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This week: Wes Anderson's latest heartfelt comedy, "Moonrise Kingdom," chronicles the great romance between two 12-year-old runaways during the summer of 1965.
Also new this week is the animated sequel "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," the found footage-ish horror flick "Chernobyl Diaries," the Adam Sandler comedy "That's My Boy" and an edition of "Avatar" on Blu-ray 3D that one can buy without it being bundled with a hardware purchase.
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Box Office: $45 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh
Storyline: Wes Anderson's latest is about Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), two 12-year-old misfits who fall in love, make a pact and run away together on a small New England island in the summer of 1965. As a brutal storm approaches, various authorities try to track the young lovebirds down, including the local sheriff (Bruce Willis), Sam's scout leader (Edward Norton), Suzy's parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and even Social Services (Tilda Swinton).
Extras! Sadly, both the DVD and Blu-ray contain only eight total minutes of extras, including a short set tour with Murray and two promo featurettes.
We Say: This charming, purposely quirky comedy is easily the final word in preteen-runaway romances this year thanks to the appeal of its two young leads and the big-name supporting cast that seems game for the zany antics that transpire once the young couple goes on the run.
'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted'
[caption id="attachment_150847" align="alignright" width="220"] DreamWorks[/caption]
Box Office: $216 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% Fresh
Storyline: Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo and Melman the Giraffe are still trying to get to New York in this animated sequel. Their journey takes them to Europe, natch, where they find the perfect cover as a traveling circus. This family flick features the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jada Pinkett Smith and more.
Extras! In addition to the expected bonus features like deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes, the Blu-ray includes exclusives like a trivia track and the interactive "Get Them to the Train" game.
We Say: Fans — especially those under four feet tall and younger than 10 years old — will be on board for this third colorful adventure featuring the familiar googly-eyed characters that they love, and the filmmakers have tossed in a few surprising references to appease any adults that might be watching.
[caption id="attachment_150848" align="alignright" width="220"] Warner Bros.[/caption]
Box Office: $18 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 20% Rotten
Storyline: Six tourists (including Jesse McCartney and Jonathan Sadowski) hire an extreme tour guide named Uri to take them to the abandoned city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, in this low-budget horror movie. When the group becomes stranded in the radioactive wasteland, they soon discover that the city still has a few denizens of unknown origin.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an alternate ending, "Uri's Extreme Tours Infomercial," and a featurette on the real Chernobyl tragedy.
We Say: As if found-footage films weren't irritating enough, the interesting premise of this horror movie is undermined by the choice to shoot it found-footage style. Therefore you get a shaky cam, bad lighting and a camera that gets knocked around during attacks even though there isn't supposed to be a person behind the lens. We're all for our imaginations filling in the blanks, because what's in your head is often scarier than what's on screen ... but the found-footage style used here just excuses the filmmakers from showing the "monsters" in any detail and looks cheap.
'That's My Boy'
[caption id="attachment_150849" align="alignright" width="220"] Sony[/caption]
Box Office: $37 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 21% Rotten
Storyline: Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), in his teens and raised him as a single parent until Todd's 18th birthday. After not seeing his son for years, Donny crashes Todd's wedding and tries desperately to reconnect with him and deal with the repercussions of his terrible parenting skills in this R-rated comedy.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray have a featurette on all the celebrity cameos in the film, including Vanilla Ice, Susan Sarandon, James Caan and more.
We Say: Sandler still has his fans — we think — but the herd must be thinning given the anemic box office take of this excruciatingly painful film that finds the normally PG-13 Sandler trying to raunch it up for cheap laughs.
'Avatar' Blu-ray 3D
[caption id="attachment_150850" align="alignright" width="220"] Fox[/caption]
Box Office: $761 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Fresh
Storyline: James Cameron's sci-fi epic follows a paraplegic ex-Marine to the distant world of Pandora where he joins the Avatar program and battles alongside the indigenous Na'vi to protect the phosphorescent planet from ecological disaster at the hands of humans. The highest-grossing movie of all time stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi and many more.
Extras! This combo pack contains the Blu-ray 3D (theatrical cut only), Blu-ray and DVD and comes with all the making-of bonus features included in the previous editions.
We Say: "Avatar" has been available as a standalone Blu-ray 3D for over a year now but only as a Panasonic exclusive bundled with an equipment purchase. Now you can buy what is easily the most vibrant, stunning-looking Blu-ray 3D to date without having to buy a new Blu-ray player to get it or spending $100 for the exclusive disc on eBay.
Also New This Week:
"Terror Train" Blu-ray
"2016: Obama's America"
"A League of Their Own" Blu-ray
"The Funhouse" Collector's Edition Blu-ray
"The Santa Clause" Blu-ray
"Ella Enchanted" Blu-ray