Monday, March 24, 2008


Let it be said up front that I am probably the worst person to review this DVD. Being of the old school of animation nothing, in my opinion could compare with the original MGM cartoons of Tom and Jerry.
While this volume of the new WB series does nothing to change this opinion, I am happy to report that as a new set of cartoons, they did quite a lot of it right. Sure, the big black woman who is always chasing Tom around the house is white now, but that isn't so bad. Neither of the two main characters speak as they shouldn't. The cartoon violence is reminiscent of the good old days which is nice to see in these politically correct times. The two main characters look like they always have which is nice.
Of the set my two favorite would have to be Adventures in Penguinsitting, because, well this IS Penguin Comics. The other one, The Cat Whisperer, is a dead on spoof of The Dog Whisperer. I'm pretty sure that Cesar Milan would be honored to be in the company of Tom and Jerry.
While it could never match the original set as I mentioned before, this is something that the creators should definitely be proud of. It's obvious that they have a deep affection for the originals and it shows in this new series. The kiddies will certainly like it and it just might steer them into watching the set of cartoons that started it all. This is how all re imaginings of classic cartoons should be.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Horton Hears a Who: 80 Minutes Well Spent

So this past Saturday... oh, wait, I guess I'd better re-introduce myself since I haven't posted a review in a long, long time. I'm Stew, I'm pretty busy with my own work schedule, family schedule, and my wildly popular (toot toot) blog over at, and just plain fell out of the loop. Anyway, as I'm prepping to dive back into this one foot at a time, I figured I'd attempt to quell any rumors to the contrary of how this new Horton flick has turned out. So, where was I... Oh, right: so I took my two boys (6 and 5) to see Horton on Saturday not really having super high expectations on how this could have turned out. But I have to say right off: it was a blast and a fun ride all the way around. Yes, I, for one, understand our own Doug Waltz's chagrin towards remakes -almost borderline deep-seeded anger, to be truthful- and he formally voiced his opinion to me a few days prior basically saying, "It has already pissed me off." Well, I'm here to say, in all sincerity, that this film is perhaps the most faithful adaptation of a Seuss film in recent memory. Oh sure, the Chuck Jones classics will always hold a special place in everyone's hearts as the standard set by which all others much achieve even a close proximity, but this one sure hits the clown on the nose. Now, having the two boys with me was surely going to limit my enjoyment, just because I was going to have to keep half an eye on them and try to keep their excitement levels at a mere simmer, but I have to say, I barely had to bat an eyelash at them the whole time they were that enthralled and captivated. Jim Carrey did an absolutely bang-up job as the voice of Horton even going so far as to toss in just a hint of congestion to mimic the obviously nasally-elongated elephant. Yes, there were some parts where bits of humor were tossed in that were certainly funnier the first twelve times I'd heard them, but all in all, the humor was fresh and the pace was manic from nearly the get-go. Next, Steve Carell as the Mayor of Whoville was absolute genius. Few could have pulled off his slap-dash, hyperactive, almost disheartening movements and cadence as he tried in near vein to convince the town, and especially the City Council, that their world -now much, much smaller- was in grave danger and only by the graces of a brave pachyderm did they even have a prayer of survival. Couple all of that with the fact that the poor guy has relationship issues with his 96 daughters and one, brooding son and you have the makings of a Heart Burn Medicine commercial for sure. Jim and Steve's comedic forces played off of each other perfectly matched only by the scathing wit of the Kangaroo, -leader of the Nool Jungle citizens - Carol Burnett. She was quick-witted, snarky, and as bull-headed as you'd imagine from reading the book yourselves and an absolute perfect fit. In fact, she reminded me of her roll in the original Annie film... just that bitchy. Lastly, out of all the evil ne'er-do-wells sent out by the Kangaroo to stop Horton in achieving his goal, was Vlad the Vulture voice absolutely perfectly by Arrested Development's Will Arnett. His use of a thick, over-the-top Eastern European 'Vampire' drawl was almost too much and made me sing with laughter. Just so much talent crammed into one beautifully animated feature almost has to make one wonder if too much is too much, but let me tell you, with this film, it all gels so nicely together without any one voice stepping on the toes of another. Such rich, vividly-colorful backgrounds just screaming Seuss, sharply rendered fur and fuzz that just leaps off the screen, and a split-second guest appearance by the Grinch, and you've got yourself one fun, fun ride. Oh, and the icing? Ending the movie with a full-cast rendition of "I Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon. Go have fun, you'll be so glad you did.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New From Virgin Comics

Two new issues hit the streets and, what can I say? I'm suitably impressed. First up we have the first full issue of Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter. With a spectacular cover by fan favorite Greg Horn, this issue explains a woman who is more than she seems. She sees the big city as a demon infested wasteland and is in constant battle with the forces of evil. The interior art by Mukesh Singh is very nice and reminiscent of Bill Sienkiewicz without aping his style directly.
Jameson is a smart woman and moving leaps and bounds beyond her adult film beginnings. Shadow Hunter is a step in the right direction.

The Megas gives an alternate view of The United States. A United States that is a monarchy where there is a distinct line of royalty. Unfortunately, their 94 year old monarch is about to pass on and one of the high rolling princes has shot himself in the face in a brothel after murdering a few whores. Things are less than perfect in this land of haves and have nots. To make it more interesting a revolution is in the wind and it smells a lot like...democracy.
This is a unique concept and I think it will work well as a limited series. I don't see how such a narrow concept could hold interest for more than a year's worth of stories. That being said, what we have here is pretty good stuff. With artwork by Peter Rubin this is a good solid read and a nice alternative to the long underwear brigade.

New Contest From Warner Brothers!!

Just go here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The newest animated feature from Warner Brothers, JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER. Is one of the hottest things out there. We had a contest here at Penguin Comics and the entries were out of control for the three discs we had to give away. Couple that with the fact that the disc is available in standard, HD and Blu Ray and you have to know that this is the animated feature that is going to set the bar for quite some time.
To whet your appetite, here are a couple of clips, just click on the pretty different colored lettering;

A Behind The Scenes Look

A Clip From The Flick

What are you waiting for? Check out these clips and then get a copy for yourself. You will not be sorry.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This is indeed, sad news. I was such a huge fan of The Rocketeer comic and no one drew women like Dave Stevens. It seems that he has been battling leukemia for quite some time. Rest easy soldier, it's time for you to go home. First Steve Gerber, then John Polonia, followed by Gary Gygax. Now this. I think that the geek world has taken enough blows in recent weeks. Hopefully all will be quiet for some time.
Rest in Peace, Dave Stevens. We will all miss you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Everyone knows who Nancy Drew is. She's been around since the thirties and been in more movie adaptations than I can count. I still remember the old television series with Nancy Drew teaming up with The Hardy Boys.
Being of the male persuasion, I read Hardy Boys. Any red blooded male wouldn't be caught reading Nancy drew. Okay, I confess, I read a couple. In my opinion, Hardy Boys was better, but what do I know? I'm a smelly boy.
Now Hollywood has given us what may be one of the best adaptations of the written word. Nancy Drew (Julia Roberts' niece, Emma Roberts) manages to play it sincere without being some sort of one dimensional, unbelievable, cartoony kind of figure. Her manners and attitude are actually a breath of fresh air when she arrives with her dad (Tate Donovan) in Hollywood. He's there to do some legal work and she's there to solve a mystery. Of course, she has to keep this from her father as she has promised not to do any sleuthing while they are there.
Nancy has rented them a house belonging to a movie star who died under mysterious circumstances. It isn't long before she is hot on the case and there are people who do not want this particular case solved.
What can I say? This movie works without being overblown. Sure, there are cameos by Bruce Willis, Chris Kattan and Adam Goldberg. We get solid character actors like Barry Bostwick to help it along, but in the end, the show belongs to Emma Roberts. She is a marvel to behold in this role. She is coming across as the iconic teen sleuth and seems tailor made for the part.
This DVD has taken a while to get out to the market but, maybe while waiting for the right time, Warner Brothers has managed to start cultivating interest in a family friendly flick aimed at young girls. I think I smell a sequel on the horizon, but it would be a shame to put anyone else in the titular role.
Another definite plus is this will send children of all ages back to the source books for even more enjoyment of a definite classic series.
And if that wasn't enough, here are some more specifics concerning the DVD release from Warner Brothers;
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) announced today that NANCY DREW and NANCY DREW: DREW’S CLUES, a full-length “Movies that Pop” edition of the film are now available via On Demand and for Download. Using a strategy for film pioneered by WBDD called “Movies that Pop,” NANCY DREW: DREW’S CLUES immerses fans into the movie through special clues, trivia and behind-the-scenes secrets that let viewers test their own detective skills.

With NANCY DREW: DREW’S CLUES, fans of the best-selling literary franchise get to sleuth alongside their favorite teen detective and solve a few mysteries of their own! As Nancy uncovers key evidence, clues appear on screen that gives viewers hints on how she might crack the case. Trivia also appears throughout the movie revealing fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits about filming, stunts (many performed by Emma Roberts herself) and even Nancy Drew’s distinctive wardrobe.

Magnifying glass and fingerprint powder in hand, Emma Roberts (“Unfabulous”) stars as Nancy Drew in a fun, witty, modern makeover of the timeless Carolyn Keene book series. While unearthing clues to solve her latest mystery, the death of Hollywood starlet Dehlia Draycott, Nancy not only finds danger, adventure, romance, and the coolest fashion, but also discovers that life in Los Angeles is quite a bit different than her hometown of River Heights. In fact, the biggest mystery the perky, plaid-clad sleuth faces might be how to fit in with the text-messaging teen queens of mean she meets at Hollywood High.

As Nancy Drew is a detective with a unique eye for fashion, WBDD is offering fans a chance to win a $5,000 shopping spree at the store of their choice in the “Clothes the Case” sweepstakes. By visiting the official website at, fans can enter to win the grand prize, learn more about their favorite teenage sleuth and view bonus clips.

As a leader in the digital home entertainment industry, Warner Bros. has paved the way with innovative original content such as “Movies that Pop.” Launched in December 2005 as a special bonus feature for BATMAN BEGINS, “Movies that Pop” offered On Demand and Pay-Per-View audiences a new way to experience selected scenes in their favorite films. The “Movies that Pop” bonus feature concept was also applied to other blockbuster films including HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and V FOR VENDETTA. In 2006, WBDD took the “Movies the Pop” format one step further by applying it to the Academy Award-winning documentary MARCH OF THE PENGUINS in its entirety.

“The ‘Movies that Pop’ model enhances the value proposition of digitally distributed films,” said Stephanie Bohn, director of marketing for Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. “We anticipate NANCY DREW: DREW’S CLUES will resonate strongly with NANCY DREW fans of all ages as viewers get an inside scoop unavailable elsewhere. We look forward to bringing additional “Movies that Pop” titles to market in the future,”

NANCY DREW and NANCY DREW: DREW’S CLUES is available in a combined 61 million digital cable and satellite households including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV and Dish Network, and through other key digital distributors such as iTunes, Amazon Unbox and Xbox. The release of NANCY DREW continues Warner Bros.’ strategy of releasing films On Demand, Pay Per View, and for download to own the same day as the film releases on DVD. Since July 2007, Warner Bros. has released fifteen feature length films on VOD day & date with DVD.

“As evidenced by consumer research and title performance, a simultaneous release across all home entertainment platforms is most effective” says Michele Edelman, vice president of Marketing for Warner Bros Digital Distribution. “Our goal is to provide movie fans with maximum choice in how to rent and own our films.”


Thanks to all who participated and our three winners have walked off with a fantatstic prize of a great animated flick that is sure to become a fan favorite for all time.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


No, not that new thing coming to a multiplex near you. This is the original madcap adventure from the mind of Dr. Seuss with the crazy animation skills of the one and only Chuck Jones.
When a small puff lands near an elephant taking a bath, the elephant, Horton by name, hears a cry for help. While no one else in the forest can hear it, Horton sticks to his guns and saves the small Whos that inhabit the microscopic bit of fluff from the tyrannical grasp of a wicked kangaroo and her monkey flunkies.
While the basic theme is a person is a person, no matter who small, this particular cartoon opens up a whole can of worms. The creatures on the dust mote are called Whos. Are these the same Whos that inhabit the tale of The Grinch That Stole Christmas? If not, do those Whos inhabit another dust speck somewhere else. And in a weird science fiction twist, Professor Who ends the cartoon with a dust speck landing in front of him and he hears voices coming from that.
It reminds me of the scene in Animal House where Tom Hulce and Donald Sutherland get into a conversation about how our universe is a molecule in the thumbnail of some giant and that we might harbor such universes within our own genetic makeup. Deep stuff for a cartoon, but Dr. Seuss was never one to talk down to the kiddies.
Warner Brothers gives us a gorgeous remastered look to the cartoon that is been a favorite of households the world over.
In addition to that we get three more Seuss classics in The Butter Battle Book, Daisy-Head Mayzie and Horton Hatches The Egg, where our titular elephant starts another fuss with his jungle brethren. There is also a fantastic documentary In Search Of Dr. Seuss and a singalong music video as well. A packed disc that makes this edition of this beloved children's classic the one that everyone should own.


You all remember this one. When you weren't watching Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer or any of a number of the Rankin/Bass puppet cartoons that littered the airwaves for just about any holiday.
With this one Sunny the Bunny and the kids of Kidsville come together to make jelly beans and all sorts of Easter treats. Now, Sunny has to take all these treats to the nearby Town where no kids are allowed.
Narrated by Fred Astaire, this is a little derivative of the plots of other Rankin/Bass productions, but is so sugary sweet that the kids will lap it up. It's true one two punch comes in the nostalgia it invokes in us old timers who remember when this was on once a year and if you missed it you had to wait.
The disc gives three other family shorts in Breakfast of Magicians, Floating Through Daydream Garden and The Easter Express.
Warner Brothers is generous with the bonus material on this DVD that is sure to be a household favorite for many years to come. Made when television didn't pander to kids and true entertainment was still something to look forward to on broadcast television