RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: This Is the End, The Croods, and More

We run down the most notable home video releases in film and television.

This week on home video, we've got an irreverent end-of-the-world comedy, an animated prehistoric adventure, a serial killer thriller, and classic film anniversary. On the TV side, there's a popular period drama from the UK and a couple of 1980s classics. Then, of course, we've got a slew of other notable titles, including a beloved Disney film and a couple of films from WB's deep catalog. Read on for the full list:

This Is the End

83%

Is it a stoner comedy about the power of bromantic love? Is it a twisted take on the apocalypse and its biblical implications? Or is it an excuse for Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel to hang out with their funnyman friends and make fun of each other? Why not all three? Penned by Rogen and frequent writing partner Evan Goldberg, This Is the End is also the duo's directorial debut, and critics say it's a pretty solid effort. Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, Rogen and Baruchel reconnect after falling out of touch and decide to attend a housewarming party thrown by James Franco. When Los Angeles suddenly descends into chaos, they hole up in Franco's home with Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jonah Hill, hoping to survive long enough to be rescued. Filled with celebrity cameos, hilarious self-deprecating humor, and energetic performances, The Is the End managed to impress critics to the tune of a Certified Fresh 84 percent. Its story might be a little unfocused, but you'll probably be laughing too much to care.

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The Croods

70%

March is kind of a crap shoot for movie releases, parked right between the studio leftovers of January and February and the bigger pre-Summer releases of April, but The Croods beat the odds with a 69 percent on the Tomatometer. The DreamWorks animated film features Emma Stone as the voice of Eep, an adventurous cavegirl whose overprotective father Grug (Nicolas Cage) constantly preaches against the dangers of all things new and unfamiliar. When Eep befriends a stranger named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), Grug disapproves, but an impending disaster forces them to work together for survival. Critics largely agreed that the visuals on display were top notch, and even if the central plot wasn't the most sophisticated bit of storytelling, most found it enjoyable and entertaining enough for the whole family. Side note: The Croods is also available this week in a special package that includes a stuffed toy of Guy's pet sloth Belt.

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The Frozen Ground

59%

Back when Nicolas Cage and John Cusack were both making names for themselves during the 1980s, a man named Robert Hansen was stalking, kidnapping, and murdering women up in Alaska. Thankfully, one of Hansen's victims escaped, and thanks in part to her firsthand account, a local detective brought him to justice. Scott Walker's The Frozen Ground recounts the events that led to Hansen's capture, with Cusack as the slippery serial killer, Cage as Sgt. Jack Holcombe, and Vanessa Hudgens as Cindy Paulson, the 17-year-old who managed to break free from Hansen's clutches. Though critics found the film relatively formulaic, most thought Nicolas Cage did an admirable job. At 57 percent on the Tomatometer, it's not the most gripping or inventive psychological thriller, but it'll probably make a decent rental.

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The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition

99%

Though we're still a little less than a year away from the official date, Warner Bros. has already begun the celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, beginning with a theatrical rerelease last June and a subsequent IMAX 3D release just this past September. With that in mind, WB is also offering up a few 75th Anniversary Edition packages this week, the greatest of which is an impressive Limited Collector's Edition. The LCE includes the film in every format (DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Ultraviolet) and most of the extras found on the previous 70th Anniversary Edition, but also features an all new feature-length making-of documentary and several collectibles, like a map of Oz, a hardcover journal, a set of pins, a photo book, a sparkly ruby slippers snow globe, and more. It may make for a nice -- and not altogether too expensive --holiday gift for an Oz superfan.

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Downton Abbey - 3 Season Box Set

78%

Series 4 of the acclaimed Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning drama Downtown Abbey returned to television last week in the UK, but those of us in the States won't be getting it until January when it airs on PBS. In the meantime, you can always rewatch the first three seasons, available this week in either a DVD or Blu-ray box set. The set includes the Christmas special from the second season and the third season finale, plus bonus features, and if you're not particularly picky where you get it, you'll be interested to know that the set available on Amazon comes with some exclusive extras. These include a sneak peak of Series 4, as well as brand new cast interviews and almost a half hour of never-before-seen deleted scenes. That should stave off the withdrawal jitters for a while.

Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Series

Angela Lansbury boasts an accomplished resume on both stage and screen, but she's probably best known as Jessica Fletcher, the retired teacher-cum-mystery novelist-cum-crime solver who propelled Murder, She Wrote to immediate and long lived success. The series, which ran for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 and spawned a spinoff and four TV movies, is available this week in a complete DVD set containing all 264 episodes on 63 discs. Unfortunately, the TV movies are not included, and there isn't much information about any special features, so it's probably safe to assume it's a no-frills collection. Still, it's a decent pickup for anyone who wants it all in one place.

Magnum, P.I.: The Complete Series

Murder, She Wrote is joined this week by one of its CBS contemporaries (there were actually two crossover episodes), another detective show with a slightly cheekier tone. Magnum, P.I. ran from 1980 to 1988 and centered around Thomas Sullivan Magnum (Tom Selleck), a private investigator living in Hawaii at the behest of a reclusive novelist (voiced by Orson Welles, incidentally) and working cases alongside the rather uptight Higgins (John Hillerman), an ex-British Army officer. All 162 episodes are included here, along with the content previously available on the individual season releases. The only drawback here is, like Murder, She Wrote, the set is only available on DVD, but if you can't get enough of Tom Selleck's mustache and the killer theme song, this is a pretty solid pickup.

Also available this week:

  • An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (84%), an experimental indie drama chronicling a relationship between a young man and woman through live action and animated sequences.
  • Disney releases a Diamond Edition of The Little Mermaid (91%), available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D.
  • The 1953 horror original House of Wax (94%), starring Vincent Price, arrives on Blu-ray 3D.
  • King Vidor's 1925 silent film The Big Parade (100%), is also available on Blu-ray.
  • Another 1953 film, the classic romance From Here to Eternity (89%), starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Deborah Kerr, is available on Blu-ray.
  • Season 2 of New Girl (87%).
  • Season 4 of Glee (75%).
  • Season 8 of popular CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother (44%).

Comments

Typhon

Typhon Q

This is the End!

Sep 30 - 06:20 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Lone Cowboy

Is it sad that I think that's the best movie of the year so far? Shows how awful this year was: A comedy was the best film of a summer. And I would only give it a 8/10.

Sep 30 - 06:30 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

My favorite so far is Star Trek Into Darkness (9/10)
But I think that's going to change with Gravity coming out this weekend.

Sep 30 - 09:17 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

What, Magnum P.I. get's a release but no GATOR!

Sep 30 - 06:24 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Lone Cowboy

Is it sad that I think that's the best movie of the year so far? Shows how awful this year was: A comedy was the best film of a summer. And I would only give it a 8/10.

Sep 30 - 06:30 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

My favorite so far is Star Trek Into Darkness (9/10)
But I think that's going to change with Gravity coming out this weekend.

Sep 30 - 09:17 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Lone Cowboy

Screw Magnum, I want Miami Vice. Nothing beats Don Johnson. No show has ever came close to it. Not Breaking Bad, Dexter, Arrested Development, etc. That is literally the greatest show of all time. It combines cheese and drama well, and it features Don Johnson as the great Sonny Crockett.

Sep 30 - 06:35 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

What did you think of the film starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx?

Sep 30 - 10:47 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Lone Cowboy

It wasn't even a good stand alone film, but the fact that it's trying to go for a remake, puts it even lower.

3/10

Oct 1 - 03:01 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Amen.

Oct 1 - 06:24 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I have to admit - 57% is a lot higher than I was expecting for "Frozen Ground". I saw "Big Parade" last week on TCM. Great film. Saving money for the Breaking Bad box set this Thanksgiving.

Sep 30 - 06:50 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Hell Yeah! The Breaking Bad Dvds are FANTASTIC. Commentary's with actual Insight featuring the episode directors and cast. I've been buying them as they come out. The only commentary I've loved more is anything by Martin Scorsese.

Sep 30 - 10:49 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yup. I don't know what extras the new "barrel" will contain, but it'll be the ultimate upgrade. Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" commentary for the laserdisc is considered one of the finest of all time, and it finally was resurrected on the blu-ray release. I like that he edits his commentaries to make them of maximum use, rather than justtaping himself watching the movie and talking off the top of his head, a technique that only works when you have a group of people (and hopefully for a comedy).

Oct 1 - 03:45 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, Thanks for the Heads up on the Blu-Ray! Any idea if "season 6" will be sold as "season 5 vol 2" or is Gilligan sticking to his guns that it is in fact a "6" season show?

Oct 1 - 06:26 PM

Jason B.

Jason Black

Freaking A. Little Mermaid, How I Met Your Mother, New Girl and Glee? Going bankrupt this week. X(

Sep 30 - 08:26 PM

L

L .

1953's House of Wax for me. Can't beat the classics.

Sep 30 - 08:48 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

nothing to buy for me this week
yeah I want to watch 'The Croods' and 'This Is The End' again but online only
I don't really feel like owning them on my shelf forever

Sep 30 - 09:00 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

My favorite so far is Star Trek Into Darkness (9/10)
But I think that's going to change with Gravity coming out this weekend.

Sep 30 - 09:17 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

What did you think of the film starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx?

Sep 30 - 10:47 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Lone Cowboy

It wasn't even a good stand alone film, but the fact that it's trying to go for a remake, puts it even lower.

3/10

Oct 1 - 03:01 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Amen.

Oct 1 - 06:24 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Hell Yeah! The Breaking Bad Dvds are FANTASTIC. Commentary's with actual Insight featuring the episode directors and cast. I've been buying them as they come out. The only commentary I've loved more is anything by Martin Scorsese.

Sep 30 - 10:49 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yup. I don't know what extras the new "barrel" will contain, but it'll be the ultimate upgrade. Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" commentary for the laserdisc is considered one of the finest of all time, and it finally was resurrected on the blu-ray release. I like that he edits his commentaries to make them of maximum use, rather than justtaping himself watching the movie and talking off the top of his head, a technique that only works when you have a group of people (and hopefully for a comedy).

Oct 1 - 03:45 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, Thanks for the Heads up on the Blu-Ray! Any idea if "season 6" will be sold as "season 5 vol 2" or is Gilligan sticking to his guns that it is in fact a "6" season show?

Oct 1 - 06:26 PM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

"This Is The End" was good. Not great or hilarious, just a good laugh. Actually, I found it very dissapointing. Expected more considering the high rating. I will see it again eventually but it does NOT merit a purchase. "At World's End" is the ultimate "end of the world" comedy and TITE doesn't hold a candle to it. Also saw "Mud" this weekend and find it to be a tad overated. It is a nice enough movie, but certainly not lifechanging or with enough "gusto" to become a classic (cult or otherwise).
How is it that horible shows like "Glee" and espeacially "New Girl" boast such high ratings? It's beyond my comprehension. I am ashamed to say I am yet to watch a single episode of "Breakind Bad". I want to and will but haven't really got around to do it. Shame on me...

Oct 1 - 02:55 AM

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

Interesting, I actually found TITE much funnier overall than World's End, although I liked it. Maybe it's just my juvenile sense of humor. .

Oct 1 - 10:13 PM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Nothing wrong with enjoying a good juvenile comedy. I like them myself. And TITE is a very good laugh. I just feel that "At World's End" has more replay value due to Wright's great directing, the excellent editing and it does boast much better performances that TITE. Plus, the Wright/Pegg/Frost efforts tend to grow even more on you with subsequent watches (my love for Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz increased a good deal on second, third and fourth viewing) so I expect the same to happen with AWE.

Oct 2 - 02:55 AM

Jason B.

Jason Black

New Girl is consistently hilarious. You just have to appreciate Zooey's quirkiness, I guess.

Oct 2 - 07:40 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Lone Cowboy

It wasn't even a good stand alone film, but the fact that it's trying to go for a remake, puts it even lower.

3/10

Oct 1 - 03:01 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Amen.

Oct 1 - 06:24 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

I hated THE CROODS. It didn't have an actual antagonist, so it dragged a lot.

I'm sure that, because it's so colourful, OZ will still look good. I liked it a lot, but the performance of the guy playing THE LION ruined it for me. Meanwhile, HOUSE OF WAX is one of the worst good movies I've ever seen (while the '05 remake is just bad).

I loved NEW GIRL's 1st season but I felt the 2nd one decreased A LOT in terms of writing and acting. I didn't hate GLEE's 4th season like a lot, but it was still weak. It was full of contradictory messages. SWAN SONG is the show's worst episode to date. DOWNTON's 3rd season wasn't as good. MR. BATES' story arc was longer than it should've been. But it was still great. The acting is still top notch (pay attention to Amy Nuttall).

Oct 1 - 10:02 AM

Jason B.

Jason Black

Glee usually is full of contradictory messages. Like the episode where Kurt's boyfriend had rock salt thrown into his eyes and Kurt decided that when he gathered evidence that proved the attacker did it that he would just ignore it because it would be 'low' to have the attacker arrested.... And it wasn't even the man who was BLINDED who decided this. What the F?!? Actually I feel it's mostly Kurt who contradicts the show. He constantly does the wrong thing but he's portrayed as the most likable, logical and sensible character on the show for whatever reason. The only character who can prove him wrong is his ACTUALLy level-headed dad. End rant.

Oct 2 - 07:45 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

You're right. When he was sexually harrasing Finn, they made it look like it was Finn's fault for being ignorant. In real life, I would've arrested his ass.

Oct 3 - 08:10 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yup. I don't know what extras the new "barrel" will contain, but it'll be the ultimate upgrade. Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" commentary for the laserdisc is considered one of the finest of all time, and it finally was resurrected on the blu-ray release. I like that he edits his commentaries to make them of maximum use, rather than justtaping himself watching the movie and talking off the top of his head, a technique that only works when you have a group of people (and hopefully for a comedy).

Oct 1 - 03:45 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, Thanks for the Heads up on the Blu-Ray! Any idea if "season 6" will be sold as "season 5 vol 2" or is Gilligan sticking to his guns that it is in fact a "6" season show?

Oct 1 - 06:26 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Amen.

Oct 1 - 06:24 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, Thanks for the Heads up on the Blu-Ray! Any idea if "season 6" will be sold as "season 5 vol 2" or is Gilligan sticking to his guns that it is in fact a "6" season show?

Oct 1 - 06:26 PM

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

Interesting, I actually found TITE much funnier overall than World's End, although I liked it. Maybe it's just my juvenile sense of humor. .

Oct 1 - 10:13 PM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Nothing wrong with enjoying a good juvenile comedy. I like them myself. And TITE is a very good laugh. I just feel that "At World's End" has more replay value due to Wright's great directing, the excellent editing and it does boast much better performances that TITE. Plus, the Wright/Pegg/Frost efforts tend to grow even more on you with subsequent watches (my love for Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz increased a good deal on second, third and fourth viewing) so I expect the same to happen with AWE.

Oct 2 - 02:55 AM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Nothing wrong with enjoying a good juvenile comedy. I like them myself. And TITE is a very good laugh. I just feel that "At World's End" has more replay value due to Wright's great directing, the excellent editing and it does boast much better performances that TITE. Plus, the Wright/Pegg/Frost efforts tend to grow even more on you with subsequent watches (my love for Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz increased a good deal on second, third and fourth viewing) so I expect the same to happen with AWE.

Oct 2 - 02:55 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I still need to see "The Big Parade"!

Oct 2 - 04:05 PM

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