New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
BY BRUCE INGRAM | Contributor June 4, 2013 7:50AM
Melissa McCarthy stars in "Identity Thief."
Updated: July 7, 2013 6:11AM
NEW THIS WEEK
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH
PG for action and some mild rude humor
Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Corddry, Jessica Alba
The joke is on us, meaning the human race, in this uninspired but reasonably diverting animated adventure-comedy for kids. It’s just a shame that there aren’t many laughs involved. “Escape” is a tale of sibling rivalry between two polar-opposite, blue-skinned brothers, both from the planet Baab (pronounced Bob for mild smile No. 1): heroic but brainless superstar space commander Scorch Supernova (Fraser) and his nerdy genius brother Gary (Corddry), who frequently saves his space bacon from mission control. Scorch and Gary have a major falling out just before Scorch blasts off for a rescue mission to the Dark Planet (meaning Earth) after the disappearances of many peaceful intergalactic visitors — all captured by the power-mad, technology-stealing General Shanker (Shatner). Then it’s dweeby Gary to the rescue. Extras include commentary with director Cal Brunker, alternate takes and deleted scenes.
A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
R for violence and language
Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Chaotic, overblown and utterly preposterous, the fifth installment in the “Die Hard” franchise proves that a non-stop action/adventure orgy can be a colossal bore. In past installments, terrorist-thwarting Detective John McClane (Willis) earned audience sympathy by being a bit of an underdog. This time around, though, he’s obnoxiously macho a la Stallone or Schwarzenegger while showing up his previously non-existent, estranged CIA-agent son (Courtney), who’s involved in some terrorist-thwarting of his own in Moscow. For fans of insane, mega-budgeted, off-the-charts destruction only. Extras include commentary by director John Moore, deleted scenes, stills gallery and VFX sequences.
R for sexual content and language
Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy
If you can get past the fact that the plot is preposterous and one of the characters is a violent, amoral lunatic and all you’re expecting is a few decent laughs, “Identity Thief” isn’t bad, really. It’s better than a throat punch from McCarthy, in any case, who doles them out frequently as loveable sociopath con-artist Diana, who steals the identity of mild-mannered businessman Sandy (Bateman). To save his credit rating, reputation and job, Sandy decides to track Diana down, leading to all manner of action-comedy craziness involving a long road trip with homicidal drug dealers and a bad-guy bounty hunter in hot pursuit. Nothing about it makes sense, but the comedy does deliver on the humorous side, thanks to nice comic chemistry between wild-woman McCarthy and straight-man-par-excellence Bateman. It’s just a shame the script doesn’t give them much to work with. Extras include rated and unrated versions, alternate takes and a gag reel.
PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich
Falling in love can be complicated, even if you’re not dead. Fortunately, though, in writer/director Jonathan Levine’s horror-comedy romance “Warm Bodies,” angst-ridden young zombie R (Hoult) isn’t going to let a little thing like lifelessness stop him. And the result is an unexpected charmer. As charming as a brain-eating zombie movie can be, that is. R falls for Julie (Palmer) after eating the brain of her boyfriend, as his awakened heart slowly restores his humanity in general — along with the rest of the zombie community. That’s a game changer for the post-apocalyptic world, where the surviving humans, led by Julie’s hard case dad (Malkovich) are losing their battle with the zombies and the bonies. So, there’s still a fair amount of horror to placate zombie purists, even though the emphasis is on smart, subtle comedy and awkward young love. In fact, it’s hard to imagine young love getting more awkward than this. Extras include commentary with Levine, Hoult and Palmer, a gag reel and deleted scenes.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
This award-winning documentary examines an the inner-city, below-the-poverty-line public junior high school in Brooklyn with a chess team that has won more national championships than any other in the country.
ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
A short Arizona motorcycle cop (Robert Blake) gets more than he bargains for when his wish to become a detective comes true — and forces him to confront his illusions about himself and those around him.
JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE: CONVERSATIONS
This 20-episode PBS series features interviews with some of the world’s greatest experts in science, history and environmental studies integrating the perspectives of science and the humanities to discuss the 14-billion year history of the universe.
THE ODD COUPLE
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon star in the classic 1968 movie adaptation of the Neil Simon comedy about two utterly mismatched bachelor roommates making its Blu-ray debut.
RING OF FIRE
This Lifetime channel biopic tells the story of singer/songwriter June Carter Cash (Jewel), whose love for Johnny Cash was almost destroyed by his addiction to pills. Extras include a Biography full-length special on her husband.
W.C. FIELDS COMEDY FAVORITES COLLECTION
A triple-disc selection of 10 Fields classics: “International House,” “Man on the Flying Trapeze,” “My Little Chickadee,” “It’s a Gift,” “Poppy,” “The Bank Dick,” “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man,” “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break,” “The Old Fashioned Way” and “You’re Telling me!”
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
Bruce Lee returns with a special reissue of the kung-fu classic “Enter the Dragon 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition,” a naïve 1970s filmmaker’s earnest effort to make a serious drama with hard-core sex scenes is documented in “Labor of Love” and four History Channel programs forecast mankind’s post-apocalyptic future in “History Classics: After People.”