February 18, 2008 -
February 15, 2008 - Our latest DVD review looks at COPS: 20th Anniversary Edition, next week's terrific two-disc release of the longtime Fox reality series. Those who consider the much-syndicated docudrama only something on which to momentarily stop channel-surfing may reconsider that when they see the fine package Fox has put together. The DVD serves up a trio of hour-long shows (the 20th season's "best of" special, the 1989 pilot, and a 2004 Las Vegas episode), a standout segment from each of the first 20 seasons, two audio commentaries, and a number of fantastic featurettes (from a behind-the-scenes look to a collection of movie and TV spoofs). Full review.
February 14, 2008 - We have a new interview today with Dominic Scott Kay. In her first report for UltimateDisney.com, Amy Braun talks with the seasoned 11-year-old actor. Kay has appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Minority Report in addition to voicing lead roles in Charlotte's Web and Air Buddies. He's even written and directed two short films. Kay talks about his career, giving special attention to last week's DVD premiere Snow Buddies, in which he holds the lead human part. Read the full interview.
Kelvin Cedeno looks at Becoming Jane. This week's other new Miramax DVD mixes the few known facts about Jane Austen with the elements of her novels, resulting in a fictionalized romance in the spirit of her beloved tales. Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) plays Jane, James McAvoy (Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia) is her suitor, and they're joined by English veterans Maggie Smith, James Cromwell, and Julie Walters. The disc supplies a widescreen feature presentation, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, a 3-speaker commentary, a substantial featurette, and a pop-up facts track. Read on...
February 13, 2008 - Another one of this week's many noteworthy DVDs gets covered with our review of Gone Baby Gone. Adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), this gripping R-rated drama follows private detectives, police officers, and a family into the investigation of a young Boston girl's disappearance. The film marks the directing debut of Ben Affleck, who also co-wrote the script. Proving proficient behind the camera, he gets terrific performances from brother Casey Affleck, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Oscar nominee Amy Ryan. Miramax's disc serves up two featurettes, an underwhelming set of deleted scenes, and a commentary by the director and his co-writer. Read on...
February 12, 2008 - We have two new DVD reviews for you today. First is Martian Child, a family drama that spent little time in theaters last fall. John Cusack plays a widowed sci-fi author who adopts a quiet young boy that claims to be from Mars. The film is adapted from the largely autobiographical short story by David Gerrold. New Line's DVD serves up a half hour of deleted scenes, a commentary, two substantial featurettes, and the trailer. Read the full review.
Then, Christopher Disher looks at Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the unlikely sequel to the acclaimed 1998 drama which finds Cate Blanchett again playing Queen Elizabeth I and again earning an Oscar nomination for it. Covering the later years of the monarch's reign, the film depicts religious turmoil and the pursuit of love with pulchritudinous production design but questionable technique. Universal's DVD offers deleted scenes, a quartet of featurettes, a commentary by director Shekhar Kapur, and some snazzy menus. More...
For a complete look at today's new DVD and high-definition format releases, be sure to consult our DVD Release Schedule.
February 8, 2008 - More Disney Channel programming is set to come to DVD on May 27th. The recently-premiered original movie Minutemen will arrive with a new extended ending, a making-of featurette, and Corbin Bleu's "Run it Back Again" music video. Its star, Jason Dolley, is also at the foreground of "Cory in the House": Newt & Improved Edition, the second DVD devoted to the "That's So Raven" spin-off sitcom. The 4-episode compilation will include an unaired episode and the behind-the-scenes short "Breakin' Down 'Cory in the House'." Keeping with tradition, each DVD will offer fullscreen picture and Dolby 5.1 sound.
After their upcoming temporary price reductions as part of a promotion timed to WALL-E's theatrical release, Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition and Toy Story 2: 2-Disc Special Edition will be going out of print indefinitely, Disney has announced. The two blockbusters previously spent over two years off the market before resurfacing late in 2005. They will become Pixar's only films in the proverbial Disney vault.
February 7, 2008 - Aaron Wallace reviews The Apartment: Collector's Edition, the new reissue of MGM's much-heralded 1960 film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. A winner of five Oscars and staple of AFI lists, the movie defies classification as it looks at an apartment shared by numerous office employees and their mistresses with unprecedented frankness. The new disc serves up an audio commentary and two featurettes. Read the full review.
CORRECTION: Despite what was originally announced and what is still listed on certain store sites, Paramount's Director's Cut DVD of Beowulf is only a single-disc release. Look for our review sometime before the Robert Zemeckis-directed motion capture adventure reaches stores on February 26th.
February 6, 2008 - Another one of this week's new DVDs gets covered in Christopher Disher's review of Blind Dating, a "polished but surprisingly amateurish" romantic comedy about a young man (Chris Pine) looking to find love with a woman who can overlook his blindness. After an extremely limited theatrical release last spring, the PG-13-rated independent film comes to DVD from Fox, joined by 16 minutes of deleted scenes, a short making-of video, the trailer, and (of course) a narrated track for the visually impaired. Full review...
In his latest DVD review, Kelvin Cedeno takes a look at Snow Buddies, the seventh and newest direct-to-video entry in Disney's series of dog movies. Like its immediate predecessor (2006's Air Buddies), this one leaves sports behind and focuses on Bud's talking puppies, as they unexpectedly journey to Alaska and form a sleddog racing team with a boy (Dominic Scott Kay) and his Husky (voiced by Dylan Sprouse). With its underused star voice cast given a paucity of clunky dialogue, the film serves up a by-the-numbers plot, two-dimensional characters, and plenty of fluff. Helping to save some face are solid technical values and those adorable canines (sadly, not all of whom survived the chilly production). The DVD's extras include a music video by Mitchel Musso ("Hannah Montana"), a character commentary, bloopers, and two featurettes. More...
February 5, 2008 - We've just posted our review of this week's new The Aristocats: Special Edition DVD. Though neither the definitive release fans may have hoped for nor the two-disc set originally announced, this lightweight reissue still easily surpasses the now-discontinued Gold Collection DVD, with a 16x9-enhanced widescreen transfer, a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and a small collection of bonuses. It's the charming film, not one of the studio's best but among their better, that's the main attraction. Read the full review, which includes a graphic comparison of the movie's two DVD releases.
After topping the box office and setting a number of attendance records, Disney has announced its 3D concert film Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour will now enjoy a standard theatrical run as opposed to the unorthodox one-week engagement originally announced. Commanding a premium ticket price of $15 in cinemas, the 74-minute film is expected to come to DVD and Blu-ray (sans Disney Digital 3D effects) later this year.
Recent Disney DVD and CD Reviews:
• Twitches Too - Disney Channel Original Movie follows its hit 2005 predecessor too closely, in revisiting the twentysomething twin witches played by Tia and Tamara Mowry ("Sister, Sister"). Cheap effects and a flat story thwart an effort to recapture the fun. The disappointing DVD serves up only a fullscreen transfer, a fluffy featurette, and a 94-second alternate scene.
• "Hannah Montana": One in a Million - This fourth compilation devoted solely to Disney Channel's top-rated sitcom serves up four unrelated 2007 episodes, two music videos, a bonus episode of "That's So Raven", and a countdown of the network's Top 10 Character Feuds.
• The Game Plan - Former wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays an egotistical star quarterback whose life is changed by the revelation that he has an 8-year-old daughter (Madison Pettis, "Cory in the House"). Predictable contrasts ensue in this profitable comedy. Disney's DVD serves up a 20-minute featurette, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, Marv Albert-narrated bloopers, two ESPN SportsCenter shorts, and some mood menus.
Recent Non-Disney DVD Reviews:
• Saving Sarah Cain - Lisa Pepper stars as a Portland columnist who unexpectedly receives custody of her five Amish nephews and nieces in this Lifetime-premiered Michael Landon, Jr. adaptation of a Beverly Lewis novel. Fox grants the movie a solid DVD release.
• Lake Placid 2: Unrated - The Sci-Fi Channel's made-for-TV sequel follows 1999's unspectacular crocodile thriller with pedestrian production values and a cast whose biggest star is out-of-place octogenarian Cloris Leachman. Needless to say, it's not pretty.
• The Comebacks - David Koechner stars as an unlucky coach of a Texas college football team in this innuendo-filled send-up of sports films. Poorly reviewed and attended but not as bad as some of its parody kin, it still squanders a likable cast and generally disappoints. The Unrated cut runs 20 minutes longer than the PG-13-on-appeal theatrical cut and includes 13 minutes of deleted scenes, a lifeless commentary, and 7 short bonuses.
• "The Odd Couple": The Third Season - Tony Randall and Jack Klugman still delight as the neurotic Felix and the carefree Oscar, regularly clashing men living together after their respective marriages fall apart. The 4-disc set holds no extras, some disappointments, and 23 episodes from 1972-73.
• "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch": The Third Season - In its third season as part of TGIF, the Melissa Joan Hart sitcom stayed close to its predecessor, amusingly juggling high school issues with fantasy elements while adding a year-long family secret plot.
• Joshua - Sam Rockwell headlines this little Fox-acquired Sundance thriller which tells of an odd young boy and his family. The DVD includes a commentary featuring rookie writer-director George Ratliff, deleted scenes, raw cast/crew interviews, effective newcomer Jacob Kogan's audition, and a Dave Matthews music video.
• Daddy Day Camp - Much-maligned family comedy follows the 2003 hit Daddy Day Care but replaces all cast members with more affordable ones. Two inexperienced fathers try to care for kids, this time in a rundown summer camp. "Wonder Years" star Fred Savage makes his directing debut, while Sony's DVD holds a featurette and a trivia quiz.
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