Cars Ultimate Gift Set – A re-release of the 2007 Blu-ray comes packed in with a DVD version of the 2006 movie and two toy replicas of the primary characters in the movie – brash racecar McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and the yokel tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy).
The set is available for just over $30 on Amazon, and if you’re a freak for this better-on-multiple-viewings diamond in the rough — and especially if you’ve got a nephew or son less than 10 years old — buying this sucker is a no-brainer. Too bad Walt Disney Home Entertainment didn’t see fit to include a digital copy of the movie. The inclusion of the DVD is practically an open invitation for you to download sketchy DVD-ripping software to your hard drive.
Monsters, Inc. – A prototypical buddy comedy executed to perfection, the 2001 film is set in a world consisting of monsters who pop into kids’ closets to harvest their screams for energy to run their metropolis. You’ve just gotta love such a sadistic premise, and the enthusiastic voice performances of John Goodman and Billy Crystal helped nail this sucker down as a bona fide classic. Finally out on one of Disney’s clever blowout Blu-ray/DVD combos, the box also includes a digital copy and loads of extras that tell you way more than anyone would ever want to know about this movie. I mean, seriously – do we need a filmmakers’ round table, storyboards a trivia game and a look at the new Monsters, Inc.-themed ride at Tokyo Disney? Of course not, but it’s good to know the stuff is there. In short, it’s exactly what a definitive tribute package should be.
Up – This sucker can hang with Finding Nemo and the two Toy Story flicks as one of Pixar’s finest efforts. On the surface the story is about an old man and a stow-away boy who float off into a foreign land via a house floated by helium balloons, but it goes way deeper, examining a wounded old soul, a dysfunctional friendship and the burdensome though liberating qualities of mortality (meaning, life is short, so you’d better as heck follow your whims before your candle’s snuffed out). It’s also funny enough to keep 2-year-olds and 30-somethings alike cracking up on multiple levels throughout. The first half hour of the movie is one of the finest examples of storytelling I’ve ever seen. Extras include the now-Disney-standard Blu-ray/DVD combo, a digital copy and exhaustive interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes. My favorite extra is the short Partly Cloudy, which waxes on the old yarn about storks delivering babies.
Also out this week:
Mamma Mia! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! More Gift Set – The awful 2008 musical gets in inexplicable re-release on Blu-ray and DVD, featuring Pierce Brosnan in some of the worst non-karaoke singing you’re ever likely to hear. Extras: A booklet showering the film with unjustified praise and reverence, as well as a CD with the soundtrack.
The Ugly Truth – I haven’t had the pleasure of suffering through this near-universally reviled romantic comedy, but judging from the trailers, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler seem as though they’re two regretful marks caught up in an ill-advised output from the studio machine. Both play coworkers on a TV newscast who engage in a Tracy-Hepburn-esque battle of the sexes. Extras: Deleted scenes, a couple alternate endings and select-scene filmmaker commentary.
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