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[VIDEO VAULT]

by Mark Burger

 

| marksburger@yahoo.comDVD PICK OF THE WEEK: THE WORLD’S END (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Director Edgar Wright reunites with Simon Pegg (with whom he co-wrote the script) and Nick Frost for this cheeky comedy about five childhood chums who unexpectedly find themselves fending off an alien invasion.Pegg and Frost are joined on this romp by Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan, who return to their hometown of Newton Haven for a monumental pub crawl that will end up at the titular establishment. Before too long and before too many pints, they discover that aliens have taken over the town, and they as human beings must stop it (!).There’s great, goofy chemistry among the lads — and Rosamund Pike, as the resident (and responsible) female — and a gleeful send-up of sci-fi. Look for Pierce Brosnan as a teacher who’s not quite what he seems, listen for Bill Nighy as the voice of the alien “Network,” and remember: “We’re the human race, and we don’t like being told what to do!” Rated R.

ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (Paramount): A “Rich Mahogany” special-edition Blu-ray ($24.99 retail) of the original, awardwinning 2004 comedy starring co-writer/ producer Will Ferrell in the title role of a swingin’ ’70s San Diego newscaster, backed by Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Danny Trejo, Seth Rogen and several surprise cameos. Like the new sequel, this film has its share of laughs but doesn’t know when to quit. Rated PG-13 (also available in an unrated edition).

“BEN 10 OMNIVERSE: ALIENS AT WAR” (Cartoon Network/Warner Home Video): A two-DVD selection ($19.97 retail) of 10 episodes from the awardwinning, animated Cartoon Network sci-fi series, which won 2013 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing (Animation) and a nomination for Outstanding Sound Editing (Animation). Cartoon Network/Warner Home Video has also released “Ben 10 Omniverse: Heroes Rise,” another 10-episode compilation in a two-DVD collection ($19.97 retail).

EVE OF DESTRUCTION (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A DVD/Bluray combo ($19.97 retail) re-release of the underrated 1991 sci-fi thriller with the much-missed Gregory Hines as a military trouble-shooter on the trail of a rampaging robot who looks exactly like her creator (Renee Soudtendijk in both roles). Not perfect, but worth a look. Rated R.

THE FARTISTE (Alpha Home Entertainment): Veteran character actor Michael Pataki enjoys a rare starring turn in this 1987 comedy (also known as Blast from the Past) as a legendary entertainer named “Le Petomaine,” renowned for his fantastic flatulence. Silly fluff with a Catskills-friendly cast including Eileen Brennan, Shecky Greene, Jackie Vernon, Jackie Gayle, Sandy Baron, Robert Sacchi, Dorian Harewood and Sally Marr (Lenny Bruce’s mother).

“FUTURAMA”: VOLUME 8 (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): A selection of 13 episodes from Matt Groening’s animated, award-winning sci-fi comedy, originally broadcast on Fox and now Comedy Central, with Billy West voicing a 20 th -century pizza-delivery man who wakes up 1,000 years in the future. The two-disc DVD retails for $29.98, the two-disc Blu-ray for $39.99.

GETAWAY (Warner Home Video): Ethan Hawke’s at the wheel, barreling through the streets of Bulgaria with Selena Gomez at his side in writer/director Courtney Solomon’s R-rated mashup, with Jon Voight providing off-screen (but vocal) villainy. The DVD retails for $28.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.

“GREEK GODS, HEROES AND MONSTERS” (LionsGate): A three- DVD collection ($19.98 retail) of History Channel documentaries about the fabled characters of mythology including Hercules, Zeus, Medusa, Hades and others, augmented by CGI special effects.

PACIFIC RIM (Warner Home Video): Guillermo del Toro’s award-winning futuristic mash-up pits giant monsters against giant robots manned by humans… but unfortunately the humans come up short in the script, penned by del Toro and UNCSA School of Filmmaking graduate Travis Beachum. Said humans include Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi and Max Martini, but only Ron Perlman (in a small role) makes any impact. The visual effects are, however, spectacular. Available as a two-disc DVD ($28.98 retail), a DVD/Blu-ray combo ($35.99 retail), or a 3-D Blu-ray combo ($44.95 retail). Rated PG-13.

RAPTURE-PALOOZA (LionsGate): It’s the end of the world for many, but not Anna Kendrick and boyfriend John Francis Daley, who survive in Seattle and tangle with the Anti-Christ (producer Craig Robinson). Shrill, high-pitched comedy “based on a true story” gets a boost from a cast including Rob Corrdry, John Michael Higgins, Ana Gasteyer and Greensboro’s own Ken Jeong, who plays God. (Yes, it’s that kind of movie.) Rated R.

SCHOOLGIRL REPORT VOLUME #11 (Impulse Pictures): Yes, more Teutonic temptresses at large in this 1977 installment of the long-running softcore film franchise based on Gunther Hanold’s best-seller, also known as Trying Beats Studying and Blue Dreams. In German with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $24.95.

“SHAQUILLE O’NEAL PRESENTS ALL-STAR COMEDY JAM LIVE FROM ATLANTA” (LionsGate): The title tells all in this stand-up comedy DVD ($14.98 retail) headlining Faizon Love and featuring fellow funnymen (and -women) Robert Powell, Lavar Walker, Gina Yashere, Red Grant, Finesse Mitchell and DJ Big Trigger.

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME (Cinedigm): Despite the title, writer/ director Bob Byington’s indescribable but irresistible, award-winning comedy has nothing to do with Rocky Marciano. Instead, Keith Poulson and Nick Offerman (also a producer) play waiters smitten with the same woman (Jess Weixler) over a 30-year span. A mysterious suitcase with youth-restoring properties also figures into this quirky, droll outing that never outstays its welcome (running under 80 minutes) and boasts Chris Baio’s terrific score. Also on hand: Megan Mullally, Marshall Bell, Stephanie Hunt, Jonathan Togo and a very funny Kevin Corrigan. Likely a cult contender.

“SPIRALS”: SEASON 2 (MHz Networks): A four-DVD collection ($49.95 retail) of all eight episodes from the 2008 season of the popular, acclaimed French crime series (originally titled Engrenages) that depicts criminal activities from the perspectives of those involved on both sides of the law. The regular cast includes Fred Bianconi, Caroline Proust, Philippe Duclos, Gregory Fitoussi and Audrey Fleurot. In French with English subtitles.

TWO MEN IN MANHATTAN (Cohen Media Group): The video debut of writer/ director Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1959 film noir (originally titled Deux hommes dans Manhattan), starring Melville himself as a reporter trailing a vanished UN delegate New York City, aided by boozy photographer Pierre Grasset. In French with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $29.98, the Blu-ray for $39.98.

THE WHIP AND THE BODY (Kino Classics): A special-edition release of Mario Bava’s 1963 chiller (originally titled La Frusta e il corpo and released in the US simply as What), starring Christopher Lee as a debauched nobleman who torments former lover Daliah Lavi — even after he’s dead. Bava (using his pseudonym “John M. Old”) brings customary visual flourish and regular cast member Alan Collins (Luciano Pigozzi) to this slowmoving gothic tale with sadomasochistic elements. The DVD retails for $19.95, the Blu-ray for $24.95. !

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2013, Mark Burger.

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