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UltimateDisney.com/DVDizzy.com: NEWS ARCHIVES - August 1-15, 2007
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August 15, 2007 - Albert Gutierrez's newest DVD review examines Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition, Sony's very recently issued two-disc set. Jim Henson's PG-rated 1982 fantasy tells of a decaying world, opposing dwindling races, and an ancient prophecy. The director's usually stunning puppetry is brought to life in an interestingly-designed universe, where subplots and themes help one overlook slow pacing and other shortcomings. This latest re-release provides a new audio commentary and 36 minutes of featurettes in addition to resurfacing content like workprint scenes and an hour-long TV special. Read the full review.
August 14, 2007 - We've got detailed reviews up of five of today's new DVD releases, with two more to come. But, as always, for a full list of this week's high profile new DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and HD DVDs, check out the DVDizzy.com Week-by-Week Schedule.
August 13, 2007 - Another of tomorrow's DVD releases gets covered in our Back to School: Extra-Curricular Edition review. Rodney Dangerfield's most famous starring role has him playing a frank millionaire who joins his son for a year of college, with predictably diverting results. This blockbuster 1986 comedy co-stars Keith Gordon, Burt Young, Sally Kellerman, and a young Robert Downey Jr., while boasting cameos from stand-up Sam Kinison and author Kurt Vonnegut. The single-disc reissue includes about 40 minutes of bonus features, most catching up with cast and crew, and grants the movie a long-overdue, properly-framed anamorphic widescreen transfer. More...
Disney has issued a DVD press release for Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board. This 2007 movie, a sequel to the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie Johnny Tsunami will land on disc on October 9th.
August 11, 2007 - When released to theaters earlier this year, our latest DVD review subject, Wild Hogs, became one of the highest-grossing films in Walt Disney Company history. This PG-13 Touchstone comedy finds four suburban middle-aged men (Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy) hitting the road for a cross-country motorcycle trip. Along the way, they encounter a fierce biker gang, a quirky small town, and no shortage of broad, physical, and homophobic gags. The DVD includes a director and writer's commentary and 26 minutes of video encompassing deleted scenes, alternate ending, outtakes, two featurettes, and an Easter egg. Read the full review.
August 10, 2007 - Albert Gutierrez looks at our latest DVD review subject, Vacancy, which stars Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale as a soon-to-divorce couple forced to spend a night at a motel where they quickly realize they're in trouble. This R-rated horror film relies much more heavily on effective suspense than gore, as the gripping survival story evokes fear from atmosphere and a voyeuristic design. The DVD contains both fullscreen and widescreen presentations, plus an insightful featurette, a short alternate opening and minor deleted scene, and extended "snuff films." Read the full review.
By the end of the year, there will be over 20 Disney titles available on Blu-ray Disc. Click to view our updated Disney Blu-ray page.
As expected, Disney has announced Pixar Animation Studios' eighth and latest feature film, Ratatouille, for DVD and Blu-ray release on November 6th. Sadly, it appears that this critically-acclaimed hit will arrive on DVD in the pared-down mold of Cars rather than Pixar's earlier triumphant two-disc sets. The DVD (SRP: $29.99) will serve up deleted scenes, a documentary, and the all-new short Your Friend the Rat. The Blu-ray Disc (SRP: $34.99) will include the same plus add "ultimate behind-the-scenes experience" Cine-Explore and Gusteau's Gourmet Game. Each version will offer a 2.39:1 widescreen-only presentation of the film and English and Spanish tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound; The Blu-ray also adds an uncompressed 5.1 English track and a French dub. Click here for cover art.
Further filling up that popular month of November, Disney has just informed retailers to make room for "DuckTales": Volume 3 and "TaleSpin": Volume 2 on November 13th. As usual, each 3-disc will arrive with no bonus features but a low list price of $34.99. The 27-episode "TaleSpin" will supply Episodes 24-50, leaving just 15 episodes of the early '90s Jungle Book spin-off unreleased. Holding 24 episodes, "DuckTales" will serve up #'s 52-76, with two dozen installments still to come. Cover art has been posted here.
So confident are Disney and Pixar in Blu-ray that when last year's blockbuster Cars debuts on the high-definition format on November 6th, it won't return to DVD in a two-disc set to match the studios' earlier collaborations. Carrying a $34.99 SRP, arriving on the same day as two Pixar DVD/Blu-ray releases and boasting a holographic slipcover, Cars will add "Ultimate Behind-the-Scenes Experience" Cine-Explore, a Car Finder game, a never-before-seen deleted scene and "much, much more" to the original DVD features. Take a look at cover art here.
Disney has finally announced the long-rumored Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 1 for DVD and Blu-ray release on November 6th, the same day pegged for Ratatouille's debut on the two formats. Priced like a new movie (SRP: $29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray), the single disc will present 13 animated shorts enhanced for 16x9 displays and in Dolby Digital 5.1. The featured CGI cartoons (in chronological order): The Adventures of Andrι & Wally B., Luxo Jr., Red's Dream, Tin Toy, Knick Knack, Geri's Game, For the Birds, Mike's New Car, Boundin', Jack-Jack Attack, One Man Band, Mater and the Ghostlight, and Lifted. All but three have previously been made available on DVD, but new planned bonus features will include "The Pixar Shorts: A Short History", "never-before-seen footage", audio commentaries, and "much more." Click here for our first look at cover art.
Take a deep breath for the subject of our latest DVD review: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie Film for Theaters (for DVD). The long-running, low-budget animated comedy from Cartoon Network's campus favorite Adult Swim leaps to the big screen, as three anthropomorphic fast food items (Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad) ponder their origins, while an intergalactic exercise machine threatens their next-door neighbor as well as the rest of the world. This graphic R-rated feature-length 'toon come to DVD next week in a two-disc set that includes the series' first 23-minute episode, deleted scenes, an 80-minute "deleted movie", a 26-minute featurette, a commentary, music videos and performances, an art and music gallery, amusing promos, and more. Read on.
August 8, 2007 - In our latest DVD review, Kelvin Cedeno looks at Sony's Labyrinth: Anniversary Edition. Jim Henson's PG-rated 1986 fantasy gets treated next week to a 4th DVD incarnation and its first two-disc set. Inspired by The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland but delivering its own compelling original story, the film tells of a teenaged girl (Jennifer Connelly) journeying through an elaborate maze and encountering colorful locals en route to saving her baby brother from a Goblin King (David Bowie). The movie boasts life-like creations from Henson's company, an imaginative design replete with eye candy, some catchy music, and a witty screenplay by Monty Python's Terry Jones. In addition to improved picture, the lenticular-covered DVD adds an audio commentary and an hour's worth of new documentaries (featuring screen tests) to the original 1-hour TV documentary and galleries. Read the full review.
August 7, 2007 - One of Disney Channel's more popular and widely-appealing series currently in production, the hotel sitcom "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" surfaces on DVD for a fifth time today. The second release devoted strictly to the series, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Sweet Suite Victory serves up three episodes from the show's first two seasons plus a blooper reel and genuinely challenging trivia activity. Aaron Wallace provides a fresh take on the series and a critical look at the DVD. Click to read...
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced an October 30the home video debut for this year's highest-grossing film, Spider-Man 3. The film will reach stores in six separate releases: a single-disc DVD ($28.97 SRP), a two-disc Special Edition DVD ($36.95 SRP), 2-disc Blu-ray ($49.95 SRP), PSP ($28.97), and with Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, in a 3-DVD trilogy box set ($38.96) and a triple-debut Blu-ray 3-pack (SRP: $98.95). The single-disc DVD will serve up separate cast and crew commentaries, bloopers, a photo gallery, and a Snow Patrol music video. The Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray Disc will include all that plus TV spots from around the world and 11 exclusive featurettes on characters, editing, locations, and more.
Don't forget to consult our General DVD Schedule for a look at all of today's major new releases on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD DVD.
Another of today's many new TV DVDs is the subject of our newest DVD review: "Full House": The Complete Seventh Season. In its penultimate season on ABC, this conventional '80s/'90s family sitcom continues to supply entertaining hijinks, with the three Tanner girls tackling grade school, junior high, and high school issues while sharing screentime with Uncle Jesse and Becky's toddler twins. Though affordably priced, Warner's 4-disc DVD...Read on.
August 6, 2007 - It's time to raise the curtain on our DVD review of "The Muppet Show": Season 2. Arriving two full years after the previous collection, this 4-disc, 24-episode set is happily not subjected to any of the mild segment cuts that Season 1 suffered. In its sophomore year on the air, Jim Henson's beloved 1970s variety show continued to supply a mix of comedy and music from the fantastic cast of characters and human guest stars including Julie Andrews, Elton John, Steve Martin, Bob Hope, John Cleese, Don Knotts, George Burns, and Edgar Bergen. In addition to fine picture and sound, the DVD delivers the rare Valentine's Day pilot with Mia Farrow, Weezer's "Keep Fishin'" music video, and new tongue-in-cheek interviews with the characters from the show and "Muppets Tonight." Read the full review...
August 5, 2007 - Aaron Wallace's new DVD review looks at DreamWorks' Disturbia. Disney Channel star-turned-Hollywood "it" guy Shia LaBeouf headlines this PG-13-rated suspense film, which practically remakes Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window with teens and a distinctly contemporary suburban setting. Far better than that suggests, the film raises the bar for suspense and successfuly fuses romance and comedy with a suspicious neighbor plot. Its fairly loaded disc provides an entertaining commentary, a subtitle fact track, a making-of featurette, a music video, a short gag reel, 4 deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer. More...
August 4, 2007 - Another one of Tuesday's many new TV DVDs gets covered, with Albert Gutierrez's critique of "8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter": The Complete First Season. One of the more successful applications of the conventional family sitcom this decade, "8 Simple Rules" starred John Ritter as an overprotective father newly working at home and trying to make sense out of his three children's behavior. Among the season's many guest stars are Patrick Warburton, Don Knotts, Robert Guillaume, Rachel Bilson, Jason Priestley, Shelley Long, John Ratzenberger, and Cybill Shepherd. Touchstone's low-priced, three-disc set provides the 28 episodes of Ritter's only full season in 16x9 and Dolby 5.1, plus a 10-minute blooper reel. Read the complete review.
Seizing the spotlight for our newest review is "The Tick" vs. Season 2, Disney's second DVD release given to the mid-1990s Fox Kids cartoon. Adapted from Ben Edlund's modest comic line, the series improves quite a bit in its sophomore year, straying from formula and being struck by innovation, while remaining an affectionate send-up of superhero fare. Season 2 includes a Christmas episode, a "Cops" parody, and more hijinks against an assortment of unusual villains new and returning. While offering slight gains in picture and sound, the 2-disc, 12-episode set is missing something... More
Next week is one of the busiest that DVD studios have given customers in a long time. Our reviewers have been hard at work to provide you with thorough but timely coverage of the biggest new releases in the days ahead. If you don't want to miss a thing, check back frequently! Meanwhile, we've just updated our general DVD schedules to provide revised looks at the planned releases for August, September, and October. Miss out on recent weeks' debuts? Fear not, we've got June and July's lists archived.
August 3, 2007 - Ed South looks at Baby Einstein: Discovering Shapes, the 24th and latest DVD volume in the multi-million toddler franchise. Its content bears striking similarities to a 2002 release in the line, but this one adheres more closely to the established format of puppets, real-world imagery, and learning through repetition. Read on...
In our latest DVD review, Reuben Gutierrez covers "Cory in the House": All-Star Edition, a 4-episode compilation of the "That's So Raven" spin-off that Disney Channel debuted earlier this year. The disc includes guest appearances by Raven and The Rock, each of whom is the focus of a brief bonus featurette. Read more...
August 1, 2007 - Our newest DVD review looks at "Home Improvement": The Complete Seventh Season. In its penultimate year on the air, the Tim Allen family sitcom introduces change to its core characters, yielding a midlife crisis, a Goth phase, drug experimentation, and a political conscience. Buena Vista's three-disc set serves up the 25 episodes of the 1997-98 season with surprisingly erratic picture quality and an 8-minute blooper reel. More...
Our first look at At World's End 2-disc cover art can be viewed here. Disney has issued a press release for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which announces the blockbuster sequel for single-disc DVD, and two-disc DVD and Blu-ray release on the expected street date of December 4th. Click here for the full announcement, with detailed bonus feature information and discounted preorder links.
UltimateDisney.com is developing DVDizzy.com, a spin-off DVD news/reviews website to provide coverage of high-profile releases from other major studios. While UD will continue to cover all things Disney, the expansion will bring the type of comprehensive critiques and schedules you've come to expect to other significant movies and TV shows from outside the Walt Disney Company. Once this general DVD site launches, it will co-exist with UD.
Recent Disney DVD and Movie Reviews:
Roving Mars - Disney's latest IMAX film follows two robotic NASA rovers to our neighbor, the Red Planet, to gather insight on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Science and space geeks should appreciate this little documentary, which comes to DVD with both widescreen and fullscreen versions, a solid 25-minute featurette, and the complete 52-minute 1957 "Disneyland" episode "Mars and Beyond."
Recent Non-Disney DVD Reviews:
Firehouse Dog - Family film relocates a movie star canine to a small town, where he befriends a lonely boy (Josh Hutcherson) and his father's fire department. Blending familiar elements of the genre with a variety of angles, the PG-rated mixed bag of a movie arrives on DVD with deleted scenes, a Fox Movie Channel special, five short featurettes, trailers, a PSA, and a gallery of faux posters created for the film.
Hot Fuzz - The team behind Shaun of the Dead reunites with even better results in the story of a by-the-book London cop reassigned to a quiet small village where a series of graphic "accidents" raise his suspicions. Sending up and skewing countless cop action films, this winning British comedy offers a smart and funny time. Universal's DVD provides a commentary, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, a 28-minute featurette on the creative trio's U.S. promotional tour, a lengthy outtakes reel, and more.
"Space Ghost & Dino Boy": The Complete Series - Long before he was a quirky talk show host, Space Ghost rid the galaxy of evil masterminds with help from twin humans and a monkey named Blip. This 1966-67 Saturday morning cartoon also includes stories of a contemporary lad who lives in a peril-laced valley with a resourceful caveman and pet bronotsaurus. The two-disc set serves up all 20 episodes and the 79-minute documentary "Simplicity" on series' creator and renowned comic designer Alex Toth.
Zodiac - David Fincher's arresting drama provides a number of angles with which to explore the mysterious killings that took place in late-'60s California and the enduring hunt for the man behind them. A terrific ensemble cast, a well-executed story, fine pacing, and superb directing add up to one of the year's better movies so far.
Renaissance - With black and white rotoscoped animation, Miramax's R-rated 2006 neo-noir is visually imaginative but leaves quite a bit to be desired story-wise.
Benson: The Complete First Season - In this long-running sitcom, spun-off from "Soap", Robert Guillaume plays the Emmy-winning role of a household director to a widowed governor in an unnamed state. Sony's 3-disc set includes an introduction from Guillaume, a half-hour retrospective, a "Favorite Episodes" featurette, and a photo gallery.
Premonition - Sandra Bullock headlines this familiar, predictable PG-13 suspense film about a woman who wakes up to find her husband dead, then alive, then dead again, then alive... The disc includes a commentary from Bullock and director Mennan Yapo, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a gag reel, and two featurettes on real-life premonitions.
"Voyagers!" The Complete Series - Single-season, early '80s NBC show about a smart kid and former pirate who travel through time to correct glitches in history arrives in a plain 4-disc set from Universal. Among the historical figures encountered are Spartacus, Babe Ruth, Billy the Kid, and the Wright Brothers.
Pathfinder: Unrated - Fox's repeatedly-rescheduled flop about warring Vikings and Native Americans arrives running 7 minutes longer than its critically-reviled R-rated theatrical cut. The DVD also includes a commentary by director Marcus Nispel (2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), 7 deleted scenes, 7 short featurettes, and two trailers.
Red Dawn: Collector's Edition - The 1984 cult classic is treated to a lightweight two-disc reissue. John Milius' film imagines what might happen if World War III were to break out on American soil in the then-present day. Calling themselves Wolverines after the high school's mascot, young people of the town (played by Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, and others) respond to Cuban and Soviet Union forces with potent guerilla tactics. The first PG-13 film, this ludicrous adolescent fantasy is accompanied by four featurettes totaling an hour, a carnage counter, and the original trailer.
The Stranger (MGM Film Noir) - Orson Welles' third directorial effort and first box office hit, this 1946 classic offers the tale of a UN agent's search for a Nazi criminal in suburban Connecticut, just after World War II. "Thematically stirring and an artistic triumph," this thriller gets its first big studio release here.
Esther Williams Collection, Volume 1 - TCM/Warner's 5-disc set serves up five of the MGM romantic musical comedies that transformed Williams from a champion swimmer to one of Hollywood's most popular actresses. Appearing alongside Williams (who is often showcased in elaborate pool sequences) are the likes of Lucille Ball, Ricardo Montalban, Red Skelton, Keenan Wynn, and Tom & Jerry. The box set provides over 3 hours of bonus features, including an hour-long 1996 interview with Ms. Williams, 2 deleted song performances, 5 cartoon shorts, 5 live-action shorts, radio interviews, song demos, a cameo film excerpt, over a dozen original trailers, and more.
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