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December 15, 2012 - Released in the summer and finally made available for review, Warner Archive's Hanna-Barbera Christmas Classics Collection gathers three half-hour animated holiday specials. A Christmas Story follows a mouse and dog as they attempt to deliver a boy's letter to Santa Claus.
The Town Santa Forgot tells the story of a greedy, spoiled boy whose half-mile-long list to Santa is misinterpreted. Casper's First Christmas brings Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, Quick Draw McGraw, and other characters to the mansion of the friendly ghost. Read more about all three programs right here.
December 14, 2012 - Disney has set March 12, 2013 as the day when three animated classics and their direct-to-video sequels will make their Blu-ray debuts. Arriving in 2-Movie Collection Blu-ray + DVD Combo Packs are Mulan & Mulan 2, Brother Bear & Brother Bear 2, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame & The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. All three are now available for preorder on Amazon.com. Each 3-Disc Special Edition will consist of one Blu-ray and 2 DVDs and carry a $39.99 SRP list price. More details to come. Click the thumbnails for larger cover art:
Our newest theatrical review covers The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, director Peter Jackson's much-anticipated return to the fantasy worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. Martin Freeman stars as the young Bilbo Baggins, an unassuming Hobbit invited on adventure by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen determined dwarves. Now playing, this first installment in another epic trilogy introduces the world, at certain locations, to high frame rate 3D filmmaking, utilizing 48 frames per second, twice as many as standard film.
December 12, 2012 - Today's review looks at Beasts of the Southern Wild, a little independent movie in the running for Hollywood's biggest prize. This drama is set in The Bathtub, a storm-ravaged New Orleans community where young girl Hushpuppy (Quvenzhanι Wallis) lives with her sickly father Wink (Dwight Henry). Expected to snag Oscar nominations in Best Picture and Best Actress, this Fox Searchlight film is now available to own in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack that includes deleted scenes, audition tapes, a making-of documentary, writer/director Benh Zeitlin's kindred 2008 short Glory at Sea, shorts, and the trailer. Full review.
December 11, 2012 - Today, the 1995 family film Heavyweights becomes one of Disney's most loaded and least likely Blu-ray Discs. Middle schoolers get more than expected when their summer fat camp is taken over by maniacal motivator (Ben Stiller) who hopes the pounds they shed will make for a rewarding infomercial. Co-written and executive produced by Judd Apatow, this comedy is joined by a lively new audio commentary, over 90 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, a half-hour making-of featurette, new reflections by the film's young actors, a video chat between Apatow and Kenan Thompson, Super 8 footage from production, and the original trailer. Our review.
December 10, 2012 - We look at the other of Warner Archive Collection's first Blu-ray releases with our review of Gypsy. Adapted from the Tony-nominated Broadway musical and the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, this 1962 film tells the story of a stage mother (Rosalind Russell) determined to have her daughters make it in show business with a Vaudeville act. Formerly reduced to the background, the elder daughter (Natalie Wood) becomes a star... in burlesque. The Blu-ray retains the original theatrical trailer and two deleted musical numbers featuring the singing voice of Karl Malden. Full review.
December 8, 2012 - 10 Years tells the story of a high school's tenth reunion. Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Oscar Isaac, Kate Mara, and Anthony Mackie form part of the large ensemble of young adult actors in the foreground of this independent comedy written and directed by We Are Marshall, Dear John screenwriter Jamie Linden. After a modest fall theatrical engagement, this PG-13 film hits stores on December 18th with deleted scenes. Read our Blu-ray review.
December 7, 2012 - Dick Tracy makes its Blu-ray debut on Tuesday and we've got an early review. Warren Beatty directs, produces, and stars in the title role of this adaptation of the long-running comic strip, playing a police detective who stands up to his city's many colorful criminals. Co-starring Al Pacino, Madonna, Dick Van Dyke, Dustin Hoffman, and Mandy Patinkin (to name just a few), this 1990 Touchstone Pictures film grossed over $100 million and won three Academy Awards. Nonetheless, it hits high definition with no extras aside from a digital copy. Full review.
December 6, 2012 - NBA superstar Kevin Durant makes his acting debut in Thunderstruck. This family comedy tells the story of an athletically lacking Oklahoma high school sophomore (Taylor Grey) who inadvertently inherits Durant's basketball skills at halftime of a Thunder game, prompting the league's scoring leader into a slump but turning the kid into a star. Co-starring Jim Belushi and Brandon T. Jackson, this limited summer theatrical release is now available to own. Warner's Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack includes deleted scenes and four short making-of featurettes. Full review.
December 5, 2012 - The independent comedy Butter stars Jennifer Garner as an Iowan wife determined to follow the footsteps of her husband (Ty Burrell) into the world of competitive butter carving. Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Alicia Silverstone, newcomer Yara Shahidi, and Hugh Jackman co-star in this limited fall theatrical release. It's now available to own and our review covers the Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack, which includes a gag reel and deleted scenes.
December 4, 2012 - One of the busiest release dates of the year, today sees the home video debuts of The Dark Knight Rises, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Thunderstruck, Butter, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, and "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic": Adventures in the Crystal Empire. In addition, coming to Blu-ray for the first time are Finding Nemo, Catch Me If You Can, Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection, eXistenz, and Godzilla vs. Biollante. For cover art, reviews, and site-supporting links to buy at Amazon, check out Upcoming Cover Art.
eXistenZ, a trippy 1999 science fiction film written and directed by David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrome), comes to Blu-ray on its own today. Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as an endangered couple who venture into the virtual reality world of a much-anticipated new gaming system. Echo Bridge Home Entertainment's BD includes 45 minutes of interviews with Law, co-star Willem Dafoe, and special effects supervisor Jim Isaac. More...
The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter in Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy, hits home video today and we've got a review. An ailing Batman (Christian Bale) comes out of reclusion and retirement when the warlord Bane (Tom Hardy) and his army overthrow Gotham City. Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt join the returning regulars in the series' longest entry. Warner's Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack includes a Second Screen playback mode, a new hour-long documentary on the many versions of the Batmobile, two hours of making-of featurettes, trailers, and print art. Don't miss our full review.
December 2, 2012 - Another Steven Spielberg film makes its way to high definition with this week's Blu-ray debut of Catch Me If You Can. This 2002 blockbuster tells the unbelievable true story of Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio), a teenager who forges his way to wealth and fakes his way to being a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. Tom Hanks plays the FBI agent determined to catch him. The acclaimed caper also features an Oscar-nominated Christopher Walken and some of the earliest appearances of Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks, and Jennifer Garner. DreamWorks/Paramount's Blu-ray retains everything from the two-disc DVD, including a photo gallery upgraded to HD. Review.
December 1, 2012 - Sparkle contains the final film performance of the late Whitney Houston. She plays the mother of three young women (Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter) who form a girl group in 1968 Detroit. A remake of a 1976 movie, this musical drama hit stores yesterday after a modest summer theatrical run. Sony's Blu-ray includes a director's audio commentary, a music video, an extended song performance, a tribute to Whitney, three additional making-of featurettes, and UltraViolet. Our review.
November 30, 2012 - Disney has set a January 8th DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D release date for Tim Burton's Frankenweenie.
The acclaimed but poorly-attended stop-motion comedy will be available in a 1-disc DVD, a 2-disc Blu-ray + DVD, and a 4-disc Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack. All three will include a featurette on the world-touring Frankenweenie sets and props exhibit and the Plain White T's' "Pet Sematary" music video, while the Blu-rays will add Burton's original 1984 live-action short and the all-new short Captain Sparky vs. the Flying Saucers. Full details.
Now in theaters and expanding today, Hitchcock stars Anthony Hopkins as legendary director Alfred Hitchcock as he makes the film Psycho amidst studio resistance and censor concerns.
Helen Mirren plays Hitch's long-suffering and influential wife Alma Reville, whose collaboration with a screenwriter (Danny Huston) draws suspicions, while Scarlett Johansson depicts leading lady Janet Leigh. Read all about this last-minute entry to 2012's award season in our review.
November 29, 2012 - We take a detailed look at one of the Warner Archive Collection's first two Blu-rays in our review of last week's manufactured on demand release of Deathtrap. Adapted from a long-running, Tony-nominated Broadway play, this 1982 twisty comic thriller finds a struggling playwright (Michael Caine) plotting to claim the promising script of a former student (Christopher Reeve) as his own work. Directed by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Network) and adapted by Jay Presson Allen (Cabaret), the film is joined by an original trailer. Complete review.
November 28, 2012 - Today's new review takes a look at this Friday's three-disc Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD release of Men in Black 3. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as J and K, two senior agents of the secret organization protecting our planet from extraterrestrials. J journeys back in time to 1969 to prevent the death of a young K (Josh Brolin) at the hands of an alien foe (Jemaine Clement). The Blu-ray includes
an alien-shooting game, a half-hour making-of documentary, two featurettes, progression reels, scene investigations, a gag reel, the music video for Pitbull's end credits theme, and UltraViolet, while the 3D disc adds a couple of exclusives. Read more.
November 27, 2012 - Among the Warner Archive Collection's latest releases is "The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show": The Complete Animated Series. In 1983, this half-hour series took to CBS' Saturday morning schedule, where it stayed for three years. The two-season, 18-episode run is now on DVD in its entirety courtesy of this barebones 2-disc set. Watch a clip and learn much more with our full review.
A January 29th Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD release has been announced for Sony Pictures Animation's hit Hotel Transylvania. The feature directorial debut of "Dexter's Laboratory" creator Genndy Tartakovsky, this family comedy assembles famous monsters at a hotel run by Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his teenaged daughter (Selena Gomez). All three releases will include filmmakers' audio commentary, deleted scenes, a music video, UltraViolet, and Tartakovsky's new mini-movie Goodnight Mr. Foot. For full details, see the press release.
Next week, Godzilla vs. Biollante becomes the last in the series to come to DVD and one of the first to come to Blu-ray. The seventeenth entry overall in the flagship monster sci-fi movie series of Japanese studio Toho, this 1989 film pits Godzilla into a super flower infused with his DNA and the spirit of a human girl. Echo Bridge and Miramax's Blu-ray presents the film in both Japanese and English audio with English subtitles plus a nearly hour-long making-of documentary and a design featurette. Our review.
November 26, 2012 - Shout! Factory's upcoming DVD release of "The Sarah Silverman Program": Season 3 makes the final ten episodes of Comedy Central's series available on their own. The two-disc set adds four audio commentaries, a 2012 retrospective, the series' original pilot (with commentary), behind-the-scenes shorts, cast auditions, and more to the offbeat musical comedy show. Read our review.
November 25, 2012 - Released to theaters ten years ago this week, Treasure Planet has become our latest review subject. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island in space, this pricey adventure was a major flop at the box office and a major reason why Disney abandoned traditional animation. The 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray + DVD combo retains the many extras of its original DVD, most of them also making the Blu-ray, while adding previously unused Laurie Metcalf introductions to each section. Surf the skies over to our review.
November 24, 2012 - Twilight's Ashley Greene, Harry Potter's Tom Felton, and Captain America's Sebastian Stan star in The Apparition, a PG-13 supernatural horror film that comes to stores on Tuesday after a quiet late summer theatrical run. Greene and Stan play a young couple whose new home is site to a number of inexplicable disturbances connected to a college student experiment. Warner's Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack includes four short featurettes on the film, its ghost consultant, and the paranormal. Our review.
November 21, 2012 - We review today's two widest theatrical openings. Long in development, Ang Lee's Life of Pi adapts Yann Martel's novel about a religiously open-minded Indian teenager who survives a shipwreck with a Bengal tiger and other wild zoo animals. Based on William Joyce's series of picture books, DreamWorks Animation's Rise of the Guardians finds Jack Frost joining the ranks of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman to protect the world's children from the Boogeyman called Pitch Black. Read all about them: Life of Pi, Rise of the Guardians.
November 20, 2012 - Lawless tells the story of three brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke) who run a bootlegging business in Prohibition Era Virginia. Directed by The Road's John Hillcoat and based on Matt Bondurant's historical novel about his grandfather, this drama co-stars Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Gary Oldman. Available next week, The Weinstein Company's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack includes an audio commentary, deleted scenes, two featurettes, Willie Nelson's "Midnight Run" music video, and a hidden feature. Full review.
A Special Sesame Street Christmas was one of two holiday Sesame Street specials that premiered in early December 1978. This one, aired on CBS, features only some of the cast, including Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird, in addition to a variety of guest stars from Tony winner Leslie Uggams to Anne Murray and Ethel Merman to walk-on appearances by Michael Jackson and Henry Fonda. Nominated for an Emmy but losing to PBS' Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, this hour-long musical special recently made its home video debut with bonus features and some misleading packaging. Don't miss our review.
November 19, 2012 - The inspirational drama Heaven's Door tells the story of a girl (Kirstin Dorn) who acquires healing powers after an unusual fall from a tall tree. Her skeptical mother (Charisma Carpenter), mechanic father (Dean Cain), outspoken grandmother (Joanna Cassidy), and neighbors in need have different reactions to her supposed gifts. The film hits DVD next week as a Walmart exclusive and general retail in late January. We've got an early review.
November 18, 2012 - Our latest review covers My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Ten years ago, this independent romantic comedy starring and written by Nia Vardalos became an unlikely box office behemoth, sticking around all year on good buzz and word of mouth. Now, this story of a Greek-American whose large, loud, traditional family complicates her courtship to a plain old American (John Corbett) has hit high definition. Released last week, HBO Home Entertainment's 10th Anniversary Special Edition offers the film on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy, with the BD offering a never-before-seen deleted scenes and a brand new half-hour retrospective reuniting Vardalos and Corbett alongside the stars' 2002 audio commentary. Read on...
November 17, 2012 - Today's new review looks at next week's U.S. Blu-ray debut of Grave of the Fireflies. Isao Takahata adapted and directed this 1988 animated drama, the only theatrical Studio Ghibli production to fall outside of Disney's distribution deal. Based on Akiyuki Nosaka's semi-autobiographical novel, this film tells the story of a brother and sister in 1945 Japan who are separated from their mother by an air raid and try fending for themselves in an abandoned bomb shelter. Sentai Filmworks' disc presents the film with original Japanese audio and English dubs new and old alongside a storyboard version of the film, two deleted scenes in storyboard form, and an original theatrical trailer. Full review.
November 16, 2012 - Disney has officially announced Peter Pan as its next Diamond Edition Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack. The 1953 animated classic will fly to stores on February 5th in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and a 3-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy with storybook app. New extras will include the short "Growing Up with Nine Old Men", DisneyView, Disney Intermission, and an introduction by Diane Disney Miller. They will be joined by a number of the film's Platinum Edition DVD extras. For cover art and more details, see the full press release.
A year after making its DVD debut, Prep & Landing is back in stores, this time in a Totally Tinsel Collection Blu-ray + DVD combo pack. Walt Disney Animation Studios' Emmy-winning 2009 ABC holiday special about Santa's covert elf assistants is joined by last year's Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice and nearly an hour of bonus features including two additional short shorts, six making-of shorts, North Pole news reels, commercials, and training videos. The discs' Sneak Peeks reels even announce a Disney animated classic that will receive an Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release next spring. For everything you need to know, check out our review.
November 15, 2012 - Today's new review explores this week's 50th anniversary Blu-ray debut of Lawrence of Arabia. Winner of Best Picture and seven other Oscars, David Lean's 1962 epic remains one of the most highly regarded films ever made. Peter O'Toole stars in the title role as a British officer who becomes a key figure in the Arab Revolt against the Turks during World War I. Sony's two-disc Blu-ray includes a new picture-in-graphics track, a new interview with O'Toole, an hour-long making-of documentary, vintage production featurettes, ad campaign imagery, a newsreel from the New York premiere, and UltraViolet. The film is also available in a 4-disc gift set, whose coffee table book we take a look at. Read on...
Recent DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Blu-ray) - This hit 1989 comedy stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as a couple of teenaged slackers who travel through time in a telephone booth to round up historical figures for the oral report they need to pass History. The film is joined by a conversation among its screenwriters, an air guitar tutorial, the first episode of the Saturday morning cartoon it inspired, radio spots, and the original trailer.
"Hot in Cleveland": Season 3 - TV Land's popular sitcom stars veterans Valerie Bertinelli ("One Day at a Time"), Jane Leeves ("Frasier"), and Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me") as three Los Angeles women now sharing a house in Cleveland. Betty White plays their house's caretaker. The DVD includes the season's behind-the-scenes special.
Brave - Set in the Scottish Highlands during the Middle Ages, Pixar's thirteenth and latest film centers on Merida, a fiercely independent princess who resists the traditions her mother enforces upon her. A witch's spell changes her life immediately and she has mere hours to fix it. Our review covers the film's 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition, which includes the film on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and digital copy, plus an additional Blu-ray disc of bonus features.
The Amazing Spider-Man (Blu-ray + DVD) - The Social Network's Andrew Garfield takes over the title role, playing Peter Parker, the nerdy teenager whom a spider bite transforms into Spider-Man. Emma Stone is love interest Gwen Stacy, Denis Leary plays her police captain father, and Rhys Ifans is Dr. Curt Connors, a scientist looking to regrow his amputated arm. (500) Days of Summer's Marc Webb directs from a script by Zodiac's James Vanderbilt, the Spider-Man Trilogy's Alvin Sargent, and Harry Potter's Steve Kloves. Swinging to stores today, Sony's 3-disc combo pack includes an audio commentary, a Second Screen App, a feature-length making of documentary, deleted scenes, previsualizations, stunt rehearsals, image galleries, UltraViolet and more.
Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 2 (Blu-ray + DVD) - Compiles twelve animated shorts, three never before released to disc. They offer a mix of Toy Story Toons, Cars Toons, home video feature spin-offs, and original theatrical shorts. All twelve are fitted with audio commentary and joined by seven student short films made at CalArts by directors John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Pete Docter.
DreamWorks Holiday Classics (Blu-ray + DVD) - The network television specials Shrek the Halls and Merry Madagascar are joined by the direct-to-video Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury and the shorts The Madagascar Penguins in A Christmas Caper and Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular, which is also presented in a sing-along mode.
Outpost: Black Sun (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack) - This low budget horror action sequel pits modern day Nazi hunters against zombie war criminals kept alive by machine.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Blu-ray) - This highly-regarded adaptation of Charles Dickens' redemption tale stars Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge and casts Gonzo and Rizzo as storytellers. From The Muppet Movie's screenwriter Jerry Juhl and songwriter Paul Williams, this family musical comedy hits high definition with a new Muppet audio commentary and a character Christmas carol Disney Intermission feature. They join a more serious commentary by director Brian Henson, a 22-minute making-of retrospective, a gag reel, Pepe's Gonzo profile, a short on Christmas traditions around the world, and a digital copy. But one significant item found on both of the movie's DVDs has been dropped.
Bugs Bunny Superstar - This 1975 Looney Tunes film features nine complete shorts from the 1940s (eight of them Merrie Melodies) featuring the likes of Bugs, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, Tweety, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Foghorn Leghorn. It also stands as a documentary of Termite Terrace, containing interviews with directors Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, and Friz Freleng, animators' home movies, and narration by Orson Welles. The rare Archive Collection title given bonus features, the disc includes an audio commentary by director/producer Larry Jackson and an image gallery.
Sunset Boulevard (Blu-ray) - William Holden plays a young, broke screenwriter who moves into the mansion of Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), an aging silent movie star ravenous for a return to the spotlight. Winner of three Academy Awards and nominated for eight others, this masterful film is joined by over four hours of bonus features, including an audio commentary, making-of retrospectives, script excerpts for a deleted opening, and a brand new never-before-released deleted scene.
Arthur Christmas (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD) - Aardman Animations family comedy adventure centers on Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), the clumsy son of Santa Claus who sets out to save Christmas by delivering an overlooked bicycle to the girl who asked for it. He's joined on this mission by his 136-year-old Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) and a spirited elf (Ashley Jensen). The three-disc set includes a making-of featurette, progression reels, an elf recruitment promo, UltraViolet, and a few hidden extras you're likely to find inaccessible including the music video for Justin Bieber's end credits "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" cover.
Ruby Sparks (Blu-ray) - Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris follow up their acclaimed feature debut Little Miss Sunshine with this independent film about a young novelist (Paul Dano) struggling to follow a successful bestseller. He writes about a young woman (Zoe Kazan, who also wrote this) who comes to him in his dreams and then comes to him in real life, adjusting to fit the words he writes about her. This romantic dramedy is now available to own. The Blu-ray includes 5 making-of shorts and the trailer.
Vamps (Blu-ray) - Clueless writer/director Amy Heckerling and star Alicia Silverstone reunite in this comedy about two vampires (Silverstone and Krysten Ritter) who are roommates in New York City. Co-starring Sigourney Weaver, Richard Lewis, Malcolm McDowell, and Wallace Shawn.
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This site was created on January 6, 2001. It was last updated on December 15, 2012.