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What to Watch: Oct. 8-15, 2013

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Average: 5 (2 votes)

We’re back! Just in time to detail the most interesting Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases from the last week. Comedy, Shakespeare, Sci-fi, TV, and, of course, because it’s October, horror. What will you find on New Releases shelves at your favorite store? What could you order on iTunes this week? What should you check out and what should you avoid? Here’s your latest primer for What to Watch, in the order we think you should check ‘em out.

This is the End
This is the End
Photo credit: Sony

“This is the End”

Seth Rogen’s directorial debut holds up very well on repeat viewing at home when the extreme nature of its comedy plays even better than it did in theaters. It’s a larger-than-life comedy that will probably play even better for stoners than those of us who don’t partake. What I like about “End” is the incredible, go-for-broke nature of the ensemble. Rogen, Baruchel, Hill, McBride, everyone — they don’t care what you think of them. There’s no ego here. Or there’s ALL ego. I’m not sure. Either way, it works.

From my theatrical review: “It all comes down to one simple question, right? Is it funny? Yes. For the most part, “This is the End” is pretty damn funny. The laughs don’t come non-stop but they come often enough that you’ll never be bored. There are some truly smart, unexpected jokes in “This is the End” and the comedy genre has become so stupidly predictable in recent years that I appreciated the ridiculousness of the best humor that Rogen & Goldberg could devise.

Special Features:
o Commentary With Seth Rogen And Evan Goldberg
o Directing Your Friends
o This Is The Marketing

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Instant Streaming

Europa Report
Europa Report
Photo credit: Magnolia

“Europa Report”

A smart, engaging piece of science fiction that most people haven’t had the chance to see should be required viewing for the many people who lament the current non-intellectual state of the genre. Using real science, this clever flick captures the human story instead of focusing on the monster one. It’s about the importance of knowledge and the sacrifice people are willing to make sure we have it. Great stuff.

From my theatrical review: ““Europa Report” is always engaging and interesting, two things I wouldn’t say about many recent science fiction OR found footage films. It’s created a bit of a buzz now that it’s been available On Demand for the last few weeks and opens in some markets on Friday. However you see it, you should find a way to do so. We need to reward smart, intellectual sci-fi like this if we want more of it. And, as fun as “Sharnado” is, we want more of it.

Special Features:
o Exploring The Visual Effects Of Europa Report
o The Musical Journey Of Europa Report
o Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery
o Theatrical Trailer

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Instant Streaming

Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing
Photo credit: Lionsgate

“Much Ado About Nothing”

I adore Joss Whedon and most of the cast of “Much Ado” but only like the final result, a film that feels a bit like the post-“Avengers” lark that it was, for better or worse. There are some great performances here and a fun, infectious energy that make it must-see viewing for any fans of the Whedon-verse but lower your expectations just a notch or two. You’ll be happier than I was.

From my theatrical review: “Changing gears from one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, Whedon called his friends from TV shows and films he had made in the past and put together an adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved works, “Much Ado About Nothing.” The result is an undeniably fun diversion, a film that sometimes displays its “hey, let’s make a movie!” status but will be like catnip for fans of Whedon’s ensemble.

Special Features:
o Much Ado About Making Nothing Featurette
o Bus Ado About Nothing Featurette
o “Sigh No More” Music Video
o Director’s Commentary With Joss Whedon
o Commentary With Cast & Joss Whedon

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Instant Streaming

The Best of the Original An Evening at the Improv
The Best of the Original An Evening at the Improv
Photo credit: Somerville House

“The Best of the Original An Evening at the Improv”

I remember basically being introduced to stand-up comedy with the cable broadcasts of “An Evening at the Improv.” The producers of the show have finally put together a 4-disc best of set that features dozens of A-list stars, many of them before they became household names. Jim Carrey, Fred Willard, Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, and many more are featured in 12 hours of stand-up comedy. This one will be the hardest new title to track down in this week’s What to Watch but we try to include something a little off the beaten path every week. This week’s detour is a very funny one.

Special Features:
o None

Where to Watch: DVD

The Purge
The Purge
Photo credit: Universal

“The Purge”

People were way too hard on “The Purge,” another entertaining slice of low-budget horror from producer Jason Blum, the man who has redefined the genre with his approach to it. Is “The Purge” silly? No doubt. And yet not every horror film needs to be “Let the Right One In.” There’s room for what-if escapism like this flick, an effective alternative to the more acclaimed fare hitting Blu-ray shelves this Halloween season.

From my theatrical review” ““The Purge” is undeniably flawed. Like I said, one twist too many for sure, and the script leaves some elements hanging while overemphasizing others. And the minute you start asking questions (like what exactly was the plan of character A when he brought a gun downstairs?) the whole thing falls apart. Don’t ask questions. When those what-if episodes of old anthology series like “Amazing Stories” or “Tales From the Crypt” pop up, you go with the goofy concept and just enjoy the ride. Consider “The Purge” the movie equivalent.

Special Features:
o Surviving The Night: The Making Of The Purge - Featuring Exclusive Interviews With Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey and More!

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Instant Streaming

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