Best new Blu-ray films for the school holidays

The winter holidays have arrived once again — and it's the perfect time to curl up with a good film.

Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
1 of 29 Panasonic and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

The winter holidays have arrived once again — and it's the perfect time to curl up with a good film.

The winter school holidays are a strange ol' time; you have all this lovely time off with the kids, but it's often too cold or too inclement to leave the comfort of your home.

We've compiled here a list of recent Blu-ray releases that are great for curling up in front of, with the kids or by yourself, while the cold remains outside.

2 of 29 Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment

True Grit

Fourteen-year-old Mattie's father has been murdered, so she seeks justice by teaming up with an ageing US marshal (Jeff Bridges) and a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) in tracking her father's killer into hostile Indian territory. This movie is Joel and Ethan Coen's adaptation of Charles Portis' original novel.

3 of 29 Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment


Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the most brilliant supervillain ever known ... but also the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way, foiled at every turn by superhero Metro Man (Brad Pitt) ... until the day he succeeds. But the fate of Metro City is threatened when a new villain arrives, leaving no one else to save the day.

4 of 29 Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment

The King's Speech

The King's Speech tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother Edward abdicates to marry a divorcee (scandal!), George ("Bertie") reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, who has worked with war veterans suffering shell shock. With the world on the brink of World War II, it becomes vitally important that Bertie finds his voice.

5 of 29 NBC Universal

Despicable Me

In a quiet suburban neighbourhood, with its well-kept gardens and white picket fences, sits a lone black house with a dead lawn — the (perhaps not-so-)secret hideout of Gru (Steve Carell), who, with his army of excitable little yellow minions, plans to take over the world. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze guns and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, Gru is prepared to defeat all who stand in his way. But the arrival of three little orphaned girls, and their determination to make him their Dad, threatens everything he has worked so hard to build.

6 of 29 NBC Universal

Robin Hood

From outlaw to terrorist to freedom fighter, Robin Hood has occupied a spectrum of roles in popular culture. Ridley Scott's "prequel" tells the swashbuckling tale of how Robin Hood (Russell Crowe), declared a traitor after daring to criticise his King, flees home to England and fights for freedom and justice.

7 of 29 NBC Universal

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Twenty-two-year-old Scott Pilgrim has just met the girl of his dreams ... literally. The only catch to winning Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) — her seven evil exes are coming to kill him. What's an unemployed bassist for a mediocre garage band to do?

8 of 29 NBC Universal


They are immortals, destined to live forever. They must duel down the ages until one remains. Only decapitation by sword can release them from their age-long battle for an incredible prize — power beyond imagination. Throughout time, Highlander Conor Macleod battles the Kurgan in an epic struggle between good and evil ... but in the end, there can be only one.

9 of 29 NBC Universal

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

Mayhem has broken out between some boisterous country children and their spoiled city cousins. Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes alive to a tree-climbing piglet and a baby elephant that turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee will save the day, and teach those obstreperous kids a few lessons.

10 of 29 NBC Universal

Back to the Future Trilogy

For the first time, the entire Back to the Future adventure is available in Blu-ray high-definition, with over two hours of bonus features. Join Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) as they climb into the iconic DeLorean and travel through time.

11 of 29 Roadshow Entertainment

Human Planet

Humans are the ultimate animals — the most successful species on the planet. From the frozen Arctic to steamy rainforests, from tiny islands in vast oceans to parched deserts, people have found remarkable ways to adapt and survive in the harshest environments imaginable. Narrated by John Hurt, Human Planet weaves together 80 inspiring stories of human endurance.

12 of 29 Roadshow Entertainment

Million Dollar Baby

A hardened boxing trainer is taken by surprise when a determined young woman wants him to train her. Worn down by her determination, he begrudgingly takes her on. In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit and love of the sport, and find in each other a sense of family they never imagined.

13 of 29 Roadshow Entertainment

The Fighter

Based on the true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky Eklund, the two brothers come together to train for an historic title bout that will unite their fractured family and redeem their pasts.

14 of 29 Roadshow Entertainment

Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Mr Magorium, 243 years old (Dustin Hoffman), is getting set to retire and leave his magical toy shop in the hands of his assistant, Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman). But Molly, shy and awkward, doesn't feel up to the task, bringing darkness to a place that was once only wonder and light.

15 of 29 Roadshow Entertainment

Lord of the Rings extended edition

For the first time, all three original extended editions of The Lord Of The Rings are available together on high-definition Blu-ray. This complete box set contains all three extended editions: The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers and The Return Of The King.

16 of 29 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Green Hornet

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is a spoilt rich party-boy with nothing better to do with his time than annoy his dad — until his Secret Origin Catalyst changes him into a Caped Crusader. As the Green Hornet, he teams up with Kato (Jay Chou), an electronics genius and martial arts master, to take down LA's underworld.

17 of 29 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


A small-town waitress, Ali (Christina Aguilera), moves to the big city to escape poverty and find her fortune. In Los Angeles, she finds glamorous night club Burlesque, the owner of which (Cher) is looking for a new star.

18 of 29 Madman

Reign of Assassins

Ancient China. After a life of theft and murder, deadly assassin Drizzle seeks to atone for her ways and leave the Dark Stone forever. Undergoing a drastic procedure to alter her appearance, she changes her name to Jing (Michelle Yeoh) and starts a new life in the capital.

But, in spite of her new-found life as a shopkeeper and a budding romance, the Dark Stone gang is hot on her trail. She alone holds a secret which, legend says, will allow the possessor to gain control of the whole world.

19 of 29 Madman


In a dystopian future, humans are divided into two groups: the wealthy thinkers, who make plans (but don't know how anything works), and the poor workers, who achieve goals (but don't have the vision). Completely separated by this extreme example of capitalist society, neither group is complete. Until one rich man dares to venture into the other side, turning everything he has ever known on its head.

20 of 29 Twelve Gauge Inc. 1994

Dead Man

Accountant William Blake is travelling to the extreme western frontiers of America in the late 19th century to take a job and make a better life ... but things immediately go awry. Lost and badly wounded, he encounters a very odd, outcast Native American, calling himself "Nobody", who believes Blake is actually the dead English poet of the same name. Contrary to his nature, circumstances transform Blake into a hunted outlaw, a killer and a man whose physical existence is slowly slipping away.

21 of 29 Madman


After losing her family farm to the bank, beauty queen Rene decides to leave town. But an avalanche of meteorites stops her journey before it has begun, destroying the town and bringing a mysterious infection. Suddenly the dead are rising, leaving Rene trapped in a town full of zombies who only want her for her body ... in the worst possible way.

22 of 29 Madman

Samurai Champloo

Mugen and Jin couldn't be more different in temperament, the former an irresponsible rebel, the latter reserved and cultivated. The two are united only by their skill with the sword — until they meet teenage waitress Fuu, who recruits the aid of both men in her quest to find a mysterious samurai.

23 of 29 Madman


Naota is bored. His elder brother has moved away, the girlfriend he left behind latching mournfully onto the younger boy. Every day is the same — until a woman with pink hair crashes into him on her scooter. Now everything is different, and his world is a strange whirlwind of robot battles, aliens and electric guitars.

24 of 29 Madman

Laputa: Castle in the Sky

When an unconscious girl floats out of the sky, apprentice engineer Pazu's life changes. The pair discover that they are both searching for the legendary sky city of Laputa — but they are not the only ones, and not everyone's intentions are noble.

25 of 29 Warner Bros Home Entertainment

All-Star Superman

Finally, Lex Luthor has succeeded in hatching a plan that will destroy Superman forever. Dying of a poison from solar radiation, Superman starts to do all the things he's always wanted to, but couldn't, and set his affairs to rights. But Luthor's plans has consequences beyond the death of Superman, and only the dying Kryptonian can stop the momentum of what Luthor has wrought.

PS: the graphic novel this is based on and named after is even more highly recommended!

26 of 29 Warner Bros Home Entertainment

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Our three heroes are desperate. Hunted and on the run, they have one course available: locate and destroy the Horcruxes that power Voldermort's immortality. But everywhere they turn, Death Eaters and Voldemort's minions are on their tail, desperately trying to capture Harry and bring him back to Voldemort — alive.

27 of 29 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment


With 70 feet of magical hair, the teen-aged Rapunzel has lived her whole life in Gothel's tower, unknowingly lending her magic to keeping the older woman looking young (because ladies are all vain, right?)(OK, OK, let's leave the politics out of it...). But when the kingdom's most-wanted outlaw arrives at her door, the chance is too good to pass up, and the pair make their escape for a fabulous Disney adventure.

28 of 29 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Snow White

Maybe the message is a dated one ("Some day my prince will come"), but the magic of Disney's first full-length feature film is still there, from the charm of its heroine, to the humour of the seven little men, to the terror instilled by the evil Queen's machinations.

29 of 29 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Alice in Wonderland (60th Anniversary Edition)

It seems strange that Disney's Alice in Wonderland should be 60 years old, considering its ubiquity ... but it is, and to celebrate, Disney is releasing the film on Blu-ray in a high-definition anniversary edition, with a bunch of fascinating special features as well as one of the strangest animated films ever to come out of the studio.

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