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DVDizzy.com and UltimateDisney.com: APRIL 1-16, 2010 NEWS ARCHIVES

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April 29, 2010 - Avatar is both the most expensive and highest-grossing film of all-time, at least when we ignore inflation. James Cameron's epic adventure made its home video debut on Earth Day and, several sales records later, Kelvin Cedeno now brings us a review of Fox's Blu-ray + DVD combo.
The tale of a paraplegic ex-Marine (Sam Worthington) who virtually embodies a ten-foot blue alien for a research project on the planet Pandora, Avatar reaches for new heights in motion capture and computer-generated visuals. Co-starring Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Giovanni Ribisi, Avatar's first of undoubtedly many trips to stores devotes all of its disc space to a feature presentation with which it seeks to wow. Don't miss this review.

Our newest review looks at Doctor Zhivago, David Lean's epic 1965 filming of Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize-winning novel. In the titular role, Omar Sharif stars as a passionate Russian poet-physician whose life is impacted by communist upheaval and war. Julie Christie plays enchanting mistress Lara (whose instrumental theme, given lyrics, climbed pop charts), Geraldine Chaplin is Zhivago's wife, Alec Guinness is the doctor's half-brother and narrator. Also featuring Rod Steiger and an Oscar-nominated Tom Courtenay. In stores next Tuesday, Warner's new 2-Disc Anniversary Edition carries over nearly everything from the film's potent 2-disc DVD debut and adds a new celebratory documentary. Read our full review.

April 27, 2010 - As you may have noticed, this front page of our site has been moved to DVDizzy.com. Visits to the old front page will henceforth simply redirect here.
This insignificant change has been done to help us secure greater and wider coverage for you. Nothing else will be different, but we do ask that you update your bookmarks accordingly. Thanks!

April 26, 2010 - Confirming what we told you months ago, Disney Movie Rewards has announced that Fantasia will make its Blu-ray debut in December, specifically on December 7th. Walt Disney's 1940 musical masterpiece is expected to become the third Diamond Edition release and be joined by its sequel Fantasia 2000. There is no word yet on whether Disney will delay the anticipated standard DVD re-release as they have done to encourage combo pack purchases of other entries in the line.

Kelvin Cedeno takes us straight to the Wild Wild West in his review of this week's Tombstone Blu-ray debut. Disney's 1993 Western was faced with production problems and a comparable competitor, but emerged as one of its decade's best-regarded films. Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, and Bill Paxton head a huge cast in this ambitious retelling of the famed tale of lawman Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and sidekick Doc Holliday squaring off against the Cowboys in Arizona Territory. The hi-def disc includes a three-part making-of featurette, some storyboards, and trailers & TV ads, but not a number of things fans might crave. Read the full review.

April 23, 2010 - We've just posted the press release for Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, the third entry to the Disney Fairies movie series, complete with a picture from this human-fairy convergence adventure, due on September 21st.

April 22, 2010 - Our newest review covers Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s, Warner's upcoming addition to its nostalgia-stoking DVD line. Gathered on this 2-disc set are episodes of "Mister T", "The Flintstone Kids", "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos", "Thundarr the Barbarian", "Dragon's Lair", "The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley", "The Kwicky Koala Show", "Monchhichis", "The Biskitts", "Galtar and the Golden Lance", and "Goldie Gold and Action Jack." Beyond those over four hours of '80s animation, the set delivers an all-new featurette on "Thundarr" (from which we share a clip). Put down your Simon and check out this rad review.

April 20, 2010 - Kelvin Cedeno brings us an early look at next week's Armageddon Blu-ray debut. As you probably know, Touchstone Pictures' second highest-grossing film of all-time sends ragtag oil drillers into space to stop a Texas-sized asteroid from wiping out life on Earth. Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, and Billy Bob Thornton top a cast full of familiar faces in this Michael Bay-directed, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced 1998 summer blockbuster. Is the disc comparable to Touchstone's lightweight original DVD or the Criterion Collection's unlikely two-disc treatment? Read the review to find out.

Our latest review subject, Defendor, recently came to DVD after a blink-and-miss limited winter theatrical release. Woody Harrelson stars as a self-made superhero, using his limited mental resources to thwart criminals (or get hurt trying). Kat Dennings, Elias Koteas, Michael Kelly, and Sandra Oh co-star in this independent action/comedy written and directed by Peter Stebbings. Its Sony disc is loaded with extras including a cast & crew audio commentary, an hour of making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and outtakes. Don't fight back your urge to read this review.

Final cover art for the Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition Blu-ray + DVD has been posted here.

April 18, 2010 - Our Great Best Picture Oscars Project has been updated with five new articles, covering Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, the Clark Gable & Charles Laughton Mutiny on the Bounty, back-to-back biopics The Great Ziegfeld and The Life of Emile Zola, and most recent winner The Hurt Locker.

April 16, 2010 - As once contested and long expected, Disney has announced Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland will indeed be coming to DVD and Blu-ray on June 1. Click here for the press release.

April 15, 2010 - Fox has announced a June 22nd DVD and Blu-ray release for Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Click here for the press release.

April 14, 2010 - We unveil a new section of the site today in The Great Best Picture Oscars Project. We're chronologically viewing the 82 films that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Each has been treated to an article akin to our typical review treatment, with posters, screencaps, synopses, background information, and criticism. These are less about the DVDs (which remain unavailable for two of the oldest winners) and more about the films themselves and the context from which they come. Articles on the first five winners are currently posted and we'll be adding more throughout the year as we continue seeing and revisiting these distinguished films. For now, we hope you enjoy this accessible history of film: The Great Best Picture Oscars Project.

April 13, 2010 - Our Great Mouse Detective DVD Giveaway has come to an end. Thanks to the strong response, we'll be doing more giveaways for Facebook fans and Twitter followers very soon! Click here for the winner announcement.

The week that income taxes are due is notoriously light on DVD releases and this year is no different. Check out today's scant offerings.

April 11, 2010 - For the third time, Kelvin Cedeno reviews Disney's 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland. This newest article looks at the studio's recent two-disc Special Un-Anniversary Edition, which adds two all-new bonus features to the excellent collection of extras gathered for the 1995 laserdisc and previous 2004 Masterpiece Edition DVD. Don't miss Kelvin's thorough dissection of this increasingly admired adaptation of Lewis Carroll's fantasies and its journalist-eschewing set timed to Tim Burton's big screen success. Read on...

April 9, 2010 - We've just posted our review of The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition. Adapted from Eve Titus' series of children's books, Disney's 1986 animated film gives us a rodent version of a Sherlock Holmes story, as skilled sleuth Basil of Baker Street tries to help a young girl reunite with her kidnapped father. In stores Tuesday, the low-priced new edition offers a remastered, recolored, and mildly reframed feature presentation and the all-new short "So You Think You Can Sleuth?", but it also drops a few things from the film's previous DVD. Check out our full review for critique, comparison, and a "Sleuth?" clip and don't forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win the DVD.

April 8, 2010 - Two years after lighting up the box office, the singing rodents return. Aaron Wallace reviews Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which brings Alvin, Simon, and Theodore to high school along with the newly-introduced Chipettes. Playing Dave's relative, "Chuck" star Zachary Levi mostly seizes the leading human part away from Jason Lee, while David Cross' vengeful record exec resurfaces. Now available, Fox's Blu-ray/DVD combo serves up eight featurettes, a fact track on the music, an exclusive album-making activity, and a 'Munk Music Machine. Read the review before Chipmunks 3D opens!

April 6, 2010 - Our newest review looks at Sherlock Holmes. This 2009 Guy Ritchie-directed blockbuster gives Arthur Conan Doyle's famed detective a proclivity to action. A Golden Globe-winning Robert Downey Jr. portrays the sleuth and Jude Law is his sidekick Dr. Watson. The Victorian England crime solvers try to make sense of a resurrected deadly convict and a satanic secret society. Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong co-star. Now available, Warner's combo serves up a Blu-ray, a DVD, and digital copies for a limited time. Extras include Ritchie-hosted Maximum Movie Mode, with picture-in-picture insight and a host of topical featurettes. Read the full review.

April generally isn't the most exciting month for new releases, but check out our April 6th Schedule
Get 4 Disney Movies for $1.99 Each, Free Shipping!
for information on 12 of today's biggest DVDs and over 30 Blu-rays including a host of new low-priced Blu-ray/DVD combos. More...

April 3, 2010 - Our Kiki's Delivery Service review has been updated with a fuller comparison of the quite extensive differences between its 2010-updated dub and its original 1998 English track.

April 2, 2010 - We've done the new month shuffle on our DVD & Blu-ray Release Schedule, giving March its permanent archived home (although you can expect reviews of three of this week's big debuts in the coming days) and updating the pages for April, May, June & Beyond. On that last page, we've just added listings for the next Air Bud rerelease a number of active ABC series newly scheduled for DVD treatment this summer and fall.

April 1, 2010 - You wouldn't expect German New Wave director Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Grizzly Man) to make a movie starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes, but that's just what he's done in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans. Cage stars in the titular role as a drug-addicted rogue cop investigating a grisly homicide in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Xzibit, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk, and Jennifer Coolidge co-star in a film that Roger Ebert ranked among the best of last decade. The title recalls the largely unrelated 1992 Harvey Keitel drama directed by Abel Ferrara. In stores Tuesday, First Look's DVD includes a making-of documentary, two trailers, and an extensive photo gallery. More...

March 22, 2010 - Our May & Beyond DVD & Blu-ray Schedule has been filling up with new release dates and details for winter's theatrical releases. Among the latest additions are the musical Nine, the Dwayne Johnson family comedy Tooth Fairy, Mel Gibson's on-camera return Edge of Darkness, the Oscar-nominated Nelson Mandela/rugby drama Invictus, and, adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novel, The Road. More on these and other spring-summer releases.

Recent DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
Gentlemen Broncos - In this latest comedy from Napoleon Dynamite's Jared and Jerusha Hess, a fantasy story by an aspiring young writer (Sky High's Michael Angarano) attracts the attention of both an unscrupulous best-selling author (Jemaine Clement, "Flight of the Conchords") and local filmmakers (Hector Jimenez, Halley Feiffer). Sam Rockwell co-stars as the hero of the story in excerpts of the text come to life. Fox's DVD includes an audio commentary by the Hesses, deleted scenes, outtakes, and a making-of featurette.
Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies - This hour-long 1977 television special revisits classic shorts from a number of the colorful personalities that make up the Looney Tunes gang. With the Easter Bunny ill and Bugs Bunny busy, who will Granny find to distribute the eggs? Warner's disc includes puzzles and bonus Bugs short His Hare Raising Tale.
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Adapted from the Roald Dahl story, Wes Anderson's latest film takes him into a new terrain of stop-motion animation. But the offbeat writer/director stays true to form in this comedy about a father fox whose thieving draws the wrath of three unpleasant farmers. George Clooney and Meryl Streep head a voice cast that includes Anderson regulars Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson. Now available, Fox's combo pack includes a Blu-ray, a DVD, and a digital copy disc, with a number of making-of featurettes and a beginner's guide to "Whack-Bat."
The Men Who Stare at Goats - George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey star in this comedic look at the U.S. military's surprisingly true research into psychic superpowers, adapted from Jon Ronson's nonfiction book. Now available, Anchor Bay's DVD includes commentaries from Ronson and director Grant Heslov, deleted scenes, two featurettes, character promos, and the trailer.
Toy Story 2: Blu-ray - Like its predecessor, Disney/Pixar's acclaimed 1999 sequel gains and loses some bonus material in its latest home video incarnation (its first in high-def). Among the additions are a look at Toy Story 3's characters, a tribute to late story man Joe Ranft, a code for attending TS3, and a short feature on the zoetrope seen at Disney Parks.
Toy Story: Blu-ray - Pixar's first feature, the 1995 film that changed the way animated movies are made, comes to Blu-ray with its 10th Anniversary Edition DVD extras intact plus a number of new featurettes, Toy Story 3 movie cash, and the new standard DVD that won't be available on its own until May 11th.
The First Easter Rabbit - One of the lesser-known Rankin/Bass specials, this traditionally-animated 1976 special mixes elements of The Velveteen Rabbit with the company's hallmark character humor to tell an origin story of a stuffed doll who becomes a holiday symbol. Jolly Burl Ives narrates and sings.
"Greek": Chapter Four. ABC Family's fraternity and sorority dramedy series ditches the hazing to focus on developing romantic tanglements and new students. The 3-disc, 12-episode set includes audio commentaries, bloopers, a recap, a featurette, and a music video by recurring guest Jesse McCartney.
An Education - Set in 1961 London, this thrice Oscar-nominated drama tells the story of a studious schoolgirl (Carey Mulligan) whose life becomes more exciting with a charming, wealthy, older man (Peter Sarsgaard) in it. Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, and Emma Thompson co-star in a film adapted by About a Boy novelist Nick Hornby. Sony's DVD includes sixteen minutes of deleted scenes, two featurettes, and an audio commentary by Danish director Lone Scherfig, Sarsgaard, and Mulligan.

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Recent Disney DVDs
Coming to Theaters
Doctor Zhivago: Anniversary Edition DVD Review
Latest Reviews (rated):
Avatar (Blu-ray + DVD)
Doctor Zhivago (Anniv. Ed.)
Tombstone (Blu-ray)
1980s Saturday Cartoons
Armageddon (Blu-ray)
Alice in Wonderland: SUAE
Great Mouse Detective: MIME
Alvin & the Chipmunks 2 (BD)
Sherlock Holmes (BD + DVD)
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call...
Gentlemen Broncos
Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies
Fantastic Mr. Fox (BD/DVD)
The Men Who Stare at Goats
The First Easter Rabbit
Toy Story 2 (Blu-ray + DVD)
Toy Story (Blu-ray + DVD)
Greek: Chapter Four
An Education
Alvin & Chipmunks: Cinderella
Avatar Blu-ray & DVD Review
...Hear About The Morgans?
Breaking Bad: Season 2
Alice (Blu-ray)
The Princess and the Frog
My Neighbor Totoro
Castle in the Sky
Planet 51
Where the Wild Things Are
Hannah Montana: Goodbye?
Old Dogs (Blu-ray + DVD)
Kiki's Delivery Service
Ponyo (Blu-ray + DVD)
Little Einsteins: Expedition
FlashForward: Part One
Everybody's Fine
MMC: Minnie's Bow-tique
Amelia (Blu-ray)
Shaun the Sheep: Woolly
A Serious Man
Gary Unmarried: Season 1
Whip It (Blu-ray)
Air Bud: Golden Receiver
All Reviews (Old Index)
Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s DVD Review
Interviews Index
A Serious Man's Michael Stuhlbarg
Surrogates director Jonathan Mostow
Extract writer/director Mike Judge
Up writers/directors Pete Docter & Bob Peterson
Phyllis Diller, comedienne and A Bug's Life voice
John Ratzenberger, Pixar voice actor
Mary Costa, voice of Sleeping Beauty's Aurora
Henry Selick, Nightmare Before Christmas director
Margaret Kerry, the Model for Tinker Bell in Peter Pan
Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice and Wendy
An Interview with Don Hahn, Veteran Producer
An Interview with Leonard Maltin, Disney Treasures
Taylor Lautner, Sharkboy and Twilight's Jacob Black
An Interview with Pocahontas: Irene Bedard
More Interviews...
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