America's Book of Secrets: Season 1 — Yet another tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy-obsessed History Channel series — a close cousin of Ancient Aliens — this one rounds up a slew of self-described experts to pontificate on such brain-teasers as whether the White House has secret passages, whether or not the government sold all the gold that was in Fort Knox and what's inside Area 51. The loopier the subject matter the show tackles, the better it gets. Some episodes, such as a peek inside the Playboy Mansion, just seem like cheap, lifeless ratings grabs. The three-disc set includes a special that examines the made-up-or-otherwise background of U.S. monuments.
The Babymakers — Broken Lizard, the brains behind Super Troopers and Beerfest, suffer from the law of diminishing returns in this unfunny heist comedy, about an impotent husband (Paul Schneider) who plans a sperm bank heist to swipe a vial of baby batter he sold. Olivia Munn, in a role that must make her wince after she's built up some credibility with a key role on The Newsroom, plays his shrill, domineering wife. Director Jay Chandrasekhar plays a former Indian mafia member who helps out with the robbery. The character's pandering exploitation of tired stereotypes made me shake my head. Cast and crew interviews headline a slim set of extras.
The Cabin in the Woods — Writer-producer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard turn the horror comedy genre inside out with this relentlessly creative, conspiratorial and zany take on the old standby concept of nubile young dudes and chicks terrorized in a cabin. Without giving away any of the myriad plot twists, be assured that nothing at all is what it seems in a movie that continues to surprise through the final shot. The mostly no-name cast is game for Whedon's wild ride. The Blu-ray/digital copy combo includes filmmaker commentary, a making-of featurette and a pair of looks at the movie's impressive special effects.
The Do-Deca Pentathlon — The mumblecore filmmaking duo Duplass brothers, who made The Puffy Chair, Cyrus, Baghead and Jeff Who Lives at Home, score another winner with a bizarre yet somehow relatable comedy about a pair of estranged, hypercompetitive siblings (Steve Zissis and Mark Kelly) who reunite and engage in a series of silly, secret competitions to determine which is the most intelligent and athletic. Both brothers revert to their irrational pre-teen selves as festering resentments and buried secrets bubble to the surface in the war of attrition. Extras include a peek at the real-life rivalry of the brothers who inspired the tale, including a peek at them playing rock-paper-scissors against each other.
Indiana Jones: The Complete Collection Blu-ray — Fedora-covered Harrison Ford swings into high definition in this four-pack, which rounds up the classic trilogy from the 1980s (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade), as well as the love it, hate it or ignore it 2008 sequel, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Raiders got a full restoration, while Temple and Crusade were remastered, making the movies look far better than the DVD versions. All the memorable extras from the DVDs are back for the Blu-ray set, along with a new documentary about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark. One of the five discs is completely devoted to extras, providing a marathon of awesome Indy geekery.
Katy Perry: Part of Me — Reminiscent of Madonna’s Truth or Dare and Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, the documentary follows Katy Perry on a 2011 tour. Although the movie is definitely controlled by the machine that launched the starlet into Top 40 heaven, there are some unguarded peeks at the woman behind the phenomenon. Rehearsal shots show Perry with little to no makeup, looking nothing like she does on MTV or the tabloids. There’s not much insight into her psyche or philosophy here, but the film is just as much fun as Perry’s bubblegum pop. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo includes live performances of Waking Up in Vegas ad Last Friday Night.
Steve Martin: The Television Stuff — No matter how hardcore a Steve Martin fan you are, there's probably hours of material in this set you've ever heard of, much less gotten the chance to see. The first two of the three discs boast six of his TV specials, while the third disc is a best-of reel featuring TV guest appearances, interviews and assorted other shorts. Snippets with Martin's comments on the material supplement the footage, some of which is raw and no longer all that funny, but still watchable due to the funnyman's charm.
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