Romantic zombies, gunbattles in Russia and an odd road trip are featured in this week’s new DVD releases.
• “Warm Bodies,” Grade B-plus: The zombie love story introduces a new film genre: the zom rom com. It has all the leg shuffling, brain-eating fun of a horror film played out against a modern day “Romeo & Juliet” tale. The combination might sound as compatible as chicken and chocolate, but director Jonathan Levine makes the odd mix work.
“Warm Bodies” works because of Nicholas Hoult’s sweet and slightly silly performance. He plays R with the same nervousness, uncertainties and doubts many very alive teens face when they fall in love. His plight happens to be complicated by being dead, but under all that rotting flesh is a typical teenager.
The real joy of the film comes through voice-overs by R, where he reveals all the confusion he feels. There are no great revelations, but there are plenty of moments that resonate with anyone who’s had a first love. It’s really amazing how much emotion comes from R despite his being a zombie.
• “A Good Day to Die Hard,” Grade B: The plot has more holes than a 25-year-old pair of favorite socks. But just like those tattered toe covers, there is something fun about the latest in this long-running film series to make you glad it’s still around.
Bruce Willis dusts off the tough-guy attitude to reprise his most iconic role, detective John McClane – a man who always seems to be in the wrong place at the right time. This time, he travels to Russia in hopes of saving his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), from a lifetime in prison. He ends up in the middle of a political and military mess – the norm for McClane.
Did we need another “Die Hard?” No. But as long as the action is this intense and superficially fun, then keep them coming.
• “Identity Thief,” Grade F: Jason Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, a hot-shot accountant on the verge of making the biggest move in his career. He needs to advance because Patterson, his wife (Amanda Peet) and their two daughters live on a very tight budget. Patterson’s life goes into the financial toilet when Diana (Melissa McCarthy) steals his identity and goes on a spending spree.
The combination of cheap jokes, idiotic script and uninspired situations makes this the worst cross-country road movie since Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis teamed up for the 2010 disaster “Due Date.” Compared to “Identity Thief,” that clunker now looks like it was written by William Shakespeare.
Also new on DVD
“Escape from Planet Earth”: An astronaut (Brendan Fraser) on the planet Baab goes on a daring mission.
“Adventure Time: The Complete Second Season”: Viewers go on adventures with unlikely heroes in the Land of Ooo.
“Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season”: Change of a high school chemistry teacher to drug lord continues.
“Dora the Explorer: Dora Rocks!”: Dora and Boots invite friends to join them at the fiesta.
“Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Third Season”: Five-disc set contains 24 episodes plus special features.
“Falling Skies”: First season of the cable alien-invasion story.
“Wilfred: The Complete Original Series”: Australian series about a man and his neighbor’s dog.
“The Twilight Zone: The Complete Second Season”: Agnes Moorehead, Art Carney, Bill Mumy, Sydney Pollack and William Shatner guest star.
“23:59”: Ghost story that takes place on a haunted island after an army recruit is found dead at exactly 23:59.
“The First Churchills”: Juliet Stevenson plays a betrayed wife who stands by her man while secretly orchestrating a political power play.
“Mosquita & Mari”: Aurora Guerrero’s semi-biographical look at friendship and first love.
“Vexed Series 2”: British cop drama.
“Combat!: The Complete Third Season”: Includes all 32 episodes from the third season of the TV series.
“Sistas The Musical”: Tracey Conyer Lee and Lexi Rhoades star.
“Ring of Fire”: Jewel stars in the story of country music legend June Carter.
“Aroused”: Sixteen women in the adult film industry are featured in a photo shoot.
“Ice Road Truckers: Season 6”: Veteran and rookie drivers travel the most hazardous roads in North America.
“The Mad Max Trilogy”: Includes “Mad Max,” “Mad Max Road Warrior” and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”
“Electra Glide in Blue”: The ’70s cult hit from director James William Guercio is now on Blu-ray.
“Baltimore Ravens Road to XLVII Collector’s Edition”: A look at the Super Bowl season with the original broadcasts of all four playoff victories.
“Charlie Zone”: Thriller set against the drug-ravaged streets of one of Canada’s roughest neighborhoods.
“Littlest Pet Shop: Sweetest Pets”: Blythe goes on five adventures.
“Sadako 3D”: The scary, long-haired girl in the white nightgown returns to emerge for all forms of technology.
“Perfect Understanding”: Gloria Swanson stars in this 1933 comedy.
“Mountain Men: Season 1”: Cable series about those living off the grid.
“Journey of the Universe”: A look at the universe starting with the Big Bang.