Last week, we announced the release of the big screen version of one of the Hasbro toy company’s most beloved franchises, G.I. Joe; it’s only fitting that this week we announce the release of the animated series’ complete collection. And it’s impressive. On top of that, we’ve got a couple of hot new releases as well, including Pixar’s Up and the indie hit Ballast. Sci-fi fans will enjoy the high definition re-release of Logan’s Run, while baseball fans will find literally hours upon hours of entertainment in the Official World Series Film Collection. To round out the rest of the list, we’ve got another animated series collection, a highly rated Michael Mann thriller, the “ultimate” cut of Watchmen, and a new edition of another Pixar classic, Monsters, Inc. Check the article for details on these new releases!
Another year, another home run for Pixar. That’s pretty much been the case for the past several years; four of the six Pixar films nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar since the award was introduced in 2001 have won it, including last year’s Wall-E. This year’s offering from the powerhouse studio is Up, the story of an elderly balloon salesman and a young Wilderness Explorer who embark on an epic adventure in the salesman’s house, which has been rigged to fly with thousands of balloons. On the surface, Up might seem less playful than Pixar’s other offerings, whose main protagonists have ranged from bugs and cars to fish and robots. However, critics fell in love with the film, propelling it to Certified Fresh status and elevating it to one of the best Tomatometer-rated movies of the year at 98%. We know many of you have been waiting for this DVD, so be sure to pick it up this week!
A critical darling and a fest favorite, Lance Hammer’s Ballast, an immersive and transportive drama about a family in rural Mississippi, follows the lead of indie auteurs like David Gordon Greene (George Washington) and Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories) who took the model of the small town epic and gave it a modern context. Hammer’s sturdy mastery of tone and the subtlety of his script make it hard to believe this is his feature writing/directing debut. He clearly identified the strongest feature of these small town sagas – their simplicity – and certainly struck that with the clarity of a bell. Many didn’t have access to the theatrical run of Ballast, so this is your big chance; pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.
What aimed to be raunchy rom/com for the ladies turns out be a weirdly anti-feminist misfire. Trying blithely to rebrand Judd Apatow’s genital humor for the girly set while mistakenly keeping the cookie-cutter formula too close to the Kitchenaides,
If you were a fan of the animated Justice League series that aired on television during the early 2000s, but never got around to picking up any of the individually packaged seasons, then Warner Brothers has just solved your dilemma for you. This week, they release the complete collection of Justice League on DVD, along with all of the special features that each of the previous releases contained. The one extra item you get with this collection (aside from the convenience of having everything packaged together) is a short discussion with the producers of the show about what it was like to adapt the series for new fans. Does it make it worth your time to resell all of your individual editions and pick this one up? Maybe, maybe not, but this is probably more for those who never picked up the initial releases and would like to own the whole collection anyway.
“Don’t trust anyone over 30,” the old saying goes. However, in the sci-fi semi-classic Logan’s Run, that isn’t a problem, since everyone over 30 is dead. The film is the story of a future society that offers unfathomable pleasures to its populace, before offing them to prevent overpopulation; however, some try to avoid their fate, and these “runners” attempt to flee to a mythical “sanctuary” outside of the realm. This solid bit of countercultural sci-fi — released a year before Star Wars — gets the Blu-Ray treatment this week, with commentary from director Michael Anderson, star Michael York, and costume designer Bill Thomas, as well as a short making-of doc.
Michael Mann’s visceral, morally complex crime thriller Heat is exceptional in many ways. But two things particularly stand out: it’s got one of the best shootouts in movie history, as well as one of the best displays of acting firepower — namely, the diner scene between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Heat is dense and epic, but its army of well-developed characters make it one of the best crime films of the 1990s. The Blu-ray release is loaded with extras, including commentary from Mann and several documentaries, a lengthy making-of featurette, a short doc about the scene between Pacino and De Niro, and a look at the film’s locations.
Earlier this year, 300 director Zack Snyder dared to bring one of the most beloved graphic novels of the 80s to the big screen, and fans everywhere held their breaths. What resulted was a mixed reaction, with some saying Snyder was as faithful as he could have been to the source material, while others decried this same faithfulness as one of the major failures of the film. Whatever stance you maintained in the debate, you’ll get your chance to see Watchmen “as it was meant to be seen,” in the form of Snyder’s director’s cut. The Ultimate Cut is a 5-disc box set that trumps all the previous editions that have come out this year by including the Tales of the Black Freighter, as well as some of the sacrificed side stories. There’s an entire disc dedicated to a bunch of extra featurettes, as well as two more containing the motion comic version of the story.
In conjunction with their latest new release, Up, Pixar is also dropping a high definition version of one of their beloved classics, namely Monsters, Inc.. This unique take on the “monster under the bed” convention features the voice work of Billy Crystal and John Goodman, who star as Mike and Sulley, two monsters who inadvertently allow a human child to cross over into the monster realm, thereby inciting a panic (children, you see, are thought to be toxic). Like many of its Pixar peers, Monsters, Inc. garnered widespread critical acclaim, earning a 95% on the Tomatometer and Certified Fresh status, and made boatloads of money at the box office. And being that Pixar’s offerings are top notch, the Blu-Ray treatment works to its advantage, showing off the immaculate detail poured into the artwork and animation. This 4-disc edition will feature several new extras, including a look at the Monsters, Inc.-themed ride in Tokyo Disneyland, a filmmakers’ roundtable, and other featurettes.
With yet another World Series now in the books, and with months to go before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, baseball fans may feel a slight sense of deprivation. Fear not, fans of the national pastime: The Official World Series Film Collection, a 20-DVD box set, should tide you over. Relive the great moments of the fall classic, from the 1940s to today, and take a gander at some of the greats (Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, and Bob Gibson, among many others) performing on the biggest stage in all of baseball. This massive set comes with a 58-page book with a forward by Bob Costas.
If Stephen Sommers’ big screen adaptation of this beloved toy/cartoon/comic franchise earlier this year (and the subsequent DVD release of the film) did little to excite you, then perhaps this throwback to the toons of the 80s will. This week, we get a giant foot locker’s worth of classic G.I. Joe, the Complete Collectors Set, which includes not only every episode from the animated television series, but a Hummer-load full of bonus features and nifty extras. The bonus features include stuff like the famous PSAs, old Hasbro TV commercials, a fan film, and a slew of featurettes, while the extra goodies include an informative booklet, a 1GB flash drive with mini-comics loaded onto it, and temporary tattoos. Sure, the episodes might be a tad laughable if you were to watch them now, but the nostalgia factor cannot be dismissed, and this collection is a must for any hardcore fan.