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July 15, 2012 - Today's review covers Tuesday's Blu-ray debut of Dirty Pretty Things, a 2002 British thriller nominated for an original screenplay Academy Award. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Amélie's Audrey Tautou star as illegal immigrants working at a London hotel where they discover a dark secret operation going on. Directed by The Queen's Stephen Frears and penned by Eastern Promises' Steven Knight, this acclaimed independent film hits high definition from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment via Miramax with a making-of featurette and Frears audio commentary. More...
July 14, 2012 - Will Ferrell tries something different in Casa De Mi Padre, a Spanish language comedy inspired by telenovela. Ferrell plays Mexican rancher Armando Alvarez, who seeks to protect his family's honor from a feared drug dealer (Gael García Bernal) and his wayward brother (Diego Luna). After a modest theatrical run, this film comes to Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday joined by 20 minutes of deleted scenes, a music video, an audio commentary, fake commercials, a making-of featurette, and an interview with Pedro Armendáriz Jr., who makes one of the final appearances of his long career. Read on.
July 13, 2012 - Tonight's new review covers the recent Blu-ray debut of the 1996 thriller Ransom. Mel Gibson stars as a wealthy Manhattan airline magnate who thinks on his feet when his 9-year-old son is kidnapped. Directed by Ron Howard and co-starring Gary Sinise, Rene Russo, and Delroy Lindo, this Touchstone Pictures hit is joined by audio commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes clips, a making-of featurette, and a trailer. Full review.
July 3, 2012 - Our latest review covers The Criterion Collection's recent Blu-ray release of The 39 Steps. This 1935 wrong man thriller is one of Alfred Hitchcock's best known efforts predating his move to Hollywood. It follows a Canadian abroad (Robert Donat) who gets mixed up in deadly international espionage. On the run in Scotland, he is pursued by assassins and police who believe he's a murderer. Criterion's loaded BD includes an extended Hitchcock interview, a documentary on his British films, an audio commentary, a new video essay, an hour-long Lux Radio Theatre adaptation, a gallery of production design art, and an essay booklet. Read all about it.
We take a look at one of today's two new animated Disney Blu-ray debuts with a review of Home on the Range. This 2004 western was seen as the studio's last traditionally-animated film, until the medium's recent revival. It follows three cows on a mission to capture a cattle thief and save their farm. The Blu-ray + DVD combo pack includes most of the original DVD's bonus features, including deleted scenes, audio commentary, a making-of featurette, a music video, a short film, and a piece on yodeling. Find out what's lost in our complete review.
June 30, 2012 - Sixteen years ago, Phenomenon was a summer hit in theaters. On Tuesday, it comes to Blu-ray and we've got a review. John Travolta stars as a California mechanic who sees bright lights in the sky and comes away with greatly increased brain function and telekinesis. Directed by National Treasure's Jon Turteltaub and co-starring Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, and Robert Duvall, this PG-rated Touchstone Pictures drama hits high definition with its original trailer in standard. Read on...
June 29, 2012 - Disney's year-long increase in live-action catalog Blu-rays gives us reason to look at The Color of Money. Martin Scorsese directs this 1986 sequel to The Hustler, with Paul Newman reprising the role of pool shark "Fast" Eddie Felson, who here opts to be stakehorse for a cocky young talent (Tom Cruise). Acclaimed and a box office hit, this drama earned four Academy Award nominations and won Newman his long overdue first (and only) Best Actor Oscar. Now available, the film's 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is sure to disappoint some. Full review.
The first of this year's two live-action Snow White movies, Mirror Mirror offers a light and colorful take on the fairy tale, casting Julia Roberts as The Queen, Lily Collins as her princess step-daughter, and Armie Hammer as a princely potential love interest to both. Directed by Immortals' Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, this PG-rated family fantasy is now available as a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack with deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, an animated storybook, and a tutorial on the film's closing dance number. Read our full review.
Today, Disney confirmed the long-rumored September 25th Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD release date for The Avengers, the third highest-grossing film in history. The Joss Whedon-directed superhero dream team blockbuster will be made available in a variety of editions, most of them loaded with bonus features. The press release spells out your buying options and a trailer previews what is sure to be the year's best-selling movie.
June 26, 2012 - 21 Jump Street works Fox's 1980s dramatic TV series into a hit buddy action comedy. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play classmates turned partner cops chosen to pose as high school students as part of an undercover narcotics operation. After an acclaimed and highly profitable theatrical run, this R-rated flick hit stores today. The DVD includes an audio commentary by the stars and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), deleted scenes, the featurette "Back to School", and UltraViolet. Read our review here.
Paramount has set a September 18th release date for Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures, a 4-movie Blu-ray collection of the George Lucas-scripted, Steven Spielberg-directed series starring Harrison Ford. The original film, 1981 Best Picture Oscar nominee Raiders of the Lost Ark, has been meticulously restored for this release. All four films will be accompanied by documentaries, featurettes, interviews, and new bonus features. Cover art has been posted here.
June 23, 2012 - Our newest review covers Mill Creek Entertainment's recent Spaghetti Western Double Feature Blu-ray. In The Grand Duel (1972), The Good, The Bad and The Ugly's Lee Van Cleef plays a sheriff determined to a wanted man's innocence. Keoma (1976) stars Django's Franco Nero as a soul-searching, half-breed Civil War veteran willing to stand up to outlaws and his nasty half-brothers alike. The $9.98 SRP disc includes an original theatrical trailer for each movie. Full review.
June 22, 2012 - Disney has scheduled the Blu-ray debut of Pete's Dragon for October 2nd. The partly animated 1977 family musical will receive a 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray + DVD combo pack ($29.99 SRP) alongside the Diamond Edition of Cinderella. Extras for the 2-disc set, available in Blu-ray or DVD packaging, will include a deleted storyboard sequence, an original song concept, and the featurette "Brazzle Dazzle Effects." Click the thumbnail for a larger look at cover art:
June 21, 2012 - Our coverage of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy concludes with a review of Spider-Man 3. Longer and less esteemed than its predecessors, this installment introduces the villains Sandman and Venom, in addition to establishing a new Goblin and making over Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) with a troubling alien symbiote. Sony's new edition isn't really that new; it serves up the first of the movie's two original Blu-ray Discs, containing bloopers, two audio commentaries, a music video, and galleries. To them, it adds UltraViolet access and $10 movie cash towards The Amazing Spider-Man. Read our review.
June 20, 2012 - A Thousand Words extends Eddie Murphy's critical and financial cold streak of solo vehicles. Taking four years to reach theaters, this comedy stars Murphy as a fast-talking book agent who discovers his life may be ending as a tree's leaves fall every time he opens his mouth. Written by Bruce Almighty's Steve Koren and directed by Norbit's Brian Robbins, this PG-13 flop hits Blu-ray next week with deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and UltraViolet. Full review.
June 19, 2012 - Nicolas Cage is Seeking Justice in his newest film. Cage plays a New Orleans high school English teacher whose wife (January Jones) is brutally attacked. He reluctantly enlists a vigilante operation (led by Guy Pearce) promising free vengeance and months later, they need him to repay the favor. Following a limited theatrical release, this R-rated thriller hits stores today from Anchor Bay in a DVD + Blu-ray Combo Pack we review here.
June 18, 2012 - The 2012 Disney Channel movie Radio Rebel stars Debby Ryan ("Jessie") as a shy Seattle teenager who secretly also happens to be the wise, favorite DJ of everyone at her high school. Maintaining a double life proves to be difficult for Radio Rebel, especially when the school principal vows to cancel senior prom if no one confesses and accepts an expulsion. Available tomorrow, Image Entertainment's DVD includes deleted scenes, bloopers, Ryan's "We Got the Beat" music video, four making-of shorts, a piece on the Los Angeles premiere, and a trailer. Check out our full review.
June 17, 2012 - Our coverage of Sony's new Spidey Blu-rays continues with a review of Spider-Man 2, the esteemed central installment of Sam Raimi's trilogy. This Oscar-winning 2004 blockbuster gets Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) to consider hanging up his Spidey suit and letting New York fend for itself so he can be with the girl he loves (Kirsten Dunst). Meanwhile, best friend Harry (James Franco) looks to avenge his father's death and brilliant scientist Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) gets a little out of control. Now availble, this Blu-ray includes both the film's original theatrical cut and its extended 2007 Spider-Man 2.1 edit along with three audio commentaries, a 2-hour making-of documentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and UltraViolet. Read all about it.
Paramount's catalog Blu-ray for July is Barbarella. Set in the future, this campy 1968 science fiction film stars Jane Fonda in the title role as an agent assigned to track down a weapons inventor on a distant planet to maintain the universal peace. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed Fonda's then-husband Roger Vadim, this international production gets a fancy slipcover and its original trailer on this July 3rd release. Full review.
June 15, 2012 - This week sees Spider-Man getting a proper Blu-ray release on its own. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, this 2002 adventure turned a nerdy teenager into a powerful superhero to unprecedented box office numbers. Sony's new Blu-ray allows the film's many hours of DVD bonus features -- including three audio commentaries, making-of documentaries, screen tests, Easter eggs -- to resurface alongside a pair of exclusives (a trivia challenge viewing mode and an editing activity). The loaded disc arrives at a low price and with $10 movie cash towards seeing The Amazing Spider-Man (or $5 towards a concession stand purchase). Don't miss our exhaustive review for complete details on what is gained, what is lost, and how this blockbuster holds up ten years later.
June 14, 2012 - The independent dramedy Jeff, Who Lives at Home stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms as brothers sharing an eventful day of coincidences in Baton Rouge. Susan Sarandon plays their mother, while Judy Greer plays Helms' wife, who is suspected of infidelity. After a strongly-reviewed limited run in theaters, this Duplass Brothers film comes to stores next week. We cover the UltraViolet-wielding Blu-ray.
June 13, 2012 - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows presents new adventure and mystery for the Victorian England detective (Robert Downey Jr.) and his loyal sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law). This sequel to the 2009 blockbuster sends the partners to France and Germany as they try to reunite a Gypsy fortune teller (Prometheus' Noomi Rapace) with her missing brother and run into peril from Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Now available, Warner's two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack serves up a Downey-hosted Maximum Movie Mode, Focus Points, and a downloadble iPad app. Don't miss our review.
Recent DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
• Shallow Grave (Criterion Collection Blu-ray) - Shortly before Trainspotting, this became the first theatrical credit of director Danny Boyle, writer Danny Hodge, and producer Andrew Macdonald. In Scotland, three young friends (Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, and Kerry Fox) search for a fourth flatmate and wind up with a dead body and a suitcase full of money. This thriller is joined by two audio commentaries, new 2012 interviews with the three stars, a making-of documentary, a video diary of the 1992 Edinburgh Film Festival, an essay booklet, and two trailers.
• "Tosh.0": Hoodies (Blu-ray) - This disc (also available as a 2-disc DVD) contains the first ten episodes of Daniel Tosh's popular Comedy Central series of Internet video commentary with uncensored soundtracks and a number of bonus shorts. Catch up with the stars of old viral videos and have a laugh at newer ones.
• Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Blu-ray 3D) - Nicolas Cage reprises his titular role as Marvel Comics' otherworldly antihero as Crank directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor create both a sequel and a reboot in this Eastern European thriller that finds Johnny Blaze and his fiery alter ego protecting a child sought by the Devil (Ciarán Hinds). Sony's 2-disc set includes a 6-part, feature-length making-of documentary, a directors' video commentary, deleted scenes, and a 3D-exclusive featurette.
• John Carter (Blu-ray + DVD) - Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton (WALL•E, Finding Nemo) makes his live-action directing debut with this adaptation of the first story in Edgar Rice Burroughs' influential series of pulp science fiction adventures. Taylor Kitsch ("Friday Night Lights") stars as a Civil War veteran whisked away to the red planet, who gets involved in a long-running war between two cities there. This two-disc combo pack includes audio commentary, Second Screen, deleted scenes, bloopers, a making-of documentary, and a featurette. (Related Interview: Jim Sullos and Cathy Wilbanks, the president and archivist, respectively, of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.)
• The Princess Diaries & The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (Blu-ray + DVD 2 Movie Collection) - Disney's G-rated live-action comedies recently made their Blu-ray debuts at Target and have since been released to general retail. The 1-Blu-ray, 2-DVD combo pack serves up both films on a Blu-ray with blooper reels and each on DVDs retaining their audio commentaries, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and music videos. Launching Anne Hathaway's career and reviving Julie Andrews, these two films were among Disney's biggest live-action hits at the turn of this century.
• New York Stories (Blu-ray) - This 1989 Touchstone Pictures film gets about 40 minutes each from three of America's most esteemed directors: Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen. From a tortured artist (Nick Nolte) in unrequited love to a hotel-dwelling girl (Heather McComb) to a lawyer (Woody Allen) whose overbearing mother takes to the sky, this anthology offers a little something for everyone. On Blu-ray from Mill Creek, it is now presented in widescreen, with its original trailer, and for under $10.
• Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet) - This sequel to 2008's hit Journey to the Center of the Earth takes adventuresome teenaged Vernian Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) and his stepfather (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) to the fantastical remote tropical island where he believes his grandfather (Michael Caine) is stranded. Also along for the ride are a Polynesian pilot (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens). New Line/Warner's combo pack supplies deleted scenes and a gag reel on both formats, plus an interactive map of behind-the-scenes featurettes on Blu-ray, and an UltraViolet stream.
• "Workaholics" Seasons 1 & 2 Combo Doggy Blu-ray - This 2-disc set holds the first twenty episodes of Comedy Central's sitcom, all of which include audio commentaries by the cast/creators. Other extras include deleted scenes, alternate takes, bloopers, a sketch from Bonnaroo, and new behind-the-scenes featurettes.
• Coriolanus (Blu-ray + DVD) - Ralph Fiennes makes his directorial debut on a modern-day adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's lesser-known plays. Fiennes also stars in the title role as a decorated war general whose political ambitions are thwarted when is banished from Rome. Written by John Logan (Hugo, Gladiator) and featuring Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jessica Chastain, this drama reaches stores in a combo pack with Fiennes commentary and a making-of short.
• This Means War (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) - Two CIA operatives (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) vie for the same civilian's (Reese Witherspoon) affections in this romantic spy comedy. Fox's two-disc combo pack supplies the film in theatrical and unrated cuts along with three alternate endings, deleted scenes, an opening sequence animatic, the original trailer, and an audio commentary by director McG.
• Castle in the Sky (Blu-ray + DVD) - Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli's first film follows two kids on an adventure on land and in the clouds, as pirates and military pursue the powerful, mysterious necklace they possess. Disney's recycles most extras from 2010's two-disc DVD, this time in high definition. They include trailers, storyboards, making-of retrospectives, an English voice cast featurette, and an introduction by John Lasseter.
• Hondo (Blu-ray) - Adapted from a Louis L'Amour short story, this 1953 Western tells the tale of a prize-winning gunman (John Wayne) who visits a mother (Geraldine Page) and her young son (Lee Aaker) on their ranch. Death, romance, and Apache vengeance ensue. Though not presenting the film in its original 3D format, Paramount's BD treats Hondo to an overdue widescreen presentation while hanging onto many DVD bonus features including three retrospectives, an audio commentary featuring Leonard Maltin and Aaker, an "Entertainment Tonight" segment, a photo gallery, and trailer.
• The Secret World of Arrietty (Blu-ray + DVD) - Adapted from the 1952 novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton, this Studio Ghibli fantasy tells of a small family living in secret and the humans from whom they borrow what they need. The combo pack includes both Japanese and English versions of the film along with a storyboard feature presentation, Japanese trailers & TV spots, music videos by Cécile Corbel and Bridgit Mendler, and a making-of featurette on the latter.
• Chronicle (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital COpy) - Found footage film documents what happens when three Seattle high school students encounter an unknown entity that gives them powers of telekinesis and more. This acclaimed box office hit is now available to own in a two-disc combo pack, which presents the film in theatrical and director's cuts with a deleted scene, pre-visualization animatics, a camera test, and trailer.
• The Devil Inside (Best Buy-exclusive Blu-ray) - Launching Paramount's micro-budgeted Insurge Pictures brand, this horror film turned heads when it grossed over thirty times its production budget in a dynamic opening weekend. The found footage flick follows a young woman (Fernanda Andrade) to Italy, where her mother remains hospitalized over three brutal murders she committed twenty years earlier. The daughter teams up with young priests conducting their own unsanctioned exorcisms.
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