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SEPTEMBER 1-30, 2007: NEWS ARCHIVES


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September 30, 2007 - Tenth in Disney's most esteemed DVD line for animated features is The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition, the subject of our latest review. The 1967 musical/comedy/adventure holds up as one of the finest films bearing the Disney name, with its crowd-pleasing blend of potent personalities, great songs, and compelling story (loosely adapted from Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli tales).
The two-disc set is mostly satisfactory, with a lively audio commentary and a great documentary both adding lots of value. The games are fairly disposable and in spite of terrific picture quality, the disc leaves a few things to be desired, namely a viewing format option. Read the complete 2-page review.

Kelvin Cedeno looks at Funny Face: 50th Anniversary Edition, Paramount's new reissue of the 1957 Audrey Hepburn/Fred Astaire musical. Hepburn plays a Manhattan bookshop employee reluctantly turned Parisian fashion model in an Oscar-nominated film that co-stars Kay Thompson (the author of the Eloise books) and features songs by George and Ira Gershwin. The DVD includes two new featurettes, a look at Paramount in the 1950s, a photo gallery, and the trailer. More...

September 29, 2007 - Another of this year's many Buena Vista box sets for hour-long ABC dramas is the subject of our latest DVD article. Aaron Wallace takes a look at "Desperate Housewives": The Complete Third Season - The Dirty Laundry Edition.
Season 3 finds the highly-rated, award-winning drama at its most compelling, with sharp writing, rich characters, and fine acting adding up to show that though varied in tone, is uniformly excellent. Disney's 6-disc set offers first rate picture and sound plus a reasonable collection of featurettes, bloopers, and deleted scenes. Read the full review.

September 28, 2007 - Our newest DVD review covers "Brothers & Sisters": The Complete First Season. ABC/Touchstone's Emmy-winning hour-long drama tells of the Walkers, a large, affluent California family for whom secrets and scandals are a way of life. Buena Vista treats the series -- which stars Calista Flockhart, Sally Field, Rachel Griffiths, and many more -- to a 6-disc set, which serves up 4 commentaries, a full deleted episode, bloopers, and some featurettes. Read the complete review.

Disney has announced the titles that will gradually be disappearing from stores at the end of next January. To be discontinued: the Platinum Editions of Cinderella and Aladdin and all of their sequels, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True Special Edition (coming December 18th), Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, and the Aladdin II & III Collection, holding The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.

Disney's live action film Underdog will follow its ordinary late-summer box office run with a DVD release a week before Christmas. In addition to containing both widescreen and fullscreen versions, the DVD will offer deleted scenes, bloopers, Kyle Massey's "Underdog Raps" music video, and an episode of the long-running "Underdog" cartoon series on which the film is based. Streeting the same day for $5 more, the Blu-ray version with include all of the DVD's extras plus a second "Underdog" cartoon episode and additional deleted scenes.

September 26, 2007 - Just posted: The TV Set DVD Review. Written, directed, and produced by Jake Kasdan, this R-rated independent comedy humorously skews the television industry with a look at the quest of a writer (David Duchovny) to get his original show on primetime. The real-life trials of Kasdan and executive producer Judd Apatow on the esteemed but swiftly-axed "Freaks and Geeks" clearly shape and enhance this smart, witty tale. The highly entertaining movie co-stars Sigourney Weaver, Fantastic Four's Ioan Gruffudd, Judy Greer, Lindsay Sloane, and Justine Bateman. Fox's DVD serves up two engaging audio commentaries, an amusing deleted scene, and a standard but good making-of featurette. Read the full review.

The missing Disney princesses have been restored and a winner has been announced in our Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams DVD Contest. Click here for the complete wrap-up.

September 24, 2007 - Albert Gutierrez critiques Paramount's recently-released DVD Flashdance: Special Collector's Edition. The appeal of this hokey, music-filled R-rated drama, a major blockbuster upon its 1983 theatrical release, may be lost on today's first-time viewers. Those who remember the music, the fashions, and the dancing may be more able to overlook the weak story and a structure that feels like loosely-strung music videos. The DVD boasts nearly an hour's worth of featurettes and a 6-track bonus audio CD. Read on.

Kelvin Cedeno covers "Grey's Anatomy": Season Three in our newest 2-page review. ABC/Touchstone's extremely popular medical drama returns to DVD in the fashion that's come to be expected: with stellar picture/sound and a decent helping of supplements. Though still solidly entertaining, the series itself wavers slightly, as it remains dreary and maudlin without indulging in light-hearted storylines as before. More...

Our latest DVD review looks at Next. Nicolas Cage headlines this 2007 Paramount film, playing a Las Vegas clairvoyant who can actually see two minutes into his future. While pursuing the woman of his visions (Jessica Biel), Cage finds himself targeted by both FBI agents (led by Julianne Moore) and the bomb-stealing terrorists she wants to prevent from unleashing a nuclear disaster. Supposedly adapted from a post-apocalyptic Philip K. Dick short story, but more evidently an exercise in conventional, contemporary action moviemaking, Next entertains sufficiently but fails to realize its high potential or even get adequate mileage from its intriguing concept. Read the full review.

September 23, 2007 - In our newest review, Albert Gutierrez tackles Wayside: The Movie, Paramount's DVD release of the hour-long TV special that launched the Nicktoons Network' animated series that's loosely adapted from Louis Sachar's popular collection of children's books. Read on...

September 22, 2007 - We've got a hefty supply of DVD reviews coming your way in the next few days. Our latest looks at Cujo: 25th Anniversary Edition, Lionsgate's new release of the 1983 horror film adapted from Stephen King's novel of the same name. The quite simple movie centers on a rabid St. Bernard dog who terrorizes those he encounters, including a mother (E.T.'s Dee Wallace) and young son (Danny Pintauro, "Who's The Boss?") who are trapped in a dying car. The disc not only grants the suspenseful flick its first widescreen presentation in Region 1, it also serves up a fine director's commentary and a 42-minute making-of documentary that's filled with new interviews. Read the full review.

September 21, 2007 - This Sunday marks the official beginning of autumn, which makes it good that we've just posted our Walt Disney Records - Summer 2007 CD Roundup. Reviewed in this latest article covering recent output from Disney's music branch are High School Musical: The Concert, soundtracks to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Ratatouille, the "inspired by" compilation Ratatouille: What's Cooking?, the best-selling two-disc/two-persona album Hannah Montana 2 / Meet Miley Cyrus, CD/DVD combo The Cheetah Girls in Concert: The Party's Just Begun Tour, the High School Musical 2 single What Time Is It?, Billy Ray Cyrus' Home At Last, Baby Einstein: Baby Mozart 2, Playhouse Disney's Doodlebops: Get on the Bus!, and the complete chart-topping High School Musical 2 soundtrack. You may not be interested in all 11 album reviews, but you surely want to check out our Summer 2007 Disney CD Roundup.

September 19, 2007 - As fall approaches, all the DVD studios have ramped up their release schedules. See for yourself in our DVDizzy.com All-Studio Upcoming DVD Schedule pages, which have just been updated to include all major releases in the months of September and October.

September 18, 2007 - You can win a free DVD in our brand new Disney Princess Enchanted Tales DVD Contest. Simply identify the three princesses who have been erased from screencaps and you could win the prize! Click here for more information and to enter.

Our latest DVD review looks at Paramount's Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition, which streets today. The 1977 cultural phenomenon is headlined by John Travolta in an Oscar-nominated, star-making performance as a 19-year-old Brooklyn man who really feels alive on the disco dance floor. In this original, R-rated version, there is frank sexuality and tough language sprinkled amidst the energetic disco sequences that are most remembered. The DVD offers picture improvement, carries over director John Badham's nice audio commentary, and adds a fun trivia track, six new featurettes, and two dancing features. But a few things prevent it from being a clear-cut upgrade. Read the full review.

September 15, 2007 - Jamie Kennedy plays a man coming out of a 20-year coma in the PG-13-rated independent comedy Kickin' It Old Skool. Big on 1980s nostalgia but short on laughs, this uneven film fails to make much of its promising, familiar premise and especially falters in its extended breakdance competition finale.




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Fox's DVD includes a half-hour of deleted scenes (which include appearances by otherwise-cut John Ratzenberger, Erik Estrada, and Michelle Trachtenberg) plus the movie's trailer. Read the full review.

September 14, 2007 - We're back with a review of The Graduate: 40th Anniversary Edition DVD. In his breakout role, Dustin Hoffman plays Ben Braddock, a new college alum who separately romances a mother (Anne Bancroft) and daughter (Katharine Ross) while at a crossroads in life. MGM revisits this landmark 1967 comedy-drama, delivering major upgrades in picture and sound, two new commentaries, two new featurettes, a 4-track Simon and Garfunkel CD sampler, and the extras from previous DVD incarnations. Read the full review...

Disney has scheduled a National Treasure: 2-Disc Collector's Edition for release on DVD (SRP: $29.99) on December 18th. The set will include all of the 2005 DVD's bonuses plus additional deleted scenes introduced by director Jon Turtletaub, a sneak peek of the closely-timed sequel Book of Secrets, and the featurettes "Ciphers, Codes, and Code-Breakers", "On the Set of American History", "To Steal a National Treasure", "Exploding Charlotte." Arriving the same day, single-disc Cinderella II: Dreams Come True: Special Edition will offer the new game "Race to the Royal Banquet" in addition to the 2002 disc's extras: the featurette "Musical Magic", the set-top activity Cinderella's Enchanted Castle, a Cinderella DVD storybook, and Brooke Allison's "Put it Together" music video. It will be among the handful of Disney DVDs promoted as being discontinued next January.

September 4, 2007 - Just posted: the press release for Hannah Montana: Life's What You Make It.

September 3, 2007 - Closing out our Labor Day weekend DVD reviews is our coverage of Unaccompanied Minors. Warner's 2006 family comedy tells of five pre-teens who are stranded at the airport during a snowy Christmas Eve. Despite a shortage of laughs and unlikable characters, this PG-rated movie redeems itself a little by its end. The double-sided DVD includes a commentary led by director Paul Feig, deleted scenes, an outtakes reel/dance video, and 20 minutes of improvisation with three "Kids in the Hall" cast members (who play guards in the film). Don't miss the full review.

In a new DVD review, Renata Joy looks at this week's line-launching Disney DVD: Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams. Sleeping Beauty's Aurora and Aladdin's Jasmine each star in their own original half-hour animated story. Sadly, despite arriving with much fanfare, neither delivers more than a fluffy tot-tailored experience, more on par with a syndicated cartoon episode or a short direct-to-video outing than worthy follow-ups to the leading ladies' beloved classics. Read the full review.

September 2, 2007 - The subject of our latest DVD review, TMNT, brings back the twenty-year-old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise in an action-packed computer-animated feature film. As division threatens the four reptilian brothers, an immortal warrior summons the Foot Clan to deal with 13 wild monsters keeping him alive.
Netflix, Inc.
While not everyone's cup of tea, the movie shatters expectations of a CGI film with unconventional visuals, high-energy sequences, and a story more tailored to adults. The DVD includes a commentary from writer-director Kevin Munroe, who also speaks over a number of deleted scenes and animation tests. Read the full review here.

September 1, 2007 - New DVD review: John Grisham's The Rainmaker: Special Collector's Edition. In one of his earliest starring roles, Matt Damon plays an inexperienced lawyer who sues a health insurance company and falls for a young abused wife (played by Claire Danes). Though ten years old, this PG-13 rated legal drama marks the most recent film directed by The Godfather's Francis Ford Coppola. He provides an introduction and a commentary with actor Danny DeVito, who co-stars in the film along with Jon Voight and Danny Glover. Read the full review.

Recent Disney DVD and Movie Reviews:
"Handy Manny": Tooling Around - Playhouse Disney's animated series about a helpful bilingual repairman and his talking tools, imparts some knowledge of Spanish phrases and hardware onto preschool viewers. The disc supplies 5 episodes and a multi-level set-top game.
Return to Halloweentown - This fourth installment in Disney Channel's 9-year-old autumnal movie series recasts Marnie, drops her younger sister, and limits Debbie Reynolds to two minutes of screen time. But not all is lost as Marnie (Aquamarine's Sara Paxton) and Dylan (J. Paul Zimmerman) enroll in Halloweentown's Witch University, where they're threatened by three evil sisters and a conspiratorial administration. The "Ultimate Secret Edition" DVD loses points for failing to provide the 16x9-framed version despite abundant space and for supplying only a promotional 6-minute featurette.
Little Einsteins: Rocket's Firebird Rescue - The fifth DVD release in the franchise and the second direct-to-DVD one, this doesn't quite realize the package's claim of a "full-length adventure" nor is there enough to sustain a single narrative at double-episode runtime. The disc also boasts a bonus episode and a Magic Mission Mode to enhance the educational value of repeat viewings in two ways.
"Mickey Mouse Clubhouse": Mickey's Treat - Like last fall's Christmas disc, this third DVD release of the hit computer-animated Playhouse Disney series only observes the holiday in one standard-length episode, which is accompanied by two other episodes. The DVD delivers some worthwhile supplements in the way of "A Little Einsteins Halloween", printable autumnal recipes and character jack-o-lantern stencils.

Recent Non-Disney DVD Reviews:
Popeye the Sailor, Volume One: 1933-1938 - Warner's landmark box set delivers the Fleischer Studios' first 60 animated shorts starring the squinty, muttering seaman whose popularity rivaled Mickey Mouse in their shared golden heyday. Despite some formulas, the cartoons hold up not just for historical and cultural reasons but as entertaining storytelling. In addition to a pair of Technicolor two-reel shorts, the 4-disc collection provides 2 substantial documentaries, 8 topic-specific featurettes, 16 significant pre-Popeye shorts, and 22 commentary tracks.
The Last Day of Summer - Nickelodeon Original Movie applies Groundhog Day's formula to a boy anxiously about to start middle school who's eager to extend summer vacation. The DVD serves up a music video, blooper reel, and making-of featurette.
"Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide": Special Field Trip Edition - The series' DVD debut holds the hour-long finale and two bonus episodes of Nickelodeon's quirky middle school sitcom.
Blades of Glory - Will Ferrell and Jon Heder star as champion figure skaters who, banned for life, unite to form the world's first same-sex pairs team. The comedy flows from more than just this premise; thanks to a terrific cast, well-structured story, and technical adeptness, the movie is a lot of fun. DreamWorks' DVD includes an array of entertaining bonus features, including cast interviews, deleted scenes, a reel of alternate takes, and more.
A Night at the Roxbury: Special Collector's Edition - In his first leading film role, Will Ferrell plays one of two club-hopping, head-bobbing brothers who dream of getting inside the Roxbury and opening up a nightclub of their own. This amiable comedy nearly stands out from the class of movies adapted from recurring "Saturday Night Live" sketches. Despite stellar video/audio and a low price, this reissue falls short in the bonus features department.
The Ultimate Gift - Inspirational, heartwarming PG-rated independent drama tells of the challenges a young man must face in order to claim his inheritance from his late, wealthy grandfather (James Garner). In spite of some unbelievable characters, the life-evaluating story helps the movie resonate with viewers. The disc includes a modest selection of extras.
"Ugly Betty": The Complete First Season - ABC's Emmy and Golden Globe-winning dramedy stars America Ferrera as a homely 22-year-old working at a fashion magazine. With eye candy uncommon for the medium and a strong sense of humor, the hour-long series elevates its unlikely source material (a Colombian soap opera) to new heights. Buena Vista's 6-disc, 23-episode set includes 4 commentaries, 3 featurettes, 21 minutes of deleted scenes, and outtakes.
"Sabrina, The Teenage Witch": The Second Season - With smart writing, a unanimously talented cast, sufficient effects, a big imagination, an ever-entertaining atmosphere, and a vast roster of impressive guest stars, the sitcom's sophomore season on TGIF holds up plenty well ten years later. While Paramount's 4-disc DVD boasts terrific picture and sound, it delivers no extras, loses a few scenes, and most unfortunately drops almost all of the recognizable '90s pop songs originally employed.

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