This week is one of the biggest of the year for new releases on DVD and Blu-ray. Eight titles hit shelves just in time for the Holidays.
Every single genre (except horror) it seems will be available in this week's slate of home video releases. Everything seems to come out today, from low-budget indies like Cyrus to action blockbusters like The A-Team.
There are even two animated features and a few Warner Bros. titles that made big waves at the box office and with critics.
The following releases can now be found on DVD and Blu-ray:
Despicable Me - Universal put their summer eggs in Gru's basket when they released Despicable Me as their major summer blockbuster. They undoubtedly succeeded with a $538 million worldwide box office and a fantastic, enjoyable family movie.
In our review, we gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, "While adults may find ‘Despicable Me’ to be mildly amusing, kids will love it, filled with its abundance of goofy characters and gadgets." It's hard enough to find animated films geared towards kids that are even slightly bearable for the adult moviegoers - luckily, Depsicable Me is just endearing and exciting enough to work on all levels.
Universal has rewarded the hungry movie fans with a plethora of special features to enjoy with the film. But an excess of supplemental media seem to be common with animated features. Check out all the Despicable Me home video has to offer:
- Commentary with directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, featuring the Minions!
- GRU-CONTROL: Through a picture-in-picture window, see the making of the film with behind-the-scenes footage and cast/filmmaker interviews (BD-exclusive)
- The World of Despicable Me
- Despicable Beats: director Chris Renaud talks about the cool factor of renowned music producer Pharrell Williams.
- Gru's Rocket Builder: In an all-new game, Vector has stolen some of the most famous landmarks from around the world and replaced them with the pieces to Gru's rocket. Players must return all the stolen landmarks to the correct countries in order to build their own rockets before Vector hacks into the system and steals the rocket plans. The reward for completing the rocket is a launch to the moon!
- A Global Effort: learn all about the global effort behind Despicable Me. A director from France and another from the USA, plus an American and English cast created a movie in France, with artists from all over the world for a truly international movie
- Three all new, mini-movies starring the Minions (for a limited time only): Home Makeover, Orientation Day, Banana
- The Voices of Despicable Me:go behind-the-scenes with Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig and Julie Andrews as they give life to their animated characters. Includes character profiles for each of the cast members.
- Super Silly Fun Land: join Agnes, Margo and Edith at the Super Silly Fun Land Theme Park and play Feed the Creatures and Freeze the Floating Minions to win super cool prizes.
- Miss Hattie's Top Secret Cookie Recipes: Margo is proud to present the recipes for those wonderful cookies that the lovable orphans under Miss Hattie's care enjoy so much! (BD-exclusive)
The A-Team - Go big or go home is the unspoken motto for the remake of The A-Team. While it didn't score huge numbers at the box office ($117 million worldwide), it scored a nice 4 out of 5 star review from us and the explosions were some of the biggest of the summer. Few movies pushed action to the limits of The A-Team, which featured free-falling tanks and daring helicopter rescues.
It will be interesting to see how the movie plays out on the small screen. Without the appropriate television and surround sound system, it may just be a jumbled pile of non-stop action. Some enjoy that kind of movie, but when the film continues to raise the bar on its own insane action sequences, it borders on insanity. But the film was faithful to the show it was inspired by. Of course, some liberties were taken, but The A-Team was a worthy reboot to a saga long gone from entertainment.
The bonus materials are your typical run-of-the-mill features. There are some spotlight featurettes and a few deleted scenes, but nothing mind-blowing. The Theme Mash-Up Montage does look promising though:
- The Devil is in the Details: Inside the Action with Joe Carnahan
- Never-before-seen deleted scenes
- Gag reel
- A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage
- Plan of Attack
- Character Chronicles - Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Rampage Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel
- Visual effects commentary with visual effects supervisor James E. Price
The Other Guys - Will Ferrell has lost some of his ravenous fan base over the years, but he continues to bring out hilarious characters every now and then. Alongside the surprisingly funny Mark Wahlberg, The Other Guys turned out to be a pleasant comedy. It was far from perfect, and even further from Ferrell's best, but was a worthy summer comedy, nonetheless.
In our 3 out of 5 review, we called it enjoyable, but not a laugh-riot. It is slightly ironic to see this hit shelves the same day as The A-Team. The story of the buddy cops who just couldn't make the headlines finds a way to be funny right when you think it's lost its step. In addition, it has arguably the best death scene of the year, but I won't step into the spoiler zone.
Whether you enjoyed The Other Guys or not, the special features look funnier than the movie itself. Some mysterious featurette titles have definitely piqued my interest - specifically the "Pimps Don't Cry" music video. As a Rob Riggle fan, the "Rob Riggle Likes To Party" one looks interesting as well.
- Deleted and extended scenes
- Gag reel
- A "Mom"mentary featuring Will Ferrell, writer Chris Henchy and director Adam
- McKay's Mom
- Alternate Action
- Wasn't That???
- Crash and Burn!
- Why Are There Brits In This Movie?
- Rob Riggle Likes To Party
- We Shouldn't Kiss Chicken
- Mark Wahlberg's Eating Contest Entourage
- Bed Bath and Way Beyond
- Extreme Close Up
- Music video: "Pimps Don't Cry" music video
- Everyone Hates the DVD Guy
Nanny McPhee Returns - Emma Thompson has found a fun character in Nanny McPhee. She returns for the sequel, which also stars Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Maggie Smith. The problem with the film is its generic tone and structure. It's just as predictable as the original Nanny McPhee and thus becomes a relative bore to watch.
Thompson's turn as McPhee is an excitable enough role, but it doesn't generate enough character to truly take the film to the next level. Like many family-friendly films, it has plenty of childish jokes and recycled plot lines. Still, the kids will enjoy it and clearly have already if a sequel was made.
The special features are relatively meek, but should give you enough of an inside look to keep you busy.
- Commentary by director Susanna White is chatty and informative.
- Deleted Scenes (HD; 14:57) has some really good stuff, and each scene is prefaced by a brief explanatory title.
- Featurettes (HD; 15:22) offers six brief chapters that look at everything from crafting this second film to the cute little pigs to the not exactly cute little crow, Mr. Edelweiss.
- A Look Inside (HD; 2:37) could have easily been packaged with the Featurettes supplements. It's a quick EPK-fest about the film.
Micmacs - One of the surprise hits of the year was Micmacs. Not every critic gushed over this odd film, but it was a breath of fresh air during a summer that consisted primarily of generic blockbusters. Still, at $42 million, it wasn't exactly a low-budget indie.
The French film, from Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, may as well be the oddest movie of the year. Yet, it was the most intriguing, in my opinion. While the characters are fun to watch, the cinematography was top-notch. Without question, Micmacs has a great chance to win Best Foreign Film at this year's Oscars - if it captures a nomination.
The special features are limited, but considering the entire film is in French, an extensive supplemental package is asking a lot.
- Commentary with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet
- The Making of Micmacs
- Q&A with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Actress Julie Ferrier
- Animations: Absurd Deaths
Cyrus - Another strange movie was a true indie sensation. Cyrus didn't do much at the box office, but did turn a profit on its $7 million production budget. Jonah Hill tones his comedy down a notch, but his awkward sense of humor plays off brilliantly against John C. Reilly's limitless charisma.
If you are not a fan of snap zooms, I suggest staying away from Cyrus. The style has grown increasingly popular, especially when filmmakers look for a more documentary feel. But at times it becomes so jarring that it takes you out of the film completely. If snap zooms are of no concern to you, the performances keep the movie afloat and engage you from start to finish. The story is definitely one of interest.
The special features are very disappointing. We are used to seeing a long list of outtakes and improvisational scenes from John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill, yet the home video only delivers a pair of deleted scenes.
24: Season 8 - Some are sad to see 24 leave the air, while others felt it ran its course. Whichever side you rest on, the final season has come to home video and a complete set shouldn't be too far behind.
There is no question 24 was one of the most revered action shows on television during its run. Even though it hit a snag and tapered off a bit over the past few seasons, the show made Jack Bauer one of television's most iconic characters. The only question that remains is what will happen to Kiefer Sutherland?
The six-disc set includes some behind-the-scenes featurettes and a few deleted scenes on the final disc. Like most television show home video releases, it's a generally bare bones release with hours and hours of the show itself.
True Grit - Paramount is giving you a head start to catch up on the original True Grit before the Coen Brothers' remake hits theaters. Many are appalled that anybody would remake one of John Wayne's finest films. The Coen Brothers' have repeatedly said they are not going for a straight remake, but simply a re-envisioning of the story.
Either way, John Wayne's legendary status is on display in his turn as Rooster Cogburn in the original True Grit. The Blu-ray re-release brings Wayne's only Academy Award-winning role to the finest home video format.
The special features are not exhausting, but something worth watching if you are a fan of the original.
- Commentary by Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Boze Bell and J. Stuart Rosebrook
- True Writing
- Working with the Duke
- Aspen Gold: Locations of True Grit
- The Law and The Lawless
- Theatrical Trailer
If you need a few more DVD or Blu-rays for the collection, wait for some of the inevitable Holiday deals. December has been a great month for home video releases and continues as such next week with another handful of worthy new releases.
Check back every Tuesday for the latest details on DVD and Blu-ray home video releases.