New DVD Releases: Week of 5-31-10

alice_in_wonderland_poster_1109bThis week’s new releases (of which there are many) include Tim Burton’s adaptation of a childhood favorite, a DVD set of Elvis’ most popular films, a documentary exploring Clint Eastwood’s working relationship with Warner Brothers, the recent remake of a horror classic and much more. Let’s see what new DVD and Blu-ray offerings are making their debut this week.

Alice in Wonderland

Part live action, part computer animated, Tim Burton’s take on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale follows 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) as she leaves her engagement party to follow the White Rabbit into Underland. Unable to remember her previous visit there, she encounters the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), and gets involved in a battle to dethrone the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) that allows her to rediscover her inner hero. With Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas. Obviously this was a huge blockbuster smash, but many left the theaters feeling ambivalent towards the film’s thin story and grating visuals. What did you think? Was it another masterful Burton/Depp collaboration, or are they both just going through the motions at this point?

Elvis 75th Birthday Celebration

This year marks what would have been Elvis 75th birthday. While the King may be gone, his legacy lives on in this DVD set that showcases some of his greatest films. In the frontier drama “Flaming Star” (1960), Elvis Presley gets a rare chance to flex his dramatic muscles as a half-breed forced to choose between white settlers and his mother’s Kiowa people when tensions mount. With Barbara Eden, Steve Forrest, Delores Del Rio; directed by Don Siegel (“Dirty Harry”). Then, “Frankie and Johnny” (1966) stars Presley as a 19th-century Mississippi riverboat worker who spurns lover Donna Douglas. With Harry Morgan, Nancy Kovack; songs include “Everybody Come Aboard,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and the title tune. Seven-disc set also includes “Love Me Tender,” “Wild in the Country,” “Follow That Dream,” “Kid Galahad” (1962), and “Clambake.”

The Eastwood Factor

Clint Eastwood’s 35-year association with Warner Bros. Studios, as both an actor and a director, is the subject of this revealing documentary from renowned film historian Richard Schickel. Interviews, movie clips, and visits to movie locations and Clint’s hometown of Carmel give new insight into a true Hollywood icon and his work in front of the camera and behind. Narrated by Morgan Freeman. Looking for another way to celebrate Clint’s 80th? Then check this out for some insight into the life of the film legend.

Clint Eastwood Collection

The Eastwood celebration continues with this ten-disc Blu-ray set that includes “Where Eagles Dare,” “Kelly’s Heroes,” “Dirty Harry,” “The Rookie” (1990), “Unforgiven” (1992), “Absolute Power,” “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” and “Gran Torino (Create-A-Caption).”

Checkout this week’s – Movie Poll: Who’s Your Favorite Clint Eastwood Cowboy?

In celebration of Clint Eastwood’s birthday MovieFanfare takes a look at his Underrated Films

The Wolfman

Thrilling special effects highlight this atmospheric remake of the 1941 horror classic. Traveling actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is bitten by a savage werewolf when he’s called back to his family’s English estate following his brother’s brutal murder. Transformed into a ravenous monster, Talbot is forced to confront his estranged father’s (Anthony Hopkins) connection to the beast. Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Geraldine Chaplin co-star.

Peanuts: 1970s Collection, Vol. 2

There’s no reason to say “good grief” with this two-disc set that includes the Peanuts specials “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown,” “You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown,” “It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown,” “It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown,” “What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown,” and “You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown.

Life

From the same BBC and Discovery Channel team that brought you “Planet Earth” and “The Blue Planet” comes this remarkable nature series four years in the making, highlighting the struggles of creatures and plants from all over the world as they fight to evolve successfully in an ever-changing world. There are two versions of this release available, one with narration by Oprah Winfrey and another with narration by David Attenborough that is available here.

Mister Ed: The Complete Third Season

A horse is a horse of course of course, unless it is this four-disc DVD set that features all 26 episodes of the classic TV show’s third season–including “Ed Gets Amnesia,” “Horse Sense,” “Wilbur the Masher,” Ed the Zebra” and “The Blessed Event.”

The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Vol. 2

Twelve dramas–including “Golden Acres,” “Sign of the Zodiac,” “Frightened Doll,” “Little Big Mouth,” and “A Man’s Game”–are presented in a two-disc set. The fine supporting cast includes Joan Blondell, Dan Duryea, Buddy Ebsen and Wallace Ford.

For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.

Here’s a look at last week’s New DVD Releases.