Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blu-ray Releases: The Week of Nov. 29th, 2010 - Disney's Fantasia

After getting through the tryptophan coma on Thanksgiving and surviving the Black Friday melee at the mall, most of us are basically spent, both in terms of energy and cash. The holiday shopping season is officially in full swing and if you've been on Amazon.com, there were plenty of fantastic wallet-busting Blu-ray deals to be had over the weekend. But, you know what? It's not quite over just yet. Today is Cyber Monday and you know what that means......even more deals and more shopping to do! Geez....the fun never stops!

Anyway, while you shop for older and cheaper Blu-ray releases, there are some new ones releasing this week. Not a big blowout week but good enough to highlight some of them. Here we go!

Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Knight and Day (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+ Digital Copy)The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+Digital Copy)Cairo Time [Blu-ray]Vampires Suck (Extended Bite Me Edition) [Blu-ray]

The most promising release this week has to be Disney's Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 2-movie collection., which comes in a 4-disc set (2 Blu-ray and 2 DVDs). If you are an avid Disney fan, you'll know that the original "Fantasia" from 1940 is one of the Mouse Studio's most popular classics and it is now available on Blu-ray, reasonably packaged together with the more light-hearted 1999 sequel, "Fantasia 2000." While the original "Fantasia" did not immediately capture the hearts of many people when it first made its debut, it has certainly accumulated a legion of fans throughout the years. It is an explosion of colors, classic Disney animation, classical music showcase and of course, it stars Mickey himself, in his now-familiar wizard's costume. Both movies are great in their own right and this is a fantastic collection to own if you have children who are enthralled by the magic of Disney. Both movies are presented in 1080p video with aspect ratios of 1.33:1 ("Fantasia") and 1.78:1 ("Fantasia 2000") and the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track has been highly praised in several reviews. Throw in some incredible extras like audio commentaries by Disney historians, animators and art directors, a previously unfinished collaborative work by Walt Disney and Salvador Dali and many other treasures, this collection comes highly recommended!

Up next is Knight and Day, the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz by-the-numbers action thriller that really didn't do very well at the box-office (in Tom Cruise's multi-million dollar terms, it was a bomb). However, some movies don't do well in the theaters but find a much bigger audience when it hits Blu-ray. This may be one of them. Essentially, if you like to enjoy a non-cerebral, action-packed thriller and do not harbor an adverse reaction to Tom Cruise, Knight and Day should be up your alley. Knight and Day comes in a 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy set and features 1080p video and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that should shake your walls. Also available is a Knight and Day (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Holiday Gift Set) at a (very) slightly cheaper price. I say go with the 3-disc one if you are in the market for this film.

Another release from Disney, The Sorcerer's Apprentice comes to Blu-ray in two versions, a Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+Digital Copy set or a Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo set. Mainly catered to the younger set, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is (very) loosely based on Disney's Fantasia and it stars Nicolas Cage as Prime Merlinian (sort of a master wizard) Balthazar Blake and Jay Baruchel as the clueless college student who might just be the next candidate to be a Prime Merlinian. It has a pretty convoluted storyline but with exciting wizard duels and well-choreographed set pieces, it does get the heart pumping a little. This is another one of Disney's family-oriented movies and should entertain the little ones who can't get enough of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. With 1080p video and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio, it should provide a great ride visually and aurally. Oh, there is also a commercial tie-in with Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 where you can save $10 if you pre-order both Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 and The Sorcerer's Apprentice from either Amazon.com or Best Buy. So, if you are in the market for both movies this holiday season, get cracking with the pre-order, will ya?

Also releasing this week is a lesser known but well-received romance drama, Cairo Time. It stars Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig as two people from different worlds who happens to fall in love but realize that they could never be together. Excellent performances by the two leads impressed critics, who were more impressed by the simple yet honest love story. The breathtaking city of Cairo is also a draw. Cairo Time  comes in a single Blu-ray disc release and features 1080p video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

This is my Public Service Announcement to you: AVOID Vampires Suck at all cost. It is one of the worst-made movie spoofs in the history of cinema and should be discarded in the trash a soon as possible. Making fun of the Twilight phenomenon might sound like a great idea but there is absolutely no redeeming quality to this poor excuse of a movie and......you know, I should stop now so as not to waste more space on this pile of manure. AVOID! AVOID! AVOID!

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