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posted: 6/1/2013 6:00 AM

DVD previews: 'Identity Thief'

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  • Melissa McCarthy stars in the comedy "Identity Thief."

      Melissa McCarthy stars in the comedy "Identity Thief."

 
The Washington Post

Coming June 4
"Identity Thief" (R, 111 minutes, Universal): This nothing-burger of a film is a desultory collection of slapstick gags, buddy-movie clichés and chase-sequence bombast. Sandy Patterson (played by Jason Bateman) receives a call from a cheerful financial security operator who persuades him to give her his Social Security number. Within a few hours, this unrepentantly amoral con artist (Melissa McCarthy) is on her way to racking up $12,000 in credit card debt, all in Sandy's name. The real Sandy eventually sets off to Florida to find the fake Sandy, a junket that turns into a "Midnight Run"-type chase from all manner of petty criminals, bounty hunters, cops and corporate bosses. "Identity Thief" seeks to balance the near-constant stream of cruelty with a last-ditch attempt at humanizing McCarthy's character, giving her a physical and emotional makeover. But, soon enough she's back to her old tricks -- slugging people in the throat and getting Tasered for her trouble. Viewers are likely left feeling punched in the gut. Contains sexual content and profanity. Extras: gag reel, making-of featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: alternate takes and featurettes "Scene Stealing: Capturing the Humor of Identity Thief" and "The Skiptracer's Van."

"A Good Day to Die Hard" (R, 98 minutes, Fox): Armed and ludicrous, John McClane is back in the fifth installment of the franchise starring Bruce Willis. As the ultimate ugly American, McClane is now cutting his destructive swath through Moscow, where there's seemingly always a gun or a bomb at the ready. He's come to Mother Russia to find out what's happened to his son, Jack, a chip off the sullen, aggressive block, who's landed in a Moscow prison. Staged and choreographed as if by a bored toddler, its jittery car chases, hyperkinetic explosions and ham-handed gunfights pile up with wanton randomness until they culminate in a stunt involving a whirling helicopter, a dangling truck and a gruesomely absurd bit of business with a propeller. None of it makes any sense, even within the no-rules world of Skip Woods' rushed, incoherent script. Both assaultive and tiresome, "A Good Day to Die Hard" goes bang, it goes boom and then it blessedly goes away. Contains violence and profane language. Blu-ray extras (none on DVD): commentary by director John Moore and first assistant director Mark Cotone, extended cut, deleted scenes, 15-part behind-the-scenes documentary, VFX sequences and featurettes "Anatomy of a Car Chase," "Two of a Kind," "Back in Action," "The New Face of Evil" and "Maximum McClane."

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"Escape From Planet Earth" (PG, 89 minutes, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay): This animated gem is a kind of parallel universe to "Planet 51," the 2009 animated comedy centering on an astronaut marooned on an alien world and his struggle to get home. Except everything is flipped. Here, the astronaut is a blue-skinned E.T. named Scorch Supernova (voice of Brendan Fraser) captured by the U.S. military after crash-landing in Area 51. He gets thrown into a holding facility, along with every other little green man (and woman) who has ever had the misfortune to run out of dilithium crystals in the Nevada desert. Like "Planet 51," it's a cute premise. But the movie aims no higher than cute. It's Ricky Gervais who really shines, as the voice of a mainframe computer on Scorch's home planet, Baab (pronounced "Bob"). Contains mild rude humor and action. Extras: commentary with director Cal Brunker, "The Making of 'Escape From Planet Earth,'" alternate takes and deleted scenes; music featurettes from Delta Rae, Owl City and Cody Simpson.

"Warm Bodies" (PG-13, 97 minutes, Summit/Lionsgate): Cute without being especially clever, the film is almost as brain-dead as its zombie antihero (Nicholas Hoult), a flesh-eating teenage corpse known as R who falls in love with a living human named Julie (Teresa Palmer). It's less funny and self-aware than "Shawn of the Dead," less swooningly romantic than "Twilight" (to which it bears strong similarities) and less scary than most other zombie movies. Loosely inspired by "Romeo and Juliet," the story centers on the incongruity of a romance between enemies. The setup is perfect to comment on the awkwardness of adolescent infatuation, but the movie doesn't seem to know what to do with itself. Instead, it relies on stale rom-com tropes. "Warm Bodies" isn't exactly DOA, but its pulse is weak. Contains mild zombie violence, light gore and occasional obscenity. Extras: commentary with Hoult, Palmer and director Jonathon Levine, deleted scenes, gag reel, "Whimsical Sweetness" (Palmer's on-set home movie) and seven featurettes, including "Boy Meets, er, Doesn't Eat Girl," "A Little Less Dead," "Extreme Zombie Makeover," "Beware of the Boneys" and "Zombie Acting Tips With Rob Corddry."

Also: "The Last Ride" (Hank Williams biopic starring Henry Thomas), "Mental," "Brooklyn Castle," "Charlie Zone," "Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean," "Perfect Understanding" (1933, Cohen Film Collection), "Sistas the Musical," "The Company We Keep," "Journey of the Universe" (Emmy-winning documentary narrated by author and evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme and broadcast on PBS, Shelter Island), "Journey of the Universe: Conversations" (a 20-episode, four-disc companion series of interviews, Shelter Island), "Frontline: The Economic Meltdown" (PBS), "The Politician's Wife" (1995, Acorn Media), "Storming Juno," "W.C. Fields Comedy Favorites Collection," "Mosquita y Mari," "Ring of Fire" (made for TV, Lifetime), "The First Churchills" (1969, three-disc set of miniseries that launched Masterpiece Theatre, Acorn Media) and "Clint Eastwood 40 Film Collection" (Warner).

Television series: "Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season" (AMC), "Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Third Season" (ABC Family), "Adventure Time: The Complete Second Season" (Cartoon Network), "Ice Road Truckers: Season 6 " (History Channel), "Mountain Men: Season 1" (History Channel), "Dora the Explorer: Dora Rocks!" (Nickelodeon), "The Twilight Zone: The Complete Second Season" (1960-61), "Vexed, Series 2" (U.S. debut of British series, Acorn Media), "Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season" (TNT), "Curious George: The Complete Sixth Season," "Combat!: The Complete Third Season" (1965-66) and "Rawhide: The Sixth Season" (1963-64, Volume I and Volume II are separate four-disc sets, Paramount).

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