The Hangover Part III - Warner Bros. - Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong. Full cast + crew
The Hangover franchise is either your thing or it isn't. If you loved the first movie, odds are that carried through to Part II even though it was basically the first movie with a Thailand backdrop. Your mileage may vary with Part III, however. It isn't yet another "What did we do last night?" misadventure, instead focusing more on the supremely annoying Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who seems to exist only to cause extreme misery for the Wolfpack trio. If you think Chow is the movie gods' gift to comedy, you're going to love The Hangover Part III. If not, you're going to have to endure his substantial plot to get some quality exchanges between Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, who all do have substantial chemistry together three films later.
You can win a copy of The Hangover Part III in our giveaway right here.
Special Features: "Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions" (six minutes), a funny edit of Todd Phillips bringing in some famous actors to recast Galifianakis; "Wolfpack's Wildest Stunts" (five minutes), a press-kit style bit where the actors remember the film's funniest gangs; "Zach Galifianakis in His Own Words" (three minutes), basically Galifianakis being Galifianakis; and then there are about 20 more minutes of small featurettes and outtakes, though you're probably only going to want those if you really are a die-hard Hangover fan.
Curse of Chucky / Chucky: The Complete Collection - Universal - Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Director: Don Mancini
Cast: Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Brennan Elliot, Maitland McConnell, Brad Dourif
It's a great day to be a fan of a little red-haired doll with a love for kitchen knives. Not only can you finally get all five previous Child's Play films in one Blu-ray box set for the first time, but you also get a brand new movie: Curse of Chucky. And, as it turns out, it's actually better than most of the movies that came before it.
Written and directed by Don Mancini (who wrote all of the other movies), this one takes two steps back from the joke-slinging crudeness the franchise had become and gets back to its horror roots. There's a pretty good amount of kills and some gross gore to satisfy fans, but it's also not particularly scary and is just overall too long (a "who will eat the poisoned soup scene" feels like it takes up half of the movie). Still, even with its problems, it's better than the majority of straight-to-DVD horror movies out there, and is certainly worth a watch for fans of the franchise.
Special Features: An unrated cut (which is only two minutes longer); audio commentary with Don Mancini, Tony Gardner (Chucky's pupeteer) and star Fiona Dourif; "Playing with Dolls: The Making of Curse of Chucky" (16 minutes), a good look at how and why the filmmakers decided to give Chucky a true horror rebirth without just rebooting the series; "Living Doll: Bringing Chucky to Life" (nine minutes), a look at the creation of the impressive puppet used throughout the movie; "Storyboard Comparisons" (25 minutes), a neat feature for fans of the filmmaking process); deleted scenes (six minutes); "The Chucky Legacy" (seven minutes), a promo piece looking back on how Chucky became an icon.
Other Notable New Releases
It would seem I'm in the minority in thinking After Earth was not a total disaster. So long as you're not prejudging the movie based on its director (M. Night Shyamalan) and the supposed Scientology ties Will and Jaden Smith have, you might find it to be a funky sci-fi survival movie designed for 13-year-old boys to love. Sure, it's got wacky stuff in it, but it takes some creative risks, and that's more than can be said of some other movies this summer. A little less creatively risky is The Purge, which indulges in all of the staples you expect from a home-invasion movie. Its all-crime-is-legal premise is interesting within the context of the movie, though clearly ridiculous in our real world, and there's more than a few well-played moments throughout it.
I've already gone on quite a bit singing the praises of Europa Report, but I'll do so again now: Until Gravity came out, this was the best sci-fi movie of 2013. It's a smartly executed faux documentary about a scientific expedition to Jupiter's moon with a great cast and a screenplay that will grab any hard-core sci-fi fans from beginning to end. Also, for the more refined genre fans this week is Resolution, a rather striking horror movie that proves a good idea (a friend forced to detox from his meth addiction at a cabin in the woods) and some fine acting can go a long way. And then we have Static, which may be the weaker of all of this week's horror movies, but is still worth a spot in your queue thanks to its cast and creepy imagery.
And then we have a new Blu-ray set for William Friedkin's masterful The Exorcist, a movie that set the bar for demonic possession so high that every movie since then has been living in its shadow. There's not much new that needs to or even can be said about The Exorcist at this point, so if you didn't pick up this the last time it hit Blu-ray, this 40th anniversary set is definitely the one to grab since it contains two new features (a retrospective that goes back to the film's roots as a novel, and footage of Father Eugene Gallagher recounting an exorcism story that inspired William Peter Blatty to write the novel).
This week also sees the release of a trio of other classics, all worth picking up for various reasons. The first is Fantastic Voyage, which is very appropriately timed considering this special effects-driven movie was as mind-blowing to audiences in 1966 as Gravity was to audiences in 2013 (it even opens with a title card explaining that man will "soon go to the moon"). The effects are obviously very, very dated today, but it's still a very cool story about scientists shrinking down and going inside the human body to perform an operation on a scientist who could give the U.S. a big advantage in the Cold War. And then there's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which is less political and more a great, old-fashioned adventure movie about men and women pushing the boundaries of science. And if all three of those movies are too serious for you, just grab a copy of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, which really does put human existence into hilarious and bittersweet perspective.
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