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Disneys Aladdin released on Blu-ray for the first time
The big blue genie pops out of the magic lamp to grant three wishes to young Aladdin in the classic Disney cartoon feature, now on Blu-ray for the first time. - photo by Chris Hicks
Its hard to believe Disneys Aladdin has never been on Blu-ray, and its even harder to think that one of the most popular Peanuts theatrical films has never been on DVD. But fans will be happy to know that both injustices are being rectified.

Aladdin (Disney/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 1992, G, text commentary, deleted scenes/songs, featurettes, outtakes, interactive games). One of Disneys best animated features during its early 1990s resurgence was this retelling of the classic story of Aladdin and his magic lamp.

Beauty and the Beast was a tough act to follow, so Disney wisely came up with something completely different, a manic farce that would have made the anarchic Warner Bros. cartoonists proud. First and foremost is the unforgettably hilarious genie, thanks to the comic abilities of the late Robin Williams. But theres also plenty of other comedy, exciting adventure and memorable songs.

The Blu-ray enhancement is fabulous, and there are new bonus features along with all the extras from the 2004 DVD release.

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Dont Come Back!!) (Paramount/DVD, 1980, G, featurette). The fourth theatrical feature in the animated Peanuts franchise is now celebrating its 35th anniversary with this newly remastered release. The story has Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty and Marcie as exchange students in Paris, with Snoopy and Woodstock garnering most of the laughs as they investigate a spooky chateau.

Jackie Chans First Strike (Warner/Blu-ray, 1997, PG-13).

Rumble in the Bronx (Warner/Blu-ray, 1996, R for violence and language). Fans of Jackie Chan will no doubt enjoy these Blu-ray upgrades of a pair of mid-90s action flicks that were developed with Western audiences in mind. And if youre not a fan, these two arent a bad place to start.

Rumble came first, a major attempt to reach American moviegoers in a way Chan had not been able to achieve before. And it worked, though not quite at the level he had hoped, perhaps because its darker than most of his pictures. Chan plays a Chinese cop in New York battling bikers and mobsters, and its a good example of his distinctive comic-fighting style, part Bruce Willis and part Buster Keaton.

Strike is much lighter fare (the fourth in his Police Story franchise), with Chan doing his James Bond impersonation in a bigger-budget effort than usual, traveling to Ukraine, Russia, Australia and Hong Kong as he takes on Russian mobsters. Chans outrageous death-defying stunt work is in full force, and hes back in hapless everyman mode. This one is alternately harrowing and hilarious.

Christine (Columbia/Blu-ray, 1983, R for violence and language, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Based on Stephen Kings novel, this fright flick is about a killer car a cherry 1958 Plymouth Fury with candy-apple red exterior and a radio that plays only 1950s rock n roll. The car is apparently possessed, as is the owner, a wimpy high schooler (Keith Gordon) who turns into something resembling Jerry Lewis Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor. The violence is surprisingly restrained (wish I could say the same for the overabundance of crass language), with director John Carpenter (Halloween) emphasizing flashy visuals (enhanced by this Blu-ray upgrade). Still, the premise is pretty ridiculous.

Bram Stokers Dracula (Columbia/Blu-ray/DVD, 1992; R for violence, sex, nudity, language, drugs; new interview with Francis Ford Coppola, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries, introduction, featurettes). This film is more like Francis Ford Coppolas Dracula, with its emphasis on over-the-top flourish, though it is fairly faithful to Stoker in its story of the count finding a young woman (Winona Ryder) he thinks is the reincarnation of his true love. In the acting department, its a tie for hamminess between Gary Oldman as Dracula and Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, while Keanu Reeves as Harker is stiff as a board.

Requiescant (aka Kill and Pray, Let Them Rest, Arrow/Blu-ray/DVD, 1967, not rated, in Italian with English subtitles or dubbed in English, featurettes, trailer; booklet). This bizarre, surreal spaghetti Western invested with leftist political leanings stars Lou Castel (Bullet for the General) as a gunslinger who prays over those he kills and Mark Damon (the 1960 House of Usher) as a fey villain who elaborately tortures his victims. Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, known for equally surreal films in the 1960s (Decameron), has an acting role here as a priest but is rumored to have contributed quite a bit behind the camera, though directing credit goes to Carlo Lizzani (The Hills Run Red).