On DVD & Blu-Ray: October 1, 2013

This is the End feels like the epitome of something I've been waiting a long time for. In reality it is slightly odd to think that this kind of product would ever be made and sold to general audiences, but luckily it seems the one almost guaranteed way for these actors who have now become staples of the American comedy scene to regain their place among the Hollywood elite and re-establish themselves as the kings of the comedy genre is to make fun of themselves and they do that to hilarious results here. Anyone who has ever been really into movies and has ever loved a certain comedic actor or group of actors knows what it's like to want to hang out with those kinds of guys and girls because you too feel like they would love to be your friend if not for anything else but because you share that same sense of humor they've branded. As creepy as that may come off or as much as they probably wouldn't care to be your friend at all we come to feel we know the actors in our comedies better than anyone else in the movies because they always relate closest to the kind of people around us, if not always intentionally. That may come off as slightly delusional to some, but to those who watch a good amount of movies, especially comedies, and to those that surround themselves with people that they find to be genuinely funny than I imagine it is as true for them as it is for me. All of that is to say that my anticipation and expectations for This is the End were pretty high. As one of the many apocalyptic comedies coming out this year I was also worried the film may not get the recognition I hoped it would so likely deserve, but first time directors Seth Rogen and his long time collaborator Evan Goldberg strike just the right chord between horror and comedy and lay claim to the fact they've had this in the works longer than anyone else. Thankfully, This is the End gives this brand of goofy subversive humor new life in the form of a sharp satire that invites us to experience the end of the world with who our minds have come to place as some of the most ridiculously funny people working today. Full Review here. A-

As the first major animated film of 2013 The Croods didn't necessarily stand out as an instant animated classic that will be played for years in the living rooms of growing families, but it is fun enough while it lasts. I was never particularly attracted to the trailer and I didn't much care for the character design while the voice cast seemed to be all too famous for the story and characters to seem more important than the people speaking the dialogue. Turns out, despite these cavemen sounding like Nicolas Cage (which is pretty great actually), Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds this film serves its purpose to the fullest and satisfies in some unexpected ways as well. Dreamworks as a studio has been climbing the quality ladder lately, since the release of both Kung fu Panda films and How to Train Your Dragon I have had more faith in them when it's been easier to doubt with the decline of the Shrek series and Rise of the Guardians under performing at the box office (though I rather enjoyed that film). In fact, it is fair to say I have many of the same thoughts concerning the two films. Both have a wonderful world that has been created for these characters to exist in yet it is simply the events of the story that seem less inspired and more along the lines of standard storytelling techniques to get across a well worn lesson for the kiddos. While there is no specific antagonist here other than nature itself and the conflict comes more from within the family dynamics the story still plays out with a somewhat dull beat by beat pace that doesn't pick up until too late in the film to really say I enjoyed it from start to finish. It is fine for what it is and even better than it has to be in some aspects, but it isn't great; which would have been nice to see from Dreamworks as they have a real shot to start dominating the computer animation game. Full Review here. C+

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