This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The World's End, We're the Millers, 2 Guns ...
This week: Another round with The World's End, an extended We're the Millers, and Disney turns Cars into Planes.
► It arrived late, but 20 minutes into THE WORLD’S END I knew it was the best movie of the summer. The magic that happens whenever Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright get together has already produced two classics, and this is no different. Once again, they take a clichéd premise (in this case, buddies on a bender in a town overtaken by aliens) and do something completely original and unexpected with it. And just as ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ have more going on behind the laughs, this is actually one of the smartest, most heartfelt comedies in recent years. The aliens are fun, but it’s really about friendship, about getting older, about atoning for mistakes. It’s bloody brilliant, and my favourite movie of 2013. Another pint, boys.
► Every summer, there’s at least one bizarre hit no one saw coming. Even weirder if it stars Jennifer Aniston. Whether it was superhero burn-out or a sudden love of Jason Sudeikis, WE’RE THE MILLERS was this year’s dark horse. It isn’t a game-changer, but it at least serves up plenty of laughs while going the predictable route. Sudiekis gets in deep with his drug supplier, and agrees to smuggle in a huge shipment from Mexico to atone. Knowing he’s a red flag on his own, he hires a stripper (Aniston) and two kids to pose as a his family. Ed Helms and Nick Offerman are solid support. Extended Cut adds nine minutes.
► THE TO DO LIST goes balls out trying to recapture the spirit of early ‘80s teen sex comedies. Movies like ‘The Last American Virgin’ and ‘Private Lessons’ were proud to be called degrading and vulgar, and Aubrey Plaza has the perfect “don’t give a shit” attitude to pull it off in this crass little romp. She plays a sheltered virgin who compiles a list of sex acts she wants to undertake when a hunky lifeguard gives her those ‘special feelings’ one summer. Connie Britton and Clark Gregg are the parents, Rachel Bilson is the slutty sister.
► Safe to say, Denzel Washington is in that space reserved for the greats – you’ll see anything he’s in just because he’s in it. So far, he hasn’t abused that privilege like Pacino and DeNiro, and 2 GUNS keeps his credentials intact. He joins Mark Wahlberg as two undercover operatives forced to go on the run after a set-up, each not knowing the other’s secret. Director Baltasar Kormakur’s first movie since the ‘The Deep.’ He also did ‘Contraband’ with Wahlberg.
► ‘Instead of ‘Cars’ it’ll be called … PLANES. Only, it’s not Pixar. And it’s nowhere near as good. But it doesn’t matter because kids are brainless lemmings who won’t know the difference.’ Well someone did, because Disney’s crass attempt at bypassing Pixar’s quality (even with John Lassater aboard as executive producer) was a complete bomb, not even cracking $100 million at the box office. Despite Disney rejecting other scripts which were too similar to ‘Cars,’ it’s still the same bloody movie – a cropduster (voice: Dane Cook) gets help from an old war plane (Stacy Keach) to train for the Wings Across the World race. They’re going ahead with a sequel to this, but don’t count on seeing it in theatres.
► David Simon has been through this before – a beloved show no one seems to watch. But unlike ‘The Wire,’ his TREME will unlikely have a strong shelf life after it’s over. Its premise is just too depressing and its characters too embittered – even by Simon’s morose standards, this is grim stuff. Season 3 picks up 25 months after Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans a broken mess, and the people who refused to leave have had enough of the corruption and government incompetence. The show returns for a five-episode final season Dec. 1.
► One of the worst reviewed flicks of the year, PARANOIA has Liam Hemsworth as a techie fired by his employer who then uses the company credit card for a night with the boys. When caught, he’s coerced into infiltrating the company run by his former boss’ mentor (Harrison Ford). Forgettable in every way, and another reason more ‘Star Wars’ is looking pretty good to Ford right about now.
► Shout! Factory has gone on a John Carpenter bender this year, and they go back to the early days with 1976’s grimy classic ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, a riff on ‘Night of the Living Dead’ in which both cops and convicts barricade themselves inside a police station against a psychotic gang.. A taut little classic which nearly got an X rating because of the infamous ice cream truck scene, in which a little girl is killed by one of the gang members. Blu-ray includes Carpenter commentary and new cast interviews.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!