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Review: The Guest

October 17, 2014

By John Corrado

***1/2 (out of 4)

The Guest Poster

Right from the opening title card, which lands on screen with a boom clearly meant to elicit the first jump scare of the film, The Guest positions itself as a throwback to the classic genre busting horror comedies and action thrillers of the 1980s.

And everything that follows lives up to this promise, becoming one of the most purely entertaining films of the year.  Knowingly aware of horror movie cliches, and wringing some pitch black humour out of the situation and appropriately atmospheric October setting, the film seems destined to become a modern Halloween classic.

After closing out the Midnight Madness section of TIFF last month, The Guest finally arrives for a limited run in theatres this weekend, courtesy of D Films.  See this one with a good crowd.

When David (Dan Stevens) arrives on the doorstep of the grieving Peterson family, claiming to have fought with their son who was killed overseas, he is immediately welcomed into their home by the well meaning mother (Sheila Kelley).  The seemingly charming David becomes a confidante to their bullied teen son Luke (Brendan Meyer), but as Halloween approaches and people start mysteriously showing up dead, their crafty young adult daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) becomes suspicious of the new houseguest.

Starting as a drama with comedic undertones, before seamlessly morphing into an exciting action thriller and finally becoming a full stop horror film in the last act, The Guest is simply a great blast of genre filmmaking from director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, the same team behind You’re Next.  This is all expertly handled with creeping suspense and a wicked sense of humour, and the film works because of this carefully balanced tone, culminating with a brilliantly done set piece in a haunted maze that puts mirrors and fog machines to particularly inventive use.

The performances are also top notch.  Dan Stevens is perfectly cast as this former soldier who almost seems too good to be true, and in typical horror movie fashion arouses the suspicion of almost no one, even as it becomes increasingly clear that he’s not exactly who he seems, and his sinister side start to be revealed.  Just watch the way that he flicks open a knife to carve a pumpkin.  Maika Monroe is refreshingly given more to work with than just being the usual scream queen or damsel in distress, rocking the role with a cunning confidence that is refreshing for a horror movie heroine.

From the stylish cinematography to the perfect soundtrack, there are any number of memorable scenes throughout this tense, darkly funny and just scary enough film that is suspenseful and entertaining as hell to watch unfold.  And a film like this wouldn’t be complete without that before credits scene that sends a final shiver down our spines, which The Guest also generously offers.

Review: The Skeleton Twins

October 15, 2014

By John Corrado

*** (out of 4)

The Skeleton Twins Poster

At the beginning of The Skeleton Twins, we watch as failed actor Milo (Bill Hader) drops a picture of his boyfriend into his fish tank, turns up the volume on his stereo and lies down in the bathtub.  The water slowly turns red with the blood of his suicide attempt.

When his estranged twin sister Maggie (Kristen Wiig) gets the call, she is contemplating swallowing the fistful of pills in her own hand, but instead goes to meet her brother at the hospital.  There is painful irony to the fact that his failed attempt to take his own life has potentially just saved hers, forcing them to see each other for the first time in ten years.

Milo goes to stay with Maggie, who never left the town where they grew up and is stuck in a dead end marriage to Lance (Luke Wilson), the sort of well meaning but overbearing and almost annoyingly nice guy whose needs for a happy life don’t go very deep.

Lance desperately wants to start a family, and has probably been dreaming about having kids since he was one himself, but children aren’t in Maggie’s life plan, putting further strain on their crumbling relationship.  Milo takes the opportunity to track down his former English teacher Rich Levitt (Ty Burrell), who left him confused after becoming inappropriately involved back in high school.

Milo and Maggie are both depressed, but they are depressed in the way that real people are as they go about their quiet lives.  They aren’t walking around constantly brooding and sullen, and the often wacky sense of humour that they share is still very much intact, finding time to laugh and joke with each other just like they always have.  But they go about their lives with a quiet desperation, seeking happiness that has been eluding them since high school when their beloved father died, and instead waiting for the next wave of unbearable melancholia to hit them.

I’ve always been fascinated by watching comedic actors do drama.  I think there is an inherent honesty and truth to a lot of humour that lends itself well to being played as drama, and some of the finest sequences in The Skeleton Twins effortlessly walk this tightrope.  A scene at the dentist’s office where laughing gas is inhaled and secrets are revealed immediately springs to mind, as does a night out on Halloween where even the over the top costumes can’t mask the heartfelt truth of their reconnection.  An impromptu dance to Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” makes us simultaneously smile and tear up, a perfectly handled sequence that seems destined to become iconic.

Bill Hader has never been better, imbuing so much depth into this character that in the wrong hands could have just been another “tragic gay cliché.”  It’s a powerful turn that draws us into his pain.  Kristen Wiig also delivers one of her finest performances, portraying a broken woman trying desperately to hold herself together for both her brother and husband.  The two have a natural and very believable chemistry as brother and sister, easily and authentically falling into the sort of shorthand that real siblings share, to deliver a pair of deeply affective and nuanced performances that complement each other quite nicely.

Although some viewers will see the actors on the poster and come expecting comedy, and there are some delightful moments of levity, The Skeleton Twins is in fact a quiet film that cuts deep.  This is a touching and sometimes heartbreakingly believable human drama that rings true every step of the way, and the emotions of this very good little film linger long after the credits roll.

Blu-ray Release: White Christmas

October 14, 2014

White Christmas Blu-ray

Today, Paramount is releasing a Diamond Anniversary Edition of the beloved 1954 holiday classic White Christmas on Blu-ray.  After the war, song and dance men Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) team up with the popular sister act of Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera Ellen), to perform together and help save the Vermont inn owned by their former general (Dean Jagger).

Featuring a selection of Irving Berlin’s most beloved songs, including the Oscar-nominated “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” and the Oscar-winning title track originally heard in the 1942 Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire vehicle Holiday Inn, White Christmas is an entertaining musical that still holds up after sixty years.

This is the sort of film that lends itself well to repeated viewings, and this beautiful new edition would make a wonderful Christmas gift, complete with sparkly red and white packaging and a very enjoyable bonus CD featuring the cast singing a dozen holiday classics.

The Blu-ray boasts sing along lyrics on thirteen songs, five TV appearances by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye including a virtual duet with Michael Bublé, the 1954 UNICEF documentary Assignment Children with Goodwill Ambassador Danny Kaye, and more.  Also included is commentary by Rosemary Clooney and over an hour of previously released featurettes.

White Christmas is 120 minutes and rated PG.

-John Corrado

Blu-ray Release: Kingpin

October 14, 2014

Kingpin Blu-ray

Today, Paramount is releasing a new edition of the 1996 comedy Kingpin, for the first time on Blu-ray.  After losing his hand and promising career, washed up bowler Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) starts training Amish prodigy Ismael (Randy Quaid) to compete at a national competition, and hopefully defeat his sleazily successful rival, Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray).

Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, right in between their iconic classics Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin is still a lot of fun.  This is a very entertaining and often delightfully ridiculous sports comedy that offers plenty of big laughs, and is worth seeing for the hilarious performances of Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and of course Bill Murray.

The Blu-ray includes two cuts of the film, as well as commentary with the Farrelly Brothers and a new featurette.

The Theatrical Version is 113 minutes and rated PG, and the Extended Version is 117 minutes and rated 14A.

-John Corrado

Review: St. Vincent

October 13, 2014

By John Corrado

***1/2 (out of 4)

St. Vincent Poster

“A saint is a human being we celebrate for the sacrifices that they make, for their commitment to making the world a better place,” Father Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd) tells his Catholic school class in the wonderful dramedy St. Vincent.

And this definition of a saint not only provides inspiration for the name of the film, but also justifies why the unlikely title character deserves to be elevated to that status.  After premiering at TIFF, St. Vincent opens this week in limited release.

After moving to a new neighbourhood with his single mother Maggie (Meilssa McCarthy), preteen Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) finds an unlikely mentor and friend in Vincent (Bill Murray), the ornery older man who lives next door.  Vincent is a depressed Vietnam war veteran who spends his days drinking, making bets at the racetrack, and sleeping with pregnant stripper Daka (Naomi Watts), but there is also a genuinely caring side to him that Oliver starts to uncover.

Maggie needs someone to watch Oliver after school, and Vincent needs money, so he agrees to babysit.  Vincent is the kind of man who takes a kid gambling and to hang out at the bar, while finding ways to justify these activities as important life lessons.  Oliver is the sort of likeable kid who sees the best in everybody, and gives Vincent a chance even when others have gotten fed up with him.  Vincent becomes an odd sort of confidante to Oliver, teaching him how to stand up for himself against bullies, and watching their unlikely friendship develop is one of the many joys that the film offers.

Director Theodore Melfi nails the perfect tone in the entertaining and touching St. Vincent, moving seamlessly between comedy and drama, with a unique cast of characters that we really come to love as more layers of depth are revealed throughout the film.  There are a lot of comedic moments throughout, but the nicely written screenplay also takes some genuinely moving dramatic turns, and it’s hard not to get choked up during a climactic scene that justifies the title character’s nomination for sainthood.

This is his first leading role since the quietly revelatory Broken Flowers in 2005, and Bill Murray is in top form in St. Vincent, offering plenty of expectedly quotable lines, but also stealing our hearts as the poignant backstory of his character is slowly revealed.  As he has proven so many times over the years, including with his Oscar-nominated performance in the modern classic Lost in Translation, the actor has a genuine gift for playing characters who hide their depression through sardonic wit.

Bill Murray has an incredible screen presence, and so much of this character is brought to life through his small mannerisms, like the way that he moves about his yard while mumbling along to Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm” during an oddly mesmerizing sequence.  Filled with so many great moments like this, St. Vincent is a perfect showcase for his comedic talents and genuine dramatic ability, and his performance is matched by some wonderful work from newcomer Jaeden Lieberher, who easily holds his own alongside the now legendary actor.

Melissa McCarthy is quite affecting in her first dramatic role, providing laughs with her sharp delivery of the lines, but also delivering many genuinely touching moments.  A heartrending scene where she breaks down talking about how hard she works trying to provide the best life for her son, is a career highlight for the actress.  Naomi Watts shines in perhaps her best and most scene stealing supporting work since I Heart Huckabees ten years ago, and Chris O’Dowd also gets some nice moments.

I laughed out loud during St. Vincent, but I also teared up during several scenes, which in my opinion makes for one of the best kinds of movies.  This is a warm film that is just edgy enough to get away with being so bighearted, a feel good film that leaves us feeling better about the world, celebrating the people who dedicate their lives to helping others and making the planet a better place.  It’s also a celebration of Bill Murray, who has done all of these things over the years, and that’s reason enough to see St. Vincent.

Three Views: The Judge

October 10, 2014

The Judge Poster

The Judge – A Warner Bros. Release

http://thejudgemovie.com

Release Date: October 10th, 2014
Rated 14A for coarse language
Running Time: 141 minutes

David Dobkin (director)

Nick Schenk (screenplay)
Bill Dubuque (screenplay)

Thomas Newman (music)

Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer
Robert Duvall as Joseph Palmer
Vera Farmiga as Samantha Powell
Billy Bob Thornton as Dwight Dickham
Vincent D’Onofrio as Glen Palmer
Jeremy Strong as Dale Palmer
Dax Shepard as C.P. Kennedy
Leighton Meester as Carla Powell
Ken Howard as Judge Warren
Emma Tremblay as Lauren Palmer

The Judge

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) and Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall) in The Judge.

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The Judge Review By John Corrado

*** (out of 4)

After being chosen as the opening night selection at TIFF, The Judge is being released in the middle of awards season, and this well made if overstuffed film can’t quite live to these lofty expectations.  But the excellent performances of legendary actors Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, as a father and son with painful memories struggling to forgive each other and confront their difficult past, are enough to make this lengthy legal drama worth seeing.

When his mother passes away, hotshot Chicago lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downy Jr.) returns to his hometown in Indiana, where him and his brothers (Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong) where raised under the iron fist of their father, esteemed local judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall).  But when blood is found on the front of Joseph’s car, and a man that he sentenced over twenty years ago is found dead on the side of the road, a court case mounts questioning whether this was murder or manslaughter.  A bumbling local lawyer (Dax Shepard) is hired, but Hank ends up having to defend his father against the ruthless prosecutor (Billy Bob Thornton).

The film feels overly long at 140 minutes, and at times there is simply too much here, with some of the characters and subplots seeming clichéd.  There is a presumably autistic brother, a high school girlfriend (Vera Farmiga) still bitter from a bad breakup, a pending divorce and serious illness to contend with among other things, which all leads to heightened histrionics between the family.  It’s not that none of these elements work, because some of them are affective and even touching, just that they often distract from the tight two person drama at hand.

Although there are a few tonally off moments, like the misjudged opening scene where Hank pees on a rival lawyer, former comedy director David Dobkin does a fine job helming his first drama and delivers some very well staged sequences.  But it’s ultimately the excellent work of Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. that is the glue holding The Judge together, and this is a fine opportunity to watch these two master actors go head to head.  Backed up by a rock solid supporting cast, the uniformly strong performances are reason enough to make the film worth your time.

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The Judge Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

The opening night film at TIFF last month, The Judge stars Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a top-class lawyer, who goes back to his childhood town of Carlinville, Indiana, for his mother’s funeral.  While he’s there, his estranged father and local judge in the town (Robert Duvall), is arrested for a hit-and-run, and Hank has to stay behind to defend him.

Dealing with issues he tried to run from in the past, including the strained relationship with his father, as well as facing his two brothers after years of being away makes Hank wonder why he is even doing this.  But as the film goes on, we see that he cares enough about his family to want to win this case, even if at times it seems like his father is fighting him every step of the way.

There is a lot going on in this movie.  Ex-girlfriends, divorce, estranged parents, grief, a brother with a disability, and so on and so on.  At times, it seems like a little too much, and is clearly a contributor to the film’s slightly excessive two hour, twenty minute running length.  But overall, the strong performances by Downey Jr. and Duvall make up for it enough for this to be a watchable – if at times slightly melodramatic – film that centres around the relationship between a father and son.

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The Judge Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

The Judge is the latest among recent films such as August: Osage County and This Is Where I Leave You, featuring a dysfunctional family reunited in their home town for a parent’s funeral.

Small town Indiana Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall) has just lost his wife of fifty years. His son Hank (Robert Downey Jr.), an arrogant Chicago defence lawyer for unsavoury clients estranged from his tough love father since childhood, returns reluctantly to a cool welcome from the Judge. Hank has two brothers back home: Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio), a local merchant, and Dale (Jeremy Strong), who is developmentally challenged with a special interest in 8 mm home movies. Hank also meets up with his high school sweetheart Sam (Vera Farmiga).

Once his mother is in the ground, Hank can’t get out of town fast enough, but when his father is charged with murder he has to come back to defend him. A vile local man recently released after a twenty year murder sentence imposed by the Judge was found run down by his car. At first, his father refuses Hank’s help, but when a local lawyer (Dax Shepard) is clearly outclassed by the city prosecutor Dwight Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton), who has taken the case as a grudge match against his former rival, Hank is taken on for the fight which will change their lives forever.

Co-written (with Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque) and directed by David Dobkin, The Judge is a strong story delivered by an excellent cast. Every element, from the fine production shot by Spielberg’s cinematographer Janusz Kaminski to the Thomas Newman score, is first rate, with fine details and maturity that an intelligent audience will appreciate.

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Consensus: Although some will find the film overlong and the story somewhat clichéd, The Judge is a classically made legal drama that features excellent performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, as well as a strong supporting cast. ***1/4 (out of 4)

Review: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

October 10, 2014

By John Corrado

**1/2 (out of 4)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Poster

Because of the title, it would be very easy to take a cheap shot at Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and just use those words to describe the film.  But I’m not going to do that, because this new Disney movie is actually a lot better than those title adjectives might suggest.

To be sure, this is a kids comedy meant mainly to entertain the preteen demographic.  But as far as mindless family entertainment goes, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is not only watchable, but also surprisingly enjoyable.  The film opens this weekend.

Feeling like nobody understands the rotten luck he’s been having, eleven year old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) makes an early birthday wish that his family would know what it’s like to have a truly bad day, and soon that’s exactly what they experience.

His parents Ben (Steve Carell) and Kelly (Jennifer Garner) end up oversleeping.  His sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) wakes up sick, which threatens her role in the school play.  His brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) finds a giant zit on his forehead, before he’s supposed to bring his moody girlfriend (Bella Thorne) to the prom.  Then there’s baby Trevor, who somehow ends up eating a bright green permanent marker.  And that’s just the beginning of their bad luck, as things spiral out of control.

This big screen expansion of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day makes some changes from the classic 1972 picture book by Judith Viorst that I have fond memories of from my own childhood.  But the morals and themes of the original story have thankfully stayed intact, and if this helps keep the book as a bedtime favourite, then I’m okay with that.  This isn’t to say that all of the updated gags land with a laugh.  There are some groaners, and a few too many scenes of gross out humour.  But there are also things that I genuinely liked about the film.

Newcomer Ed Oxenbould has an easily likeable screen presence, reminiscent of young Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story, even if the film itself doesn’t reach the level of that family classic.  Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner seem to be having fun taking a break from their respective serious work in markedly more mature films like Foxcatcher and Men, Women & Children, and they make a pair of amusing comic foils that keep things moving.  There is even a brief cameo from Dick Van Dyke, playing himself in a small role and getting maybe the funniest scene in the film.

Although much of the humour is geared at kids, there are several moments that made me smile and even chuckle.  It’s not likely to become a classic, but Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day provides harmless all ages entertainment, with fast paced direction from Miguel Arteta, and a sweet message over the obligatory happy ending.  It’s more like Alexander and the Watchable, Enjoyable, Pretty Good and Surprisingly Okay Day.

Review: Mommy

October 8, 2014

By John Corrado

**** (out of 4)

Mommy Poster

“We still love each other, right?”  Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) asks his mother Diane (Anne Dorval) during a pivotal dramatic moment in Mommy.  “That’s what we’re best at, buddy,” she tells him, and these words become the heart of the story.

The fifth film from Quebec director Xavier Dolan, who at just 25 is carving out quite an impressive career for himself, Mommy is his best work yet.  This is an accomplished and brilliantly acted drama about the love between a determined mother and her difficult son, that pulsates with raw emotion and deep feeling.

The film sets things up with a fictional prologue telling us that after the 2015 federal election, the Canadian government has passed a controversial law allowing parents to have their mentally ill children institutionalized against their will.  And in this near future society, the choice to raise a challenging child on your own doesn’t seem to be a very popular one anymore.

When we first meet Diane, she is involved in a minor car accident on the way to pick up Steve from a youth detention centre, where he got in trouble for setting a fire in the cafeteria, figuratively going through hell for her son.  Diagnosed with severe ADHD and attachment disorders, Steve is a difficult teenager.  He can be upbeat and charming, kind and caring in well meaning if sometimes inappropriate ways.  But he also has a dark side, exploding in violent outbursts that are getting harder for his widowed single mother to handle.

But she is determined to make a better life for Steve, homeschooling him until he can get back on his feet, even at the expense of finding a much needed job.  They find an unexpected friend and tutor in their quiet and stuttering neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clément), who seems lost in her own home and loosens up in their presence.  The three forge a connection together, but like everything else with Steve, things can only be good for so long before everything hits the fan all over again.

Always believable, sometimes heartbreakingly so, Mommy is one of the best and most empathetic portrayals of mental illness that I’ve seen.  We see the compassion that Steve exudes for those around him when he’s not in the middle of a rage, and also the guilt that he feels for not being able to control his violent outbursts.  The choices that Diane makes as a mother are also painted in a deeply understanding light, showing the fierce love that she has for her son, even when she makes some tough decisions concerning his welfare.

And their love is a fierce one, a bond that goes deeper than any outsider could possibly understand, because their relationship is often a volatile one.  The swear words and insults that they spew are a natural part of their communication, and sometimes these words are literally yelled in each other’s faces during increasingly tense verbal and physical interactions.  But we never get the sense that they don’t love each other.  They talk and behave like real people might in this situation, and the screenplay treats them respectfully, showing them as flawed and broken, but also doing their best despite their challenges.

The performances are outstanding.  Antoine-Olivier Pilon is simply stunning, raw and angry, but also charismatic and funny.  It’s a bravura performance that affectively plays to our emotions, winning us over with his playful side, before exploding and taking our breath away during a violent episode or quiet dramatic moment.  Anne Dorval gives an equally committed and believable performance, and the passionate and explosive chemistry between them is compelling to watch.  Suzanne Clément delivers a quietly touching supporting performance that nicely complements the two leads.

Behind them all is Xavier Dolan, a director with complete command over the screen.  Framed within a perfect square, Mommy uses this unique aspect ratio as a metaphor for the story in some surprising and powerful ways.  The characters are quite literally boxed into their life together, struggling to break free and fill the blackness that surrounds them.  The cinematography is mesmerizing, with the unique framing and confident use of slow motion signifying a director at the top of his game.

The film also uses music in some exciting ways, putting songs like Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” and Oasis’s “Wonderwall” to unforgettable use, the former playing right at the end and the latter during a beautifully edited montage.  A kitchen dance scene set to Celine Dion’s “On ne change pas” is a brilliantly staged sequence, a rare cathartic moment for the characters where they are completely free to just let loose and be themselves.  The lyrics of these songs give added poignancy to the story, and a dramatic trip to the karaoke bar provides another powerfully charged scene.

The final moments of Mommy are some of the most inspiring and exhilarating of any film this year, ending on a perfect note that represents the hope and resilience that these characters cling to, even when there is nothing else.  This is a blindingly powerful and deeply emotional drama about the undying love between mother and son, that soars to operatic heights.

Blu-ray Release: Million Dollar Arm

October 7, 2014

Million Dollar Arm Blu-ray

Today, Disney is releasing their highly recommended sports movie Million Dollar Arm on Blu-ray.  With excellent performances from Jon Hamm and the entire cast, this is an incredibly entertaining and inspirational crowdpleaser that has something for everyone.  We reviewed the film in theatres back on May 16th, and our overall consensus was:

“Directed by Craig Gillespie from a nicely written Thomas McCarthy screenplay, Disney’s Million Dollar Arm is an incredibly entertaining and inspirational baseball movie that shares a feel good true story, with vibrant cinematography and an excellent cast. ***1/2 (out of 4)”

The Blu-ray includes outtakes, deleted scenes and an alternate ending, as well as several featurettes on the true story and the rousing music of A.R. Rahman.

Million Dollar Arm is 124 minutes and rated PG.

-John Corrado

Blu-ray Release: Sleeping Beauty

October 7, 2014

Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray

Today, Disney is releasing their 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty on Blu-ray, as part of their Diamond Edition series.  When Princess Aurora (Mary Costa) is cursed by the jealous Maleficent (Eleanor Audley), she is sent to live in the forest with three kind fairies, until her sixteenth birthday when it’s up to Prince Phillip (Bill Shirley) to finally break the curse.

Taking almost the entire 1950s to produce, this was clearly a passion project for the studio, and the love and care that went into the studio’s first 70mm production is still evident after all these years.  From the switching pink and blue dress to the woodland creatures playing prince, this really is quite a charming and lovely little film, and the gorgeous ultra widescreen animation looks spectacular on Blu-ray.

With the iconic villain brought back to life by Angelina Jolie earlier this year in Maleficent, which plays as a darkly fascinating counterpart to the relative innocence of the classic fairy tale, this new edition offers the perfect opportunity for Disney fans to revisit Sleeping Beauty.

The Blu-ray includes three deleted scenes and several old and new featurettes, as well as the previously released documentary Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty.  There’s also a commentary track with film historian Leonard Maltin, supervising animator Andreas Deja and John Lasseter.

Sleeping Beauty is 75 minutes and rated G.

-John Corrado

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