Pixar Short Films Collection 2, Copper Season One, Step Up Revolution

Thankfully we live in an age when even curiosities like computer-animated shorts can find a home on high-def disc, alongside a fascinating new series that might not have been available in your cable/satellite channel lineup. And of course, Blu-ray 3D lets us save time (and brain cells) by skipping past the talking parts of musicals so we can just get right to the dance numbers….

Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 (Walt Disney)
Whereas the first Collection brought together several standalone works from the earliest days of the pioneering digital animation studio in addition to their more modern offerings, this second batch is quite a different lot. These dozen shorts mostly either tie into established franchises like Toy Story or Cars, or were shown theatrically before recent feature-length movies. Others, such as "Dug's Special Mission" debuted on the disc release of that year's Pixar film (in this case, 2009's Up) introducing a new subplot hinted at in the main story.

So while Pixar fans might already have some of these mini-titles in their Blu-ray libraries, it's great to have them all in one place. I for one had not seen Enrico Casarosa's beautiful 2012 Oscar-nominated effort "La Luna" before now, although it is also being released on the Brave Blu-ray, which streets today too.

Of course, the extras here distinguish this set as something truly special for serious Pixar-philes. In addition to a creator commentary for each short, we are given the rarely-seen student films of studio patriarchs John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter, digitally restored for this HD release, with director introductions. A DVD of the same content is also included in this two-disc package.

Copper Season One (BBC)
A seemingly odd choice for BBC America, Copper brings together an international cast and producers Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street) to tell the gritty story of a Civil War veteran who returns home only to have his life rocked in more ways than one. On the mean streets of 1864 New York City, brass-knuckled lawman Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) must contend with the death of his daughter and the disappearance of his wife. With a little help from his friends, he dishes out his own brand of justice in these ten episodes that work wonderfully as a history lesson, mystery and drama all rolled into one.

Several of the actors—many of them little-known stateside—participate in the audio commentary, and we are also given a comprehensive "making of," additional featurettes, deleted scenes and character profiles. An UltraViolet streaming/downloadable version of the entire season is also provided via a unique printed code.

Step Up Revolution (Lionsgate)
I don't really hate the Step Up movies, at least not as much as some of my colleagues. These oh-so-contemporary musicals are undeniably corny and utterly unrealistic, but this fourth installment benefits from an infusion of talent from one of the best shows on television, So You Think You Can Dance. This includes the lovely star Kathryn McCormick and several choreographers who together present the tale of an underground dance crew's defiance of a greedy real estate developer.

It could happen.

Revolution was shot in 3D and both the 2D and Blu-ray 3D versions share a single platter. An iTunes Digital Copy and an UltraViolet movie-in-The-Cloud are supplied as well, along with music videos, featurettes and deleted scenes.

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