DVD reviews: 'The World's End' and 'We're the Millers'
“The World's End” (2013, R, 109 min., $29.98). The end has come. No, not the end of the world, as the title of filmmaker Edgar Wright's latest film suggests, but the end of the Cornetto Trilogy. That's the collection of films that found actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost working with Wright. Although not as fun as its predecessors — “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” — “The World's End” is a worthwhile last leg for the trilogy. Pegg and Frost are cool as ever in their roles, and solid additions to the cast include Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike. “The World's End” finds a group of friends — all moving past 40 — heading back to their old stomping grounds to conquer an epic pub crawl they never finished as youngsters. As the “five musketeers” start their mission, they begin to realize something's off with their hometown, and conquering many pints of alcohol will be the least of their troubles. A making-of featurette and commentary are the only extras to be found on standard DVDs, but Blu-ray packages are loaded with tons of making-of featurettes. Also available is the Cornetto Trilogy, which packs in all three movies and a good bit of extras. 3 Stars
“We're the Millers” (2013, R, 110 min., $28.98). A talented cast (Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter for starters) and a fun idea for a film are wasted in “We're the Millers,” a comedy that does not live up to its potential. Instead of taking advantage of its parts, viewers get a hefty serving of comedic cliches, poor taste and plot holes. Sure there are some funny parts, but this could have been so much better. Sudeikis is in the lead role, playing the part of a drug dealer named David who gets robbed. To make things straight with his boss (Ed Helms), David has to go down to Mexico to pick up some product. David decides that the best way to fit in while crossing the border is to put together a fake family, so he pays a stripper, a homeless girl and a geek from his apartment building to go along. Once the crew is assembled, a predictable adventure is off and running. The film's available in Blu-ray and a two-disc standard DVD package. Both carry a great set of special features, including several making-of featurettes, outtakes, deleted scenes and plenty of interviews. An extended cut of “We're the Millers” is also available. 2 Stars.
“The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series” (2013, 25 discs, 156 episodes, $169.98). Widely considered one of the best television shows of all time, Rod Serling's “The Twilight Zone” has been thought of as groundbreaking, storied and, of course, out of this world. Serling's series ran from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, compiling 156 episodes. Serling acted as the writer and narrator of the series, and top-notch actors like Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Dennis Hopper, Robert Redford, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, William Shatner, Jack Klugman and Leonard Nimoy all played parts at one time. It's been said that Serling was influenced by pulp comics, novels and science-fiction films as a youngster in constructing the show's many dimensions. The one downfall for this set is its lack of special features. A definitive box set was released some years ago, and that included special features. Still, possessing all of these episodes in one compact package is a fantastic deal for fans of the show. This time around, the series is only available on standard DVD, but the audio and video has been enhanced. The package makes for a great gift for the holidays. 3 Stars.
“Planes” (2013, PG, 91 min., $29.99). Disney takes its wildly popular “Cars” franchise and slaps wings on it for its latest animated movie. “Planes” follows a crop duster named Dusty who has dreams of taking to the sky with the fastest airplanes on the planet. Unfortunately, he's not exactly built for speed. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Garrett lend their voices.
“The To Do List” (2013, R, 104 min., $30.99). Written and directed by “Funny or Die” standout Maggie Carey, this comedy focuses on a high school valedictorian who wants to catch up on all the activities she missed out on from studying all the time. The film's cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton and Donald Glover.
“2 Guns” (2013, R, 109 min., $29.98). Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg square off in this action-packed picture from Baltasar Kormakur. The picture focuses on two undercover operatives (Wahlberg and Washington) forced to go on the run together after a drug cartel bust goes wrong. Paula Patton, James Marsden, Fred Ward and Bill Paxton also star.
“All is Bright” (2013, R, 107 min., $26.98) Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd and Sally Hawkins have leading roles in a picture about two fellows looking to make a quick buck around the holidays. Dennis (Giamatti) and Rene (Rudd) turn to the Christmas tree business on the streets of New York City, and things don't go as planned in this dark comedy from Phil Morrison.
“Informant” (2012, NR, 81 min., $29.95). Documentarian Jamie Meltzer tackles Brandon Darby in this interesting picture best described as a political thriller in the form of a documentary. Darby was a liberal activist who became an FBI informant against protesters during the 2008 Republican National Convention.
“Bridegroom” (2013, R, 82 min., $19.99). Linda Bloodworth-Thomason put together this heart-wrenching documentary that stands in favor of same-sex marriage. It tells the tale of Shane Bitney Cone, who lost his boyfriend in an accident. Because they weren't married, Bitney Cone had no legal claim to his boyfriend, and wasn't awarded any benefits.
“Therese” (2012, NR, 110 min., $24.98). Director Claude Miller's final film unfolds in southwest France, as a young wife is tasked with talking her best friend out of marrying a Jewish man whom she truly loves. Therese then begins to she realizes how miserable she is in her marriage. Audrey Tautou stars.
“Crystal Fairy” (2013, NR, 98 min., $24.98). Up-and-coming filmmaker Sebastian Silva teams with Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman for this dramedy that has traveling companions on the hunt for the legendary shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus. The fun starts when Jamie (Cera) and Crystal (Hoffman) finally close in on the cactus.
“Breaking the Girls” (2013, NR, 83 min., $24.98). After spending a night together, two women (Agnes Bruckner and Madeline Zima) make a pact to dispatch each other's enemies. When half of the pact is completed, Sarah (Bruckner) has to follow through on her part of the deal. Unfortunately, the police are already closing in after the first murder.
“And While We Were Here” (2012, R, 83 min., $24.98). Searching for something more from her life, a married writer (Kate Bosworth) falls for a younger man (Jamie Blackley) in the midst of writing her grandmother's memoir. Jane isn't unhappy in her marriage, it's just that she's looking for something a bit more romantic. Iddo Goldberg also stars.
“Violet & Daisy” (2011, R, 88 min., $29.95). Geoffrey Fletcher, who won an Oscar in 2009 for his screenplay for “Precious,” wrote and directed this action comedy about two teen assassins who are in over their heads on their latest assignment. A spectacular cast — James Gandolfini, Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel — boost this dark picture.
“Parkland” (2013, PG-13, 93 min., $19.99). Just in time for the 50th anniversary of John F. Kernnedy's assassination, “Parkland” takes the viewer back to the chaotic events that transpired on that crazy day in November in Dallas. The picture weaves together the stories of a handful of ordinary individuals who were touched by the horrible tragedy.
“Frances Ha” (2013, R, 86 min., $39.99). Filmmaker Noah Baumbach's latest picture follows a women in her 20s in New York city trying to sort out her life. Starring Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner, “Frances Ha” is a laid-back picture that grips on to the uncertainties we all face as we try to find our way in life, both professionally and personally.
“The Vivian Leigh Anniversary Collection” (Features “Fire over England,” “Dark Journey,” “Storm in a Teacup” and “St. Martin's Lane”; NR, $49.98)
TV ON DVD
“Treme: The Complete Third Season” (four discs, 10 episodes, $39.99)
“Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Fifth Season” (six discs, 26 episodes, $130)
“Star Trek: The Next Generation, Unification” (one disc, two parts, $28.28)
“Touched By an Angel: The Ninth and Final Season” (six discs, 22 episodes, $61.99)