Tag Archives: Scott Malchus

DVD Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 7”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Season 7 (2009, Lionsgate)

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past 25 years, you’ve heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or TMNT. You may not know that the turtle with the blue mask is Leonardo, the leader; the turtle wearing the red mask is Raphael, the bad boy; the one in the orange mask is Michelangelo, the party animal; and the turtle donning the purple mask is Donatello, the resident genius. But you should know that they exist, first as a comic book, then as a long running animated television series, then as a series of live action films, then a live action television series, then a new animated series, then a new animated film, and of course, a mother load of merchandising. Ah, the merchandising. If the there is one thing this long running brand has, it’s merchandising. Case in point, the new 7th season of the mid 80’s, early 90’s animated series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 7 includes 27 episodes released for the first time ever as four separate collectible DVDs featuring one of the characters on each cover. Each disc includes different episodes from the season plus a collectible mini Turtles Action Figure. Genius. But of course, the people behind TMNT have always been business savvy.

Created in the mid 80’s by comic book artist Kevin Eastman and his friend Peter Laird, the two men wrote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a parody of the big super hero/mutant comics popular at the time (think X-Men and Daredevil). Never in their wildest dreams could they have expected their one self published comic to become a multi-billion dollar empire. By the late 80’s, there were toys, movies, and of course, the long running animated series that sucked in the attention of young kids around the world.

Let me tell you as a father whose son flipped when these DVD’s arrived at the house, the 80’s TMNT series still captures the hearts of little kids everywhere. Together, the two of us sat down and watched almost every episode together. He sang the theme song with me and pointed out the characters I didn’t recognize (by season 7 they had to have more villains than Shredder). Together we laughed at the bad jokes and cheered at the cartoony action. Sure, the stories are a little weak by the 7th season and, like most 80’s animated series, the drawings are a bit clunky and the lip assignment doesn’t always match up. But looking at my boy as he watched with open eyes, and observing how my daughter even got caught up in some of the episodes, I realized that TMNT was quite entertaining for a kids cartoon.

What I like about the packaging of this 7th season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is that instead of having to purchase the entire season, you have the option to sample several episodes at a time and gradually collect the multiple episodes. The Leonardo DVD includes episodes in which the Turtles save the Eiffel Tower, and they must stop a glacier meltdown. The Michelangelo DVD includes the young ninjas battling monster sheep and putting the freeze on a deadly heat ray. The Donatello DVD features stories in which Shredder and Krang activate the dreaded Technodrome. The Raphael DVD includes episodes in which a vengeful fly who wants to change all humans into insects and a Mutant Hunter who’s targeted the Turtles.

DVD extras include on look back on the Multimillion dollar Turtle toy line; interviews with TMNT creators Laird and Eastman; and a look and the devoted fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Whether you want to experience some nostalgia, or you want to share some of what you found exciting in your youth with your own kids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 7 is harmless way to hang out with your young turtle loving children and have some mindless fun.

DVD Review: “iCarly Season 1, Volume 2”

iCarly Season 1, Volume 2 (2009, Paramount)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

Amongst the many teen sitcoms that populate the airwaves, iCarly ranks as one of the best. With a winning cast and well written episodes, the show has plenty pf laughs for kids while rising above the typical sitcom trappings of so many of the other shows aimed at kids. Paramount Video has just released iCarly Season 1, Volume 2, which collects 12 episodes (on 2 DVD’s) from the smash hit series that airs on Nickelodeon. It’s worth your time and money, especially if you have any young girls living in your family. In fact, it was while watching iCarly with my daughter that I came to appreciate how well done the series is. Credit show creator Dan Schneider (The Amanda Show, Zoey 101) for once again assembling a crack team of writers and producers who know how to write for kids while not talking down to them. Having worked with iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove on Drake & Josh, he knew she could carry a show and built a sitcom around her charm, producing great kid friendly entertainment that won’t drive the parents up the wall.

Cosgrove stars as Carly Shay, a junior high teenager who lives with her manic older brother, Spencer (Jerry Trainor), in a Seattle loft apartment. Their father is in the Air Force and stationed overseas; it’s unclear where their mom resides. Spencer, an artist, and Carly have a loving relationship and support each other tirelessly. Spencer has the tough job of juggling the roles of big brother, parent and friend. Across the hall from Carly and Spencer is one her best friends, Freddie (Nathan Kress), an electronics whiz living with his mother. He harbors a not so secret crush on Carly, but she only wants to be friends. Carly’s other best friend is Sam (Jennette McCurdy), a tough, troublemaking tomboy who loves to torment Freddie and always has Carly’s back. Although this collection includes an episode when they have a bitter fight (“iDon’t Want to Fight”) Carly and Sam are as close as sisters, always finding a way to work out their differences. The three friends put on a regular web cam show (called “iCarly”) and it’s during these segments of iCarly that the real fun occurs. Cosgrove and McCurdy has real comic timing together and during the web cam segments they throw lines back and forth with no hesitation, playing off each other like seasoned television veterans.


The four principal characters take on specific roles: Carly is the straight man (but still allowed to be goofy), Sam is the smartass with a heart of gold, Freddie is the nerd and Spencer is the bundle of energy slapstick physical character that pops on screen when an instant laugh is needed. Despite this only being one half of the first season on DVD, the show is well formed and all four actors create a great comedy team. They make the show enjoyable and lift it up when some of the plotlines seem a little familiar. Then again, this is a series intended for kids 7 and older, unjaded from years of television viewing. When watching iCarly with my daughter I was able to see it through her eyes. I saw a main character that is kind and thoughtful, the kind of friend I hope my little girl becomes. All of the characters learn from their mistakes and none are so cynical that I want to shut off the TV when iCarly is on.


Highlights from this DVD set include “iHeart Art” (my daughter’s favorite) in which Spencer nearly gives up on being an artist when his idol doesn’t like his work. This one has a great message about sticking to your dreams. I also like “iPromote Tech-Foots.” The girls are asked to endorse a high tech sports shoe and all of Carly’s fans buy the shoes. When the footwear turns out to be a lemon, Spencer must pose as a lawyer to get them out of the shady deal. Finally, there is “iMight Switch Schools” in which Carly is offered a scholarship to an elite private school. In the end she chooses staying with her friends over the prestige.


Bonus features include behind the scenes extras as well as the pilot episode of True Jackson, VP, Schneider’s next big hit.

DVD Review: “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2009, Disney)
purchase this movie from Amazon: DVD | Blu-ray

You’ve heard the annoyingly catchy song and seen enough commercials to make you throw a water bowl at the television, but the real question is: How good is Beverly Hills Chihuahua? If you’re a kid, it’s “awesome!” I mean, how can a movie with talking dogs not be? The film is directed by Raja Gosnell, a man who has a knack for producing family films. Mind you, his films are not necessarily art (he previously directed both Scooby Doo live action films, plus the remake of Yours, Mine and Ours and Big Momma’s House), but anyone who can make even illegal dog fighting fun (as he does in this film) must have a talent for safe, commercial filmmaking.

I must first tell you that this film is not about the cute brown Chihuahua you see in the ads and posters. In fact, the film is really about a spoiled, white Chihuahua (voiced by Drew Barrymore) who gets lost in Mexico and tries to find her way home with the help of a German Shepherd who is an ex-police dog (voiced by Andy Garcia).

The lost Chihuahua’s name is Chloe, and she is owned by a millionaire, Vivien, played by Jamie Lee Curtis (always fun). She leaves the dog in the care of her irresponsible niece, Rachel (Piper Pierbo of the Cheaper by the Dozen remakes). When Rachel takes a trip to Tijuana with her friends, Chloe is dog napped. She escapes from the aforementioned dog fights with the help of Delgado, a German Sheppard/former police dog who has exiled himself to the underworld out of shame. With the help of Delgado, Chloe begins a journey through Mexico while being pursued by a nefarious gangster and his vicious Doberman Pincher (menacingly Edward Lames Olmos). With the help of a couple of stray dogs (including Luis Guzman), a mouse (Cheech Marin) and an iguana (Paul Rodriguez), Chloe learns to become independent and rely on herself. At the same time, Rachel sets off to find Chloe before Vivien returns from Europe. She enlists Vivien’s hunky gardener (Manolo Cardona) and his spirited little Chihuahua, Papi (voiced by George Lopez). Papi is the dog featured in Disney’s marketing campaign. Continue reading