New To Blu: Jayma Mays Reunites With Old Pals ‘The Smurfs’

smurfs-blu-rayAvailable today on DVD and Blu-ray, THE SMURFS is a live-action/animated family comedy starring those iconic blue pop culture icons that have been around for generations. Originally developed in the ’50s for a Belgian comic book, THE SMURFS eventually became a phenomenon that came to life in cartoons, books, videogames and toys. This time around, they’re magically transported from their medieval forest village to modern day Manhattan and have to rely on humans to help them get back home. Directed by RAJA GOSNELL, the film stars NEIL PATRICK HARRIS and JAYMA MAYS as the helpful humans offering an assist and features the voice talents of JONATHAN WINTERS, ALAN CUMMING, KATY PERRY, FRED ARMISEN, GEORGE LOPEZ and ANTON YELCHIN.  Probably best known for her role as Emma Pillsbury on the hugely popular Fox-TV series GLEE, MAYS tells us her connection to THE SMURFS goes way back and she was excited to be offered the chance to join in the fun. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

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THE SMURFS is available on DVD and Blu-ray today

BLU-RAY REVIEW: ’30 MINUTES OR LESS’ DELIVERS MORE THAN JUST COLD PIZZA

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Although it was Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and Jesse Eisenberg reunited for 30 Minutes or Less, the mildly amusing trailer and unimaginative poster left me less than excited for this buddy film.  Since it also stars Danny McBride, I was also expecting a pale imitation of Pineapple Express.

Clocking in at a brisk 83 minutes, 30 Minutes or Less, had enough crude humor and oddball characters to keep everything more than interesting.  Nick (Eisenberg) is a sarcastic delivery pizza guy who slept with his best friend Chet’s (Aziz Ansari) twin sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) years ago.  Karma is a bitch for Nick, as two oafs named Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) strap a bomb on Nick and force him to rob a bank.  Chet and Nick then devise a rather simple bank heist, aiming to steal $100,000 and live to see another day.

A small portion of the movie actually deals with the bank robbery, as the feature’s greatest strengths lie in the interplay with the characters.  Fred Ward, an actor I’ve loved since his Remo Williams and Tremors days, is hilarious as The Major, Dwayne’s cruel, Marine vet father.  Michael Pena, who previously worked with McBride on Eastbound & Down, is also memorable as a hitman hired to kill The Major, and Bianca Kajlich (Rules of Engagement) is the stripper who promises to polish Dwayne’s “scepter” after the deed is done.

The offbeat and unapologetic characters that inhabit the small town confines of 30 Minutes or Less would be a perfect fit for a Coen Brothers movie, and although Fleischer’s film doesn’t reach similar heights, the picture has its merits.

Special Features:  Another huge upside for 30 Minutes or Less are its special features, which include a Picture Commentary Track with Fleischer, Eisenberg, Ansari, Swardson, and McBride. One of the Blu-ray’s featurettes, the fourteen minute “Blowing Up With the Crew of 30 Minutes or Less,” delves into the use of improvisation among the movie’s main characters.  At just a little over 10 minutes, “The Perfect Crime: Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes or Less,” spotlight’s the movie’s action sequences (there’s an car chase smack dab in the middle of the film).  Also included are eleven minutes worth of deleted scenes, which include an amusing sequence with The Major and Dwayne (Dwayne tells his dad his big dream of opening a full body massage tanning salon that services its clients) as well as an alternate ending which Fleischer should have used instead of rather abrupt theatrical version.



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New To Blu: Justin Timberlake Goes For A Hard R In ‘Friends With Benefits’

friends-with-benefits-2011-blu-ray-rip-coverAvailable Friday on DVD and Blu-ray, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is an R-rated romantic comedy about a pair of friends who mistakenly believe that sex without emotional involvement is a viable long-term plan. Directed by WILL GLUCK (EASY A), the cast includes MILA KUNIS, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, PATRICIA CLARKSON, JENNA ELFMAN, BRIAN GREENBERG, WOODY HARRELSON and ANDY SAMBERG.
A former child star who struck it big with the ultimate boy band, ‘NSYNC, before hitting the stadium circuit as a solo singer, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE has spent the last couple of years reinventing himself as a movie star. Proving to be as adept at being a leading man as he is a supporting player, he’s appeared in such films as ALPHA DOG, THE SOCIAL NETWORK and BAD TEACHER. During our recent interview, he talked about doing a romantic comedy and why the R rating was important to him. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is available Friday on DVD and Blu-ray

New To Blu: Christopher Plummer Shines In ‘Beginners’

beginners-blu-rayAvailable today on DVD and Blu-ray, BEGINNERS is a comedy/drama about a young man who must come to terms with the fact that his elderly (and recently widowed) father has come out of the closet and is leading an aggressively gay life with a new young beau. Written and directed by MIKE MILLS (THUMBSUCKER), the cast includes EWAN McGREGOR, CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, GORAN VISNJIC and MELANIE LAURENT.

Based on his experiences with his own father, MILLS’ script is both funny and touching while exposing the rebirth of a father/son relationship. Perfectly cast as father and son, CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER and EWAN McGREGOR exhibit a convincing chemistry that could be the result of spending some rehearsal time together before actual shooting began.

McGREGOR tells us that MILLS sent the two of them off on a shopping trip in an effort to bring them together with pretty amusing results. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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BEGINNERS is available today on DVD and Blu-ray

GUS VAN SANT’S ‘RESTLESS’ HITS BLU-RAY/DVD JANUARY 24TH

rest58Gus Van Sant’s recent film Restless (PG-13, 92 minutes), the story of a pessimistic funeral crasher (Henry Hopper) who forms a profound bond with a dying teenager (Mia Wasikowska), will be available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack January 24th through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Produced by The Help actress Bryce Dallas Howard, the picture marks the screenwriting debut of Howard’s longtime friend, Jason Lew.  Special features on the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack include: Deleted Scenes, Gus Van Sant’s Silent version of Restless, and the behind the scenes featurettes “Being Restless,” “Enoch & Hiroshi: The Best of Friends,” “Enoch & Annabel: One Love,” and “Gus Van Sant: Independent Voice.”

Click on the media bar to hear Bryce Dallas Howard sing the praises of Mia Wasikowska, who also starred earlier this year in Jane Eyre:

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WOODY ALLEN’S ‘MIDNIGHT IN PARIS’ HEADS TO BLU-RAY, DVD DECEMBER 20

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Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Midnight in Paris comes out on Blu-ray and DVD December 20th.  The picture, headlined by Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, made over $55 million at the domestic box-office, besting two of Allen’s previous hits, Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Both versions come with a Midnight in Cannes featurette, with the a “Cast and Crew Photo Galleries” section exclusive to Blu-ray.

Click on the media bar and listen to Woody Allen talk about how French cinema influenced him as a filmmaker:

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