Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family Say what you want about Tyler Perry's "comedies"--among the many adjectives that come to mind are broad, over-the-top dramatic, strident and church-y--the man's laughing all the way to the bank to the tune of $500 million to date.
Big Happy Family is no exception to the Madea family of films, this one centering on Madea's maybe-niece Shirley (Loretta Devine) who is battling cancer and all the drama this entails among Shirley's two harpy daughters, their milquetoast husbands and Shirley's hood-rat son. Fat jokes, cancer comedy, marriage melodrama, child-whacking and faith-preaching ensue. Extras: Some behind-the-scenes featurettes (DVD/BD)
Prom Want more melodrama played for laughs? This bland, cliched Disney high school comedy is aimed squarely at the Glee/High School Musical set, revolving around a perky prom planner whose best-laid plans get interrupted; bad boys, shy boys, outsiders, insiders and the many ways they can all ask each other to prom. A vanilla cast, wooden dialogue and cardboard-cutout stereotypes make this one dull venture indeed. Extras: "Last Chance Lloyd" featurette, deleted scenes, music videos from the fairly on-the-nose soundtrack (DVD/BD)
Skateland This latest John Hughes-derivative, coming-of-age teen movie set in small-town Texas in the 1980s stars Shiloh Fernandez as the Skateland roller rink manager who wants to hang on to life as he knows it, at the same time everything around him is changing--his girlfriend is moving away to college, his parents are splitting up, the rink is closing. The movie takes a real bummer of a turn with a tragedy in the second half that spurs our hero to action. Extras: Only the BD contains some deleted scenes.
The Perfect Host Critics gave this limited release a drubbing but if you're not picky in this week of dismal new releases, it's at least mildly entertaining to watch David Hyde Pierce go off his rocker as a completely unhinged psycho who turns the tables on a would-be home invader on the run from the law.
New on Blu
Following the much-ballyhooed recent release of The Big Lebowski on Blu-ray, now four more of the Coen Brothers' films hit Blu-ray today both separately and in a cool box set: Raising Arizona (finally!), Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple debut in high def, while the set also includes Fargo (on BD for a few years now). One wonders where Barton Fink is in all that, but at least MGM is giving these releases some love.
More of a 1980s icon of nostalgia than a genuinely good movie, Top Gun is still corny entertainment that gave the world Tom Cruise and Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone." In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Paramount releases it in high def with (previously released) extras that include a six-part making-of documentary, four music videos, Tom Cruise interview, commentary by director Tony Scott and more.
Terrence Malick's bewildering, acclaimed drama The Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt will be released in a combo BD/DVD pack on Oct. 11. A 30-minute special about Malick and his work featuring interviews with directors Christopher Nolan and David Fincher highlights the extras.
Also Oct. 11, Sony will release the Kevin James comedy Zookeeper, with extras to include a blooper reel and featurettes on the CG-created animals and their star voices, which may be more entertaining than the film itself.
Evil Dead II: the 25th Anniversary Edition comes out (again) on Blu-ray Nov. 15, this time with all-new features that revisit the shoot with cast and crew.