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Wanderlust (Blu-ray); John Carter (Blu-ray); Yellow Submarine (Blu-ray)

Wanderlust (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star in writer/director David Wain's comedy about the perils of dropping out of society to live in a commune. The movie tanked at the box office, which is a shame, considering that it is funnier than most hit comedies.

The two play George and Linda, a couple living in a small—very small—apartment in Manhattan and working jobs that prove to be, at best, unreliable. When they find themselves unemployed, they hit the road to stay with George's brother Rick (the great Ken Marino, who co-wrote the film).

A detour takes them to Elysium, a bizarre commune involving organic farming and nudist winemaking. They have a good night, and hit the road to live with George, who proves to be a dickhead from the very moment they arrive. So it's back to Elysium, where free sex reigns, and Alan Alda tools around on an electric scooter.

Rudd has a couple of epic improvisatory moments involving what he will do sexually to Malin Akerman's character if given the chance. (George winds up getting his chance—but blows it with his way-out-of-line dirty talk.) Rudd always does his best work within the Wain universe, a universe that includes former members of Wain's comedy troupe, The State. Marino, Joe Lo Truglio and Kerri Kenney all have prominent roles in the film, while State and Stella members Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black make a cameo, along with Wain, as morning talk-show hosts.

Justin Theroux steals scenes as Seth, the Jesus-like leader of Elysium who kicks George's ass in an acoustic-guitar duel and sets his sights on Linda. Theroux, oddly enough, actually did play Jesus in The Ten. He's Wain's go-to guy for that Jesus vibe.

As with all of Wain's films, this one gets funnier with repeated viewings. His movies all have a strange way of getting funnier with age.

SPECIAL FEATURES: One of the best features you will find on any Blu-ray this year is the Bizarro Cut, an entirely new, 80-minute cut of the movie with new jokes; the version—for the most part—still follows the original cut's plotline. Some of the alternate takes are much funnier, and I swear you can hear a bear attack in the background during one scene. You get a commentary track with Wain, Rudd, Marino and Kevin Pollak, who didn't participate in the film and throws in some weird impersonations for no particular reason. There's also a feature on Lo Truglio's fake penis, a hilarious gag reel, a "Line-O-Rama" featuring even more alternate joke takes, and a making-of doc.

John Carter (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

This isn't a great film, but it certainly isn't bad. Disney had itself a decent movie here, but messed up on the marketing side and made the film look, well, boring with its advertising.

Taylor Kitsch is fine as the title character, a Civil War soldier who winds up on Mars in a revealing outfit. He meets up with an alien race, including someone named Tars (voiced by Willem Dafoe). Carter becomes a hero for the planet, but you'll care more about how cool it is when he jumps around and defies gravity.

Again, it's not a great film, but it is a good-looking and watchable one.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A commentary from director Andrew Stanton, deleted scenes and a making-of doc.

Yellow Submarine (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

When I was a kid, this film used to be on TV a lot around Thanks-giving. It introduced me to the Beatles and their music, for which I am eternally grateful. It also taught me that good animation didn't have to involve Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse.

While I did love it as a kid, it also kind of freaked me out, especially the tall dudes bonking people on the head with green apples, and that bearded guy inside of the bubbles during "All Together Now." Watching it today, these things are wonderfully weird.

I also remember being dumbfounded and crushed when I found out the Beatles didn't actually provide their voices for the speaking parts. While they are heard singing songs such as the title track, "Eleanor Rigby" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," they were too busy and, perhaps, too disinterested to provide their vocals. Upon seeing a rough cut of the film, however, they became excited about the project and agreed to a non-animated epilogue appearance as themselves.

The film has been fully restored for Blu-ray, and it has never looked better.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The packaging is awesome and comes with a booklet, film cells of the Beatles characters, and some stickers. You also get interviews with the men who provided the voices for the Beatles, a making-of doc, storyboards and a commentary by art director Heinz Edelmann and producer John Coates.

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