'Big Chill' meets 'Body Snatchers' in hilarious 'World's End'
By By Noel Murray
Nov 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The World's End
Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98
Available on VOD beginning Nov. 19
After giving zombie flicks and cop movies a British accent with the send-ups/homages "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," director Edgar Wright and his co-screenwriter/star Simon Pegg wrap their "Blood & Ice Cream" trilogy with this brilliant blend of "The Big Chill" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Pegg plays a deluded alcoholic in a state of arrested adolescence who rounds up all his old friends (Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine and Martin Freeman) for an epic pub crawl in their hometown, only to discover that there's something phony about the people and places they used to know. Hilarious, surprising and heartfelt, "The World's End" is a genre picture that uses its monsters and chase scenes as a metaphor for middle-aged regret. It's a new classic, of both comedy and science fiction. The DVD and Blu-ray add multiple commentary tracks and featurettes.
One of the best documentaries of the year, Jamie Meltzer's film digs into the strange case of Brandon Darby. The social justice activist fought to bring aid to Hurricane Katrina victims, then later worked with the FBI to imprison protesters planning to disrupt the Republican National Convention. Through interviews with Darby and his former allies, Meltzer questions whether Darby's political views evolved over time or whether he's an egomaniac with psychological problems. "Informant" also explores the grass-roots political movements that have arisen over the last decade, and how they can feed delusions in unstable people. The DVD adds bonus footage and interviews.
Writer-director Maggie Carey's teen sex comedy is a gender-flipped riff on the virginity-themed coming-of-age story, with deadpan comic actress Aubrey Plaza playing a prissy high school brainiac who dedicates her last summer before college to researching and practicing sexual activity. Carey has a terrific cast at her disposal (including familiar TV stars Bill Hader, Scott Porter, Rachel Bilson, Andy Samberg, Alia Shawkat, Clark Gregg and Connie Britton), but the heroine is too much of a cliché — the naive nerd — and the jokes are too obvious. The DVD and Blu-ray include a Carey/Hader commentary track, deleted scenes and featurettes.
Former "Saturday Night Live" favorite Jason Sudeikis stars opposite Jennifer Aniston, playing a pot dealer forced by gangsters to smuggle drugs across the border with the help of Aniston's stripper, who poses as his wife, and two hapless teens who pretend to be their kids. Episodic to a fault, the film offers one raunchy, cartoonish set-piece after another, only a few of which are especially funny or clever. But it doesn't lack for incident — it has action and gags galore. The DVD and Blu-ray add more, via an extended cut, deleted scenes, outtakes and bloopers.