New DVD Releases Include `Ratatouille’

November 5, 2007 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment

Selected home-video releases:

“Ratatouille”

A rat supplanted Mickey Mouse as the No. 1 rodent at Disney last summer with this latest cartoon from the studio’s partnership with Pixar Animation, the masters of computer-generated storytelling. Directed by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”), “Ratatouille” is the story of a gourmet rat who teams with a bumbling human kitchen hand to whip up creations at a fine French restaurant. The DVD and high-definition Blu-ray releases include a handful of unfinished scenes with introductions from director Bird, who explains why they were discarded (one early story approach had the rat’s imaginary mentor, a dead French chef, still alive and running his restaurant). Bird also appears with chef Thomas Keller in a behind-the-scenes segment, and the disc has the short Pixar film, an alien-abduction comedy, that preceded “Ratatouille” in theaters along with an amusing new short on the pros and cons of rats. Available separately on DVD and Blu-ray disc is “Pixar Short Films Collection,” gather! ing 13 cartoons, including the ear ly ones that were training ground for Pixar animators as they worked toward the first feature-length computer-animated film, “Toy Story.” DVDs, $29.99 each; Blu-ray discs, $34.99 each. (Disney)

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“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”

Adam Sandler and Kevin James are bridegroom and bridegroom in this comedy centered on how far friends will go to help friends. Sandler’s a womanizing firefighter who works with his best buddy (James), a widower worried about providing for his children in case he dies. So pal Sandler agrees to pose as his gay lover to insure that the kiddies will be eligible for life insurance, with Jessica Biel co-starring as the hot attorney defending their domestic-partner rights. Extras include deleted scenes with commentary from director Dennis Dugan, who also joins Sandler and James for commentary on the full movie. Along with the standard DVD release, the movie comes in a combination disc with both high-definition HD DVD and standard DVD versions. DVD, $29.98; HD DVD combo disc, $39.98. (Universal)

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“Sicko”

For his next act after the Academy Award-winning “Bowling for Columbine” and the documentary smash “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Michael Moore takes the pulse of America’s health-care system and finds it seriously ailing. Moore makes a pitch for universal coverage as he examines how corporations and government oversee health care, and he travels to Canada, England, France and Cuba to compare the systems in those countries to medical treatment in the United States. As usual, Moore’s critics claimed he’s a crusader with a one-sided agenda, but it’s tough to knock a movie with such priceless moments as Moore on a boat outside Guantanamo Bay, bellowing through a megaphone that sick Sept. 11 rescue workers deserve the same level of medical care as terrorism suspects held there. The DVD has seven deleted segments and a batch of extended interviews. DVD, $29.95. (Genius)

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“Help!”

The Beatles and director Richard Lester quickly followed up on their big-screen success with “A Hard Day’s Night” crafting a giddy comedy that allowed John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to goof their way around Europe and the Bahamas (with choice musical interludes, of course). What plot there is concerns a cult pursuing the boys over Ringo’s sacred ring. Besides the title tune, the songs include “Ticket to Ride,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” The two-disc set packs a deleted scene, a making-of segment featuring Lester, and cast and crew interviews. DVD set, $29.98. (Capitol)

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“Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who”

Also on the rock legends front is this two-disc set chronicling the band formed by four other Brits in the 1960s: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. The main documentary presents a portrait of the four-decades-plus career of the Who, featuring musical footage of the band, plus interviews with Townshend, Daltrey and such collaborators and admirers as Sting, Eddie Vedder and U2’s The Edge. A companion film, “Six Quick Ones,” includes segments devoted to each band member, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at a 2003 recording session. DVD set, $29.98. (Universal)

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“America’s Game: Super Bowl I-XL”

This is one for the ultimate football fan. The 40-disc set packs an hourlong documentary for every one of the 40 Super Bowls to date. The list of NFL stars offering insights and recollections is remarkable, among them Joe Namath, Bart Starr, Bubba Smith, Don Shula, Lawrence Taylor, John Elway, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris and Roger Staubach. Joining them is an equally impressive lineup of marquee names as narrators, including Gene Hackman, Laurence Fishburne, Bruce Willis and Martin Sheen. The set also comes with an 88-page booklet packed with action photos. DVD set, $199.98. (Warner Bros.)

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TV on DVD:

“Seinfeld: The Complete Series” Along with a four-disc set containing the 24 episodes from the ninth and final season, a mammoth 32-disc set arrives with the entire 180-episode run of Jerry Seinfeld’s sitcom about four Manhattan pals. The complete series set includes a 226-page book with photos, trivia and background on the show; commentary and other extras that were featured in single-season boxed sets; and an hourlong chat among Seinfeld, series co-creator Larry David and co-stars Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards. “Complete Series” DVD set, $283.95; “Season 9” DVD set, $49.95. (Sony)

“Heeere’s Johnny: The Definitive DVD Collecton From the Tonight Show” A 12-disc package gathers hours of interviews, comedy routines and musical performances from Johnny Carson’s 30-plus years as king of late-night TV. Anchoring the set is a six-disc “Timeless Moments” collection, featuring an endless parade of stars. The set also has three previously released compilations focusing on country singers and stand-up comedians appearing on “The Tonight Show,” plus general highlights from the show. DVD set, $99.99. (R2)

“The King of Queens: The Complete Series” Also getting the complete-series treatment is Kevin James’ sitcom about a delivery guy, his brash (Leah Remini), and his live-in father-in-law (Jerry Stiller). The 26-disc set packs all 207 episodes from the show’s nine-year run. DVD set, $232.95. (Sony)

“Full House: The Complete Series” And Bob Saget’s comedy about a widower raising three daughters with help from his brother and his best friend returns with a four-disc set containing the 24 episodes of the eighth and final year and a 32-disc set with all 192 episodes. “Complete Series” DVD set, $169.72; “Eighth Season” DVD set, $29.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Dr. Who: The Complete Third Series” The newest incarnation of the venerable sci-fi cult hit stars David Tennant as the time-traveling, space-faring doc, now paired with a fresh companion, a medical student (Freema Agyeman). Season three’s 13 episodes come in a six-disc set that includes deleted scenes and commentary. DVD set, $99.98. (BBC)

“The Best of the Colbert Report” Stephen Colbert, the standard-bearer for truthiness, gets his own DVD compilation of prime moments from his Comedy Central parody of TV news and analysis. Among the bits: Colbert’s light-saber duel with George Lucas and a metaphor contest with Sean Penn. DVD, $19.99. (Paramount)

Source: www.cinema-pedia.com

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