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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blu-Ray Review: Hercules Special Edition


Bring home the mighty Hercules, new on Disney blu-ray! Follow Hercules as he taken from the gods as a newborn and adopted on earth by mortal parents. As Hercules gets older he learns that his home is on Mount Olympus if he can prove himself to be a hero. With his trusty flying horse named Pegasus and his trainer Phil, Herc works towards being a hero. Herc meets his match with the beautiful Meg and the evil Hades, who is trying to takeover the universe. Will our hero be able to stop him?



Video Quality:

The 1080p/AVC-encoded video looks great! Colors are rich and vibrant, details are amazing and backgrounds are crisp! Another great effort by Disney!



Audio Quality:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track flexes its muscle! Dialogue is clean and clear, the music is dynamic and the rear channels fill the entire soundfield! A solid audio presentation by Disney!



Bonus Features:
  • The Making of Hercules (SD, 9 minutes): A really short promo that leaves me wishing that Disney would have included an actual documentary, or audio commentary, or a look back on the film. 
  • Music Video (SD, 5 minutes): Ricky Martin sings "No Importa la Distancia".
  • "Zero to Hero" Sing-Along (SD, 3 minutes): A Standard definition sing-along.



Conclusion:

Hercules is a fun adventure with with a solid video presentation, fantastic audio, and while light on bonus material, this one deserves a place on your shelf. 

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided but the review is strictly my own opinion.*

Disneyland Photo Report: Halloween Creeps Into The Park - Merchandise - Crows and Ghostly Materials

Hey everybody - it's time for another Disneyland photo report! Summer is just about over and the fall is setting in! That means it's almost Halloween Time! So come along with me and see what's new! A light crowd today as we head into Disneyland!
The colors of the flowers! So bright and cheerful! The park is happy to see us!
A closer look at the flowers!
As we head onto Town Square, Disneyana is presenting art to help celebrate the 45th Anniversary of The Haunted Mansion!
A great take on the stretching portraits! How cute do these characters look?
Donald and his nephews visiting the mansion. Dewey is feeding the ghost horse that pulls the hearse.
Hmmm reminds me of the painting called American Gothic.
This is perhaps my favorite piece of art on display here. The organ in The Haunted Mansion was the one used in the movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. So that is Captain Nemo, played by James Mason, as the spirit playing the organ.
Merchandise such as this Goofy pumpkin have arrived. Don't worry you will see more merchandise below!
Walking down Main Street I saw this skull in the window. I'm sure it has been there for a long time and not just part of the Halloween decorations slowly going in.
I also noticed this awesome stained glass spider web in one of the windows on Main Street as well.
As promised back to more Halloween merchandise! Check out these cute Pumpkin Mickey and Minnie mugs!
Here is a larger mug for those of us that require more coffee in the morning!
A cute tabletop decoration. Would have been cool if it was an actual alarm clock!
Love this candy bowl!
Halloween hand towels!
Cute Mickey-o-lantern!
Great Witch Minnie reusable bag!
Another great tabletop decoration!
I love this Countdown to Halloween!
The Haunted Mansion is preparing itself for Jack Skellington's yearly visit!
The sign lets us know that September 12th will be the day that Jack's back!
One of my favorite signs in the park!
Oh no, the crows have invaded the Fortuosity Shop on Main Street!
It's like a scene from The Birds.
So many crows!
One last look at some of the crows!

Halloween Time is quickly approaching! The Halloween Time festivities begin September 12th at Disneyland! Will you be there?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Blu-Ray Review: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad/Fun And Fancy Free


Not only are The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and Fun and Fancy Free just great fun, you will also find the fully restored The Reluctant Dragon, making this a huge bargain of three movies!

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad adapts two classics, "The Wind in the Willows" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." In the first, Mr. Toad develops an obsession for motorcars, leads into big trouble and it's up to his friends to clear his name. Then it's onto one of my all-time favorites with narrator Bing Crosby. Teacher Ichabod pursues Katrina Van Tassel while rival Brom Bones tells Ichabod a tale of The Headless Horseman.

Fun and Fancy Free is the last animated feature starring Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey Mouse. There are two classic stories here as well, "Bongo," based on "Little Bear Bongo," and "Mickey and the Beanstalk," based on the classic fairy tale. In the first Bongo tells that tale of a mistreated bear who escapes the circus and discovers that life in the forest isn't any better than with humans. In the second Mickey, Donald and Goofy climb the magic beanstalk and come face to face with a giant. The trio must work together to stop the giant and bring peace to their home.



Video Quality:

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad has a decent 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation. Nice details, soft colors, and the only issue here is the age of the film and not the encode. This is the best it has ever looked as a home release. 

Fun and Fancy Free's 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation on the other hand needs some work. There is some smearing and some of the live-action shots are blurry.


Audio Quality:

Both films offer a pretty good DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The dialogue as well as the narration are wonderful and the rear channels do a good job of created a directional soundfield. Considering the age of these films, they sound great despite the years. 


Bonus Features:

The hidden treasure here and the best reason to buy this blu-ray is the amazingly restored and remastered 1080p presentation of The Reluctant Dragon. Mixing black and white live-action and technicolor live-action and four animated shorts, it offers a great look at the studio and the animation process. 


Conclusion:

This set is a great look at The Walt Disney Studios in the 1940s. It was a rough time but all three films are fun and entertaining. The video and audio presentations all vary from one film to the next with The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad being the best of the three. Even so this is worth owning and adding to your collection. You cannot beat three films for the price of one and plus you get the beautifully restored The Reluctant Dragon.

*Disclaimer: The review copy was provided but the review is strictly my opinion.*

Snacking In The Parks: Spoonful of Sugar (Limited Time Offering) at Disneyland

To help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Mary Poppins, these almost too good to eat spoonsful of sugar were available at the Jolly Holiday Bakery in Disneyland!

Blu-Ray Review: Mickey, Donald and Goofy - The Three Musketeers 10th Anniversary Edition


Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers is geared for the younger set and is a cute movie produced by the folks at DisneyToon Studios.


Mickey, Donald and Goofy are best friends and also janitors with dreams of becoming Musketeers. But the evil plans of Peg-Leg Pete, captain of the Musketeers and his lieutenant Clarabelle use them in a plot to overthrow Princess Minnie. Mickey, Donald and Goofy must work together to save the day.


Video Quality:

Another fine effort by Disney with a beautiful 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation. Colors are bright and details are crisp. There is nothing really here to criticize. The animations is nice and sharp, backgrounds look fantastic, an exceptional transfer.


Audio Quality:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is decent. While there is nothing wrong with the mix, the soundfield just feels flat and not dynamic. It does the job it is meant to do. Dialogue is clear, there is a bit more power when it comes to the action scenes, and the rear channels create an involving environment, 


Bonus Features:
  • Cast Commentary (SD, 5 minutes): Oddly enough there is this random scene-specific commentary instead of a film commentary. While it includes Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pete, it would have been really cool to have all the characters give the full movie commentary.    
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 5 minutes): DisneyToon Studios Vice President Brian Snedeker provides commentary on these unfinished, storyboarded deleted scenes.
  • Get the Scoop (SD, 10 minutes): A Three Musketeers behind-the-scenes featurette.
  • Disney Song Selection (HD, 7 minutes): Five songs to sing along karaoke style.
  • Get Up and Dance (HD, 2 minutes): A dance-along for your kids.
  • Sing-Along (HD): Hidden within the Disney Song Selection is a Sing-Along track so everyone can sing-along.


Conclusion:

Excellent video and audio presentation with some interesting bonus features make this a film to add to your Disney collection.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided but the review is strictly my own.*

Blu-Ray Review: Bedknobs and Broomsticks Special Edition

Bedknobs and Broomsticks comes to blu-ray for the very first time! Considered a classic in its own right, it is one of my favorites from childhood.

The story follows three children, Charlie, Carrie and Paul as they move to a small village during World War Two. Their host, Miss Price, turns out to be a witch in the making. Her early attempts at magic don't turn out as planned but her spell on a bedknob creates a flying machine. Everyone including con-artist Mr. Browne end up on the animated island of Naboombu in search of a medallion that will save England from the Germans' blitz on London.

Video Quality:

The 1080p/AVC-encoded remastered video is gorgeous! Colors are vibrant and skintones look natural! The animated sequences have been completely cleaned up and practically look brand new! Another high quality restoration from Disney!


Audio Quality:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is pretty solid. The dialogue is crisp and clear though you can hear some hiss here and there. The rear channels are fairly soft but the soundfield is pleasant.


Bonus Features:
  • Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers (SD, 21 minutes): By far one of the strangest oversights was to not include the 139-minute extended version of the film but to include this featurette discussing the cut that was on the DVD release of the movie in 2001.  
  • Deleted and Extended Songs (HD, 24 minutes): Four deleted songs included here are, "A Step in the Right Direction," "With a Flair" and "Nobody's Problems." Two extended songs included here are "Eglantine" and "Portobello Road."
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 10 minutes): "Captain Greer," "Ulterior Motives," "The First Supper," "Letter from Professor Browne," "Extortion," "Traveling Spell," "Substitutiary Locomotion" and "Matchmaker."
  • David Tomlinson Recording Session (SD, 1 minute): This recording session from 1970 features David Tomlinson singing the ending of "Portobello Road".
  • Disney Song Selection (HD, 21 minutes): Songs include here are "The Old Home Guard," "The Age of Not Believing," "Eglantine," "Portobello Road," "The Beautiful Briny" and "Substituiary Locomotion." 
  • The Wizards of Special Effects (SD, 8 minutes): Wizards of Waverly Place star Jennifer Stone compares special effects from Bedknobs and Broomsticks to those used in the Disney Channel series.
  • Theatrical Trailers (SD, 9 minutes): Four trailers are featured here.

Conclusion:

A charming Disney classic with a wonderful video and audio presentation with some great bonus features. The inclusion of the longer extended cut of the film would have been a great addition and made the Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers featurette make more sense. But Bedknobs and Broomsticks still deserves a place on your movie shelf.

*Disclaimer: A review copy was provided but the review is strictly my own.*


Friday, August 29, 2014

Take Your First Look At A Clip From Pixar's New Short - LAVA

The first look clip from Disney/Pixar’s new short LAVA is now available. 

LAVA will open in theaters in front of Disney/Pixar’s INSIDE OUT on June 19, 2015!  

THE STORY OF FROZEN: MAKING A DISNEY ANIMATED CLASSIC Hosted by Josh Gad, the Voice of Olaf


THE STORY OF FROZEN:
MAKING A DISNEY ANIMATED CLASSIC

Hosted by Josh Gad, the Voice of Olaf

All-New Exclusive ABC Special Features Interviews with Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff,  Josh Gad as well as John Lasseter and the Frozen Filmmaking Team

AN UNPRECEDENTED BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THE MAKING OF A MODERN MOVIE BASED ON A TIMELESS TALE, “THE STORY OF FROZEN: MAKING A DISNEY ANIMATED CLASSIC” PREMIERES TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 8:00-9:00 PM ET, WITH A LOOK TOWARD THE NEXT CHAPTER FOR ANNA, ELSA AND FRIENDS

FEATURING AN EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK OF “BIG HERO 6,” WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS’ NEXT COMEDY ACTION ADVENTURE & MORE

“The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic” is an all-new, original special in a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Lincoln Square Productions and Walt Disney Animation Studios. The special ventures behind-the-scenes for an exclusive look at the origins and evolution of the Academy Award®-winning film “Frozen,” now the biggest animated feature of all time.   A breathtaking and fantastic saga, the special tells the real story of making a modern movie based on a timeless tale that nearly overnight became a cultural touchstone for legions of fans.

“The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic” airs TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 (8:00 -9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. 


            Viewers will get a rare look inside Walt Disney Animation Studios and unprecedented access to the creative team that brought “Frozen” to life. Throughout the one-hour special, the audience will hear from “Frozen” stars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, the directors, songwriters, producer, artists and chief creative officer John Lasseter—the team who dreamed of making a cherished Hans Christian Andersen story into a big-screen animated musical.   Viewers will take a journey to the beautiful Norwegian villages and landscapes that inspired the look of the fictional kingdom of Arendelle  and see images and footage from the research trips to Norway, Quebec and points beyond that helped create the film’s unforgettable look and feel.

            This special will also include some exciting announcements about the next chapter of “Frozen” and a never-before-seen preview of “Frozen” characters Anna, Elsa and Kristoff on an upcoming episode of ABC’s smash-hit “Once Upon a Time.”

The program will culminate in an exclusive sneak peek at the action-packed comedy-adventure “Big Hero 6,” currently in production at Walt Disney Animation Studios –under wraps until now – as the team prepares their next big-screen epic.

“The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic” is hosted by star Josh Gad (voice of Olaf) and features interviews with “Frozen” stars Kristen Bell (voice of Anna) and Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa) as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer and “Frozen” executive producer John Lasseter, Academy Award®-winning filmmakers, including directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, producer Peter Del Vecho, and songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. This one-hour special will also feature exclusive insights and commentary from art director Mike Giaimo and talented artists from the art direction, animation and effects teams. The exclusive sneak peek of “Big Hero 6” is presented by the film’s directors, Don Hall and Chris Williams.

“The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic” is produced by Lincoln Square Productions. Jeanmarie Condon is senior executive producer and Rudy Bednar is director of “The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic.” 

Click here for an interactive experience:

ABOUT “FROZEN”
Walt Disney Animation Studios, the studio behind “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” presents “Frozen,” a stunning big-screen comedy adventure. Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. The film is directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan,” “Surf’s Up”) and Jennifer Lee (screenwriter, “Wreck-It Ralph”), who also wrote the screenplay. It is produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Winnie the Pooh,” “The Princess and the Frog”). Featuring original songs from Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Winnie the Pooh”) and Tony® winner Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon,” “Avenue Q”), and an original score by Christophe Beck (“The Muppets,” Oscar®-winning short “Paperman”), “Frozen” won two Academy Awards® (best animated film and best original song with “Let It Go”) and a Golden Globe® (best animated feature film). It is the fifth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing animated film earning more than $1.27 billion globally. Released wide domestically on Nov. 27, 2013, “Frozen” posted the No. 1 industry all-time Thanksgiving debut and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ biggest opening ever. The film’s Feb. 25 digital debut was the biggest digital release (sell-through) ever; it’s Blu-ray/DVD release on March 18 was No. 1 on the Nielsen overall disc charts for eight nonconsecutive weeks. The “Frozen” soundtrack is the top-selling album of 2014 and spent 31 consecutive weeks in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, including 13 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1. It is certified triple Platinum, selling more than 3.2 million units. The “Let It Go” film clip from “Frozen” has been viewed nearly 300 million times on YouTube.

Walt Disney Animation Studios
Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. Located in Burbank, WDAS continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, stretching from the first fully-animated feature film, 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” to 2013’s Academy Award®-winning “Frozen,” the biggest animated film of all time. Among the studio’s timeless creations are “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Lincoln Square Productions:
Lincoln Square Productions produces original content for broadcast, cable and digital distribution specializing in entertaining ways to tell fact based stories.  Clients include ABC Television Group, Scripps Networks, Viacom, Discovery Communications, National Geographic Networks, and more.   Lincoln Square Productions is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. The headquarters are located in New York City.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Restaurant Review: Roscoe's Chicken 'N Waffles in Anaheim

After months and months of eager anticipation, Roscoe's Chicken 'n Waffles has finally opened in Anaheim! The only Roscoe's in Orange County, is open for business! For people that are long-time fans such as myself or for those who are new to the Roscoe's experience let's take a look at the Anaheim location!
You can't beat a better location than right down the street from Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center! Business has been really good thus far and parking is at a premium!
How much of a premium you ask? Well, they are even using overflow parking at a nearby closed business.
Inside you will find several large neon signs like the one above!
So many delicious options but my favorite is the Herb's Special #3! You can never go wrong with four pieces of fried chicken and two massive waffles!
The meal is so big that you have to serve it on two plates! The fried chicken is fantastic as ever! The skin is crisp and flavorful, the meat is moist and tender! I also add some of the Red Rooster Hot Sauce to the chicken to put it over the top! Then you make your way to the waffles and all that butter and sugarcane syrup! The waffles are some of my favorite ever! There is a hint of vanilla and cinnamon I believe in the batter. The combination of the saltiness of the fried chicken and the sweetness of the waffles make for a perfect combination!
Get a closer look at that fried chicken! Doesn't that look delicious?
And here is a closer look at the waffles! Who's hungry?
The first Orange County Roscoe's is a welcomed addition to the Anaheim area. The service is fantastic and the food came out in literally a few minutes after we had ordered! If you go, arrive early or find a long wait and a lack of parking spaces. Now excuse me as I head back to get more chicken and waffles!

Roscoe's Chicken 'n Waffles

Where: 2110 South Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, near Disneyland

HOURS: (Please note the hours are still being tweaked)
Mon7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Tue7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Wed7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Thu7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sun8:00 am - 4:00 pm

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