"PEANUTS 1970s
COLLECTION: VOL. 2"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD June 1
    Official Kids WB site
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Continuing its tradition of releasing the slate of Peanuts television specials, Warner Bros. has packaged six more episodes in “Peanuts 1970s Collection: Vol. 2.” This collection features “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown,” “You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown,” “It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown,” “What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown,” “It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown” and “You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown.” Whew! Am I tired of typing “Charlie Brown”!

WHAT I LIKED
I grew up with the Peanuts television specials, so these collections hold a special place in my heart. When my oldest son was just a couple years old, I dug out all the old VHS tapes of these series, and it’s great to have the whole collection coming to DVD.

The joy of these collections it that you get the well-known classic (like “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown”) along with the ones you might remember a little bit from (like “You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown” and “It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown”) and the ones that are pretty much forgotten (like “What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown”). Whether they’re a great addition to the Peanuts filmography, they’re a treat to watch.

Plus, these are the ones from my childhood. In the days before DVRs or even VHS, I remember scheduling my week around these things. The diversity of episodes and the rarity of some of them makes it a great set to watch with my kids.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
There’s very little complaints I have with this set. “What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown” was a bit odd, but it was still great to see. And considering I don’t remember any of these hitting DVD lately, except for “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” and “You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown,” there’s very little double coverage here.

DVD FEATURES
The only featurette in this set is “You’re Groovy, Charlie Brown: A Look at Peanuts in the 70s.” It’s a nice retrospective of the era for the strip and the TV specials. Sadly, it’s the only feautrette available, though the set does get points for bringing “What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown” to DVD for the first time.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Peanuts fans and anyone who grew up watching these special in the 70s.

Watch this clip from "Peanuts 1970s Collection: Vol. 2"







"ALICE IN WONDERLAND"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Rated PG
    Studio: Disney

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Tim Burton puts his unique spin on the Lewis Carroll classic books “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.” Alice is now a late-teenager and ready to be married off into society boredom. But when the White Rabbit coaxes her back to Wonderland, she much join with old friends to defeat the Jabberwocky and the villainous Red Queen.

WHAT I LIKED
If you spend much time on the Internet, you’ll hear a lot of hate for this film. And that’s odd, considering it’s only one of six films to reach the billion dollar club in worldwide gross. Someone out there loves the movie, and I’ll consider myself one of those people.

I have been a fan of Tim Burton ever since “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” and I quite like the bizarre spin he gives to classic films like “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and this movie. It’s not for everyone, but I respect the hell of this movie for its artistry.

I absolutely loved the production design, which you can expect to be fantastic from Tim Burton. On Blu-ray, this film is simply eye-popping, a sight to see. In fact, it’s the kind of movie that should inspire you to get a Blu-ray player and hi-def television if you don’t have them already.

Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” is a twisted tale that seems like the original story has soured... but in a good way. I loved the characters and the actors, particularly Johnny Depp and Crispin Glover. They fit perfectly in the Burton universe. The movie was in 3D in the theater, but nothing is lost in the 2D home video presentation.

This may make me less popular among my critic friends, but I thoroughly enjoyed Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and I found it even better a second time.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Personally, I really didn’t have a problem with the film. Others have complained about how Burton changed the universe and how he is just remaking films now (which is really what he’s been doing most of his career, anyway). So others might complain about lack of story and character depth, or overuse of digital effects, these never really bothered me.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
The 3-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack is a great buy for families and fans. Like the other Disney releases, it includes the feature on both DVD and Blu-ray, as well as Digital Copy disc for use in portable players.

The DVD includes three feautrettes: “The Mad Hatter,” “Finding Alice” and “Effecting Wonderland.”

The Blu-ray includes the same featurettes, as well as spotlights on “The Red Queen,” “The White Queen,” “Time-Lapses: Sculpting the Red Queen” and “The Futterwacken Dance.” There’s also a six-part featurette “Making Wonderland,” which looks at the film’s score, the effects, the stunts, the sizing issue, how the cakes are made and the tea party props.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Those who like how Tim Burton re-imagines classic films.



"FAMILY MATTERS:
THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD June 8
    FamilyMattersDVD.com
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The classic family sitcom follows the Winslows and how they deal with life and their blended family. With their dad a copy, their mom a former elevator operator, their aunt a trashy romance author, their grandmother and the kids, this is your basic family sit com... until Steve Urkel shows up about half-way through the season.

WHAT I LIKED
I’ll be honest, I was never a huge fan of this show, even in the Urkel years (which pretty much starts next season). What I found most fascinating about this DVD set was to get a glimpse of the original intent of the show. It wasn’t a great series and fell into cliche all the time, but I though this was an amazing look in the past at what the show could have been.

For me, this first season of “Family Matters” was like watching a mediocre soccer team fumble around the field until David Beckham shows up and takes over. It’s a fascinating look at the evolution of a TV sit com.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
When Urkel isn’t in the mix, this show falls apart. The characters are two-dimensional, the dialogue is stilted and the storylines are rehashed out of everything from “Three’s Company” to “Kate and Allie.” It is clear after watching how much life the show took on with the appearance of Steve Urkel that it would barely have made it through the second season.

DVD FEATURES
Nada, which is kinda disappointing. Maybe Warner Bros. is waiting for later seasons when Urkel is more prominent on the show before adding some cool special features.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who long for the old TGIF days, B.U. (“before Urkel”).

Watch this clip from "FAMILY MATTERS"





"STARSTRUCK"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Disney

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Christopher Wilde (Sterling Knight) is a pop star who just can’t get a moment alone. One day, he literally runs into Jessica Olson (Danielle Campbell), who has no interest in his fandom. This intrigues Christopher, and he calls on her to help him escape paparazzi. However, when they start to like each other, Christopher’s fame gets in the way.

WHAT I LIKED
This Disney Channel Original Movie was cute enough. I showed it to my kids, and they seemed to like it. There’s a real appeal to the rock star life, which is why a show like “Hannah Montana” is so popular. The nice part about this from that perspective is that it gives a different twist on that “Hannah Montana” storyline.

Coming from the perspective of a father of three boys, it’s nice to see a movie that isn’t so heavily geared towards the female audience. By putting Sterling Knight as the rock star, my kids could identify with him more than the relatively girly nature of Miley Cyrus and her gang. It shows the effort by Disney to capture the male-centric audience better.

As a light and fluffy piece of squeaky clean entertainment, you can do worse to occupy your kids for 84 minutes.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The only real problem I had with this film was that it doesn’t have much memorable characters. Unlike the wildly popular shows on the Disney Channel, or their movies like “Camp Rock” and even “Princess Protection Program,” “Starstruck” is entirely forgettable after seeing it from the grown-up perspective. Case in point, I only watched it a couple days ago, and it was harder to blurb the “What’s It About” section than write the actual review.

DVD FEATURES
This DVD comes packaged with the full-length soundtrack CD, featuring twelve songs on it. On the DVD itself, there is an extended music scene plus three music videos and a rock-along sing-along to play with the movie itself.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Tweens. Who else?


    

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