REVIEW: I KNOW THAT VOICE

CAST

John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Pamela Adlon (Some Girl)
Charlie Adler (Wall-E)
Carlos Alazraqui (Free Birds)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Ed Asner (Batman: TAS)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkham)
Jeff Bennett (The Return of Jafar)
Bob Bergen (Up)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Jim Cummings (Aladdin)
Grey DeLisle (Ultimate Avengers)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylkon 5)
June Foray (Cinderella)
Pat Fraley (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Nika Futterman (Hey Arnold)
Seth Green (Family Green)
Matt Groening (The Simpsons)
Jennifer Hale (Spider-Man Unlimited)
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Jess Harnell (Transformers)
David Herman (Futurama)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Danny Jacobs (Ultimate Spide-Man)
Tom Kane (Star wars: The Clone Wars)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Josh Keaton (The Spectacular Spider-Man)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Phill LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Janet Waldo (The Jetsons)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Mona Marshall (Fraggle Rock)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Colleen Villard (Static Shock)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Nolan North (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Rob Paulsen (The Mask: TAS)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Cree Summer (Bambi II)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Alanna Ubach (Legally Blonde)
Kari Wahlgren (Ben 10)
Jim Ward (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Billy West (Futurama)

maxresdefaultI Know That Voice (2013) takes a gander at a subject that many of us never give much credence to.  This film takes a personal look at what it means to be an actor who is never actually seen on screen. I speak of the voice over artists who use their gift of gab to create and bring to life some of the most iconic characters in the world of entertainment. Produced by John DiMaggio (the alcohol fueled robot Bender from the popular series Futurama), this film feels like a labor of love and what unfolds is wonderful.Kevin_ConroyThe movie explains the history of voice artists from the beginning of talkies until present day, peppering in a slew of interviews from some of the most popular talent out there. Weaving a tale of both the struggles and the love of the business, I Know That Voice keeps you interested from start to finish as the actors known for being silly animated characters, show you a side of the process which makes the viewer appreciate what was once looked at as child’s fair. Throughout, you meet everyone from Sponge Bob to Roger Rabbit. And these are truly actors, damn fine ones at that.I-Know-That-Voice

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REVIEW: RUBY SPEARS SUPERMAN

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Beau Weaver (Transformers)
Ginny McSwain (Scooby Goes to Hollywood)
Mark L. Taylor (The Mask: TAS)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Alan Oppenheimer (Westworld)
Stanley Ralph Ross (Helter Skelter)
Lynne Marie Stewart (Bridesmaids)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jack Angel (A.I.)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Peter Cullen (Transformers)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Mary McDonald-Lewis (Deep Dark)

In my mind, this remains one of the very best depictions of Superman on TV, as well as one of the most faithful to a particular comics period.
This series paid homage to both the Superman films of the ’70s/’80s and the Superman comics series “reboot” of 1986-onward (“Man of Steel,” “Superman Vol 2,” “Action Comics,” “Adventures of Superman,” etc). The opening score and titles were stirring, based on the John Williams score from the films, updated for a Saturday morning action series. Marv Wolfman, one of the main contributors to the comics reboot (writer of “Adventures of Superman”) was a perfect choice to be involved in this animated series. Overall, the series had a more mature feel while continuing to be very kid-friendly.

Superman was presented as believable, strong, and iconic. His recurring nemesis was Lex Luthor in his megalomaniac/CEO incarnation. The Daily Planet characters Lois, Jimmy, and Perry were portrayed well. One of my favorite appearances was by Wonder Woman, and the story revolved around her home island of Themyscira (“Paradise Island”). Both her design and that of her mother Hippolyte were in keeping with the similarly rebooted Wonder Woman comic book series of the era, and it seemed like an equally well-done animated series could have been developed for her if handled the same.A must have for any Superman/DC fan.

REVIEW: THE SMURFS: THE LEGEND OF SMURFY HOLLOW

CAST (VOICES)

Jack Angel (A.I.)
Fred Armisen (Anchorman)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Gary Basaraba (Boomtown)
Alan Cumming (Tin Man)
Tom Kane (9)
Melissa Sturm (The Lego Movie)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Adam Wylie (Picket Fences)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)

As the story begins, Hefty, Clumsy, and Panicky are out in the forest at night with a cart full of smurfberries that has a broken wheel. Unable to fix the wheel, the three of them sit together around a campfire roasting smurfberries when Clumsy has the idea of telling a ghost story to pass the time. Narrator then joins the three Smurfs to tell his own kind of ghost story. In Narrator’s story, the Smurfs gather around for Papa Smurf to announce the Smurfberry Harvest contest in which the Smurfs who collect the most smurfberries will be awarded a medal. Brainy shows up at the gathering wearing multiple medals that he has won over the past years, gloating about how he’s going to win this year’s medal as well. As the Smurfs collect their buckets and then go out into the forest to pick smurfberries, Gutsy follows Brainy to find out where he’s been getting all the smurfberries for winning the contest. He discovers that it’s in a place called Smurfy Hollow, an area where the legendary Headless Horseman resides, where there’s a secret patch of smurfberries growing plentifully. Gutsy decides to give Brainy a scare by creating a shadow figure of the Headless Horseman, which sends the bespectacled Smurf running in fear. However, while Gutsy uses this opportunity to collect the smurfberries in the secret patch, Brainy finds himself walking into a trap set up by the evil wizard Gargamel.

By the time the contest ends and the Smurfs have appeared with their buckets for Papa Smurf to judge the winner, Gutsy shows up with a bucket overloaded with smurfberries and thus is declared the winner. However, Suspicious Smurf begins to wonder where Brainy is, since he hasn’t shown up with his bucket of smurfberries. Realizing that he may be found out for cheating, Gutsy goes out into the forest alone to find Brainy, but is soon joined by Smurfette, who finds out from Gutsy that Brainy is in Smurfy Hollow. They both go together and find Brainy in a cage trap set up by Gargamel, only to soon join him in cage traps of their own. Azrael, who was prowling the forest by himself, is soon alerted to the Smurfs’ presence and goes to get his master to inform him of the captured Smurfs. Gutsy, Brainy, and Smurfette work on a plan to get themselves out of their cages, and soon Gutsy swings his cage repeatedly until it bumps into Brainy’s, which then bumps into Smurfette’s, and the cages continue to bump into each other until Gutsy’s and Brainy’s cages break, freeing them. However, Smurfette is still stuck in her cage, and Gutsy and Brainy try to figure out how to get her out of there when Gargamel appears with Azrael, and so they go into hiding while the evil wizard opens the cage to deal with the one Smurf that is still captured.

But soon the five of them have a new problem to deal with—the presence of the Headless Horseman, who rides around looking for his next victims. They start running for their lives toward the covered bridge, which legends say is the only thing that keeps the Headless Horseman trapped in Smurfy Hollow. But as the Smurfs see that they would not get to the covered bridge in time to escape from the Headless Horseman, they hitch a ride on the back of a bat and fly to the top of the covered bridge, safe from the spectral rider’s grasp. Gargamel and Azrael soon reach the bridge that the Headless Horseman cannot pass through, and safe inside the bridge, the evil wizard taunts the ghost, who then responds by throwing a flaming pumpkin that causes the floor beneath him and his cat to break, sending them down the river and over the waterfalls. With the three Smurfs returning safely home, Gutsy and Brainy begin to apologize to each other for what they did, with Gutsy admitting that he was jealous about Brainy always winning and Brainy admitting that he was selfish in keeping the secret patch of smurfberries all to himself. Glad to see that two of his little Smurfs have learned their lesson, Papa Smurf proceeds to reward Gutsy with the medal, but Gutsy decides to give it to Brainy instead, who then insists that Gutsy should have it, and so the two Smurfs fight over who should get the medal when it flies out of their hands and lands looped around Lazy’s neck, thereby declaring him to be the winner. As the Smurfs gather around the stage to see Gutsy and Brainy dance with each other, Papa Smurf goes out into the forest to thank the Headless Horseman, who turns out to be a goat that he used his magic on to make him appear as a ghost.

With Narrator Smurf’s ghost story now over, Hefty claims that he wasn’t scared, but finds himself jumping into Narrator Smurf’s arms at the sound of a bat screeching. Panicky sees that they are now surrounded by bats, which scares all four Smurfs and sends them running back to the village.

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The animation was great, the story is really well adapted (even if it’s slightly different from the Sleepy Hollow story, it had some elements from it too) and the characters are great to see too.So overall, I’ll recommend this to those who are a huge fans of the smurfs.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE SMURFS: A CHRISTMAS CAROL

CAST (VOICES)

Jack Angel (A.I.)
Fred Armisen (Anchorman)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Gary Basaraba (Boomtown)
George Lopez (Spare Parts)
Melissa Sturm (The Lego Movie)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)

On a Christmas morning, the Smurfs get ready for their Christmas party. Hefty Smurf and Handy Smurf cut down a Christmas tree, and by Christmas evening, they all finish and start to celebrate. Grouchy Smurf refuses to join the party, expressing his hatred towards Christmas. After their Christmas party, all of the Smurfs go to bed and receive a gift from Papa Smurf – a Smurf hat handcrafted by him. Grouchy wakes up to find a present in front of his door.


He opens it and finds a Smurf hat, but not the one he had expected – a hang glider. Grouchy yells at the top of his lungs, “I hate Christmas”. Subsequently, he sees everything around him turn into animation, and finds himself animated too.

Suddenly, he sees an angel appear, who seems to be Smurfette. She explains to him that she is the Smurf of Christmas Past to teach him a lesson about appreciating Christmas. She shows him a young “Smurfling” receiving a gift, which is a Smurf hat, and how happy the Smurfling was to get it. Then the Smurf of Christmas Present, who is Brainy Smurf, appears and shows how he felt about the gift he had received. He then tells him to be happy on Christmas. Then the Smurf of Christmas Future, who appears as Hefty Smurf, shows Grouchy his future. Hefty tells him that if he does not change his ways, all of the Smurfs will wander into the forest and get captured by Gargamel and his cat. Then everything around him goes back to its original form, and the Smurfs come and see Grouchy on the Christmas tree decorating it by putting ornaments on it. He yells out to the Smurfs, “Merry Christmas everyone”.

A Very nice story, it is good for Kids and Adults.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN (1994) – SEASON 1-5

 

 

CAST

Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Rodney Saulsberry (The Animatrix)
Jennifer Hale (Wreck-It Ralph)
Gary Imhoff (The Green Mile)
Sara Ballantine (Batman Year One)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Liz Georges (As Told By Ginger)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Joseph Campanella (Ben)
Patrick Labyorteaux (Yes Man)
Maxwell Caulfield (Alien Intruder)
Neil Ross (Rambo)
Roscoe Lee Brown (Babe)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batman: TAS)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
George Buza (Mutant X)
Cedric Smith (Earth: Final Conflict)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (Forever Knight)
Alison Sealy-Smith (You Kill Me)
Alyson Court (Beetlejuice TV)
Chris Potter (Heartland)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek Generations)
J.D. Hall (Undercover Brother)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday the 13th – Part 8)
George Takei (Star Trek)
John Vernon (Batman: TAS)
Courtney Peldon (Frozen)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Barbara Goodson (Power Rangers)
James Avery (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 80s)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Jeff Corey (Conan The Destroyer)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
David Hayter (X-Men)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Paul Winfield (Star Trek II)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

The set itself is well presented, although the artwork is a little cheap, and clearly done in a way as to mimic the style of the 90s series. Anyone who has the recent X-Men Season releases will be familiar with this. Unlike those, this one also has a slipcase. A booklet with episode synopses is also included.

Spider-Man has season-long arcs, which when viewed in succession make for great television. Christopher Barnes is brilliant as Spider-Man (especially in those fleeting moments of extreme rage), and the guests were memorable too, particularly Rob Paulsen’s oafish Hydro Man and Jennifer Hale as Felicia Hardy/ Black Cat.

The music was great too, but while Spider-Man relied on several repeated  cues,  Another thing about Spider-Man is that even after all these years I find myself being surprised by some of the plot twists, which were even more abundant upon first viewing. Thankfully, John Semper (creative head of the show) was bold enough to change much of the original stories to make them worth animating in the first place. What else? A minor triumph, but the colouring on this cartoon is the best of any I’ve ever seen. A simple praise. While the show lost its way during the muddled fourth year it had some great episodes in the last series, with one of the greatest resolution-with-cliffhanger endings in animation history. A rare treat in that its much, much better than you remember it.

Some of the best episodes were – the three-parter, “The Alien Costume”- a marvellous introduction for the ultimately underused Venom (a deliciously insane Hank Azaria)- and the two-part “Hobgoblin” are among the best in the show’s five-year run. “Night of the Lizard”, a pilot of sorts, is interesting in that there’s an awful lot more effort put into the animation than in later episodes, as is often the case.

Animation from the 1990s doesn’t come much better than this, and Marvel have yet to top it.

REVIEW: A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

CAST

Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense)
Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes)
Frances O’Connor (Bedazzled)
Sam Roberds (American Beauty)
Jake Thomas (The Cell)
William Hurt (Captain America: Civil War)
Brendan Gleeson (The Smurfs 2)
Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey)
Jack Angel (Transformers)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Robin Williams (Hook)
Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Chris Rock (Rush Hour)
Ken Leung (Lost)
Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang theory)
April Grace (Whiplash)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Kathryn Morris (Cold Case)
Daveigh Chase (S.Darko)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Adrian Grenier (Drive Me crazy)
Paula Malcolmson (Capria)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)

A.I. began life as a short story by Brian Aldiss, but it blossomed into something more sprawling under Kubrick. It is the story of the first-ever robot boy. Set in a future where climate change has left multiple major cities underwater, a refocused society has made many technological advancements since the cataclysm–including synthesized life. Robots have different functions in society, but largely act as servants, be it of the more traditional kind (maids, chauffeurs) or less domestic (sexbots). At the start of the movie, a scientist (William Hurt) proposes a new function: true love. What if they could create a simulacrum of a real child, one that could be programmed to love its adoptive parents unconditionally? Could then the humans love it in return?The prototype is David (Haley Joel Osment), a specially built android that looks real in every way. He is given to a married couple (Sam Robards and Frances O’Connor) whose own child is currently in cryogenic stasis until a fatal health problem can be solved by medical science. Stuck in her grief, the mother, Monica, takes to her new “son,” developing a strong attachment to him. Only, when her actual child (Jake Thomas) is healed and returned to her, the human boy’s jealousy makes it impossible to keep David. Monica is unwilling to send David back to the factory for destruction and so lets the robot boy go instead. Devastated by this rejection, David takes his animated toy teddy bear (voiced by Jack Angel) and goes looking for the Blue Fairy, the angel who turned Pinocchio into a real boy at the end of the story Monica read to him. If he can become real, she can love him as much as her flesh-and-blood offspring.What follows is David’s fairy-tale journey. Like Pinocchio, he will run into many hazards, including a destructive carnival where robot-hating humans dismantle artificial life as a form of entertainment. There David meets Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a pleasure robot who is on the run, as well. He agrees to help David find the Blue Fairy, detouring to a dazzling futuristic city where all manner of carnal delights can be found before finally heading to Manhattan and, supposedly, the edge of the world.The philosophical question at the core of A.I. Artificial Intelligence is the difference between authenticity and artifice. Are they mutually exclusive, or is that just a matter of perception? Kubrick famously put off making the movie for over a decade in hopes that an actual robot could be built to play the part of David. Spielberg came into the mix after Kubrick had seen Jurassic Park. It apparently made Stanley realize that if an approximation of a dinosaur was good enough, fake robots would be, as well. Extending the metaphor into the creative process, he embraced the idea that artifice could stand in for the authentic. One could even take it further to say this necessary balance was also the difference between the two directors, why it took both of them to make this extraordinary picture: the authenticity of Stanley Kubrick lent credibility to the artifice of Steven Spielberg, and vice-versa.

Spielberg doesn’t so much repress his style for A.I. as he tries on another man’s clothes and walks around in them for a while. The final movie has the chilly rigor of a Kubrick movie, but with touches of Spielberg’s slick storytelling. The teddy bear that serves as David’s Jiminy Cricket is perfectly integrated into the live action, and the fully imaginary Rouge City, inspired as it was by European comics, is just as believable–and indeed, indistinguishable in terms of craft–as the version of New York City that Spielberg sinks into the Atlantic. One is created from whole cloth, the other uses reality as its starting point–and neither is more real or unreal than its counterpart.

In terms of acting, it’s easy to see why Osment was viewed as the leading actor of a new generation. His performance as David is remarkably subtle. He uses carefully choreographed body language to convey the character’s “otherness.” He carries himself awkwardly, maintaining a blank naïveté that is essential to illustrating David’s lack of experience. It’s a far more complex construction than it might appear. Also good are O’Connor as the grieving mother (she has the widest range of emotions of anyone in the movie) and Jude Law as the charming hustler. He brings a touch of classic Hollywood style to the role–a gigolo is just another type of actor, after all.

There is nothing else quite like A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and given that once upon a time Stanley Kubrick showed us the dawn of humanity, it seems fitting that his career should end by showing us what the world would be like once humanity was gone.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1987) – SEASON 3-5

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MAIN CAST

Cam Clarke (He-Man 2002)
Barry Gordon (Fish)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Pat Fraley (Monsters, Inc.)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Renae Jacobs (Rose petal Place)
Peter Renaday (General Hospital)
Greg Berg (Transformers)
Hal Rayle (Bionic 6)
Jennifer Darling (Aladdin)
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 80sRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Susan Blu (Transformers)

Season Three  maintained the series’ annual October-December lifespan but marked a major turning point in its level of exposure: new episodes were now broadcast daily instead of weekly, bringing this season’s count up to a whopping 47. 1989 also saw the series approaching its first major height of popularity: a live-action film was right around the corner, merchandising was in full effect and more new characters were introduced to broaden the series’ scope (and profitability). First appearances include The Rat King, Casey Jones, Metalhead, Usagi Yojimbo, Don Turtelli, Lotus, Leatherhead and more.

Season Four*  runs for 39 episodes and also marked the show’s transition to CBS’ Saturday Morning lineup in addition to weekday syndication. Familiar faces like Shredder and Krang are pushed further into the background—and for those hoping that change is good, you’ll beg for their return once you’re re-introduced to characters like Wilbur Weazell (evil toy mastermind) and Mona Lisa (a mutated female creature who pairs off with Raphael). As for Shredder and Krang, they’ve been re-banished to Dimension X—so along with Bebop and Rocksteady, we don’t see them as often this time around.

Season Five*  scales back with 22 episodes that aired from September-December of 1991, when the series’ impact had started to weaken. By now, TMNT leaned towards a younger demographic, as evidenced by a rotating cast of goofy, one-off villains and less focus on fighting.

Whilst the show was still good, it was with these seasons that they targeted younger and would remain that way for  a while. We also saw a wide ranger of new mutants which was due to the toyline.