October 28, 2016
        "Live By Night', "Passengers", and "Silence": What still hasn't screened this year?                Justin Timberlake to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards: “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!”                Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"        

“James and the Giant Peach” comes to Blu-Ray

By Sean O’Connell

HollywoodNews.com: HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:

“James and the Giant Peach” (Special Edition Blu-ray)
Henry Selick’s “James and the Giant Peach” has found its way into regular rotation at the O’Connell house, which is both unexpected and understandable.

Unexpected, I say, because if one of Selick’s gorgeous, stop-motion-animated masterpieces would find its way to the top of a viewing pile, it would be the brilliant “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Also, with so many beloved Pixar titles from which to choose, it’s irregular to see another non-Pixar title celebrated by the O’Connell sons.

And yet, Selick’s fable about a young orphan named James (Paul Terry) and his journey – by peach – to Manhattan has captivated my boys to the point where they regularly pop “Peach” into the DVD player. And that was before Disney cleaned up Selick’s original print for Blu-ray consumption.

If I’m being honest, I don’t see a significant improvement over Selick’s visuals from the older DVD release to the new Blu-ray … particularly in the live-action opening shots where Henry is tolerating his terrible aunts Spiker (Joanna Lurnley) and Sponge (Miriam Margolyes). But the scenes with Henry accompanying Centipede (Richard Dreyfuss), Miss Spider (Susan Sarandon), Earthworm (David Thewlis) and the rest of the animated insects aboard the flying fruit are as enchanting today as they were nearly 15 years ago.

As with most of their Blu-ray “Combo” packs, Disney has tricked out “Peach” for dedicated fans. A new “Spike the Aunts” interactive game can be found on the first disc, while extra supplements such as a “Making of” and a Randy Newman music video have been carried over from previous releases for disc two. “Peach” does come with a standard DVD release for regular DVD players, yet the one thing missing is a digital file for your portable devices. Still, if “Peach” isn’t in your collection, now is a great time to add it.

The movie – ***1/2 out of 4
The DVD – *** out of 4

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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