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OnVideo: October's Top Movies


AFTER EARTH

photo for After Earth A crash landing leaves teenager Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash. Father and son must learn to work together and trust one another if they want any chance of returning home. Extras: "A Father's Legacy" featurette with Will and Jaden Smith on- and off-screen; "1,000 Years in 300 Seconds" on-location featurette; "The Nature of the Future" featurette that explores the beautiful landscapes in which the film was shot, set to lush music. Blu-ray adds alternate opening sequence; "Building a World" featurette; "Pre-Visualizing the Future" featurette; "The Animatics of After Earth" featurette..

Director: M. Night Shyamalan. Stars: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman, Zoe Kravitz, David Denman, Sophie Okonedo. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $60.047 million, Sony. Available: 10/10.

two stars goback



BEFORE MIDNIGHT

photo for Director Richard Linklater's sequel to "Before Sunset" and "Before Sunrise" that tracked the romance of then-strangers and then-lovers Jesse and Celine since their first meeting on a train bound for Vienna. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) first met in their twenties in "Before Sunrise" (1995); reunited in their thirties in "Before Sunset" (2004); and, now, in this next installment, they face the past, present and future: family, romance and love. On a writer's retreat in Greece, the couple looks for a night of passion, but instead their idyllic night turns into a test of their relationship and a discussion of what the future holds for them. Extras: Commentary with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater, "Revisiting Jesse & Celine" featurette, Q&A with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater.

Director: Richard Linklater. Stars: Ethan Hawke Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Romantic Drama, Box office gross: $8.016 million, Sony. Available: 10/22.

three stars goback



THE CONJURING

photo for Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. This horror tale by the creator of "Saw" tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives. Extras: "Scaring the “@$*%” Out of You" featurette. Blu-ray adds "The Conjuring: Face-to-Face With Terror" and "A Life in Demonology" featurettes.

Director: James Wan. Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Joey King, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaveras, Sterling Jerinsas, Marion Guyot, Steve Coulter, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Horror, Box office gross: $135.355 million, Warner. Available: 10/22.

three stars goback



THE CROODS

photo for The Croods Prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world's first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures -- and their outlook is changed forever. Surviving in a volcanic world is tough enough, but caveman Grug (voice of Nicolas Cage) gets a rude awakening when an earthquake forces him to leave behind the only world he knows. With his family in tow, he ventures out into the volatile world in search of a new home. The situation becomes even more complicated when Grug's family -- but in particular his eldest daughter -- become smitten with a nomad (Ryan Reynolds) they encounter on their dangerous journey. This quirky, imaginative stranger's search for 'tomorrow' is at odds with Grug's reliance on the traditions of yesterday. Extras: Includes a Belt plush toy for a limited time, "Belt's Cave Journal," "Croods Cuts" (lost scenes), "World of DreamWorks Animation." Blu-ray adds "The Croodaceous Creatures of Croods!," "Be An Artist" and "The Croods Coloring & Storybook Builder App" that allows children to color their favorite characters and scenes from the film, add text and voice to the story, and then share their storybook on their TVs at home. Unavailable for review.

Director: Chris Sanders. Stars: Voices of Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman, Chris Sanders, Randy Thom. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 100 min., Family, Box office gross: $186.383 million, Fox. Available: 10/01.

three stars goback



THE HANGOVER PART III

photo for It's been two years since the last adventure. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are happily living uneventful lives at home. Tattoos have been lasered off, files purged. The last they heard from disaster-magnet Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), he'd been tossed into a Thai prison and, with him out of the way, the guys have very nearly recovered from their nights prowling the seamy side of Las Vegas in a roofie'd haze, and being kidnapped, shot at, and chased by drug-dealing mobsters in Bangkok. The only member of the Wolfpack who's not content is Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Still lacking a sense of purpose, the group's black sheep has ditched his meds and given in to his natural impulses in a big way -- which, for Alan, means no boundaries, no filters and no judgment -- until a personal crisis forces him to finally seek the help he needs. And who better than his three best friends to make sure he takes the first step. This time, there's no bachelor party. No wedding. What could possibly go wrong? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off, especially when the guys must finish what they started by going back to where it all began: Las Vegas. Extras: "Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions," outtakes, "The Wolfpack's Wildest Stunts," "Zach Galifianakis in His Own Words," "Pushing the Limits," action mash-up, "Inside Focus: The Real Chow," extended scenes.

Director: Todd Phillips. Stars: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Vigman, Sasha Barrese, Jamie Chung, John Goodman. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $112.142 million, Warner. Available: 10/10.

one stars goback





THE HEAT

photo for The Heat Uptight FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and foul-mouthed Boston cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) couldn't be more incompatible. But when they join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies. Extras: Commentary, bloopers, alternate scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Director: Paul Feig. Stars: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Michael Rapaport, Marlon Wayans, Kaitlin Olson. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $156.392 million, Fox. Available: 10/15.

three stars goback


THE INTERNSHIP

photo for The Internship Trying to reboot their obsolete careers, old-school salesmen Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) talk their way into an internship program at the state-of-the-art Google campus, vying for a handful of spots among tech-savvy college students who are half their age and twice as smart. The competition is fierce as Billy and Nick break all the rules in a quest to land their dream jobs. Extras: "Any Given Monday" featurette, commentary with Shawn Levy. Blu-ray adds deleted scenes.

Director: Shawn Levy. Stars: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Max Minghella, Aasif Mandvi, JoAnna Garcia, Jessica Szohr, John Goodman, B.J. Novak. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $44.422 million, Fox. Available: 10/22.

two stars goback



MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

photo for Monsters University Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he's dreamed of becoming a Scarer -- and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike's plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, "Sulley" (voice of John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair's out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University's elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right. Prequel to "Monsters, Inc." Extras: DVD: Commentary; "The Blue Umbrella," an animated short film from Pixar Animation Studios about two umbrellas who fall in love during a rain storm. Blu-ray sets add: "Campus Life" look at a day in the life of the "Monsters University" crew through their own eyes; "Story School" documentary examines the challenges of creating a prequel as well as themes that run through the story; "Scare Games" featurette on the Pixar Scare Games competitions; "Welcome to MU" look at the Monsters University campus and its development; "Music Appreciation" documentary on Randy Newman's scores; "Scare Tactics" behind-the-scenes with the animators; "Color and Light" featurette; "Paths to Pixar - MU Edition" crew featurette; "Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective" explores the difficulties in creating characters that are 20 years younger with tools that are 10 years more advanced; deleted scenes; promo picks; college campaign; theatrical campaign; set flythroughs; art gallery; more.

Director: Dan Scanlon. Stars: Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Julia Sweeney, John Krasinski, Aubrey Plaza, Bonnie Hunt, Frank Oz, Steve Buscemi, Charlie Day. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: G, 103 min., Animated, Box office gross: $258.565 million, Disney. Available: 10/29.

three stars goback



MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

photo for Much Ado About Nothing A contemporary spin on Shakespeare's classic comedy about sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick -- offering a sensual, tragic and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love. Shot in just 12 days (and using the original text), in secret, while Joss Whedon was working on "Marvel's The Avengers," at Whedon's Santa Monica home, which was designed and decorated by Whedon's wife Kai Cole. Cole suggested Whedon make it in lieu of going on vacation for their 20th anniversary because it had long been his passion project. Subtitled "Shakespeare Knew How to Throw a Party." Extras: "Much Ado About Making Nothing" featurette, "Bus Ado About Nothing" featurette, commentary with screenwriter-director Joss Whedon, commentary with screenwriter-director Joss Whedon and cast, "Sigh No More" music video.

Director: Joss Whedon. Stars: Reed Diamond, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Tom Lenk, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Riki Lindhome, Spencer Treat Clark. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 109 min., Comedy-Romance-Drama, Box office gross: $4.096 million, Lionsgate. Available: 10/10.

three stars goback



ONLY GOD FORGIVES

photo for Only God Forgives Director Nicolas Winding Refn's much-anticipated follow-up to 2011's "Drive" wasn't what most people expected: Yes it was dark, as was "Drive," but it was way more sleazier, dirtier and weirder. There's no likeable characters here nor any redemption, but there's definitely a tour-de-force performance by Kristin Scott Thomas. Julian (Ryan Gosling), an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the U.S. to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy, who has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance, she demands that Julian produce the heads of the murderers. But first Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman -- called the Angel of Vengeance -- who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs to take down Julian and his operation.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn. Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown, Yayaying Rhatha, Tom Burke, Sahajak Boonthanakit. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Crime Thriller, Box office gross: $.775 million, Anchor Bay. Available: 10/22.

two stars goback


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PACIFIC RIM

photo for When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity's resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes -- a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) -- who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind's last hope against the mounting apocalypse. Extras: Commentary by director Guillermo del Toro, "Drift Space," "The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim," "The Shatterdome," "Focus Points," deleted scenes, blooper reel. Blu-ray adds "The Directors Notebook."

Director: Guillermo del Toro. Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Clifton Collins Jr., Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 131 min., Sci Fi Action, Box office gross: $100.366 million, Warner. Available: 10/15.

two stars goback



THE PURGE

photo for The Purge In an America wracked by crime, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—is legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It is one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment ... it's a night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide. Extras: "Surviving the Night: The Making of The Purge."

Director: James DeMonaco. Stars: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 85 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $64.423 million, Universal. Available: 10/10.

two stars goback



R.I.P.D.

photo for R.I.P.D. Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of souls who refuse to move peacefully to the other side. Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission? To arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminal trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth. Once the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick Walker (Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, the pair must miraculously restore the cosmic balance ... or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way. Extras: Deleted and alternate scenes, gag reel, "Transferring R.I.P.D. – The Making of." Blu-ray adds alternate openings, "R.I.P.D Motion Comics: Bringing the Avatars to Life," "Nick's New Avatars," "Filming the Other Side," "Walking Among Us: Deados & Avatars," "Anatomy of a Shootout."

Director: Robert Schwentke. Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Supernatural Action Comedy, Box office gross: $32.731 million, Universal. Available: 10/29.

two stars goback



THIS IS THE END

photo for This Is the End Every once in a while a comedy comes along that pushes the boundaries of what one expects in a movie. "Pink Flamingos," "The Life of Brian," "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Borat" and "The Hangover" come to mind. Now add to the list "This Is the End," an outrageous, raunchy comedy directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring a bevy of Hollywood stars playing themselves as petty, selfish, lascivious Hollywood stars attending a party at James Franco's house in the Hollywood Hills. In attendance are Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Martin Starr, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and many, many others -- all having a wild time until a series of strange and catastrophic events -- the apocalypse -- devastate Los Angeles. Five of the partygoers, all friends -- Franco, Hill, Rogen, Baruchel and Robinson -- soon joined by Danny McBride -- are trapped in the house and, as the world outside burns in the heat of damnation, dwindling supplies and cabin fever inside threaten to tear the friendships apart. There's some very, very nasty, almost pornographic scenes and crazy special effects that, in conjunction with the actors poking fun at themselves and their lifestyles, makes for a very funny ride. I was shocked, titillated and fell off my chair with laugher. But beware -- this is rated a very hard "R." Extras: Commentary with directors Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg; "Directing Your Friends" featurette; "This Is the Marketing": Marketing outtakes, cast featurette, redband sizzle trailer, and four additional confessionals: "Aziz Haunts Craig Confessional," "James & Danny Confessional." "Jonah Confessional," "Seth & Jay Confessional." Blu-ray adds deleted scenes; "This Is the Gag Reel," line-o-ramas blooper reel with back-to-back shots of the actors' different delivery of certain lines from the film; six featurettes: "Meta-Apocalypse in which the cast discusses the unique acting challenges of playing versions of themselves, "Let's Get Technical" visual effects & technical aspects of the film, "Party Time" behind-the-scenes look at the making of the party scene at James Franco's house, "The Cannibal King" with Channing Tatum and Danny McBride, "The Making of 'The Making of Pineapple Express 2'" behind-the-scenes look at the cast making the sequel to "Pineapple Express," "Jay & Seth vs. The Apocalypse" original short that inspired the film.

Director: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Stars: Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Martin Starr, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $96.505 million, Sony. Available: 10/01.

three stars goback



THE WAY, WAY BACK

photo for The Way, Way Back While shy 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is being dragged on a family trip with his mom (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend (Steve Carell), and her boyfriend's daughter, he finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. The two form a powerful bond as Duncan learns to swim through the challenges of life, love, family and friendship, resulting in a vacation he'll never forget. Extras: Deleted scenes, "Tour of the Water Park" featurette, "The Filmmakers: Jim & Nat" featurette, "Ensemble" featurette. Blu-ray adds "Making of The Way, Way Back."

Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash. Stars: Steve Carell, Maya Rudolph, Toni Collette, Liam James, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, AnnaSophia Robb, Rob Corddry. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $16.311 million, Fox. Available: 10/22.

three stars goback




All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.


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October 1, 2013