Bridesmaids – The female-centric answer to The Hangover, the film aims to prove female-driven comedies can be every bit as disgusting and crass as those featuring dudes. An energetic cast, including Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne and serial scene-stealer (and now Emmy winner!) Melissa McCarthy collectively skewer the torturous trappings of wedding preparation in the occasionally hilarious romp. The Blu-ra/DVD/digital copy combo boasts commentary, deleted and extended scenes and a gag reel. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD starting today.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Blu-ray – The 1961 romance featuring Audrey Hepburn in an iconic role in a movie that a lot of people adore but I sort of hate. Hepburn plays Holly Golightly, a socialite who wastes all her money on clothes and jewelry she can barely afford. She falls for her uptight upstairs neighbor (George Peppard). The extras are ported over from the DVD, and include commentary and several brief featurettes, including one that examines a racistly depicted Asian character in the movie.
Dumbo 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray – Re-watching the 1941 classic, I was stunned at how short the movie is, clocking in at barely more than an hour, as well as the harsh bleakness of the story and animation that occasionally dabbles in racist caricatures. All that said, Dumbo remains a charmer, although one you’ll definitely need to talk small kids through. The transfer is gorgeous, adding a vivid sheen to the formerly muddy movie. A deleted scene and song, commentary and a glance at the movie’s origins make up an adequate but uninspired set of extras.
How to Make it in America: Season 1 – Mark Wahlberg is back at it, executive producing an HBO series about ever-optimistic New Yorkers in suspended adolescence who try to crash the big time. Bryan Greenberg plays an unlucky-in-love department store worker who’s prodded by his ebullient best pal (Victor Rasuk) to engage in mostly unsuccessful moneymaking schemes. Eventually the guys, dead-on personality clones of E and Turtle from the Wahlberg-produced Entourage, edge closer toward a measure of success. Lake Bell, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Luis Guzman and Shannyn Sossamon make up an excellent cast, allowing the series to grab Entourage‘s baton. Deleted scenes and commentary tracks for all eight episodes are the most notable extras.
Hung: Season 2 – Thomas Jane stars as a divorced man who moonlights as an awkward male prostitute in this low-key but delightful HBO sitcom. Jane’s underplayed, aw shucks attitude goes far in making the character likable, which is crucial because his pal and madam (Jane Adams) can be grating. She faces competition this season in the form of a life coach (Rebecca Creskoff) who edges in on her business. Anne Heche is also solid as Jane’s ex. The set is endowed with commentaries from writers and producers, as well as deleted scenes.
Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace – Ready for your head to spin? The 22-minute movie is based on the video game, which is based on the Lego set that’s based on the films. As far as game-based, direct-to-video flicks go, this one is top-of-the-line. Meaning, it’s possible to watch it without falling asleep or needing to resort to playing Angry Birds on your phone. The kid-pandering film is about a young Jedi trainee who stows away with Yoda on a quest to battle the evil Sith. The film is packaged with a little Lego toy, and bonus features on the disc include a pair of “Star Wars in 2 Minutes” shorts, which pantomime the story in sped-up fashion via whimsical comedy, as well as two additional 5-minute shorts.
The Others Blu-ray – The criminally overlooked 2001 horror film stars a top-of-her-game Nicole Kidman as a widow in a British isle after World War II. She and her kids are troubled by supernatural visions and sounds. Steady tension and drama build up throughout the story, leading up to an excellent twist. A behind-the-scenes featurette, a look at the truth behind a disease featured in the movie and a profile of the director fill out the extras.
The Tempest – Julie Taymor (Titus, Across the Universe) retells the Shakespeare comedy with visual flair and the bizarre yet oddly appropriate casting choice of Russell Brand as the jester Trinculo. Helen Mirren grabs most of the screentime as Prospera, a sorceress who causes a storm that wrecks a ship on her island. Like the play, the movie is pure out-of-control wackiness that struggles to remain cohesive. The well-preserved dialogue is the main star of the show. Taymor’s commentary and Brand’s rehearsal footage are the most notable extras.
Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray – George Lucas‘ six-film sci-fi series makes its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray. Purists beware — Lucas and his tech wizards have continued to tinker with the digital effects and sound — but on the whole, these are the best-looking, most cohesive versions of the movies on the market. It’s just a shame that the films’ voluminous extras don’t include the original versions of each film. The supplements included are jaw-dropping, though: Cast and crew interviews, deleted and extended scenes, commentary tracks, spoofs and an exhaustive look at the creation of the special effects.
Phil’s novel, Stormin’ Mormon, is available as a Kindle book for $1.