It's hard to believe, but Judd Apatow, the mega-filmmaker who has changed the face of Hollywood comedy, has only directed three films. Having made his mark in television ("Freaks & Geeks," "Larry Sanders") and some screenwriting, Apatow finally exploded into the theatrical world on the back of 2005's "The 40 Year Old Virgin." "Knocked Up" would follow in 2007, and then in 2009, "Funny People," a decidedly more mature comedy that straddled serious dramatic elements. Now arriving on DVD and Blu-ray, will the pic -- which stars Adam Sandler as a dying comedian who mentors younger upstart Seth Rogen -- finally grab a wider fanbase than it found in cinemas?
"Funny People" features a strong audio and video transfer, and comes in both theatrical and unrated versions. Extras are plentiful as well, with the two-disc edition featuring filmmaker commentary, on-set diaries, gag reels, deleted and extended scenes, featurettes on subjects like stand-up, vintage prank calls and more (including a great discussion with Seth and Judd from Charlie Rose).
From one critically acclaimed film with a disappointing box office to a critically panned film with a huge box office, "Angels & Demons" finds Tom Hanks returning as a college educator drafted into religious detective work. Like its predecessor "The Da Vinci Code," the action brings audiences to Vatican City, this time to uncover who's behind a series of priestly murders. The film hits store shelves with theatrical and extended editions, with the usual amount of behind-the-scenes featurettes but also a few notable additions. Author Dan Brown is featureted in one segment, with another profiling "CERN," the massive proton collider project on the Swiss/Austrian border.
Those looking for a straight up comedy for the holidays have "Four Christmases," starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. There's nothing wholly original about this Christmas-with-the-wacky-family flick, but the DVD and Blu-ray feature a nice assortment of behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
The rest of the week's releases are a hodgepodge. MegaFault, Asylum's epic disaster movie which saw airings on the SyFy Channel, shakes into stores, as does the 20th anniversary edition of the cult hit "The Monster Squad." Vintage comedy "Air America" comes to Blu-ray, along with the first season of HBO's "Sopranos." Anime fans can pick up "Blood: The Last Vampire," the animated favorite which saw a live-action adaptation released earlier this year.
DVD & BLU-RAY NEWS:
Blockbuster hit "Paranormal Activity" gets a December 29 date, the same day as boxing doc "Facing Ali," with another horror flick, Rob Zombie's "Halloween II," hitting January 12. Low-budget sci-fi horror film "Pandorum" arrives January 19 and Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren re-team in "Universal Soldier: Regeneration" coming February 2, with Blaxploitation ode "Black Dynamite" dropping later in the month on February 16.
"Terminator Salvation," "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," and a series of Blu-ray releases including "Snatch," "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "The Green Mile."