DVD reviews: 'Identity Thief,' 'A Good Day to Die Hard' and 'Warm Bodies'
“Identity Thief” (2013, R, 111 min., $29.98). Director Seth Gordon, who rose to prominence after his 2007 documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,” seems to be getting better with this comedy thing. Gordon's latest is the road trip comedy “Identity Thief,” and although it's no “Plains, Trains and Automobiles” or “Midnight Run,” it is a fun ride. The film takes advantage of the comic chops of Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. There are some poor turns late in the plot, but it's worth sticking around, especially for a cameo from “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet, who just about steals the show. Bateman assumes the role of Sandy, a responsible husband and father, who becomes the victim of identity theft. The thief is Diana (McCarthy), who makes a living emptying the credit cards of her victims. When Diana's criminal act threatens Sandy's job, he's forced to find her in Florida and bring her back to the cops in Denver to get his life back. The extras are good; a few featurettes are exclusive to Blu-ray. There's a gag reel and making-of featurette in both sets. 2.5 Stars.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” (2013, R, 98 min., $29.98). Hopefully, this latest installment of the “Die Hard” franchise will be the last, because it's definitely the worst in a group that never captured the magic of the original. This time, hard-to-kill cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads over to Russia to bail out his son Jack (Jai Courtney), who's in jail. Upon arrival, John finds his son busting another prisoner out of the courthouse and realizes he might not know everything about Jack's situation. Indeed, Jack works with the CIA, and they're trying to bring a prisoner to the United States for intel. Unfortunately, John and Jack will have to go up against an army to accomplish the mission. It all leads to the type of epic action sequences viewers have come to expect from this franchise. Directed by John Moore, “A Good Day to Die Hard” lacks any personality, and stinks up the screen. Extras are very good, but only for Blu-ray buyers. Standard DVD sets only carry deleted scenes, but Blu-ray packages are loaded with featurettes and commentary. 1.5 Stars.
“Warm Bodies” (2013, PG-13, 98 min., $29.95). This was bound to happen, what with the recent popularity of zombies. Thankfully, a zombie love story, an apt description of director Jonathan Levine's “Warm Bodies,” might mean the walking dead have finally exhausted their resources. Starring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, Levine's film is set in apocalyptic times, as a zombie plague has decimated the planet. R (Hoult) is a regular zombie who just goes about his business of looking for brains to eat each day. However, when the pack he staggers with come across a small band of survivors, R falls for one of them. Her name's Julie (Palmer), and R tries to save her from his hungry friends. Unfortunately, he fails to realize there's not much of a future for a zombie and a living, breathing human. “Warm Bodies” certainly isn't Levine's best work; he also directed “The Wackness” and “50/50.” The film fights with an identity crisis — zombie thriller or romance — and never wins. On the flip side, the film comes with lots of good extras, including several making-of featurettes, and they're available on Blu-ray and standard DVD. 2 Stars.
“Escape from Planet Earth” (2013, PG-89 min., $29.98). Callan Brunker wrote and directed this animated science-fiction film that employs the voices of Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Rob Corddry and Brendan Fraser. The picture follows a famous space traveler named Scorch who answers a distress signal from dangerously dark planet.
“It's a Disaster” (2012, R, 88 min., $29.99). David Cross, Rachel Boston and America Ferrera have roles in Todd Berger's feature film about a brunch that goes horribly wrong. When a group of friends meet to eat, the gathering turns from friendly conversation to awkward discussion, before finishing up with an attack on the city they're in. It's simply a disaster.
“A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951” (2012, NR, 93 min., $24.95). Matthew Mishory wrote and directed this intimate look into the early life of American icon James Dean, before the actor found stardom in motion pictures. James Preston holds the lead role of Dean, and he's joined in the cast by Dan Glenn, Erin Daniels and Robert Gant.
“Sadako 3D” (2012, NR, 96 min., $24.98). The latest installment in the “Ring” franchise, this film from director Tsutomu Hanabusa follows the exploits of Sadako, a vicious spirit interested in gathering souls. The hellish entity is doing her dirty work through an online video of someone committing suicide. Those who watch end up in trouble.
“Ring of Fire” (2013, NR, 90 min., $19.98). Based on the book “Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash,” this film, which made its debut on Lifetime, follows the life of June Carter Cash, including her turbulent relationship with Johnny Cash and her rise to stardom in country music. Jewel assumes the role of Cash in this biopic.
“Charlie Zone” (2011, R, 103 min., $19.98). A disgraced boxer, living the hardscrabble life, takes a risky job for some extra cash. He's tasked with abducting a runaway from a dangerous drug house and bringing her back safe to her family. Amanda Crew and Mpho Koaho star.
“The Loving Story” (2011, NR, 77 min., $29.95). Filmmaker Nancy Buirski wrote and directed this moving documentary about Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, a mixed race couple who tried to marry in the 1950s. When it was found out, the couple was arrested and convicted of the crime of miscegenation. This is the story of their fight against the law.
NEW ON BLU-RAY
“Perfect Understanding” (Laurence Olivier and Gloria Swanson, 1933, NR, 85 min., $34.98)
TV ON DVD
“Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season” (Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood, three discs, 10 episodes, $39.98)
“Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Third Season” (Troian Bellisario and Ashley Benson, five discs, 24 episodes, $59.98)
“Adventure Time: The Complete Second Season” (animated series, two discs, 26 episodes, $26.95)
“Ice Road Truckers: Season 6” (reality series, four discs, 16 episodes, $24.98)
“Mountain Men: Season 1” (reality series, two disc, eight episodes, $19.98)
“Rawhide: The Sixth Season, Vols. I and II” (Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood, four discs, 15 episodes and $46.99 each)