Kick of the holidays by getting right drunk with Gary King & Co.
The World's End
The Cornetto Trilogy
Following up the commercial (but not creative) disappointment that was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, geek favorite Edgar Wright reunited with his boys Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for the third and final entry in their so-called "Cornetto Trilogy," a trio of movies connected by theme rather than narrative. The driving idea behind The World's End is nostalgia, specifically the dangers of living in the past. That's certainly how legend-in-his-own-mind Gary King (Pegg) leads his life, who repeatedly escapes his less-than-ideal present by flashing back to his high school years when he was the literal King of his small clique of friends. Things fell apart, however, after the group failed to complete an epic pub crawl known as The Golden Mile and now Gary has the bright idea of reuniting the crew for a chance at a do-over. Returning to their hometown after many years away, they find it unchanged… which is actually part of the problem. Turns out the village has been taken over by mysterious outsiders who have implemented a benign dictatorship that they'd very much like these interlopers to become part of and the future of the world itself may just depend on their actions. While perhaps not as rip-roaringly hilarious as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz (both of which are included on a special three-disc Cornetto Trilogy edition, available separately), The World's End is still pretty darn funny and, by design, functions as the trio's most "grown-up" film that builds to a daring, unexpected finale. If they maintain this level of quality, can we hope that this Cornetto Trilogy becomes a Cornetto Quartet in a few years?
Extras: It's a cornucopia of bonus features for Cornetto fans, including three commentary tracks, a trivia track, deleted scenes, outtakes, picture-in-picture storyboards, rehearsal footage, featurettes and an interactive copy of the screenplay. The Cornetto Trilogy edition includes all of these extras (along with previously released bonus features for the other two films) and interactive scripts for all three movies.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to read our Q&A with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
Click here to see which of the cast's movies require beer to watch
We're the Millers
The To Do List
Released in the dog days of August when mainstream comedies were in short supply, the ramshackle road trip flick We're the Millers became a major hit, grossing $150 million, putting it just behind The Heat as 2013's most successful studio comedy. And while the public has certainly been wrong before (Identity Thief anybody?), Millers is pretty funny, thanks more to the cast than the material. Jason Sudeikis slips easily into a role that Chevy Chase would have played two decades ago as David Clark, a marijuana dispenser who is forced into a big-time drug-smuggling operation in order to pay off a debt. For entirely contrived reasons, accomplishing this task requires that he assemble a fake family: "Mom" is a sarcastic stripper (Jennifer Aniston), "Son" is a dorky outcast (Will Poulter), and "Daughter" is a homeless teen (Emma Roberts). Ably backing up the central quartet is a supporting ensemble packed with comic ringers, from Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn to Ed Helms and Ken Marino. At its best, Millers feels like an '80s comedy that's been beamed into the future… and I mean that as a compliment. The audiences that turned out for Millers skipped the '90s throwback The To Do List, an uneven, but still fairly amusing coming of age comedy that's like a teen girl version of American Pie. Aubrey Plaza (trying and failing to channel her Parks and Rec boss Amy Poehler) plays an overachieving high-school senior who decides it's well past time that she lost her virginity: a task she sets about with scientific acumen. The best scenes in The To Do List take place at the public pool where Plaza snarks her way through a summer gig as a lifeguard, surrounded by slackers portrayed by Donald Glover and Bill Hader. Even though it quickly vanished from theaters, The To Do List stands a strong shot of becoming a DVD favorite, both for its sly sense of humor and its deft, empowering treatment of female sexuality.
Extras: We're the Millers includes deleted scenes, outtakes, a gag reel and three featurettes. The To Do List comes with a commentary track, a gag reel, deleted scenes and two featurettes.
Click here to read our original review of The To Do List
Along with the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Bullet in the Head, the Washington/Wahlberg action joint 2 Guns is the 2013 comic book movie derived from the most obscure comic book. Denzel plays and Mark play a pair of low-life drug runners who -- unbeknownst to their bosses or each other -- are actually undercover agents for the DEA and Navy respectively. That naturally adds an unexpected layer of complication to their latest assignment, trying to get the goods on a notorious drug kingpin (Edward James Olmos). Many double crosses are sprung, a good deal of money changes hands and an extraordinary amounts of bullets are fired over the course of the subsequent two hours, with the stars bickering like a vintage '80s action movie odd couple along the way. It's noisy nonsense, but it goes down easily enough… unlike, say, R.I.P.D.
Extras: A commentary track with the director, deleted scenes, four featurettes.
Violet & Daisy
All is Bright
Precious screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher parlays his Oscar victory into a job directing his own script, the offbeat story of two young hit girls (Alexis Bledel and Saorise Ronan) who experience a devil of a time trying to bump off their latest target, a terminally ill sad-sack (played, in an unintentionally, but unavoidably morbid touch, by dearly departed James Gandolfini) whose sob story stirs up some long-suppressed emotions. Aggressively quirky in its dialogue and visual style, Violet & Daisy feels like a short film padded out to feature length. The performances are mostly fine, but they're in service of half-baked material. A pair of good actors are also let down by a problematic script in All is Bright, a Christmas comedy in the vein of Bad Santa, starring the two Pauls (Giamatti and Rudd) as Christmas tree salesmen from Canada who bring their haul to the mean streets of New York to make some cash. An ornery guy by nature, Giamatti is further pissed off by the fact that Rudd is currently sleeping with his ex-wife, so to say the two are at odds is an understatement. While it's fun to see Rudd and Giamatti butt heads for a little while, the movie can't fully embrace the cynical attitude that permeated Bad Santa, instead trying to have it both ways by trying too hard to spread good cheer in the last act.
Extras: Both discs are bare bones releases.
Click here to read our original review
On paper at least, this end-of-summer thriller had the ingredients necessary to becoming a modest box office hit. First is the corporate espionage hook, with a young, aspiring Steven Jobs-type agreeing to infiltrate a competing company and retrieve the plans to a top-secret mobile device. Also working in its favor is the presence of veteran actors Gary Oldman (with his original accent no less) and Harrison Ford as the adversarial tycoons, a narrative that comes equipped with the potential for plenty of set-ups and fake-outs and blindingly attractive stars (Amber Heard and The Other Hemsworth, i.e. the one not carrying Thor's hammer) romancing each other in between all the boardroom shenanigans. Behind the camera, meanwhile, is slick studio guy Robert Luketic, director of 21, a derivative, but eminently watchable poker picture. But instead of a decent time-waster, Paranoia is a tedious slog that even the actors (particularly Hemsworth, who is just a big, black hole of charisma) appear bored with and that audiences wisely avoided. If Blockbuster were still around, this would be the kind of film that they'd order 25 copies of, 24 of which would sit for years on the "Previously Viewed For Sale" shelf.
Extras: Deleted scenes and three featurettes.
Also on DVD:
The Cars universe expands to cover aircrafts in Planes, an all-new animated feature that Pixar would prefer you think they had nothing to do with. Speaking of dubious animated entertainment, Sean Astin and Matthew Lillard contribute their voices to the holiday cartoon, The Naughty List. For more adult holiday fare, there's the horror movie Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas. The 1984 cult horror favorite Night of the Comet gets a Blu-ray release courtesy of Shout! Factory, while Blue Underground puts out a high-def edition of the superior sequel Maniac Cop 2. Last, but not least, John Carpenter's action classic Assault on Precinct 13 scores a terrific collector's edition Blu-ray disc with new commentary tracks and interviews.
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