Coming to DVD 10/3/2006
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All the music, fun, and excitement under the sea resurface in this magical, special edition of Disney's 28th animated masterpiece. Awash with breathtaking animation, unforgettably colorful characters, and two Academy Awards(R) for score and song, "Under The Sea," THE LITTLE MERMAID is one of Disney's most cherished films. Ariel, the fun-loving and mischievous mermaid, is enchanted with all things human. Disregarding her father's order to stay away from the world above the sea, she swims to the surface and, in a raging storm, rescues the prince of her dreams. Determined to be human, she strikes a bargain with the devious seawitch, Ursula, and trades her fins and beautiful voice for legs. With her best friend, the adorable and chatty Flounder, and her reluctant chaperone Sebastian, the hilarious, reggae-singing Caribbean crab, at her side, Ariel must win the prince's love and save her father's kingdom -- all in a heart-pounding race against time!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Coming to DVD 10/3/2006
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A wild collection of hip actors--from Will Ferrell to Drew Barrymore to David Cross--provide voices for Curious George, based on the classic, gentle children's books. Ted (voiced by Ferrell, Elf) works at a natural history museum that's fallen on hard times. The museum director's son (Cross, Arrested Development) wants to turn it into a parking lot, but Ted offers to bring back a mysterious idol from Africa that's guaranteed to pull in crowds. Unfortunately, the idol turns out to be three inches tall. But Ted (who, before he heads on safari, gets outfitted in head-to-toe yellow, transforming him into the beloved Man in the Yellow Hat from the books) accidentally brings back a lonely yet irrepressible monkey, soon dubbed George. In no time at all George gets into all kinds of mischief--painting an apartment, soaring aloft with a bunch of helium-filled balloons, climbing on a dinosaur skeleton, and generally getting Ted into hot water. Older fans of the books will probably wince at the formulaic save-the-museum storyline, as well as at the obligatory love interest (Barrymore, Charlie's Angels) whose role is utterly passive. Jack Johnson's songs are so bland you can't remember the melodies even as you're listening to them, and the animation (an odd but not ineffective blend of two-dimensional drawing and CGI) has grossly cutified the book's illustrations, eroding their origina charm (the contrast is made sadly clear by a montage of the original drawings over the closing credits). But the basic relationship between man and monkey remains sweet, and younger kids will delight in George's innocent troublemaking.
Posted by betagnome at 10:28 PM
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There's an extra coat of hot wax on Pixar's vibrant, NASCAR-influenced comedy about a world populated entirely by cars. Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is the slick rookie taking the Piston Cup series by storm when the last race of the season (the film's high-octane opening) ends in a three-way tie. On the way to the tie-breaker race in California, Lightning loses his way off Route 66 in the Southwest desert and is taught to stop and smell the roses by the forgotten citizens of Radiator Springs. It's odd to have such a slim story from the whizzes of Pixar, and the film pales a bit from their other films (though can that be a fair comparison?). Nonetheless, Cars is another gleaming ride with Pixar founder John Lasseter, who's directing for the first time since Toy Story 2. There's the usual spectrum of excellent characters teamed with appropriate voice talent, loads of smooth humor for kids and parents alike, knockout visuals, and a colorful array of sidekicks, including a scene-stealing baby blue forklift named Guido. Lightning's plight is changed with the help of former big-city lawyer Sally Carrera (Pixar veteran Bonnie Hunt), the town's patriarch Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), and kooky tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). The Incredibles was the first Pixar film to break the 100-minute barrier, but had enough story not to suffer; Cars, at 116 minutes (including some must-see end credit footage), is not as fortunate, plus it never pierces the heart. Trivia fans should have bonanza with the frame-by-frame DVD function; the movie is stuffed with in-jokes, some appearing only for an instant. Ages 5 and up.
Posted by betagnome at 10:20 PM
COMING TO DVD 11/21/2006
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Diego, Manny and Sid return in this sequel to the hit Ice Age. This time around the Ice Age is over and is starting to melt, which will destroy their valley. So they must unite and warn everyone about the situation.
While Skrat the Saber Toothed Squirrel is still ineffectually trying to regain his precious acorn, the misfit trio of Manny the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth and Diego the Sabretooth Tiger have settled down in an isolated valley with numerous other animals. However, the trio discover that the ice wall surrounding the valley is barely holding back a massive body of water behind it and it's melting state threatens to break and flood the valley. With their one chance of survival being a boat at the other end of the valley, the trio follow the desperate exodus there. Along the way, they meet Ellie, a female mammoth who is convinced she's a opossum like her brothers. While the strange group continues the trek, they must learn to get along even as Manny struggles to find some connection to this strange female who may be the only other one of his kind.
Posted by betagnome at 10:16 PM
Coming to DVD 10/17/2006
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A very funny and well executed new animated feature. The story is well written and the voices are well cast. The script is full of fun poking at current day society. When asked how many people normally travel in a SUV, Bruce Willis replies one. There are swipes at video games and high end consumer goods. The most fun is poked at food and the eating habits of the average American. The kids should like the animals and the grown ups should like the humor. There is something here for everybody. This is fun, try it.
Posted by betagnome at 12:13 PM
Coming to DVD 09/19/2006
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BUY SEASON ONE
BUY SEASON 2.0
I love this show! In addition to being a great sci-fi series, it works perfectly well as a gritty drama. In the wake of the attempted genocide of the human race, a fleet of 50,000 survivors have left their homes in an attempt to escape their oppressors, the half human/half machine Cylons, in an attempt to find refuge on a little planet called Earth. Led by President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who is dying of cancer, and Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos), the fleet was last seen about to do battle with... fellow humans? Yes, after the discovery that the Battlestar Pegasus has also been on the run in the 7 or so months since the Cylons attacked the 12 Colonies of Kobol, a disagreement about leadership has Adama and Roslin looking down the figurative barrel at Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), the commanding officer aboard the Pegasus and Adama's superior. The two-parter "Resurrection Ship" shows that the immaculate pair of Adama and Roslin can sink very low if they need to in order to protect the fleet. The two episodes also contain a huge revelation regarding the Cylons that may allow the humans to actually begin to have a chance at combatting their enemies. As the second half of the second season progresses, the characters that we've grown to love (or in some cases, love to hate), are put through more trials as they deal not only with the Cylon threat, but also each other. Vice President Gaius Baltar (James Callis) has his loyalties divided due to the discovery of a captured Model No. 6 (Tricia Helfer) aboard the Pegasus. Of course, the twist is that they are divided three ways; to his fellow humans, to the corporeal 6 (known, possibly as a joke to a group of people who dislike the show, who call the show GINO, or Galactica In Name Only) as Gina, and finally to the mental 6 that he sees in his head. Capt. Lee "Apollo" Adama, the commander's son, is given more responsibility as his role as pilot and CAG is expanded to do gritty missions, including shutting down a black market ring. Of course, the now Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace acts tough as usual (but then, we wouldn't have it any other way), though her position as best pilot/biggest b**** aboard Galactica is challenged by one of the pilots she trained in season 1. And the love triangle of Sharon "Boomer" Valerii/No. 8 (Grace Park), Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), and Karl "Helo" Agathon (Tahmoh Penniket) is further strained by the arrival of the cylon/human hybrid baby as well as the creation of a kind of "love trapazoid" when Cally (Nikki Clyne) begins to express her feelings for Tyrol. Even another love triangle forms when Lee begins to become the object of affection of Dualla (Kandyse McClure), much to the disappointment of her boyfriend Billy (Paul Campbell). Unfortunately, these 10 episodes contain some of the weakest of the show's run. Episodes like "Scar" and "Black Market" are only ok by comparison to some of the show's episodes, most of which are amazing. Still, the weakest episode of Galactica is still 10 times better than the best episodes of most of what's on television these days. There are many really good episodes in this set, including "The Captain's Hand", and "Sacrifice". Also, the two-part "Resurrection Ship" is wonderful, as is "Downloaded", which is told from the point of view of the Cylons on the planet Caprica. However, I must say that "Lay Down Your Burdens, Pts. 1 and 2" have ousted "Pegasus" as my new favorite episode(s). While the season finale does share a slight similarity with the season 1 ender (the discovery of a planet), it is handled much differently this time around, and there are numerous other things going on. By the year's end, another Cylon model will be revealed (taking the total to 7 known models and 5 to be discovered), a few characters in the military will be promoted, and, in the second part of the season finale (which is an extended episode), there will be more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at, especially in the last half hour. The writers continue to impress as the characters are taken in great new and terrifying directions. This show is unpredictable, and it revels in going places many shows fear to tread. Every character is flawed in some way, and the people inhabiting the universe of BSG are some of the most human characters on television. Sadly, we didn't see much of Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon), the insane wife of Galactica's executive officer Col. Saul Tigh (Paul Hogan). On his own, Tigh is a self-destructive alcoholic, but Ellen serves to take all his worse tendencies and amplify them, as well as planting ideas of ambition in his head (think Lady Macbeth crossed with 24's Sherry Palmer). Ellen is despicable, but she is part of what makes this show great; she forces Tigh to confront his demons in the most twisted ways imaginable. The stories are also amazing; the show is very much a product of a post-9/11 America, and that is reflected in the grim, survivalist nature of the fleet. The humans once thought that nothing could touch them, but now their entire way of living has been obliterated, and they must scrape by living on crowded ships with meager rations to sustain them. Furthermore, the lines of good and evil aren't drawn clearly; the Cylons view their actions as just and right. Even though they claim not to condone murder, in this case, the ends justified the means. And of course, no human is completely good or evil. Even Baltar, who can't seem to pick a side, can't always be blamed for his actions, as he is certifiably insane. That doesn't make his horrible decisions and actions right, but he isn't doing them because he is "evil". In a clever twist, the writers even reversed the roles of religion on the show; most of the time in film and television, the protagonists are monotheistic (unless they live in a time/place in history where a polytheistic religion is practiced), but here, the "good" humans are the polytheists while the "evil" Cylons worship the "one true God". Battlestar Galactica is without a doubt one of the best series on television. While many people tend to look down on science fiction series as trivial and childish, this is anything but. The messages that are found layered within the plots of the story accurately reflect the state of the world today. If you don't want to take my word for it, look at the numerous mainstream critics who love the show, such as Time Magazine (which listed it has the best new show of 2005) and Entertainment Weekly, which is trying to get the show nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama (which, unfortunately, it probably won't get due to the academy's phobia of sci-fi; but then again, LOST won, so I guess anything's possible). If you have yet to check this show out, buying season 1 should be a top priority for you!
Posted by betagnome at 12:07 PM
The X-Men, mutant heroes sworn to defend a world that hates and fears them, are back! This time, with the help of new recruits The Beast and Angel, they must face evolution itself in the form of their former teammate, Jean Grey. Possessed with the cosmic power of the Dark Phoenix, the resurrected Jean Grey has become a danger to herself, her mutant comrades, and the entire planet. To stave off this imminent threat to humanity, a potential cure is discovered and processed to treat -- and ultimately eliminate -- genetic mutations, once and for all. Now, as the battle lines are drawn, the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier, must contend with both Jean Grey's world-consuming powers, as well as the malevolent Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto.
Posted by betagnome at 11:27 AM