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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 11.02.10)

For you people who love to sing and dance, there are three major musical re-releases for your enjoyment. For everyone else we have the first release of a popular animated film, a Roman adventure and a romance, the re-release of two 80s cult classics and an essential British film.

First Release
Toy Story 3 (DVD and Blu-ray)
Toy Story Trilogy (Blu-ray)
Centurion (DVD and Blu-ray)
Love & Distrust (DVD)

Re-Release
The Goonies (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Sound of Music (Blu-ray)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (Blu-ray)
Highlander (Blu-ray)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Blu-ray)
White Christmas (Blu-ray)

Toy Story 3 (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Pixar tends to be a studio that does not make sequels and it originally did not want to make a third Toy Story film. But their hand was forced when Disney planned to make to a straight-to-video sequel without Pixar’s involvement. After some legal problems, Pixar had the view that if there was going to be sequel it was going to be done the right way. Pixar’s longtime editor and co-director of Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo Lee Unkrich directs his first solo effort, with Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) writing the screenplay based on a story by Pixar’s best and brightest. Toy Story voice regulars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack return and are joined by many actors including Ned Beatty (Superman) and Michael Keaton, Timothy Dalton (Hot Fuzz).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: “Day & Night” theatrical short; Buzz Lightyear mission logs: the science of adventure; The gang’s all here – a look at returning voice talent; 3 studio stories

Additional 2-Disc Blu-ray Features: Toy Story trivia dash – interactive game; Cine-explore with director Lee Unkrich & producer Darla Anderson; Beginnings: setting a story to motion; Bonnie’s playtime – a story roundtable with director Lee Unkrich; Roundin’ up a western opening; Beyond the toy box: a alternative commentary track; Paths to Pixar: editorial; 2 studio stories]

Additional 4-Disc Blu-ray Feature: 

Beyond The Toy Box: An Alternative Commentary Track; Paths To Pixar: Editorial; 3 Studio Stories; Roundin’ Up A Western Opening

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 4.5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

Toy Story Trilogy (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Toy Story series is a rare type of series because each entry is equally strong. The first Toy Story film brought Pixar to the world’s attention and gave us a CGI-animated revolution. John Lasseter wrote and directed the first two Toy Story films and he has had a role in every Pixar film as a result. The Toy Story series recruited big-name stars like Tom Hanks and Tim Allen to voice the lead characters Woody and Buzz, with many talented voice-artists supporting them. Many of us grew up following the adventures of Andy’s toys, with all the twists and turns they had to go through, all based on the childish idea of what toys get up to when we are not around.

Toy Story
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.3/10

Toy Story 2
Critcs Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.3/10

Toy Story 3
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Toy Story: Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Story; Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs Blast off; Paths to Pixar Artists; Studio Stories: John’s Car, Baby AJ, Scooter Races; Buzz Takes Manhattan; Black Friday The Toy Story You Never Saw; Toy Story 2: Director commentary; BD Live-portal (BD only); Toy Story 3 sneak peek: “The Characters”; Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station; Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists; Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab; Studio Stories: Pinocchio; Studio Storyies: The Movie Vanishes; Pixar’s Zoetrop; Celebrating our friend Joe Ranft; Toy Story 3: Day And Night Theatrical Short Filmmakers Commentary With Commentary By Director Lee Unkrich and Producer Darla Anderson; Bonus: The Gang’s All Here – A look at the returning voice talent for Toy Story 3.; Toys! – A look at all the toys from updating classic characters to developing the Sunnyside Daycare and Bonnie’s Room toys.; Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure (conj with NASA); Paths to Pixar: Pixar Editors, past and future, share anecdotes about their career path.; Studio Stories: Where’s Gordon? There’s a hidden room at Pixar that we call the Where’s Gordon?, and this is its story.; Studio Stories: Cereal Bar The majestic and expansive Pixar cereal bar is explored.; Studio Stories: Clean Start The Pixar animation team shaves their heads to mark the start of TS3 animation.; A Toy’s Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land; Toys! A look at all the toys from updating classic characters to developing the Sunnyside Daycare and Bonnie’s Room toys; Interactive Game: Toy Story Trivia Dash; Cine-Explore by Dir. Lee Unkrich and Prod. Darla Anderson; Beyond the Toybox -commentary track; Beginnings with Michael Arndt – Screenwriter Michael Arndt analyzes successful opening scenes from ToyStory, Nemo and the Incredibles.; Bonnie’s Playtime – A roundtable discussion with the Lee Unkrich and the story artists who brought the “Bonnie’s Playtime” scene to life.; Roundin’ Up a Western Opening – Development process and scene analysis of “Western Opening” in its various iterations through the story process.; Goodbye Andy – An exploration of character design, acting and animation in the scene “Andy’s Goodbye”.; The Accidental Toymakers of Pixar – Meet the makers of the original Buzz Lightyear and watch how the newest version of Buzz – the Ultimate Buzz is constructed.; Life of a Shot – Overview of artist contribution to each step of the production pipeline on a select group of shots from the Western Opening of Toy Story 3.; Making of Day and Night; Epilogue – Stand-alone 1.33 version of the Epilogue.; Ken’s Dating Tips, Lotso Commercials, “Dancing with the Stars” at Pixar; Trailers and More

Amazon Price: $64.99 (10-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Centurion (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
After disappointing fans with Doomsday, writer/director Neil Marshall needed to so something special. The horror director of Dog Soldiers and The Descent, Marshall set out to make another Scottish-set film, this time about legend of the Ninth Legion. An excellent cast of British and Irish actors was hired, including Michael Fassbender (300), Dominic West (The Wire), Noel Clarke (Doctor Who) and David Morrissey (Red Riding Trilogy), with Oleg Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) offering an international flavor in what is a stronger film for Marshall.

In 117 A.D., the Romans are struggling to deal with the Pict tribes fighting an effective guerrilla war in the Scottish Highlands. But when the Romans go on the offensive they are humiliated, and their general Virilus (West) captured and Quintus Dias (Fassbender) forced to lead a small platoon back to safety. But they are hunted by the brutal mute Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 56% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Blood, Fire & Fury: Behind the Scenes of Centurion; Deleted Scenes with Commentary ; Outtakes; Interviews with Cast and Crew; Behind the Scenes Footage; Photo Galleries; HDNet: A Look at Centurion; Commentary with Neil Marshall (Writer/Director) and Crew

Amazon Price: $19.99 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Love & Distrust (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
There is no arguing that Love & Distrust has acting pedigree, with a cast that includes Robert Pattinson, Amy Adams, Sam Worthington, Robert Downey Jr. and James Franco. So it is surprising that this film is getting a straight-to-DVD release. Three directors who specialize in short films, Daisy Gili, Eric Kmetz and Dracy Yuille, helm this project.

Love & Distrust tells five stories of a group of a 20-somethings who explore the dark side of romance.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): N/A
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $26.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Goonies (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Goonies easily ranks alongside Back of the Future, The Terminator and The Karate Kid as a beloved film of the ’80s and given that all those films are due for a 25th or 30th anniversary edition these days, has earned a re-release on Blu-ray. This childhood favorite to many was produced by Steven Spielberg with Chris Columbus (Gremlins) writing one of his first screenplays and veteran director Richard Donner delivering a fun film. The then-young cast included the likes of Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings), Josh Brolin (Milk), Jonathan Ke Quan (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and Corey Feldman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as the group of childhood friends.

Mikey (Astin) and Brand (Brolin) are brothers who are forced to move from their family home by a developer. They plan to spend their last day with their friends, searching for the treasure of the pirate One-Eyed Willie.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 64% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Cast commentary with director and all seven actors; The Making of the Goonies documentary; Cyndi Lauper music video “The Goonies ‘R Good Enough”; Outtakes; Includes new board game, original movie storyboard reproductions, 1985 souvenir magazine reprint, and reprint of 2009 Empire Magazine article with cast photos and updates

Amazon Price: $29.99 (DVD), $34.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Sound of Music (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Sound of Music has a massive following, with devoted fans attending sing-a-long showings the world over. It was one of the most financially successful films ever when adjusted for inflation. With Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still) directing and Julie Andrews starring in the film at the height of her stardom. Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker (Detective Story) and Richard Haydn (Alice in Wonderland (1951)) co-star in this classic musical. The cast recently reunited on the Oprah show for the 45th Anniversary and all the cast is still alive.

In the Austrian city of Salzburg, Maria (Julie Andrews) is studying to be a nun when she’s sent to work as the governess for the Von Trapp family and bring discipline to seven unruly children. With Captain Von Trapp (Plummer) looking for love he ends up having to make a difficult choice when Nazi Germany invades Austria.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 81% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration – All-New Immersive Viewing Experience with Behind-the-Scenes Images, On-Screen Lyrics, Trivia Track and Location Quiz; ; Music Machine Sing-Along; ; Audio Commentaries with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Director Robert Wise; ; Blu-ray Additional Special Features:; ; Musical Stages: Creating The Sound of Music – All-New Interactive “Backlot Tour” – with In-Depth Featurettes on the Songs, the Stage Show & Movie, the Film and Sound Restoration and the Real-Life von Trapp Family; ; A City of Song – Virtual Map of Filming Locations in Salzburg, Austria; ; Vintage Rodgers & Hammerstein and The Sound Of Music Programs; ; Screen Test, Rare Treasures, Interviews, Photo Galleries ; ; DVD Feature Film & Special Features:; ; Optional Sing-Along Track; Music Machine Sing-Along; The Sound of Music Tour – A Living Story

Amazon Price: $19.99 (Blu-ray), $59.99 (Limited Edition Collector’s Set)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
David Lean is a filmmaking genius and he had a great eye for epic filmmaking. The Bridge on the River Kwai is considered one of his best works, standing alongside his other great film Lawrence of Arabia. Based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, The Bridge on the River Kwai was adapted by Michael Wilson (Planet of the Apes) and Carl Foreman (Guns of Navarone). William Holden (The Towering Inferno), Alec Guinness (in an Oscar-winning role) and Jack Hawkins (Zulu) star in this film.

In the middle of World War II, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson (Guinness) is British Officer who had surrendered to Japanese after the fall of Singapore. When his officers are ordered to build a bridge for the Japanese, Nicholson protests, while an American Naval officer Shears (Holden) escapes the prison camp. Shears leads an assault on the bridge with a British commando Major Warden (Hawkins), but Nicholson offers to help build the bridge for his men’s morale.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: William Holden and Alec Guiness on the Steve Allen Show; Newly discovered archival audio of William Holden narrating the Bridge on the River Kwai premiere; Crossing the bridge: picture-in-graphics track

Amazon Price: $20.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Highlander (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Highlander is a strange film series with even its most die-hard fans being disappointed at times, but the first film is held in high regard and considered a cult classic. Screenwriter Gregory Widen originally sold the Highlander idea when he was still an undergrad at UCLA. Music video director Russell Mulcahy directed this action film and it was a high point of his career. Highlander also boosts some weird casting choices with Frenchman Christopher Lambert (Mortal Kombat) playing a Scot while a Scottish actor, Sean Connery, played a Spaniard. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) and Roxanne Hart also star.

Conner Macleod (Lambert) is a Scotsman who is a part of an immortal race who can only be killed by decapitation. Set between the 1500s in Scotland and modern day New York, Highlander tells the rise of Macleod as he has to battle a returning enemy, The Kurgan (Brown).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 66% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
This week’s second musical release is the strange British film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Considered a childhood favorite to many, this film was based on a Ian Fleming novel (the creator of James Bond) and produced by Bond’s co-producer Albert R. Broccoli. Children’s author Roald Dahl co-wrote the screenplay with Ken Hughes taking the directional duties. Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Adrian Hall and Heather Ripley star in the feature.

This mad adventure tells the story of the Potts family as inventor Professor Potts (Van Dyke) makes a flying car. But a when a foreign government becomes interested they resort to any means possible to get they hands on it.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 59% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; DVD; Sing-Along; ; Blu-ray; Sing-Along; Chitty Chitty’s Bang Bang Driving Game; Toot Sweet Toots Musical Maestro; Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke; ; A Fantasmagorical Motorcar; Sherman Brother’s Demos; Vintage Featurettes; Photo and Vintage Advertising Gallery

Amazon Price: $19.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

White Christmas (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Despite Christmas being nearly two months away, we get a second Christmas film to be re-released in the space of two weeks (the other being Elf). This musical film was directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), with Bing Crosby (The Emperor Waltz), Danny Kaye (A Song is Born), Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen (On the Town) starring.

This simple story tells how a successful song-and-dance team, Bob Wallace (Crosby) and Phil Davis (Kaye) fall for a sister act, Betty (Clooney) and Judy Hayes (Ellen), who team up to save a failing Vermont inn.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 77% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary by Rosemary Clooney; Backstage Stories from White Christmas HD; Rosemary’s Old Kentucky Home HD; Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner HD; Danny Kaye: Joy to the World HD; Irving Berlin’s White Christmas HD; White Christmas: From Page to Stage HD; White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney; Theatrical Trailers HD

Amazon Price: $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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