Frozen: She’s As Cold As Ice

by Ethan Alter November 27, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Frozen</i>: She’s As Cold As Ice

In 1989, an aquatic princess named Ariel lifted Disney out of its decade-long doldrums, ushering in a new period of creative and commercial success for the once-dominant brand in family animated entertainment. Two decades later, a well-coiffed royal scion named Rapunzel performed a similar feat, righting the Mouse House's course after it struggled to find its sea legs in a new (and largely computer animated) family entertainment landscape dominated by companies like DreamWorks, Blue Sky and, of course, Pixar. And so the hugely enjoyable Tangled beget the equally enjoyable Wreck It Ralph, which in turn beget Frozen, a spirited romp through a traditional Disney princess narrative that ultimately tweaks the formula in ways that make it exciting and new.

Four Things to Know About The Wizard of Oz: IMAX 3D

by Ethan Alter September 20, 2013 6:00 am
Four Things to Know About <I>The Wizard of Oz: IMAX 3D</i>

All due respect to Sam Raimi's decent Oz: The Great and Powerful, but when it comes to onscreen depictions of that magical land over the rainbow, it's impossible to top the 1939 childhood favorite The Wizard of Oz, which is now 75 years young. (Although, if you want to be all ageist about it, the film doesn't technically hit the big 7-5 until 2014.) Warner Bros., which currently holds distribution rights to the Victor Fleming-directed musical fantasy, is marking the occasion by releasing a five-disc Blu-ray and DVD set sporting all-new bonus features and collectibles on October 1. But before you can bring Oz home, you can also experience it on the big screen thanks to a WB-funded IMAX 3D presentation that's opening for a one-week-only stint today. (Go here to find specific IMAX locations in your area.) If you do decide to take your family to The Wizard of Oz -- and honestly, why wouldn't you? -- here are four things you should know:

<i>Oz the Great and Powerful</i>: Because of the Wonderful Things He Does

There were many reasons to dislike Tim Burton's 3D-enhanced (but 1D-executed) version of Alice in Wonderland, but chief among them was the fact that it felt like a Tim Burton movie in name only. The production design and costumes had the familiar Burton touch, but the film itself was practically anonymous -- the personality bled out by the director and his backers at Walt Disney Studios to better ensure mass market appeal. (Of course, considering how poorly the more traditionally Burton-esque Dark Shadows turned out, maybe that wasn't such a terrible thing after all.) So whatever its problems, Disney's newest family blockbuster Oz the Great and Powerful trumps Alice in that it's recognizably a Sam Raimi picture. Granted, it's not exactly the same Raimi who made The Evil Dead back in the day, but his interests and particular set of skills still manage to stand out amidst the big-budget spectacle instead of getting swallowed up by it.

<i>Oz the Great and Powerful</i>: Zach Braff Describes His On-Set Monkeyshines

Zach Braff changes in his doctor's scrubs for a pair of wings in Oz the Great and Powerful, the Sam Raimi-directed Wizard of Oz prequel that opens in theaters on Friday. The former Scrubs star actually pulls double duty in the film, starting out as the human friend and accomplice of carnival-huckster-turned-(fake) wizard Oscar Diggs and then transforming into a flying monkey (don't worry, he's the friendly kind) when the action shifts to the merry old land of Oz. Braff spoke with us about his simian alter ego, working with the director of Spider-Man and the connection between the Oz franchise and a short film from his distant past.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 18, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Elsa lets it all go on Blu-ray.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

by Ethan Alter October 1, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Seth Rogen's directorial debut is far from apocalyptic.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 20, 2013

by Ethan Alter August 20, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grow old (and die) with the Oscar-winning foreign film, Amour.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

by Ethan Alter June 11, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How do you get to Oz? Practice! Also a hot air balloon.

Indie Snapshot: Quirky Comedy Edition

by Ethan Alter June 7, 2013 1:57 pm
Indie Snapshot: Quirky Comedy Edition

This summer's other apocalyptic comedy starring Craig Robinson opens today, along with Violet & Daisy and Free Samples.

Indie Snapshot: In the House

by Ethan Alter April 19, 2013 3:51 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>In the House</i>

Ten years ago, French filmmaker Fran├žois Ozon scored an art-house hit with Swimming Pool, a supremely entertaining thriller and still one of the best movies about novelists and authorship in recent memory. After a decade of highs (Ricky) and lows (5x2), Ozon makes a successful return to similar territory with In the House, which again uses the act of writing as the launching pad for a thoughtful, deftly plotted mystery.

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