DVD reviews: 'This is the End'; 'The Croods'
“This is the End” (2013, R, 107 min., $30.99). Gather a handful of the funniest actors working today, let them play themselves and put them in the same house together for the end of the world. That's the storyline for “This is the End,” undoubtedly one of the funniest films of 2013. Written and directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen — also a member of the cast — the apocalyptic comedy is a wild ride that packs in plenty of outrageous laughs. Weighing in at 107 minutes, the picture does drag a bit in some areas, but, mostly, it's very entertaining, as James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Rogen take their funniest shots at survival. When Baruchel arrives in town to hang with Rogen, the two end up heading out to a party at Franco's place. The party is interrupted by mass devastation outside, and most of the guests depart to their deaths. Only a few of Franco's friends survive, and they're holed up inside the house. Blu-ray and standard DVD packages carry extensive extras, but Blu-ray offers twice as much. That includes six making-of featurettes and an extensive gag reel. Commentary with Rogen and Goldberg is another highlight. 3 Stars.
“The Croods” (2013, PG, 98 min., $29.98). Easily one of the best-looking animated movies of 2013, “The Croods,” written and directed by Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco, is a blend of colorful landscapes and imaginative characters. The latest from DreamWorks Animation jumps off the screen with its impressive visuals, but it falls short in its storytelling. It's a trap that most animated movies fall into, focusing on the picture while forgetting about the story. With “The Croods,” it's a series of cliches carried out by familiar characters inside a story viewers have seen before. It looks good, though. The film is set in prehistoric times, and it follows a family named the Croods. Fearing the outside world, the family spends most of its time inside the safety of the cave. One day, a stranger arrives to let the Croods know the world is coming to an end, and it sets them on a long journey with plenty of danger. Voices are provided by Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Nicolas Cage and Cloris Leachman. Some decent extras are available, but most of them can only be found inside Blu-ray packages. The kids will find plenty of fun activities in the special features department. 2 Stars.
“Frozen Ground” (2013, R, 105 min., $19.98). Alaska is the setting for this fast-moving thriller about a state trooper who goes beyond the call of duty to bag a serial killer who's in the middle of a murderous rampage. Key evidence puts the officer on the trail of the killer. Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens star.
“Morning” (2010, R, 95 min., $19.98). Featuring a terrific cast — Jeanne Tripplehorn, Laura Linney and Elliott Gould — “Morning” is the directorial debut of Leland Orser. The film follows a troubled couple struggling to deal with the death of their only child. As the grief spins out of control, it begins to destroy their relationship.
“Fright Night 2” (2013, R, 88 min., $22.98). The vampire genre hasn't died yet. “Fright Night 2” follows the adventures of a couple of high school students studying abroad in Romania. It doesn't take long for them to find trouble of the blood-sucking type, as they come across a hungry vampire looking to sacrifice a virgin.
“100 Bloody Acres” (2012, NR, 91 min., $19.95). Australian filmmaking duo Colin and Cameron Cairnes make their feature-length debut with a horror picture about two brothers looking to boost their shady fertilizer business. With the boys running low on their secret ingredient, it's time to take to the streets and acquire more.
“Dead Before Dawn” (2012, R, 88 min., $14.93). It appears the zombie genre is spinning out of control, and “Dead Before Dawn” is a good example. The film follows a group of college kids unleashing an evil curse that forces people to turn into Zombie Demons, or Zemons. Devon Bostick and Christopher Lloyd star.
“Wild Style” (1983, R, 82 min., $29.95). One of the most influential music movies of all time, “Wild Style” makes its way to DVD for the first time in a 30th anniversary Collector's Edition. It's a picture that introduced graffiti artists, breakdancing and rapping to the masses, and includes names like Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash.
NEW ON BLU-RAY
“From Here to Eternity” (1953, NR, 118 min., $19.99)
“The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition” (1989, G, 83 min., $39.99)
TV ON DVD
“New Girl: The Complete Second Season” (three discs, 25 episodes, $39.98)
“Beauty & the Beast: The First Season” (six discs, 22 episodes, $54.99) —
“How I Met Your Mother: Season Eight” (Three discs, 23 episodes, $39.98)
“Petticoat Junction: The Official Third Season” (five discs, 34 episodes, $19.96)
“The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fourth Season” (four discs, 32 episodes, $19.96)
“North America” (two discs, seven episodes, $29.93)
“Awkward: Seasons One & Two” (four discs, 24 episodes, $26.99)
“Glee: The Complete Fourth Season” (six discs, 22 episodes, $59.98)
“Teen Mom: The Complete First Season” (three discs, eight episodes, $9.96)
“Modern Family: The Complete Fourth Season” (three discs, 24 episodes, $49.98)
“Family Guy: Volume Eleven” (three discs, 23 episodes, $39.98)
”Shaquille O'Neal Presents All-Star Comedy Jam — Live From Atlanta” (2013, NR, 86 min., $14.98)