You know that “The Avengers” is the biggest movie of the year, right? And by a wide margin.
But did you also know it’s the third biggest movie of all time? Only “Avatar” and “Titanic” have pulled in more box-office dollars. Now it’s on Blu-ray and DVD, leading these movies that arrived on home video this week.
“The Avengers” (Paramount/Marvel/Blu-ray + DVD, 2012, PG-13, two discs, $39.99, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, music video, bloopers). There’s not a lot one can say that hasn’t already been said, except perhaps to validate the quote on the box — this really is the best superhero movie of all time.
The cast, the comedy and the chemistry are every bit as successful as the excitement, adventure and battles staged by director/co-writer Joss Whedon. The entire cast is at the top of its game, and everything works from the beginning to the end. And it’s nice to see Scarlett Johansson get so much screen time; she more than holds her own with the men: Robert Downy Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson.
It isn’t necessary to have seen all the previous individual movies to get into this one, but it does help, considering all the inside jokes about Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, etc. Great fun from start to finish. (Also on four-disc 3-D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack, $49.99, and single-disc DVD, $29.99.)
“Delicacy” (Cohen/eOne/Blu-ray, 2011, PG-13, $34.98, in French with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). The delightful Audrey Tautou (“Amelie”) stars in this sweet, gentle, down-to-earth French comedy-drama as a young widow who, after three years of grieving, finds herself dating an unlikely co-worker, a doughy, balding Swede regarded by others as a loser (played by Francois Damiens as charmingly clueless). (Also on DVD, $24.98.)
“Damsels in Distress” (Sony Classics, 2011, PG-13, $30.99, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, bloopers). Whit Stillman’s fourth movie over the past two decades is just as wry and quirky as the earlier three: “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco.” Here, an Eastern college co-ed (Greta Gerwig) and her gal pals try to reform the student body through less-than-conventional means, and it’s brimming over with Stillman’s patented witty dialogue. (Also on Blu-ray, $39.99.)
“To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey” (Virgil, 2012, not rated, $19.99, photo/art galleries, trailer). Documentary about Nancy Kwan, who broke down barriers for Asian actors after starring in the 1960 major-studio film “The World of Nancy Kwan,” followed the next year by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Flower Drum Song.” Kwan is, sometimes awkwardly, both narrator and subject, but her story is instructive regarding racism in both Hollywood and America during this era.
“Adventures in Plymptoons!” (Cinema Libre, 2012, not rated, $19.95, deleted scenes, featurettes, trailers). Entertaining if not terribly revealing documentary on cartoonist Bill Plympton, a lone-wolf talent and an independent light in a glutted industry. This is merely an overview of his career, filled with cheerleading interviews, among whom another pair of unique illustrators, Terry Gilliam and Ralph Bakshi, stand out. (Adult language and imagery.)
“Just Around the Corner” (Virgil, 2012, not rated, $19.95, photo gallery, text biographies). Documentary on music promoter/manager Bob Benjamin who established the New Jersey-based Light of Day Foundation to battle Parkinson’s disease after he was diagnosed at the age of 38.
“Occupy Unmasked” (Magnet, 2012, not rated, $26.98). This propagandistic documentary is a one-sided look at the Occupy movement attempting to expose it as a hotbed of intimidation and criminal activity.
“Super Hero Party Clown” (Cinema Libre, 2012, not rated, $19.95, alternate scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Cute but inert comedy about a shy fellow afraid to approach the girl he likes until he wears a superhero costume at children’s parties.
“The Samaritan” (IFC/Blu-ray, 2012; R for violence, sex, nudity, language, drugs; $29.98, trailer). Samuel L. Jackson stars in this twisty but unsavory crime drama as an ex-con trying to go straight when he’s pulled into a heist by the son of his ex-partner, who may have an axe to grind since Jackson killed his father. (Also on DVD, $24.98.)
“Drunkboat” (Virgil, 2012, not rated, $24.99, trailer). A more-than-capable cast led by John Malkovich and John Goodman (and, in a smaller role, Dana Delany) helps keep afloat this melodramatic coming-of-age picture about a kid who wants to buy a boat to sail from Lake Michigan to the Atlantic Ocean.Comment on this story
“Any Last Words?” (Lionsgate, 2012, PG-13, $26.98, featurettes, trailer). Odd, existential, low-budget Western has Bat Masterson left for dead when a supernatural visitor takes him on a journey through his life to help him decide whether to live or die.
“Vampire Dog” (eOne, 2012, not rated, $14.98). Comic Norm MacDonald provides the voice for the title character, named Fang, in this live-action kids picture about a boy who inherits Fang and helps him elude a mad scientist.