Tagged: musical

Tweeks: Teen Beach 2 Because Disney

Full Disclosure:  We are obsessed with Disney Channel musicals.  And who can blame us?  It looks like a lot of people (of all ages) are too. Disney knows what they are doing with the genre and according to the Disney Channel last Friday night’s Teen Beach Movie 2 was its biggest cable TV original movie of this year & the most-watched TV telecast in nearly 2 years in the youth demos.  It was watched by 7.5 million total viewers — and only 3.2 million were kids (6-11), 2.8 million tweens (9-14) in the Live +3 ratings.  There were 13.3 million total viewers during the weekend encores.  That kind of makes the sequel to 2013’s Teen Beach Movie starring Maia Mitchell & Ross Lynch a definitive summer event for our demographic.  If you want to be able to have something to talk to kids, tweens & teens this summer (besides our #ComicMixChallengedChallenge) our video will tell you all you need to know.  Though if you also love a good musical movie or have a soft spot for Frankie & Annette beach movies, we bet you’ll enjoy this too — at any age.

The Law Is A Ass #310: Avengers A.I.: Where Intelligence Really Is Artificial

So let me get this straight, in order to defeat the villain, the Avengers made a worse villain?

That first villain, Ultron, the living automaton with artificial intelligence and massive daddy issues about its creator Henry Pym, had made things pretty bad in the [[[Age of Ultron]]] mini-series. “Pretty bad” being a euphemism conquering the world, destroying major cities, killing people, and generally not playing well with others. In order to undo the Age of Ultron, Invisible Woman and Wolverine went into the past and visited Henry Pym before he built the first Ultron. They told Dr. Pym that Ultron would destroy the world in the future but also told him he still had to build Ultron so that the time line would stay the same until just before Ultron started the Age of Ultron. So Pym built Ultron, but put a kill switch into Ultron’s A.I. so that Ultron could be defeated at the right time in the future.

Cut to years later and the right time in the future: Invisible Woman visited Dr. Pym again. She showed Dr. Pym, whose memory of the earlier visit had been wiped, a video about Ultron which included instructions on how to activate the kill switch. This occurred just before the events of The Avengers v.4, # 12.1, where, you may recall, the Avengers rescued Spider-Woman from super-villain team the Intelligencia but inadvertently reactivated Ultron. (You may recall it. I had to look it up.)

Because he had been warned, Dr. Pym could change what happened after the Avengers reactivated Ultron. This time Ultron didn’t get away. Instead Pym had Iron Man upload the kill switch activation codes into Ultron. Then, after Ultron shut down, Pym used a computer virus to destroy Ultron. And they all lived happily ever after, no?



REVIEW: A Chorus Line

A Chrous LineYou may not have seen A Chorus Line but most everyone knows the song “One” thanks to its endless use in other productions (think Treehouse of Horror V, Phineas and Ferb, Scrubs) throughout the years. Since the play debuted Off-Broadway in 1975, it has gone on to become one of the best known musicals of the latter 20th Century. One reason it endured a run of 6137 performances on Broadway was its emotional honesty, bare bones set, and soul-bearing songs. As conceived by Michael Bennett, it was brought to life by Marvin Hamlisch (music), Edward Kleban (lyrics), and James Kirkwood Jr. (book) at a time when everyone was doing a little soul searching.

By the time the 1985 film adaptation from director Sir Richard Attenborough arrived, it was heralded as a return of the musical to the movies. Unfortunately, the so-so movie failed to ignite that revival and was mostly rejected by those who adored the film.

The main reason the movie, out now on Blu-ray from 20th Century Home Entertainment, doesn’t work is that the presence of film acts as a barrier between audience and performer. In live theater, you see the ensemble audition, you see them sweat and struggle and can see them in your personal field of vision. With the variety cinematic techniques brought to bear, it becomes less about a class of people (performers) and about a series of individuals all vying for a chance at stardom. Their interactions with the direct, Michael Douglas, is more intimate than it should be.

Bennett was resistant to a film adaptation and didn’t participate and eyebrows were raised when a British director was hired rather than someone who would appreciate the nuances of American theater. He also instituted a series of changes that brought down deep criticism from theater-goers, notably the substitution of the lesser songs “Surprise, Surprise” and “Let Me Dance For You” in place of “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love,” “Sing!,” and “The Music and the Mirror”. Whereas the stage production had raw language in its lyrics and had Gay members of the ensemble, the film scrubbed the later elements away, weakening its realistic feel.

Attenborough claims he rejected Madonna, who auditioned to be in the film and instead with a cast filled with largely unknown singers and dancers although today we know Audrey Landers and Janet Jones from the ensemble. They do a fine job but are ill-served by Attenborough, who attempts to replicate the raw stage setting, shot at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, but fails to translate it to film. What he needed was a radical reinterpretation or something to make the story hold up as a feature. Instead, this is a mildly entertaining muddle.

In addition to the desperate performers is the romantic story of Cassie (Alyson Reed), a dancer who left for Hollywood a year ago and failed. Back and hoping to start over, she’s auditioning for her former lover. As a result, Attenborough disastrously repurposes “What I Did for Love” from a story about sacrifice to perform to a paean from dancer to director. What worked as a spine for the stage production has been turned into soapy subplot.

The film is beautifully transferred to high definition so the performers dazzle amidst the stage gloom. This is well matched with the lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track so the music and lyrics are sharp.

Despite a wealth of available material about the show’s legacy, the disc comes without a single extra feature, not even the Marvin Hamlisch feature that was including on the initial DVD release in 2003.

Mindy Newell: Every Time A Bell Rings

Newell Art 131223As promised last week, here’s the list of my favorite Christmas movies, starting with all my very favorite-est…

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946). Directed by Frank Capra, who declared it his favorite of all his films and showed it every Christmas at his home, it stars James Stewart as “everyman” George Bailey, Donna Reed as his wife Mary Hatch Bailey, Lionel Barrymore as the banker Mr. Potter, and a veritable Who’s Who of notable character actors, including Beulah Bondi as Ma Bailey, Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy, Ward Bond as Bert the cop, Frank Faylen as Ernie the cab driver, Gloria Grahame as Violet the “bad” girl, Sheldon Leonard as Nick the bartender, and Harry Travers in the pivotal role of the angel Clarence Odbody. The story of an ordinary man who lives an ordinary life, driven to despair of having his dreams crushed once and for all as he faces bankruptcy and prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and who discovers that after all he has lived a wonderful life – “Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends. P.S. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence.” – leaves me weepy every time I see it.

Miracle On 34th Street (1947) “Do you believe in Santa?” Doris Walker is a divorcee who is the events director at Macy’s, and a woman, hurt by a marriage that ended in divorce instead of happily-ever-after, is raising her daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood), in a no-nonsense, there are no such things are Santa Claus manner. Stuck when the Santa she hired for the Thanksgiving Day parade is found stinkin’ drunk below his float, Doris hires Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) as the store’s Santa. Kris is the most successful Santa the store has ever had, and Doris is basking in the shadow of his success, until it is discovered that there is just one small problem – Mr. Kringle actually believes he is Santa. The old man is taken to Bellevue’s psychiatric ward, and is in danger of being committed, but Doris’s earnest suitor, Fred Payne, is a lawyer, and defends Kris in court. The judge decides (for political expediency) that Kris is the real Santa. Everyone celebrates at a party on Christmas Eve, except for Susan, who doesn’t believe Kris is Santa (“you’re just a nice old man with a beard.”) because he could not give her what she wanted for Christmas. Driving home from the party with her mother and Fred on a route given to them by Kris in order to avoid holiday traffic, Susan suddenly yells for Fred to stop the car. She jumps out and runs into a house with a “For Sale” sign in the yard – the home she asked Kris for. While Susan is exploring the house, Fred discovers that Doris told Susan that she must believe in Kris, that she must have faith. His own faith in Doris renewed, he proposes, Doris accepts, and they decide to buy the house. Then Fred declares himself a great lawyer for having done the impossible, “proving” that Kris is Santa Claus.  But then he and Doris discover a cane that looks just like the one belonging to Kris, leaning up against the fireplace…

The film was condemned and placed on the banned list by the Catholic Legion of Decency because the character, Doris Walker, was divorced. This fact adds to my love of the movie.

The Bishop’s Wife (1947). Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young star in this romantic comedy from Samuel Goldwyn and directed by Henry Koster about a angel named Dudley (Grant) come to earth to help Bishop Henry Brougham (Niven) in his obsessive quest to build a new cathedral to the glory of God. Dudley reveals his true identity to Henry (who doesn’t really believe him), but not his true purpose, which is to heal the rift between the bishop and his wife, Julie (Young) and young daughter. There’s just one fly in the ointment – Dudley finds he is falling in love with Julia. Though Julia remains oblivious, Henry senses the truth, and, jealous, tells Dudley that as an angel, he’s no angel, and demands to know why Dudley hasn’t delivered on the cathedral. Dudley tells him that he didn’t pray for a cathedral, but for guidance.

Mr. Magoo’s “Christmas Carol” (1962). This has disappeared off of television, probably because Mr. Magoo’s near-blindness as something funny is no longer politically correct, but when I was a kid, this animated musical was something that glued me to the set. The original songs are by Broadway maestros Julie Styne and Robert Merrill, who started their collaboration on Funny Girl after finishing “Christmas Carol,” and I can still sing parts of many of them: “Ringle-ringle, coins when they jingle make such a lovely sound”

And “Alone in the World” is a melody whose lyrics reflect the loneliness of young Ebeneezer, left behind at boarding school at Christmas holiday, as Magoo, as the elder Scrooge brought back to his youth by the Spirit of Christmas Past, sings poignantly with his younger self: A hand for each hand was planned for the world, Why don’t my fingers reach? Millions of grains of sand in the world, Why such a lonely beach?”

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).  The tree that nobody wanted. And the music by the Vince Guarldi Trio. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”




The Tweeks review “Shrek: The Musical”!


He’s big, green, loud, obnoxoius, and is like an onion. He also sings, dances, and saves the princess. And now, there’s a DVD and Blu-Ray edition of the Broadway musical based on the Dreamworks animated movie based on the book by William Steig. (Whew!) This week, the Tweeks review the musical version of Shrek. Take a look…

Emily S. Whitten: Zachary Levi– Thor 2, First Date & Nerd Machine

whitten-art-131025-150x191-3606274I’ve always been a fan of musicals and have seen a fair few on Broadway – from the musical that was an actual yearly field trip for eight graders in my New Jersey school, Cats, to that great production of Les Miserables with the rotating stage. I’ve also been a fan of the TV show Chuck from its debut all the way through the final season. So when Zachary Levi mentioned during the Nerd HQ panel I attended at SDCC that he was going to be starring in a musical on Broadway, First Date, I knew I had to see it.

Fortunately, the New York Comic Con was already on my calendar, so before the con I went to see First Date – and boy, am I glad I did! I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard throughout a live show in… well, maybe ever. And yet there was also substance and seriousness to the plot and characterization that balanced out the humor, a perfect blend of entertainment and wry and wise observations about life, human nature, and the modern dating world.

The premise of the show is pretty simple – it’s about a blind first date, and all of the things that might go wrong or right in that situation. But it’s not just about the couple on the blind date, Aaron and Casey. As the website says, during the date “Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines.” Is that as awesome and hilarious as it sounds? Yes, yes it is; and the cast portraying those characters, from Zac Levi and Krysta Rodriguez as the main couple, to the other five actors who are often playing more than one character, is stellar, and gave an energetic and engaging performance.

The main couple are a hoot to watch, being quirky and many-faceted all on their own; but the supporting cast is what really allows this musical to explore so many perspectives. From the “perfect” older sister who has the married life that Casey says she wants, to Aaron’s manipulative ex, to Casey’s flamboyant best friend who is also her designated “bail out call” person for if the date isn’t going well. The other characters in the main couple’s life do a great job embodying the pressures and influences people can experience while they’re out dating and trying to find “The One.” And while the premise is simple, the territory explored by the plot is broad, and ranges over everything from potential religious differences to how our online footprint might affect us in real life.

Broad as it may be, though, the plot flows easily and the production is well-designed and choreographed. Overall, the musical is clever, witty, and frequently hilarious. It’s insightful and endearing; if you’ve ever been a single person trying to do the dating thing, it’s also very easy to identify with… and maybe even learn from. The only other thing I can say about it is: Go see it! You won’t regret it.

You also won’t regret reading on, because after seeing First Date, I was fortunate to also be able to talk to Zac Levi about it and the rest of his career at The Nerd Machine booth at NYCC. Here’s the interview!

•     •     •     •     •

Let’s first talk about the Broadway musical you’re currently starring in, First Date, because I just saw it, and I loved it – especially the song about the ex; you knocked that out of the park.
Thank you! Yeah, that’s a fun song.

So how did you get involved in that production, and can you talk about your previous stage experience?

Well, I grew up doing a lot of theater when I was a kid. The last show I did was about twelve years ago; and I always dreamt about doing Broadway one day. Fortunately, I’ve been really blessed, and I’ve been able to do film and television for the last dozen years; but I was just kind of waiting for the right opportunity, and then this show came along and I just felt like, “you know, this could be really fun.” It’s an hour and a half, no intermission, it’s a comedy, there are only seven people in the cast – it’s lean and mean and I thought “I think people might really enjoy this.” And people have, and so it’s been great.

Great; and I know it’s running now. For people who want to see it, how long will it run?

Well, the idea is for the show to run indefinitely. My contract for the show is up the first week of January. There’s a possibility that I could extend, but I don’t know that for sure – it just depends on what work looks like at that time. So I would say that if you really want to see me in the show, you should come before the beginning of January. But I would tell anybody – you never know with Broadway stuff, the show could close so fast. So if you want to come see the show, come see the show now!

Yes! It looked like you were having a lot of fun in the show, and I know you’ve done TV, movies, voice acting and stage. Do you have any thoughts about those different experiences?

They’re all very different. I don’t know that I like any one more than the others. They all have their unique set of challenges and fun that can be had.

Did you come to the stage first?

Yes; I mean, as a kid, that’s what you do. There are not a lot of kids doing, like, community voiceover work. You have community theater and school theater. So stage was definitely where I started.

What was your first ever role?

Of an actual production? I think it was Sonny, one of the T-Birds in Grease. I think I was about eleven.

That’s pretty cool! So I have to ask, with First Date – do you identify with the musical at all? Because I was watching it and thinking, “I’ve so been there.” Or, “My friend has been there.”

Sure, yeah. I think that’s part of the reason why I wanted to do it, and why I think a lot of people enjoy it, is because it’s very relatable. So definitely I do. In fact, in some ways I almost didn’t do the show, because I felt like the character was so similar to Chuck, and I was like, “I’ve already played that character” but then I thought, “Well, yeah, but it’s just a fun way to do it – on stage, with some music.”

I was actually thinking that – it’s a little bit like Chuck, but I think you brought enough to the character that they had written that it wasn’t Chuck – it was Aaron.

Right, it’s not – it was similar, but they’re not the same.

Well I really enjoyed it! Now, I know that you are in Thor: The Dark World, which is coming out really soon, and I’m super excited. Every time I see the trailer on TV I clap. So tell us about being Fandral the Dashing.

Well, Fandral is this Errol Flynn-Lothario type who’s a ladies man, but also arguably the best swordsman in Asgard – or the Nine Realms, I think he would argue. And I mean, the movie is really still Thor and Jane; it’s their movie.

How much do we get of you and the other Warriors Three and Sif?

I really don’t know, because you never know how much of what you shot ends up in it; but I hope there are at least a few cool moments where people go, “Yeah! That kicked ass!” That’s all I’m hoping.

You were originally cast in that and then you were replaced by Josh Dallas due to your schedule; and now you’ve replaced him due to his schedule.

Yeah, it was very, very strange how that all worked. We’ve definitely joked about it – I’ve met Josh before, and he’s just a sweetheart of a guy and super talented, and it was very funny how all of that ended up panning out. But I was grateful that ultimately – after having completely let go of the job, because I thought “this is never happening” – then it came back around. That was kind of like, “Wow, this is very strange.”

Totally. Now I know you’re a comics fan; are you a fan of Thor comics? Had you read about your character before the movie role?

I was definitely familiar with Fandral to an extent, but I really got to know him actually when the first movie came around and I was getting cast; and then a little bit more for this one. But honestly, there’s not that much to find in the comics. The Warriors Three are definitely within Thor mythology, but there’s not that much.

Yes – they help with things but aren’t really the focus.

Yes; but in some ways that’s kind of fun, because it allows you to put your own mark on something, where fanboys and fangirls aren’t like, “Waitaminute! That’s not Fandral!”

Definitely! Do you think it’s still true to the character that you’ve seen in the comics?

I think so. It’s funny, Thor was never really my steez, necessarily. Like, I had Thor comics, and particularly with the Avengers.

I have to admit, I’m the same way. I love the movie, but Thor was always the guy I was sort of reading about on the side, because he was on the periphery of a story or part of a team.

Yeah, and I don’t know, for me – because everybody’s got their flavor of what entices them the most in the comic world –I really liked the mutant world probably the most.

Yeah! The X-Men and all that.

And X-Factor, and X-Force.

And actually, on that note, my favorite character is Deadpool; and I heard you mention that he’s your favorite character.

He’s my favorite villain, yeah.

Well he’s not always a villain! He did save the world…

Well – when I grew up reading him, in the beginning, he was a villain, through and through.

Yeah, in the beginning he was. So do you have a favorite writer or storyline or anything?

Oh, gosh! I don’t know that I could speak to that. I’m mostly nerdy about video games and technology…

What are you playing right now, video game-wise?

I’m actually not really playing anything right now. I left my Xbox back in L.A., because I really wanted to focus on doing the play, and I knew that the new Xbox was coming out in November, so I was like, “I’m just going to wait for that.” And then I’ll probably get lost in Call of Duty: Ghosts. I’ll be lost in that for months and months and months and months.

I bet. So we talked a bit about your voiceover work. You were one of the leads in Tangled. What was your experience like, doing that? Was that your first real big voiceover work?

Oh, yeah! Pretty much my first and only voiceover work. It was amazing. Ever since I was a little kid, I was a giant Disney fan, so to be able to get to do a Disney animated musical – what I’d dreamt about doing my whole life – was like, “Wow, this is really happening.” And singing Alan Menken’s music and everything.

Do you want to do more voiceover?

Oh, totally; I’d love to.

And some of the voice acting greats were in Tangled – like Frank Welker… did you get to work directly with Frank, or John DiMaggio, or some of the other career voice actors?

No; in fact, I didn’t get to work with any of them! I didn’t even get to work with Mandy (Moore). The only time Mandy and I ever worked together is when we recorded the song. But all of the dialogue is all recorded totally separately.

Let’s talk about The Nerd Machine, now, because we’re standing here in your awesome place with phone chargers and photo ops and everything–

In mah booth!

Yeah! Now when did you start The Nerd Machine?

The Nerd Machine started… I think maybe it was 2011. We started the company about a year before we had the first actual Nerd HQ. We launched with just one t-shirt. With just the classic “NERD.” And the idea was just, “I wanted to make a Nike for nerds.” Because there are so many different nerd-doms, right? And if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you can get a Doctor Who shirt. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you can get a Star Wars shirt; and that’s great. But I really wanted to have one brand that unified all of them, so no matter what you’re nerdy about, you can just represent it very simply, very clearly: “I’m a nerd; that’s what I’m about.” So that’s what we’ve built on through the years, and our branding is simple, and it’s straight. It’s like “We’re a brand for you.”

Yes – so I have to ask, why “nerd” and not “geek”?

A couple of reasons. One, phonetically I like how nerd sounds more than I like geek. Geek is a little too hard consonant. And there was just a lot of wordplay that I was thinking about, like “Nerd is the word” and all that kind of stuff. But honestly, one of the biggest was, the first shirt that I had ever thought of was the original NERD shirt; and the reason why it works so well is because it’s the Nintendo sort of font… so it’s funny, the reason why you end up deciding what something is going to ultimately be. And the other reason, too, was that I felt like “geek” was being used a lot online with Geekology and Geek Chic, and all that, and I wanted to get away from that and do my own thing. By the way – I was totally unaware of Nerdist at the time! I knew Chris (Hardwick), but I wasn’t even thinking about it.

Well, and his brand has gotten exponentially bigger since then.

Oh, yeah. He’s a friggin’ empire!

Yeah. Now, The Nerd Machine benefits Operation Smile, which I think is great. What drew you to that particular charity?

I really think God kind of spoke to me. I was trying to find a charity that I could be an ambassador for. You know, as a celebrity, you do a lot of non-profit stuff, and you’re always asked, “What’s your charity of choice?” and I never really had one. So I was about to do another singing engagement/charity benefit thing, and I was like, “What could be a cool charity to benefit?” and I was praying about it, and thinking about it, and then in one week I saw about five commercials and five billboards. And I was like, “Oh – I believe this is what I’m supposed to cling to.”

That’s great. So tell me, what is the future of The Nerd Machine? I know that it’s gotten a little bigger since 2011, and I like the fact that it’s still being kept to a smaller scale.

Yeah, we’re always going to maintain the intimacy of our activations. The company will continue to grow, and we’ll continue to do more things, but the idea is to always keep those events as things that are special.

Are you planning to do what you did at San Diego at one of the future New York cons?

Yeah, in fact the original idea was that we were going to do a Nerd HQ out here in New York. It’s difficult. San Diego Comic Con brings every star in the world. And so it’s easy then to be like, “Hey, would you mind popping by for an hour and doing a panel?” NYCC is getting there. NYCC has a lot of talent now, and is growing more and more every year… But it doesn’t quite have the same; so in order for us to get the sponsorship money to put on our own little con like that – you really need to be able to bring the talent. So maybe in the future.

Great! Well I look forward to that future, and thank you so much for your time.

Hope you all enjoyed the interview! And if you’re a New Yorker or heading to New York City sometime soon, don’t forget to get tickets to First Date. Trust me, you’ll love it.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman!

SUNDAY: John Ostrander!


REVIEW: Glee the Complete Fourth Season

Glee-The-Complete-Fourth-Season-Blu-ray-473x600Glee has always been somewhat infuriating in its realistic portrayal of teenage travails (doing it better than most other prime time series) but setting it in such an unrealistic setting since no high school runs the way McKinley does in fictional Lima, Ohio. These kids never have homework or need to balance their studies with extracurricular activities, especially those in time intensive groups such as the Cheerios or the sports teams.

Still Ryan Murphy’s band of misfits remains entertaining and a winning mix. The fourth season, out now on Home Video from 20th Century Home Entertainment, finally addressed the aging cast, sending most away to college. Notably, Rachel (Lea Michele) was attending NYADA the performing arts college, while struggling to maintain her long distance relationship with Finn (Cory Monteith), who had surprisingly enlisted at the end of the previous season. Following her to the Big Apple was Kurt (Chris Colfer), who didn’t get into the school but was determined to make it somehow.

Back at school, new members were recruited and here were some true gems, starting with Melissa Benoist as Marley Rose, a true talent and cute as a button. Less interesting was the introduction of Puck’s half-brother Jake (Jacob Artist) who started off a bad boy but had his edge quickly shorn away. In fact, all the characters that arrived with nasty angles to their personalities got worn down into saccharine sweetness with Becca Tobin’s Kitty the last holdout.

The show short-changed everyone by glossing over their characters in favor of splitting the focus between NYC and Lima. The proposed spinoff for the graduates was never picked up so the emphasis needed to change, which is a shame since the issues both crews face are vastly different ones and the frequent trips home once more beggared the imagination.

The season differed from the first three in that it did not cover a complete school year, instead ending late in the school year but before the all-important national competition. Along the way, we watched Finn become a lost soul, leaving the service and filling in for Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), who was off at a conference. The character’s search for a direction at the same time the actor was struggling with his personal addictions lends revisiting this arc a poignant feel. His late addition to the DVD cover art was a nice touch.

glee-swan4_0The major themes of the year including the struggles of growing up, bulimia/anorexia, cancer, marriage, fidelity, and similar trials. Each week they sang and danced their way through the issues, often in catchy ways that belied the seriousness of the issues. In many cases, trouble never met with consequences such as Kitty’s trying to convince Marley she was gaining weight or When Wade “catfished” Ryder.

As the season wound down, the absurdity got worse climaxing with Brittany’s suddenly discovered savant genius with math and being whisked off “now” to MIT. Other characters seemed to have nothing to do, with Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester emasculated and left to be supportive. The season wound down as they readied for Nationals and the impending graduation of other members of the glee club.

The film to high definition transfer is well done, as is expected from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. And for a series dependent on music, the audio is more than up to the task making rewatching moments work well.

Glee-season-4-thanksgiving-recap-marleyEach of the four discs in the Blu-ray set contains a mix of features such as the Glee Music Jukebox (1:03:28); Movin’ On Up: Glee in NYC (10:02), talking about the location shooting; Building New York (6:29); Jarley (8:53), a look at the new members Jake and Marley; and Deleted Scenes (15:24). Disc two has another look at those musical sequences in Glee Music Jukebox (1:01:48) offers a tour through the musical sequences of each episode on the disc, and Deleted Scenes (5:04). Disc three offers Glee Music Jukebox (1:29:35),  Glee On Film (11:56) looks at the cinema-centric episode; and, The Road to 500 (3:54), which is the number of musical sequences. The final disc gives us Glee Music Jukebox (1:15:52); Blaine’s Time Capsule (8:12), a cheesy message for his adult self; and Glee Premiere Party! (3:41).

The show may have lost some of its cache as a trendsetter and star maker but it remains an entertaining diversion. Personally, the Mike O’Malley scenes as Kurt’s father Burt dealing with his son remain the best material year after year but then again, I’m a father and not a star-struck teen. No doubt, most everyone will find something to identify with or sing-along to.

First Look at Meryl Streep’s Into the Woods’ Witch

Meryl-Streep-Into-The-WoodsMeryl Streep ventures Into the Woods as the Witch who wishes to reverse a curse so that her beauty may be restored. The humorous and heartfelt musical, a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, explores the consequences of the quests of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, and the witch who cast a spell on them. In theaters Dec. 25, 2014.

Here’s the high profile cast:

– Meryl Streep: The Witch
– Emily Blunt: The Baker’s Wife
– James Corden: The Baker
– Anna Kendrick: Cinderella
– Chris Pine: Cinderella’s Prince
– Johnny Depp: The Wolf
– Lilla Crawford: Little Red Riding Hood
– Daniel Huttlestone: Jack
– Tracey Ullman: Jack’s Mother
– Christine Baranski: The Stepmother
– MacKenzie Mauzy: Rapunzel
– Billy Magnussen: The Price who courts Rapunzel
– Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch: Cinderella’s stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda


ALL PULP continues its series of interviews with BAD TIGER STUDIO! This time, we have co-founder Justin Ditzler in the hot seat!

ALL PULP:  Tell us about yourself, your personal background, and how you got into writing/art/etc.:

JD: I live in Central Pa with my wife and we are expecting our first child in December. I have always been an artist, for as long as I can remember. My family still has drawings of mine from before I can even remember. I’ve always enjoyed working in pencil, black and whites, and inks. When I was in school, all of my best grades came from art class. I entered a few school based competitions over the years and usually place high if not on top. My home town is also the location of the county fair where the school would enter my work and I had quite a nice collection of blue ribbons as a kid. As I grew older, life kept pushing me further and further away from the artwork that I loved so I was forced to find other outlets for my creativity. Through this I discovered I could use a computer to create, so I took to some digital coloring for my drawings and scraps. Over the last decade or so, I’ve been learning about digital art and web design in my free time and squeezing in some drawing where I can. In the past I have created album art and logos for the various musical projects and the occasional tattoo design.
 I am new to the world of comics and pulp, but I’m really liking what I have seen thus far.

AP: What is your role at Bad Tiger?

JD: I am the Co-Founder of Bad Tiger Studio, along with C. William Russette. Also, I am the web-designer/webmaster at www.badtigerstudio.com, the Co-Creator of Operator Zero and the colorist/letterer of Operator Zero. Furthermore, I have designed all of the logos for Bad Tiger Studio and Operator Zero and I am one of the Administrators of the Bad Tiger Studio Facebook Page.

AP: In our modern society, some would say that there’s nothing new or original anymore.  What makes Bad Tiger stand out?

JD: In most cases, I would agree. Originality is something that seems to be very hard to come by these days. To me this is not a surprise. With the invention of the internet and social media it’s becoming harder and harder to come up with a truly original idea. Also, we have to consider the amount of characters and stories that are out there today. Our Genre is not a new one and there are so many Archetypes out there that influences and similarities are very hard to escape.

I think originality is found within the stories of the characters we create. As creators we spend amazing amounts of time figuring out the backgrounds and the stories of our characters. When we write our stories we need to know how our characters will react to the situations and why and what made them react in such a way. So we spend countless hours creating worlds, families, friends, foes and histories just so we can convey the best story and best character to our readers.

At Bad Tiger Studio, our characters and our stories make us stand out. From our writing to our character design and development, to our artwork and finished products, I think we have some great things to offer.

AP:  What are your inspirations, influences for the work you do?

Considering I am quite new to the world of comics and pulp, I think my inspirations and influences are everywhere. I’ll spend hours in the local book store browsing the comics section, picking up book after book just to see the differences in style and technique. Sometimes I learn things and sometimes I get lost in the story.

JD: What do you think appeals to the public about heroic/genre fiction and/or comic strips?  Why will people come to Bad Tiger?

I think hero fiction appeals to everyone’s inner hero. I think that all people have some sort of drive or urge to do the right things on one level or another. The hero fiction genre allows us to indulge our inner hero with the ability to put ourselves in the hero’s shoes, or cape in some cases. These small escapes give us the opportunity to imagine ourselves standing up for what is right and just. Thankfully for us, the creators, once a person is hooked on this feeling and finds our characters relatable, they keep coming back for more. I think as our stories unfold at Bad Tiger Studio, our audience will see just how intricate our stories are and they will keep coming back to find out where the story is headed next.

AP:  Any last words?

JD: Thus far Bad Tiger Studio has been a great experience for me. I work with very talented people and we all seem to share a common interest. We all want to get our characters out there into the hands of the readers and we all want to tell our stories.

Bad Tiger Studio- www.badtigerstudio.com