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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Tue
Hi: 27
Lo: 19
Wed
Hi: 32
Lo: 23
Thu
Hi: 27
Lo: 15
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Disney releases "The Pirate Fairy" on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital combo pack on Tuesday.
Disney releases "The Pirate Fairy" on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital combo pack on Tuesday.

"The Pirate Fairy" is a fun, new tale from Neverland

In 1953, the animators at Walt Disney studios brought "Peter Pan" to the big screen, introducing theater-goers to Neverland.

On Tuesday, the studio releases "The Pirate Fairy" on a Blu-ray, DVD and digital combo pack, telling another tale from a place that’s beyond the second star to the right and straight on till morning.

I had the opportunity to screen the home entertainment film over the weekend.

With swashbuckling, fairy pixie dust, Tinker Bell and Skull Rock, this latest adventure is a G-rated family film meant for some of the youngest fans in the household. The world of Pixie Hollow gets little bit larger, and the story a bit bigger in scope as Zarina (voiced by "Mad Men’s" Christina Hendricks) leaves her home when a wild idea gets out of hand.

The ambitious dust-keeper becomes captain of a motley crew of pirates who is made to believe life is better if she can help get the entire ship and its crew to fly like the fairies. Tinker Bell and her friends go after Zarina to recover the blue pixie dust and bring their seemingly lost friend home.

As far as children's films go, this one was a delight with enough heart at the core of the story to keep fans both young and old interested in watching the film. At one point, the fairies have their abilities mixed, and learn the pros and cons that their new-found powers bring.

While not as layered as some of the better Pixar films that have enough entertainment for the adults as well as the children, the young ones will find enough in this movie to watch it multiple times.

I thoroughly enjoyed one of the behind-the-scenes features on the Blu-ray that showed some of the voice actors bring the characters to life. One character in particular – cabin boy James – has a more sinister future in store as an arch nemesis of Peter Pan.

Actor Tom Hiddleston, better known for playing Loki in Marvel’s "The Avengers" and "Thor" films, has a great range of voice to play the seemingly polite cabin boy as well as the siniste…

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"Frozen" is the first Disney animated feature to hit the $1 billion mark at the box office.
"Frozen" is the first Disney animated feature to hit the $1 billion mark at the box office.

Disney's "Frozen" makes a billion, entertains millions

If you have children in your home, chances are you’ve seen Disney’s "Frozen" at least a dozen times already. The latest full-feature from Disney Animation was released on Blu-ray and DVD last week.

With the beautifully-drawn characters and landscapes, humorous characters and well-written and performed songs – chances are you won’t be able to just "Let it Go" anytime soon.

This movie was actually available for viewing at home before its March 18 release date. "Frozen" was a studio-first with a digital download before home entertainment media by disc was available online or at retail outlets.

The film with the voice cast of Kristen Belll, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad is on its way to becoming one of the biggest hits at the box office.

As it is still available at many theaters four months after its release, and continuing ticket sales world-wide, "Frozen" was the first Disney animated film to break the billion dollar mark.

This, the 53rd movie in the Disney animated classics line, has made more than $1.032 billion at the box office and is ranked 12th on the all-time box office take list. The Blu-ray and DVD combo pack – with a retail price at under $20 – is on its way to hitting records for sales in the home entertainment arena as well.

I had the opportunity to screen the Blu-ray, and not only enjoyed the film for what it was, but was fascinated by the behind-the-scenes story "D’frosted: Disney’s Journey From Hans Christian Anderson to Frozen." It helped set the tone of the film and the story that directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee wanted to tell. Lee is also the first female director of a Disney Animation feature, and the screen writer for both recent hits from the studio with "Frozen" and "Wreck-It Ralph."

The original theatrical short "Get a Horse" with Mickey Mouse and friends is a fun little gem found among the bonus features. The Top 40 hit song "Let it Go" is also another great boost.

OnMilwaukee.com’s film writer Matt M…

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Vince Vaughn's David Wozniak learns he's the father of 533 children in "Delivery Man."
Vince Vaughn's David Wozniak learns he's the father of 533 children in "Delivery Man."

There's a lot of heart at the center of "Delivery Man"

A few months ago – well into 2013 – movie trailers were touting the next great comedy featuring Vince Vaughn, called "Delivery Man."

I groaned.

Sure, I enjoyed Vaughn's fast-talking skill with wit and humor that allows the actor to pull off the ability to be immature and rooted for at the same time. We saw that in "Dodgeball" and "Old School." It was also there, but limited, in "Wedding Crashers" and "Couples Retreat."

To be honest, "Delivery Man" went to the pass list. When I was asked to review the film for the Blu-ray and DVD release today, I gave the story a chance to entertain as I was expecting more of the same form Vaughn.

When Matt Mueller reviewed the theatrical release, he watched it after taking in the original French version "Starbuck" at the Milwaukee Film Festival. He said the American version of the film should have been marked "return to sender." It simply didn’t live up to the first telling of the tale with dark humor and a true heart at its core.

When viewing the film for the first time on Blu-ray, I see where the story was going, wanting to take the viewer on a journey of redemption of a youthful man who has good intentions, but finds his loser self in tough situations.

Vaughn’s character David Wozniak makes a number of donations at a sperm bank and ends up siring 533 children – some of them organized in a lawsuit to find out the real identification of the man only known as "Starbuck."

The money earned from the donation paid to send the family to Venice for the honeymoon his parents never were able to have. Yet the consequences come to haunt, or change him, some 20 years later.

But going in with low expectations, I actually came away liking the film, for the heart of the relationships developed as Vaughn’s Starbuck comes to terms with who he is and who he’d like to be.

Co-star Chris Pratt, who is staring in the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy," is the bright spot of the film, offering some great comedic moments as the work…

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"Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher" anime comes out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy on Tuesday.
"Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher" anime comes out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy on Tuesday.

Marvel comic characters take title roles in new anime feature

When storylines overlap into the life and times of multiple characters through a number of short pieces, something bigger is created.

In the Marvel comic book world, it doesn’t matter if the medium is print, panels, animation, or live action on the large and small screens. A universe has been created and has entertained millions of people over a number of decades.

That tradition continues for the latest Sony Home Theater release of "Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher" out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy on Tuesday. Marvel, working with Japanese animation experts at Madhouse, get to tell a deeper story involving two of the more dark heroes on the Disney-owned Marvel-created character roster.

I had the opportunity to screen the DVD over the weekend.

Those who have been introduced to the Marvel world through the latest films of "Iron Man" or the "Avengers" will recognize the red-headed super spy Natasha Romanoff and her persona of a deadly assassin and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent known as the Black Widow. In this direct-to-video presentation, Romanoff apprehends The Punisher, Frank Castle, after he interferes with a deeper operation with his vigilante killing spree.

The role of the Punisher has been played by different actors in different live-action movies, including Dolf Lundgren, who is better known as the Russian boxer on "Rocky 4" and the main character He-Man in 1987's "Masters of the Universe."

But if you are familiar with the comic books, the character in "Avengers Confidential" follows the graphic novel version a little closer for this former – and always – Marine and New York Police Officer who takes vengeance as the judge, jury and executioner after witnessing the killing of his wife and children.

Although these two characters have only teamed up a couple of times in the comic books, their character traits are perfect for re-imagination of the heroes in a modern Japanese anime style. Because of the blood on their hands from darker times of th…

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