New on Blu-ray and DVD (March 10, 2015)

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Night3This week’s big family title is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third movie in the popular franchise starring Ben Stiller as a night watchman at a museum whose friends—exhibit statues—come to life at night, but only because of an ancient magic tablet. In this 2014 sequel the magic is dwindling, so Larry and the gang go to the London museum to try to find the answers to save their lives. The late Robin Williams stars as Teddy Roosevelt in Secret of the Tomb, which is available on Blu-ray combo, Digital HD, and DVD and is rated PG for mild action, some rude humor, and brief language.

SoundofMusicHow do you solve a problem like Maria? Uh, what problem? Fifty years later Robert Wise’s film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Sound of Music is still looking good and going strong. Julie Andrews, who won an Oscar for Mary Poppins the previous year, received another Best Actress nomination for her portrayal of Maria, an ill-suited nun-in-training who’s tabbed to be the governess of a widower’s seven children and shakes up the household. Set in Austria just prior to and including the German occupation, The Sound of Music and the Broadway musical that preceded it are based on the true story of the Trapp Family Singers. The film won Best Picture and four other honors at the Academy Awards and features a strong selection of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “The Lonely Goatherd,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweis,” and the title song. The first half is a love story of how Maria warms her way into the families’ hearts, while the second is the story of how the family plots to escape Nazi-occupied Austria before Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) is forced to fight for the German navy. Rated G, it’s available on Blu-ray combo or DVD.

BluesCluesIf there are preschoolers in your family, this week you can pick up Blue’s Clues: Get Clued into School Pack, which includes 12 episodes of the popular interactive TV show plus bonus games and materials. That’s close to five hours of educational entertainment on DVD for under $12 (the price now at Amazon). The Nickelodeon series helped children learn shapes, colors, go-withs, letters, and numbers from 1996-2006 and was the highest rated show for preschoolers at one point.

BreakfastClubIf there are teens in your family you’re probably at that awkward point where the parents know they know about sex and are exposed to all sorts of language and alcohol and drug users, but how do you talk about it? Sometimes movies are a great catalyst. Though it’s R-rated, an entire generation of older teens watched John Hughes’ “Brat Pack” movie about high school students in detention, and The Breakfast Club is being released this week in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Hughes took basic high school types—the hoodlum (Judd Nelson), the jock (Emilio Estevez), the brainy geek (Anthony Michael Hall), the pampered princess/good girl (Molly Ringwald), the bad girl who’s emotionally unstable (Ally Sheedy)—and threw them into detention together where, without supervision, they’re forced to pass the time together and get to know each other. It’s rated R for language, drug use, and mature content (e.g., talk of sex, suicide).

RedTentFinally, Minnie Driver, Morena Baccarin, and Rebecca Ferguson star in the two-part Lifetime miniseries The Red Tent, a 2014 epic drama based on Anita Diamant’s New York Times best-selling novel. It’s the fictionalized biblical story of the 12 tribes of Israel, but told through the eyes of Dinah, Jacob’s only daughter. It’s available on DVD only.

Disney’s INTO THE WOODS arrives on Blu-ray March 24

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intothewoodscoverFrom composer Stephen Sondheim (Sunday in the Park with George), the producers of Wicked, and the director of Chicago comes Disney’s film version of the popular Broadway play Into the Woods—available on Blu-ray, Digital HD, and Disney Movies Anywhere on March 24, 2015.

Iconic characters such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel find their fates intertwined with a humble baker and his wife, whose longing to have a child sends them “into the woods” on a quest to reverse a witch’s curse.

In this PG-rated musical comedy-drama, Meryl Streep stars as the Witch, Johnny Depp intothewoodsscreenas the Wolf, Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife, James Corden as the Baker, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Chris Pine as the Prince, Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood, Daniel Huttlestone as Jack, and MacKenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel.

The soundtrack will really come to life with an English DTS-HD MA 7.1, and young fans will have fun looking for five Golden Eggs (Easter Eggs) to click on for additional bonus content. Included among the extras are making-of features and a “never-before-seen” (or heard?) original Sondheim song, “She’ll Be Back,” sung by Streep.

Get ready to spend another Night at the Museum on March 10

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Night320th Century Fox will release Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD March 10. What’s more, if you purchase the Blu-ray you can spend a second night at the museum of your choice: Night at the Museum or Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Every Blu-ray comes with a bonus movie on Digital HD, and you get to pick which one.

In Secret of the Tomb, Larry (Ben Stiller) and his come-to-life museum friends embark on an epic journey to the London museum in order to learn how to save the magic of the Pharaoh’s tablet, before it runs out and the statues remain statues forever.

NightscreenThis third Night will be bittersweet for fans of the late Robin Williams. There’s one more film of his still coming:  Absolutely Anything, a sci-fi comedy about a group of eccentric aliens who, as an experiment, confer a human being with the power to do anything. But since Monty Python’s Terry Jones is directing, that one might not be so family-friendly. So enjoy this third installment of what has turned out to be a hugely successful franchise—as in $1,324 MILLION worldwide gross for the three films.

Until next Tuesday rolls around, the young ones in your family might enjoy this matching game from Fox:






New on Blu-ray and DVD (March 3, 2015)

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At Movie Metropolis, which became defunct today when the CEO shut it down without explanation, I wrote a weekly “This Week” column alerting readers to new releases. I had no idea when I posted this morning’s “This Week” column that the site would be shut down permanently today, but I plan on continuing that feature here at Family Home Theater. For Movie Met readers who have found your way to my blog, Family Home Theater is devoted to “stuff the kids can see,” or at least some of the kids. Sometimes it will be the older kids, sometimes just the younger. Mostly I’ll cover PG-13, PG, and G releases, though an occasional R-rated film that’s an award winner or something older teens might want to see may also find its way into the site, if it’s rated R mostly for language that the kids hear on the playground anyway. But the emphasis is on family movie nights.

Charlie160There’s always an anniversary in TV and Movie Land, and this week it’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which celebrates its 10th with the release of a Blu-ray. Unless you’re wedded to the original Gene Wilder film, which seems more dated these days, this Tim Burton version of the Roald Dahl story will probably hold your kids’ attention better—even though some of you might feel more nostalgic toward the “Wilder” version. Charlie is rated PG-13, which is what you’d expect from Burton and Depp.

Jane160This week the Warner Bros. musical comedy Calamity Jane comes out on Blu-ray as a single title for the first time and as part of a four-film Blu-ray collection that also includes Kiss Me Kate 3D, The Band Wagon, and Singin’ in the Rain. This isn’t the Calamity Jane you saw in HBO’s Deadwood. In this cheery 1953 film, Jane may own a saloon, but it’s only to give Day a chance to sing. If your family loves musicals, this one isn’t a classic, but Day’s character is infectious. And it’s rated G.

Neverbeast160If you have younger children, girls especially, their “please please” radar will bleep in the direction of two new releases this week. Disney has been promoting the heck out of Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast, and I have no problem with that kind of marketing blitz. As long as they continue to crank out above-average, G-rated, high production-value installments in this Pixie Hollow Fairies series, I’m good with it—even though it seems to be a revisionist take on the 1953 version of Tinker Bell, who was petty, jealous, self-centered, and vindictive. The reimagined Tinker Bell has a much better image—almost as squeaky clean as Doris Day’s persona. That’s good, because these Disney movies are all about modeling positive behaviors and teaching lessons in attitude adjustment. Look for Neverbeast on Blu-ray or DVD.

Barbie160The other kiddie-pleaser coming out on both formats this week is Barbie in Princess Power. Universal hasn’t been able to keep this franchise as fresh as Disney, and all you have to do realize that is recall the funny and inventive Pixar shorts featuring Barbie and Ken. Princess Power looks like another retread from tires we’ve already kicked and drives we’ve already taken. But that won’t stop little girls from enjoying it.

God bless us everyone! MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL is coming to Blu-ray

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Mickey'sChristmasCarolcoverThere are so many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that it’s hard to keep track of them. In the world of animation and family programming we’ve seen versions featuring the likes of The Smurfs, Mister Magoo, and The Flintstones. But none of them were as successful as Disney’s adaptation featuring Mickey Mouse  as Bob Cratchit and Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge. 

The good news, for HD fans, is that you won’t have to go another holiday watching the movie on DVD. Disney is releasing a 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray combo pack of Mickey’s Christmas Carol on November 5, 2013.


THE CROODS come to home video October 1

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CroodscoverLook for Dreamworks’ animated prehistoric family adventure, The Croods, on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and deluxe versions (that include a plush toy) on October 1, 2013.  And if you prefer Digital HD, you can download it two weeks early.

Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds star in this story of a caveman family that has to trek through an unfamiliar fantastical world with the help of an inventive boy after their cave is destroyed.  More

Original MUPPET MOVIE to arrive in HD on August 13

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MuppetMoviecoverThree years after The Muppet Show debuted on TV in 1976 with puppets and routines that were clever enough for adults as well as children, Jim Henson and his magic-makers filmed The Muppet Movie to equally wide acclaim. And now it’s coming to Blu-ray on August 13, 2013, with bonus features that include Disney Intermission and new never-before-seen content. The film—rated G and  with a runtime of 95 minutes—will be presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Wacka Wacka!

Four more Disney animated features announced for Blu-ray release

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Four more Disney animated features will come to Blu-ray for the first time this summer. On August 6, look for Oliver & Company, Robin Hood, and The Sword in the Stone, and on August 20 you can pick up Peter Pan: Return to Never Land, one of Disney’s more successful sequels.

Each title will be released on a combo pack that includes a DVD and Digital Copy. The audio for each will be an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, while the video presentation varies. The aspect ratio for Robin Hood and Return to Never Land is 1.66:1; for The Sword in the Stone it’s 1.75:1; and for Oliver & Company it’s 1.85:1.


THE LITTLE MERMAID Blu-ray will be released October 1

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LittleMermaidcoverDisney announced that The Little Mermaid will be released in HD for the first time on October 1 in a Diamond Edition that includes a Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, Digital Copy, and “Music.” We can guess that since “CD” wasn’t used that the songs will be downloadable.

The 1989 classic started a Broadway-style revival in Disney animation, with show-stopping songs in a story loosely based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.


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SaigecoverThe popular American Girl movie series gets another entry on July 2 with “An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky,” featuring the 2013 American Girl of the Year and introducing Sidney Fullmer as Saige (trailer).

Meet nine-year-old Saige, a talented artist with a passion for horses in this modern-day story about finding your voice. Sage is excited about the new school year until she discovers that her favorite class (art) has been cut. Plus her best friend seems to be spending more time with another girl than with her. For help, Saige turns to her grandma (Jane Seymour), a well-known artist and horsewoman, who inspires her to take action. Can Saige find the courage to overcome her fears and save the art program and her friendship with Tessa?

“An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky” will be available on Blu-ray combo pack (with DVD, Digital Copy and UV), DVD, and Digital Download. Based on the “Saige” stories by Jessie Haas, it has a runtime of 100 minutes and is presented in 1.78 widescreen with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio on the Blu-ray and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track on the DVD.

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