Animation

The Red Turtle (Blu-ray)

A touching animated ode to the cycle of life.

Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Shredder (DVD)

Ninja kick the damn rabbit. Always the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They are forever. They are eternal. They are Legion. I don’t know how many iterations of the heroes in a half shell the collective pop culture consciousness can absorb, but from my perch, the answer is quite obviously: all of them.  All of the iterations. Geez man, I remember dive-bombing  my Donatello action figure from the top of our house deck way back when–and I just turned 40 two weeks ago! Those Turtles have staying power and no matter the generation there appears to a real thirst for the continued chop-socky adventures of gang green. Here now is yet another version, Nickelodeon’s Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I won’t claim that I’ve been paying studious attention to all the different TMNT series that have popped up over the years–but I have a decent grasp of most of them (having reviewed more than my share). Where does this installment stand? Well, it’s definitely more bizarre, somewhat darker, a tad more subversive, and loaded with aliens and demons and mutants. Also, April O’Neil is apparently a telekinetic X-Man or something. Together (and with old friend Casey Jones) our heroes unleash their usual wisecracks and martial artistry in service of one outlandish story after another. And the center of it all is a roided-up Shredder, who seems be juicing on the Bane Venom from Batman and Robin. Despite an upping of amperage in the weirdness department, Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still feels like a standard-issue TMNT excursion. The personalities are largely the same (save for April who’s been freed of both the yellow jumpsuit and the annoying tendency to contextualize everything in how it would benefit her reporting career) and you’re essentially still seeing everyone smack around cannon fodder and the occasional Bebop and Rocksteady. Shredder is pretty cool here, essentially an insane monster more than a ninja with a grudge. So, really, more of the same. If you’re a TMNT fanatic and need everything shell, have at it. As far as the prime audience I’d say there’s enough edge here to entertain the higher range of grade schoolers, without it seeming lame. It’s probably a bit heavy-duty for the really little ones though. The DVD set: two discs, 11 half-hour episodes, and nothing else. THE VERDICT Not Guilty. But I feel like we’ve all been here before.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Race into Velocityville (DVD)

Blaze up, bro Here we have another batch of episodes from Nick Jr.’s high-octane kids show. Blaze and the Monster Machines relays the adventures of a talking, living monster truck named Blaze who has a kid named AJ riding shotgun wherever he goes, which, to be honest seems a little weird. Anyway–who am I to argue with physics? Especially since Blaze is all abut introducing early concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to the kiddos. So, hey, they’d know a lot more about the science behind the unholy union between man and machine. So this DVD has six episodes: RACE CAR BLAZE RACE TO EAGLE ROCK SKY TRACK THE WISHING WHEEL THE HUNDRED MILE RACE THE POLAR DERBY Not much  more to say, really. You get six random episodes, generally held together by the common thread of these machines going incredibly fast. As a dad, I have much respect for Blaze. My preschool-aged son is absolutely bonkers for all things monster truck and this show serves it up with aplomb. Add to that the the educational element–which, honestly, is not simply tacked on to help the Nick Jr. suits sleep at night; the STEM stuff is legit and a core of the program–and you’ve got a children’s show any parent would be good with. THE VERDICT Not Guilty. Vrooom.

The Secret Life of Pets (Blu-ray)

What happens in the litter box, stays in the litter box.

Teen Titans: The Complete First Season (DVD)

“I respect that you don’t eat meat. Please respect that I don’t eat fake meat.”

Tarzan: Collector’s Edition (DVD)

An immortal legend. As you’ve only imagined.

Tarzan (DVD)

An immortal legend. As you’ve only imagined.

South Park: The Complete Second Season (DVD)

They really have my balls in a Salad Shooter…

South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (DVD)

“What garbage!” “Well, what do you expect? They’re Canadian!”

South Park, Volume 5 (DVD)

“If we don’t hunt, then these animals will grow too big in number and they won’t have enough food. So you see, we have to kill animals, or else they’ll die.”

South Park, Volume 2 (DVD)

Friendly faces everywhere, humble folks without temptation.

Justice League: Season Two (DVD)

“Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard!” — Batman, “Twilight”

Justice League: Season One (DVD)

Bruce Timm has made a string of highly regarded animated series over the past 13 years. He started with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, which aired (in several incarnations) until 1999. Less traditionally, he created a new Batman as a successor to Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond, which ran from 1999 to 2002. He brought the other big DC Comics icon, Superman, under his care with Superman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1996 to 2000.

Hercules (1997) (DVD)

You can run but you can’t Hydra!

Futurama: Volume One Vol. 1 (DVD)

It saddened me deeply when Fox cancelled Futurama. It made me incredibly happy when Cartoon Network started showing reruns, but then it saddened me deeply when I realized I don’t have cable. But then it made me incredibly happy when Fox released Futurama on DVD.

Corpse Bride (DVD)

Die, die we all pass away But don’t wear a frown ’cause it’s really okay And you might try and hide And you might try and pray But we all end up the remains of the day

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (DVD)

The Dark Knight fights to save Gotham City from its deadliest enemy.

Shrek Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

“We can stay up late trading manly stories and in the morning…I’m making waffles!”

The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave (DVD)

“He think we stinkweed and won’t want to eats us.”

The Prophet (Blu-ray)

All prophet, no loss. Wait, what?

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