Category Archives: Blu-Ray

Thursday, September 13, 2018

We Reveal 7 Secrets from Cult Favorite Hocus Pocus for its 25th Anniversary

Surf And Sunshine
We Reveal 7 Secrets from Cult Favorite Hocus Pocus for its 25th Anniversary
SEPTEMBER 10, 2018

7 Secrets from Cult Favorite Hocus Pocus for its 25th Anniversary

Ready for a serious flashback? Hocus Pocus is 25 years old.

That means it’s been a quarter century since the coven of evil witches played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy were accidentally set free to wreak havoc on Salem, Mass. And it’s been 25 years since a cult favorite was born.

hocus pocus 1140x733 - We Reveal 7 Secrets from Cult Favorite Hocus Pocus for its 25th Anniversary

For many of us, October means grabbing a pumpkin spice latte, loading up on candy corn, hitting the DVR and lining up every single showing of Hocus Pocus so we can just keep watching over and over and over again. It’s become Halloween tradition in many a household thanks to Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween. But just maybe there’s a better way? Read More

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

25 Things We Learned from the ‘Hocus Pocus’ 25th Anniversary Blu-ray

25 Things We Learned from the ‘Hocus Pocus’ 25th Anniversary Blu-ray

25 Things We Learned from the ‘Hocus Pocus’ 25th Anniversary Blu-ray

Hocus Pocus, one of the campiest cult classics ever to be cooked up in a cinematic cauldron, delighted audiences 25 years ago. And as the new anniversary Blu-ray proves, the movie has never lost its magical touch. The story centers on the witchy Sanderson Sisters played uniquely and expertly well by Bette MidlerSarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, who haunt Salem, Massachusetts upon awakening from their 300-year slumber. The only ones who can stop them are, ironically, the ones who woke them up in the first place: teenagers Max (Omri Katz) and Allison (Vinessa Shaw) and Max’s younger sister, Dani (Thora Birch), assisted by a cursed, immortal, talking cat, and a resurrected zombie (Doug Jones). There’s a reason that Freeform plays this flick a bunch of times during their annual 31 Nights of Halloween fest, but now you can pick up a tricked-out copy of your own. Read More

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Blu-Ray Review: “Hocus Pocus” Anniversary Edition

Laughing Place
Blu-Ray Review: “Hocus Pocus” Anniversary Edition
by Alex Reif | Aug 31, 2018

Hocus Pocus Painting, Bette Midler

It’s been 325 years since the Sanderson Sisters were hanged by the Salem townsfolk. That means it’s been 25 years since the witches came back to life in 1993 to terrorize Max, Dani, and Allison on All Hallows Eve. In celebration, Disney is re-releasing Hocus Pocus in a brand-new Anniversary Edition with bonus features for the first time ever on September 2nd!

Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) Sanderson are back for one night of frightful fun in this highly quotable comedy. When teenage Max lights the Black Flame Candle to impress a girl he has a crush on, he accidentally brings three of Salem’s most terrifying witches back to life. Along with a talking cat named Binx, these kids will spend their Halloween trying to stop the witches from sucking the lives of children before sunrise if they want to send these “Hags” back to hell where they belong. Read More

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Friday, August 3, 2018

25th Anniversary ‘Hocus Pocus’ Blu-ray Coming in September With Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook

Bloody Disgusting
25th Anniversary ‘Hocus Pocus’ Blu-ray Coming in September With Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook
Published 53 mins ago on August 3, 2018 By John Squires

Bette Midler, Book, DVD, Blu-Ray, Anniversary


This year marks 25 years of Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, and there’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a fan of the film. Not only is Spirit Halloween going to be carrying an exclusive wave of Sanderson Sisters POP! vinyl toys, but an official sequel book was just released and a 25th anniversary extravaganza is coming to Freeform in October.

Additionally, we’ve just learned that Hocus Pocus is getting a special 25th anniversary Blu-ray this year, with Best Buy getting an exclusive Steelbook

 based on the film’s spell book! Read More

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Criterion’s Blu-ray presentation of The Rose is cause for celebration by fans of the film

The Morton Report
Blu-ray Review: The RoseThe Criterion Collection
June 08, 2015
By Chaz Lipp, Contributor

Dem-3 Photo. Helene Jeanbrau © 1996 cine-tamaris.tif

The Rose launched Bette Midler’s film career upon its release in 1979. It’s not hard to see why she earned an Academy Award nomination and won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Mary Rose Foster. The character is very loosely based on Janis Joplin (the film was originally conceived as a Joplin biopic and the screenplay was initially called Pearl). Midler throws her entire being into an unforgettable performance, viscerally displaying the downward spiral of self-destruction that Rose is trapped in. She’s slowly drinking her life away, taking poor care of her singing voice, and basically drowning in terminal self loathing. The rock concert sequences are some of the most realistic ever staged in a work of fiction, with Midler pushing her blues-drenched vocals to the limit.

In short, definitely see The Rose for Midler’s intense, deeply felt, entirely convincing performance. The Criterion Collection has issued the film in fully-restored condition on Blu-ray, boasting flawless picture and audio. But the two hour and 15 minute running time is overly indulgent. Director Mark Rydell (an Oscar nominee himself, but for On Golden Pond in 1981) takes his sweet time in telling what is (by now anyway) an overly familiar story. Maybe the film hit harder in ’79, but we’ve seen this tale of slowly-wrought, self-induced ruin in many films. Quite a few of them have been about real-life individuals. Maybe if the filmmakers had received the blessing of the Joplin family, they could’ve crafted something more distinctive and emotionally impacting. But as a work of complete fiction, there’s a sense of “who cares?” that permeates the entire film.

Rose BD cover (225×280).jpgAgain, it’s a great testament to Midler’s performance that she’s able to achieve so much with so little. The concert sequences give her plenty to work with, but off stage we don’t ever learn enough about Rose. It’s not that Rydell and company should’ve spoonfed the audience, it’s that we never see Rose do anything interesting. She bickers with her manager (played by Alan Bates). She shows up late to recording sessions, long after everyone has vacated the studio. She gets into awkward situations with bar owners and other musicians (including country singer Billy Ray; an incisive cameo by Harry Dean Stanton). Personally, I found it easier to side with the people who had little to zero patience for the spoiled, perpetually-wasted Rose. On top of Rose being a generally unlikable person, her artistic abilities are questionable as well. She’s an effective blues shouter and knows how to work a crowd, but we don’t see the spark of inspiration that might denote a true artist lurking below the shenanigans.


Criterion’s Blu-ray presentation of The Rose is cause for celebration by fans of the film. The director of photography, Vilmos Zsigmond, personally supervised the new 4K transfer (according to the notes in the booklet). The live concert sequences have the carefully-crafted realism (bordering on inelegance) of a guerrilla documentary. But there’s a real depth to these segments that hasn’t been remotely present in previous home video formats. The entire transfer boasts incredible clarity, but the hazy graininess inherent in Zsigmond’s work is still present. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is also a major upgrade from the previous DVD, especially in terms of overall presence during the musical numbers.

A number of new, Criterion-exclusive supplements should also make fans happy. There’s an interview (18 minutes) with Bette Midler that was taped earlier this year. Director Mike Rydell sat with Criterion for an interview of the same length in late 2014. A longer piece (30 minutes) was also taped in 2014 with Zsigmond. While topics overlap, it’s interesting to hear their varying perspectives. From out of the vaults comes a Today show segment (five minutes) from 1978 shot during the film’s production. There’s also a vintage interview (from 1979; 15 minutes) between critic Gene Shalit and Bette Midler. An audio commentary by director Rydell was recorded in 2003 (and apparently licensed from a previous DVD edition by another distributor).

Critic Paula Mejia contributes a new essay for the Blu-ray booklet. The Criterion Collection’s new restoration of The Rose is also available (separately) on standard DVD.

  • The Rose
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  • The Rose looks and sounds incredible on the new Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
  • The Rose
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    Thursday, May 28, 2015


    By Raymond Benson
    May 28, 2015


    Mark Rydell’s 1979 rock ‘n’ roll drama, The Rose, made Bette Midler a star. While she had already done theatre, some television, and live musical acts, as well as uncredited or tiny bits in some films, Midler broke through to the mainstream with this picture and earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination. There were many who felt that Midler should have won the statue (Sally Field snagged the award for Norma Rae). The point is arguable, for Midler indeed displayed top-notch acting chops as well as singing prowess. She also proved she could rock out.

    The project was originally intended to be a biopic about Janis Joplin, entitled Pearl. When Joplin’s family refused permission, the producers morphed the script to feature a Joplin-like character known as “The Rose”—but it wasn’t Joplin—and turned the story into fiction. That said, the movie is very truthful about rock ‘n’ roll divas, touring, and the heavy toll that this business takes on an artist.

    Once the project was about a fictional character and not Joplin, director Rydell signed on, and he was able to convince Midler to star. This was inspired casting. Midler struts her stuff and oozes sexuality in the concert sequences in front of audiences, explodes with violence in the scenes of conflict with her manager or boyfriend, and she delivers vulnerability and insecurity in the quiet moments. Addicted to alcohol and other drugs, the Rose is on a fast path to self-destruction, and Midler brings the tragedy to life with aplomb.

    Alan Bates plays her British manager with the appropriate adoration of and frustration with his talented, but flawed, client. Frederic Forrest turns in an Oscar-nominated performance for Best Supporting Actor as the somewhat clueless guy The Rose picks up after a disastrous meeting with a songwriter (Harry Dean Stanton) who refuses to give her any more of his tunes. Forrest is terrific as he takes a tremendous amount of shit from the stormy rock star, but then turns around and gives it back to her with the same intensity.

    The music is dynamite—the end title song “The Rose” became a standard for not only Midler, but other torch singers. Rydell’s direction is assured as he stages both huge, arena-sized rock concerts with thousands of extras, along with small, intimate scenes between a couple of actors.

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    Wednesday, May 27, 2015

    The Rose looks and sounds incredible on the new Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

    Slant Magazine
    The Rose
    4.5 out of 5


    The Rose is a prestige studio film that wants to be mistaken as a cry from the bowels of hell, as an authentic, gritty depiction of the tribulations and toll of fame. The film is anchored by an unbridled lead performance from Bette Midler as the titular rocker, whose legion of fans gravitate to her on-stage presence without realizing the consequences of their devotion. Director Mark Rydell and screenwriters Bo Goldman and Bill Kirby construct a fictional character and scenario that have resonances with the lives of musicians like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, which were prematurely ended by the same circumstances facing Rose. In effect, that’s part of the film’s problem: It’s too busy lamenting the consequences of myth to realize that its fetishizing of suffering as part of the artistic process only furthers the myth. Although the film opens with a handful of reporters barging into Rose’s childhood home, seeking answers to why her career came to such an abrupt end, the filmmakers display little interest in deconstructing or interrogating the cult surrounding feminine pursuits of stardom (Gus Van Sant‘s To Die For is perhaps the best instance in American filmmaking of this kind of critique).

    The lack of a cunning and incisive erosion of myth is softened by proficient narrative textures that bolster the film’s bid for hands-on filmmaking, most notably through interactions between Rose, her manager Rudge (Alan Bates), and lover Huston (Fredric Forrest), all of whom Rydell efficiently characterizes through terse dialogue and telling actions. When Rose explains to Rudge that she’s thinking of taking a year off, the interaction is fast and without context; the characters never slip into explaining themselves or stating information that would already be readily familiar to both of them. The exchange is Cassavetes-esque, but Rydell stages it inside of a high-rise, overlooking the streets of Manhattan, adding simplistic visual appeal. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond shoots these evenly lit interiors with the same intimacy that’s given to the film’s extensive concert sequences, though the performances are a much wilder, untamed beast, offering the crowd, the stage, and Rose with a characterizing intent that isn’t simply out to revel in the spectacle. After all, The Rose is a period piece, set in 1969, so that when Rose tells an audience to keep preaching “drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll,” it’s an immediately suspicious assessment of the ethos of an era where apathy and bodily indulgence rules.

    And yet, The Rose is a little late on the draw in its cynicism, almost a decade behind “We blew it” from Easy Rider, or even the indifferent teens of Halloween from a year prior. Rose makes little assessment of politics, and neither do any of her friends and crew. A key scene with established singer Billy Ray (Harry Dean Stanton), in which he bluntly tells her not to cover any more of his music, is the closest Rose comes to confronting herself as an aesthetic, as an artistic choice that fits into a larger tapestry of cultural and social conflict. Similarly, the filmmakers are content to allow the contexts of the period to remain on the periphery; Vietnam shows up sparsely, like when a background radio is heard addressing the conflict or Huston’s divulgence of having been in the army. Yet compared to its New Hollywood brethren, especially in seminal films like Taxi Driver and Nashville, where politics and worries of war are firmly rooted within the proceedings, little about The Rose rises to such a level, instead emphasizing melodramatic conflict and its cast’s method acting chops.

    On that front, Midler’s performance comprises the bulk of the film’s appeal, especially considering nearly all of the concerts were recorded live, with minimal post-production alterations. On stage, as shot by Zsigmond and a host of other well-known cinematographers that were brought on for the shoot, Midler’s mobility and energy are captured in monochromatic reds and blues, almost too finely rendered for a film that wants to constantly assert its working-class ferocity. To the filmmakers’ credit, they let Rose sing two or three songs in a row, without interruption, not just in the film’s nearly half-dozen concert scenes, but even when she’s off stage, as in a lengthy drag-club sequence. Long takes are used frequently, whether in a seven-minute exchange between Rose and Huston in bed or a staggering high-angle shot that frames Rose in front of a football field while using a payphone, before craning down to capture her in close-up. These visual cues, along with Midler’s presence, give the film an immediacy and dynamism, but the end result is rather superficial, myth-driven, and awards-bait-y, best epitomized by Rydell’s decision to use Amanda Broom’s track “The Rose” over the end credits, perhaps the most surefire way to glimpse the film’s rather thorn-less core.


    The digital 4k restoration and DTS-HD audio mix give this transfer of The Rose new, vivacious life that Fox’s 2003 DVD only hinted at. Colors and sounds are much sharper than before, especially in the concert sequences, despite being shot with nine separate cameras over the span of two full-runs each, are no less luminous than the more intimately composed backstage or hotel scenes. Reds and blacks are delicately balanced, allowing for Vilmos Zsigmond’s cinematography to achieve a fluidity that Criterion has taken ample care to preserve. Even more impressive, perhaps, is the audio track, which boasts a depth and fullness that reminds just how much of a behemoth Mark Rydell’s film can be when it’s fully immersed within the confines of its sonic soundscapes, anchored by Bette Midler’s ample bravado.


    There are a plethora of insights from various members of the cast and crew, though the dearth of appraisals from either critics or historians gives the supplements an unwanted, hagiographic tinge that also accompanied Criterion’s release of The Big Chill. A commentary by Rydell is informative to an extent, as he recounts how the film came into being at 20th Century Fox; though The Rosewas originally conceived as a Janis Joplin biopic, he was adamant that it shouldn’t be seen as such. Rydell also talks up Midler’s performance, explaining how the impressive concert scenes were shot and championing his film as an example of the kinds of challenging material Hollywood studios were making in the ’70s. However, Rydell also disappears from the track numerous times, sometimes dropping out to let the film play for several, uninterrupted minutes. As such, the track would’ve been put to better use as a video essay or interview, the latter of which is alsoincluded, and proves somewhat redundant as Rydell explains to filmmaker Charles Dennis several of the same stories/tidbits already available in the commentary. The remaining interviews with Midler and Vilmos Zsigmond are informative, but a bit too light in terms of insight. Midler explains how she was initially opposed to the project because she was uninterested in tampering with Joplin’s legacy, before describing her movements in the film as panther-like and remembering how encouraging Rydell remained throughout the extensive production. Zsigmond discusses how he filmed the concert scenes and kept Midler in frame throughout, while also divulging the logistics behind lighting 10,000 people during a helicopter shot and his preference for anamorphic framing over 16 or 35mm. Also included are two brief segments from The Today Show following the film’s theatrical release and a booklet with an essay by Paula Mejia that explores more of the film’s historical background, including the idea that Rose is a “composite” of several rock stars and celebrities from the 1960s.


    The Rose looks and sounds incredible on the new Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection, though more adventurous viewers may yearn for some thornier supplements.

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    Friday, May 3, 2013

    Oliver And Company Blu-Ray Set For August 6th Release

    Disney‘s animated take on Charles Dickens’ classic is singing and barking its way toward Blu-ray in August.

    In an early announcement to retailers, Disney/Buena Vista is preparing ‘Oliver and Company‘ for Blu-ray on August 6.


    A timeless classic inspired by Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist,” ‘Oliver and Company’ is a fun-filled, action-packed musical adventure voiced and sung by one of the most talented casts in Disney history! The film artfully blends lovable characters, cool songs, and action-packed adventure into a contemporary classic. Disney’s hip, high-energy tale begins in the concrete canyons of New York City, where Oliver, an adorable orphaned kitten, is befriended by Dodger, a carefree mutt with a certain street savoir faire. The mischievous little cat is welcomed by Dodger’s pack of pickpocket pooches, including dim-witted Einstein, ravishing Rita, and live-wire Tito. This ragtag family of misfits runs into trouble when the evil mastermind Sykes — aided by his two daunting Dobermans — schemes to kidnap the lonely little rich girl who just adopted Oliver! It’s up to the brave kitten and his newfound friends to race to the rescue in an electrifying chase through the city’s subway system. The movie features five outstanding original songs and the musical talents of Billy Joel, Bette Midler, and Huey Lewis.

    Specs and a suggested list price have not been revealed yet, but supplements will include: Two Bonus Shorts; Disney Sing-Along Mode; Disney’s Animated Animals; The Making Of Oliver and Company; and more.

    You can find the latest specs for ‘Oliver and Company’ linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where it’s indexed under August 6.

    See what people are saying about this story in our forums area, or check out other recent discussions.


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    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Beaches: Blu-Ray Review ~ Out November 6, 2012

    DVD Talk
    Beaches (Blu-ray) Review
    Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted October 28, 2012

    In 10 Words or Less
    Bette Midler makes half a great Lifetime movie

    Reviewer’s Bias*
    Loves: Paul F. Tompkins as Garry Marshall
    Likes: Bette Midler
    Dislikes: Barbara Hershey
    Hates: Tear-jerker lady movies

    The Movie
    When I reviewed the special edition DVD of Beaches back in 2005, I had just started a new job, I was just under a year away from becoming a father, and my life was considerably different from what it is now. In 2012, I sit here with the Blu-Ray version of the film, with that same cover art, wondering if my opinion on this film has changed along with my life.

    Well, no. Though I now know what to expect when putting this disc in to watch, a considerable change over seven years ago, it’s still the same chick flick/Bette Midler vehicle I saw it as then. I may be a dad to a little girl, who will undoubtedly one day, with tear-streaked cheeks, watch this film for the umpteeth time, but to me it’s still the same movie, which is why this review is pretty much the same. I will say, the ending has far more of an impact on me now, however I find I’m far more susceptible to emotional manipulation by movies since I became a father.

    Beaches starts out by establishinh the foundation of the eternal friendship between C.C. Bloom (Miyam Bialik, “Blossom”) and Hillary Whitney (Marcie Leeds), a street-smart Atlantic City kid and an upper-crust child, respectively. Meeting under the boardwalk, they find they are kindred spirits of sorts, and thus starts a relationship that spans the rest of their lives through letter writing, until they are both adults (now portrayed by Midler and Barbara Hershey.) Finally getting together again, and find their friendship is the only constant in their lives. The prologue, with brilliant work by Bialik and Lainie Kazan as her mother, gives the film a smart-aleck attitude that helps overcome the more heartstring-pulling moments…for the most part.

    From there on out, the two women find life to be a series of struggles, with them switching places, as C.C.’s life explodes into mega-success, and Hillary hits roadblock after roadblock. Through it all, they rely on their friendship to carry them through the challenges that love, marriage and family bring. The friendship is tested often, especially by the dreaded presence of men, but it’s hard to believe that anyone in the audience has a doubt about what will happen in the end. Beaches often risks drifting into melodrama, but Midler’s irreverent presence keeps the movie on an even keel until the plot becomes too heavy to maintain buoyancy.

    Using C.C. and Hillary’s flashback correspondence as the main method of progressing the story, along with an in-the-now framing device, the movie spans 30 years in two hours, which by any measure is moving at lightspeed. There are some problems with moving the story so quickly, in that the plot can seem unnaturally motivated. But within the structure of the plot, there’s no other way the film could have advanced the story. By compressing the lives of these two women, the parallels between them are made obvious and meaningful.

    While the story of these two women is the core of the film, Midler’s musical moments are some of the most entertaining portions of the film. From her character’s start as a jazz singer to her award-winning performances, she gets the opportunity to show off her impressive range as a vocalist. I’ve always considered Midler to be good, based on her roles in Ruthless People and Outrageous Fortune, but Beaches goes to show why she gets the respect she receives. Singing ability like hers and an amazing comic wit have combined to make her a true star.

    At approximately the halfway point, the movie loses its sense of humor and becomes the soap opera C.C. speaks bad about at the time of the change. Life itself is too much for the girls, and the whole film becomes exactly what the first half seemed to strive to avoid. Ironically, it’s that turn-around in the second half that has earned the film its fan base and reputation.

    The Disc
    The film arrives on a single Blu-Ray disc, packed in a standard Blu-Ray keepcase. The disc features the attractive static menu, with options to watch the film, select scenes, adjust the set-up and check out the extras. Audio options include English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, while subtitles are available in English SDH, French and Spanish.

    The Quality
    The 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer on this disc is remarkably better than the mess that existed on the previous Blu-Ray. That said, it still has some issues, as it’s uneven in the handling of grain, with some scenes buzzing and others, mostly darker interior scenes later in the film, looking stunningly clean, to the point where they could have been shot this year. Everything has been given a polish, so the vast majority of the dirt and damage seen on the DVD is gone (with the rare exception of a spot or two. Fine detail has been vastly improved, though there’s some softness here and there, and the color has been made far more natural (and warmer), even if it all looks a touch darker. At its best, it looks fantastic, while at its worst it’s much better than the previous release.

    It’s worth nothing that it appears that the image was opened up on all sides on this release, showing more in all directions. The aspect ratio (listed on the box as 1.85:1) seems to be the same between then two, but the framing seems better on the new transfer.

    The audio is hardly as impressive, still living mainly in the front channel, while the sides and rear serve up some light atmospheric sound and some music enhancement. When C.C. sings, you get an echo in the surrounds, but for the most part, including a DTS track feels like overkill, because it hardly does a thing. There’s nothing problematic about what’s there, but it’s just sort of there,

    The Extras
    Cutting to the chase, everything from the 2005 special edition DVD is included here, but there are no new bonus features.

    The big extra is a feature-length audio commentary by director Garry Marshall. Unfortunately, this breaks my rule that all audio commentary tracks from Marshall must be done by Paul F. Tompkins in character, but that’s just the way it is. The man behind some of the biggest sitcoms ever, as well as most of the best “chick flicks,” Marshall’s commentaries are like sitting at your grandfather’s feet and listening to him tell a story. There’s some good detail shared here, along with some meandering asides, and Marshall shares it all in his usual entertaining style.

    Now better known for her second-showbiz-life on the mega-popular sitcom The Big Bangt Theory, Miyam Bialik gets the chance to reminisce about the film in “Miyam Remembers Beaches”, sitting down to talk about her experiences in making the film. The 12-minute featurette covers her role in quite some depth, and is an interesting look at what being a child actor is like.

    Tribute is paid to Midler’s musical contributions to the film with an extremely short clip from the “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs” retrospective, which put “Wind Beneath My Wings” at No. 44. (Probably-not-very-interesting personal note: I danced to this song with my mother at my wedding reception.) Her Grammy-winning hit gets a longer look with the song’s music video, which was shot in artistic black and white. The song is a classic pop ballad, though the video is a bit bland, even by ballad standards. It’s still a nice addition to the disc.

    A few other bits and pieces of Beaches memories are included to round out the package. Hershey’s screen tests with Midler are interesting to see, as you can get an idea about why she was chosen to star as Hillary, but nothing you’ll watch again. A seven-minute faux trailer, made from blooper reel footage for the film’s wrap party, a Marshal standard, is included as well. The main thing you can take from this item is just how filthy Midler’s mouth really is. It’s worth a look as there are some real laughs. There’s also the film’s theatrical trailer, which stands as an example of how far the art of previews has come.

    The Bottom Line
    Beaches is a true classic at this point, the kind of weepy movie a gal likes to curl up with on a rainy Sunday for the stereotypical “good cry.” It’s hardly worth debating the quality of the filmmaking, as it’s secondary to the emotions involved for fans of this flick. This Blu-Ray is a considerable improvement in terms of the visual quality, and though there are no changes in the contents from the now 7-year-old DVD, it offers a decent package of extras, thanks largely to Marshall’s commentary. If you’re a fan and you’ve never owned Beaches there’s not likely to be a better version down the line at this point.

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    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    Hocus Pocus ~ Ahead Of It’s Time

    Seattle Gay News
    Screen Queen
    Hocus Pocus
    by Chris Azzopardi – SGN Contributing Writer

    Hocus Pocus
    When Hocus Pocus flew into multiplexes on a broomstick in 1993, it was a silly farce that, in hindsight, had lots of Gay cred going for it: Besides Bette Midler, it also starred a pre-Sex and the City/Glee Sarah Jessica Parker. Ahead of its time, it was already mirroring a culture that would become obsessed with using Botox to erase wrinkles. But these three witches (also including Kathy Najimy as the really stupid one) were more resourceful than we were when it came to hiding the fact that they’re actually three centuries old. Just give them the youthfulness of a child and all those years go bye-bye. (Talk about hocus-pocus.) The tricky trio ham it up in this Disney flick – especially Midler, with her serious rabbit grill – that’s as much for kids as it is for diva-obsessed, Carrie Bradshaw-loving Queers who revel in the awesomeness of seeing their girls cause trouble and ride on hard sticks. The hi-def experience certainly makes this movie more magical, but someone should conjure the Spirit of Special Features – they’re nowhere to be found on this Blu-ray.

    For other Screen Queen Reviews: Read More

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