there story has about the depth of a Fast and the Furious flick so the mandate is "look, don't think."  But since this is Madhouse, there is more than plenty to look at and admire.  The studio, whcih has a drool-worthy back catalog of influential hit movies and television series is at the top of its game here.  Its long, arduous effort to get this film done has paid off handsomely.  Redline is a triumph of traditional animation techniques (albiet supplemented by some computer effects and enhancements), and is what Speed Racer wishes it could have been.

 

REDLINE

102 minutes, Blu-Ray $29.99, DVD $24.98

FIRST SQUAD: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

75 minutes, Blu-Ray $29.99, DVD $24.98

Redline_cr First_Squad_The_Moment_of_Truth_cr
Click images above to watch the TRAILERS!

 

Studio 4°C, which animated the other film under review, First Squad: The Moment of Truth, also has an impressive catalog of projects, and, in fact, contributed sequences to The Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight just as Madhouse did.  Anime fans have also seen their work in feature films such as Steamboy, Spriggan, and Tekkon Kinkreet.  Among their current work is the popular ThunderCats revival series currently airing on Cartoon Network.  With a pedigree of this high quality, it comes as no surprise that their latest feature effort, First Squad: The Moment of Truth is a legitimate triumph of animation and solid storytelling with neither getting the short shrift.  Because Redline is a balls-to-the-wall gonzo roller coaster ride full of sound and fury, it does keep you at an emotional arms' length.  In contrast, the often quieter, more contemplative tone of First Squad successfully draws you in and forces you to pay attention to the characters and to care about what they care about.

First Squad: The Moment of Truth centers around Nadia, a girl who cannot remember her past, but who can foretell the future.  The story takes place in 1942 as the Nazi forces, who have already conquered much of Europe, have their sights set on Russia.  General Wolf, an SS officer, uses supernatural forces to raise from the dead an army of 12th century Teutonic Knights to aid him in his conquest against the Red Army.  In Russia, Nadia is taken to a secret facility in order to make contact with other teenagers who had special gifts and were part of an elite unit killed by the Nazis.  Nadia enters the land of the dead to convince her former comrades to come back with her to continue the fight against General Wolf and his supernatural army.

The battle scenes are equisitely staged and the snow-filled environment of the Russian front is convincingly rendered.  As is common among anime aimed at an older audience, the story is non-linear in its progression, and its action moves without warning back and forth through time in order to set things up and then fill in the backstory.  An additional element that is rather unique to animated films is the inclusion of live action actors playing war veterans, historians, and psychologists being intercut into the flow of the narrative at various points and commenting on the story as if it were historical fact.  This gives the film a faux-documentary style, which has proven polarizing to the audiences that have seen it.  For our part, we really enjoyed it and felt it added a sense of depth and importance to the film.  One caveat, however, is that it seems the necessary subtitles for the live action sequences only show up when the Russian soundtrack with English subtitles is selected.  However, all the animated sequences, which make up the lion's share of the film, are dubbed nicely into English.  We would have appreciated having English subtitles burned into the live action bits so that the audience wouldn't have to choose between English and Russian dialogue.

Each of these wonderful films could easily be spun off into an ongoing television anime series or at least a series of movies.  In fact, First Squad ends so abruptly and with such a sense that there is more story to be told, that we hope there are sequels waiting for us down the line to pick up where things left off.  For different reasons, we've been won over by each of these films and would like to visit their worlds again.

As far as the transfer quality is concerned, each boasts crystal clear video and powerful Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio in their Blu-Ray versions (DVD audio is Dolby Digital 5.1).  Video quality is outstanding given that there are many difficult and intricate animated sequences in both films.  There are no special features on First Squad, while Redline boasts over 90 minutes worth including a Perfect Guide to Redline, a Quick Guide to Redline (both featuring behind-the-scenes interviews with the actors, writer, and director), and the Redline 2006 trailer.  Each of these movies is priced to own, and we can wholeheartedly recommend both.

 

Got a comment? Click here to post it...
 
«StartPrev12345678910NextEnd»

Page 6 of 10

MORE INTERVIEWS...

  

the-apprentice-logo-thumb UslanMichael-resize-thumb 30-rock-thumb agnes-nixon-thumb BenSpierman-thumb big-brother-logo-thumb bobby-flay-thumb Bridgeboy-logo-thumb
cast of The Apprentice 10

BATMAN film producer MICHAEL USLAN

Sherri Shepherd

Vanessa Minnillo

All My Children creator AGNES NIXON

Bronx Opera's BEN SPIERMAN

cast of Big Brother 12 BOBBY FLAY & STEVE ELLS of America's Next Great Restaurant Cast of the play Bridgeboy
bruce-canwell-thumb chuck-thumb crystal-chappell-thumb dan-kroll-thumb dan-parent-thumb david-lyons-thumb debbie-gibson-tiffany-thumb dede-emerson-thumb
Library of American Comics' BRUCE CANWELL RYAN McPARTLIN & SARAH LANCASTER

CRYSTAL CHAPPELL

part 1: Guiding Light

part 2: Days of Our Lives

soapcentral.com founder DAN KROLL DAN PARENT of Archie Comics DAVID LYONS of The Cape DEBBIE GIBSON & TIFFANY Author DEDE EMERSON of A Different Kind of Streetwalker
dowling_jpeg-thumb eliana-ujueta-thumb jamal-igle-thumb Jay-Mary-thumb jeremy-irons-thumb jerry-beck-thumb josh-groban-thumb kai-soremekun-thumb
BOB DOWLING of the 3D Entertainment Summit Indie filmmaker ELIANA UJUETA of Beneath the Rock comic book artist JAMAL IGLE Genesis Repertory's JAY MICHAELS, MARY MiCARI, & actors Oscar-winning actor JEREMY IRONS

Animation historian JERRY BECK

1st interview

2nd interview

singer-songwriter JOSH GROBAN

web series producer KAI SOREMEKUN of Chick

1st interview

2nd interview

kathy-bates-thumb kenneth-johnson-thumb kyle-bornheimer-thumb law-and-order-los-angeles-thumb logo-thumb luann-de-lesseps-thumb max-thumb mike-miz-thumb
Oscar-winning actress KATHY BATES of Harry's Law Television producer KENNETH JOHNSON of V, Bionic Woman, Incredible Hulk KYLE BORNHEIMER & HAYES MacARTHUR of Perfect Couples

Terrence Howard, René Balcer

Dick Wolf, Alfred Molina, Alana de la Garza

publisher DAN HERMAN of Hermes Press COUNTESS LuANN de LESSEPS of The Real Housewives of New York City author MAX ALLAN COLLINS of Road to Perdition WWE Champion Mike "The MIz" Mizanin
MillCreeklogo-thumb nick-lachey-thumb niki-taylor-thumb paul-reiser-thumb ricky-gervais-thumb rosie-odonnell-thumb steve-niles-thumb the-event-cast-logo-thumb

JEFF HAYNE of Mill Creek Entertainment

1st interview

2nd interview

singer-actor NICK LACHEY supermodel NIKI TAYLOR talks The Celebrity Apprentice actor PAUL REISER of The Paul Reiser Show actor-producer RICKY GERVAIS of The Office actress-television host ROSIE O'DONNELL comic book writer STEVE NILES

Ian Anthony Dale, Nick Wauters

Jason Ritter, Sarah Roemer, Blair Underwood, Željko Ivanek

thore-jo-thumb tom-brokaw-thumb tom-pelphrey-thumb apothecary-theatre-thumb tori-spelling-thumb
THORE SCHÖLERMANN & JO WEIL of Verbotene Liebe Peabody & Emmy award winning journalist TOM BROKAW Emmy award winning actor TOM PELPHREY of Guiding Light actors from The Apothecary Theatre Company TORI SPELLING & DEAN McDERMOTT of sTORIbook Weddings

 

 

MORE FEATURES... 

 

Reviews & Previews:

Summer 2011 Movie Preview

Fall 2010 Television season

Fra Diavolo

Die Drei Pintos

Romeo and Juliet in Brooklyn

MPI Home Video

Timless Media Group

Boris Karloff's Thriller

Hunter: The Complete Series

Polly and Her Pals

Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee

Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern

Spider-Man musical delayed again

Frozen

Dead Space: Aftermath

Altitude

 

 

    

Events:

New York Comic Con

Apprentice 10 kickoff

Farewell to Guiding Light

Farewell to As the World Turns

The Broadway Directory

 

Award Show winners:

Academy Awards

Emmy Awards

Grammy Awards

Tony Awards

American Music Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

American Country Awards

 

    

Television blogs:

American Idol 10

American Idol 9

American Idol 8

Big Brother 12

Big Brother 11

ABC Cancels Both All My Children and One Life to Live

Guiding Light: A Look Back

 

Editorials & Issues:

Scam Alert: Have You Received This E-Mail Job Offer?

Meet the 112th Congress

Brooklyn politicians Kevin Peter Carroll vs. Ralph Perfetto

Before Rosa Parks There Was Lizzie Jennings

Understanding New York State Government

USTownhall RoundTable podcast: The Worlds of Entertainment and Current Events