December is the month for family films and this December is no exception. Delgo is the first movie of independent film studio, Fathom Studios. It's an animated feature with some serious star power behind it in the form of Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kelly Ripa, Ann Bancroft, Val Kilmer and more.
The characters kind of look like Star Wars meets Planet of the Apes, but the movie is being promoted as a family film that centers around love, justice, good overcoming evil and cultural understanding (which is something the whole world could use about now). The film has received some good press and great reviews so far. The scenery is beautiful from the looks of the trailer, and it looks like it will be another animated hit. After all, how can it not be with a princess involved?
If you'd like to see the trailer for the film, go here. The film itself runs for 90 minutes. Delgo opens nationwide on December 12th, just in time for Christmas break. Enjoy!
There are many review opportunities that find their way into my email inbox each week; we don’t take them all. But when the opportunity to review a family film that will be premiering this coming weekend showed up, I knew I had to jump at it. "A Plumm Summer" ("With one leap, a boy becomes a man, a brother becomes a friend, and a frog becomes a legend") is the type of film you can watch with your entire family, which is just what we did.
Tonight, we piled into the living room and watched the film together. It was the first non-animated movie in a while that Mr. BBM and I have watched with our kids: Big I, age 7 and Lil C, age 2. "A Plumm Summer" is an independent film and hopes to find a home in the hearts of families across the country, starting April 25th, 26th, and 27th in Birmingham, Alabama.
The film features William Baldwin ("Mick Plumm") and Henry Winkler ("Happy Herb") who has called the movie "the little family film that could." The film also features some adorable kids; the smallest one, Owen Pearse, reminiscent of the little Jerry Maguire kid. He’s just as adorable and maybe even a bit more funny. Told from the perspective of an adult looking back on a summer during his childhood, the film centers around the disappearance of a Superstar Puppet named Froggy Doo, and follows the adventure of these kids (played by Chris J. Kelly, Pearse, and Morgan Flynn) and their families.
The film starts out great and the ending is sweet too. There are some slow moments in the middle with the necessary (and just a bit of unnecessary drama), but that didn’t seem to bother the girls one bit. The little boy in the movie, "Rocky," provided great entertainment for the girls. The always-one-step-behind FBI agents provide some good entertainment for the adults.
It’s not new or earth shattering, but it is a very nice film with a family-friendly story. If I had to compare it to something I’d say there were moments that remind you of "A Christmas Story" set in the summer. With 1968 as its place in time, it can’t help but be endearing.
The film has Dove Foundation’s Family Seal of Approval, was selected as this year’s Heartland Family Movie Event, was SRO at the Cinemagic Children’s Film Festival in Belfast, sold out at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, won the Audience Vote for Best Family Film in Austin and the Audience Vote for Best Picture at the International Family Film Festival last month.
If you live in the Birmingham area and are looking for something fun to do this weekend, take your family to see "A Plumm Summer." Your kids will enjoy the movie and you’ll love that there’s a movie you can finally watch together.
If you don’t live in Birmingham, but do live in other big premiere cities like Los Angeles or Chicago, keep an eye out. "A Plumm Summer" could be coming to a theatre near you very soon!
Because there is finally a nice movie you can watch with your entire family, BBM gives "A Plumm Summer". . .
Japan’s War – In Colour is a documentary created in 2005, narrated by Brian Cox. This video offers a realistic glimpse into the mind and spirit of the Japanese people approaching, during, and after World War II.
WWII is an extraordinarily gruesome yet fascinating time in human history. Each culture involved had such a passionate determination to fight and iron will to succeed. A video such as this one, which offers insight into the Japanese side of things, could only be possible now, after time has healed certain global wounds. Even still, this is a subject that must be handled with the utmost care and balance.
The first thing that stood out to me about this documentary is the rare footage the creator’s obtained. Throughout the 90+ minute run time, astounding and uncensored footage of battles can be witnessed. Pearl Harbor, Midway, Okinawa, Hiroshima, etc. are all represented by short bits of film gathered meticulously by the film crew; and, as the title indicates, everything is in color.
A lot of the footage shown in Japan’s War has never before been aired, and some of it was thought not to exist. Since no color footage of Japan prior to 1945 had been seen, the short snippets from these battlefield cameras is a rare thing indeed.
One important note about this film is that it is not for the weak of heart. There is no censorship when it comes to shootings, bombings, or injuries. The view of WWII presented here is untampered…which brings me to my next important point – the presentation of political and philosophical beliefs is very well handled. This is a film that could have easily swayed toward showing Japan as a hapless victim of western tyranny, or on the other hand, pandered itself out as pro-American propaganda. Japan’s War manages to escape both of these traps and offers frank discussion of the Emperor’s ambitions, the militaristic nature of Japan, and the role American troops played as they entered the war.
One of my favorite things about this documentary, besides the footage, is the insight into the Japanese psyche presented by way of journals. Diaries and thoughts from Japanese soldiers, sergeants, and civilians are read throughout the film and give us a chance to put our finger on the pulse of Japan as the war was occurring.
If you are a person who studies martial arts and history seriously, especially that of the Japanese Islands, this documentary is certainly worth your consideration.
Ikigai108 gives Japan’s War – In Colour…
Those of you who follow the MMA showcase that is the UFC will be well aware of the name Matt Hughes. For those not in the know, he’s a 9-time Welterweight World Champion in the aforementioned organisation. He didn’t get there through luck, and it’s obvious to anyone who’s seen him that he’s a strong, fit and very motivated individual. It’s for these very reasons that I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to review his new Plyomix Ultimate Fitness System.
The Ultimate Fitness System is available as a five-part video download from iAmplify.com, with each video focusing on a different aspect of the training. These break down as being Core, Impact, Intensity, Power and an extra fifth video, Mental Edge which features an interview with Matt and an insight into his own training, background and mental preparation. As the names of the sections suggest, each video puts specific focus on an workout area, which is really useful as it means you can create your own routine and schedule and work it in around whatever other training you might already do. For me, this happens to be my own Martial Arts training, and training in a kick/punch system I was pleased to see some good speed and endurance drills based around sparring movements.
Each training video lasts for around an hour, and is well produced and presented. There are three people demonstrating at any one time, with input from Matt waiting in the wings as and when required. Each member of the team does essentially the same exercises, but at a varying level of intensity or difficulty. It’s a really nice touch and means that you don’t have to attempt to keep up with someone seemingly super-human, and at the opposite end of the scale there’s no need to limit your workout by matching what someone of a lower level of strength or fitness is doing. They also act as good goals for anyone wanting to push themselves, as you can start off following the lowest intensity, and as you get fitter and stronger move up to the next level.
It’s advertised as a complete fitness system, and for once it’s actually true. Everything you’d expect to be there is present such as cardio work, strength and endurance work, fast-twitch muscle building and flexibility, but it’s good to see the other important facets of a good training session, namely warm-ups and stretching. Both are sometimes breezed over with little attention in other video instructionals, but these videos provide a good realistic amount of both. Anyone who’s ever had a muscle pull or tear can probably vouch for the importance of stretching and getting warm. Whenever ‘props’ are required – such as a jump rope or hand weights – it’s clearly stated on the screen, and a nice touch is the inclusion of alternatives should they not be available (no hand weights? how about cans of soup?).
Despite all the good things I’ve already said, there’s still one thing which separates the Matt Hughes Ultimate Fitness System from its competition, and that’s the format in which it’s presented. Instead of DVDs, the videos are downloaded directly from the iAmplify site. Each is around 100MB in size, and they’re in MPEG-4 (.mp4) format. What that means to you and me is that they can easily be downloaded to a personal media player (iPod Video for example) and taken with you. Do you ever find that at home it’s really tricky to find the time to claim the living room for yourself for an hour to work out? Or maybe you have kids and find it literally impossible to clear enough toys from the room to get the space for it? Pop the videos onto your media player (or laptop) and head out somewhere else. It might only be as far as the garden, or maybe a gym or local hall, but you can take your workout with you.
I consider myself moderately fit for my age and weight, training 3 or 4 times a week in martial arts will do that for you, and I have to say that having tried these out I can vouch for just how much of a workout you get. They certainly aren’t "walk in the park" easy, and could take someone with a low level of fitness a few weeks to build up to get through the full hour without stopping, but if you’re already reasonably active or have good perseverance this can really add to your fitness and strength. It’s professionally presented, well organised and enjoyable.
You can purchase and download the Matt Hughes Ultimate Fitness System directly from the site, and by way of a special offer we’ve teamed up with iAmplify to get a special discount for BBM Review readers! Simply click the following link.
As far as workout video systems go, this has to rank among the best. The very unfit may struggle at first, but as a supplement to existing training or incorporating all of the parts as a standalone routine it’s very good at what it does. Just be prepared to work hard! TSDAdam awards the Matt Hughes Ultimate Fitness System…
While watching the UFC, have you ever had that brief moment where you contemplate how you would stack up against a fighter like Matt Hughes? I think it’s pretty common. Next time that little voice pops into your head, remind yourself of this – Matt Hughes is one of the most physically fit athletes in the world and is, essentially, a destroyer of men.
I realized that pretty quickly while watching the Plyomix Ultimate Fitness System, presented by iAmplify. This system is designed to be a full body workout, ideal for anyone wanting to get in shape (but especially for those training in the martial arts). This series is presented as downloadable videos from iAmplify and comes in five main categories: power, core, intensity, impact, and mental edge. I’d like to break down my impression of each section, then give an overall review of the system.
The Power video is very similar to some existing workout tapes you might have seen. It involves a stepbox, jumprope, and a few other trademark devices of the workout industry. The Matt Hughes team takes you through a good warmup routine and then runs through a series of cardio intensive drills. However, unlike normal step programs, activities like pushups are thrown in from time to time to work on strength as well as endurance. Matt Hughes acts as the coach, helping keep each team member motivated.
The Core video is pretty darn wicked. This focuses on core strength around the abdomen/pelvic area (or hara, as the japanese martial arts like to call it). There are a wide variety of crunches and leg lifting exercises that make you feel the burn very quickly. One exercise called alternate straight leg pedaling kills me. The Hughes team faired much better than I did. If you need an ab work – this is the place to be.
Intensity has a definite fighter’s slant. This workout uses resistance training and heavy bag striking (on the ground). I personally enjoyed this one due to it’s easy translation into fighting but also because the workouts were not dull in any way. One sign of a good system is keeping participants interested, and I think Intensity is a success in that realm.
Impact is where weight lifting and bench work comes into play. It’s not heavy weight lifting; instead, they use light-moderate weight and incorporate it into their workout. The Hughes team uses free hand weights, 5-15 pounds or so, and lead you through a series of squats and bench exercises. Impact offers a balanced combination of weight training and cardio, so people not looking to do 200 pound bench presses can still enjoy and participate.
This is a nice addition in the form of an interview with Matt Hughes. Anyone purchasing the videos will enjoy it, but MMA fans will especially appreciate it. The interview takes place in front of a pond on the farm where Matt grew up. He talks about his childhood and how his rural lifestyle instilled in him an excellent work ethic that has really helped bring success in professional fighting. He also talks about how he implements his workout program and some other useful pointers for preparing for a fight.
The exercises presented on this video are very good. This is a workout program designed to fit beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. That being said, there are a few things I’d like to comment on. First and foremost, the Matt Hughes team does 95% of the working out, with only small demonstrations by Matt himself. I would have enjoyed seeing Matt demonstrate what a real UFC fighter looks like going through the workout. I think most martial artists would agree that watching an expert can be as helpful as listening to their advice. Matt’s tips as the "coach" were indeed helpful, but not critical. There could have been someone else acting as motivator, or perhaps Matt doing a voice-over with advice as everyone worked out. I felt the biggest thing lacking in Matt Hughes’ system was Matt Hughes.
One other little pet peeve – The main aerobic instructor, Jennifer, made some excessive SSHH-ing noises. SHH, SHH, SHH. I found it a bit distracting. Also, this is not a good breathing habit to get into for martial artists because it indicates breathing from high in the lungs instead of low out of the diaphragm. I know it can’t all be diaphragm breathing when working out, but excessive SHH breathing should be avoided.
On the positive side, excellent tips and suggestions were flashed on the screen throughout the videos. Each video lets you know what to expect and what you will need in a clear and organized fashion.
I enjoyed the Plyomix Ultimate Fitness System by Matt Hughes. I think it has some really useful qualities. However, it wasn’t a homerun for me. Therefore, the result for Ikigai108 is…
New to DVD this holiday season is the release of Stardust, the adventure fantasy film from director Matthew Vaughn.
The basic plot of the film sees a young man making a promise to the girl he loves to return a falling star to prove his devotion. The only catch is that it’s landed on the other side of "the wall", a wall which legend has it borders our world from a magical one. The adventure begins, and it doesn’t mess about in doing so, you’re thrown in head-first and in doing so have no choice other than to be absorbed and utterly engrossed.
For many readers here, the cast will be a mix of the very famous (Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes), and a mix of unknowns. Our British readers will recognise a great many more of the faces from various TV series and comedies on our side of The Pond. This mix is one of the key draws to the film in my own opinion, some of the major characters are played by actors many people will be unfamiliar with, and this unfamiliarity coupled with some excellent performances mean that the viewer isn’t pre-loaded with what kind of character to expect from the actor. I doubt there’s anyone who would have expected Robert De Niro to play the character he does in this film!
It’s a beautiful film to look at, both worlds in it are wonderfully realised and totally believable. The visual effects are kept to a minimum where possible, but obviously with it being a fantasy film, expect some lavish creativity. In many ways this is a real throwback in terms of the ways this genre of film is made nowadays, those of you old enough to remember when such fantasy gems as The Princess Bride, Krull or Legend came out will be over the moon. Stardust is a proper family film, there’s plenty in there to keep all generations laughing, albeit not for the same reasons some of the time. For those with little ones worried about violence or gore of any kind, there’s really nothing to speak of. Perhaps just one scene where some witches ‘read’ the entrails of an animal, but even then we don’t witness the act and there’s no blood involved. The only time blood is spilled in the whole film, it happens to be royal blood, and fittingly enough is blue. Some scenes could still be deemed a little scary for the very young though.
Fans of the book by Neil Gaiman need not worry, this film really does the original story justice, and carry it off in a very polished manner. Claire Danes manages a very believable English accent throughout the two hours, Robert De Niro will have you laughing with his non-typecast role and Sir Ian McKellen has the perfect story-telling voice to play the narrator. Ricky Gervais pops his head up and despite basically just playing "Ricky Gervais" is a welcome addition. The perfect film for those cold, dark winter evenings, huddled up on the sofa, remembering how charming a well-made fantasy tale can be.
Tsdadam gives Stardust a BBM Review rating of….
Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, and a bit scary for the very young, but fantastic entertainment.