Oct. 03--"This is the End" (R): Danny McBride, an alumnus of the UNC School of the Arts, is among the actors starring as parodies of themselves in this over-the-top disaster comedy. His costars include James Franco, Seth Rogan, Emma Watson, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Jay Baruchel. When an apocalyptic disaster strikes Los Angeles as the celebrities are throwing a party, they have to struggle to survive -- but since they're a bunch of egomaniacal slackers, that won't be easy. The DVD has commentary and a few extras; the Blu-ray has many more extras.
"The Croods" (PG): Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Cloris Leachman are among the actors providing voices for this computer-animated caveman comedy. Extras on the DVD include deleted scenes and short features; the Blu-ray adds more, including drawing lessons for kids. There's also a plush toy of one of the film's cuddly prehistoric critters included in the package for a limited time.
"Room 237" (Unrated): This compelling documentary looks at Stanley Kubrick's stylish, chilling 1980 horror film "The Shining" and examines theories that fans and film scholars have come up with over the years about hidden messages. Extras include commentary, a panel discussion and more.
"The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition" (G): The beautifully animated fairy tale is the latest in Disney's "Diamond Edition" series of Blu-ray/DVD combo packs loaded with extras. This one includes documentaries, a music video, a look at the live-action footage that was filmed for the animation, a "Crab-e-oke Singalong," and a look at a character who was designed but left out of the final film. It's also available in a 3D Blu-ray edition.
"The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Edition" (PG): Hey, look, someone made a sequel to James Franco's "Oz: The Great and Powerful"! Seriously, though, this timeless classic returns in yet another new special edition. It's available in various configurations, including DVD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray, with extras including a new feature-length documentary. The most lavish version is a five-disc collector's set that also includes a book, a ruby slippers snowglobe and more.
"Frozen Ground" (R): Nicolas Cage and John Cusack star in this fact-based thriller about an Alaskan state trooper trying to track down a serial killer who has been killing young women for years without being detected.
"Shaquille O'Neal Presents All Star Comedy Jam" (Unrated): This stand-up comedy concert, which was filmed in Atlanta, features comedians including Lavar Walker, Red Grant, Finesse Mitchell, and Faizon Love.
"China Beach" (Unrated): The much-loved drama, set during the Vietnam War and focusing on women at the 510th Evacuation Hospital, including Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger, comes to DVD in two configurations. Available in stores, there's "The Complete Season One," with the first eight episodes of the show plus extras including a cast reunion, pilot commentary and interviews. And for diehard fans who don't want to wait for subsequent seasons to be released, there's a hefty 21-DVD "The Complete Series" boxed set available exclusively online at chinabeachondvd.com, which has all 62 episodes of the show, more than 10 hours of bonus material, a companion booklet and more.
"Fright Night 2: New Blood" (Unrated): In 2011, the comedy-tinged horror film "Fright Night" from the 1980s was remade to good effect, with a new cast telling the story of a high school student who is convinced his suave new neighbor is a vampire. Now, the sequel to that film from 1988 also gets the straight-to-video remake treatment, but with none of the stars of the 2011 film returning.
"Amityville Horror Trilogy" (R): The first three films in this long-running horror franchise -- which is based on a supposedly true story -- come to Blu-ray from the cult horror label Scream Factory. Extras include documentaries, interviews, commentaries by parapsychologists and ghost hunters, and a new 3D Blu-ray rendition of the third film, which was originally shown in theaters in 3D.
"100 Bloody Acres" (Unrated): This Australian horror-comedy follows brothers who run an organic fertilizer business where they use a sinister secret ingredient to make their product.
"North America" ( Unrated): Tom Selleck narrates this visually impressive Discovery documentary series about the landscape and wildlife of the North American continent.
"Jack Irish: Set 1" (Unrated): Guy Pearce ("Iron Man 3") stars in this Australian mystery series about a troubled, alcoholic ex-lawyer who, after his wife's murder, has become a private investigator. The set, on DVD or Blu-ray, includes two feature-length mysteries and a 17-minute behind-the-scenes short.
"Poirot: Series 7 and 8" (Unrated): Agatha Christie's dapper detective returns for four more mysteries, including the classic "Evil Under the Sun," in this digitally remastered release from the long-running British series starring David Suchet.
(c)2013 Winston-Salem Journal (Winston Salem, N.C.)
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