Grave of the Fireflies [Blu-ray]
Manufacturer: Section23 Films
As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources. Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares. Beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying. Isao Takahata's powerful antiwar film has been praised by critics wherever it has been screened around the world. When their mother is killed in the firebombing of Tokyo near the end of World War II, teenage Seita and his little sister Setsuko are left on their own: their father is away, serving in the Imperial Navy. The two children initially stay with an aunt, but she has little affection for them and resents the time and money they require. The two children set up housekeeping in a cave by a stream, but their meager resources are quickly exhausted, and Seita is reduced to stealing to feed his sister. Despite his efforts, she succumbs to malnutrition. Seita painfully makes his way back to the crowded city, where he quietly dies in a crowded railway station. The strength of the film lies in Takahata's evenhanded portrayal of the characters. A sympathetic doctor, the greedy aunt, the disinterested cousins all know there is little they can do for Seita and Setsuko. Their resources, like their country's, are already overtaxed: anything they spare endangers their own survival. As in Barefoot Gen, no mention is made of Japan's role in the war as an aggressor; but the depiction of the needless suffering endured by its victims transcends national and ideological boundaries. Takahata's extraordinary film suggests a flower on the grave of countless children who, like Seika and Setsuko, died needlessly in wars they neither fought nor understood. (Unrated: suitable for ages 12 and older, violence, emotionally intense material) --Charles Solomon
Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video Brand: Warner Brothers Model: 2210524
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Kiki's Delivery Service
Manufacturer: Disney Presents Studio Ghibli Brand: Buena Vista Home Video Model: 8919676
Discover KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, a fantastic coming-of-age tale full of magic, adventure and self-discovery from the sensational imagination of Academy Award(R)-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, SPIRITED AWAY). And now you can explore even more of Kiki's amazing world through never-before-seen bonus features -- exclusively in this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD! Kiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch. Venturing out with only her black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world. Bring home KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE from Studio Ghibli and Disney for your family's DVD library and share Kiki's high-flying adventure again and again. In Hayao Miyazaki's magical Kiki's Delivery Service, a 13-year-old girl meets the world head on as she spends her first year soloing as an apprentice witch. Kiki (Kirsten Dunst) is still a little green and plenty headstrong, but also resourceful, imaginative, and determined. With her trusty wisp of a cat Jiji (a gently subdued Phil Hartman) by her side she's ready to take on the world, or at least the quaintly European seaside village she's chosen as her new home. Miyazaki's gentle rhythm and meandering narrative capture the easy pulse of real life (even if his subject is a girl flying high upon a broomstick) and charts the everyday struggles and growing pains of his plucky heroine with sensitivity and understanding. Beautifully detailed animation and the rich designs of the picture-postcard seaside town of red-tiled roofs and cobblestone streets only add to the sense of wonder. This charming animated fantasy is a wholesome, life-affirming picture that doesn't speak down to kids or up to adults. --Sean Axmaker
The Secret of Kells
Manufacturer: Flatiron Film Company Brand: New Video Group Model: 767685229026
Magic, fantasy, and Celtic mythology come together in a riot of color and detail that dazzle the eyes in a sweeping story about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times.In a remote medieval outpost of Ireland, young Brendan embarks on a new life of adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying a book brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the falry Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendans determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil? In contrast to big-budget Hollywood CG features, The Secret of Kells is a welcome reminder of how warm, personal, and compelling traditional drawn animation can be. The story takes place in the eighth century, a perilous time when Viking raiders threatened to destroy Irish civilization. Since his parents were killed by Vikings, 12-year-old Brendan (voice by Evan McGuire) has lived within the walled monastery of Kells under the stern eye of his uncle, Abbot Cellach (Brendan Gleeson). But his life changes when Brother Aidan (Mick Lally) arrives at Kells with a wondrously beautiful but unfinished illuminated manuscript, created to be "a beacon in these dark times." Brendan realizes he wants to become an illuminator and complete the book, despite his uncle's opposition. His decision helps him win the friendship of Aisling (Christen Mooney), a silver-haired wood fairy--and requires him to battle the monstrous pagan god Crom Cruach. The visuals in The Secret of Kells were inspired by the eighth-century manuscript the Book of Kells, which has been preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. Fans of Samurai Jack will recognize another influence on the flat, angular figures and their stylized movements. Brendan's adventures are exciting enough to keep children entertained, while its graphic beauties will delight adult viewers. The Secret of Kells surprised many observers when it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, and it's a film no one interested in animation should miss. (Unrated: suitable for ages 8 and older: some scary imagery and violence.) --Charles SolomonStills from The Secret of Kells (Click for larger image)
The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox Brand: Classic Media
Do you remember when...Santa asked Rudolph to guide his sleigh, Frosty magically came to life on Christmas Eve, and Kris Kringle became Santa Claus? Share the magic of The Original Christmas Classics!Includes 7 Holiday Favorites: Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerWhos got a nose for Christmas? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Just in time for the holidays, here comes Rudolph in the most beloved special of all time! Packed with a sleigh full of memorable songs and unforgettable characters, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer lights up the hearts of young and old alike.Santa Claus is Comin to Town Where does Santas suit come from? Why does he slide down the chimney? Why does he live at the North Pole? The answers to all these questions and the origins of our favorite holiday traditions are revealed in this delightful classic about Kris Kringle, the world s most famous gift giver.Frosty the Snowman Look at Frosty Go! Whats become a bigger holiday tradition than building a snowman? Watching the original Christmas classic, Frosty the Snowman! Grab your scarf, bundle up, and get ready for the incredible adventure of a magical snowman whos got enough personality to win over the whole family. You can t go wrong with Frosty!Frosty Returns Mr. Magoos Christmas Carol Bah Humbug, Mr. Magoo! In this first-ever animated holiday TV special, the bumbling and loveable Mr. Magoo is Ebeneezer Scrooge in a hilarious and heartwarming musical retelling of Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.The Little Drummer BoyThis story has touched the hearts of families everywhere. In this holiday classic, the true spirit of Christmas is revealed when a lonely orphan stumbles upon the birth of the baby Jesus and affirms what the holidays are really about giving and love. Featuring a beautiful soundtrack by the Vienna Boys Choir, this timeless tale of generosity makes the perfect addition to your holiday collection. Cricket on the HearthA delightful, animated musical version of Charles Dickens classic tale, Cricket on the Hearth, tells the story of a poor toymaker and his daughter whom a helpful Cricket named Crocket befriends on Christmas morning. When tragedy strikes the family, it s Crocket who comes to the rescue and restores peace and happiness.
Daria: The Complete Animated Series
Manufacturer: MTV / Paramount Brand: Paramount Model: 7046410
The people of Lawndale just don't get Daria Morgendorffer. She's cool with that. See, Daria was born alienated, and now she's just trying to make it through high school with as little human contact as possible. Popularity, friends, activities... whatever. Daria lacks enthusiasm, but she makes up for it with sarcasm. Includes all five seasons plus both movies! Turns out that Clarissa did not explain it all, like what a sick sad world it is, how much student life sucks, and how the notion that it is great to be young is a storybook fantasy. Daria, which aired on MTV between 1997 and 2002, does not paint a rosy picture, but this so-called outcast for whom suburban life "is one smart-ass joke" gave sardonic voice to the disaffected. "I'm not miserable," Daria states, "I'm just not like them." She's not kidding. Though she's referring to the "interesting idiots" she suffers none too gladly at Lawndale High School, she could well be talking about the women normally paraded on MTV, the hedonistic spring break partiers, serial daters, spoiled sweet sixteeners, and tabloid tarts like Tila Tequila. And then there's Daria, an animated (just barely) character who after five seasons and two movies (both included in this eight-disc set) managed to survive high school with her sense of self unbowed and uncompromised. Daria came a long way, baby. Before she got her own series, she was a recurring character on Beavis and Butt-head, a brainy foil for the two heavy metal imbeciles, whose pet name for her was "Diarrhea." Daria relocated her to Lawndale and introduced her self-absorbed yuppie parents and her airhead, popularity-obsessed younger sister. It also gave her a best friend and kindred misanthropic spirit, Jane Lane. Their deadpan and sarcastic banter has lost none of its incisive edge. The broadly drawn high school stereotypes--vapid cheerleaders, fashion-plate mean girls, corruptible administrators, empty-headed jocks--seem unworthy of their contempt. But the series really hit satiric pay dirt when it addressed "profound and fundamental moral issues of life," such as one episode in which Jane joins the track team out of spite, but becomes a track star, alienating Daria, who is not above enjoying some of the perks of Jane's newfound popularity. When all reverts back to, for want of a better word, normal, Daria remarks, "The system continues, you haven't redeemed yourself, and we're ostracized anyway… Hey, they really are preparing us for the real world." Daria comes to DVD with 99 percent of the original music changed due to rights issues, regrettable, but that shouldn't be a deal breaker, especially for those making Daria's acquaintance. The special features almost compensate. They include an animatic version of the pilot episode "Sealed with a Kick," a series retrospective featuring series creator Glenn Eichler and key members of the voice cast, Daria and Jane episode intros, and a Top Ten video countdown hosted by the duo (videos not included). --Donal...
The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series
Manufacturer: New Video Group Brand: New Video Group Model: 25109142
This 8-DVD set containing all 52 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning animated science-adventure series. Based on the bestselling books, kids everywhere can get charged up about science with this collectible, first-ever The Magic School Bus Complete Series. Ride with Ms. Frizzle, teacher extraordinaire, and her enthusiastic, inquisitive students as their Magic School Bus takes them on cliff-hanging field trips inside the human body, back to prehistoric times, far out into space, and everywhere else in between! Grab a seat and hang on for all four seasons of the longest-running kids science series ever! Inside find a full list of episodes, science topics, experiments and more!
Wolf Children (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Manufacturer: Funimation Brand: FUNIMATION PROD INC Model: 28446677
Experience the latest masterpiece from the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning director of Summer Wars.Hana was a student before she was a mother. She was bright and pretty, and her future held endless possibilities. Then she met a man, who turned out to be a wolf, and together they built a family.Hana loved her mate fiercely, but fate took him from her, leaving her alone with two unusual kids she didn’t know how to raise. Frightened of being discovered, Hana and her wolf children fled to the countryside to build a new life. Raising her little wild things was an adventure. It left Hana bruised, scratched, exhausted, and joyously overwhelmed as her pups grew stronger and wandered further every day. This is a mother’s journey. Teach your children to chase their dreams – and smile through the tears as they disappear into the world in search of who they will become. Hana wasn’t always a mother, but it was always what she was meant to be.
Transformers: The Movie (Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Steelbook) [Blu-ray/Digital]
Manufacturer: Shout! Factory
In Stunning High Definition, From A Brand-New 4K Transfer! The year is 2005…For millennia, the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), have been at war with the evil Megatron (Frank Welker) and his Decepticons over control of their home planet of Cybertron. However, an even greater threat: Unicron (Orson Welles, Citizen Kane), a colossal converting planet that devours everything in its path and is heading right for Cybertron. The only hope is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Will the Autobots be able to save themselves and their home world in time? An all-star cast, including Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Eric Idle (the Monty Python films) and Robert Stack (The Untouchables), brings this inimitable, explosively entertaining Autobot adventure to life. Includes Both Widescreen (1.85:1) And Full Frame (1.33:1) Versions!(Digital Copy redemption expires 9/13/17)
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