DVDizzy.com: JANUARY 1-15, 2012 NEWS ARCHIVES
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January 14, 2012 - Join us for a look at Contagion, a star-studded pandemic thriller from director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean's Eleven) and The Bourne Ultimatum and The Informant! screenwriter Scott Z. Burns. A Minnesota woman's sudden fatal illness is merely the start of a devastating fast-moving, far-reaching virus. Oscar winners Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, and Gwyneth Paltrow join nominees Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, John Hawkes, and Elliott Gould in this stylish, acclaimed film which examines the outbreak from the perspectives of scientists, government officials, and citizens alike. Now available, Warner's combo pack supplies two making-of featurettes and an amusing animated short on infectious disease. Please catch our review and help it spread.
January 13, 2012 - Our latest review covers VSC's recent Blu-ray + DVD release of "Portlandia": Season One. Starring Fred Armisen ("Saturday Night Live") and Carrie Brownstein, who also write and produce it, this IFC sketch comedy series satirizes life in the Pacific Northwest's second biggest city. Trend-setters, dumpster divers, feminist bookshop owners, musicians, and hipsters feature. The six-episode debut is packed with guest stars, including Jason Sudeikis, Aimee Mann, Heather Graham, Aubrey Plaza, Kyle MacLachlan, Sarah McLachlan, Steve Buscemi, Edie McClurg, Gus Van Sant and Selma Blair. Both DVD and Blu-ray supply audio commentaries by Armisen, Brownstein, and writer/director Jonathan Krisel on all six episodes, deleted and extended scenes, Armisen's 2011 Oregon Episcopalian School commencement speech, and two of Armisen an Brownstein's Thunderant online comedy shorts. Watch the opening scene as part of our full review.
January 12, 2012 - The Last Men and Sky Riders, two 1976 movies that time has mostly forgotten make their Region 1 DVD premieres next week in an Action Double Feature from Shout! Factory. Sky Riders stars James Coburn as a pilot who hires hang gliding circus performers to help rescue his ex-wife and kid from an inaccessible monastery in the mountains of Greece where deadly terrorists are holding them hostage. R-rated western The Last Hard Men casts Coburn as a chain gang convict who leads an escape and immediately goes looking for revenge on the retired police captain (Charlton Heston) he blames for his lover's death. Shout! presents the films in their original 2.35:1 aspect ratios, enhanced for 16:9 displays with original trailers and TV ads. Our review.
January 11, 2012 - The second and less genuine direct-to-video sequel to Disney's Oscar-winning 1991 animated musical, Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World strings together four episodes from an evidently unrealized TV series. Disagreements and misunderstandings pull apart Belle, Beast, and the enchanted items. This brief, recent Special Edition DVD-only return hangs onto the fourth segment that was added for this 1998 movie's 2003 DVD debut. It also adds a previously unavailable episode of the live-action '90s show "Sing Me a Story with Belle." Read our full review.
January 10, 2012 - Paramount has announced that Chinatown will make its Blu-ray debut on April 3rd at $26.98 SRP. The legendary 1974 mystery will be joined by an audio commentary by screenwriter Robert Towne and David Fincher, the 3-part HD documentary "Water and Power", the featurettes "An Appreciation", "The Beginning and the End", "Filming", and "The Legacy", and the original theatrical trailer in HD. Viewers will be able to choose between a 5.1 mix and restored mono, both presented in Dolby TrueHD. Cover art and preorder here.
January 9, 2012 - New details and preorders have been added to our Upcoming Release Schedule for J. Edgar (February 21), Tower Heist (February 21), Puss in Boots (February 24), Hugo (February 28), Footloose (March 6), Jack & Jill (March 6), and Hop (March 23). Learn more, see cover art, and place site-supporting Amazon.com preorders for these and other upcoming DVD and Blu-ray debuts on our three schedule pages.
The Station Agent, the writing/directing debut of Tom McCarthy (Up, Win Win, The Visitor), returns to DVD this week in a low-priced disc from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. This acclaimed 2003 dramedy brings together three unlikely friends -- a withdrawn dwarf (Peter Dinklage), a talkative coffee vendor (Bobby Cannavale), and a pained artist (Patricia Clarkson) -- in quiet, small-town New Jersey. It's not just the SRP that is less than the equivalent attribute of the movie's original Miramax DVD. Our review.
January 8, 2012 - Adapted from the bestselling novel, I Don't Know How She Does It tells of one woman's juggle of a full-time job with mothering two young children. Sarah Jessica Parker stars in this PG-13 comedy scripted by the screenwriter of The Devil Wears Prada. Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks, Busy Philipps, Seth Meyers, and Kelsey Grammer also feature. After flopping in theaters last fall, this Weinstein movie came to DVD and Blu-ray last week with an interview of author Allison Pearson. I don't know why you wouldn't read our review.
January 7, 2012 - Aaron Wallace concludes the holiday season with his review of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Glad Christmas Tidings live concert Blu-ray. The 360-member volunteer choir is joined by David Archuleta, "special guest" Michael York, and the Orchestra at Temple Square for a 66-minute hi-def holiday extravaganza. The BD includes two short bonus features. Full review...
Part of Showtime's 1994 Rebel Highway series, Runaway Daughters freely remakes an obscure 1950s B-movie. Directed by Gremlins' Joe Dante, the TV movie centers on three teenage girls who run off to San Diego to stop a potential father from enlisting in the Army. In addition to wealth of familiar Dante regulars (like Dick Miller and Dee Wallace Stone), the cast includes two of the earliest movie appearances of Julie Bowen and Paul Rudd, playing a classic across-the-tracks couple. This Miramax/Dimension production returns to DVD next week from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment at a low price. Our review.
January 6, 2012 - Our newest review looks at this week's Blu-ray release of Shark Night. Seven Louisiana college students hit the lake for fun and wind up with shark troubles instead that claim their limbs and lives. David R. Ellis (Snakes on a Plane, The Final Destination) directs this PG-13 thriller, which stars Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee, and Donal Logue. Though not reproducing the 3D of its underperforming theatrical release, the Blu-ray does include four short supplements, the original trailer and a digital copy. Take a bite out of our review.
January 5, 2012 - Before his career-defining smash hit The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed Wide Awake, a coming-of-age dramedy about a Philadelphia fifth-grader (Joseph Cross) on a mission to find God after the death of his grandfather (Robert Loggia). Featuring Rosie O'Donnell, Denis Leary, Dana Delany, and Julia Stiles, this little-known 1998 Miramax release returns to DVD next week from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. Our review.
January 3, 2012 - One of today's new releases, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, is the subject of our latest Blu-ray review. Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) co-wrote and produced this remake of a 1973 ABC television movie in which a family in a newly-restored Gothic mansion is disturbed by a small yet menacing force. Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and Bailee Madison star in this R-rated horror film. Sony's Blu-ray includes a 3-part, 21-minute making-of featurette and an exclusive concept art gallery. Full review.
In honor of the new year, we've updated our DVD and Blu-ray Schedules to supply dates and details for each of the first thirteen weeks of the year (and beyond). Check out the new January, February, and March & Beyond listings.
January 2, 2012 - Our first review of 2012 looks at one of last year's most acclaimed films, Moneyball. Directed by Capote's Bennett Miller and adapted by Academy Award-winning screenwriters Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), this drama tells the story of the Oakland Athletics' improbably formidable 2002 season that saw general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his newly-hired assistant (Jonah Hill) shun conventional wisdom and rely on statistics to overcome the loss of three star players and compete against Major League Baseball's wealthier clubs. In stores next week on ample awards season buzz, the film is joined by two featurettes, deleted scenes, and a Brad Pitt blooper. Our review.
December 31, 2011 - Our last review of 2011 covers The Guard, an acclaimed Irish film that pairs Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle as unlikely partners on an international police investigation of narcotics and homicides (led by Mark Strong). Gleeson has been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. Available on Tuesday, Sony's Blu-ray includes deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, an audio commentary by the stars and director John Michael McDonagh, an LA Film Festival Q & A session, a making-of featurette, and McDonagh's directorial debut, the 2000 short film Second Death. Check out our full review.
December 28, 2011 - Our newest review looks at Midnight in Paris, the latest film written and directed by Woody Allen. In it, a Hollywood screenwriter and aspiring novelist (Owen Wilson) visits France with his fiancιe (Rachel McAdams) and finds himself part of the City of Light's bustling 1920s social scene, exchanging ideas with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dalν, and the Fitzgeralds. This nostalgic romance comedy is the top-grossing and one of the best-reviewed films in Allen's long, esteemed career. Guaranteed to receive Academy Award attention and a near-lock for a Best Picture nomination, this word-of-mouth hit is now available to own with its trailer and the press conference featurette "Midnight in Cannes." Our full DVD review.
December 25, 2011 - What better to way to celebrate Christmas than to read our brand new review of Happy Holidays Collection, Paramount's new 4-disc DVD set containing the comedies Trading Places, All I Want for Christmas, Surviving Christmas, and Last Holiday. Merry Christmas!
December 22, 2011 - Just in time for Christmas, we take a look at last month's Blu-ray debut of Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. Disney's direct-to-video 1997 sequel to their Oscar-winning gem looks at Belle's tumultuous holiday season as a captive in the castle of Christmas-hating Beast. The Special Edition Blu-ray + DVD combo pack includes a complete episode of the '90s TV series "Sing Me a Story with Belle", a virtual fireplace Enchanted Environment, sing-along viewing modes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a music video by the Swedish girl group Play, and a DVD-exclusive game. Our full review.
December 21, 2011 - Just in time for Christmas, Warner has released their fall hit Dolphin Tale to Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D, and digital download and we've got a review. The inspirational true story of Winter, the brave dolphin who doesn't let amputation stand in her way, this family film features Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and Morgan Freeman. It is now available to own in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet digital copy combo pack with two animated shorts, a deleted scene, two making-ofs, and a featurette on the real-life Winter (who plays herself in the film). Full review.
December 20, 2011 - Paramount has announced a January 24th DVD and Blu-ray debut for their hit low-budget horror sequel Paranormal Activity 3. From the directors of Catfish, this installment returns us to the late 1980s, where two young sisters begin to get haunted inside their house. Initially, the film will be available exclusively as a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy combo pack containing both theatrical and unrated director's cut plus lost tapes. Three weeks later, on Valentine's Day, a single-disc DVD will be made available, with the 93-minute unrated cut exclusive to Wal-Mart and the 83-minute theatrical cut available nationwide. In addition, all three films in the franchise will be available in a chronological edit, titled Paranormal Activity: The Chronology, exclusively on digital download prior to the retail release. For more information, see the complete announcement.
Our second 24-hour giveaway will send a copy of Disney's recent Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World DVD to one lucky U.S. DVDizzy.com reader. The Special Edition includes the extended cut of the 1998 direct-to-video sequel as well as an episode of "Sing Me a Story with Belle." There are three easy ways to enter (and some creativity could land you a fourth). Full details...
December 19, 2011 - Paramount has announced a March 6th Blu-ray debut for Alfred Hitchcock's Academy Award-winning 1955 thriller To Catch a Thief. Set against the French Riviera and starring Hitch faves Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, this twisty thriller will be joined by an abundance of bonus features including retrospectives, an historian's audio commentary, galleries, and the original trailer. Full press release.
The first box office dud to emerge from the Disney/DreamWorks partnership, Fright Night remakes the 1985 Tom Holland horror comedy of the same name. Anton Yelchin plays a Las Vegas teenager whose next-door neighbor (Colin Farrell) is apparently a ravenous vampire. David Tennant ("Doctor Who"), Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense), and Superbad's Christopher Mintz-Plasse co-star in this well-reviewed but underperforming R-rated flick. Now available, the Blu-ray + DVD Combo includes deleted scenes, bloopers, a making-of featurette, an extended home movie short, an in-character interview with Tennant's celebrity magician, and a Kid Cudi music video. Full review.
December 18, 2011 - Rise of the Planet of the Apes reboots the forty-year-old Fox sci-fi franchise with an origin tale set in the present day. James Franco stars as a San Francisco scientist pursuing an Alzheimer's gene therapy cure who adopts an intelligent chimpanzee (performed by motion capture icon Andy Serkis) with interesting results. Also featuring Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, and Harry Potter's Tom Felton, this acclaimed summer blockbuster is now available to own. Our review covers the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy, a two-disc set that serves up two filmmaker audio commentaries, eleven deleted scenes, 5 making-of featurettes, a closer look at the real animal species dramatized, a concept art gallery, a scene breakdown, and three trailers. Full review.
December 16, 2011 - Claiming the date normally reserved for Disney's most popular animation, the bestselling direct-to-video sequels The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Lion King 1½ will be making their Blu-ray debuts outside of October's trilogy collection on March 6th. Each will be available as a 2-disc Blu-ray + DVD combo ($39.99 SRP, available in both Blu-ray and DVD packaging) in addition to a new single-disc DVD Edition ($29.99 SRP). Extras on 1½ will include deleted scenes, the Peter Graves-narrated "Timon: Behind the Legend", Raven's "Grazing in the Grass" music video, Timon & Pumbaa's Virtual Safari, and "Before the Beginning: The Making of The Lion King 1½. Simba's Pride will be joined by Timon & Pumbaa's Insectapedia, "Find Out Why" shorts, the short One by One, "Proud of Simba's Pride", and the "Love Will Find a Way" music video. Artwork and preorders here.
Cover art and preliminary edition details for The Muppets have turned up at Amazon. One of the best-reviewed films of 2011, this musical comedy will be available to own in a single-disc DVD ($29.99 SRP), a Blu-ray + DVD ($39.99 SRP), a DVD + Soundtrack Download Card ($34.99 SRP), and the 3-disc Wocka Wocka Value Pack ($44.99 SRP) of Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, and Soundtrack download. Save $5 (and support this site) when you preorder the lattermost before next Tuesday; all editions are expected to hit stores in March. Check out cover art here.
December 15, 2011 - One of today's Golden Globe snubs, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 2, is our latest review. In this follow-up to the studio's 2008 hit, Po (Jack Black) tries to find innerpeace while ridding Gongmen City, with the help of the Furious Five, of destructive tyrant Lord Shen (Gary Oldman). Released this week, the loaded Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack includes a filmmakers' audio commentary, a picture-in-picture viewing mode, a trivia track, the all-new 23-minute short Secrets of the Masters, the unaired "Legends of Awesomeness" episode "Has-Been Hero", deleted scenes, set-top games, featurettes, and two one-month membership codes to the expansive Kung Fu Panda World online gaming experience. Skadoosh your way to our full review.
Recent DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
Mr. Popper's Penguins (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) - Loosely adapted from Richard and Florence Atwater's 1938 children's book, this family comedy stars Jim Carrey as a divorced New York real estate developer bequeathed six Gentoo penguins that bring him closer to his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) and kids, but jeopardize his high-powered career and his bid to buy Central Park's Tavern on the Green from its picky owner (Angela Lansbury). Fox's combo pack includes a filmmakers' audio commentary, deleted scenes, several making-of featurettes, a short on the Atwaters' book along with the first three chapters, and a gag reel. Chill out with our review.
The Lady Vanishes (Criterion Collection Blu-ray) - Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave star in Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 comic mystery, in which an elderly British governess' puzzling disappearance on a train ride through Central Europe is met with disbelief and doubt. This film introduced the cricket-loving comedy duo of Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) and Charters (Basil Radford), who would reteam for other movies and radio serials. One such movie, 1941's Crook's Tour, is included in full here. Other bonus features include a historian's audio commentary, relevant excerpts from Franηois Truffaut's Hitchcock interview, a video essay, a stills gallery, and an essay booklet.
The Rocketeer (Blu-ray) - Adapted from Dave Stevens' comic book, this 1991 Disney adventure tells the story of a 1930s stunt pilot (Bill Campbell) who uses a found jet pack to be heroic. The discovery attracts pursuit by mobsters (led by Paul Sorvino), the FBI, and a Hollywood movie star (Timothy Dalton). Direced by Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Captain America: The First Avenger), this film co-stars 21st century Academy Award winners Jennifer Connelly and Alan Arkin.
The Hangover Part II (Blu-ray + DVD) - Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) find themselves in Bangkok for Stu's wedding. Once again, wild forgotten antics ensue, leaving "The Wolfpack" to piece together their puzzle and find their missing friend. This hit follow-up to the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time is joined by an "unauthorized" half-hour documentary (mockumentary), a gag reel, a tour of Bangkok by Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), two making-of shorts, and an UltraViolet digital copy. Read our review.
The Help (Blu-ray + DVD) - Adapted from Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel, this acclaimed, blockbuster drama tells the story of a Jackson, Mississippi woman (Emma Stone) who tries to collect and publish the stories of the hard-working black maids (including Oscar frontrunners Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) who raise the town's white children. Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, and Allison Janney co-star in this film, directed by Tate Taylor. The DreamWorks/Disney combo pack includes deleted scenes, two distinctive featurettes, and Mary J. Blige's "The Living Proof" music video.
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) - Eager to get off Santa's Naughty List, Sid leads Peaches, Crash, and Eddie on a trip to find the North Pole, while Manny, Ellie, and Diego search for them. Adapted from Blue Sky Studios' signature franchise, this half-hour computer-animated Fox special came is joined by a scene from next summer's Ice Age: Continental Drift and a "Swingin' Jingle Bells" music video in this 3-disc set.
The Smurfs - The Peyo comic series and 1980s Hanna-Barbera NBC cartoon receive the live-action with CGI feature film treatment. Six Smurfs are transported from their medieval village to present-day New York City, where they are aided by an expectant couple (Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays) and pursued by power-hungry wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and his cat Azrael. Sony's DVD includes two filmmaker audio commentaries, a game, two making-of featurettes, and more.
Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray) - An independent film given wide theatrical release in August, this R-rated Weinstein Company comedy stars Paul Rudd as an easygoing idealist who brings chaos into the lives of his three sisters (Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, and Zooey Deschanel) following a brief stint in jail. Anchor Bay's BD supplies an audio commentary from director Jesse Peretz, a making-of featurette, and deleted/extended scenes including an alternate ending.
Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury & Book of Dragons (Blu-ray + DVD + Online Video Game) - Two never-before-seen 20-minute shorts return you to the isle of Berk, made famous in DreamWorks' acclaimed 2010 hit How to Train Your Dragon and the Cressida Cowell book series that inspired it. First, see how Hiccup and company celebrate Snoggletog when Toothless and the other dragons mysteriously take off on the eve of the holiday in Gift. Then, get schooled on the many types of dragons in Book. The fun continues with an elaborate but slightly buggy online video game experience and bonus features including a picture-in-picture Gift presentation, deleted scenes, a drawing lesson, a virtual book, and DVD-ROM printables.
30 Minutes or Less (Blu-ray) - This action/comedy stars Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza delivery boy who is strapped with a booby-trapped bomb vest and ordered to rob a bank for two masked criminals (Danny McBride, Nick Swardson). Directed by Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer and co-starring Aziz Ansari, this R-rated caper comes to Blu-ray with a picture-in-picture video commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, and two making-of featurettes.
Prep & Landing - Walt Disney Animation Studios' 22-minute 2009 ABC holiday TV special tells the story of two members of Santa Claus' steathy elf team, jaded veteran Wayne (Dave Foley) and newbie Lanny (Derek Richardson), who nearly ruin Christmas for one awakened boy. It comes to DVD with the 2010 short Operation: Secret Santa and the following brief animated bits: Tiny's Big Adventure, elf training videos, elf commercials, and a newsreel.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (Blu-ray) - Reviving a short-lived ABC TV series, this crime film spoof reunites Leslie Nielsen and his Airplane! makers for the story of an inept police lieutenant investigating a drug ring and an assassination plot against the Queen. The lenticular-covered Best Buy-exclusive disc includes the original theatrical trailer and an audio commentary featuring writer/director David Zucker.
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest - In his feature directorial debut, actor Michael Rapaport documents the influential rap group's 1990s success and split. Sony's DVD includes a Rapaport commentary, a featurette on the film's animation, interviews from the Los Angeles Film Festival premiere, and a half-hour of deleted scenes (including more interviews with Pharrell, The Beastie Boys, and Ludacris).
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