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Fantasy


Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.



March 17, 2010
A Guide to 'New Moon' Exclusives



The Twilight Saga: New Moon hits stores March 20 at midnight, and some retailers are staying open late Friday night so dedicated fans can be among the first to get a copy. Here's a handy guide detailing where to go for retailer exclusives and the best price.

Title: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Street Date:
March 20, 2010
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
List Price: $32.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray
Extras: The regular edition includes commentary, a behind-the-scenes documentary and four music videos

Also due March 20 is the companion DVD Twilight in Forks: The Saga of the Real Town, which lists at $19.99.

The guide is based on online promotions and the weekly ad circulars of some retailers. Prices may vary.


Amazon.com

Regular Edition: $16.99 DVD, $19.99 Blu-ray
Twilight in Forks: $9.99
 

 


Best Buy

BestBuy.com

Regular Edition: $19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray; Doorbuster price (midnight sales): $16.99 DVD, $21.99 BD
Steelbook edition w/cell phone skins: $24.99 DVD, $29.99 BD; Doorbuster price: $19.99 DVD, $24.99 BD
Twilight in Forks: $14.99


Target

Target.com

Regular Edition: $16.99 DVD, $19.99 Blu-ray;
Target-exclusive Deluxe Edition (extra featurettes, deleted scenes): $19.99 DVD, $24.99 BD;
Twilight in Forks: $9.99;
$5 gift card when New Moon DVD or BD is purchased with Twilight in Forks, Astro Boy or Bandslam


Wal-Mart

Walmart.com
(prices reflect online listing)

Regular Edition: $17 DVD, $19.96 Blu-ray;
Ultimate Fan Edition (Eclipse preview): $24.96 DVD, $29.96 BD;
Twilight in Forks: $12.86
Gift pack of regular New Moon DVD w/Twilight in Forks: $29.96


Barnes & Noble

BN.com
(prices reflect online listing)

Regular Edition: $23.09 DVD, $27.99 Blu-ray
Barnes & Noble version with collectible dreamcatcher bag clip: $27.19 DVD, $39.99 BD
Twilight in Forks: $15.99


Borders

Borders.com
(prices reflect online listing)

Regular Edition: $22.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray
Borders exclusive with medallion: $29.99 DVD
Twilight in Forks: $16.99


Toys R Us

ToysRUs.com
(prices reflect online listing)

Regular Edition: $24.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray


F.Y.E.
(Trans World, Suncoast)

fye.com

Regular Edition: $22.99 DVD, $27.99 Blu-ray
Twilight in Forks: $12.99


Fry's Electronics

frys.com

Regular Edition: $24.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray
Twilight in Forks: $14.99


DVDEmpire.com

Regular Edition: $26.06 DVD, $27.99 Blu-ray


Hastings

GoHastings.com

Regular Edition: $24.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray
Twilight in Forks: $11.99

By: John Latchem


March 02, 2010
Go Online for ‘Ponyo’ Plush


Ponyo with plush, available online


Shoppers looking to buy Ponyo, the latest Hayao Miyazaki animated film, could get either a two-DVD special edition or a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in stores. But online presented a third purchasing option: a copy of the DVD with a plush toy of the Ponyo character.

The special package is offered at just a few dollars more than the standalone DVD but is not necessarily cheaper than the Blu-ray. The only catch is that shipping may take longer from some of the brick-and-mortar sites.

The new-release week of March 2 was otherwise quiet for in-store exclusives, with the exception of several promotions concerning the disaster flick 2012.

Wal-Mart offered copies of the 2012 DVD packed with The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Edition.

Target had copies of the 2012 deluxe Blu-ray edition with a copy of the Discovery Channel documentary 2012 Apocalypse. The set was labeled as a “Special Edition 3 Disc Blu-ray” to distinguish it from the widespread two-disc Blu-ray deluxe edition.

A check of the Barnes and Noble Web site (BN.com) revealed an interesting sales pattern for 2012, with the two-disc Blu-ray actually offered for a couple dollars cheaper than the single-disc Blu-ray. The site listed the single-disc version as a low-in-stock item, in line with the bookseller chain’s reputation for favoring the type of premium product the two-disc Blu-ray version would be considered.

Staying on the Blu-ray front, Best Buy is taking preorders for the April 6 “Lord of the Rings” trilogy Blu-ray by offering a free steelbook case in exchange for a $5 deposit. The deal also includes a $50 Sideshow Collectibles coupon code.

Best Buy also had a display to clear out $9.99 Blu-ray catalog titles such as A Few Good Men, Donnie Brasco and Into the Blue.

The Best Buy in Costa Mesa, Calif., also unveiled its new Magnolia Design Center Feb. 26, filled with premium home entertainment options such as a 103-inch Panasonic HDTV, projection screen home theaters, patio displays and even the option to convert a home to solar power.

By: John Latchem


February 22, 2010
Head-Scratching Over the Saturn Awards



The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films recently announced its nominees for the 36th Annual Saturn Awards, to be given out June 24 in Burbank.

Granted, this isn’t exactly the Oscars as it focuses on the so-called “geek” genres. And I won’t even nitpick why some horrible movies and TV shows were nominated at all, since it’s probably hard to fill all the available slots (so I won’t ask how anyone could consider “Heroes” for best network series, when even the tepid “Smallville” is a better show at this point).

But why is Avatar nominated for best fantasy film? This is the very definition of sci-fi and should be in the science-fiction category. Need to make room for it? How about taking out Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which if anything is more of a fantasy than is Avatar.

On the same subject, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Watchmen aren’t “fantasy” in the strictest sense either, since both rely on (barely) scientific rather than magical explanations for their flights into the realm of the impossible. (Though why Watchmen and Wolverine are in separate categories is beyond me.)

And how is Zombieland a horror film? Why not put it in the action-adventure-thriller category in lieu of the god-awful 2012?

I probably shouldn’t be surprised. This is, after all, the group that gave Batman Begins best fantasy film of 2005, and then put its sequel The Dark Knight (which presumably would be the same genre) in the action-adventure-thriller category, which it won in 2008.

It’s almost as if they are cherry-picking the categories so some movies don’t cancel each other out (so don’t be surprised when Star Trek wins best sci-fi and Avatar wins best fantasy).

Anyway, that’s enough ranting for now. Congratulations to all the nominees, and I sincerely hope you check them out on DVD or (better yet) Blu-ray. Which ones are available are noted in the list below.

Enjoy!


36th Annual Saturn Award Nominations:

I put a star next to what I would pick, though bear in mind I don’t get an actual vote

FILM CATEGORIES

Best Science Fiction Film
The Book of Eli (Warner, not yet on disc)
*Knowing (on disc from Summit)
Moon (on disc from Sony Pictures)
Star Trek (on disc from Paramount)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (on disc from Paramount/DreamWorks)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (on disc from Fox)

Best Fantasy Film
Avatar (Fox, not yet on disc)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (on disc from Warner)
The Lovely Bones (Paramount, on disc April 20)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (on disc from Warner)
*Watchmen (on disc from Warner)
Where the Wild Things Are (Warner, on disc March 2)

Best Horror Film
The Box (Warner, on disc Feb. 23)
Drag Me to Hell (on disc from Universal)
Frozen (Anchor Bay, not yet on disc)
The Last House on the Left (on disc from Universal)
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit, on disc March 20)
*Zombieland (on disc from Sony Pictures)

Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
2012 (Sony Pictures, on disc March 9)
Brothers (Lionsgate, on disc March 23)
The Hurt Locker (on disc from Summit)
*Inglourious Basterds (on disc from Universal)
Law Abiding Citizen (on disc from Anchor Bay)
The Messenger (Oscilloscope, on disc May 18)
Sherlock Holmes (Warner, on disc March 30)

Best International Film
*District 9 (on disc from Sony Pictures)
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (Sony Pictures, not on disc)
Lorna’s Silence (on disc from Sony Pictures)
Red Cliff (Magnolia, on disc March 23)
Taken (on disc from Fox)
Thirst (on disc from Universal)

Best Animated Film
A Christmas Carol
(Disney, not yet on disc)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox, on disc March 23)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (on disc from Fox)
Monsters vs. Aliens (on disc from Paramount/DreamWorks)
The Princess and the Frog (Disney, on disc March 16)
*Up (on disc from Disney)

Best Actor
*Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes
Tobey Maguire, Brothers
Viggo Mortensen, The Road (not yet on disc)
Sam Rockwell, Moon
Denzel Washington, The Book of Eli
Sam Worthington, Avatar

Best Actress
Catherine Keener, Where the Wild Things Are
*Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
Alison Lohman, Drag Me to Hell
Natalie Portman, Brothers
Zoe Saldana, Avatar
Charlize Theron, The Burning Plain (on disc from Magnolia)

Best Supporting Actor
Woody Harrelson, Zombieland
Stephen Lang, Avatar
Frank Langella, The Box
Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
*Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress
Malin Akerman, Watchmen
*Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Rachel McAdams, Sherlock Holmes
Lorna Raver, Drag Me to Hell
Susan Sarandon, The Lovely Bones
Sigourney Weaver, Avatar

Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: New Moon
*Bailee Madison, Brothers
Brooklynn Proulx, The Time Traveler’s Wife
Max Records, Where the Wild Things Are
Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road

Best Director
J.J. Abrams, Star Trek
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Neill Blomkamp, District 9
James Cameron, Avatar
Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes
Zack Snyder, Watchmen
*Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Best Writing
Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell, District 9
James Cameron, Avatar
Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, Where the Wild Things Are
Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Star Trek
*Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Alex Tse, David Hayter, Watchmen

Best Music
Brian Eno, The Lovely Bones
Michael Giacchino, Up
*James Horner, Avatar
Taro Iwashiro, Red Cliff
Christopher Young, Drag Me To Hell
Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes

Best Costumes

Colleen Atwood, Nine (not yet on disc)
*Jenny Beavan, Sherlock Holmes
Anna Sheppard, Inglourious Basterds
Jany Temime, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
Michael Wilkinson, Watchmen
Tim Yip, Red Cliff

Best Makeup
Barney Burman, Minday Hall, Joel Harlow, Star Trek
Joe Dunckley, Sarah Rubano, Frances Richardson, District 9
Sarah Monzani, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger, The Book of Eli
Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger, Drag Me to Hell
*Mike Smithson, John Rosengrant, Terminator: Salvation (on disc from Warner)

Best Production Design
Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Avatar
Scott Chambliss, Star Trek
Stuart Craig, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
Sarah Greenwood, Sherlock Holmes
*Philip Ivey, District 9
Alex McDowell, Watchmen

Best Special Effects
Tim Burke, John Richardson, Nicholas Aithadi, Tim Alexander, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
John DesJardin, Peter G. Travers, Joel Whist, Jessica Norman, Watchmen
Volker Engel, Marc Weingert, Mike Vezina, 2012
Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, Burt Dalton, Star Trek
Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, Matt Aitken, District 9
*Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones, Avatar


TELEVISION CATEGORIES

Best Network Series
“Chuck” (NBC, on disc from Warner)
“Fringe” (Fox, on disc from Warner)
“The Ghost Whisperer” (CBS, on DVD from Paramount/CBS)
“Heroes” (NBC, on disc from Universal)
*“Lost” (ABC, on disc from Disney)
“The Vampire Diaries    “ (CW, not yet on disc)

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series
“Breaking Bad” (AMC, on disc from Sony Pictures)
*“Battlestar Galactica” (SyFy, on disc from Universal)
“The Closer” (TNT, on disc from Warner)
“Dexter”    (Showtime, on disc from Paramount/CBS)
“Leverage” (TNT, on disc from Paramount/CBS)
“True Blood” (HBO, on disc from HBO)

Best Television Presentation
Doctor Who: The End of Time (BBC America, on disc from BBC Video)
“Alice” (SyFy, on disc March 2 from Lionsgate)
The Prisoner (AMC, on DVD March 23 from Warner)
*Torchwood: Children of Earth (BBC America, on disc from BBC Video)
“The Tudors” (Showtime, on disc from Paramount/CBS)
“V” (ABC, not yet on disc)

Best Actor in Television
Josh Holloway, “Lost”
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Matthew Fox, “Lost”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Zachary Levi, “Chuck”
Stephen Moyer, “True Blood”
*David Tennant, “Doctor Who”

Best Actress on Television
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
Jennifer Love Hewitt, “The Ghost Whisperer”
Evangeline Lily, “Lost”
Anna Paquin, “True Blood”
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”
*Anna Torv, “Fringe”

Best Supporting Actor on Television

Jeremy Davies, “Lost”
*Michael Emerson, “Lost”
Aldis Hodge, “Leverage”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
John Noble, “Fringe”
Alexander Skarsgard, “True Blood”

Best Supporting Actress in Television

Morena Baccarin, “V”
Gina Bellman, “Leverage”
*Julie Benz, “Dexter”
Jennifer Carpenter, “Dexter”
Elizabeth Mitchell, “Lost”
Hayden Panettiere, “Heroes”

Best Guest-Starring Role in Television
Bernard Cribbins, Doctor Who: The End of Time
Raymond Cruz, “Breaking Bad”
Michelle Forbes, “True Blood”
*John Lithgow, “Dexter”
Leonard Nimoy, “Fringe”
Mark Pellegrino, “Lost”

DVD CATEGORIES

Best DVD Release
*The House of the Devil (on disc from MPI/Dark Sky)
Laid to Rest (on DVD from Anchor Bay)
Not Forgotten (on disc from Anchor Bay)
Nothing But the Truth (on DVD from Sony Pictures)
Pontypool (on DVD MPI/IFC)
Super Capers (on DVD from Lionsgate)
Surveillance (on disc from Magnolia)

Best TV DVD Release
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (on disc from BBC Video)
Torchwood: Children of Earth (on disc from BBC Video)
Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles — The Complete Second Season (on disc from Warner)
Primeval Vol. 2 (on DVD from BBC Video)
*Lost: The Complete Fifth Season (on disc from Disney)
Life on Mars: The Complete Series (on DVD from Disney)

Best DVD Special Edition
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut
300: The Complete Experience (on Blu-ray from Warner)
*Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (on disc from Disney)
District 9
Terminator 2: Judgment Day — Skynet Edition (on Blu-ray from Lionsgate)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Best Collection
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics Vol. 1 (on DVD from Sony Pictures)       
The Hannibal Lector Anthology (on disc from Fox/MGM)
Hellraiser Boxed Set (on disc from Anchor Bay)
Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection (on DVD from Sony Pictures)
*Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection (on disc from Paramount)
The William Castle Collection (on DVD from Sony Pictures)
 

By: John Latchem


December 08, 2009
‘Potter’ Leads the Way With Retailer Exclusives


Best Buy and Target "Harry Potter" Exclusives


Dec. 8 saw several major releases come to DVD and Blu-ray, with retailers offering exclusives with no less than four of them.

The most visible of the new titles was easily Warner’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film in the franchise, and its release spearheaded a slew of new “Potter” merchandise.

Best Buy offered the Blu-ray of the new film in special Death Eater mask packaging at $33.99 (the regular Blu-ray is offered at $17.99). This follows the previous week’s Best Buy exclusive release of Terminator: Salvation in packaging resembling a Terminator endoskull, so these special mask packages are nothing new for Warner titles. It is worth noting, however, that last year’s big “mask” title, The Dark Knight, was a Target exclusive.

This year, Target offered special lenticular packaging with its version of the two-DVD special edition of Half-Blood Prince, at $26.99. Target also offered exclusive extended cuts of the first two “Potter” films on DVD at $15 each. These are basically slimmed down versions of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition sets, without the various collectibles in the widespread releases.

Target also offered earlier “Harry Potter” DVDs at $7.50 each.

Wal-Mart had DVDs packed with "The Marauder's Map" (from the "Noble Collection") for $24.96. Those looking for the Blu-ray of the movie could get it at some Wal-Marts for $15. As usual, different Wal-Marts tend to have different prices on the same title, and some offered the exclusive map while others didn't. A Wal-Mart in Long Beach, Calif., offered an extensive "Harry Potter" display that included not just DVDs, but books, T-shirts, toys and games.

Best Buy touted $20 savings off any Half-Blood Prince video game.

Sony Pictures’ Julie & Julia proved popular for exclusive treatment. Target offered a two-DVD deluxe edition with the 90-minute documentary “Julia Child’s Kitchen Wisdom,” at $22.99. Best Buy offered the DVD with the book upon which the movie is based. And Wal-Mart paired the DVD with a copy of another Meryl Streep starrer, Postcards From the Edge.

Barnes & Noble offered $6 off Julie & Julia with the purchase of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine. Since the magazine carries a cover price of about $4.50, the discount is pretty much a wash, especially since BN’s in-store price for the DVD is $26.09, which equals the list price minus a 10% new-release discount (Of course, BN members can get an extra 10% off, but it hardly seems worth it).

For Universal’s gangster flick Public Enemies, Target offered exclusive production notes with the two-DVD and Blu-ray versions. Best Buy did them one better, offering exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and background of John Dillinger, also with the Blu-ray and two-DVD sets. Best Buy had other Universal gangster films, such as Scarface, Casino and American Gangster, for $6.99 each.

Finally, Disney’s Lost: The Complete Fifth Season at Best Buy came in exclusive packaging with a Dharma luggage tag and a bonus disc containing additional scenes and content, including “Lost on Location: This Place Is Death” — an inside look at a landmark episode and the return of the smoke monster.

On the non-exclusive front, hardcore “Lost” fans can pick up a special Dharma Initiative Orientation Kit version of the fifth season, containing an orientation film on VHS, brochures of the Dharma camp, patches and a music CD. The set was going for $75 and more at the few retailers that actually stocked it, so online is probably the best bet for those fans who really want it. The set comes with four Dharma uniform logo patches, but a lucky few boxes contain a special fifth patch.

Best Buy also offered an array of Disney Blu-ray titles, such as Pinocchio, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Wall-E, Monsters, Inc. and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies in exclusive steelbook packaging at $29.99 each.

By: John Latchem


October 07, 2009
Retailers Offer ‘Oz’ Exclusives


The rise of Warner Home Video’s The Wizard of Oz re-release to the No. 2 sales spot the week ended Oct. 4 was no doubt aided by a number of special configurations exclusive to the major retail chains.

Warner released the film Sept. 29 as a four-disc Blu-ray Ultimate Collector’s Edition in a box containing a watch, production booklet, replica artwork and the documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars at $84.99. A five-disc DVD version was offered at $69.92. Extras for both the DVD and Blu-ray UCE included commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, a new documentary on director Victor Fleming, sing-alongs, the TV movie The Dreamer of Oz and a digital copy.

A two-DVD set of the film contained the movie, commentary, sing-alongs and some behind-the-scenes material for $24.99.

Target offered a special three-disc Blu-ray set of the film at $39.99 (discounted to $34.99 its first week), containing the MGM special, but without the digital copy or the bigger UCE box, booklet, watch or other collectibles. Target had the non-UCE DVD version at $19.99.

Wal-Mart offered a single-disc Blu-ray version containing just the first disc of the UCE, consisting of the film and a few extras, for about $20. The DVD version was offered for about $17. Online the UCE was offered at $44.86 for the DVD and $51.86 for the Blu-ray.

Neither Wal-Mart nor Target offered their exclusive configurations online. Customers seeking the slimmer versions on Blu-ray had to visit the stores to get them, though copies of the Wal-Mart version were being offered on the Amazon.com user marketplace.

Best Buy offered the UCE on DVD at $49.99 and on Blu-ray at $54.99, and offered four exclusive lenticular post cards with the Blu-ray version. Best Buy had the two-DVD set for $16.99.
 

By: John Latchem





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