Blu Tuesday: The Hangover Part III, The Purge and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“The Hangover Part III”

WHAT: When the Wolfpack is kidnapped by a vengeful gangster (John Goodman) who blames the guys for introducing Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) into his life, he tasks them (sans Doug, naturally, who’s kept as collateral) with tracking Chow down and recovering his stolen money, taking them back to Las Vegas, the city where it all began.

WHY:The Hangover Part III” is a really bad movie – a joyless and humorless cash-in that bears little resemblance to the 2009 original except by name. Say what you will about the first sequel, but at least that one actually felt like a “Hangover” movie. I’m not even sure if “Part III” is supposed to be a comedy, but the shocking lack of laughter would suggest otherwise. Galifianakis and Jeong are more annoying than ever in their respective roles, while Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are simply on auto-pilot, going through the motions to collect their paychecks. And can you really blame them? The script is so terrible and devoid of laughs (despite some half-assed attempts at humor that rarely land) that it’s hard to imagine anyone signing on to the movie for anything other than the great payday. The film mostly runs on nostalgia – a fact made clear by the return of several familiar faces, even if they have nothing to offer the story – but even that little bit of fan service sputters out well before the end, much like the finale itself.

EXTRAS: The two-disc release includes a few extended scenes, an 8-minute outtakes reel, and some mini-featurettes that are all pretty terrible.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

“The Purge”

WHAT: In the near future, the government has introduced an annual event called The Purge where all crime – including murder – is legal for 12 hours. The Sandins are fortunate enough to be able to afford a security system that keeps them safe, but when son Charlie (Max Burkholder) provides sanctuary to a homeless man on the run from some attackers, James (Ethan Hawke) and the rest of his family become their new targets.

WHY: “The Purge” is hands-down one of the dumbest movies of the year. Nothing about this film works, beginning at the concept stage, which is laughable in its suggestion that a) the government would ever impose something like the Purge, b) everyday people would actually embrace it, and c) no one would commit crimes during the rest of the year, not even the homeless people being beaten and murdered. It just isn’t plausible, and as such, the premise is completely drained of any suspense. The characters all act like idiots – especially Charlie, who doesn’t think twice about the fact that the man he’s helping could be tricking him in order to gain entry to the house – and the lead villain is just plain ridiculous. (His gang wears masks for no apparent reason other than that writer/director James DeMonaco thought it would be creepy.) And if that wasn’t bad enough, DeMonaco actually thinks that he’s making some kind of bold political statement, when in reality, it’s simply the musings of a crazy person.

EXTRAS: Considering how well it performed in theaters, it’s a little surprising that the only included bonus material is a making-of featurette titled “Surviving the Night.”

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to June

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Though the summer movie season is typically reserved for the kind of big blockbuster action films that dominated theaters last month, June offers a more eclectic assortment of movies, including star-studded comedies, small indies, and yes, another helping of big blockbuster action films. From the return of Superman to the end of the world (twice), there are plenty of good reasons to get out of the sweltering heat and be entertained this June.

“THE INTERNSHIP”

Who: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne and John Goodman
What: Two salesmen whose careers have been ruined by the digital age get internships at Google, where they must compete against young, tech-savvy geniuses.
When: June 7th
Why: It’s been almost a decade since Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson teamed up for “Wedding Crashers” – which, along with “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” helped revive the R-rated comedy – so there’s a certain degree of excitement about seeing them together on screen again. Of course, “Wedding Crashers” was actually funny, whereas “The Internship” doesn’t look quite as promising. The studio clearly believes that just by reuniting the two actors, the laughs will automatically flow, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Director Shawn Levy’s previous comedies have been pretty tame in comparison to the duo’s last film, and many of the jokes in the trailer feel about five years past their sell-by date, Still, the Vaughn/Wilson reunion is simply too enticing to pass up, so I wouldn’t count out “The Internship” just yet.

“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”

Who: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond and Nathan Fillion
What: A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.
When: June 7th
Why: Most directors would take a much deserved vacation after wrapping on a movie as massive as “The Avengers,” but not Joss Whedon, who used his short break between filming and post-production on the Marvel blockbuster to shoot a modern day version of “Much Ado About Nothing” with some friends at his house. The movie is packed with familiar faces from the director’s so-called Whedonverse, with every one of his former TV shows represented in some capacity. Shot entirely in black and white, the film looks about as close to a low budget indie as you’re bound to find, but Whedon and Shakespeare are such a great fit (both celebrated for their sharp and witty dialogue) that it’s a wonder the latter didn’t attempt an adaptation of the Bard’s classic any sooner.

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