Disney

What to Watch: Feb. 11-17, 2014

The Returned

We’re a little light on quantity at What to Watch this week but not on quality. And our newest contributor, Dave Canfield, has already handled today’s release of “All is Lost,” a film you really should add to whatever queue allows you to see quality films. When you’re done with that, pick one of these five. OK, four. Ignore “Diana.” Please.

Blu-ray Review: Great Release of ‘Mary Poppins’ Tied to ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

Mary Poppins

Disney knows how to cross-promote better than anyone in the business. With “Saving Mr. Banks” hitting theaters and earning Oscar buzz for Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, it makes total sense to re-release “Mary Poppins” on Blu-ray. If you’re not familiar, “Banks” is the story of the making of “Poppins” and fans of the new film will love the opportunity to check out what resulted from this mostly true story.

Film Review: Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Enchants Viewers This Holiday Season

Disney’s marvelous “Frozen” fits snugly in the lineage of princess stories that the studio has been crafting for decades while also looks forward to empower girls in ways that its predecessors never considered. It is a remarkably fun movie, especially in 3D, alive in ways that so many of its peers in this lackluster year for animation simply are not.

What to Watch: Nov. 17-23, 2013

We're the Millers

CHICAGO – What to Watch is back! Miss us? Every week, we roll out 5-10 of the latest films and TV shows to be released on DVD, Blu-ray, and various streaming services. This week’s highlights include a few classics, a cult hit, a couple of recent comedies, and a family flick. In the order we’d advise buying or renting them…

Blu-ray Review: Holiday Classics Come Home Featuring Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh

A Very Merry Pooh Year

CHICAGO – It’s that time of year. Studios pull Christmas classics from the vault, given them the HD polish, and hope to re-sell them to families who probably already own them on scratched DVD or even beat-up VHS. Two such releases feature better HD remasters than your average title in that they’ve been given the Disney Blu-ray treatment, resulting in picture quality that tops any version you’ve probably seen them in before. The latest holiday pair hoping for Santa’s wish list includes a 30th anniversary edition of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year.” Disney fans will have a Merry Christmas.

Blu-ray Review: Timeless Wonder of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’

The Little Mermaid

CHICAGO – I’m going to date myself a bit here but I remember when Disney was in great need of the comeback that was provided them by 1989’s “The Little Mermaid.” It had been quite some time since the company really mattered and, as I was growing up, Disney was kind of an old-fashioned company. They were great “then,” not “now.” That changed with “Mermaid,” which led into “Beauty & the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.” There have been peaks and valleys since then but Disney is as powerful as ever and a lot of their current success started with a mermaid who wished she was human. Now on Blu-ray for the first time, “The Little Mermaid” is a jewel in the Disney crown, a film that feels timeless now, almost a quarter-century after its release, as it seemed essential to the company when it was released.

Blu-ray Review: Trio of Disney Films Make HD Debut

Robin Hood

CHICAGO – Ready to feel old? It’s the 25th anniversary of “Oliver & Company,” 40th anniversary of “Robin Hood,” and 50th anniversary of “The Sword in the Stone.” Maybe I’m showing my age even further by admitting that I would rank the films in order of oldest to newest. “Sword” remains remarkably fun but “Robin Hood” is close behind. Only “Oliver” remains pretty much a waste of time.

Blu-ray Review: Disney Pulls ‘Atlantis,’ ‘Lilo & Stitch’ From Vaults

Atlantis

CHICAGO – Things were a little rocky in the world of Disney animation in the ’00s as the comeback of the late ’80s and ’90s gave way to more success for Pixar than Disney proper. Films like “Dinosaur,” “Treasure Planet,” and “Brother Bear” won’t be getting theme park ride revivals any day soon. However, there were a few decent flicks in this era, and two of them, 2001’s “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and 2002’s “Lilo & Stitch,” were just released in Blu-ray combo packs.

Blu-ray Review: Double Feature of ‘Brother Bear’ Movies

Brother Bear

CHICAGO – In the Disney canon, few recent films are less-remembered than “Brother Bear,” a movie that came out as acclaim and animation legacy was transitioning from the Mouse House to Pixar. It’s one of the last hand-drawn animation films in the history of Disney and came at a time when CGI was about to dominate. Only ten years old, it looks more like an early ’90s product. And yet it was huge. It made over $250 million worldwide. So, it clearly has serious fans who will love to own it and its straight-to-DVD sequel, “Brother Bear 2,” in HD.

Blu-ray Review: Solid Release For Entertaining ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

Wreck It Ralph

CHICAGO – Disney’s hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, fits one of the most important criteria for a parent considering picking up a kid’s movie to own — replay value. As anyone with kids can tell you, if you buy something, you best be ready to watch it over and over and over again. And “Ralph” holds up surprisingly well. I’m still a little surprised it received the level of acclaim it did with some even suggesting it should win the Oscar (we all know that should have been “ParaNorman”) but it’s a good movie to throw on if your kids need a distraction with a good message. And the Blu-ray includes the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short, the great “Paperman.”

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