This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: This is the End, The Croods, The Wizard of Oz ...
This week: Not the most refined comedy of the year, but This Is The End might be the funniest. Also: Oz in your face, new cash cow The Croods, and ... oh hi, Mark!
► You get the sense if any other movie tried the same gags THIS IS THE END does, you wouldn’t last ten minutes. But the film’s concept is also its safety net – these guys all say and do horrible things, and we laugh because they’re ripping themselves a new one. James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogan, Craig Robinson and plenty others are all playing themselves playing idiots. Or in the case of the already classic Emma Watson scene, potential rapists. You forgive a plot that feels like it was hammered out over doobies and blackjack because these guys are so fun to watch be awful to each other, especially a priceless Danny McBride taking his Kenny Powers alter-ego to a demented new level. If ever a blu-ray needed a cast commentary it’s this, but no such luck.
► I kinda miss the days when CGI animated movies were still a big deal. It’s at the point now where THE CROODS goes into the same generic file in my brain every Ice Age, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda resides. This came out in March but could have come out in 2003 for all I remember of it, and yet it made over $187 million in North America and is the 9th biggest movie of 2013. Seriously, what the hell? Maybe I need some kids. Anyhow, this caveman comedy, with voices by Nicolas Cage and Ryan Reynolds, includes features on the creatures and a coloring & storybook app.
► Because those flying monkeys haven’t terrified enough kids over the years, here they come in 3D. As part of its 75th anniversary, THE WIZARD OF OZ was brought back to IMAX 3D theatres last month for one week, and while the post-conversion was reportedly stunning, it may have been TOO crystal clear – make-up, set design and special effects were exposed like the man behind the curtain. Still, for most of us (who own 3D TV’s, at least) it’s a new way of seeing a movie we grew up with. A standard 75th Anniversary edition and $80 Collector’s Edition also come out today.
► Bar none, the weirdest friggin’ thing coming out this week is THE ROOM: AUDIENCE REACTIONS DOCUMENTARY. Even though it’s listed on Amazon, I still can’t believe this exists – a 45-minute argument that Tommy Wiseau’s craptastic cult fave ‘The Room’ really isn’t so bad, and was acclaimed by audiences when it first came out. And yet, Wiseau gladly plays up the film’s notoriety on the cult circuit, knowing it’s the only way people can possibly watch it. So confused … it’s tearing me apart!
► Made right here in my backyard (Niagara Falls, yo), DEAD BEFORE DAWN is a horror spoof in which Devon Bostwick (‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’) and his dopey friends accidentally unleash a curse contained within an urn his grandfather (Christopher Lloyd) keeps in his occult shop. The town is soon overrun with Zemons – half zombie, half demon. Canadian filmmakers April Mullen and Tim Doiron have fun with this, and we even get a “Great Scott!” out of Lloyd.
► The good news about Shout! Factory’s THE AMITYVILLE HORROR TRILOGY is that it doesn’t include the hideous 2005 remake. The bad news is Part 2 and 3 are just as bad. While that large Dutch Colonial in Long Island is the most famous haunted house in history (loved that reference at the end of ‘The Conjuring’), it has never really translated to film – even the first is a clunker, despite James Brolin going ‘Shining’ Nicholson even before Nicholson. As a consolation, Part 3 is in 3D, though the creepiest part of 2 is the freaky brother/sister incest. Still, if you want the real Amityville experience, try putting everything aside and read the original 1977 Jay Anson book. Still scary as hell.
► The CW’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ain’t the one your mom swooned over with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. Actually, this is more like The Incredible Hulk, with Jan Ryan as the survivor of a supersoldier experiment who turns into a monster when he’s in pain or anger. Nine years after saving a teenager from her mother’s killers, he reconnects with the now successful cop to solve cases and be just emo enough to get a second season, starting Oct. 7.
► The unheralded FROZEN GROUND has Nic Cage as an Alaskan detective in the true story of a serial killer who terrorized Anchorage for 13 years before his ass was sent to prison for 461 years in 1983 (what is the point to that? Does ‘life in prison’ not sound final enough?). John Cusack plays the whack job who killed between 17 and 21 women. ‘Con Air’ fans rejoice.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!