By Rick Bentley
The Fresno Bee
---- — Yesterday’s new DVD releases include a comedy about the end of the world and a classic animated tale from under the sea.
—“This Is the End,” Grade A-minus: Hollywood celebrities try to survive the end of the world. Seth Rogen stars.
There’s every reason in the world to hate “This Is the End,” which makes an unapologetic assault on everything from religious beliefs to sexuality with humor that’s pitch black in tone. And it takes gross-out material so far beyond conventional social limits that it makes “The Hangover” look like a Nickelodeon movie. It lewdly kicks what’s acceptable right in the political correctness.
What makes this movie work is the take-no-prisoners script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. No one’s career or public persona is safe from comic attack. Rogen even talks about his past film failures, particularly “The Green Hornet.” You will never be able to think of Emma Watson or Michael Cera the same way after what he’s put them through in this film.
—“The Croods,” Grade C-minus: If this is an example of what’s supposed to be prehistoric comedy, then the genre should be allowed to become extinct.
There’s the potential for humor, but it never develops beyond a few sight gags that will entertain the preschool crowd. The movie follows a family of cave dwellers — The Croods — who only venture out long enough to search for food. They are afraid of anything new, the dark and, apparently, any joke that doesn’t have to do with one of them falling down.
The only member of their group with an adventurous heart is Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), but she would have to defy her protective father, Grug (Nicolas Cage), if she wants to see the world. “The Croods” would have worked if the humor and animation had been more evolved.
—“The Little Mermaid,” Grade A: The animated tale of a mermaid who longs to leave the water is being released for the first time on Blu-ray. The film is a magical mix of engaging story, wonderful characters and a soundtrack that features some of the best tunes in the history of Disney animation.
Also available this week:
“Glee: The Complete Fourth Season.” It’s a season of big changes as Rachel and Kurt move to New York.
“Beauty & The Beast — The First Season.” Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan star in the CW series.
“So This Is Christmas.’’ A teen’s life changes after she volunteers to be in a Christmas play.
“Jack Irish: Set 1.” A private investigator (Guy Pearce) realizes he can’t outrun or outdrink his past.
“China Beach: The Complete Season One.” Dana Delany stars in this TV drama set during the Vietnam War.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Showdown.” The Turtles face new and old enemies.
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Series 7 & 8.” David Suchet stars as Agatha Christie’s mustachioed mystery-solver.
“Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited: Fifth-Eighth.” Features Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann as The Doctor.
“Nikita: The Complete Third Season.” Maggie Q stars in the CW action series.
“North America.” Discovery Channel natural history series narrated by Tom Selleck.
“Dead Before Dawn.” Teens fight zombies while trying to break the curse that brought them to life.
“From Here to Eternity.” The Oscar-winning film is available on Blu-ray.
“100 Bloody Acres.” Organic farmers find a new source for their fertilizer business.
“The Frozen Ground.” An Alaskan State Trooper sets out to end the murderous rampage of a serial killer.
“1984 Detroit Tigers World Series Collector’s Edition.” A look at the team’s drive to win the championship.
“Shaquille O’Neal Presents All Star Comedy Jam — Live from Atlanta.” Lineup was picked by Shaquille O’Neal.
“House of Wax.” Remastered version of the 1953 horror film.
“Awkward.” Includes the first two seasons of the MTV comedy.
“Teen Mom: The Complete First Season.” Series about teens dealing with motherhood.
“Morning.” Married couple tries to deal with the tragic death of their only child.
“The Wizard of Oz.” Remastered version of the film is being released to mark the 75th anniversary.
“Littlest Pet Shop: Petacular Escapades.” Blythe and her best friends are back for five more adventures.