This week: Some animated birds of paradise shake a tail feather, a post-apocalyptic vampire movie that you've never heard of and the fourth Final Destination flick gets a proper Blu-ray 3D release.
This animated family flick from the creators of Ice Age features a lot of spirited music and dance numbers and the voice talent of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx and many more. Eisenberg voices Blu, a rare domesticated Spix's Macaw who is snatched from his jungle home in Rio de Janeiro and lives happily for 15 years in Minnesota with his owner, Linda. Blu is a clever bird who can log on to a computer and ride a skateboard, but he's afraid to fly. Linda gets talked into taking Blu back to Rio to mate with another Spix to preserve the species. There he meets the chick of his dreams, Jewel (Hathaway), and some urban-bird buddies preparing for Carnival. Feathers get ruffled when smugglers birdnap the macaws and try to get them out of the country to sell as exotic pets. If Blu wants to win Jewel's heart, he has to learn how to spread his wings and fly—fast—in this colorful G-rated adventure that has a positive message about wildlife conservation for the kiddies.
Best extras: Both the "Party Edition" DVD and Blu-ray contain two music videos, "Rio de JAM-eiro Jukebox," a deleted scene and access to 15 new downloadable levels of Angry Birds Rio. The Blu-ray adds more to the party with exclusives like "Explore the World of Rio," "Saving the Species: One Voice at a Time," "The Making of Hot Wings," "Boom-Boom Tish-Tish: The Sounds of Rio," "Carnival Dance-O-Rama," "Postcards from Rio" and "The Real Rio."
Verdict: Buy Me (if you have a child or are really in touch with your inner one)
Before you roll your eyes and say, "Not another vampire movie," you should know that this little shop of horrors plays more like a mash-up of post-apocalyptic survivor stories like The Walking Dead and The Road than The Twilight Saga, which is a good thing. Stake Land depicts an America that has fallen into ruin after a vampiric plague has swept the nation. Pockets of human survivors remain, but they have mostly turned on each other in a desperate bid for survival. Among them is a young man named Martin (Connor Paolo) who travels with his hardened mentor, a vampire hunter known as Mister (Nick Damici). Along the way to New Eden—a purported vampire-free zone in Canada—the two pick up a ragtag group of survivors, including a nun on the run (Kelly McGillis) and a very pregnant young woman (Danielle Harris). The group soon discovers that the only thing worse than the mindless bloodsuckers roaming the countryside is a misguided group of fundamentalist Christians called the Brotherhood who use the vampire plague to spread their message of hate in this genre-bending movie worth sinking your teeth into.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain two cast and crew commentaries, "Going for the Throat: The Making of Stake Land," seven short-film character prequels, video diaries and a Q&A from the Toronto International Film Festival.
Verdict: Rent Me
The Final Destination (Blu-ray 3D):
This fourth entry in the ironically titled Final Destination movie series was supposed to be the last, but it ended up grossing more than all the previous entries thanks in part to 3D ticket sales. The Final Destination is already available on DVD and Blu-ray in anaglyph 3D packaged with those cheap red-and-blue cardboard glasses that will give you a splitting headache. Now, just before Final Destination 5 hits theaters in 3D, Warner Bros. is releasing a Blu-ray 3D version of The Final Destination. The movie features the most embarrassingly bad acting of the entire series, but you don't sit down for a movie about inventive ways to kill annoying teens for Shakespeare. Now gore lovers can properly see cars and body parts fly at them in the opening racetrack sequence as well as the claustrophobic carwash sequence that both utilize the 3D effect gruesomely well.
Best extras: Deleted scenes, two alternate endings, storyboards and "Body Count: The Deaths of The Final Destination—Deconstructing Key Death Scenes."
Verdict: Rent Me
Also New This Week: Jane Eyre, Better Off Dead (BD), Conan the Barbarian (BD), Conan the Destroyer (BD), Copycat (BD), A Fistful of Dollars (BD), For a Few Dollars More (BD), Quarantine 2: Terminal, Sleepers, Soul Surfer, Spy Kids (BD), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (BD), Spy Kids 3: Game Over (BD), The Name of the Rose (BD), United States of Tara: Third Season, The Magnificent Seven (BD) and Last Night.