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UltimateDisney.com and DVDizzy.com: October 16-31, 2009: News Archives


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North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Edition DVD Review

October 31, 2009 - Have a Hitchcock Halloween with our early review of North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Edition. Coming from the middle of the period for which the director is best remembered, this 1959 comic thriller stars Cary Grant as a New York ad executive mistaken for a spy and wanted dead.
Warner's new 2-disc set includes TCM's feature-length Grant biography, new documentaries on the film and Hitchcock's signature style, an audio commentary, a track isolating Bernard Herrmann's score, the 2000 DVD's making-of featurette hosted by Eva Marie Saint, three trailers, and stills. Be sure to read our review which offers a graphic comparison between the movie's divergent two DVD transfers.

According to US producer Frank Marshall's Twitter, Disney's North American DVD and Blu-ray release of Ponyo will come March 2nd and include a DVD with Plush Gift Set version. The $15-million grossing latest film from Hayao Miyazaki had been scheduled to arrive on home video on December 8th alongside new Special Editions of Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro. There is no word yet if those re-releases are still planned to be concurrent.

October 28, 2009 - Our latest review subject, Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse, brings together more than 60 characters from over 70 years of Disney animation. The result is an hour-long feature comprised largely of two classic holiday Disney shorts and two 1999 "Mickey Mouse Works" segments. You'll be shocked by how little and how much has changed in the eight years since this first came to DVD. Once again, bonus features include the premiere "House of Mouse" episode, a short sound effects featurette with Mickey voice Wayne Allwine, and two sing-along songs. More...

Get a good look at this week's releases before our October Schedule is bumped into the archives.

October 27, 2009 - Aaron Wallace serves up a review of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, the second entry in the direct-to-video line of computer-animated Disney Fairies movies. Set in fall, this one follows the Peter Pan pixie as she works to construct a scepter for the Autumn Revelry, a task of importance to all of Pixie Hollow. Our article looks at the Blu-ray/DVD combo and includes Demi Lovato's music video "Gift of a Friend" in full. Read on...

October 26, 2009 - Hitting DVD in time for Halloween is our latest review subject, Orphan, a psychological thriller about an adopted girl who may be quite evil. Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, and Isabelle Fuhrman star in this R-rated movie. Available tomorrow, its DVD includes deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Our review.

October 25, 2009 - According to a customer review on Amazon.com, next week's two season sets of "Zorro" are being produced in quantities of 30,000 each.
That would make this ninth wave of Walt Disney Treasures the scarcest one yet, with just one-fifth the print count of 2001's first wave and 9,500 fewer copies than last year's quickly-disappearing batch. UPDATE: We've received our review copies and can confirm the 30,000 print count.

October 23, 2009 - Kelvin Cedeno brings us an early look at Sony's 2009 remake, Taking of Pelham 123, which comes to DVD and Blu-ray on November 3rd. John Travolta plays a man who hijacks a New York City subway train asking for $10 million. Denzel Washington is the dispatcher turned negotiator. The fourth pairing of Washington with director Tony Scott, this R-rated action flick is joined by two audio commentaries, three featurettes, and three trailers. Read the full review.

We've just posted our second review of Disney Educational Productions DVDs. Eight recent classroom-ready DVDs are covered here: three from The Science of Disney Imagineering series, three Disneynature discs (including two exclusive documentaries), and two from the new mathematical short series Bill Nye's Solving for X. Each disc includes a DVD-ROM educator's guide and public performance rights. Other bonus features include quizzes on the featured content, project demonstrations, and featurettes taking us behind the scenes of Disney's Animal Kingdom. You don't need to be a student or teacher to check out our review.

October 19, 2009 - With Halloween just twelve days away, Aaron Willcott writes about how Disney used to observe the holiday with Halloween TV Specials. This article looks at ten seasonal broadcasts, ranging from Walt-era "Disneyland" episodes like "All About Magic" to late-'70s and early-'80s specials like Halloween Hall o' Fame and Disney's Halloween Treat, from wholesomely haunting TV movies like Child of Glass and Mr. Boogedy to the animated music videos of Disney's DTV Monster Hits. This retrospective report comes complete with pictures and YouTube videos. Don't miss it.

October 18, 2009 - Kelvin Cedeno spins "Legend of the Seeker": The Complete First Season in his latest review. Adapted from Terry Goodkind's bestselling Sword of Truth novels, this syndicated ABC-produced centers on a young man prophesized to vanquish an evil lord.
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Released last week, the 5-disc set serves up 22 episodes plus audio commentaries, featurettes, and extended scenes. Get a look at the show with video clips and much more in the full review.

October 17, 2009 - Our newest DVD review looks at Whatever Works. Woody Allen returns to New York for this comedy about a misanthropic intellectual (Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm") who marries a young Southern belle (The Wrestler's Evan Rachel Wood). Patricia Clarkson, Michael McKean, and Ed Begley Jr. co-star in this film, originally conceived in the 1970s. It comes to DVD and Blu-ray from Sony on October 27th. Read on...

October 16, 2009 - One little haiku could win you four Disney CDs and your odds of winning are nearly 1:1. Enter our Contest by the end of today!

According to information dispatched by Disney's Customer Service, there are tentative plans for a new, 16:9-enhanced DVD edition of Hocus Pocus to arrive in 2010. The 1993 Halloween comedy has been a perennial strong seller for Disney since coming to disc in 2001.

October 15, 2009 - Warner serves up a second chronological serving of Peanuts with Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol 1. Six animated CBS specials that first aired from 1971 to 1974 come together in a two-disc set that also includes two song downloads and a featurette on Woodstock. Among the featured specials are It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, Emmy winner A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and two programs never before released to DVD. Read the full review and watch a clip.

October 14, 2009 - Our latest review covers Chιri, the Miramax period romance drama that reunites Michelle Pfeiffer with her Dangerous Liaisons director Stephen Frears and writer Christopher Hampton. Pfeiffer plays a middle-aged courtesan who falls for a young man half her age (Rupert Friend). Out next week, the disc includes a featurette and deleted scenes. More...

October 11, 2009 - We've updated our schedules to reflect everything announced and anticipated for October, November, December and beyond.

Recent Disney DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition Blu-ray - Walt Disney's first full-length feature film launches Disney's new line of animated classic Blu-ray Discs. While dropping hours of content from 2001's pioneering Platinum Edition, the release adds a wealth of new bonus material, most of it arranged in an interactive Hyperion Studios tour. Despite differences in language, packaging and pricing, all five available editions offer two Blu-ray discs and one DVD holding the movie and a trio of light bonus features. (The uncharacteristically skimpy 2-Disc DVD won't come until Thanksgiving week.)
• Little Einsteins: Fire Truck Rocket's Blastoff - The Playhouse Disney franchise's latest disc serves up four half-hour adventures, including the unaired title episode, plus two playback-enhancing Magic Mission viewing modes.
• Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving: 10th Anniversary Edition Gift Set - Though it looks like a direct-to-video movie, all but 5 minutes of this 63-minute outing is television programming that predates 1999. This re-release adds two additional "New Adventures" episodes and a collectible stocking to two carried over activities.

Recent Non-Disney DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
• Varsity Blues: Deluxe Edition - Paramount revisits this 1999 MTV high school football drama, which stars James Van Der Beek as a promoted second stringer and Jon Voight as his ruthless coach while also featuring early appearances by Paul Walker, Amy Smart, Ali Larter, and Scott Caan. The DVD adds an audio commentary and four new featurettes.
• "Life on Mars": The Complete Series - ABC's drama remakes a BBC series, sending a 2008 New York police detective back to 1973. Jason O'Mara, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Harvey Keitel head the cast, regularly joined by high-profile guest stars. The moderately-priced 4-disc set includes four commentaries, ten deleted scenes, three featurettes, and a bloopers reel. Our review includes clips from over 50 songs aptly sampled on the show.
• The Proposal - In this hit romantic comedy, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds star as a publisher and an assistant who pose as an engaged couple to save their careers. Touchstone's Deluxe Edition DVD contains deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and outtakes missing from the standard disc.
• Year One - Jack Black and Michael Cera star as prehistoric losers who leave their village for a trip of misadventures. Written and directed by Groundhog Day's Harold Ramis and produced by Judd Apatow, this biblical comedy is joined by an audio commentary, deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, a making-of featurette, alternate lines, and the trailer.

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