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OCTOBER 16-31, 2008: NEWS ARCHIVES


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November 1, 2008 - Tinker Bell DVD Review

October 31, 2008 - Our newest DVD review looks at The Godfather Trilogy: The Coppola Restoration. Francis Ford Coppola's beloved, flavorful dramas study the Corleones, a powerful Italian-American family of the 20th century whose bonds and beliefs are ever threatened by death and deception.
Paramount's recent 5-disc set offers improved picture and sound, the epic Part II on just a single disc, the previous collection's bonus disc, and an additional disc holding over an hour of all-new special features. Check out our full review for details, comparisons, and critique.

Not many could have seen this coming. Disney has announced a two-disc Mary Poppins: 45th Anniversary Edition for DVD release on January 27th, 2009. Timed to lure holiday gift card owners, the set apparently will port the feature presentation and all bonus features from 2004's 40th Anniversary Edition DVD and add four new featurettes on the running Broadway musical. SRP is $29.99. The same day will also bring The Secret of the Magic Gourd, the radar-missing, Disney-produced, live-action Chinese fantasy, presented in widescreen with a Corbin Bleu-topped English dub plus Cantonese and Mandarin soundtracks. Update: cover art and a preorder link have been posted here.

October 30, 2008 - Our December Release Schedule has been updated with details on a number of newly-announced titles now available for preorder,
including Mamma Mia!, Burn After Reading, and Pineapple Express.

October 29, 2008 - Aaron Wallace makes our third Blu-ray Disc review a whopper with his two-page look at the six titles debuted in two volumes of MGM's James Bond Blu-ray Collection. You'll get three Connerys, two Moores, one Brosnan, a whole slew of bonus features, and -- unless you're lucky -- some compatibility issues from this massive set. Featured here are Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Thunderball, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, and Die Another Day. That's #'s 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 20 for those of you keeping score, amounting to more than a quarter of the "official" 007 canon. Full review...

Don't miss our review of Shrek the Halls. Last year's half-hour special shows us how the characters of DreamWorks' blockbuster CGI comedy series celebrate Christmas,
including the title ogre who's never before observed the holiday. Available next week, the light disc includes widescreen and full screen presentations, two Madagascar penguin sing alongs, a DreamWorks animation jukebox feature, 3 DVD-ROM game demos, and a set-top game. The DVD is also available in a number of different packages. More...

October 28, 2008 - In our latest review, Renata Joy looks at Tinker Bell, a new film that debuts on DVD today to high expectations and plenty of fanfare. This computer-animated movie reveals Tinker Bell's origins, as she is born in Pixie Hollow, sentenced to a life of tinkering, and eager to aspire to more. Yes, she talks, and so do her ethnically diverse fairy friends. Boasting higher production values than most direct-to-DVD works, the movie is the first of four Disney Fairies productions scheduled for release over the next three years. On the surface, the disc seems light on extras (a curious short, interactive Pixie Hollow guide, and Selena Gomez music video), but look further and you'll find a hidden section along with some substantial supplements. Read the full review.

Tinker Bell may quite likely be this week's top-selling new DVD, but it's one of just five major titles we've reviewed here in recent days. As always, consult the DVDizzy.com Schedule for information on all of today's noteworthy DVD and Blu-ray releases and links to our reviews. Be sure to give the October page a final once-over before it moves to the archives to make way for the year's busy final months.

October 26, 2008 - We take a look at Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, which comes to DVD this week. The fourth movie born out of the historical doll line, this was the first to go to theaters. Abigail Breslin heads an esteemed cast, playing a 10-year-old aspiring journalist whose family must adapt to lifestyle changes ushered in by the Great Depression, including opening their home to a number of boarders. On DVD, the G-rated drama includes widescreen and fullscreen versions, a digital copy, previews for other American Girl movies, and, over an hour of DVD-ROM extras you'd never expect. Read the full review.

October 24, 2008 - In our latest review, Kelvin Cedeno looks at "Brothers & Sisters": The Complete Second Season. The ensemble drama continues to juggle the various dynamics of the well-to-do Walkers, who took family dysfunction to new heights. Disney's four-disc set holds 16 episodes, audio commentaries, deleted scenes, 3 featurettes, outtakes, and an envelope of "Nora's favorite recipes." Read the full review.

October 23, 2008 - The romantic comedy Run Fatboy Run stars Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) as a London man still haunted by leaving his pregnant fiancee (Thandie Newton) at the altar years ago. When she gets serious about a new boyfriend (Hank Azaria), he vows to run a marathon. Though you'd have no reason to suspect it, this British-flavored film marks the feature directing debut of David Schwimmer ("Friends") and offers a screenplay by Pegg and Michael Ian Black. New Line's disc serves up widescreen and fullscreen versions, an audio commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes,
The Wonderful World Of  Disney Christmas Tree
a prank, trailers, and a digital copy. More...

October 22, 2008 - Our latest review looks at Journey to the Center of the Earth, the $100 million-grossing family film available next week. Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, and Anita Briem star as three contemporary individuals who encounter a wide variety of Jules Verne-type adventure while trapped inside a cave in Iceland. New Line's double-sided DVD provides 2-D widescreen and fullscreen versions plus a 3-D widescreen version with four enclosed red/blue glasses. Bonus features include an audio commentary by Fraser and director Eric Brevig, three featurettes, a game, and a downloadable digital copy. Read on...

Amazon.com is currently running a Disney DVD Sale, in which dozens of major animated releases are now priced at 45-48% off list price. Among the discounted are many animated classics and the highly-regarded films of Pixar and Studio Ghibli. Check it out...

October 21, 2008 - Just posted: our review of The Foot Fist Way, one of the least expensive movies to adorn the screens of 21st century theaters. In a career-advancing performance Danny McBride stars as a tae kwon do instructor with some life troubles. A Best Buy exclusive, Paramount's disc accompanies the R-rated comedy with over 30 minutes of deleted scenes, an audio commentary, bloopers, and more. Full review>.

October 20, 2008 - The Marvel Comics blockbuster Iron Man gets covered in our newest DVD review. Robert Downey Jr. stars as billionaire weapons tycoon Tony Stark, whose capture by Middle Eastern terrorists yields the birth of the armored title hero and a new way of thinking. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard co-star in this Jon Favreau-directed film. Paramount's Ultimate 2-Disc Edition includes 24 minutes of deleted scenes, a nearly two-hour production documentary, featurettes on visual effects and Iron Man comics, an Easter egg, and more. Read the full review.

We've got the press release for next February's Oliver & Company: 20th Anniversary Edition, which shows just how nonchalant this Disney DVD will be.

October 19, 2008 - Christopher Disher reports on Tinker Bell, the upcoming CG-animated movie meant to launch a franchise around the teenaged fairies of Pixie Hollow. Read...

Our newest review takes an early look at Shout! Factory's "Mystery Science Theater 3000": 20th Anniversary Edition. This 4-disc set compiles a quartet of much-requested episodes from throughout the 11-season run of the two-hour 1990s cable TV comedy. Each finds silhouetted human and robot commentators lampooning a low-budget genre B-movie, from 1960's First Spaceship on Venus to 1997's Future War. The collection also includes a thorough 81-minute documentary on the series, a 38-minute Comic-Con panel discussion, the heckled movies' original trailers, and a reel of MST3K opening theme sequences. Read the full review.

October 17, 2008 - Disney has issued a press release on the long-awaited Pinocchio: Platinum Edition reaching stores next March. The DVD will include a fact track, an audio commentary, an alternate ending, two deleted scenes, a music video, making-of documentary "No Strings Attached", an animation featurette, deleted period pop songs, live-action reference footage, art galleries, 18 Pinocchio's Puzzles hosted by Jiminy Cricket, and more. The Blu-ray version ($35.98 SRP) will offer Disc 1 of the standard DVD,
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plus a "Pinocchio Knows" trivia challenge, 16:9-screen filling fun facts "Disney View", Cine-Explore, and BD Live. Read the full press release for much more information.

The studio has also announced a 20th Anniversary Edition DVD for Oliver & Company for release on February 3, 2009. The rerelease will boast an all-new game, extras from the film's 2002 debut, and the all-important foil-embossed slipcover, but little else new or noteworthy. The same day brings umpeenth video premiere in the best-selling athletic dog talking puppies series, Space Buddies, on DVD and Blu-ray with bloopers, an Alyson Stoner music video, and Disneypedia: Guide to Space Travel. Cover art for Pinocchio and Oliver has been posted here.

March 31st will bring Schoolhouse Rock!: Earth, an hour-long disc comprised of ABC's musical animated interstitials. The DVD will supposedly provide 10 all-new songs about chic contemporary issues like water conservation and biodiversity featuring all-new animation with classic SHR characters such as Mr. Morton and Interplanet Janet. Kindred discs coming the same day: Baby Einstein: World Music with a keepsake "My First Haircut" envelope and 5-episode compilation "Handy Manny": Manny's Green Team - Go "Green" Edition.

Though it's been just two and a half months since their last DVD release, Playhouse Disney's globe-trotting adventurers are back in "Little Einsteins": The Christmas Wish, our latest DVD review subject. The eighth disc in the series, this one contains four episodes including one that hasn't yet aired. The bonus "Magic Mission Mode" enhances three of the disc's episodes with factual interruptions. There's also an in-case ornament. Read the full review.

October 16, 2008 - Aaron Wallace reviews the Blu-ray version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
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Available from DreamWorks next week, the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp musical carries over all the bonus features from last spring's 2-Disc Special Edition DVD, providing many of them in high definition. More...

The Disney Movie Club has added a couple of 1960s live-action films, The Incredible Journey and Big Red, plus five new Bill Nye the Science Guy volumes as exclusive DVDs. See our full list here and click here to join the Disney Movie Club with any existing Exclusive.

Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
• Sleeping Beauty: Platinum Edition - Walt's costly, stylish 1959 Technirama fairy tale joins the studio's elite collection just five years after a fine 2-disc DVD debut. Worth purchasing another time? We help you weigh the pros and cons to that question with our thorough analysis. The set offers a remastered and wider feature presentation, more polished picture on a few choice ported extras, and a number of new additions while dropping plenty from the old DVD. (Related Interview: Mary Costa, the voice of Princess Aurora)

Recent Non-Disney DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
• Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 2-Disc Special Edition - Harrison Ford's old-fashioned hero returns in this long-awaited fourth installment from director Steven Spielberg and creator George Lucas. The adventure continues in 1957, with Indy joining a rebellious young greaser in search of missing mutual friends and cosmic answers. Paramount's DVD supplies a wealth of making-of video including an 80-minute Production Diary.
• The Love Guru - Mike Myers' summer comedy flop comes to Blu-ary with many classes of bloopers and, on a standard DVD, a digital copy.
• "NewsRadio": The Complete Series - This witty ensemble NBC sitcom depicts life in the late 1990s at a Manhattan AM station. Sony's 12-disc set is identical in content but much lower in price than the four collections previously released. In addition to 97 half-hour episodes, you get 50 audio commentaries, 4 extensive season gag reels, 4 "One Man NewsRadio" shorts, and a number of featurettes.
• Speed Racer - This impossibly colorful live-action film from The Matrix's Wachowski Brothers adapts the 1960s Japanese cartoon. Emile Hirsch stars as a young man driven to uncover World Racing League corruption. The all-star cast also includes Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, and Rain. Warner's disc includes two featurettes and a digital copy download code.
• "The Smurfs": Season 1, Volume 2 - Warner concludes the first season with twenty episodes ranging from 12 to 24 minutes. The two-disc set also includes the featurette "I Smurf the Smurfs" with a number of TV personalities weighing in on the white-hatted blue forest creatures.
• Jack Frost: Remastered Deluxe Edition - Narrated by groundhog Pardon-Me-Pete (Buddy Hackett), this 1979 Rankin/Bass stop-motion special tells of the normally invisible sprite's winter of humanity in the poor town of January Junction. After years of cheap public domain discs, Warner accompanies the hour-long feature with a winter crafts instructional featurette and 3 sing-along songs.
• Peanuts: Deluxe Holiday Collection - Warner's 3-disc box set gives new transfers and featurettes to popular specials It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The set also includes 3 bonus specials, a 6-song soundtrack sampler, and six iTunes download codes.
• "Dirty Sexy Money": The Complete First Season - ABC's salaciously-titled drama centers on a wealthy family, their tabloid-headlining scandals, and the attorney making sense of it all. The 3-disc, 10-episode collection contains audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, and a bloopers reel.
• Sex and the City - The blockbuster film spun out of HBO's popular woman-driven dramedy series comes to DVD.
• The Happening - Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's latest supernatural-tinged suspense stars Mark Wahlberg as a biology professor who sets off with his wife and a neighborly family when a mysterious illness begins wreaking havoc on the northeastern United States. Fox's DVD includes deleted scenes, a gag reel, and five featurettes on this critically-loathed summer release.
• You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition - This winning 1972 Peanuts special returns to DVD as the main attraction, now accompanied by 2006's previously-unreleased He's a Bully, Charlie Brown and a new featurette.
• Alvin and the Chipmunks: Classic Holiday Gift Set - This 3-DVD collection supplies 1981's A Chipmunk Christmas, 1994's USA Network Halloween and Thanksgiving specials, and 9 thematically related half-hour and quarter-hour episodes from the 1980s animated series' sixth and seventh seasons.

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Run Fatboy Run
Journey to the Center...
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You're Not Elected, Charlie
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Samantha Who?: Season 1
High School Musical 2: DDE
Ugly Betty: Season 2
101 Dalmatians II: SE
Schoolhouse Rock! Election
Chipmunks: ALVINNN!!! Ed.
Pushing Daisies: Season 1
Child's Play: Chucky's 20th
MMC: Mickey's Storybook
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Ed.
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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 2-Disc Special Edition DVD Review
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Fall 2006 CD Roundup
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