Category: DVDs (Page 1 of 7)

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas is Top 5 Christmas Movies

Top 5 Christmas Movies Since the ’80s

Nothing announces the beginning of the holiday season like the spate of Christmas movies that play ’round the clock on TV.  Sure, there are classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life, but recent decades have also given us some Christmas movies that have become iconic. These top 5 Christmas movies are always on my annual viewing party list.

5. Scrooged

I am such a big Bill Murray fan and his wacky talent is fully on display in this Christmas movie. Scrooged was one of the last big budget, studio films he made before he started acting in Oscar-bait indies. The supporting cast, like Carol Kane and John Glover, is also top-notch. Clearly, the cast of Scrooged had a blast making their characters as cartoon-like as possible. Just like in Groundhog Day, Bill Murray starts out being a jerk but winds up becoming a better man with the help of some friends. He seems to excel in that kind of role.

4. The Polar Express

Yes, everyone looks a little creepy in this Christmas movie, thanks to the primitive motion capture (really, director Robert Zemeckis was a pioneer in motion capture). But the story of The Polar Express still gets to me because it’s so darn heartwarming. For the year it was made (2004), the effects are impressive. And who can resist any movie that’s so jam-packed with Tom Hanks? (He played all the parts, long before Andy Serkis donned a onsie covered in dots.) Plus, The Polar Express is based on a book by one of the most artistically talented children’s authors, Chris Van Allsburg.

3. Elf

I meet so many people who just don’t get this Christmas movie. They don’t think Elf is funny at all. I don’t think it’s meant to be a laugh riot, although I do laugh hysterically at several scenes. I think it’s meant to tell a sweet story, with some laughs thrown in here and there. The characters and the plot are thin, but so what? It’s the kind of Christmas movie that makes you feel like the cast is right there with you. Will Ferrell never played a character in such a genuine way as he does Buddy. In fact, you kind of have to be a Will Ferrell fan to really love Elf. The movie spawned a Broadway musical and a TV special that uses stop-motion animation. If that doesn’t scream “classic,” nothing does.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

My children and I recently watched this quasi Christmas movie at Halloween. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a spooky take on the yuletide holiday. I think I’m drawn to it because I’ve always liked black comedy. For instance, The Addams Family was one of my favorite TV show’s when I was a kid. Danny Elfman’s music in this Tim Burton treat is divine, full of bouncy melodies and terribly clever lyrics. I love the details in the stop-motion animation, although some get pretty gross. That’s part of the fun!

1. A Christmas Story

The ultimate classic! No other Christmas movie will every be more iconic than A Christmas Story. People are even buying life-sized “major award” lamps for their front windows! And you can tour the house in Cleveland, Ohio, where it was filmed.

Everyone has their favorite scene in A Christmas Story. My favorite scene, hands down, is the Bumpass hounds running a muck while Darren McGavin bellows incoherently. I laugh myself sick every time! For Baby Boomers, this movie is like a trip down memory lane. For the rest of us, it’s a peek into a different time. Plus, A Christmas Story is full of life lessons. Don’t stick your tongue on the flagpole! Beat up that bully and you’ll be safe for good! Don’t swear! Don’t rat out your friends! And most importantly, you’ll shoot your eye out!

Which Christmas movie is your favorite? Post it in the comments below!

Here's what to expect in Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants

‘Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants’ is Tech Happy

In Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants, Batman battles a variety of DC’s best villains. He’s not alone in his battle, however. Batman has the help of not only his best sidekicks, but also a giant mech suit.

The Batman Unlimited series has gone from goofy to good in just a few short DVDs. What started out as a somewhat silly cartoon for kids has morphed into something that fans of all ages can enjoy. Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants has more great action than the previous DVDs, as well as a healthy sense of humor. This time around, the jokes don’t sound like they came out of a Boy’s Life magazine. The funny lines, and the more serious dialogue, keeps grown-ups happy too.

 

 

Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants kicks off with a fun battle between a mech’d-up Batman and Killer Croc. Thanks to Mr. Freeze’s horrible invention, Killer Croc and Bane have become gigantic. So, Batman turns to his huge mech suit to help him take down the over-sized villains. (It’s kind of like Pacific Rim. Or Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots.) Other villains join the fray, like Clayface, The Joker and The Penguin.

Along the way, Batman gets help from Robin. In this adventure, however, Robin is Damian Wayne, not Dick Grayson. Dick Grayson is off being Nightwing, which we will hopefully see more of in later installments. The Flash and Green Arrow also lend a hand against Gotham’s villains.

I would have very much liked to have seen some of DC’s wonderful female characters. The Batman Unlimited series has been short on female characters, except for Cheetah and Silver Banshee in the previous movies. Coming hot on the heels of Batman: The Killing Joke, I’m surprised there weren’t more women. Where’s Wonder Woman? Or Hawkgirl? Or Batgirl? If we’re talking about villains, where’s Poison Ivy? Or Catwoman? Or the ever-popular Harley Quinn? Girls watch cartoons too.

The cast of Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants is slightly different than some other Batman cartoons. One of my favorite voice-over actors, Roger Craig Smith, plays Bruce Wayne in this series. He’s the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as Captain America in Marvel Avengers Asssemble. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him. He’s very down to earth, and just excited to be doing what he loves to do.

Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants is available now on Digital HD and DVD. I was provided a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.


Star Trek Into Darkness / Paramount Home Video

Paramount Is Alienating Their Fan Base

I think this is a case of decision makers listening to marketing people. It doesn’t help when it seems like neither of those two groups are fans.

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By now, you may know that Star Trek Into Darkness is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital Video, and direct programming into your frontal lobe. I’m being facetious with the last one, although that technology is probably within our life time. If you were unaware that Star Trek Into Darkness was available for purchase, you’re welcome. If you think, “Wait—that movie was just in theaters three months ago! Why is it already out for sale?”, well, that’s a different subject for a different day.

Even people who knew the movie was out for purchase may not be privy to the fact that Paramount Home Video has decided to split all the extras available between many different sets. Some of the “exclusive” extras made specifically for the home market are only available through specific retailers!

To put it another way: If you’re a fan and are slavering for all the extra bits such as deleted scenes, gag reels, audio commentary, behind-the-scenes documentaries, etc., and  you want access to three and a half hours that is technically available, you will be buying multiple copies of the same movie to get it all. Oh, and some content is only available on-line.

Although frowned upon, studios spreading out their content isn’t new. The sheer amount of it with this particular film, however, is. People may say that since the home video market is heading toward digital streaming, but as of now there are still fans who want to keep their DVD/Blu-Ray collection complete.

Paramount is biting the Star Trek fans’ hand that feeds them, and has done so since before the film was released in theaters. This was the studio that wanted a big mystery to drum up interest (“Who is this villain?”); eventually leaking the information it was a man named John Harrison while emphatically denying he would be Khan. As if Star Trek fans, the people who, since the 1960s, wore Vulcan ears while attending science-fiction conventions, had forgotten a character from earlier productions.

In light of that non-understanding of the people who love Star Trek, it’s no surprise that they’re putting thumb screws to fans. This is a transparent money grab from a fan base that spans generations.

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